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Adaptational Explanation

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When an adaptation of a work is made, writers often make changes to the plot. One way of doing this is by giving a reason for something that was not explained in the original. This usually happens in works that have Adaptation Expansion, where the story in the adaptation is longer than in the original work. Sometimes this is done to avoid a Plot Hole.

This happens a lot with book adaptations of films, where we get a look at the characters' thought processes concerning their actions and extended scenes. The book may be adapted from an early draft of the script, and hence may include explanations and details that ended up being cut from the movie for the sake of pace or brevity (or changed, just to confuse the issue). The tabletop roleplaying game adaptation of a film or book will often include huge amounts of explanation or expansion, because player-characters and scenario plots may want to poke around areas of the setting that didn't feature much in the original. Compare All There in the Manual.

Can overlap with Cerebus Retcon if the explanation is dark.

Named by the Adaptation is a subtrope, where the adaptation gives a name to someone or something that was unnamed in the source material.

The opposite of this is Adaptation Explanation Extrication, where the original work explains the plot point, but the adaptation doesn't.

When an attempt to do this creates more questions than it answers, it's a kind of Voodoo Shark.


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  • CN City serves as a City of Everywhere where all the Cartoon characters on Cartoon Network live and work at, and gives off several examples of this trope in-action for the Cartoons to certain degrees.
    • Chief among them is how come Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have glass windows to their bedroom in some episodes but do not in others. Due to the 3D environment that makes up CN Cities' Bumpers; one such Bumper showed the girls flying home through their windows: which are revealed to be on swivel joints similar to a revolving door that the girls fly through.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: By the end of his first week after meeting Shizuka, Rentarou transcribes the entire text of her favorite book into a text to speech app completely by hand, when a sensible person would download an ebook or Kindle version for said app. However, in the anime, Shizuka mentions that the book series she uses for communication was never released in a digital format.
  • Ace Attorney (2016): This happens in "Reunion, and Turnabout" (the second case of Justice for All). In the case, Phoenix's friend, Maya, who is a spirit medium, is accused of murdering her client while being possessed by a spirit she was supposed to channel. Turns out the girl she was supposed to channel, Mimi Miney, was actually alive and killed the client to keep it a secret, while Maya's aunt Morgan, whose help was necessary to pull this off, wanted Maya framed to get the position of the master of their clan. This, however, leads to Fridge Logic: While Mimi had much to lose if it was found out she was alive, it wasn't as much as a sentence for murder, and if she didn't know what kind of person Morgan was, how did she know she wouldn't turn her over to the police the moment she asked her for help with the murder? The anime version of events explains this: She didn't. Mimi's plan was to bribe Morgan into faking the channeling and it was Morgan who made Mimi into an accomplice by threatening to reveal the fact that Mimi was alive. Since Morgan knew that Mimi was desperate to keep it a secret, she knew Mimi would comply.
  • The Asteroid in Love manga never directly explains why it took so many years for Mira and Ao to reunite; the reason was only somehow implied in Chapter 26, as Ao is troubled over her father's impending transfer, and the fact that she'll have to say goodbye to her friends, at which point she mentions "things like this happened many times before" in her Inner Monologue. In the anime, a line was added to Ao's Inner Monologue during the part of second episode that adapts Chapter 5, when she notes she "had to move far away" a few days after The Promise.
  • The anime adaption of The Case Files of Jeweler Richard introduces lapis lazuli and ultramarine a couple of episodes before it’s actually needed; in the novels, the reader is just meant to assume Richard explaining the properties of this gem happened off screen at some point.
  • In the Dragon Ball manga, the evil warlock Babidi is on a blind hunt searching for Piccolo, Goten, and Trunks, who have seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth. However, somehow between chapters, he goes from only knowing their names, to knowing the complete address of just one of them, without any indication of how he picked up the information. The anime changes this by reintroducing the vindictive mother of the boys Trunks had beaten in a tournament sometime earlier, and explains that she gave Babidi the information he wanted out of sheer pettiness.
  • In the book A Dog of Flanders, the windmill catches on fire, but there is no explanation given as to how it came about. In the 1975 TV series/1997 movie, the windmill catches fire because Hans forgot to oil the gears, leading to parts of it getting overheated. In the 1992 anime, someone accidentally drops their cigarette while inside, not realizing it needed to be put out. Regardless of how it happened, Nello is still accused of setting the windmill on fire because Alois's father doesn't want a poor boy hanging around his daughter.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl as well as their remakes, there's a trio of Psyduck blocking the way north on Route 210 and the player has to head to Route 215 to find the Secret Medicine to ease their headaches, never explaining why the player can't just fight the trio. Pokémon Adventures turns this roadblock into a huge mass of Psyduck that Diamond, Pearl and Platnium can't fight their way through and it's later revealed it was a convoluted plot by Team Galactic to force Paka and Uji (The ones who were supposed to be Platinum's bodyguards to Veilstone City to be ambushed.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, it's never really explained why the player can't harm Zacian or Zamazenta during the Hopeless Boss Fight at the start of the game in the Slumbering Weald. In the manga, the Zacian and Zamazenta that are encountered by Henry and Casey are illusions hence why they can't be harmed. Plus, it's later revealed that these were set up by Sordward and Shielbert to steal the Rusted Sword and Rusted Shield and kidnap most of Casey's Pokémon with the exception of her Scorbunny.
  • In Squid Girl, it's never explained how Squid Girl is able to lift heavy things with her tentacles despite being so small. The anime adaptation explained that her bracelets can control her center of gravity, making it able to lift heavy objects.
  • In Sonic Adventure, it's never explained how Birdie managed to escape from the Egg Carrier - it's first seen tumbling out of the sky without explanation. In the Sonic X adaptation of the arc, the bird (now named Lily) is shown escaping during the Tornado's initial pursuit of the Egg Carrier - the Tornado's attacks tear a hole in the Egg Carrier's hull, and Lily falls out of that hole and straight into Amy.
  • In the original Tower of God Web Comic, there's no explanation given for why Hwaryun attacks Bam and Rachel during the Crown Game, leading to Bam's Die or Fly moment where he uses Shinsu for the first time. Really, it seems to make no sense at all considering her real goals and affiliations. The anime adaptation shows Hansung Yu telling her to do so to test Bam's abilities by invoking Die or Fly by threatening Rachel. This also explains why Hansung would have run the Crown Game at all — something that's questioned by Lero-Ro right after the game, while the answer given by Hansung is both vague and opposite to his true goals.
  • In Transformers: Cybertron, the Tagalong Kids who were there for no discernible reason in the original Japanese Galaxy Force version are now around because only they can hear a certain sound made by the Plot Coupons.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow becomes King of the Emerald City after the Wizard departs. The sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz, introduces the idea that there was a royal family who ruled the Emerald City before the Wizard took over, and when the Scarecrow is deposed by General Jinjur's army, Glinda refuses to help restore him to the throne because he has no more right to it than Jinjur has — even though she approved of him taking the throne at the end of the previous book. In the anime The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which adapts both books, Glinda explains that when she approved of the Scarecrow becoming King she thought the royal family had died out, and only since then had learned that the rightful heir had been hidden away but was still alive.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX never explains why some Muggles have the power to see and communicate with monster spirits. The American dub gives Sartorius a line explaining that monsters choose to reveal themselves to those they trust.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Stranger Things spin-off comic we learn how Nancy was able to escape the Upside Down. Will heard Nancy's screams and found her but because of the Demogorgon was unable to call out to her. When he noticed her looking at the gate in the tree, he threw a rock to distract the Demogorgon which enabled her to sneak out.
  • Ultimate X-Men: The idea of the X-Men hiding seems a bit at odds with the iconic sign at the entrance "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters". In this case, it is explained: it is a joke of Xavier, who trusts in his psychic powers. Other than the X-Men themselves, anyone who looks at it reads that it is the "Westchester Chapter of the Jehovah's Witnesses", and leaves them alone.

