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Adaptation Amalgamation

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Sometimes there are not enough source material/original ideas for a complete work, like a book, or a movie. Other times there are multiple sources, each with their own merits. The result is this: a work adapted from more than one source material.

That method also sometimes used to cover the tracks in cases when plot was meant to be original but is too similar to plagiarism from some other work. The solution is to either purchase rights for something similar (yet not so expensive), or just add additional layers to the story from the other source which will confuse lawyers enough not to tell where it was plagiarized from.


Compare to Crossover, Composite Character, and Broad Strokes. Often crosses with Dolled-Up Installment, but not always. May be a rare example of Adaptation Distillation and Adaptation Expansion at the same time. May take place IN SPACE!.

Also compare Merging the Branches, where the later canon combines several previously mutually exclusive story branches, and Patchwork Fic, where the amalgamation only occurs in the fanfiction. See also Cut-and-Paste Translation and its more pejorative synonym Macekre, both mainly for Anime.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In a case of What Could Have Been, Disney originally planned on making a film that combined the stories of Reynard the Fox and Chanticleer the Rooster, but it was rejected, so they instead made a Funny Animal version in the 1970's that eventually became Robin Hood. The final version of Robin Hood is technically a combination of the Robin Hood legends and the Reynard the Fox/Chanticleer movie Disney originally planned. Don Bluth later created Rock-A-Doodle in the 1990's.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie combines elements from the first four books, including the Captain's origin from the first book, Professor Poopypants as a villain from the fourth, the Turbo Toilet 2000 and Invention Convention from the second, and zombie-fied children from the third book.
  • Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland closely follows the plot of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but adds characters from Through the Looking Glass, specifically Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the talking flowers and the Tulgey Woods from "Jabberwocky".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A lot of movies are adapted (most of them uncredited and unofficially) from two novels by Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest and The Glass Key, which are actually completely unrelated save for the same genre and writer.
    • Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa was this to a lesser extent but spawned a LOT of unofficial adaptations on its own, most of which contain at least one significant moment from The Glass Key and the main plot patterns of Red Harvest. The primary example is A Fistful of Dollars, which was considered a plagiarism of Yojimbo in court. Ironically enough, the official remake of Yojimbo, Last Man Standing, heavily borrows elements from both Red Harvest and A Fistful of Dollars.
    • The Coen Brothers film Miller's Crossing also combines these novels by Hammett, but borrows elements from both nearly 50% to 50%.
  • Russian 1995 Movie The Eggs of Doom (Rokovye yaytsa) was adapted from the short novel by famous writer Mikhail Bulgakov, but had many scenes, characters and themes actually borrowed from his most known work, The Master and Margarita.
  • Scary Movie was an amalgam of two separate screenplays.
  • Soviet 1987 surreal cult film Assa was adapted from an unpublished short story and song Hello, Bananan Boy but has excerpts from historical novel The Edge of the Centuries by Nathan Eidelman, which one of the characters reads, adapted as well.
  • RoboCop (1987): Screenwriter Edward Neumeier had written a screenplay about a robot that becomes a cop. When he met fellow writer Michael Miner it turned out that Miner was working on a screenplay about a human cop becoming a robot. They decided to combine the ideas and RoboCop was the result.
  • All the Die Hard sequels are based, mostly, on unrelated source material, but maintain John McClane as the protagonist.
  • Often found when you have an action or horror movie from Bollywood: they have a shortage of ideas in this area so they produce tons of unofficial remakes (and they've started to have a shortage there, as well: The Godfather was remade at least 7 times, for example). A particular example is a movie named Commando (no, not that one) by Bubbar Subhash starring Mithun Chakraborti, which combines Romancing the Stone with American Ninja.
  • After seeing The Terminator, Harlan Ellison thought that it was this for his two teleplays for The Outer Limits (1963): "Soldier" and "Demon With a Glass Hand". If so, it was very minimal, but Ellison sued the filmmakers, succeeded, and had his name added to the end credits. Which makes one wonder why he didn't sue the creators of Soldier, which was basically his short story/teleplay "Soldier" recycled in the universe of Blade Runner (which also makes it an example of the trope).
  • Blade Runner itself qualifies. The film was based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but the title and term "blade runner" were taken from the totally unrelated Alan E. Nourse novel The Bladerunner and screenplay adapted from it by William S. Burroughs, Blade Runner: The Movie. Ridley Scott specifically purchased the rights to the title, and both Nourse and Burroughs were credited in the end credits.
  • The screenplay for Naked Lunch is based not only on William Burroughs' novel, but also on other fiction by him (in particular, first half of the movie is mostly based on The Exterminator), and autobiographical accounts of his life.
  • The Lawnmower Man is a rather weird example, which was "adapted" from a short story by Stephen King using it as an In Name Only stunt for an original screenplay. King sued filmmakers to remove his name from the credits, and, especially, the film's marketing. It is weird because a) King actually liked the film and it has a lot of his common themes in it; b) the film actually featured a scene adapted straight from a short story and a dialogue between two policemen taken line-to-line from it.
  • Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon combines elements from two different Ryuonosuke Akutagawa stories. Most of the plot came from "In a Grove", while the framing device (of travelers trapped in a gate because of a rainstorm) and title came from "Rashomon".
  • In 1974, a pair of movie studios, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros., had the rights to different books about a skyscraper on fire: "The Tower" and "The Glass Inferno". Rather than try to compete with each other the studios decided to team up, combining both books into The Towering Inferno.
  • Anime example: The live-action film Ghost in the Shell uses elements of the 1995 animated film as well as the second season of Stand Alone Complex.
