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Adaptational Diversity

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An adaptation or Continuity Reboot tweaks the cast so that the cast represents more groups. How this trope works largely depends on where and when it's set. Diversifying the cast can mean numerous things, from adding a more multiracial cast to having more explicitly queer characters.

A lot of the time this trope is invoked to make a work more realistic. Percentages differ from place to place but a fair percentage of people are of a minority or marginalized group, such as sexuality, religion, or ethnicity, so it's expected that at least a few would likely be sprinkled about the cast. The original work may have been restricted by standards of the time, such as casting white actors for characters of color (usually in racist makeup) or only being able to vaguely imply LGBT characters and only confirm them with author statements, while the newer renditions lack such restrictions.


Other times it's due to a Setting Update. The demographic of areas change with time and social norms change. The newer versions of the work modernize it to fit with the times. In the case of a Foreign Remake, casts may be diversified to fit the different country's setting.

A work must have at least 2-3 unrelated changes. If they don't, they go underneath their respective sub-trope instead.

May overlap with Adaptational Gender Identity, Adaptational Nationality, Adaptational Sexuality, Disabled in the Adaptation, Adaptational Curves, and Race Lift. Compare More Diverse Sequel for when it's the sequel, not the adaptation, that is more diverse. Related to Legacy Character. This is also a common reason behind everyone is gay in fan-works, and for Watched It for the Representation.



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    Comic Books 
  • The Jem and the Holograms (IDW) reboot comics are diversified compared to the 1980s cartoon. The original cartoon had body type limitations largely due to it being a Merchandise-Driven cartoon for a doll line, but the comic doesn't have this restriction so characters have a wide range of body types. Various characters are also given Race Lifts and there are more explicitly queer characters than in the source (for example, Stormer and Kimber do away with their Pseudo-Romantic Friendship and become a straight-up couple).
  • Despite being a Period Piece set over 50 years in the past, DC Comics Bombshells is more diverse than the main DC Comics universe. Much of the cast is lesbian or bisexual, there is at least one transgender character, the superheroes come from different countries (instead of predominantly being American), and some of the American characters get Race Lifts instead of being white.
  • In contrast to the all-white, all heterosexual cast of the mainstream comics, the characters in Gotham High are more diverse with Bruce Wayne being Chinese on his mother's side, Alfred being both Chinese and homosexual, Selina Kyle being Latin, the Gordons and Dick Grayson being black and Poison Ivy being Korean.
  • Wonder Woman
    • The original comics had only one black Amazon named Nubia. Ever since the George Perez reboot, the Amazons have been depicted as being more racially diverse, with some Amazons of African, East Asian and Middle Eastern descent.
    • In Wonder Woman (Rebirth) the oft speculated but never confirmed sexuality of several major Amazons finally makes it into the books, with Hippolyta and Diana being confirmed bisexual when all their prior romantic interests had been men and Philippus, first introduced in Vol 2, being in a longstanding loving lesbian relationship with Hippolyta.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) is a retelling and adaptation of Wonder Woman's World War II-era adventures, but while both the Holliday Girls and the Amazons were all white in the original comics here both groups of ladies are far more diverse, with two of the named Holliday Girls getting Race Lifts from their original white counterparts.
    • Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed splits Steve Trevor into a gay couple consisting of Asian-American Steve and African-American Trevor and portrays Etta Candy as a Polish immigrant by name of Henke Cukierek.
  • Inverted for Frank Miller's RoboCop, the comic adaptation of Miller's original RoboCop 2 script as Murphy, Lewis, and Reed are the only ones who still looked like the actors who played them. This resulted in two of the cops, Whittaker and Estevez (played in 2 respectively by a pre-The District Roger Aaron Brown and soap opera actress Wanda De Jesus) becoming two white guys.

