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Adaptational Context Change

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"Wipe them out. All of them."
Darth Sidious, The Phantom Menace

"Wipe them out? All of them?"

In an adaptation, a line of dialogue or action from the original work gets transposed to a different character or context, thus changing its meaning.

Note that just moving an event to a different place in the story or giving a line to a different character is not in itself enough to qualify. When adding examples, please explain how the change gives a new meaning to the event/line. For example, it may cast a different light on a character, create a different mood, or convey a different moral.

Can be a cause or effect of Adaptation Decay, Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole, Adaptation Distillation, Adaptation Expansion, or Adaptation Personality Change (among others).

Not to be confused with Adaptation Displacement. The Cover Changes the Meaning is this trope's musical equivalent.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kiyotaka does the "forget-it beam" in both the Visual Novel Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and The Anime of the Game. The game has him doing it when Makoto talks to him during the Chapter 1 investigation, when he almost reveals that the nameplates were switched before realizing Makoto could be the killer. In the anime, on the other hand, he does it the morning after his sauna duel with Mondo while asking Makoto to forget about who won, which Mondo praises and causing both to laugh in glee.
  • In the anime for Higurashi: When They Cry, the kids playing "zombie tag" was moved to the second season when it was originally from the first arc. It fits the pre-Cerebus Syndrome theme of Onikakushi better as well.
  • In the Kaguya-sama: Love Is War anime, there was an extra scene during the psychological test chapter where Hayasaka wears a paper cutout of Fujiwara's face so Kaguya has someone to practice one of her schemes against. The manga would eventually use a similar visual where she's talking to Kaguya while wearing a Shirogane mask, though there she's secretly acting as an intermediary between her and Shirogane by relaying questions and answers to him via text message, allowing the two of them to unknowingly be completely honest with each other for the first time.
  • At the end of the first episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Vita asks Fate if she's Nanoha's ally when the latter has a Big Damn Hero moment, to which Fate responds that she's Nanoha's friend with confident Tranquil Fury. During the movie version of Vita's attack, it's Signum that asks Fate if they're family after having prevented her from reaching Nanoha in time, and Fate is crying when she gives her response.
  • In the Noblesse anime, Union were sent to investigate Korea and find Rai's coffin with clear understanding of it's significance, and Nobles were sent to arrest Rai under suspicions of killing the previous Lord. This is different from the webcomic, as the coffin was discovered by one of Union's branch members by chance and was left as a trophy, and the death of two of their agents if what starts the chain of events that later brings the attention of both groups. The current generations of both Union and Nobles didn't even know the Noblesse exists.
  • The context of revealing Megu-nee is a figment of Yuki's imagination is different between the School-Live! anime and manga. In the manga Yuki has a flashback due to being reminded of words Megu-nee said prior to her death. We see Megu-nee's death scene and Yuki faints. It's revealed in the next chapter that Yuki had fell into a deep sleep due to the trauma of Megu-nee's death. When she woke up she was hallucinating Megu-nee had never died. In the anime instead the reveal is done later both episode wise and context wise. Miki is already a character and she asks Yuki who Megu-nee is.
  • In the original manga of Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Mai asks Joey if she was in the dream where his friends helped him wake up from his brief coma, Joey awkwardly tells her that she wasnít. He tries to play it off as a joke by pointing out that they were in a classroom and she is too old to be there, which only ends up hurting her feelings. In the anime this scene is the same, except this time she really was in the dream and Joey is just too embarrassed to admit it. This was likely changed to ramp up the Ship Tease. Later, Joey admitting the truth snaps her out of her Laser-Guided Amnesia (again, this was added to the anime).