  • The film Return to Oz takes elements from two of the Oz books by L Frank Baum: The Marvelous Land of Oz (which does not feature Dorothy as a character) and Ozma of Oz, as well as the 1973 non-fiction book Wisconsin Death Trip as a historical source.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a combination of On Stranger Tides (although it's essentially an In Name Only adaptation) and characters and plotlines from the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
  • After the James Bond movies started running out of novels to adapt, there were a couple which combined two short stories (usually with a bunch of extra stuff added even so). For Your Eyes Only combines the plots of "For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico", while Octopussy combines plot elements from "Octopussy" and "The Property of a Lady".
  • Film versions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland tend to combine the first book with its sequel, "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There."
    • The 1933 and 1985 films both devote their first halves to Wonderland and their second halves to Looking-Glass, but make them both part of the same dream. The 1999 TV version takes just three episodes from Looking-Glass (the White Knight, the Garden of Live Flowers, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee/The Walrus and the Carpenter) and puts them all together in between the Mock Turtle and Trial scenes from Wonderland. The 1972 British film is mostly jut Wonderland, but it does include Tweedledum and Tweedledee too.
    • The 2010 Alice in Wonderland (2010) film is based on a combination of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking-Glass. The sequel is, despite debate, in face only based on ATTLG, as this story included Lewis Carroll's poem "The Jabberwocky" (on which the film is also partly based) as some of its prose. Of course, this is only very loosely based on Carroll's work, as pretty much the only things in common are a couple of character names and the premise of a world Down the Rabbit Hole.
  • Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy incorporates a number of scenes and elements from The Lord of the Rings that weren't used in Jackson's earlier LOTR films. These include the appearance of the Maiar Radagast the Brown and Saruman deriding him as a weirdo, both of which were related after the fact by Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring. It also borrows plot elements from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and some of Tolkien's writings that were published after his death. Since the studio didn't own the film rights to the latter, they had to do some Writing Around Trademarks. Still, big chunks of the movies (Azog's vendetta, Kili and Tauriel's romance, Laketown's politics) are original material that Peter Jackson's team came up with.
  • Everest (2015) was based on the memoirs of several of the climbers rather than being a straight adaptation of just one, as the previous TV movie about the disaster had been.
  • Arsène Lupin (2004) takes its plot from several of the original stories, focusing largely on Lupin's history and the crucifix plot with Josephine.
  • Little Shop of Horrors is mostly based on the 1982 musical of the same name but Bill Murray's Arthur Denton character is based on one from the original 1960 movie who wasn't in the play.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy does this in all three movies, blending together some of the best-remembered aspects of many classic Batman stories. To elaborate:
    • Batman Begins uses elements of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, Jeph Loeb's The Long Halloween, and Sam Hamm's "Blind Justice" arc. It's an Origin Story that depicts the early years of Bruce Wayne's crusade against crime, and it prominently features Commissioner Gordon as the co-protagonist (like Year One), but it also features a rookie Batman battling the crime lord Carmine Falcone (like The Long Halloween), and it largely revolves around a young Bruce Wayne's relationship with his Evil Mentor Henri Ducard (like "Blind Justice").
    • The Dark Knight uses elements of Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke", as well as a few elements of The Long Halloween that Batman Begins didn't use. It revolves around Batman's battle with the Joker, and it features him trying to make a twisted point about human nature by driving a good man to evil (like "The Killing Joke"), but it also depicts Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face at the height of his legal battle with the Gotham Mob (like The Long Halloween).
    • The Dark Knight Rises is most obviously based on Knightfall, but it also takes multiple cues from The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: No Man's Land. It revolves around about Batman's struggle to return to crime-fighting after Bane breaks his back (like Knightfall), but it also features Bruce donning the cape and cowl again after a long retirement (like The Dark Knight Returns), as well as Gotham City being isolated from the rest of the United States by a major disaster (like No Man's Land).
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • The original X-Men (2000) uses elements of the famous "Days of Future Past" storyline (though with the Time Travel adapted out), but it's also loosely inspired by the first few stories in the comics where the team fought Magneto. It's about the Brotherhood targeting Senator Robert Kelly, and it features the X-Men trying to stop Mutant terrorists from attacking a gathering of politicians, but it also features Magneto trying to overthrow the US government.note 
    • X2: X-Men United combines the plots of the graphic novel "God Loves, Man Kills" with the original "Weapon X" arc. It features the Mutant-hating villain William Stryker plotting to kill the world's Mutants, but it's also about Wolverine attempting to unravel the secrets of his past. Notably, it reimagines the fanatical priest Reverend William Stryker as the military scientist Colonel William Stryker, and it portrays him as the man who gave Wolverine his adamantium claws—essentially making him a Composite Character of William Stryker and Dr. Abraham Cornelius.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand combines the plots of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and the "Gifted" mini-arc from Astonishing X-Men. It features Jean Grey coming back from the dead as the murderous "Phoenix", but it's also all about the world's Mutants being divided by the invention of a controversial "cure" for mutation.
  • Almost happened, but averted, with the Harry Potter adaptations. The original plan was to take the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone and then re-jig scenes and plot points from the second and third novels to create Harry Potter: The Movie. But then, a smarter but unprecedented idea came up: "What if our audience could grow up along with the characters?" What might have been an easy cash-in became a straight adaptation of the first book....and then the following six.

  • The Kalevala is an Adaptation Distillation of lots of otherwise unrelated tales and myths from Finnish Oral Tradition.
  • Discworld:
  • In-universe in Grand Central Arena, there's a significant recurring plot point involving a work that's a mash-up of E. E. “Doc” Smith's Lensman and Skylark Series.
  • The Bible and its books are actually an amalgamation of multiple texts. However, there are many debates as to what originated from one text, what originated from multiple texts, how many texts they originated from and so on. For instance, The Pentateuch or The Torah are believed by many scholars to be an amalgamation of four different documents titled as J, E, P, and D by scholars.
  • Judge Dee: The recurring characters come from the author's translation of the first part of Dee Goong An, which was intriguing because of the way it fit Western standards of detective stories better than traditional Chinese ones (the murderer is not known to the audience, the mystery isn't solved by direct supernatural intervention, etc.). The plots of each story were taken from various Chinese criminology texts, with the sources explained in each book's afterword.
  • Geary Gravel's Batman: The Animated Series tie-in novels, with the exception of the one adapting The Movie, combined multiple plots from the series, since half-hour episodes meant even a two-parter would be slim pickings on its own. Shadows of the Past combines several episodes revolving around the origins of Batman and his assistants, Dual to the Death combines two Two-Face two-parters, and The Dragon and the Bat brings together all the episodes featuring the ninja Kyodai Ken.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a Spin-Off from the original Law & Order. But due to John Munch being a regular character, it's also a Spin-Off from Homicide: Life on the Street.
  • VR Troopers took footage from Choujinki Metalder and Jikuu Senshi Spielban for its first season. During the second season, the series began using footage from Space Sheriff Shaider in combination with the Spielban footage.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Masked Rider:
    • While primarily based on Kamen Rider BLACK RX, six of the show's forty episodes included footage from the Kamen Rider films Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J, adapting all but one villain (Garai/Cobra Man of Kamen Rider J) from the two movies as Monsters Of The Week.
    • ZO's footage was used in Escape From Edenoi parts 1 and 2 (with separate fight scenes for Doras and later a monster from Black RX) and Cat-Atomic (which again had two major fight scenes, one with the minor monster Koumori Man and one with a monster from Black RX).
    • J's footage was used in Saturday Morning Invasion (with Fog Mother as Ultivore) and Ectophase Albee (minor monster Agito/Lizard Man).
    • Footage from both movies was used in Stranger From the North, which began by using J's minor monster Zu/Bee Woman as Hydrasect and switching to ZO's monster Kumo Woman as her more powerful form Arachnida.
  • The Mexican telenovela Los ricos tambien lloran, as well as its more modern remake, María la del barrio, are a combination of two radio novellas by Ines Rodena.
  • The TV series Andromeda is cobbled together from three pilots Gene Roddenberry made back in The '70s: Genesis II, Planet Earth, and Strange New World.
  • The Flash (1990): The first TV adaptation of The Flash in The '90s have elements mixed from the 2 Flash incarnations until then: Barry Allen and Wally West. The character itself as well the main elements of the series are from former era, being John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen, but various elements were taken from the then actual Flash Wally West: the way his metabolism acts faster than him that makes him eat tons (literally) of food, his relashionship with Tina McGee, the appearance of Linda Park (Wally's Love Interest) as reporter, etc.
  • The short-lived Birds of Prey TV series combined parts of the comic book series it was named for with the backstory for the original version of the Huntress character. The comics used ex-Mafia Princess Helena Bertinelli, but the series went with Helena Wayne (renamed Helena Kyle), Bruce Wayne's daughter by Selina Kyle.
  • Once Upon a Time is basically one huge collection of multiple fairy tales put together and told in different ways (though often taking cues from the Disney versions). For example, Little Red Riding Hood is Snow White's best friend, Cinderella makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, and Mulan helps save Sleeping Beauty.
  • Many episodes of the TV adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster amalgamated three or four of the original short stories, and also drew elements from other P. G. Wodehouse works.
  • Earthsea combines the plots of the first two novels of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, notably making Ged's shadow from A Wizard of Earthsea into a Nameless One he releases from the Tombs of Atuan.
  • The first season of The Umbrella Academy combined the plots of The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, but primarily the former.
  • The 2010 remake of 1985's Brazilian telenovela Ti Ti Ti incorporates elements of another telenovela written by the author of the original version, Cassiano Gabus Mendes: Plumas & Paetês, specifically the subplot involving the character Marcela.
  • The Witcher (2019): Several, especially in regards to Geralt. In appearance he more closely resembles the Geralt of the book (only carries one sword at a time, medallion has a wolf on it instead of being a wolf's head), while in personality he is more like the Geralt of the games (gruff and taciturn, while in the books he was far more talkative).


