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Adaptation Origin Connection

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Batman: You killed my parents.
Joker: What? What are you talking about?
Batman: I made you, but you made me first.

In an adaptation of a work, it's common to make the iconic Arch-Enemy of the source material into the adaptation's Big Bad. Due to Rule of Drama, this character will be tied into the hero's origin story, whether they were in the original work or not. A common variation is that the villain is the one who killed a loved one in their Death by Origin Story, making the villain a Composite Character with the Token Motivational Nemesis. Often revealed at the end, leading to the hero to decide that It's Personal.

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The reasons for this are similar to those behind Superhero Movie Villains Die. Since the movie isn't necessarily an ongoing series, writers have a limited time to make the villain have as much impact as possible. It's a simple way of adding drama and a personal connection between the villain and the hero. Often Inverted such that a villain that wasn't a Create Your Own Villain in the original is made one in an adaptation.

This goes double for instances of Token Motivational Nemesis. Who is more interesting as the one who killed the hero's beloved teacher, love interest, or parents, some nameless thug or the iconic Big Bad?

This is the inverse of Create Your Own Villain, where the hero is involved in the origin story of the villain. Also compare to Related in the Adaptation, when an adaptation makes two previously unrelated characters family, and Meta Origin, where an origin story is given a specific underpinning that ties the characters' seemingly random power to a concrete phenomnena (and thus can connect them when they wouldn't have been in the source material).

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the original Pokémon games, Mewtwo was strongly implied to have been created by Mr. Fuji, formerly Dr. Fuji, acting alone (which Pokémon Origins is more explicit about). In the anime continuity, he was commissioned to do so by Team Rocket. Because of the anime being more well-known than the games at the time along with Fuji's unexplained reasons and seeming lack of motive for creating Mewtwo otherwise, Team Rocket being connected with Mewtwo has been a strong piece of Fanon.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • As in the anime, Mewtwo is a Team Rocket creation. However, Blaine is also involved with its creation, with his DNA being used in the Pokémon. (A connection to Blaine in the form of him knowing the aforementioned independent researcher is introduced to the game canon in FireRed and LeafGreen, however.)
    • Giovanni, posing as a friendly traveler, is the one to give the Old Amber to Red, which would become his Aerodactyl.
    • The Arc Villain of the GSC arc, the Masked Man, kidnaps and raises six children who grow up to be Blue and Silver, Will and Karen, and Carl and Sham (the two unnamed Rocket leaders in Gold and Silver, who were later given the names Archer and Ariana in HeartGold/SoulSilver).
  • The Powerpuff Girls anime adaptation Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z made it so that the Powerpuff Girls and the majority of their enemies all gained their powers in the same accident, in contrast to the original cartoon, where Mojo Jojo was the only enemy of the Powerpuff Girls whose origin was connected to the girls'.
  • In GoLion, an unnamed Space Goddess broke apart the titular robot into its component Lions. In Voltron, the Goddess was Haggar (Honerva) in disguise.
  • Besides his canon crimes, Street Fighter II: The Manga makes M. Bison responsible for the death of Ryu and Ken's mentor.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Four supporting characters—Master Bob from Blue Pegasus, Master Goldmine from Quatro Cerberus, Fairy Tail's medicinal advisor Porlyusica, and Councilor Yajima—are all established as Makarov's old teammates from Fairy Tail in the anime. While the manga implies that Porlyusica may have been a member, none of the others have any ties to Makarov besides being friends of his. This eventually becomes Ret-Canon in the manga's official sequel, Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest.
    • Ultear's backstory has always been set at the Bureau of Magical Development, where the doctors there experimented on her for little reason other than her having high amounts of magic. In the anime, it's shown that Brain—the leader of Oración Seis and head of the facility—was trying to mold her into a potential member of his guild, and ditched the place when she came back for revenge, since he found enough candidates anyway.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: In the manga, Winry helps deliver a random baby. In the 2003 anime, Edward helps deliver a baby. In this case the baby isn't random: it's Elicia Hughes. In the manga, Elicia is first met as a toddler.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection/Detonation duology made it where Yuri worked alongside the Florian sisters' grandparents on the Eltrian Restoration Committee.

    Comic Books 
  • Implied to be the case in Batman: Zero Year with Batman and The Joker in the last part of "Secret City." In the third chapter of the arc, the Red Hood Gang leader tells Bruce how it was the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the terror that the deaths of these prominent citizens to a random mugging sparked in the minds of most Gothamites, that inspired him to turn to a life of crime and similarly terrorize Gotham. The Red Hood Gang leader is implied to be the future Joker, resulting in this trope.
    • In a more tangential sense, circumstances resulting from Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham set Edward Nygma down the path to becoming the Riddler.
    • And, in the inverse, as revealed in the finale, Bruce Wayne was this to his rogues, as he also went to Arkham Asylum. The difference that makes him a Shadow Archetype is that he actually tried to change and went there to get better, and didn't treat it as a prison.
  • Spider-Man: Chapter One (originally written as a Retcon before being made an Alternate Continuity) made Norman Osborn the mastermind behind everything that happened in the first 20 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man or so and had Peter amd Otto Octavius caught in a radioactive meltdown that made them respectively Spidey and both Doc Ock at the same time, among other changes.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • The Ultimate reimagining of Spider-Man does this three times over. First, Norman Osborn becomes the Green Goblin thanks to the same Applied Phlebotinum that affected the spider that empowered Peter Parker; and another recurring Big Bad candidate, The Kingpin, is connected to Spider-Man's origin in that the burglar who killed Uncle Ben is one of his lower-level thugs. Finally, Eddie Brock is Peter's childhood best friend, and the Venom symbiote is the result of an experiment their parents worked on together. Also, the explosion caused by the Green Goblin created Doctor Octopus and turned Harry into the Hobgoblin.
      • Also, Peter's father worked with Bruce Banner and Henry Pym in the early attempts to recreate the super soldier serum. Bruce Banner tested it on himself, and almost killed Richard Parker as a result.
