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Adaptation Personality Change

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"[We're] the type of heroes who would have their own TV show! Did you watch it, Lance? It's so cool. They got you spot-on, but Coran is like, he's all super-serious and stuff. And Allura's a little...I don't know, she's different. Keith is friendly! He's happy all the time! I mean, they got it so wrong."

Often when adapting from a book or other medium, a character will be included in the adaptation but their personality will be different from the original medium. Maybe they are a Composite Character and take on the role and personality of the one they get combined with. Maybe they only have a minor role initially but it gets expanded upon in the adaptation. Or maybe in the original their role was much bigger and got cut down in the adaptation, leaving them a little one dimensional.

See also Adaptation Explanation Extrication. Adaptational Badass, Adaptational Wimp, Adaptational Comic Relief, Adaptational Heroism, Adaptational Intelligence, Adaptational Villainy, Adaptational Jerkass, Adaptational Nice Guy, and Adaptational Dumbass are subtropes. Also compare Alternative Character Interpretation. Character Exaggeration is this trope when it takes an existing personality trait and ramps it Up to Eleven. Dub Personality Change applies to when translations do this. Compare Same Character, but Different, when the character's personality radically changes in the same continuity without any justification (such as Character Development).


In fanworks, this takes often the form of Draco in Leather Pants or Ron the Death Eater.