    Fan Works 
  • Dæmorphing:
    • Since Animorphs was written in The '90s, there weren't any overtly queer characters. In this series, the teens discover their sexualities as part of their arcs, the Hork-Bajir practice polygamy, and there are a few transgender characters.
    • The humans' religious beliefs, which were only mentioned in passing in canon, are given much more focus.
    • Cassie and her parents were the only black characters in canon, but this series introduces a few original ones as well.
  • The Erins aren't allowed to have explicitly gay characters in Warriors, though they've still written a few in anyway. The Fix Fic Warriors Rewrite does away with this by introducing same-gender romances and even a few transgender cats (including the protagonist Fireheart). It also includes more disabled and mixed-Clan characters.
  • In Formerly Known as Harry Potter?, Lily Potter is a disabled trans girl instead of a cis boy with no apparent physical or mental illness outside of nearsightedness.
  • RWBY: Scars features more queer and disabled characters than in canon. The titular team alone has been changed: Ruby is a female-attracted asexual trans girl (as opposed to a presumably cisgender Celibate Hero), Weiss is lesbian and mentally ill (instead of male-attracted and likely not mentally ill), Blake is noted as bisexual early on, and Yang is explicitly bisexual from the start. The characters are also given slightly clearer defined ethnicities than in the Mukokuseki show due to more emphasis on Fantasy Counterpart Culture, so three out of four members of RWBY are at minimum half-Asian coded.
  • In The Malfoy Series, Harry is biracial and Hermione is black, as well as Draco and Harry being bisexual.
  • In the Scooby Doo rewrite now that i can see your face (i can stand up to anything.), all of Mystery Inc are given Race Lifts and they're all bisexual. Velma also gained weight.
  • Ask the Famous 8!: The original books and television series this is based on did not feature any of these, being written at a time when such were considered taboo. Since the engines are now humans and the story takes place in the present day, sleepyhenry decided to include these changes to reflect the diversity of the modern world. The majority of the cast, including the titular "Famous 8", are of non-white minorities, with a few being mixed-race. In addition to this, there are multiple LGBTQ+ characters, including seven of the Famous 8.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the original comic all of Big Hero 6 was Japanese. The Disney film Big Hero 6 changes the setting to the more multiethnic San Francisco (or "San Fransokyo" as it's called due to the series' Alternate History). Only Hiro retains his Japanese ancestry and even then he's half-white. Wasabi is African-American, Gogo is Korean, Honey Lemon is a Dark-Skinned Blonde Latina, and Fred is Caucasian. The body types are also diversified more.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Andromeda Strain: In the source novel, team Wildfire were mainly white heterosexual men, while this adaptation deliberately changed the characters' ethnicities, sexualities, and genders for the sake of diversity.
  • In Artemis Fowl, Butler and Juliet were changed from "Eurasian" in the booksnote  to black...which had some Unfortunate Implications given that the Butler family has a Legacy of Service to the very white Fowl family. Holly, described as having "nut-brown skin" in the books (though the graphic novels show her as a similar skin tone to Artemis), was played by a white actress, and Julius Root was changed to a woman (which completely negated the significance of Holly's Breaking the Glass Ceiling in the books, being the first female LEPRecon officer).
  • Charlie's Angels (2019): The first incarnation of the Angels where all three of them are minorities: Jane is black, Elena is Ambiguously Brown (both Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott are biracial), and Sabina (now the only white woman in the trio) is Ambiguously Bi.
  • Cinderella (2021):
    • Here, Cinderella is played by Latina Camila Cabello, with a number of Black supporting characters (including her Fairy Godmother being Billy Porter, who is his usual Camp Gay self), unlike most depictions where the cast is all-White.
    • The signs of the vendors' booths in the village are in languages like Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and German.
    • One of the women at the ball is Indian.
  • Cyrano portrays Cyrano as having dwarfism, due to being played by Peter Dinklage, and Christian and Sister Claire are portrayed as black and Tamil respectively.
  • The DC Extended Universe features Aquaman as Half-Maori and the Flash as being Jewish.
  • The Flight of the Phoenix (2004): The original film has a cast of white men. In this version, the cast includes two black guys, one of whom is apparently missing an eye, a Latino guy, a woman, and a Middle Eastern guy.
  • Kenneth Branagh's Hercule Poirot adaptations, per the director's Colorblind Casting habit:
    • Murder on the Orient Express (2017): Doctor Aburthnot is now black, and his friendship with Colonel Armstrong is now grateful for the latter giving him the chance to study medicine. Poirot's friend Bouc was originally a middle-aged manager, now a young party animal with the same job (but is very professional when the situation calls for it).
    • Death on the Nile (2022): Combined with Age Lift. Ms Otterbourne is played by Sophie Okonedo. Her daughter Rosalie is played by Letitia Wright.
  • The Magnificent Seven (2016) has a much more diverse cast than the original film. Not only is the team led by a black Union officer but they have Native American, Asian, (mestizo) Mexican and white members in addition to having a female ally that brings them together to take down the robber baron.
  • Power Rangers (2017): A few race lifts (avoiding the original show's implications in casting the Black and Yellow Rangers as black and Asian) — although Jason is now clearly white instead of ambiguously so, Kimberly is now biracial Indian/Caucasiannote , Billy is black and autisticnote , Trini is Latina and Ambiguously Gaynote  and Zack is Asiannote .
  • The first Twilight film made Bella's human friends more diverse, with Angela made Latina, Eric as Asian, and Tyler now black. In the books, they're all white. As well, the films did away with Stephenie Meyer's claim that all vampires, regardless of original ethnicity or race, become pale white. In the films, the secondary vampires are fairly diverse.
  • Wendy: In this version, Peter plus a number of the Lost Boys are Black. More female characters are added too, Black and White both, to round things out (so it's less "Lost Boys" than "Lost Children").
  • The 2021 version of West Side Story, especially compared to the 1961 version:
    • In contrast to the original's brownface casting of the Puerto Rican characters, they are played Latinos of various ethnicities this time around. Anita is also explicitly Black in addition to Puerto Rican in this version.
    • Anybodys is reimagined as a trans boy instead of a cis tomboy.
    • The role of Doc (a kindly older white man) is given to a new character, his Puerto Rican widow Valentina, with Doc himself dying prior to the story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 4400, which is a remake of The 4400, goes from the original's almost entirely white cast to an almost entirely black cast, plus a few supporting characters who are people of color. Additionally, while the original cast were all straight, there is now a lesbian character, while another is a trans man. Of the white characters, Noah is a trans boy and Mildred has a malformed left hand. Two more minor women of color in the cast are lesbians too. It also turns out that Isaiah's son is gay. Hayden is Black and also implied to have autism.
  • 13 Reasons Why race lifts a lot of the characters - Marcus and Mr. Porter are now black (and the white Jenny becomes the black Sheri), Courtney and Zach are Asian, Jessica is mixed race, Tony and Jeff are Hispanic. Sexuality wise Ryan, Tony, and Courtney become gay. Alex is also revealed to be bisexual in Season 4.
  • Anne with an E adapts Anne of Green Gables and adds black and indigenous characters. A classmate of Anne's is also gay.
  • The Babysitters Club 2020, adapted from The Babysitters Club.
    • Mary Anne and Dawn were white in the books; in the show, they're biracial (half-black and half-white) and Latina respectively.
    • Dawn's father is gay in the show. He only ever dated and married women in the books. The client in the adaptation of "Mary Anne Saves the Day" is trans in the show, while she was not in the books.
  • Brave New World: The book didn't describe many New Londoners as being people of color. Here, they are nearly as common as white people. Additionally, it adds more women, and some male characters (such as Mond) are gender flipped as well. Mond is also given a race lift, becoming black.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina compared to the original comic it was influenced by (although an adaptation of a different comic itself). Sabrina now has a prominent black friend as well as a transgender friend. She gains a black cousin in Ambrose and deals with a group of magical mean girls that includes a black and Asian girl respectively. Ambrose is also pansexual.
  • Cursed: This reimagining of the Arthurian legend makes many classic characters (including Arthur himself) into people of color. Morgana is also revealed to have a female lover.
  • Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. is a reboot of Doogie Howser, M.D., replacing the white male protagonist with a new female Doogie with Asian ancestry.
  • In Doom Patrol (2019), Crazy Jane, who is white in the comics, is played by Latina actress Diane Guerrero. The series also makes Larry Traynor a gay man, played by Matt Bomer and adds Cyborg, who is black, to the cast.
  • The novel The Handmaid's Tale has an all-white cast because the Gilead regime was explicitly white supremacist, and had all black people Released to Elsewhere; the Hulu adaptation dispenses with this aspect in order to avoid Monochrome Casting. A number of significant roles (Moira, Luke, and his and June's daughter Hannah, Nick, Rita) are played by actors of color; there are also actors of color among the smaller roles and extras, especially the Handmaids and Marthas. In addition, Ofglen (named Emily in the series) is shown to be a lesbian, which isn't mentioned in the book (although Moira being a lesbian is book canon). We also see some black Commanders and Guardians (though in the background mostly).
  • Hanna: The Miller family were all white in the original film. Here, the father is South Asian, with both the kids being mixed race. Also, while the film had just one character of color with any lines (an old Moroccan man who helps Hanna) this show adds several supporting characters who are.
  • The Haunting of Hill House introduces characters of color in addition to the Crains (while playing up Theo being a lesbian due to societal changes). Shirley, Eleanor, and Theo all have partners who are people of color (Shirley also has mixed race children).
  • Magnum, P.I. (2018): does this to the two main characters. For starters, Magnum himself is played by Latino actor Jay Hernandez, along with the reinvention of Johnathan Higgens, now shown as Juliet Higgens, who is aged down as well.
  • Naomi (2022): In the original comic, Naomi is the only person of color. Here, her adopted mom and best friend as well are people of color, along with other supporting characters.
  • Once Upon a Time introduces a lot of diversity to classic fairy tale characters. The Evil Queen is played by a Latina; Mulan, Red Riding Hood, and Dorothy become bisexual; Rapunzel, Ursula, Merlin, and Lancelot are black; Guinevere is Spanish. In the seventh season, where new incarnations of characters appear, these include a Cinderella who is Latina and an Alice who is lesbian.
  • Riverdale:
    • Several race lifts, such as Veronica and her family being Latino, Reggie and Dilton being Asian, and Weatherbee, Pop Tate, and Josie (as well as Josie's family) being black. All of these characters were white in the comics.
    • Sexuality changes, including Cheryl being a lesbian and Moose being bisexual. Both of these characters were heterosexual in the comics.
    • Due to this series being Darker and Edgier than its lighthearted suburban source material, quite a few characters are portrayed as mentally ill, notably several members of the Blossom and Cooper families.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: In the original, all of the main cast were straight and White.
    • Here, the main character Liz is a Latina, while Kyle becomes Latino too.
    • Isobel and Michael become bisexuals.
    • Alex becomes both gay and half Native American (Navaho).
    • Maria is now Black.
  • The Shannara Chronicles:
    • Eretria, a straight woman in the books, is bisexual here. In fact, she's with more women than men.
    • Allanon is described as white-skinned in the books. Here, he's played by part-Maori actor Manu Bennett.
    • The people of Leah are described as white-skinned in the books. They're all played by black actors on the show (although two of the show's characters are original).
  • She's Gotta Have It: Two of the main cast (Greer and Mars) are made biracial here, which isn't the case in the original film. Opal and Clorinda seem to be biracial too (like the actresses) as well, though it's not stated, and some minor biracial characters were introduced too. A couple minor White characters are introduced additionally. Nola is pansexual now as well. In the original film the cast was entirely Black, and she's straight.
  • In Supergirl, James Olsen, Hank Henshaw, and Manchester Black are all played by black actors, whereas their comic-book counterparts are all white. The series also features Brainiac 5, played by half-Goan actor Jesse Rath, and a transgender ancestor of Dream Girl who shares her descendant's powers, played by trans actress Nicole Maines.
  • Every Super Sentai series has a mostly-Japanese cast with the occasional Token Minority characters, whereas Power Rangers has main characters from pretty much every racial demographic in North America.
  • Titans (2018):
    • Starfire and Beast Boy are played by an African-American actress and Asian-American actor respectively.
    • Hank Hall's brother Don Hall is black as depicted in the flashbacks.
    • Slade Wilson is portrayed by Puerto-Rican actor Esai Morales. His wife and son, Adeline and Joey, are portrayed by Asian-American actors and are white in the comics.
    • Jay Lycurgo, who is black, has been cast as Tim Drake in season 3.
  • The Umbrella Academy: While the Hargreeves siblings were all Caucasian in the comics, the show makes Allison black, Ben Asian, and Diego Latino. Speaking of the Hargreeves, formerly cisgender female Vanya is now transgender male Viktor.note  In addition, Cha-Cha is played by a black actress,note  Five's boss is now a woman,note  and Diego's Friend on the Force is Eudora (a black woman).note 
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Alanna's Warders here are in a relationship with her and each other. They were not shown to be queer or polyamorous in the books. Stepin also casually mentions that he would be open to sex with them when proposing becoming Alanna's Warder, albeit saying that it would be his first time with a man.
    • In the books, Moiraine and Siuan were temporarily involved while Novices but later only friends, with this portrayed as just a way to relieve youthful libidos. Here, they maintain a passionate (though also secret) relationship well into adulthood.
    • The book character of Siuan has pale skin and blue eyes. Here, she's played by two Black actresses (for her child and adult versions).
  • The Witcher (2019) introduces a countless number of people of color, whereas the original novels hardly ever had anyone with skin that is not pale white. A lot of Race Lift is done for several major characters. As a whole, the show includes black people, people of Indian descent, people of Asian descent, and Latin Americans in one place.
  • Y: The Last Man (2021):
    • The series addresses the question "what about trans men?" and adds one to the main cast, named Sam (he's a friend of Hero) along with other minor ones, with the title becoming more specifically about the last cisgender man. In a brief shot we see that another friend of Hero and Sam, a trans woman, had died in the plague too, since anyone who had a Y chromosome was killed. In the comics, while trans characters did exist, they were minor and this question was not explicitly addressed.
    "We have found plenty of men—just not anyone with an Y-chromosone."
    • This allows a deviation from the comics of women stunned to find a living man. In episode 5, Yorick is able to pass himself off as transgender with some refugees (who even offer him "testosterone if you need it"), and he and 355 realizing it's a good disguise.
    • Dr. Mann emphasizes how thanks to the quirks of genetics, "millions of women dropped dead who never even knew they had a Y chromosome." Thus intersex people also get mentioned, unlike in the comic, such as those with androgen insensitivity (people with it can appear and identify as female but have a Y chromosome).