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four changes the event that gave the Four their powers from a space flight into a teleportation experiment and merges it with Doctor Doom's origin story (in which a dimensional portal experiment blew up in his face because he refused to take Reed's advice, leading to him adopting his trademark metal mask). In the Ultimate version, Doom tinkers with the settings on Reed's teleporter experiment because he believes he knows better, causing it to blow up in their faces and transform the five of them into superpowered beings.
    • In The Ultimates, Black Panther got his powers from Weapon X, and it's implied that his retractable claws were patterned after Wolverine's.
    • Additionally, the origins of most of the characters, including mutants, are all attempts to recreate the Super Soldier serum that made Captain America.
  • Heroes Reborn:
    • In its version of Fantastic Four, it's the presence of Doctor Doom's minions which forces Reed to fly the ship with Ben, Johnny and Sue to reach a cosmic anomaly before they can destroy it. Besides, the anomaly turns out to be Silver Surfer.
    • Its version of Iron Man has Bruce Banner as a Stark Industries scientist and one of Tony's closest friends from college. When HYDRA attacks the Stark facility where the Gamma Bomb is housed, the blast mutates Bruce into the Incredible Hulk, and it's the Hulk's subsequent rampage that badly wounds Tony and forces him to don the prototype Iron Man armor to save his own life.
  • A heroic example. At least one comic (of unknown canonicity), Superman/Batman #50, had Jor-El befriending a human he pulled from Earth while studying it before sending him back, cementing his decision to send Kal-El there. That human? Thomas Wayne. One gets the feeling that either the criminal population of Gotham City or the entire planet just dodged a particularly big bullet there.
  • Superman:
    • Post-Infinite Crisis, General Zod leads a coup against the Science Council after he discovers Jor-El was right about Krypton's impeding doom. Pre-Crisis, Zod led a coup long before Jor-El's discovery.
    • In Metallo's New 52 origin, John Corben was originally a soldier outfitted with Metal-0, a special suit of Powered Armor created by John Henry Irons. It was Corben's subsequent rampage as Metallo that caused Irons to don his own armored suit and become Steel for the first time in order to protect Metropolis.
  • The Archie Mega Man connects four games together this way. Most adaptations of Mega Man (Classic) like to link Duo and the Stardroids together in some fashion. The comic takes it one further by having the Stardroids be the creation of Ra Moon, who is also the creator of Shadow Man. The Evil Robot that Duo fights from the eighth game also joins Ra Moon's side, implying that Evil Energy has a connection to it, making Ra Moon - a one-shot side villain in the games - the Greater-Scope Villain of every one of Mega Man's outer space threats.
  • The Micronauts (IDW) version of Acroyear is a Super Soldier created from members of Baron Karza's race; the Pharoid, meanwhile, is a member of the species that became the Time Travellers.
  • Dark Nights: Metal provides a retcon to explain the origin of metahumans. People become metahumans because they have trace amounts of a mysterious metal in their blood. This metal is powerful enough that it's in pretty much every powerful metal artifact in the DCU in one form or another.
  • Metal also connects Hawkman and Hawkgirl to the various immortals of the DCU. Instead of being an Egyptian prince and princess cursed to constantly reincarnate by Hath-Set, they are now immortals whose immortality was somehow tampered with by Hath-Set, so that they'd reincarnate. Hath-Set himself was working for the Immortal Men, an ancient conspiracy.
  • Before that, Geoff Johns retconned in a connection between the Hawks, Doctor Fate and Black Adam. In JSA, it's shown that, after Khufu and Chay-Ara discovered the Thanagarian spaceship that granted them the Nth metal they use for flight, Nabu was their magical adviser and Black Adam their close confidante (after the death of his people). The comic also positions Black Adam as a Foil to Hawkman, with Adam still using the brutality of his era while Hawkman, having witnessed the changes to society throughout his various lives, doesn't. Nabu swings either way depending on his mood.
  • Marvel 1602 unified the origins of its versions of Spider-Man and the Hulk by having Peter Parquagh gain his powers from being bitten by a spider that was exposed to the same mystical energies that caused David Banner to transform into a muscular behemoth.

    Fan Works 
  • Cinema Snob Reviews Frozen (a fan comic where The Cinema Snob reviews Frozen) discusses this when Snob noted this film didn't give a reason for Elsa's powers, which missed an opportunity for a shared origin with the villain... and a chance to hear fans bitch about how the shared origin isn't in the source material.
  • The Branwen Tribe are the reason Ren and Nora are orphans in Ruby and Nora.
  • In Universe Falls, several of the supernatural phenomena encountered by Dipper, Mabel, and Steven are given origins that connect them to the Gems:
    • The wax figures from "Headhunters" are animated by the Gem shards from "Frybo".
    • In "Li'l Gideon", Gideon's telekinetic amulet is a Gem weapon he somehow stole from the Gems.
    • In "Measure Up" the size-altering crystals from "Little Dipper" are discarded Gem technology.
    • "Dipper and Lapis" has an appearance by the Geodites from Gravity Falls: Journal 3, which here are Gem monsters, complete with a "Mother Geodite" much like Centipeedle.
    • In "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons", the electrified gauntlets Ford uses against an escaped monster were apparently inspired by Garnet's gauntlets.
  • Bring Me to Life has a couple of examples:
    • In the Season 9 comics, Pearl and Nash were simply half-demons who were minions of Twilight. Here, they're old enemies of Angel and Spike, who fought them in Las Vegas in the 1950s.
    • In this fic, it's revealed that the First Evil was actually spawned from Jasmine at the dawn of time.
  • In Total Drama story Monster Chronicles Cody, Duncan and Tyler's pasts are all connected through the blood spilled by Cedric. Cody was tricked into letting Cedric possess him as a child, Duncan went to juvie with him, and Tyler's mother and unborn sister were killed by Cedric.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, the Eight Precepts of Death are a faction within the Hasigawa family, a yakuza group that included Eiko Hasigawa, the third Catwoman in the Post-Crisis continuity.