    Fan Works 
  • The Ace Savvy Extended Universe: Lincoln's maternal grandmother's absence is explained as her having died.
  • All Mixed Up! adds in the concept of Odd Squad precincts serving as welcoming committees of sorts for newcomers to the town the precinct is located in. This is demonstrated by Precinct 13579 sending Olive and Otto to welcome Mariana Mag, who recently moved to Toronto and has opened a new aquarium.
  • In Life Is Strange, the hurricane that devastated Arcadia Bay was a Clock Roach that manifested because Max used her rewinding ability to save Chloe's life. In AWE Arcadia Bay (Rogue_Demon), it's an AWE (Altered World Event) caused by a manifestation of the Hiss possessing Rachel Amber's corpse, her iconic blue feather an Altered Item used as a conduit to achieve this. This would further imply that Max's Time Rewind Mechanic powers were a symptom of all of the unusual activity that happens in-game (the off-season snow, the beached whales, the optical illusion of the moon) rather than the cause.
  • Code Prime:
    • The fate of the Ark is never alluded to in Transformers: Prime, as it was last seen barreling uncontrollably toward the space bridge. Here, it crashes into the Pacific Ocean.
    • It's also never addressed how Starscream got to Earth, since Megatron kicked him out of the Deceptions by that point. Here, while he was still a member of the Cons due to an Adaptational Backstory Change, his lack of involvement in the final battle is due to him and the rest of the Seekers being ordered to reach Earth the hard way.
    • Code Geass never explained how Lelouch, Euphemia, Suzaku, and Kallen ended up on Kamine Island. Here, it all but outright states that V.V. was involved, teleporting them there with the Thought Elevator along with Optimus, Dreadwing, Bumblebee, Rai, and Nonette as bargaining chips to gain an alliance with Megatron. In addition, it was also to trigger a trap that would accelerate the growth of Lelouch's Geass so it would go out of control sooner rather than later.
    • The Insecticons' presence on Earth was never explained in the cartoon. Here, Kickback's dialogue implies that they were transported to Earth when Grimlock destroyed Shockwave's Spacebridge tower in Fall of Cybertron.
    • Transformers: Prime never fully explained why the Decepticons' new base Earth was called New Kaon in Season 2, and later Darkmount in Season 3. It's stated here that New Kaon is the territory, while Darkmount is the actual fortress.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, it's never explained how the imposter Captain Tennile was able to Kill and Replace the real captain without his crew noticing. In from porcelain to ivory to steel, the imposter is actually the real Captain Tennile's Evil Twin, killing his own brother while the ship was out at sea.
  • Gomez Learns a Lesson is a fanfiction of The New Addams Family which explains Gomez's line "Never go to sleep angry or on fire". It turns out that the reason Gomez was on fire was because he'd put a cigar in his pocket.
  • If You Didn't Stop Me tries to explain the Noodle Incident mentioned in Ghostbusters (1984) where Egon apparently tried to drill a hole through his head. It remains a bit of an Ambiguous Situation, but it's implied he was either depressed, possessed, trying to gain Psychic Powers or talk to the dead, or a combination.
  • Jimmy's Visit With Dr. Franklin: The reason why Jimmy committed the shooting was never brought up in the episode, here, it was one part of Jimmy’s plan to bring his brother back to life.
  • Lincoln's Memories: "Nothing But the Tooth" explains how Lincoln Loud chipped his tooth (Lynn accidentally threw a ball in his face) and why he cried for three hours in Luan's video in "Making the Case" (he was disappointed that his plan didn't work).
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Marinette seems to have no ties to her Chinese heritage and doesn't speak a word of Chinese. Several fics have expanded on this.
    • In True Sight: Secrets of the Miraculous, it is explained that the discrimination Sabine faced in her youth for being the child of a couple of Chinese immigrants made her feel like she didn't belong anywhere, so when Marinette was born, she thought that it would be easy for Marinette to be raised exclusively as a French girl. When Marinette expresses desire to reconnect with her Chinese heritage, Sabine wonders if she didn't go a little overboard since society is more accepting of minorities now that it was during Sabine's youth.
    • In Lady Luck (Miraculous Ladybug) it's explained that Marinette can speak Chinese—but only the Yueh dialect, which is useless for communicating with her uncle, who speaks Mandarin.
  • The Noodle Incident explains the incident which named the trope Noodle Incident from Calvin and Hobbes — Calvin threw pasta at his classmates.
  • Patterns of the Past:
    • The fanfic gives the name "Olesya" to Oprah's boss when she was an Investigation agent. Her boss was named "'80s Ms. O" in the credits and was never given a proper name.
    • Going back further in the Odd Squad Precinct 13579 Director line, Olesya's boss was named "Old Missie" despite her never being mentioned in canon. Old Missie's full nickname is "Old-Fashioned Ms. O", named as such for her old-fashioned clothing preferences, while her actual name is "Obedience".
    • Part of Olesya's backstory, detailing her time as an Investigation agent, is touched upon, even though it was never brought up in any official material.
  • A Professor and a Student: In canon, Ash has expressed multiple times that he wants to catch a Dunsparce, but has never succeeded. In Adults but not Grown-ups (the first pseudo-sequel to this fic), Ash explains that his dad has one for a partner, which he considers to be "so cool", and that he's always wanted one just like it.
  • Reacting to The Loud House
    • It's finally disclosed how three separate April Fools events ("April Fools Rules", "Fool's Paradise", "Fool Me Twice") can happen within the same year: When the Loud family was watching Groundhog Day, Lisa was fascinated by the idea of the time loop theory that Murray's character was put through on said holiday through so many cycles. She subsequently spent up to Valentine's Day making a machine that can cause a time loop, in which all you have to do is enter a date and it would happen. After April Fools Day, she wanted to test out her machine on Groundhog Day itself as the movie inspired her. Unfortunately, Lily's cries for a diaper change startled Lisa, making her press the wrong buttons and she entered on March 26, to which the machine activated; that was around the pranking at the motel. She put the machine away for storage. A week after Lincoln and Lori returned from their visit to Great Lakes City, where Lincoln met Ronnie Anne's friends, Lisa was cleaning her closet and accidentally activated the machine, and the family was all sent back to March 26 once more, which was the time of the doubles incident. Seeing that her invention was dangerous, Lisa immediately shut it down and destroyed it, ending the time loop at last.
    • Lincoln is on good terms with Cristina and Paige.
    • "Making the Grade" takes place before "The Green House", "Attention Deficit" takes place before "Sleuth or Consequences", and "The Price of Admission" takes place before "Snow Bored".
    • The costumes in the trunk in "Cover Girls" were modified to be easy to take on and off quickly which is how the siblings were able to change disguises so fast. It was also revealed that Lincoln did not actually soil the diaper when covering for Lily. He stepped on one of Luan's whoopee cushions for the effect.
