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Adaptation Inspiration

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A work may be an adaptation of previous media, but that does not mean it has the same tone or style. It will usually hit the same main plot points, but change dramatically the way the plot is presented, sometimes to the point of changing the genre or changing position on a sliding scale such as the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. This may be the result of the production team experimenting with a different approach, having one or more people part of it that bring a signature style to the adaptation, or modern issues and values causing a shift.


Adaptations of this type are Recognizable Adaptations on the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification by default: anything higher would require the adaptation to remain faithful to the tone of the source material, but anything lower disregards even basic similarities. These adaptations may stray away from or even outright subvert the intent of the original work, but typically keep the basic premise intact.

Super-Trope to Darker and Edgier and Lighter and Softer. Sister Trope to Tone Shift. Not to be confused with characters who are made more inspirational in a work’s adaption.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Suicide Club is a manga adaptation of the film by the same name. The film's creator encouraged the mangaka to come up with his own take on the story. As a result, while the central theme of supernaturally-influenced suicides remains, the actual stories are very different.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • It is well-known that Hayao Miyazaki does not do adaptations, he simply uses the source material as a convenient jumping off point to tell his own story.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • All Tim Burton films have a distinct style of dark quirkiness, making movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland (2010) far less colorful than other adaptations, while things like Batman (Returns), Sleepy Hollow (1999), and Planet of the Apes (2001) become weirder.
  • The Harry Potter movies had different inspirations in visual tone and what the directors emphasized. Goblet of Fire had several boarding school comedy pieces, some of which weren't in the book at all. Alfonso Cuarón gave a candy shop Day of the Dead touches and food, such as candy skulls. The first two movies (directed by Chris Columbus) feel very much like Steven Spielberg films, while the third one (directed by Alfonso Cuarón) feels more like a Tim Burton film.
  • Blade Runner is based upon the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but takes the exact opposite stance on its theme. Reportedly, the screenwriters had not read the original book.
  • Desert Heat is loosely adapted from Yojimbo and even gives it a cute Shout-Out near the end.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla (1998) was, in theory, an American version of the famous Japanese franchise, with a giant reptilian monster rampaging through a city, but the similarities end there. Where the Japanese Godzilla is an ancient, slow, Nigh-Invulnerable behemoth that is angry at humanity for atomic testing (at first), modelled on outdated reconstructions of tyrannosaurids, capable of releasing a deadly atomic beam from his mouth, and decidedly male, the American Godzilla is an iguana mutated into a Fragile Speedster modelled (vaguely) on modern knowledge of theropods that only comes ashore to lay eggs, hermaphroditic, and with a single scene making it appear to breathe fire. Additionally, the subtext of the original Godzilla was all about the devastation of the war and nuclear weapons in particular as he was specifically awoken by American nuclear testing, which is gone from the America version. The animated series which followed was much closer to the original Japanese monster.
    • The later American film tells a markedly different story; by having the titular beast be an ancient creature, older than the earliest dinosaurs, the theme shifts from a direct allegory of nuclear destruction to primal, unstoppable forces of nature keeping the world in check, with the MUTO being the threat to humanity and Godzilla himself the inevitable response. The bombing of Hiroshima is mentioned, and gives context to Dr. Serizawa's concern over a nuclear strike (his father was killed in the blast), but the continuous American atomic testing in the Pacific, then current in 1954, is also quantified in-story — it was a cover for the Navy's repeated efforts to kill it. The plot and ending, in turn, reflect the later growth of Godzilla into a force for good; after defeating his ancient enemies, he walks triumphantly back into the ocean, with press outlets heralding him as the savior of the city.
  • Clueless is a loose adaptation of Emma, except that the novel is about class status in 19th century England while the film is about popularity at a Los Angeles high school.
  • Charles Edward Pogue's original script for The Fly (1986) took the central premise of the short story and its rather faithful 1958 film adaptation — a scientist's Teleporter Accident renders him a mix of man and insect — and added the twist that the transformation wasn't an instantaneous swapping of body parts leaving a man with a fly's head and vice-versa, but rather a Slow Transformation on a molecular-genetic level into one Half-Human Hybrid. David Cronenberg's total revision of that script started by changing the protagonists from a long-married couple to a lonely recluse and the reporter who becomes his lover as she chronicles, and even inspires, the refinement of his invention. The pivotal accident is not merely a quirk of fate, but a Tragic Mistake resulting from his jealousy regarding her ex. The Slow Transformation becomes a metaphor for the inevitability of disease and death, and the toll they take on both the bodies and psyches of the afflicted and those who love them — depicted via some of the grisliest Body Horror ever put to film.
  • The Northman is not a "straight" adaptation of the Amleth (better known as Hamlet) legend and more like inspired by it, taking mainly the basic "Evil Uncle, You Killed My Father" premise. As such, Amleth is depicted as much more of a Barbarian Action Hero than the Guile Hero he originally was (to the point that his name is theorized to mean something like "mad trickster").