  • New Tamaran:
    • Beast Boy's parents created the serum that gave their son his shapeshifting powers by studying Circe's magical staff.
    • Zauriel aided the priests of Azarath in neutralizing Trigon's mental influence over Raven by linking her mind to that of the purest human - Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin.
    • Flash and Kid Flash discovered the speed force while studying Amazonian artifacts (namely, the Sandals of Hermes).
    • Bumblebee's great-grandfather created the original size-changing technology for Doll Man and the Atom. Bumblebee outdoes them by splicing the size-changing tech into her DNA.
    • Cheshire was initially recruited by Kobra, which also founded the Brotherhood of Evil, HIVE Academy, and the League of Assassins.
  • The Jackie Chan Adventures fic The Stronger Evil, the sequel of The Ultimate Evil, has a couple of examples.
    • Shendu controlled one of Tarakudo's Shadowkhan armies, and Tarakudo was aware of that. The latter wasn't stated to have any other history with Shendu or any of the other Demon Sorcerers. In the fic's backstory, Tarakudo and his Shadowkhan armies took the dominance of Japan from Po Kong, and the Demon Sorcerers deemed him a threat enough to unite against him. After chi-masters sealed the Oni Generals in masks and Tarakudo got rid of his physical form, Shendu fought and imprisoned him to the Shadowrealm with his siblings' help. Tarakudo holds a grudge against Shendu for this reason, so after being released, he confronts the Fire Demon who's petrified at the time.
    • Tarakudo never met Drago or the Ice Crew in the show proper. In the fic, it is Drago instead of Daolon Wong (who's been killed by Shendu) who accidentally releases Tarakudo. The Oni King makes the Ice Crew his henchmen (as the Enforcers have been in prison ever since Daolon Wong's death), infuriating Drago enough to ally with his father and the J-Team against Tarakudo.
  • In The Bridge, this happens on both sides of the crossover.
    • In the Equestrian side, the Rainbow Power, Elements of Harmony, Crystal Heart, Silver Crystal, Celestia and Luna, and human world Elements are all made by the Nexus of Light Magic, Harmony, given to mortals so they could defend themselves whereas they were unconnected in canon. Additionally Tirek, King Sombra, the Windigos, Queen Chrysalis, and Discord are all pupils or creations of the Nexus of Dark Magic, Grogar.
    • The Sirens are the the result of the Windigos forcing themselves on two mermare princesses.
    • In the Amalgam Universe the kaiju hail from, there is a lot of Canon Welding. For instance the unrelated UltraSeries series is tied in to Gigan's origin when Monster X fought Ultraman Belial and got the latter's Giga Nizer staff away from him. The Xilians and Nebulans reverse engineered the alloy and created the "Giga N." alloy used to create and then dub, Gigan.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race does the "Duo and the Stardroids are enemies" thing as well. But in this story, the Evil Robot is one of the Stardroid's leaders with the name of Luna and the Stardroids are powered by Evil Energy. In another twist, Bass' power source of Bassnium is the Evil Energy used by Luna.
  • Harbinger (Finmonster) (Danny Phantom, ParaNorman): In the movie, Mitch and Courtney meet for the first time. In this story, they are childhood friends.
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • In canon, the Hyuga Affair ended up pretty much an Aborted Arc, its only purpose being setting up Neji's hatred of the Hyuga Clan's main family and never explored any further. In this story, however, the mastermind behind the incident is none other than Toneri Otsutsuki and it comes into play again during Part II.
    • Yakumo Kurama was an anime-only character who used to be Kurenai's student, until her genjutsu abilities became too dangerous to control and were forcibly sealed. Here, she was presumed dead in a fire along with her parents, an event orchestrated by Danzo to take her and be used as one of his Root puppet agents.
  • J-WITCH Season 1: Whereas in canon the Tracker's origins were never explained, in this story it's revealed that Daolon Wong created him from the remains of Meridian's greatest hunters.
  • In the American McGee's Alice/BioShock Fusion Fic, WonderShock, there are some examples:
    • Bumby is responsible for supplying Tenenbaum with the children needed to create the Little Sisters and Suchong with the materials needed to create the ADAM vaccine.
    • Because Alice bears the A-Gene, she's also indirectly the reason why Jack never suffered any ill effects from Plasmid use, as her blood was used to make the ADAM sickness vaccine Plasmid.
  • Defenders of the Universe:
    • The Gems and the Galra are familiar with each other due to having had a violent encounter back when Zarkon was still the Black paladin. The Diamond Authority is also aware of Voltron and his capabilities.
    • The Gems themselves are connected to the Quintessence plane. Their gems connect them to it with their bodies being made from pure Quintessence.
    • In the chapter, "Beginnings", it's implied that the Diamonds have similar origins to Voltron as they were born of similar "ores" to the meteorite that was used to create the Legendary Defender. Pink Diamond herself was brought into being by White Diamond using a portion of the exact same meteorite that was used to create the Voltron Lions.
  • In Justice League: Thunderer, Thor's powers and the powers of other deities are derived from the House of Odin's connection to the Source, the same power source as the New Gods. In addition, the Source and the God-Force are the same thing.
  • Starfire was originally one of Darkseid's slaves in The Virtue of Revenge where as in the comics and show, she had no connection to the New Gods and Apokalips in any capacity.
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    Films — Animation 
  • Beowulf: In the original poem, the dragon was a separate threat from Grendel and his mother. Here, the dragon is reworked into the plot by being the offspring of Beowulf and Grendel's mother.
  • Batman vs. Two-Face: In the original comics, Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face after being splashed with acid by a mobster he's prosecuting. Here, he is disfigured when an "Evil Extractor" built by Hugo Strange overloads and explodes when used on five villains at once.
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: Had The Pure Ones being the ones who kidnapped Soren and performed Brainwashing on owlets rather than the St. Aggie's owls, who isn't even mentioned.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman:
    • In Tim Burton's first Batman film, it turns out that The Joker was, in fact, the man who killed Bruce Wayne's parents rather than Joe Chill.
