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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 Fusion 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 

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     Films - Animated 

     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.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies of the The '90s (especially the first one) were primarily adapted from the original 1984 Mirage comics (the first movie mostly adapted the Raphael one-shot special and the first issue) but also included elements of the 1987 animated show (logo, Lighter and Softer approach, color-coding of the turtles and April O'Neil being a reporter and rescued by the Turtles from street punks).
  • 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.
  • As a general rule, most live action Superhero movies generally take elements from a few different storylines from that title with mixed results. For example:
  • 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 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".
  • The 2010 Alice in Wonderland (2010) film is based on a combination of Alice's Adventures Underground 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.
  • The first live-action Astérix film combines plots of several of the comics, including Obelix getting a crush on Panacea as he did in "Asterix the Legionary", the phony soothsayer from "Asterix and the Soothsayer", the Druid conference from "Asterix and the Goths", Getafix's abduction by the Romans to make the magic potion for them from "Asterix the Gaul" and the characters fighting in Gladiator Games like in "Asterix the Gladiator". There is also a number of smaller references from other comics, including a conversation between Brutus and Caesar that is taken from "Asterix and Cleopatra" and the Big Bad, Lucius Detritus is partially based on Tullius Detritus, the main antagonist of "Asterix and the Roman Agent" (Tortuous Convolvulus in the English translation of the comic). The sequels also combine elements from various comics but not nearly as many as the first.
  • 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.

  • 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 


  • 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 TH 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.

  • 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 eponimous 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).

  • 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.
  • 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.

     Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Adaptation Combination