Note that this is not a trope to complain about minor changes in an adaptation.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Max Ride: First Flight:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
      • In the comics most of the games cast resembled their counterparts in the DiC cartoons at the time (the earliest comics mirrored Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, while the later more serious stories issues adapted their Sonic Sat Am counterparts). The later issues tend to keep the cast far more loyal to their games incarnations, especially following the Continuity Reboot. For example, Sonic is much sassier (fitting his "dude with a 'tude" portrayal in early American media) and he isn't a Celibate Hero.
      • Outside the games characters, Sally and Antoine lost most of the comedic pomposity of their cartoon counterparts after the early issues and became more lucid, serious minded heroes (Antoine also Took a Level in Badass and became a competent swordsman and far more intelligent).
      • In the games, while Silver is stated to be insecure and naive, it rarely ever popped up. The comics make these traits much more explicit, along with depicting Silver as socially awkward and excitable.
    • Sonic the Comic:
      • Sonic is a heroic, laidback character in the games, and at the time of the comic was written in western canon as being a Totally Radical Mascot with Attitude. Sonic in the Fleetway comics exhibits none of said traits, instead being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He is heroic and does really love his friends but he has a hard time showing his emotions and uses Trash Talk a lot.
      • Tails is usually a genius Child Prodigy but here he's a naive Cheerful Child with a cowardly streak (though he's still a good engineer).
      • Amy is a level-headed Action Girl who doesn't really resemble either the classic or post-Adventure versions of her character. It's never truly specified if she has a crush on Sonic or if she's teasing him, but either way it doesn't come up much. Early on she was closer to her game personality but Executive Meddling caused her personality change.
      • Super Sonic is altered from merely being a Super Mode for Sonic to being the Mr Hyde to Sonic's Dr Jekyll, as this continuity's version of the Chaos Emeralds were "filled with evil."
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Silver's personality is a lot more excitable, optimistic, and socially awkward than his more serious portrayal in the games.
  • Most of the major characters in All Star Batman And Robin seriously differ from their mainstream counterparts. Superman has severe anger issues, Wonder Woman is an unsympathetic man-hater, the Joker isn't funny, and Batman himself is a violent and cruel Manchild. It was believed that the characters would eventually grow into their more recognizable selves, but that didn't ever ever happen. After of three years of erratic scheduling... they did not.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • The Ultimates:
      • Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver go from loving siblings who were maybe a little too close to full-blown incestuous lovers. The Scarlet Witch is icy and aloof a lot of the time.
      • Captain America is no longer the Nice Guy. He's a good guy, but Good Is Not Nice.
      • Instead of a Recovered Addict, Tony Stark fully embraces alcoholism and he's the Hard Drinking Party Guy.
    • Everyone on the Ultimate Fantastic Four gets a dose. Sue is more sexually aggressive, Johnny is a Brainless Beauty, and Ben and Reed are both angstier. All of this can probably be attributed to their younger ages.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man:
      • Mary Jane Watson goes from outgoing and flirty (with some repressed past baggage) to being somewhat nerdy and rather shy. On the flipside, Gwen Stacy becomes a rebellious punk who's quite troubled, even threatening bullies with a knife when their treatment of Peter gets out of hand.
      • Aunt May is more assertive than her mainstream counterpart. Until she learns during "The Clone Saga", she's also less tolerant of stuff related to Peter hiding he's Spider-Man from her than her 616 counterpart.
    • Miles Morales was instead created in the Ultimate Marvel universe, and then transplanted to the other one. In the original run Jeffeson was the helicopter parent, and Rio was the oblivious parent. Here, their roles are exchanged.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • In the cartoon Rio is very overprotective of Jerrica, gets jealou easily, and is in a Two-Person Love Triangle with Jem/Jerrica. In the comics he's taken a serious chill pill, doesn't even like Jem at first, and is only romantically interested in Jerrica.
    • Jerrica from the cartoon is a confident young woman but in the comics she's a Shrinking Violet with Stage Fright. The comic also puts more emphasis on how overworked she can get, something that is mostly glossed over in the cartoon.
    • Pizzazz's good qualities are more apparent in the comics. She's also more serious about music, instead of being in it simply for the fame.
    • Stormer has more bite than in the cartoon, while in turn Jetta is more tame.
  • Nightfall (1988):
    • Aton, astronomer and scientist, is now the local city leader. He spends the first part of the movie obsessed with a mysterious woman, and stubbornly insisting that they live in a city of light.
    • Sor, religious leader and off-screen antagonist, is now given screentime equal to Aton. He seems to encourage archeology and preparations for the coming Darkness, but he is still obsessed with his cult, and ritualistically blinds his followers by having hawks eat their eyes.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Boom! Studios): Willow goes from Shrinking Violet in dowdy sweaters and skirts, to Extraverted Nerd wearing fishnets and ripped jeans. She's also out of the closet much earlier.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): The "Rick and Morty Presents" spinoff line of comics does this with many of the side characters it focuses on:
    • The All New All Different Vindicators get Adaptational Heroism and Adaptational Nice Guy, as they are a lot more heroic and considerate than the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing originals (with the exception of Noob-Noob, who becomes the Big Bad, Boon, in a case of Adaptational Villainy).
    • In "Auto Erotic Assimilation", the Hive Mind Unity is referred to with gender-neutral pronouns, but in its issue here, where it almost-exclusively uses its main female body from that episode, it's referred to with female pronouns and called Rick's "girlfriend". In the series, Unity is implied to have Single-Target Sexuality for Rick (calling itself "yours, and nobody else's"), but in the comic, it has at least four other ex-boyfriends. While the Unity of the TV series is actually surprisingly benevolent and well-meaning, it gets a major case of Adaptational Jerkass and Adaptational Villainy here, being very selfish and prioritizing its ambition above all else, and manipulating and coercing its ex-boyfriends to help with its plans.