  • Most The War of the Worlds adaptations have been updated to a later time period and location than the original. The only thing most have in common are alien invaders with tripods and their defeat by our microorganisms:
    • The original took place in 1900s England at the height of its power.
    • The infamous 1938 radio version is set in what was then The Present Day.
    • The 1950s version focused on scientists in Los Angeles.
    • The 2005 film had an almost war documentary feel to it, focusing on an East Coast family trying to survive.
  • The Lowlands of Scotland Series is based on the biblical story of Jacob, but it is very much a modern novel series, with all the setting details and character development and intricacies of plot that that implies.
  • Red Dwarf's tie-in novels started out as a downplayed example, hewing fairly close to the plot of the series but going into much more detail about the setting and shifting the tone away from pure comedy: Lister's loneliness and Survivor Guilt are made more explicit and Rimmer's utterly miserable childhood and adolesence aren't played for laughs anymore, for example. But after the second volume in the series they contained more completely original plotlines, most of them significantly more surreal than anything that happened in the show.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) is the original series turned Darker and Edgier.
  • Kings takes the Biblical story of David and puts it in a modern political drama.
  • Sherlock is Sherlock Holmes, in the present day, with elements of Spy Fiction thrown in. The show follows some of the basic characters and plots but largely rewrites them into original stories.
  • Elementary, despite having a similar premise, is Sherlock Holmes in the present day as a Cyberpunk Police Procedural.
  • The 100 TV series keeps the basic premise and a few of the characters from the book, but takes them in its own direction, focusing less on the Lord of the Flies-esque situation and more on conflict between different civilizations on the Ground.
  • Get Shorty is based on the book of the same name, but unlike the film adaptation, it takes only loose inspiration from the source material and tells an original story with entirely new characters.
  • Wonder Woman: This version of Wonder Woman was far more faithful to the vision of William Moulton Marston than Wonder Woman (1974) starring Cathy Lee Crosby, but there were many differences from the original source material. The emphasis on bondage and submission are entirely absent, as would be expected from a prime time network show. There was a considerable amount of girl power, most notably from Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and the amazons of Paradise Island, but the comics took it much farther. In the comics, Wonder Woman would recruit Etta Candy and her college sorority, the Holliday Girls, who would assist Wonder Woman - even serving as infantry troops to beat up squads of Nazis. In the comics, very special ladies would be given the opportunity to travel to Paradise Island for training to unlock her super strength and fighting abilities. Nothing like that ever happened or was even hinted as being possible on the show. Simply featuring a woman fighting, winning, and being far stronger and more capable than anyone else around her was more than enough in The '70s.



    Video Games 
  • In The Feeble Files, while the game is obviously, though loosely, based on Orwell's 1984, Feeble Files does seem to divert from the anticommunist (albeit not antitotalitarian) message of the novel quite a bit. The Freedom Fighters address one another as "comrade", the Evil Empire is referred to as "the Company" (the founding of which is elaborated on in a Bible-like book), the Metro Prime spaceport is a flashing center of commerce and paid entertainment, citizens are required to confess their crimes against the OmniBrain via confessional-like boxes, etc. One of the key differences between the novel and the game is that the Freedom Fighters' only problem with the OmniBrain is the political tyranny and brainwashing of citizens whereas no mention is ever made of any sort of poverty within society that actually does not seem to be the least bit prevalent anyway.

    Western Animation 
  • Dinotrux takes the general idea of Dinosaurs and Construction Vehicles merged together from the Chris Gall book series, but goes in an entirely different direction with it, featuring more mechanical robotic character designs versus the organic ones seen in the illustrations of the books.

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Inspiration