    Comic Books 

    Film — Animated 
  • Alice in Wonderland: In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Hatter complains about his watch being two days off. He, in fact, has a special watch which indicates the day of the month rather than the time of day. In the Disney version, the Hatter still uses a version of this line, but it's turned into a humorously nonsensical objection to the White Rabbit's ordinary watch.
  • In both The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and the Animated Adaptation The Amazing Maurice, the real Piper responds to Keith asking about some of the more alarming rumours by saying half the stuff he's supposed to have done is untrue. In the book, this is exactly what it sounds like. In the film, it's False Reassurance, with Malicia quickly asking which half.
  • The original The Long Halloween had Ambiguous Ending where Gilda Dent, Two-Face's wife, confesses out-loud to being Holiday and the belief that Harvey took over on New Year's, even though Alberto Falcone has claimed to be the killer and she was supposed to be in the hospital during some of the killings and even faked his death on New Year's, leading to fan speculation that about what was going onnote . In Batman: The Long Halloween, it's changed so her confession is done when she becomes aware Batman is with her and confronting her about it — and made explicit that she was indeed Holiday, especially after Alberto suffers Death by Adaptation on New Year's Eve instead of faking his death as in the comic. Additionally, her reasoning is changed from trying to get Harvey to stop overworking himself and putting his work above family, to revenge for an abortion Falcone forced on her.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Dunk for Future, a quote is borrowed from the Pleasant Goat series' Rescue Across Time, Weslie asking Wolffy "How long have we known each other?" and Wolffy replying "About 5,000 episodes", as a throwaway joke. The original context was much more dark, as Weslie was dying in the episode it came from.
  • One of Mario's iconic quotes from the Super Mario Bros. games had its context altered in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. In the games, whenever Mario says "Let's-a go", he usually does so loudly and in an excited tone of voice in anticipation of entering a level or after achieving something impressive. The trailer has a nervous Mario quietly whisper this to steel himself in anticipation for his coming fight against Donkey Kong, and in the film itself, he says it to prepare himself for the final battle against Bowser in Brooklyn.

