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Adaptation Deviation

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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:

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    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.

Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

  • 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.

  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 .
  • Nightfall (1988): The film changes the cast of characters dramatically (two characters use names from the original, but really aren't the same at all), and the New Age technology really helps sell the "alien world" concept. Turning the planet into a desert, adding in Psychic Powers, and lots of sex divorces it heavily from the original story.
  • Nightfall (2000): Aside from the characters changing almost completely (two characters use names from the original, but really aren't the same at all), this adaptation adds in Psychic Powers and changes the cycle to last 1,000 years instead of 2,049 years.
  • There is a minor one in the short film adaptation of the short story "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt. After discovering a video store from an Alternate Universe in the short story, Pete desperately wants to watch The Magnificent Ambersons with the rediscovered footage but he can't because of the different DVD formats in the two universes. In the 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.

  • 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 Game 
  • Spider-Man (PS4) takes place in a world quite a bit different from other versions, including Peter 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.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • 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