    • In Batman Forever, this happens by way of Composite Character, as the Dick Grayson version of Robin sees his circus acrobat parents killed by Two-Face instead of Tony Zucco. This makes him a bit like Jason Todd in the Post-Crisis comics, whose gangster father was murdered by Two-Face.
      • Also the Riddler in the same film — Edward Nygma really has nothing to do with Bruce Wayne or his company in the comics, but in Forever Nygma was originally an employee of Wayne Enterprises and has Bruce as his entire motivation.
    • Batman Begins, Ra's Al-Ghul (and the League of Shadows) was actually the one who trained Bruce Wayne in the ninja techniques that he uses as Batman. In the comics, Ra's had nothing to do with Bruce's origin or training, though he was a great foe. Also, while Ra's was training Bruce, he was under the alias Henri Ducard, who was an actual character in the comics and one of Bruce's many teachers.
    • In Joker, Arthur Fleck's (AKA the Joker's) actions are indirectly responsible for the murder of Bruce's parents by Joe Chill, who was inspired by Arthur's on-screen murder of Murray Franklin to kill the Waynes for being a part of the wealthy elite. There's also the possibility that Arthur is Bruce's older half-brother, though it's left ambiguous as to whether or not this actually is the case.
  • Inverted in Blade. Deacon Frost, the vampire who bit Blade's mother while she was pregnant, causing Blade to become what he is, becomes the Big Bad of the film. Turns out he fully turned her and she's now on his side. While Deacon did turn Blade's mother in the comics, him being the Big Bad is new to the movie.
  • Daredevil:
    • The Kingpin is the man who killed Matt Murdock's father and set him on his vigilante career, rather than Roscoe "the Fixer" Sweeney, the Token Motivational Nemesis from in the comics.
    • Additionally, Elektra starts her own career after Bullseye kills her father, and he is her primary enemy in the film; in the comics, her father died in the crossfire of a botched hostage rescue attempt involving a SWAT team and some generic Western Terrorists.
  • Every film iteration of Fantastic Four as of 2015 has done this with Doctor Doom. In the 1994 quickie by Roger Corman, Victor von Doom is Reed Richards' close friend from college, and becomes Doctor Doom after being badly disfigured when he and Reed attempt to harness energy from a passing comet (the same comet that transforms Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny years later). In the 2005 big-budget films, Victor von Doom is with the others during the cosmic ray storm that empowers them because he is Reed's financial backer, giving him powers of his own and setting up his status as Big Bad. In the 2015 reboot, Reed's misanthropic colleague Victor von Doom is present on the ill-fated drunken interdimensional jaunt that empowers the other four, and once again becomes the Big Bad. It has the result of making him very much unlike the Doom from the comics - the ruler of Latveria whose past with Reed took place many years before the gang got their powers.
  • The movie adaptation of Inspector Gadget is an interesting variation on this trope. Their origins were never given in the original cartoon, but the live-action film opted to give Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw a connected origin. Sanford Scolex tosses a "victory cigar" (actually dynamite) at John Brown's car, causing it to explode and leave Brown severely injured with bad tissue damage. However, the explosion also sends a bowling ball flying out of Brown's car and crushes Scolex's left hand as he is closing the sunroof. Yet another thing to note is that Brown was rebuilt as a cyborg as part of the Gadget Project and Scolex's interest in using the technology for his own ends was what caused Brown's accident in the first place. Not only does Gadget get rebuilt into a cyborg after his accident while Claw replaces his crushed hand with a robotic claw, but in this continuity, Gadget's cybernetics are the product of a cyborg creation experiment that Claw wanted to steal information about so he could create robots to do whatever he pleased.
  • I Shot Jesse James: An odd version of this trope happens here, given how it involves two characters who were real people. The film shows the main character Robert Ford (the killer of Jesse James) and his rival John Kelley running into each other years before their conflict in Creede, Colorado, and that these encounters helped solidify their future rivalry. However, there's no historical evidence that the real Ford and O'Kelleynote  knew one another before they came to blows in Creede.
  • Maleficent: Maleficent and Stefan (Princess Aurora's father) are portrayed as childhood friends who grew apart as Stefan became more obsessed with climbing ranks in the human kingdom, while Maleficent herself grew to become the guardian of The Fair Folk. When the human king is fatally wounded by Maleficent in battle, he offers the crown to whoever can kill her. Stefan, unable to go through with killing his former friend, drugs her and cuts off her wings in order to fake killing her. While he becomes king, Maleficent is traumatized and enraged by his betrayal, leading into the plot of the original Sleeping Beauty.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, Obadiah Stane is a long term business partner to both Tony Stark and his father. His betrayal is what leads to the creation of Iron Man. In the comics, Stane has no connection to Tony's origin, being simply a rival arms manufacturer.
    • In The Incredible Hulk, the Abomination is a soldier working under Thunderbolt Ross who gets a dose of Captain America's Super Soldier serum and then doses himself with a vial of Bruce Banner's blood obtained from Samuel Stern, rather than merely a KGB spy who bombarded himself with gamma rays. Speaking of Samuel Stern, the forgotten Sequel Hook implied that the Leader's origin would be tied to the events of this filmnote , rather than him having been a janitor who accidentally broke open a container of gamma waste.
    • In Iron Man 2, Anton Vanko also has ties to Tony's father and the past of Stark Enterprises, though this is closer to the inverse, as Stark's family is tied to the birth of Whiplash rather than Vanko being involved in the creation of Iron Man.
    • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Red Skull was a recipient of a previous version of the Super Soldier serum. In the comics, he was just a guy that Hitler trained and given a mask to be more scary. For a time, he did possess a cloned body of Cap and an accident did turn his head into a shriveled red skull looking thing, but that's not how he was in WWII.
    • In Iron Man 3, the Big Bad turns out to be Aldrich Killian, a vengeful scientist that Tony was a massive dick to in the past. Lampshaded when Tony points out that one of the major themes of the movie is how we all create our own demons.