  • In the main DCU, Jason Blood is portrayed as a former knight bonded to the demon Etrigan, a ruthless beast that would (depending on the iteration) would speak in verse. In Batman: Damned, in a case of Composite Character, he is portrayed as rap-artist J Blood. It is ambiguous whether or not he is a human or a demon, his red eyes being sunglasses and his horns an elaborate set of piercings, but it is implied he has some level of mind-control over his audience and he only saves Batman from the fire out of Cruel Mercy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bates Motel version of Norma Bates is a lot more sympathetic than the Evil Matriarch from the Psycho films. Rather than abusing her son For the Evulz she is reimagined as a Troubled Abuser whose clingy and controlling bahavour stems from a history of being abused herself, as well as trying to keep her already unstable son from harming others.
  • In the original The Worst Witch books Miss Bat appears only in the second book and appears to be your average strict teacher. The TV series has her as a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and much more empathetic to the students. Miss Drill is also written as a tough Drill Sergeant Nasty type of PE teacher in the books but is much more friendly in the TV series, as well as being rewritten to be mortal. She is implied to be a witch in the books.
  • Smallville: Like Man of Steel would do later, General Zod is given a new personality and motivation for his actions. Depicted as more of a strategic planner due to being depowered for the most part, he actually seeks out to befriend Clark, believing he can help their people gain their powers like him, and actually strikes up a friendship with Lois (though, mostly to manipulate her). His motivation is also changed, instead of wishing to rule For the Evulz, he was originally a noble, charismatic military Captain who's family died in the battle of Kandor, and was denied the chance to clone his beloved son, resulting in his Start of Darkness. He's a literal Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in this case too, as he's responsible for the destruction of Krypton in this continuity.
  • In Penny Dreadful, unlike Mary Shelley's book, Frankenstein has no apparent emotional life outside of his work. No family, no fianceé, no nuthin' until he meets the other adventurers. Dorian Gray also has depths that he didn't possess in Oscar Wilde's book, wherein he was actually glad he drove a lover to suicide and murdered his closest friend for causing a completely unforeseeable freak accident.
  • The Casablanca TV series makes Sacha, a Plucky Comic Relief character in the original, much duller and more reserved.
  • The 100 TV series has Bellamy start out as more selfish and ruthless than his book counterpart. Octavia loses her drug addiction issues from the book, while also becoming a more confident and adventurous free spirit. Clarke starts out with a personality fairly close to her book counterpart (albeit with a changed backstory), but thanks to Adaptation Expansion, her character development goes in a different direction.
  • Madame Dorothea from City of Bones was originally reclusive and somber, "Dot" is sociable and upbeat in Shadowhunters.
  • Along with being better looking, the characters of Rizzoli & Isles are practically a 180 from their counterparts in the books, where Maura is an ice queen, Jane is brusque and abrasive, Korsak is a loud mouthed jerk, Frost is a wimp, and so on.
  • Several characters from the Land of Oz books are subject to this in Emerald City:
    • The Wizard is less charming and more dour and menacing than in many other versions of the story.
    • Glinda is more manipulative and cold.
    • West is not a Card-Carrying Villain as usual, but a more troubled individual.
    • East seems to have been a beloved ruler rather than an oppressive one, despite her hand in creating the Prison of the Abject. The Munja'kin almost vote to execute Dorothy for her death, and end up exiling her from their territory forever.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017):
    • Olaf's troupe aren't as evil as they were in the books, especially the Hook-Handed Man. Instead of being children haters like their boss, they appear to be more concerned for the children's well-safety (maybe) when they see see Olaf hold Sunny high above the table and strike Klaus in rage. Originally in the book, they applauded Olaf for the latter.
    • Madame Lulu/Olivia Caliban also gets this treatment - in the books, she is on neither side, eventually selling the Baudelaires out to Count Olaf; in the series, her role is expanded so that she is featured from The Austere Academy onwards, and she is on the side of the Baudelaires.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Think Like a Dinosaur", Michael Burr is already rather morose when he meets Kamala Shastri as he is mourning the death of his wife Karen. In the short story by James Patrick Kelly, he is much more gregarious since there is no mention of him having experienced such a tragedy.
  • Catch-22:
    • In the book, Major —— de Coverly is The Voiceless and cuts such an impressive figure that no one dares speak to him. When he does speak, it's in broken English, suggesting that he's actually dimwitted. In the series, however, he's an erudite man who speaks frequently, never intimidates anyone, and is about as intelligent as anyone else on the base.
    • In the books, Nately's whore is always tired and behaves coldly and mechanically around him, resenting his attention. After she finally gets some sleep, she falls in love with him. In the series, she is always charming and vivacious, milking Nately for as much money as she can while caring nothing for him one way or the other.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Elena is a regular Plucky Girl at the beginning of the series, and a lot nicer than the Alpha Bitch she started out as in novels.
    • Caroline is The Rival in the novels, a former Beta Bitch who schemes against Elena and has little to do with the supernatural. The series turns her into one of Elena’s True Companions. She is initially jealous of Elena and a bit of a Control Freak, but is aware of her own flaws and becomes a lot nicer after some Character Development.
    • Katherine goes from a Psychopathic Manchild who commits murder as a part of her "game" with the Salvatore brothers, to an ambitious Vamp who kills to further her own goals. Her former romance with the brothers is in turn changed from a childish inability to comprehend why she can’t have them both, to her knowing full well and not caring that they would object and resorting to Mind Control to keep them both in line.
  • Season 5 of Supergirl (2015) introduces a character named Andrea Rojas as the new owner of CatCo. In the comics, she's a left-wing vigilante who leaves philosophical quotes as a calling card. The TV version is a high-powered businesswoman who wants to "dumb down" CatCo to get clicks.


  • In The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy novel And Another Thing..., Left Brain (Zaphod Beeblebrox's detached second head) is The Spock and resents all the time he's been subsumed by Zaphod's wild and often stupid primary personality. In the Hexagonal Phase of the radio series, while still more intelligent than the remaining head, he's a lot more Zaphod-like. Presumably because if you cast Mitch Benn because of how he played Zaphod in the stage show, you want him to actually play the character that way.

  • Wicked:
    • Nessarose is portrayed differently between the book and the musical. Nessarose's father Frexspar is a religious man and he passed on his beliefs to his youngest daughter. Nessarose is a rather preachy woman who's always talking about the Unnamed God. Her religious views are a large element of her character. The musical Adapted Out everything about Lurline and the Unnamed God (to the point where the characters swear to Oz). This means the religious foundation of Nessa's personality was scrapped, putting more emphasis on her jealousy streak.
    • Glinda's Dumb Blonde elements are more emphasised early on in the musical.
    • Fiyero is a Composite Character of Fiyero and Avaric. As a result, he's much more flamboyant and free-spirited than his book incarnation.

    Video Games 
  • A common trait to the Super Robot Wars series, as the different circumstances means that characters would develop differently than they did in their own shows. The Z series is famous for helping Shinn Asuka change from a rash, angry youth into a mature, young soldier. Other changes include Haman Khan being noticeably kinder than her show counterpart, as at several points she expresses genuine concern for Marida and Mineva's well-being. Though in the case of Mineva, Unicorn retroactively shows us that Haman had at least one Pet the Dog moment with Mineva in ZZ, likely due to Char calling her out in Zeta for her treatment of the girl. The SRW games just make the change in perspective apparent from the beginning.
    • A more famous example that occurs in several SRW timelines is Shinji Ikari: Given the friendship, support, and respect he never attained in his home series, he goes from lonely and introverted to stable, cheerful, and open.
    • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Gargoyle never knew that he was never from Atlantis but just a regular human being. In Super Robot Wars X, he does manage to figure out before he disintegrates and warns Nemo about the Keepers of Order.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories, due to the game being released before Battle City came out, Ishizu/Isis and Priest Seto are majorly different than their manga and anime counterparts.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Jason Todd in Batman: Arkham Knight. Whereas his comic counterpart (at least pre-New 52) was truly sadistic, reveling in the deaths he caused, and clearly cared very little for the rest of the batfamily, here he's a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who still loves Barbara and Alfred, and seems largely unconcerned with his violent actions. Also, where in the comics (again, pre-New 52 only) he only gets worse, adding cops and civilians to his list of targets, here he makes a full Heel–Face Turn.
    • Tim Drake's Robin is a lot more similar to Dick Grayson in the series, as he is older, uses a lot of sarcasm and has a relationship with Oracle.
  • Kefka in Final Fantasy VI is hateful, cruel and sadistic in the English localisation, when in the original Japanese he was a Psychopathic Manchild with Ambiguous Innocence. Even Square regarded the English version as an improvement, and took elements of his English characterisation back into Kefka's appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
  • Kirby's Avalanche for the SNES was Puyo Puyo with a Kirby coat of paint on it. Thus, it was handled by different people than the regular Kirby games, and since Kirby games have little dialogue and plot as it is, they had to make up a lot. As a result, Kirby (whose personality has since been tweaked to being little more than a toddler) is making dramatic anime-style speeches to his opponents or being a snarky little Jerkass with a big grin on his face; at one point he stomps on Whispy's root after being told not to do so, saying he's in the mood for apple pie.
  • The Renee Montoya of Batman: The Animated Series and the comics was a supporter of Batman. In Batman: The Telltale Series, she's against the Batman and tries to arrest him, though she's sympathetic to him as Bruce Wayne.
  • While it's hard to get a grasp on personalities in Super Smash Bros., some characters are still presented differently than they are in their home-series:
    • Mario is presented as a far more serious individual than he is in Super Mario Bros.. He is a Perpetual Frowner and lacks his usual joviality.
    • Luigi goes from being a heroic Cowardly Lion in his home series to an apathetic Butt-Monkey who is constantly sad and has a depressed-sounding voice. Even when later games try to make him seem more energetic as in his canonical depiction, he maintains the depressed tone in his voice.
    • In F-Zero, Captain Falcon is rather stoic. In Smash, he is a Hot-Blooded Large Ham.
    • Princess Peach is presented in a mildly Hotter and Sexier manner. Her chest is bigger and personality-wise she is more flirty and mischievous, in sharp contrast to her normal Purity Personified characterization. She also has some Ditzy Genius elements.
    • While mostly true to his depiction in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link's Hair Flip taunt in Melee is unusual for him.
    • Roy is, judging by his Kiai screams, much more Hot-Blooded than he is in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. In his case, it's justified due to that his game was still in development when he debuted in Melee, meaning his canon personality wasn't set in stone yet.
    • A Lost in Translation example: in the English translation, some of Lucina's victory quotes (specifically "This is the Hero-King?" and "And this is the Radiant Hero?", when she wins against Marth and Ike respectively) are delivered in a far more condescending way than she would ever act in Fire Emblem Awakening, much less towards legendary heroes, or how the same lines are delivered in the Japanese version, which convey deep respect.
    • Mega Man is presented as generally more robotic and stoic than he is in Mega Man (Classic). This extends to his design being less human-looking.
  • The comic of Team Fortress 2 generally tones down the characters' personalities (though the Soldier gets Flanderized) - Heavy and Spy go from a boisterous Blood Knight and a smarmy Jerkass (respectively) to being almost 100% serious, for example. The Catch-Up Comic attributes these differences to the game being a documentary portraying the events of the comics.
  • When he created Spider-Man 2099, Peter David decided to make Miguel O'Hara a Contrasting Sequel Main Character, keeping quiet and being serious when as Spider-Man. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions presents its version of Miguel in a manner similar to most Peter Parker, quipping and making jokes in costume.
  • Delta Rune, the second game by Toby Fox has multiple characters returning from his first game, Undertale. However due to Deltarune being in a different timeline and setting than Undertale, there are some differences in the characters. Perhaps the most glaring one is the meek shut-in in the northern part of town, who is all but said to be none other than Mettaton. Likewise, Alphys leaves an "anonymous" glowing review in the library of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie 2, favorably comparing it to the original in every respect; in Undertale, she savaged it as a terrible sequel. Undyne has no clue who Alphys, her eventual lover in Undertale, is. Bratty and Catty, two best friends, are also now hateful next-door neighbors.
  • BIONICLE Heroes took a comedic approach to its source material and redefined character personalities (as well as abilities) from scratch. Axonn, a devoted paragon of justice who repeatedly beat back the villainous Piraka became a thuggish bad guy in service of said group, the brilliant but impulsive Brutaka exchanged personalities with the slow dimwit Krekka, the likewise rather intelligent Thok similarly became a hapless goof (when Reidak already filled the role of "the dumb one" in canon), and the utterly no-nonsense, brooding Zaktan became a grinning, showoff Large Ham. Despite the game being completely detached from the main franchise and featuring canonically long-dead characters as enemies, it's still perplexing that the developers reinterpreted certain characters seemingly at random, instead of picking ones that would have fit the roles the developers had in mind.
  • As a Darker and Edgier reboot of the Spyro the Dragon series, The Legend of Spyro ended up completely overhauling each of the three returning characters' personalities:

    Web Comics 
  • Awkward Zombie portrays Marth from Fire Emblem rather differently than the games do. The author was rather surprised when confronted with a game highlighting the difference, noting that "Sometimes I forget that I kinda sorta totally made up his characterization for the purposes of this comic."

    Web Original 

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Personality Change


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