  • The National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island significantly ups the diversity on several axes. In the original novel, nearly everyone is white and male; the play has actors and characters from several different ethnicities and approaches gender parity, with gender flips for protagonist Jim (in the play, it's short for Jemima) and Dr. Livesey as well as several lesser supporting characters.
  • The 2018 West End production of Company (Sondheim) changed the genders of some characters to include more prominent female and gay roles. The central character Bobby becomes a woman named Bobbie (though all Bobby's girlfriends become Bobbie's boyfriends), while Amy becomes a man named Jamie, with his fiance Paul remaining unchanged.
  • The 2019 Pasadena Playhouse production of Little Shop of Horrors casts George Salazar, a Filipino, as Seymour, and MJ Rodriguez, a black/Puerto Rican trans woman, as Audrey. Additionally, Audrey II is voiced by a woman, Amber Riley.

    Web Videos 
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a Setting Update of Pride and Prejudice, set in present-day America. Its source material is set in the Regency England (so everyone is presumably white, straight, and Christian and they all come either from the middle or the upper-middle class). The Bennetts are white Americans with Jewish relatives, Charlotte Lu and her family are Asian-American, as is Bing Lee and his sister Caroline, and Fitz Williams is gay and black. And Kitty Bennet, one of the younger sisters in the novel, is a literal kitty (Lydia's cat). Its loose sequel series Emma Approved also Race Lifts a few characters, with the Woodhouses, the Churchills, and Augusta Elliot, since Caroline acts as a Composite Character in her place being Asian, and Jane Fairfax being black.