    • Minor example in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but Brock Rumlow is introduced as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and ally of Captain America. In the comics, Rumlow is just some asshole mercenary who works for the Red Skull.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy ties Ronan the Accuser with the origin story of Drax the Destroyer by having Ronan be a puppet of Thanos that performed the killing of Drax's family, so Drax switches targets to Thanos once Ronan is dead by film's end. In the comics, said atrocity was all Thanos' doing and he was the sole target of Drax's obsession.
    • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and The Vision are all either created or empowered by the Mind Stone.
    • Each of the artifacts that turn out to be Infinity Stones in the movies have nothing to do with each other or the Infinity Gems in the comics.
    • Ant-Man made Darren Cross into a Composite Character for this exact reason. He's introduced as the protege of Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man), and later becomes Yellowjacket, the Evil Counterpart of Scott Lang (the new Ant-Man). Edgar Wright cited the use of this trope in the first Iron Man movie as a major inspiration, arguing that the hero and villain getting their powers from the same source makes for a simpler and more coherent story.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther's father is killed in the present day by Zemo, the film's Big Bad, and a large chunk of the story revolves around Black Panther trying to kill Bucky Barnes, who has been blamed for the deed. In a broader sense, it could be argued that Black Panther's origin is tied to the Avengers, as the whole reason he and his dad come to Europe in the first place is to address the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. His origin was fairly isolated in the comics, as his dad was killed by a Dutch scientist named Ulysses Klaw many years ago. This film also sees Iron Man taking a young Spider-Man under his wing, and later providing the boy with his trademark costume and upgraded web-shooters. In the comics, Peter's outfit was something he designed himself.
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the Vulture's winged flight suit is created from leftover technology from the Chitauri invasion seen in The Avengers, and the entire reason he's a villain in the first place is because Tony Stark ruined his business. It's also revealed late in the game that the Vulture is the father of Liz Allan, Peter's love interest. Additionally, the Shocker's gauntlet is created from one of the gauntlets used by Crossbones in the above-mentioned Civil War.
    • Likewise, in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio turns out to be a bitter former Stark International employee who tried to con people into thinking he was a superhero after being fired for his unstable demeanor.
  • The Punisher:
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man 3: Sandman is retconned as the man who kills Peter's Uncle Ben. In something of a subversion of normal expectations, Peter simply forgives him as it was an accidental mistake of a desperate man. In the comics, Sandman is simply an early enemy of Spider-Man's.
      • This is also invoked with Venom. In the comics, Eddie Brock was an Unknown Rival who lost his job at a competing newspaper due to Spider-Man's actions. In this movie, Eddie and Peter both work for the Daily Bugle, sort of compete over Gwen Stacey's affections, and Peter takes a much more pro-active approach in ending Eddie's career. Then, he becomes a super villain.
      • In Spider-Man 2, Peter was introduced to Otto Octavius (Dr. Octopus) and forms a friendship with him before he turns into a villain. In the comics, while Peter was aware of Octavius as a famous scientist, the two had never met before becoming enemies.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man. A less direct example than usual, but everything is caused by OsCorp. Everything. Peter's parents disappearing, the lab that made the spider that bit Peter, much of his Rogues Gallery, all tied into OsCorp. In the original comics, none of those things were related. In the first film, it's even implied that The Lizard had a role in Peter's parents dying.
      • Then in the sequel, Harry Osborn is introduced as Peter's childhood best friend who later turns into the Green Goblin after injecting himself with the same venom that turned Peter into Spider-Man.
      • Oh, guess what company Gwen Stacy works for, and what company Max Dillon was working for as an electrical engineer, hence the accident (involving mad science'd electric eels) that turns him into Electro? Go on, guess.
      • ASM2 showed the tech the other villains in Sinister Six would use was also being produced by Oscorp. It was joked before but now it's official: making supervillains is Oscorp's main aim, and they really are responsible for the entire Spidey Rogues Gallery.
    • James Cameron pitched an idea for a Spider-Man movie where Doctor Octopus got superpowers after being bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter.
  • Likewise J.J. Abrams' Superman: Flyby concept, would have had Lex Luthor turning out to be a Kryptonian like Superman.
  • In the 1982 adaptation of Swamp Thing, Big Bad Anton Arcane is behind the attack that transforms scientist Alec Holland into a plant creature.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: First Class: Professor X and Mystique never had a Like Brother and Sister connection in the comics. In the movie-verse, Raven Darkholme has essentially replaced Cain Marko as Xavier's non-blood-related sibling who later becomes his enemy, although Charles' relationship with Raven is a lot more positive during the 18 years that they lived together.
    • The Wolverine: In the comics, Yukio has no particular connection to the Yashida clan; she was simply a human mercenary hired by them. In this movie, she's a mutant orphan who Yashida took under his wing, and she grew up as a foster sister to Mariko.
  • In Ozma of Oz, Billina (originally called "Bill") wasn't owned by Dorothy. In Return to Oz she's called "Billina" from the start and is one of Dorothy's family hens.
  • In Superman: The Movie, General Zod is sentenced to the Phantom Zone on the same day that baby Kal-El is launched into space.
  • The DC Extended Universe;
    • Likewise, Man of Steel had General Zod try to prevent baby Kal-El from being launched into space just before Krypton's destruction.
    • Shazam has his nemesis, Doctor Sivana being a failed candidate of getting superpowers from the Wizard Shazam. He later gets the same Flying Brick and Shock and Awe powers as the Marvel Family.
    • In Birds of Prey (2020), Zsasz is revealed to have been one of the mob gunmen who massacred Helena Bertinelli's family. Black Mask was not present, but is implied to have been in on the plot.