    Literature 
  • From the BIONICLE novels:
    • In Web of Shadows, Vakama sets out on his own to find and secure the captured citizens of his ruined city, joining the villains only as a ploy. He doesn't become evil until Roodaka gets him to touch Makuta's throne, whose dark energy corrupts him and makes him forget his mission. In the animated film the book is based on, by this point Vakama has already been brainwashed by Roodaka and the throne's current owner Sidorak stops him from touching it. The film doesn't reveal the seat belonged to Makuta.
    • The Legend Reborn movie has Kiina acting very upbeat, placing her hope in that the newcomer Mata Nui will help her friends. The book keeps her lines the same but explains she's only putting on a facade to keep Mata Nui's spirits up because her real personality is so abrasive. In the movie, Kiina and Ackar have a genuine back-and-forth about their journey's perils while Mata Nui listens in. In the book, their exchange is kept the same but their tone is different. Ackar sees through Kiina's lies and subtly tries to clue Mata Nui in about what's really going on.
  • Ciaphas Cain: An early story has "Well that was unexpected" as the last words of the Chaoos warmaster Varan, reading like a deadpan This Cannot Be!. A later book turns him into the Big Bad, a Hitler-analogue with a ridiculous mustache and the ability to permanently mind-control people who hear his voice, and while those are indeed the last words he speaks, he screams them as he reveals his Chaos mutations include Femme Fatalons and a carapace-like skin.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): A line carried over from the original story is Randy's "Oh no, I donít go for even, I go for winning!" Originally, this is Randy's reply to Jeff stating that they're already even since Randy got Liu sent to JDC after Jeff beat Randy up. In this rewrite, Randy initially sees getting back at Jeff as making things even for defeating him and thus making him a laughing stock, before hollering at Jeff that he might as well go for more than that.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • The original radio version has Arthur convincing Prosser to hold the bulldozers while he goes to get a drink. In the book, Ford not only performs this act, he also convinces Prosser to lie down in front of the bulldozer as a guarantee that it won't destroy Arthur's house. The former version makes Arthur look a bit eccentric, but the latter showcases Ford's alienness.
    • When the Vogon captain asks Arthur and Ford what they thought of his poem, Ford is the one who, surprisingly, says, "I liked it!" It's even more surprising in the book, however, where the line is said by Arthur, and Ford hasn't even thought of taking this approach. While the original can be taken as just another example of Ford's weirdness and pragmatism, the adaptation shows how Arthur's unfamiliarity with the world he's been thrust into gives him a fresh perspective and allows him to think of things Ford wouldn't.
  • Revenge of the Sith: In the original film, Obi-Wan remarks "So uncivilized" after killing General Grievous with a blaster, referring to the weapon. In the novelization, it's instead a Bond One-Liner directed at Grievous himself.
  • Used for comedic effect in Vader and Son; Darth Vader's lines from the original movies are placed in the Lighter and Softer context of him raising Luke and going through the travails of fatherhood (for instance, he pulls out the infamous "Luke, I Am Your Father" line while asserting his authority to get Luke to pick up his toys.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Around the World in 80 Days: Among the adventures Phileas Fogg has in the original Jules Verne novel are 1) trying to get a train over a partially collapsed bridge, which happens in America towards the end, and 2) ripping all of the wood out of the superstructure of a steamship to feed the boilers, which happens even later, as he's crossing the Atlantic on the way home. In the 2021 TV miniseries, both incidents are combined into one sequence in the outbound part of Fogg's journey, as he's crossing through Italy on the way to Brindisi. Also, he's given a reason for his heroics, other than just winning his bet: he's rushing an injured child to Brindisi for emergency medical treatment.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jon Snow saving Sam from Alliser Thorne's bullying is changed in the series. In the books, it's purely Thorne's pettiness that motivates Thorne to order the other recruits to beat on the weaker Sam, and when Jon unites everyone against Thorne, it's a triumphant moment in which the recruits stand up to Thorne's tyranny. In the show, the scene doesn't end there and Thorne angrily counters this defense of Sam, pointing out that going easy on Sam is counterproductive, as when they get out in the field, none of the enemies will show him such mercy. The show takes Thorne's side and portrays his Training from Hell as tough, but necessary to survive in the Night's Watch. The book takes Jon's side, as he argues that with 2/3 of the Night's Watch structured as non-combatant support staff, it doesn't make sense for the Night's Watch to throw away a potentially valuable literate recruit to focus on combat training that isn't likely to be relevant, anyway.
    • In a more bizarre example, dialogue from the A Dance with Dragons epilogue is transposed from Varys giving a monologue to (and killing) Kevan Lannister to Qyburn doing the same to Pycelle. Varys's speech is about revealing his motives and the existence of the Hidden Backup Prince while Qyburn just seems to mostly be wanting to herald Cersei taking full control. The show version of the speech and murder also seems extraneous because Qyburn specifically interrupted Pycelle from going to Baelor's Sept, where he would have been killed in the explosion anyway. In the book, Kevan is specifically assassinated by Varys to restore the conflict between the Lannisters, Tyrells, and Sparrows, because Kevin was being too effective at stabilizing the situation.
    • In the books, Lord Wyman Manderly hosts several Frey guests whom he murderously despises, but doesn't want to violate Guest Right (like the Freys infamously did). Upon finding out that his hostage son was released, he gives the Freys parting gifts, which indicates that their guest stay is over, and has them murdered shortly afterwards. He then has them baked into a pie to be served to the Boltons, the other main villains from the Red Wedding. In the television show, Arya bakes Lord Walder's two sons into a pie which she serves to him, which results in the gesture (and the extreme effort of accomplishing it) having little meaning as she slits his throat mere seconds later before he (or the audience!) can understand the implication.
    • In the books, Ramsay marries a childhood friend of Sansa who is pretending to be Arya Stark and only a few know or suspect it's not the real Arya, with only Theon knowing her true identity. In comparison, the show simplifies the matter by having Ramsay marry the real Sansa Stark. This changes the context of Theon rescuing Ramsay's bride. In the show, due to the bride being Sansa, the rescue is an attempt to redeem himself to the Starks for betraying them. In the books, since Theon is the only one attempting to rescue her for being an innocent victim instead of her family name, the rescue is an attempt to redeem himself in his own eyes and/or that of the gods.
  • House of the Dragon: In Fire & Blood, Daemon Targaryen beats a messenger within an inch of his life after he learned Viserys had married Alicent. Here, it is changed to him doing it because Viserys offers to send aid to the war in the Stepstones and Daemon feels slighted at the thought of needing his brother to bail him out.
  • In the original comics, Oswald Cobblepot was given the harsh nickname "penguin" by bullies as a child because he was short, obese, and had a beak-like nose. In Gotham, Oswald is of average height and thin. His nickname and subsequent Berserk Button comes from the fact that he has a limp, making him look like he "waddles" when he walks.
  • Merlin is generally an In Name Only adaptation of the Arthurian Legends, but does this trope on occasion. For example, the dragon under the castle comes from a story where a young Merlin finds two dragons fighting under a castle, which he then uses to prophesy about future events. Likewise, The Reveal about Morgana fits the most famous legends, except that here she's Arthur's half-sister through Uther, rather than their mother, altering the reason for her vendetta.
  • One Piece (2023):
    • Because Koushirou lacks the sexist beliefs he had in the manga, Kuina's sadness over the idea that she'll inevitably be surpassed as a swordfighter by her male peers due to being a woman come off less as the result of influence from her father's sexism and more as the result of low self-esteem.
    • While the Going Merry is still named after Merry, it's origin is changed from him having simply named it after himself due to being the ship's original designer to Luffy choosing the name in tribute of him after he's killed by Kuro.
    • Because Garp appears much earlier in this series than he does in the manga, the context behind him meeting the Straw Hats and them learning that he is Luffy's grandfather is different. In the manga, Garp meets with them during the Post-Enies Lobby arc, and the meeting is completely amicable. In this series, the Straw Hats meet him after leaving Syrup Village as he begins attacking them.
    • In the manga, Mihawk arrives at Baratie because he's intent on chasing down the rest of the Pirate Armada, with him being there at the same time as the Straw Hats being sheer coincidence. In this series, Mihawk goes to Baratie with the specific goal of finding the Straw Hats per orders by Garp.
    • The situation regarding Nami's departure from the Straw Hats during the Baratie arc is changed. In the manga, she stealthily steals the Going Merry while everyone else is busy dealing with Don Krieg, with Luffy knowing to go to Arlong Park thanks to Yosaku informing him that she was holding Arlong's wanted poster. In this show, Arlong shows up at Baratie, leading Nami to openly switch sides and leave on his ship.
    • In the manga, Luffy has to Work Off the Debt to Zeff after accidentally redirecting a cannonball into the Baratie restaurant to pay off the damages. In the series, the crew eats a massive amount of food and Luffy tries to pay with an I.O.U. after he finds the One Piece which Zeff wasn't having. Zeff cancels Luffy's debt in the manga after he saves Baratie from Don Krieg. Because this show has Don Krieg Demoted to Extra and Luffy fighting Arlong in a battle he loses, this is changed to Luffy sneaking away without warning so that he can go after Nami, with Zeff having Sanji go after them so that he can pursue his dream.

