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Adaptation Title Change

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In some cases, the name change eclipses the source so much that it has to get a trend cover down the road so people know what it is.
"'Edge of Tomorrow' but really 'All You Need is Kill', and it's like, why change the title like that, you know?"
Josh, The Magicians

When an adaptation of a work has a different title than the source material. This often happens because the original title was deemed unsuitable for the medium it was adapted into – a title that sounds fine for a book may sound awkward for a film, and possibly difficult to understand if the original work has a premise that may not be familiar to mainstream audiences. The title may also be changed because it sounded too similar to an unrelated work. Or perhaps the producers simply wanted a better name.

Depending on how different the title and/or story are, this can lead the work to be seen less as an adaptation and more as a work influenced by the original, since now the title can't tie the two together. Taken to the extreme, the work ends up as a Divorced Installment, erasing all association with whatever it was based on.

A Market-Based Title, where the name is changed in international versions, may involve this, or it may reverse the trope and use the original work's title. This depends on how well the original story is known abroad.

Adaptation Displacement is a very frequent symptom of this trope if the original story is unknown to a wider audience.

See also Adaptation Name Change (when something in-story has its name changed), Appropriated Title (when a franchise that began with a work of a particular title is better known by the name of a later installment in said franchise) and compare In Name Only (when the name is (usually) kept, but most or all of the content is different).


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    Anime & Manga 

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    Video Games 
  • The Game Boy port of the NES Battletoads was titled Battletoads in Ragnarok's World in order to avoid confusion with the first Battletoads game on the Game Boy, which was a completely different game sharing nothing except the title.
  • Vampire Savior: World of Darkness was ported to the PlayStation under the title of Darkstalkers 3 in order to make it clear that it was the third game in the series.
  • The Nintendo-published Famicom RPG Ginga no Sannin (The Galatic Trio) is a port of the Enix game Rayieza: The Earth Fighter originally released on the NEC PC-8801. The name change was due to trademark issues with the way the name Rayieza was written in kana.
  • Magical Slot Mahō Shōjo Tai Arusu is based on Tweeny Witches.
  • The NES game The Last Starfighter is a port of the C-64 game Uridium with the movie license slapped on.
  • The SNK arcade game Victory Road was retitled Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road on the NES in order to make the connection with the first game clearer.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers:
  • The Nickelodeon cartoon Catscratch is a loose adaptation of Doug TenNapel's comic book Gear.
  • Generator Rex is inspired by an obscure comic called M. Rex that lasted only two issues.
  • Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids had some episodes go by different titles from the stories in the original book series they're adapted from.
    • "The Dumb Clucks" is retitled "The Dumb Klutzes", presumably because of how close the original title was to referencing an obscenity.
    • "A Lesson in History" is retitled "The History Lesson".
    • "The Death Rattle" is renamed "The Spelling Bee".
    • "Fatal Attraction" is renamed "Nerves of Steel".
  • The episodes of Love, Death & Robots share the same titles with the short stories they're based on but there are two notable exceptions. The long title "Three Robots Experience Objects Left Behind from the Era of Humans for the First Time" and "On the Use of Shape-shifters in Warfare" are shortened to "Three Robots" and "Shape-shifters" respectively.
  • Masters of the Universe toyline was adapted as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe first in 1983 and later a reboot in 2002. The only media that adapted the same name as the original toyline is the 1987 movie.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is an adaptation of the original She-Ra: Princess of Power. The title change reflects how Adora isn't or doesn't know she's a princess in the reboot as she never finds her biological family in this version, and the "princess(es) of power" instead refers to her princess allies now rather than herself.
  • Static Shock is based on Static.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • When The Railway Series got adapted to television, the title was changed to Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (later shortened to Thomas & Friends), placing much more emphasis on Thomas compared to the novels. Later rereleases of the novels would end up using the Thomas the Tank Engine title alongside the original title.
    • In an interesting case of this trope being combined with Market-Based Title, the US airings of the first 4 seasons (which were largely adaptations of the stories in The Railway Series) often go by different titles than the UK airings, which mostly stuck to the original titles in the novels (bar some exceptions). For one example, the UK title of the first episode (and the title of the story it's based on), "Thomas and Gordon", was retitled entirely to "Thomas Gets Tricked" in the US.