    • When Clyde is helping Lincoln recreate his memories in "The Whole Picture", the costumes he wore of his sisters also came from the trunk used in "Cover Girls". It is further revealed that Mr. and Mrs. Loud also had pictures of Lincoln's memories that were deleted from the computer and gave him a backup copy.
    • Rita's maiden surname is revealed to be "Willard" in No Such Luck Part 1.
    • In No Such Luck Part 1, it's revealed that Lynn's reasoning for Lincoln being "bad luck" can be explained by this: she was playing the same method, strategy, and technique for every game up to that point, which for a while was a winning streak, but because she was using it so often, her opponents studied and trained to counteract it, which is why she lost, as explained by Leni. She used different "rituals" after realizing that the last ones probably wouldn't work after she lost in the previous game, thus the other team wasn't able to counteract it that time, which in turn is how she won.
    • After "No Such Luck" many fans wondering how later episodes went back to normal with him not viewed as Luck charm and having to wear a mascot costume. In this fanfic, Joe brings up one of Lincoln's memories on the screen where two weeks after the luck ordeal while at the beach, Luna found him passed out from a heat stroke. This is what finally convinces them to drop the luck perception. They rush him home where they hydrate him, only for Lincoln to get a fever from having a delayed reaction from having to wear that mascot suit for so long. He is then out sick from school for a couple of weeks to recover, and the sisters forego all of their events during that time to tend to Lincoln.
  • Rugrats:
  • Super Mario Sunshine: A Sprite of Light:
    • Super Mario Sunshine never explained how Bowser Jr. figured out that his father was lying and Peach wasn't his mother. In the adaptation, Bowser Jr. did truly believe his father's lie for awhile. That was until he overheard three of the koopalings talking about their distaste for Bowser lying to him.
    • In addition, it also shows how Junior flooded the entirety of Isle Delfino using the hot water from Corona Mountain. Out of a need to release stress after the revelation from the previous example, Bowser Jr. borrowed Wendy's disguise and used Aqua's powers to summon a tsunami, covering the whole town.
    • Bowser, after his defeat and apologizing to Junior, he tells the truth about his real mother. Turns out he doesn't have one, nor did Bowser. They come from a whole line of Identical Ancestors who would clone themselves using magic as part of the royal tradition. This idea was borrowed from another fanfic series, Super Koopalings.
  • The exact reason the king that Itsuki killed was overtaxing his people was never explained in The Rising of the Shield Hero. In A Special Kind of Magic, his lands had an extremely poor harvest and he's using the taxes to try and recultivate the land.
  • Ships Ahoy! expands on quite a lot of things that are established in Odd Squad, but not expanded on whether intentional or not.
    • Numerous characters are given extensive backstories involving their life before Odd Squad that branch of from canon backstories from when they were employed with the organization. Oprah, Carol, Oscar, Oren, and Obfusco all get origin stories in this manner.
    • How Odd Squad agents age, and if they have Immortality abilities, is a commonly-discussed topic in the fandom, but the show never addresses it. This adaptation runs with the generally-accepted Fanon theory that the badges keep agents young, and they have three options for how they want to age — they can age normally and leave when they turn thirteen, they can stay the same age they are currently and remain that age until they quit, or they can age at a slow pace and put off their final choice until they near the age of thirteen. Whatever option is chosen by the badge's wearer is how the badge will be configured by the Director in charge.
    • The origins of Oscar's secret weapon in "Rise of the Hydraclops" are shown in this adaptation, whereas the episode just shows him burying the weapon when he was five. He first learned about the creature in a book about Odd Squad's gadget history and did research on it until he came up with using a secret weapon — his own sock — to stop it.
    • The disease that Oprah gets in "The Odd Antidote" isn't named officially, but the fanfic gives it a name of "Opuntia Braccaeveridis poisoning" and shows that it can increase the production of a victim's growth hormone as well as injecting the hormones of other species into the body.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Then I Said, "Oatmeal?! Are You Crazy?!" explains why Pinkie Pie said that line in a story she recapped in an episode of the show. As it turns out, she had said it in her foalhood after being served oatmeal but disliking how it looked.
  • Total Drama
    • Total Drama All-Stars Rewrite: Owen and Noah's reasons for continuing to star on reality TV (as mentioned in The Ridonculous Race) are explained here as the result of Chris making them do so in exchange for giving them more money to help Noah fund Dawn's animal shelter.
    • Predator and Prey: Due to the story expanding upon the events of World Tour by showing what happened off-screen, there's plenty of this.
      • Bridgette's feelings for Alejandro are explained to be the result of Alejandro raping her during the flight to Egypt, which causes her to develop Stockholm Syndrome (rather than simply just Bridgette being unable to control her hormones as the show implied).
      • Bridgette's apology song is explained here as being written by Trent to help her with winning Geoff's heart back, since he and Justin both believe she would never have willingly cheated on Geoff and thus side with Bridgette when Geoff breaks up with her.
      • Noah's Ship Tease moment with Bridgette in the Yukon is explained here to actually be him intent on getting closer to Bridgette in an attempt to warn her to stay away from Alejandro for her own good. However, the author speculates that Noah still actually has a crush on Bridgette.
      • Ezekiel's feralization is explained here as the result of him getting a brain injury while hiding in the cargo hold when the plane crashed in Jamaica, causing him to lose the ability to speak properly and most of his higher mental functions.
      • Beth's inability to answer the question about Duncan in Aftermath Aftermayhem is explained here to be intentional on her part (since Action established that she knows everything about her fellow contestants) as part of the Peanut Gallery's gambit to get rid of Blaineley.
      • We also see how the contestants survived the volcano's eruption in the finale of World Tour; they were all rescued by the interns and taken home to Canada safely (except Alejandro, who is left for dead by everyone).
  • Jim Sangster's Doctor Who Novelisations style adaptation of "Dimensions in Time" comes up with explanations for most aspects of something that was pretty close to a Random Events Plot, including why the Rani chooses Albert Square for her scheme, which plays on the nature of EastEnders:
    Generations of families had been born here, lived out their lives and died within the same quarter mile. They spoke in hushed tones about jobs ‘up west’ or ‘south of the river’ while Albert Square’s unique gravitational pull stopped them from ever leaving for good. His wife, Pat – née Pat Hills – had grown up nearby and married Pauline’s brother, Pete. Even years later, after they had divorced and Pete had married Kathy, Pat found herself returning to the square – and drawing Frank in with her. 

    It was the same for all of them – every single resident of Albert Square. Their complex family trees were horrifically interwoven. It was not unknown for individuals to discover that their sister was also their mother, or parents who’d been buried and mourned long ago were still alive and longing to return. Albert Square was a chronological, genealogical impossibility. And the perfect location for the Rani’s trap.
  • Nan The Keyblade Master's fanfics:
    Big Lantern Ghost: Oooh, welcome to my humble abode… You have trespassed in the Toy Box… and the general does not like that. For now, you must be silenced.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Antasma is the Warm-Up Boss but this is never followed up on when he appears later when Mario and Dreamy Luigi finally get to confront him after he kidnaps Peach. In Touhou Dream Team, he tried attacking Luigi and Meiling in their dreams but he wasn't at full power yet and most likely wasn't expecting Mario, Reimu, Marisa, Natsu, Erza and Flandre to fight back in the dream.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Gaston does not appear in Beast's Castle despite being the Big Bad of Beauty and the Beast. In Chapter 131 of Super RWBY Gaiden, after Pete fishes Gaston out of the River Styx, Gaston explains to Maleficent that he was on the verge of killing the Beast but was done in by a guy in a black cloak. A flashback shows that Xaladin had arrived and blown away the angry mob, blocked Gaston's blunderbuss shot with his spears (after the former said Xaladin was pretty good with the wind) and then threw a spear through Gaston's chest, killing the hunter instantly.
  • This is the purpose of the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 fanfic "We finally found something a bit meatier." Every chapter expands on something from the game, from minor Plot Holes (showing how Lanz and Sena went from Teeth-Clenched Teamwork to best buds literally overnight) to longer backstory expansions (how Triton became Moebius, what the Vandham family was doing while away from the City for centuries, etc).
  • Better to Reign in Heaven: In the original Fallout 3, it's indicated that the memory chip that allowed Horace Pinkerton to make the runaway Synth into Harkness was stolen from Vault 112... but according to Horace's notes, he didn't know whose memories were on it and couldn't alter them to that end, raising the question of why a chip with Harkness's memories and personality were encoded to a chip in Vault 112, given that nobody by that name is known to have lived there. Better To Reign In Heaven answers this by revealing that Braun was playing games with the memories of his subjects and created the persona of Harkness for Dithers just so he could see what would happen when the male identity awoke in the body of a woman - but Pinkerton stole the memory chip before the experiment could take place.
  • Convergent Devil: In canon, there's no real explanation for why Alvida believes the only difference eating her devil fruit caused was getting rid of her freckles besides possibly just being extremely delusional. Here, it's stated to be a side effect of her devil fruit to prevent extreme body dysphoria over suddenly weighing roughly one tenth as much as before.
  • In One Piece the Dangerous Forbidden Technique of the Six Kings Gun can only be performed by someone who has completely mastered the Six Powers without ever explaining why. In This Bites!, it's explained that the techniques of the Six Powers are all used together to perform the Six Kings Gun; using Iron Body and Paper-Art to balance strength, immobility, and flexibility, using the concepts of Moonwalk and Tempest Kick to feel and affect the air around oneself, using Shave to compress all the explosive movement into one single action, and Finger Pistol for the mentality to turn oneself into a living weapon.
  • Discworld: The short story "Troll Bridge" ends with Cohen holding a piece of paper containing three addresses, despite the fact that — as established in Sourcery and The Last Hero — he can't read. The Snowgum Films adaptation reveals in its closing theme that his Sapient Steed can, and tells him where to go. The song also goes into further detail as to what happened when he arrived at those addresses, which the story left open but heavily implied.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017):
    • The film explains why Belle and her neighbors know nothing about the castle in the nearby woods or about the Prince-turned-Beast: the Enchantress's spell has erased all memory of the castle and everyone who lives there from the outside world. The original fairy-tale has a different explanation (the Prince's family ruled a different land and the enchanted castle wasn't his own, but just his temporary home for the duration of the spell), but in Disney's animated version this is a Plot Hole, which the live-action version fills.
    • Interestingly, the live-action adaptation itself has this trope occur, too. Here, the Beast's library contains a magical Portal Book that allows the reader to travel to any location just by thinking about it. The Beast explains that the Enchantress left it as a "cruel trick"—even though he could technically leave at any time, he would still look like a hideous monster and be shunned wherever he goes. That's all well and good...until Belle discovers that Maurice is ill and the Beast decides to allow her to leave the castle to go to him, which is proof that he loves her. Unfortunately, the presence of the Portal Book leaves audiences wondering why Belle simply didn't use it to warp to Maurice instantly, then travel back to the castle with him. That question is answered in another adaptation: The Beast's Tale, the official manga. It's explained that only the Beast can make the book's magic work, meaning he would have to travel with Belle directly into her village to rescue Maurice, likely leading to all three being attacked or even killed.
    • Similarly, the film explains specifically why the servants were also cursed alongside their master. The original movie never went into any detail about this, making it seem like she did this for no reason. The movie outright clarifies that the servants think they were cursed specifically for failing to curtail their master's behavior when he was a child, allowing his cruel father to mold him into a monster.
    • The original movie does not explain why Belle's mother is nowhere to be seen. This movie explains that she died of the plague.
  • Cinderella (2015) explains why Lady Tremaine hates Cinderella. It's because she lost her two husbands and is simply trying to support her two daughters.
  • D-Day, a remake of Commando, have a few scenes that actually makes more sense than the original. The Schwarzenegger original have the hero jumping off a plane and landing in a marsh without any injuries; the remake have the hero stealing a parachute instead. The original also have a massive artistic license with weapon safety where the hero hangs his grenades by the pins - the remake have him keeping them in proper pouches.
  • Dragonheart:
    • The film implies that Queen Aislinn had a loveless marriage to King Freyne, which led to a troubled relationship with their son Einon, but never goes deeper into it. The novelization reveals Freyne was a dragonslayer (also explaining how Draco knows of him) who claimed her as a bride of conquest since he only coveted her beauty and slaughtered Aislinn's dragon-loving people. The union left Aislinn unable to love Einon, making it easy for Freyne to corrupt the prince and make Einon a tyrant like himself or worse.
    • The film makes Bowen look like a fool for missing the obvious signs that Einon was always no good until Einon tells him, despite other characters like Draco telling Bowen to wake up and smell the coffee beforehand. The novelization has a moment where Bowen asks Gilbert if Einon's evil could be because he was bewitched, and Gilbert replies upfront that no one can bewitch the devil.
    • In the film, Gilbert tells Bowen he's on a pilgrimage but never says why. The book and a deleted scene reveal Gilbert is trying to find Avalon to pray to King Arthur and his Knights buried there to bring back the Old Code.
    • Bowen looks like an idiot for not recognizing Draco as the dragon he's been hunting for years. The novel has Bowen remember Draco as a dragon missing the middle claw on his right hand from a prior attack from Freyne and having a scar on his chest after sharing his heart with Einon. Bowen checks each dragon he kills for these signs; when he meets Draco again, Draco's right hand has been reduced to a "maimed stump," missing some fingers and claws.
    • The movie heavily suggests that Einon rapes Kara before she stabs him in the shoulder, but the plot point never comes up again. In the novelization, Kara soon reveals to Bowen that Einon raped her.
    • In the film, Bowen's character arc of an honorable knight turned cynical dragonslayer and reverting to a knight of the Old Code is incomplete. The book explains that Draco uses the cons with Bowen to pick at Bowen's conscience as he sees the peasants suffer under Einon's rule. Bowen is at the end of his rope when he, Darco, and Kara arrive at the swamp village, no longer able to justify conning the king's minions as the locals are gaunt, starving, and beyond poor. The desolate atmosphere forces Bowen to face the reality of Einon's oppression as Kara previously urged him to, a plot point nonexistent in the film.
    • Reuniting with Bowen at the swamp village, Gilbert is surprised that he's still alive and in one piece. The novel explains that Gilbert wakes the morning after Bowen and Draco's standoff, finds Sir Eglamore's decayed arm on the ground, and mistakes it for Bowen's.
  • Fahrenheit 451: In the movie, Montag explains to Clarisse that firemen wear a helmet with the number "451" because Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper catches fire. It's never explained in the book and instead said in the book's tagline.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In the books, students at Hogwarts tend to be referred to according to their houses ("a first-year Gryffindor" or "a third-year Ravenclaw" and so forth), even though the books are meant to be from Harry's perspective; Harry isn't in a position to be keeping track of which house every student belongs to. In the films, the Hogwarts robes are given color-coded scarves and neckties corresponding to the four houses, meaning anyone can tell which one a student belongs to just by looking at them.
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets explains why Harry couldn't use Parseltongue to communicate with the basilisk when he fought it in the chamber. In the book, he never even tried for no adequately explored reason. Still, in the film, Riddle immediately dissuades him from doing so by telling him that the basilisk will only obey the Heir of Slytherin. The book explains that according to legend, "the Heir of Slytherin alone" can control the monster, but that was probably because no one but the heir was expected to speak Parseltongue.
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: In the book, Harry casting the Patronus he'd initially attributed to his father resulted from a random "Eureka!" Moment on his part. The film adds in other cases of future characters influencing past events (Hermione throwing the rocks into Hagrid's hut and howling to distract Lupin in his werewolf form) so that there was a solid basis for his realization there.
  • Hulk:
    • Bruce's mother in the film, Edith, mentions that Bruce has always been "bottled up," but that was before her tragic death. The novelization reveals David previously gaslit Bruce into believing he should suppress his anger or else bad things will happen to him or Edith if he ever gets mad again, planting the warning into Bruce's subconscious.
    • In the film, Bruce and Betty being colleagues despite the antagonistic history between their respective fathers seems like a case of life working in mysterious ways. Bruce also believes he may have met Betty when they were children since they lived in the Desert Base area simultaneously, but the film does not answer. However, the novelization reveals they did briefly meet as kids, and years later, Talbot arranged for them to work together as part of a grand scheme to put the screws to Bruce.
    • The film doesn't explain whether or not David escaped from imprisonment or was released and how he can have a house and job after the heinous crimes he committed. The Peter David book reveals that Talbot released David from the mental hospital as another part of his plan to get to Bruce. David murdered the Berkeley lab janitor, Benny Goodman, and took his ID and house to pass off as him at the lab, thinking he'd fly under the radar in an invisible job.
  • In the short film Johnny Lingo, it isn't clear why an islander would have the European name Johnny Lingo. The Legend of Johnny Lingo explains that Johnny Lingo's original name is actually Tama, but he got the name from one of his guardians named Johnny Lingo, who in turn got the name from another Johnny Lingo.
  • In Dracula, while it is implied Dracula massacred the crew of the Demeter, there is enough evidence to suggest he was innocent and one of the crew did it instead. The Last Voyage of the Demeter removes any ambiguity by showing Dracula attacking the ship's livestock and crew.
  • MonsterVerse: The three films' novelizations each provide quite a bit, including explaining away plot-holes present in the films.
  • Star Wars: An interesting case in where the explanation is different across explanations, but in Legends, the reason Sith use universally red lightsabers is because they create their sabers with synthetic crystals, all of which end up being red for some reason. In the new Expanded Universe, the blades are red because the Sith forcibly dominate another Jedi's Kyber crystal into serving them, causing the crystal to bleed.
  • Warcraft: In the main continuity, a series of RetCons had left the origins of Garona Halforcen a jumbled mess. Originally she was intended to be a half Orc, half human Child by Rape result of Orcs abducting human settlers. This made sense in Warcraft, when Orcs were presumed to have been in Azeroth for a long time prior to the start of the game. However, when later games retconned the invasion of Stormwind to occur immediately after the Orc's arrival on Azeroth, it raised the question of how an adult Half-Orc could exist at a time when the two species had only just met. Numerous explanations for this were attempted over the years, such as claiming that Garona was actually half-Orc, half-Draenei (another alien race that had been on the Orcs' homeworld for several centuries) who just happened to look half human for.... Some reason, or that she was rapidly aged with dark magic, or even that she wasn't a half-Orc at all, but was magically given the appearance of one to elicit sympathy from the humans of Azeroth. Ultimately none of these stuck, and Garona remains a bit of a Continuity Snarl in the game series. However, the film managed to avoid the issue by revealing that, decades before the events of the film, the human Archmage Medivh visited Draenor with magic and impregnated an Orc woman, keeping Garona's original heritage while still providing a logical way for her to exist in the revised time line of the later games.

  • Agatha H. and the Airship City: The medium allows for an easy addition of detail that the more comical comic omits.
    • The prologue is set 16 years before the main story starts and focuses on Bill and Barry Heterodyne, who have only been seen in flashbacks (and alluded to by storytellers) in the comic.
    • Small details and background information are added, particularly with Krosp and his creator Dr. Vapnoople.
  • Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess:
    • Agatha and Lars' relationship is given more time to develop.
    • The Passholdt Fried Cream Things are apparently deep-fried lemon custard. The book includes a recipe. The recipe actually works.
    • Jägers take up human hobbies to reconnect with their lost humanity. Dimo apparently knits multicolored socks.
  • Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle: There are descriptions of the way the empire uses intimidation tactics to try to avoid outright war and battle that are not in Girl Genius itself.
  • Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg:
    • One new point covered is how Lucrezia found out about the great movement chamber and set up her lab below it.
    • The scene with Zola and Lucrezia is expanded from the comics, with Lucrezia explaining more of her original plan to take over Agatha's mind and her new plan to Zola's body.
    • Gil and Tarvek's argument over the latter's role in helping Lucrezia in Sturmhalten is expanded upon significantly.
  • BIONICLE novelizations:
    • Web of Shadows goes way deeper into the characters' thought process than the animated movie. Vakama's fall to the dark side is abrupt in the film. The novel explains it was mostly a ploy to get closer to the villains and find out where they're keeping the Matoran folk captive, until Vakama touches Makuta's throne and its power corrupts him. Notably, he doesn't get to touch the throne in the film, as he's already fully brainwashed by that point.
    • The novel explains why Roodaka and Sidorak have a personal vendetta against the six Rahaga and also what the Rahaga even are: they're former Toa guardians who stole the Mask of Light from Roodaka and Sidorak, for which Roodaka mutated them into diminished, freakish Rahaga. This also explains how Vakama's team found out about the Mask of Light, which would have tied back to the Mask of Light movie. Though these explanations were excised from the film, some of them were at least mentioned in the DVD bonus features.
    • The characters in the film The Legend Reborn are fairly basic, while the novelization adds a lot of depth. Kiina is revealed to be a Stepford Smiler who only pretends to be cheerful and very slightly manipulates Mata Nui into helping her. The novel even points out how nonsensical some of the film's dialogue is. It also adds an entire chapter fleshing out Tuma and his Skrall tribe, explaining that they want to conquer Bara Magna because they are hunted by even more dangerous foes from up north who have driven their kind nearly extinct, forcing them to strike a deal with Metus. In the film, Tuma and the Skrall are portrayed more as dim-witted brutes with no backstory whom Metus has simply taken advantage of. Their mysterious adversaries, the Baterra, are not alluded to, as they were kept for the sequel that never got made.
  • Doctor Who Novelisations:
    • The novelizations of the first stories from Classic Who added various details to the episodes and even expanded a little more the details that were unexplained, usually written by the same scriptwriters of the series. This helped in actual years to get better help to recreate the Missing Episodes with modern technology, as well using the audiobooks of the time.
    • In "The Daleks", the pacifist Thals are under threat of being wiped out by the Daleks but refuse to compromise their ideals, even in self-defence, until Ian proves that they do have things they're willing to fight for by seizing the Thal leader's fiancée and pretending he's going to trade her to the Daleks for his own safety, which prompts the Thal leader to punch him in the face. The TV version never explains how a man from a society that has been entirely pacifist for generations came by the idea of punching people, apparently assuming it to be something that all men know instinctively; the novelization adds a scene in which one of Ian's earlier attempts to bring the Thals around to the idea of constructive violence involved describing and demonstrating the sport of boxing.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode Not So Awesome Blossom, the fight against Mojo Jojo's robots at the beginning of the episode ends with Blossom seemingly randomly flying around without bothering to attack the robots for no reason even as they continue trying to fire at her, resulting in all the destruction that leads to her loss of confidence for the course of the episode. In the children's book retelling of this episode, Blossom is explicitly described as having herself and her sisters fly around without attacking in an effort to draw the robots' fire while flying in between them so as to hopefully cause them to destroy each other, only for one of the robots to end up surviving and cause all the confidence sapping damage.
  • The novelization of Revenge of the Sith plugs a lot of odder things in the original film.
    • In the original film, it's never quite elaborated on why Anakin is so angry to be denied the title of Jedi Master other than just pure entitlement. In the novelization, it's explained that Masters can also access parts of the archive that are off-limits to Jedi Knights, and Anakin hoped that this might include an answer to the quandary of whether he could save his wife.
    • While the original film is somewhat vague on how often Anakin's been suffering from his visions, the novelization explains that he's been having them practically on a nightly basis, to the point that he's started skipping out on sleep altogether. This not only shows why he's so convinced they're real, but also gives some context for his strange behavior.
    • Dooku's psychology gets far more elaboration, including what he thought he would get out of teaming up with Palpatine: he was under the belief that Anakin would capture him alive, and then he would pull a "redemption" in prison after "learning" the atrocities of the Separatists, then rejoin the Jedi Order and corrupt it from within alongside Palpatine and a freshly-turned Anakin, turning it into a Sith army and an arm of Palpatine's new Empire. This is why he's so shocked that Palpatine orders him killed instead.
    • Anakin's suspicion and paranoia about Obi-Wan and Padme is elaborated on in a subplot that explains he suspects they're having an affair—hence why he immediately turns on her when he sees Obi-Wan emerging from her ship.
    • Yoda's change in personality between the prequels and original trilogy gets some explanation in internal monologue during his fight with Palpatine: Yoda comes to the epiphany while fighting Palpatine that the Jedi way, as he has learned it, was wrong—it was designed to defeat the old Sith that they fought thousands of years ago, not the modern Sith exemplified by Palpatine, who have reinvented themselves specifically to counter the Jedi. This is why he chooses not to have Luke and Leia raised by him and Obi-Wan, as he believes that the "raised from birth" methodology of the old Jedi was part of what made them so inflexible, and why he develops a disdain in the "warrior" part of being a Jedi, despite having been a great duelist, as he comes to accept that focusing on the physical was what rendered the Order blind.
    • In the original film, Palpatine defeats three Jedi Masters over the course of about five seconds, with all of them going down like chumps despite being experienced fighters. The novelization gives considerably more detail and alters Palpatine's dialogue, having him play dumb to their investigation at first (behaving as if he's an unarmed old man who has been accosted by four armed warriors in his office) before asking one of them to read his mind. Since this requires the Jedi reading his mind to lower his guard, Palpatine is able to kill him in a surprise attack, and then follow up in the resulting panic by stabbing a second Jedi through the head. It's also implied that Kit Fisto lasted at least a bit longer. This also explains why Palpatine's accusations are so happily accepted by the Senate; Palpatine records most of this, and to someone not there, it sounds as if Palpatine was repeatedly threatened by the Jedi, was baffled at their accusations, and then the sounds of a scuffle with lightsabers ensued until the recording device was destroyed.
  • The two-hour episode "The Way of the Warrior" in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had a minor subplot where Drex and some other Klingons assault Garak on the station and a second one where after the Klingons threaten to open fire on Deep Space Nine they dismiss Sisko's threats as "thoron fields and duranium shadows". The novelization of the episode ties these two together — Drex was assigned by Martok to get intel on DS9's defenses, and Garak figured it out. Garak then provoked Drex and his thugs to beat him up by making them think he had the information. Only Garak had dummied up a fake report by a "Chief Tam O'Shanter" saying that DS9 had minimal weapons and any scans would show false readings.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed novel by Sean Williams not just expanded what we saw and played in the game, also gives the Player Character (The Apprentice, codenamed Starkiller) a proper name and a background: Galen Marek, son of the late Jedi knight Kento Marek (unnamed in the games and killed in the first episode). His mother is briefly mentioned, but in the novel as well in TFU II got a name and a background too (Mallie Marek, also a Jedi Knight who died when Galek was just a baby).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the original Good Omens book, it's never explained how Crowley managed to get holy water other than it having been dangerous for him to acquire. The Good Omens (2019) miniseries shows that he got it from his angel friend Aziraphale.
  • In Hogfather, most of the beings created by excess belief (the Verucca Gnome, the Cheerful Fairy, and so on) materialise somewhere relevant to their role (usually UU). Billous, the Oh God of Hangovers, however, appears in the remains of the Hogfather's castle for no clearly explained reason (except that it's the focus of the gap in belief, but that doesn't explain why nobody else appears there). The Sky1 adaptation adds a scene in which the Hogfather's "little helper" reacts to his boss's disappearance by getting very, very drunk, even saying that he'll have "the mother of all hangovers in the morning".
  • House of the Dragon: The books (neither Fire & Blood nor anything in the canon of A Song of Ice and Fire) don't given any reason, outside of ambition, as to why Aegon and his sister-wives decided to land in Westeros to establish a new kingdom. Here, Viserys reveals to Rhaenyra that Aegon had a vision of something terrible happening in the future and felt that he needed to unite Westeros under his house to save the whole world. The wording of said dream reveals that Aegon foresaw the Second Long Night.
  • In an early episode of Masked Rider, a trio of skull-faced monsters are pointed out to have a weakness to water, and Masked Rider is able to destroy them by tackling them into a lake. This weakness is not mentioned in the original Kamen Rider BLACK RX, where going in the lake just makes them explode for no apparent reason.
  • The first episode of Mirai Sentai Timeranger has a bad Unexplained Recovery moment when the Timerangers are trapped in a crashed ship which explodes with them on it... and are inexplicably uninjured afterward. In Power Rangers Time Force, Trip frees himself and gets the others off the ship before it blows.
  • One Piece (2023) does this for the map of the Grand Line. In the manga, the map, as well as the conflict against Buggy to get it, is a case of Early-Installment Weirdness, as not only would it later be established that Buggy is already familiar with the region, the idea that there's a complete and useful map of the Grand Line is completely laughable. In this show, the value of the map is instead implied to come in the form of giving the topography of Reverse Mountain, the treacherous route that the Grand Line is entered from.
  • The Last of Us: The original game doesn't explain why the infected react violently to the uninfected to the point of killing them, a contradiction for a parasite whose literal life goal is to spread to new hosts. The TV series has the infected become violent only when they find opposition to the spread; if a person undergoes a Heroic BSoD and allows themself to be infected, the infected will gently do it.

  • Pinocchio: The Musical gives an explanation to Pinocchio's ability to be alive even though he's a wooden puppet: he was a very ancient pine tree that was struck by lightning and fell down, and was given a second chance of life by the Blue Fairy (who is an Anthropomorphic Personification of the moon in this adaptation).

    Video Games 
  • Black Mesa: A couple of unexplained plot threads from the original Half-Life are given explanations here:
    • Why certain scientists and guards won't follow you past a certain point is often justified — for example, the first guard you encounter after the Resonance Cascade stays behind to try and contact the surface.
    • It's never explained why the marines that stuffed Gordon in the trash compactor in "Residue Processing" never checked to Make Sure He's Dead. Here, examining the control room of the compactor reveals one marine as a Headcrab zombie and the other reduced to Ludicrous Gibs, implying that Headcrabs teleported into the room and attacked them, with one marine accidentally blowing himself up with a grenade in panic.
    • The original game does state that the HECU is getting pounded by the Xen Invaders and are ultimately forced to flee because of this, but this came off as an Informed Attribute because HECU forces would usually win against the Xenians in individual skirmishes. Here, while all NPCs gained several levels in badass, the Xenians took more, and will usually win skirmishes against the HECU. Additionally, several new scenes are added that emphasize the Xenians' might, such as two scenes where Alien Crafts use attacks to destroy tanks, and an Emergency Broadcast System announcement reveals that they're invading all of New Mexico, making the retreat look more justified.
    • The "Hazard Course" add-on comes with a justification for Gordon receiving weapons training during a course primarily meant for becoming acquainted with the HEV Suit: he was accidentally signed on for the security guards' "Firearms 101" course along with the standard HEV training, and rather than let the resources go to waste the coordinators insisted that he go through with it anyway.
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake): The original never explained why Birkin never attempted to trick the U.S.S. by giving them a different viral container than the G-sample, beyond him being stressed and holding the Idiot Ball. Here, HUNK explicitly states that Birkin was to be brought in alive with his samples, meaning that deceiving them was pointless.