    Literature 
  • In a 100-page short story in the collection The Ultimate Spider-Man, one written by Stan Lee no less, both Spidey and Doc Ock are created during the same experiment, similar to Chapter One and predating it by a few years. Unlike that comic however Peter doesn't get caught in the same explosion that Ock is, instead wandering out of the exhibit after the spider bites him moments before Doc Ock's experiment goes wrong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Altered Carbon: The Netflix series turns Quelcrist Falconer into Takeshi Kovacs’ mentor and lover, while in the books they lived centuries apart and he just had an interest in her philosophy. While Reileen went from a Yakuza boss Tak had unspecified dealings with in the past to his sister.
  • Arrow:
    • Malcolm Merlyn (based on the comicbook character, Merlyn) had the Queen family yacht sabotaged, shipwrecking Oliver and his girlfriend Sara Lance, inadvertently causing the events that would shape them into The Arrow and The Canary vigilantes. Also, Deathstroke trained Oliver and helped him survive on the island.
    • Oliver was the one who influenced Helena Bertinelli into crime-fighting, eventually leading her to become The Huntress.
    • Taken further in Season 3, with the revelation that Amanda Waller and ARGUS were involved in Arrow's origin.
    • Anatoli Knyazev (known as KGBeast in the comics) is also revealed to be a part of Oliver's backstory.
    • Finally, we also learn that Emiko Queen (Red Arrow) could have prevented the sabotage of the Queen yacht but chose not to.
  • Gotham tells the origin stories of iconic Batman villains like The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. These stories are all connected to the story of how Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered and how he subsequently grew up to become Batman.
  • The Flash (2014)
    • Girder is reimagined as Barry Allen's former childhood bully. This is in sharp contrast to the comics, where the two not only have no connection, but where Girder was instead an enemy of Wally West, Barry's successor (Barry having been dead at the time Girder was created).
    • And almost all of the Flash's super-powered enemies got their powers in the same freak accident that created the Flash, when in the comics they got their powers all over the place. Three of his non-metahuman enemies—Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and the Golden Glider—all got their high-tech weaponry from the Flash's teammates at S.T.A.R. Labs.
    • Eobard Thawne is responsible for empowering Barry with the Speed Force. In the comics, Eobard not only had nothing to do with Barry getting powers, but actually got his powers from a suit of Barry's. Slightly averted, in that it's revealed that Barry would've gotten his powers anyway from Harrison Wells had Eobard not messed with the timeline.
    • Doctor Alchemy had no connection to the speedster Savitar in the comics. In the show he is possessed by him due to Savitar being a Composite Character of himself and Doctor Alchemy's split personality Alvin Desmond.
    • Savitar himself originally not only had nothing to do with Barry Allen, but was an enemy of Wally West as well. In the show, he's Barry's future time remnant.
    • Jesse Quick gets her powers from being caught in a blast when Barry attempts to recreate his incident. In the comics, she used a formula to get superspeed before just possessing it, likely through her father.
    • Doctor Alchemy is the one responsible for giving Wally West his superspeed after he was caught in the above mentioned blast. In the comics, Wally got his powers through a freak accident in Barry's lab, it later being revealed that Barry himself may have subconsciously caused the accident.
  • It's left ambiguous, but there are hints in the season finale of Jessica Jones (2015) that the car accident that granted Jessica her powers may have somehow been connected to the Super Soldier program that Simpson ("Nuke" in the comics) is involved with.
  • Poirot frequently gives the titular detective a more personal connection to the cases by establishing a relationship with the victim or suspects.
    • In Cat Among the Pigeons, Poirot did not even appear until the final third of the book, when one of the students found a secret related to the murders and decided to consult the great detective. In the adaptation, he stayed as a guest from the very start, being an old friend of headmistress Bulstrode.
    • Poirot was shown to be good friends with the titular victim in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which gives him a more personal reason to quit retirement and return to his detective work.
    • In Sad Cypress, Poirot was hired by Dr Peter Lord to clear Elinor's name, but he only agrees to his request to humour him because the doctor was so damn persistent about it (Poirot himself initially believed Elinor to be guilty of the crime she was accused of). Dr Lord is Poirot's good friend in the TV, and the former had told Poirot about the anonymous letter sent to Elinor and Roddy in the beginning of the story, making his involvement in the case more believable.
  • In The Punisher (2017), Billy Russo (A.K.A Jigsaw) is Frank Castle's former friend who served alongside him in the military.
  • In Spartacus, the title character and his wife were sold into slavery by Gaius Claudius Glaber after a falling out in a campaign. In Real Life, Spartacus and Glaber were merely enemies. The plot was based from rumors that Spartacus was a conscripted soldier before being Made a Slave. And while details regarding his captivity under Batiatus are unclear, the latter's manipulations and schemes are what also ultimately pushes Spartacus and his slave brothers to revolt against Rome.
  • Supergirl (2015):
    • Martian Manhunter's Story Arc is closely connected to the title character's adoptive father and Hank Henshaw. He's been impersonating the latter after the former saved his life from the real Henshaw.
    • Non is reimagined as the title character's uncle by marriage (to her mother's twin sister). He and his wife hold a grudge with title character's mother for imprisoning them to Fort Rozz.
    • Brainiac 8 aka "Indigo" was the one who freed (under her own agenda, of course) the title character from the Phantom Zone and was also the one who programmed her escape pod to go to Earth along with Fort Rozz.
    • Leslie Willis becomes the supervillain Livewire after she was struck by lightning with the title character. This happened because Cat Grant demoted her from being her radio's premiere jock to "helicopter news duties". Her original Origin Story is actually closer to the show's version, except the accident happened with Superman.
    • Siobhan Smythe was also the title character's co-worker under Cat Grant before becoming the supervillain Silver Banshee.
    • Maxwell Lord is the one who creates Bizarro.
    • Red Tornado was created under General Sam Lane's project.
  • Khalil Payne of Black Lightning appeared to be a Canon Foreigner to the Black Lightning mythos, but when he became a paraplegic and is enticed by Big Bad Tobias Whale to walk again, he accepts, receiving reconstructive spinal surgery that grants him his legs back, but also Super Strength. Khalil's new Dreadlock Warrior look, alongside forearm bracers firing anethestic syringes, due to the surgery also giving him a paralytic poison, he turns into Black Lightning Rogues Gallery member Painkiller.