    Mythology and Religion 
  • While technically any Arthurian story which involves both the Grail Quest and Lancelot is this by very definition, special note should go to The Once and Future King, as it was T. H. White's attempt at creating an Arthurian super-myth, which incorporated as many of the myriad Arthurian myths and legends into one cohesive story as possible. Although how well this succeeded is debatable (there are a number of myths missing, but the overall quality is unquestionably excellent nonetheless), it is still the most "complete" of all Arthur myths, and borrows from at least a dozen stories.

    Tabletop Games 

  • The play Universal Robots by Mac Rogers is partly an adaptation of R.U.R., but also includes autobiographical details of the author Karel Capek and his (imaginary in real life) twin sister.
  • Evgeny Schwartz's play "The Emperor's New Clothes", in addition to the eponymous tale, also uses elements from "The Princess and the Pea" and "The Swineherd" (on the background of A Nazi by Any Other Name, no less).
  • Shrek: The Musical is otherwise based on the first movie but it starts the same as the original book with Shrek's parents throwing him out of their house.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame is mostly based on the Disney film, but incorporates multiple plot points from the Victor Hugo novel. Shockingly, this includes Esmerelda and Quasimoto's original deaths. Any music from the movie has been stylistically and lyrically tweaked to be more similar to that other Victor Hugo musical. One review called it "Music by Disney, darkness by Hugo".
  • Saturday Night Fever: The Musical is based on the original movie but ends the same as the sequel, Staying Alive with Tony announcing that he's going to strut and then walking around to the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive".
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The play contains both elements of A Song of Ice and Fire that didn't make it to Game of Thrones and elements from the latter that weren't present in the books.
  • Eva Le Gallienne's 1932 stage play of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Elizabeth Swados's 1978 musical Alice in Concert (originally starring Meryl Streep as Alice and later filmed for TV as Alice at the Palace) both adapt the first book in the first act and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass in the second act, but make both part of the same dream, with Alice falling asleep at the beginning of the first act and waking up at the end of the second.

  • When Hasbro imported Takara's toy lines Diaclone and Microchange, they were combined in a new franchise with an invented plot — Transformers.

    Video Games 
  • Several Chinese bootleg video games use some old games and just stash new sprites into them to release them as 8-bit cash-ins on recent movies. As a result you'll have Harry Potter and SpongeBob SquarePants games made of engine from one game combined with sprites from another and bizarre Cut-and-Paste Translation to fix at least some of the holes.
  • Somari, also a Chinese Famicom bootleg, puts Mario, using his Super Mario Bros. 3 character design, in the game world of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • The video game of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End actually combines the stories of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and At World's End into one game. This is actually quite odd, given that Dead Man's Chest is the film before At World's End, and so the game would have been more expected to be named after the earlier film (since that obviously comes earlier in the game, too) — or even for that film to have had its own game adaptation previously that excluded it from being part of the later one (it had but on different consoles).
  • The plot of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is mostly a loose adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, but it also includes elements from another (unrelated) H. P. Lovecraft novella, The Shadow out of Time, especially in the prologue and the ending.
  • Batman: Arkham Series: While the games have an original plotline, they incorporate elements of several story arcs and characterizations from the original comics, the Burton-Schumacher and Nolan films, and the DCAU.
  • The video game adaptation of Quantum of Solace actually consists of that movie as well as the events of Casino Royale (2006). The levels based on the latter occur in the game as flashbacks.
  • Electronic Arts' Licensed Game of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is an amalgam of said film and The Fellowship of the Ring. Vivendi Universal's stand-alone The Fellowship of the Ring game, by contrast, is directly based on the original novel, since they held the rights to video game adaptations of Tolkien's literary works, while EA held the rights to adaptations of the films.
  • The PlayStation version of Doom combines the campaigns of The Ultimate Doom and Doom II, along with adding a few exclusive levels, although it lacks a couple enemies from the PC version such as the Arch-Viles and Icon of Sin. On higher difficulties, Doom II enemies will show up in The Ultimate Doom's levels.
  • The "Mac Family" ports (SNES, Macintosh, Jaguar, 3DO) of Wolfenstein 3D incorporate three bosses from the PC Mission Pack Prequel, Spear of Destiny.
  • In Sega's 1985 arcade adaptation of Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns, Stages 1 and 2 are based on the first and second Atari 2600 games, respectively, while Stages 3 and 4 take place in new environments inspired by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine not only takes cues from The Railway Series novels, but multiple promotional medias such as its annuals and magazines. Multiple writers of all these forms have even had direct involvement in the show.
  • The Christmas Special Sonic Christmas Bash is mainly based on Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, but also includes elements from Sonic Sat AM such as the Robotropolis setting, SWAT-Bots, and Princess Sally.
  • The Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Laughing Fish" is mostly adapted from the comics storyline "The Laughing Fish"/"Sign of the Joker!" (Detective Comics #475-476), however, the final act is largely drawn from the unrelated comic story "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge" (Batman #251). This was mainly due to the fact that the ending of the original was devoted to tying up plot threads that were never introduced in TAS or were introduced in a manner that decoupled them from the storyline as presented in the episode as aired. note 
  • Some episodes of Moominvalley combine elements from different The Moomins stories:
    • "The Golden Tale" is based on the Moomins comic strip story of the same name, but is set around the Moomins putting on a play at Emma's theatre, a part of the novel Moominsummer Madness that was cut from the episode of that title. And the play is based on Moominpapa's memoirs, resulting in a few set-pieces from The Exploits of Moominpapa.
    • "The Secret of the Hattenfatteners" starts off with the short story of that title, and then moves on to the Hattenfattener sequence in Finn Family Moomintroll.

Alternative Title(s): Adaptation Combination


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