    Web Animation 
  • Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged does this for the original Final Fantasy VII regarding Shinra's plan to use Huge Materia to blow up Meteor. In the original game, no reason was given for the party stopping their plan, making Shinra look like a Designated Villain as a result, as Shinra was still trying to stop a meteor from obliterating the planet. In this version, the party members point out how dangerous blowing up Huge Materia in the atmosphere would be, essentially treating it like detonating a magical nuke, which would lead to horrible aftereffects for the planet, thus giving the heroes a good reason to stop Shinra's plan.
  • Turnabout Jackpot explains why the Jurist System, a major part of Apollo Justice's climax, isn't around for Dual Destinies. Basically, the rampant corruption that defines "the Dark Age of the Law" is so entrenched among the higher-ups of the legal system that they feared the wider implementation of the Jurist System, thus they buried its future under a pile of red tape.

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars did this with the "Transmetal 2" toy line, so named because they were the 2nd wave of Transmetal action figures. In the cartoon, they give this an explanation: the Plot Device of the Transmetal Driver is what creates the Transmetal 2 upgrades. However, some of the transformers adopted from the T2 line received their transmetal forms without the driver; thus they're not technically Transmetal 2's even though they're part of the same toy line.
  • Fangbone!: The original Fangbone! Third Grade Barbarian books never gave a proper reason for why it was Venomous Drool's big toe that was the MacGuffin, simply going with the idea for the sake of grossout humor. The show goes into greater depth about this, with episodes like "The Breaker of Oaths" and "The Keeper of Toe" giving actual explanations as to the origins of the Toe of Evil.
  • Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon only had the first season/arc of the original anime/manga to go on, and gave its own explanation for the absence of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto: that Queen Beryl had already conquered those planets and stolen the power gems from them that were needed for transformation.


Video Example(s):


CN City - PPG Windows

While not shown in the series how the Powerpuff Girls are able to have Windows to their bedrooms but be able to go through them as though there's a hole in them due to the limitations of 1998 animation, CN City offers up that the Windows are actually on a swivel that revolves around when the Girls fly through them.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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