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017) is more diverse than the original. Not only are there more female characters in the main cast (one of whom becomes an amputee after a Life-or-Limb Decision), but LGBT characters are present in a small way. Two members of the supporting cast are the daughters of a gay couple, another is a confirmed lesbian, and major character Launchpad McQuack is now implied to be bisexual. Several characters that were voiced by white actors are now portrayed by minorities, and their characters are revamped to match.
  • In the Continuity Reboot Voltron: Legendary Defender, Lance is Cuban, Hunk is Samoan, Shiro is Japanese and gay, Keith is part alien and implied-to-be-part Japanese-American, and Allura, while technically an alien, has brown skin. Also Pidge is actually female.
  • In the original She-Ra: Princess of Power, the cast was predominantly white. In the reboot, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the cast is much more diverse (or at least are based on a more diverse set of Earth ethnicities, helped that most of this is caused by Actor-Shared Background) — Glimmer is Asian (possibly biracial, due to her mother Angella now being Indian and her paternal family members now being east Asian), Bow is black, Perfuma is Latina, Mermista is Ambiguously Brown (implied to be Southeast Asian), Netossa is lesbian and in a relationship with Spinnerella. Even the title character enters a relationship with Catra, her childhood friend and longtime rival, in the final season. On another level, Entrapta is confirmed to be Autistic. The characters' body types and ages are also more diverse compared to the original, which had most if not all as hourglass-shaped young women. Additionally, the reboots introduce Bow's parents, who are a gay couple.
  • The Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot replaces the entirely Japanese Sailor Senshi of the Sailor Moon anime that it's based on with a multiethnic American cast. Sailor Mercury also uses a wheelchair.