  • Titans: Starfire's whole reason for coming to Earth in Season 1 is to kill the offspring of Trigon, who turns out to be Raven.

    Podcasts 
  • Several examples in Wolverine:
    • Jason Wyngarde, a.k.a. Mastermind, is another former (unwilling) Weapon X operative like Logan.
    • The Sentinels were developed as part of Weapon X.

    Theatre 
  • Swarm, Electro, Carnage, the Lizard, and Kraven the Hunter were all independent villains with their own backstories in the comics, but the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark made it so that they were five of six ex-employees of OsCorp that the Green Goblin mutated into superhuman freaks to form the Sinister Six.
  • The unproduced Batman The Musical was to follow the 1989 film's twist of the Joker being the one to have orphaned Bruce Wayne before the chemical accident that turned him in the Clown Prince of Crime and also would have established that Catwoman was an orphan who witnessed the Waynes getting shot.

    Video Games 
  • According to the interview tapes for both the Joker and Two-Face in Batman: Arkham City, the Batman: Arkham Series version of Carmine Falcone has ties to both of them as he took Sal Maroni's role in Two-Face's origin and was the power behind the Red Hood Gang, meaning he's tied to the Joker's origin.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2 has the player-determinant event of Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot being responsible for scarring Harvey Dent for his transformation into Two-Face.
    • In Season 2, depending on Bruce's actions, once John finally takes up the Joker mantle, he will either become the usual unrepentant villainous variety, or tries to become a heroic vigilante like his good buddy Batman, but ultimately fails since he's unable to fully reign in his Ax-Crazy tendencies.
  • Final Fantasy VII: An odd example happens with minor recurring NPC, Johnny. In the Japanese release, Johnny recounts Cloud's past from what he's heard from various people; a Childhood friend of Tifa, a member of SOLDIER, a playboy, and a Murderer. In the overseas release, Johnny says that he and Cloud were childhood friends with Tifa and members of SOLDIER, saying that Cloud was always a playboy. This is probably a translation error.
  • The opening scene of Injustice 2 reveals that Brainiac was responsible for the destruction of Superman's home planet of Krypton, and that his drones killed Supergirl's mother right before her daughter escaped the planet in a rocket.
  • The Punisher: While Jigsaw was already connected to the mob family that killed Frank Castle's wife and children in the comics, the video game takes it a step further by having him be John Saint, one of the assassins who actually took part in the massacre.
  • Happens in Red Dead Redemption II, although with a prequel instead of an adaptation:
    • Uncle is established to be a former member of Dutch's gang, while the first game never revealed anything about him and implied he's just a random farmhand with whom John was drinking buddies with. This raises some awkwardness as Jack in RDR1 asks how John knows him despite growing with the gang, although it doesn't quite go into retcon territory.
    • The 1899 Blackwater massacre was a mere background detail and had no ties to Heidi MacCourt or Dutch's gang, and existed mostly to give a reason why Landon Ricketts was in Mexico. This game establishes that Dutch's Boys were behind it and Heidi's murder triggered it.
    • An inversion also happens: The heist during which John Marston got shot and left for dead was not the ferry job as was implied in I, but the robbery does happen at the beginning of the game and Marston gets wounded during it. Instead he is left behind after being shot off a train.
    • Edgar Ross was a Pinkerton Agent who has pursued the Van Der Linde Gang during their active years. It's also shown that it gets personal with the Marstons since Abigail ends up being the one to kill his partner Milton.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4):
    • Otto Octavius is introduced as Peter Parker's boss and mentor, and it's the prosthetics project the two of them are working on that eventually leads to Otto becoming Doctor Octopus.
      • Octavius is also tied to Norman Osborn in this universe, the two having been former colleagues and business partners until it went south and turned Octavius bitter against Osborn. His transformation into a villain is driven almost entirely by desire to revenge himself against Osborn, twisted by the effect the tentacles are having on his mind.
    • In this continuity, Martin Li developed his Mister Negative powers and personality due to a botched experiment performed by Norman Osborn. The same experiment also killed Martin's parents, causing him to become a supervillain so that he could one day get his revenge on Osborn.
  • Marvel's Avengers:
    • In this continuity, Kamala Khan's origin is more directly tied to the Avengers than in the comics. She was present at the A-Day celebration for the team due to having been a finalist in a Fan Fiction writing contest, and gained superpowers after being exposed to gas from the Terrigen crystal that Tony Stark and Bruce Banner had been using as an experimental energy source.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: The scientific accident that transformed Franklin Hall into Graviton occurred while he was trying to recreate the Super Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America.
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
  • The Batman:
    • In "Vertigo", Count Vertigo was an ex-employee of Queen industries and the cause of Oliver being stranded on an island, leading him to become the Green Arrow, rather than an accident like the comics.
    • "Attack of the Terrible Trio" sees the titular trio use versions of the serum Kirk Langstrom used to make himself Man-Bat, as opposed to be normal people in the costumes as in the comics.
  • The spider that bites Peter in the The Spectacular Spider-Man series was from a laboratory run by Curt Conners AKA The Lizard and funded by Oscorp. Also, Uncle Ben was killed by Black Cat's father. The series also incorporates the Ultimate Universe's idea that prior to becoming Venom, Eddie Brock was Peter's childhood best friend.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • Similar to The Amazing Spider-Man and The Spectacular Spider-Man, the spider that bit Peter in the show was tied into the research of Curt Connors, the Lizard. The same neogenetics research later resulted in the creation of the Scorpion and Morbius, and both Vulture and Silvermane showed interest in Connors's work.
    • The crooked businessman responsible for the toxic waste accident that blinded Matt Murdock and gave him his Super Senses was The Kingpin. Additionally, Matt's dad was murdered while trying to expose the Kingpin's illegal activities to the police, which led to Matt becoming the vigilante Daredevil as an adult.
    • Felicia Hardy becomes Black Cat after Evilutionary Biologist Herbert Landon doses her with a recreation of Captain America's Super Serum.
    • Also, the accident that turned Otto Octavius into Doctor Octopus occurred because Felicia's family cut off his funding. As a result, he hates the Hardy family, and kidnaps Felicia in his very first appearance. Octavius was also Peter Parker's childhood mentor in this continuity, whereas the comic versions of Peter and Octavius did not know one another until later in life.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • Like the comic the series shares a name with, "The Iron Octopus" reveals that the spider bite that gave Peter his powers happened at Oscorp.
    • The Lizard, the Rhino and the Vulture get their powers from animal serums created by Doc Ock.
    • Also, Deadpool is Nick Fury's rogue former protege
    • Scorpion is Iron Fist's bitter former rival from K'un-L'un.
    • Kraven is the man who killed White Tiger's father.
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes:
    • Before becoming Doctor Doom, Victor Von Doom was part of the fateful space mission with Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny. It was his interference that caused the space station's shields to fail during the cosmic storm, which ended up disfiguring his face and giving Reed and the others superpowers.
    • Kl'rt the Super-Skrull got his powers from Ronan the Accuser's Kree genetic engineering. This also explains why the Skrulls never simply repeated this procedure to create an army of Super-Skrulls, as their hatred of all things Kree meant that Kl'rt had to keep the true origin of his abilities a secret.
  • Iron Man:
    • The Mandarin is the one who captures Tony Stark and Yinsen in this continuity, which results in the creation of the Iron Man armor.
    • Unlike in the comics (where he was created by A.I.M.), M.O.D.O.K.'s mutation was caused by the Red Ghost, an old Fantastic Four villain. It's also mentioned in passing that Red Ghost was responsible for the creation of Titanium Man, another unrelated villain from the comics.
    • Samuel Sterns is Bruce Banner's former lab assistant, and the nuclear waste accident that mutated him into the Leader occurred while he was performing cleanup duties at the site of the G-Bomb test that transformed Banner into The Incredible Hulk.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, it is implied that the designs for Doctor Doom's armor were based on the same alien technology that created the Mandarin's ten rings.
  • In a non-villainous example, The Incredible Hulk established that Tony Stark provided Bruce Banner with the materials to build the gamma reactor that eventually transformed him into the Hulk. Because of this, he feels some measure of responsibility for the accident, and tries to help cure Bruce.
  • In Spider-Man Unlimited, the High Evolutionary is shown using drones in addition to Knights of Wundagore, one of who becomes the series' incarnation of X-51. In part, this might be due to rights issues, as the original Machine Man's origin was tied to the comic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Additionally, the High Evolutionary experimented on John Jameson when he arrived on Counter-Earth, resulting in John's Man-Wolf form in this series.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
    • Most of Plastic Man's origins in the comics follow the same basic setup, with Eel O'Brien depicted as a criminal who became a superhero after being exposed to mutagenic chemicals during a botched heist. The Brave and the Bold changes things up so that O'Brien was actually a costumed henchman working for the Batman villain Kite Man, and the accident that gave him his powers occurred when Batman knocked him into a chemical vat. Feeling immense guilt over the incident, Batman subsequently got O'Brien released from prison on parole, and oversaw his rehabilitation and eventual transformation into a superhero.
    • "Return of the Fearsome Fangs!" has flashbacks that depict Bruce Wayne training alongside Bronze Tiger and the Terrible Trio prior Bruce to becoming Batman. While Bronze Tiger is himself a martial artist, there's no sign that Ben Turner ever trained with Bruce and the Terrible Trio aren't martial artists in the comics.
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series:
    • The origin of the Lizard is tied into the Green Goblin as Curt Connors lost his arm thanks to Oscorp testing an explosive that's implied to be the prototype of the Green Goblin's pumpkin bomb.
    • Max Dillon is introduced as Peter's friend and classmate before an accident turns him into Electro.
  • Marvel's Spider-Man:
    • The Jackal is the one who created the spider that gave Peter Parker his powers, as well as the ones that later empower Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy and Anya Corazón.
    • The young man who becomes the Rhino is one of Peter's classmates at Horizon High, and his transformation is also the work of the Jackal.
    • Doctor Octopus is initially introduced as one of Peter's teachers at Horizon High.
    • The crossover with Guardians of the Galaxy reveals that the one who weaponized the Klyntar symbiotes (including Venom and Carnage) many years ago was Thanos.
    • The Shocker and Clash are best friends who developed their respective technology together.
  • Beware the Batman:
    • Ra's al Ghul is involved in Alfred and Katana's past, being the one responsible for the latter's father's death and for the entire Soultaker Sword subplot to take place.
    • Professor Pyg and Mister Toad are the ones that modify Kirk Langstrom's serum and force him to become Man-Bat, instead of Langstrom's own recklessness turning him into a monster.
  • Justice League Action: In "Harley Goes Ape", it's revealed that Dr. Harleen Quinzell tended to Titano before she worked at Arkham Asylum and became Harley Quinn.
  • In Ben 10 (2016): Gwen's arch-enemy Charmcaster has a new origin that Gwen is in part responsible for, as she gains magic powers from Hex's spellbook, which was put on the market when Gwen helped defeat him in a previous episode.
  • Young Justice:
    • Miss Martian/M'gann M'orzz bases her personality on the main character of "Hello, Megan!", who is played by Marie Logan, the mother of Garfield Logan. Later when Garfield falls ill, he receives a blood transfusion from M'gann, which turns him into Beast Boy. Also, an Easter Egg reveals that Rita Farr, the civilian identity of Elastgirl (a teammate of Beast Boy in the Doom Patrol), is a co-actress on "Hello, Megan!"
    • Static is a member of a group of runaway kids who were experimented on by the Reach, this group being based on the Canon Foreigner characters from Super Friends.
  • The ThunderCats remake has the population of Third Earth descend from Mumm-Ra's interstellar conqueror army, with Lion-O himself a descendant of Mumm-Ra's second in command and Reverse Mole.

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Origin Connection

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