Follow TV Tropes


Adaptation Deviation

Go To

When a work is adapted (whether to another medium, another culture/demographic, or both), it's a safe bet that something from the original work will be changed in the process. Maybe characters are added, combined, or omitted; maybe someone lives who originally died or vice versa, or maybe the whole thing is set in a completely different city/country/planet. The reasons for these changes can be as varied as the changes themselves, ranging from Artistic Vision to Executive Meddling to the constraints of the medium. Whatever they may be, expect cries of "That's not right at all!" from rabid fans of the original whenever these crop up. Accumulating enough of these may result in Adaptation Decay, at which point the adaptation starts to lose its resemblance to the original altogether.


Super-Trope to much, but not all, of the Media Adaptation Tropes index.

Please note that faithful adaptations can exist, or at least adaptations that don't directly contradict the source material in any way (e.g., by using Happily Ever Before on a work with a Downer Ending). Also, change is not necessarily a bad thing, and can make a work more accessible to other people or even iron out the kinks in the original work (such as an Adaptation Distillation, which seeks to make a more expansive/convoluted work easier to grasp).

See also the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification.


Sub Tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Changes to the Characters 

    Changes to the Plot 

    Changes to the Setting 
  • Recycled In Space: Changing the setting to someplace more exotic.
  • Ret-Canon: Incorporating elements from a later adaptation into the original canon that it came from.
  • Setting Update: Changing the setting to someplace more familiar.

    Miscellaneous SubTropes 
  • Cultural Translation: Replacing a reference in the original with a local equivalent.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: An error in translating a work into a foreign language that affects either or both the story consistency or/and the characters.
  • Woolseyism: Replacing a reference in the original with something else that works just as well. A common occurrence in language translation.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bokurano:
    • In the manga, Waku was a Chick Magnet. The anime changes it so that the only girls who came to his soccer games were the cheerleaders.
    • In the anime, Kirie manages to win his first fight without dying because his opponent committed suicide before Kirie even moved the robot. The manga reveals that not moving the robot doesn't make a difference.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Winry is taller in the anime (the first one, which ended before the manga did and has its own plot) than in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Edward, in contrast, never hits a growth spurt like in the manga, so he's always short. In Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, Winry is taller than the eighteen-year old Edward while in the manga he grows several inches taller than her.
  • The anime version of Maken-ki! only adapts parts of the manga's story in its first season and makes many changes to the main cast, in terms of how they're portrayed. Season 2 consists entirely of Filler episodes that focus almost entirely on fanservice.
  • Persona 5: The Animation
    • The date in which Haru is set to move in with her abusive fiancé, which serves as the deadline for completing her father's Palace, is changed from October 11 in the game to September 30 in the manga, possibly to allow more time for side plots before midterms begin.
    • According to an interview with Director Masashi Ishihama, the anime will have a twist that will deviate from the game's story.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team: In the original game, the protagonist stays a Pokemon. The manga, however, has Ginji wake up in his house as a human after his adventure ends.
  • The ending to the Wandering Son anime implies Takatsuki and Nitori will "grow out" of their gender dysphoria. The manga version of the ending scene is considerably less optimistic and Nitori still identifies as a girl even when she finishes high school. Takatsuki did stop being male identified though.

  • Michelangelo's painting of Haman's death on the Sistine Chapel ceiling doesn't show him being hanged on his own gallows like in the Book of Esther, but instead shows the genocidal villain being crucified. This may have come about because the Latin Bible which Michelangelo would be familiar with describes the gallows as a "crux," although other parts of the text make it clear he was hanged. The scene is described similarly by Dante in The Divine Comedy.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: The original story was set in Baltimore, but the film occurs in New Orleans.
  • "Impossible Dreams": In the original short story by Tim Pratt, Pete desperately wants to watch The Magnificent Ambersons from the Alternate Universe video store, but he can't because of the different DVD formats in the two universes. In the short film adaptation, his counterpart Daniel tries in vain to watch the version of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence directed by Stanley Kubrick, a film which is only mentioned in passing in the short story. Whereas Orson Welles recorded a DVD commentary for The Magnificent Ambersons in the short story, the still very much alive Kubrick added new features to the DVD of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence in 2010 in the short film.
  • Iron Man: The character was originally based in New York, but the MCU changed his home to California, where most of the technology industry is (Silicon Valley).
  • The most common complaint fans of It's a Wonderful Life have with the famous, beloved, classic film is the Values Dissonance-laden fate of George's wife. When George wishes he was never born, his wife Mary's alternate fate without him in her life is to be an Old Maid working at the library, which the film depicts as an unbearable, unspeakably awful situation, which George takes even worse than his brother's death and other much more terrible changes (probably for the understated reason of his children not existing in any form, even in Pottersville). Compare her fate in the original short story "The Greatest Gift," where she ended up married to an abusive alcoholic — something viewers in any decade would find horrifyingly tragic.
  • Jaws: The book was set in a Long Island resort, but the movie is set on a New England island.
  • Justice League (2017) features a cameo by Crispus Allen—and in an inversion of his comics' counterpart being bald with a goatee, he's depicted with a head full of hair and clean-shaven.
  • Night Fall 1941:
  • Superman: The Movie gave Krypton a crystal motif, and also invented the idea of Superman's S being a family coat of arms. Before that, it really was an S.
  • The 1980s Supergirl movie changed Argo from surviving on a chunk of Krypton to surviving in another dimension.
  • One of the X-Men movies, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, infamously depicted Deadpool as not having a mouth. This is not a minor change, either, as one of Deadpool's nicknames in comics is "the merc with the mouth"note .