    Music 
  • In Kidz Bop's version of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida", a song told from the perspective of a fallen king, the line "Revolutionaries wait / For my head on a silver plate" is changed to "Revolutionaries wait / For my food on a silver plate" which... what? It implies the revolutionaries care about the king being well fed.

    Video Games 
  • In Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, most animations and lines are kept intact with Frank West using Chuck Greene's place. However, there are a few lines modified for the newer story, yet the animations still fit the context perfectly. For example, Psychopath and CURE member Brandon Whitaker is the one who bombs the arena gates instead of Sullivan in Chuck's outfit. Chuck reacts to the footage with shock and is outraged at being set up while Stacey backs away from him in fear. In Off the Record, Frank reacts to the footage and is outraged at Stacey while she backs away explaining her organization's being set up. A more traditional example can be found in the cutscene introducing Slappy the Psychopath. The line "Everybody knows me! I'm Slappy! And everybody knows you!" goes from angry accusation at Chuck (as he was framed for the outbreak) to squee for Frank (as he was a TV celebrity).
  • Doom (2016) does this with the comic's "Rip and Tear" line, turning the comedic ravings of a madman into a Badass Creed establishing that the player character is The Dreaded for The Legions of Hell.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: During the ball scene in Cinderella, when the Tremaine family see Cinderella dance with the prince, not knowing she's the stepsister they hate so much, the daughters are amazed of her beauty and want to meet her, while Lady Tremaine tries to get a closer look. In Kingdom Hearts, the lines are the same, but this time, they're furious over this matter, and summon the Unversed to murder everyone at the ball.
  • LEGO The Lord of the Rings borrows sound clips from the movies and changes the context of some of them. One example is "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!" In the movie, it was a Bond One-Liner and reference to cannibalism. In the game, the orcs are celebrating getting a pizza delivery.
  • In the GBA game based off Revenge of the Sith, Obi Wan calls Grievous "so uncivilized" before their fight. In the actual movie, this line was directed towards the blaster that he had to use to kill him.
  • Super Robot Wars, being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover that revels in altering the plots of its series. In T alone, Char drops his orginal series line "Because he's a spoiled brat" in reference to Glemmy Toto, his "I'm doing something extremely wicked" inner monologue during an Enemy Mine with Londo Bell, and shouts "Begone, Axis! Along with my unpleasant memories!!" while helping push the rock away from Earth.
    • Quite possibly the most dramatic change in the series comes courtesy of Super Robot Wars X. In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Mariemaia describes the titular waltz as the way "The three beats of war, peace, and revolution continue on forever" in the standard Forever War most Gundam universes are trapped in. In X, the bad guys kidnap her after she gives the speech because it shows that she's figured out the truth: Her world is one of three being secretly controlled by an Eldritch Abomination that feeds on the negative emotions of humans. It's the one manipulating events to ensure that permanent peace is never achieved, but to ensure the people don't go numb and stop producing enough pain and sorrow, it gives the worlds breaks by rotating them between the roles of "World of Peace", "World of War", and "World of Revolution".

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Gruffalo, the lines beginning "But what is this creature with terrible claws..." are the narrator describing the mouse actually encountering the Gruffalo. In the BBC Animated Adaptation, the same lines are the predators comparing notes on what the mouse has told them.

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