  • Isaac Asimov's Nine Tomorrows: The 1966 German translation, Unendlichkeit x 5, contains only five of the original nine stories and none of the poems.
  • In The Secret Garden, Colin's father discovers him just as he's winning a footrace with Mary. The 1993 film adaptation changes this to a game of blind man's bluff, resulting in a somewhat more emotional moment.


    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight sees Deacon Blackfire from Batman: The Cult sport a dreadlocked ponytail, a Rasputin the Mad Monk-esque beard, and tattoos on his chest rather than the short-haired, clean-shaven, lacking tattoos look of the comics.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series features a great number of liberties taken with the source material that makes it stand out from other Batman media.
    • Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, presents one very early in the series: rather than being old, short, and portly, he is presented as close to Bruce's age, lean, and handsome. While he maintains a bird-themed motif for his villainy, he now does so with a Plague Doctor mask. Also, instead of using a Parasol of Pain, he uses guile and technical expertise.
    • The Joker is introduced as "John Doe", a mysterious Arkham Asylum inmate who, going into the second season, is presented as genuinely friendly towards Bruce Wayne, in contrast to other media which presents him as sociopathic and self-centered. Depending on the player's choices, he may either turn into the Joker or become a Batman-inspired vigilante.
    • Harley Quinn is given quite a makeover, with her and the Joker's roles being reversed: in this game, it is John Doe who is the doting subordinate to Harley, who is now a ruthless (though still quite unhinged) crime boss.
    • One of the biggest changes is with Thomas and Martha Wayne, who are revealed to be not merely philanthropists, but the most influential criminals in Gotham's underworld prior to their murder. Much of the series follows Bruce's efforts to live with this legacy and distance himself from the vile deeds of his parents.
  • Spider-Man (PS4) takes place in a world quite a bit different from other versions of the Spider-Man franchise, including Peter Parker becoming an intern for Otto Octavius after graduating college and leaving the Daily Bugle, Otto himself only becoming Doc Ock eight years into Peter's career as Spider-Man instead of being one of his earliest foes, Norman Osborn is the mayor of New York City, Mary Jane Watson takes her her incarnations in both the Ultimate comics and cartoon in pursing a career as a reporter for the Daily Bugle instead of acting or modelling, there's no sign of Gwen Stacy, Aunt May and Jefferson Morales undergo Death by Adaptation thanks to Mr. Negative's gang and Dr. Octopus respectively, and Harry Osborn is sick and bonded to Venom.

  • Foundation - The Psychohistorians: Jonathon Dalton changes the year of Seldon's death from 1 F.E. to 3 F.E. in order to resolve the contradiction of Seldon dying the same year that Terminus was colonized and Gaal meeting him two years before his death, but six months before Terminus is colonized.note  This adaptation also adds Funetik Aksents to Gaal Dornick and Lars Avakim, intended to imply a more diverse culture.
  • While not a strict adaptation, Looking for Group got its start as a parody of World of Warcraft. The name comes from the MMO chat term for a player forming a party to tackle a difficult quest, and each of the original four main characters corresponded to one of the Horde races in the game. But as the series went on, it drew less and less inspiration from Warcraft and eventually just became a comedic fantasy series. We can pinpoint the exact moment the series stopped being a WoW parody: when the team encountered a group of trolls (including recurring character Tim) who looked nothing like Benny, whose appearance is based on the trolls from the game but her background turned out to be completely different.

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Modification, Adaptational Deviation, Adaptation Modification


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: