Follow TV Tropes


Adaptational Job Change

Go To

A character in an adaptation, remake, reboot, Alternate Continuity and so on has a different occupation than in the original source material.

This can happen for a number of reasons. It could be the original job may not have paid a lot, didn't suit the character or maybe because of changes in technology or society. The job may also be left out of the adaptation or become an Informed Attribute if the adaptation simply has no narrative use for it.


This trope is different from New Job as the Plot Demands; that trope usually involves the character changing jobs within a continuity. And this is not to be confused with Adaptation Dye-Job, where just a character's hair color changes.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bokurano
    • Takami "Komo" Komoda's father is a naval officer in the manga and a Diet member in the anime. In both cases, he's the one who Komo first tells about Zearth, and helps bring it to the government's attention.
    • Kanji's mother's job is tied to the Ascension Towers in both versions, but in different ways. In the manga, she was an architect and assistant director of the project to build the towers, while in the anime, she's a scientist who works in the towers.
    • Daichi's uncle, Kengo works in construction in the manga, and owns a newspaper in the anime. As a result, Daichi helps his uncle with construction in the manga and is a paperboy in the anime.
  • Almost all of the adults in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT have a different job than they do in the main series (though this is pretty much required since it's an Elementary School AU for a work of Military Science-Fiction). The only constant is that Nanoha's family still runs a cafe (and even then, her father is a barista instead of a baker).
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Red and Blue Misty is a gym leader. In the Pokémon anime her three older sisters (who are Canon Foreigners) are the gym leaders of her gym instead. This was later reversed when Misty was Put On The Bus as Ash's travelling companion. Misty is now a gym leader.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Blue is shown to have become the new gym leader of Virdian Gym. His anime counterpart, Gary, however, instead ends up aiming to be a Pokemon Professor like his grandfather, while the role of new Viridian gym leader is instead taken by Agatha, who in the games is an Elite Four member.
  • Sailor Moon: What Reika is studying in school (so she can have that job later) changed from mineralogy in the manga to archaeology in the anime (though it resembles paleontology more when we see her in episode 41). Also what college she's attending changes, from K.O. University like Motoki to Azabu Technical College.
  • In Splatoon, Callie and Marie have a news show where they announce the stages. In the manga, they not only do that, but they're also Turf War announcers.

    Comic Books 

     Fan Works 
  • Rise from Darkness does this accidentally. Written in 2001, there was still confusion amongst Metroid fans about just what Samus' job entailed. She's a Bounty Hunter yet she doesn't fully fit the criteria. As a result, the fanfic has her as a cold-blooded Professional Killer.
  • Warriors Redux changes Medicinecats into Seers by removing the nursing element of their job. This was done both because the author disliked the usage of Healing Herbs with obligate carnivores and because cats using herbs was deemed too anthropomorphic This change results in the seers all having an Adaptation Personality Change (especially Spottedleaf) because seers are known for being whimsical and "off".

  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo is changed from the Archdeacon of Notre Dame to the Minister of Justice, presumably at least partly to avoid controversy from having a man of the cloth as a villain.
  • In the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, the dalmatian Pongo's human owner has a vaguely-referred-to job in the finance sector. In the animated film 101 Dalmatians, he is a songwriter, giving the filmmakers an excuse to include some song-and-dance numbers.
  • In The Snow Queen, Gerda is from a middle-class family. Anna, her counterpart in Frozen, is made into a Royal Princess, the younger sister of the ice-powered queen.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:
    • The movie changes the Peter Parker of Spider-Man: Noir from a reporter to a private eye.
    • Zigzagged in the case of the Peter Miles Morales replaces. In the aforementioned Ultimate Marvel universe, Peter was a webmaster from the Daily Bugle's website. Here, the Peter of Miles's role does have the traditional job of photographer.

    Films—Live Action 
  • The live-action 101 Dalmatians has Roger as a video game designer; the original Disney animated film had him as a songwriter.
  • Several characters undergo this in the film adaptation of Street Fighter
    • Chun-Li was changed from Interpol agent to news reporter.
    • Ryu and Ken are changed from martial artists to conmen martial artists.
    • Subverted with E. Honda and Balrog, who used to be a sumo-wrestler and boxer respectively, as in the games until their careers were ruined by M. Bison, and now work with Chun-Li on the news;
    • Subverted with Sagat who's a retired fighter turned mob boss, while still working as a bodyguard for M. Bison like in the games.
  • In A Dog's Purpose, Maya is search-and-rescue dog Ellie's second handler after her original one ends up with a Career-Ending Injury. The film adaptation had Ellie being shot and killed instead of her handler. Thus, the film created a Canon Foreigner reincarnation named Tino. Maya was changed into a college student who adopts Tino.
  • Barney Rubble in The Flintstones is Fred's co-worker at the Quarry, while in the cartoon his job wasn't even revealed.
  • The Punisher: Frank Castle was a Vietnam veteran who lost his family to crime and waged a one-man war on mobsters and criminals. One movie makes him a cop instead, and other continuities have him serve in more recent conflicts.
  • In both the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and most adaptations, Beauty's father is a merchant. In the Disney animated version, he is an inventor, while in the Disney live action version, he makes music boxes for a living.
  • In The Giver Fiona's job was changed from Caretaker of the Old to Nurturer, which allowed her to help Jonas and Gabriel escape.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • While he still ended up as a reporter in the Daily Planet, Man of Steel introduces Clark Kent first working at an oil tanker.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Jimmy Olsen is changed from a journalist at the Daily Planet to a CIA Agent.
    • In Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn is shown to have been a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, prior to becoming a villain. note 
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man changes James Rhodes military branch from USMC to USAF.
      • Obadiah Stane is also changed changed to being Tony's business partner rather than a rival.
    • The Incredible Hulk changes Betty Ross from a Military Brat to a bioloigist who working on the same project as Banner.
      • Samuel Stern was a worker at a chemical plant in comics and in the movie is a University Professor
      • Abomination is changed from a Russian KGB Agent to a member of the Royal Marines.
    • Thor changes Jane Foster's job from nurse to astrophysicist.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
      • Sam Wilson goes from an ex-criminal and social worker to an ex-USAF pararescueman and a VA councilor.
      • Alexander Pierce goes from a SHIELD field agent to a member of the World Security Council.
      • Sharon Carter starts out as a SHIELD agent like the comics but later joins the CIA.
      • Brock Rumlow goes from a criminal and terrorist to a SHIELD spec ops agent.
    • Ant-Man makes Hank Pym a former soldier and SHIELD agent.
    • Captain America: Civil War changes Zemo from a wealthy German Aristocrat to a ex-Skovian specials forces operative. This leads to a case of Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames given he was called Baron Zemo in the comics.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming Vulture is changed from an inventor who was screwed over by his business and became a super-villian to a construction foreman who was screwed over by the government (and Tony Stark)and became an Arms Dealer.
      • Shocker and The Tinkerer are changed from a professional criminal and safe-cracker and super-villian weapons designer respectively to construction who worked for Tombs before they turned to crime (though Tinker does become a weapons designer in the film)
      • Mac Gargan and Aaron Davis are similarly is changed from a Private Eye and window washer respectively to criminals.
      • Finally Betty Brant is changed from Jameson's secretary to part of Peter's High School class and an anchor for the high school news show.
    • Black Panther (2018):
      • Princess Shuri is a historian and anthropologist in the comics, but The Movie made her a scientist (and the head of Wakanda's Science Department at that).
      • Nakia went from being a Dora Milaje to a War Dog (Wakanda's spy group).
      • Okoye gets an Adaptation Job Promotion, going from only a noteworthy Dora Milaje in the comics to being The Leader of said order.
      • Zuri went from being a veteran Wakandian soldier to a High Priest who is a retired War Dog.
      • Ayo is already expelled by the Dora Milaje in the comics when introduced, but she's still employed in The Movie.
      • Similar to Okoye, the film version of M'Baku gets promoted to the Wakandan high council at the end of the film.
      • The film made Erik Kilmonger's father a War Dog and Prince of Wakanda.
      • Everett Ross went from a US Department of State functionary to a USAF pilot and CIA Agent.
    • Captain Marvel (2019):
      • Maria Rambeau, a seamstress in the comics, is now a pilot in the US Air Force.
      • Minn-Erva is a Kree sniper as opposed to a Mad Scientist.
  • Annihilation (2018):
    • Downplayed with Lena. While still a biologist like in the novel, her specialization is implied to have been changed from ecology to cell biology, likely something involving cancernote . This fits with the setting being seen as an ecosystem in the book, while it is compared to a tumor in the movie. She's also got the surveyor's military background from the novel.
    • The other three members of the expedition team were changed from a surveyor, an anthropologist, and a linguist to a geologist, a physicist, and a medic.
  • The Snowman (2017): Arve Støp was a magazine owner in the novel, but here he's a tycoon.
  • Death Wish (2018): In the original novel, Paul was an accountant. In the original film, he was an architect. Here, he's a surgeon.
  • In The Chink and the Child, the protagonist is in the navy. Broken Blossoms changes him into a Buddhist missionary.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time (2018), Mrs. Murry is a physicist like her husband, while in the books she's a microbiologist. (This might have caused a problem if there was any chance of the sequel being adapted, since her cell research is an important plot point.)
  • Franchise/Batman
    • In Batman Returns Comic Book/Catwoman is shown to a secretary to Canon Foreigner Max Shreck. In the Comics she borded on having a Multiple-Choice Past but was never a secretary in any of them.
    • Batman Forever has Riddler go from a former Carnie to a former employee of Wayne Enterprises who starts up his own business.
    • Batman Begins has Henri Ducard go from a famous French detective to a member of the League Of Shadows their leader Rha's Al Ghul to be percise also Rha's also has he goals change from the saving the environment by wiping out most of the human population to trying to save humanity as a whole by destroying cities that become what he sees as beyond saving. Similarly Victor Zsasz is changed from a Serial Killer to Professional Killer for Carmine Falcone and Scarecrow goes from a former university professor to one of the head doctors at Arkham Asylum. Lucis Fox is also changed CEO of Wayne Enterprises to head of the Wayne Tech Applied Sciences Division Bruce does make CEO after becoming Majority-Share Dictator however.
    • The Dark Knight Salvatore Maroni is changed from The Rival to Carmine Falcone to a Dragon Ascendant who takes over most of Falcones operation during the nine month Time Skip
    • The Dark Knight Rises Comic Book/Bane is the leader of the League Of Shadows or he is actually The Dragon but whatever a position he never held in the in the comics. (However Rha's did test to if Bane could be his heir in the comics.)
  • In the live-action Kim Possible film, Bonnie and Kim are on a soccer team. In the cartoon, they're on the cheerleading squad. As a reference to this, in the film Kim asks Bonnie when cheerleading tryouts are, only to be told that Middleton prefers soccer over football.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wizard is revealed to be not a wizard at all and he's a sideshowman/ventriloquist/magician from Omaha, Nebraska. Emerald City updates his character to a a low-ranking power plant technician from Kansas.
  • In The Mortal Instruments books, Luke Garroway is a bookseller, the TV adaptation Shadowhunters he is a police officer.
  • The Expanse: Downplayed. In Leviathan Wakes, James Holden started out as the XO of the Canterbury. In the show, he was the Cants 2nd Officer, having no interest in the XO position.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Happens to the entire Black Canary family. Dinah Laurel Lance went from being a florist to a respected lawyer, while her mother Dinah Drake-Lance went from being a police informant to a history professor. Her father Quentin Lance started as a detective much like his comic counterpart, but is eventually promoted to Police Captain, then resigned, and then Deputy Mayor of Star City.
    • Mia Dearden is introduced as a prostitute, but her counterpart Thea Queen's first official job is a bar owner.
    • Subverted by Iris West. She's a journalist in the comics, but is introduced in the show as a barista before becoming a journalist later on.
    • Cisco Ramon went from street gang leader and break dancer to an esteemed engineer.
    • Ronnie Raymond went from being a jock to an esteemed engineer.
    • Cat Grant went from columnist and reporter to a media mogul and CEO, though she do occasionally mention that she started as the former two.
    • Jimmy Olsen went from photographer to Art Director then acting CEO, though he is a retired photographer.
    • Hank Henshaw goes from scientist to (former) director of D.E.O. The same can be said to Martian Manhunter, who impersonated him for over a decade and then got hired to do the real thing.
    • Lucy Lane went from flight stewardess to JAG.
    • Alura Zor-El went from Housewife (by Kryptonian standards at least) to Judge.
    • Lar Gand aka Mon-El went from Daxamite explorer to a Decomposite Character respectively consisting of a father and a son who are the King and Prince of Daxam.
    • While still a criminal, Prometheus is introduced as a legitimate lawyer (the DA, in fact).
    • Julio Mendez was Barry's fellow forensic scientist in The Flash (1990). Here he is seen as Da Chief on Flashpoint and in the new timeline as a musician.
    • Clifford DeVoe goes from a lawyer to an Evil Teacher.
    • Lyla Michaels went from historian to eventual director of A.R.G.U.S. following Amanda Waller's Death by Adaptation.
    • Eobard Thawne's present day ancestor went from con-artist to police officer.
    • Hunter Zolomon went from Police profiler to an unemployed but notorious Serial Killer.
    • Reign works as CFO for Luthor Corp.
    • Savitar is still a cult leader, but it’s revealed that he was a forensic scientist (due to being Barry Allen's time anomaly) before his slide into villainy instead of a pilot.
  • Game of Thrones made few changes from A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Bronn takes Ilyn Payne's role as Jaime Lannister's swordmaster teaching him to fight Southpaw after losing his right hand.
    • For most of Season 2, Arya Stark becomes Tywin Lannister's cup bearer, unaware who the former is (though he did noticed that she was too educated to be a commoner).
    • For a time, Ramsay Bolton successfully usurps his father as the Warden of the North and Lord of House Bolton.
    • Sandor Clegane joins the Brotherhood Without Banners.
    • Tyrion Lannister was named as her Hand by Daenerys Targaryen.
    • Cersei Lannister was able to take the Iron Throne for herself. She also names Qyburn as her Hand. It should be noted that this happened at a point in the show the books have not reached yet.
    • Pyp is made a steward of the Night's Watch instead of a ranger. Edd is implied to have gone the other way, becoming more combat oriented, and later becoming Lord Commander.
    • Jon Snow was crowned King in the North. As with the previous examples, this happened at a point in the show the books have not reached yet.
  • Orphan Black: 7 Genes changes several character professions from the series it was based on, namely:
    • Sarah Manning is introduced as a hardened con-artist, but her counterpart Sara Aoyama is seen working at a factory in the Pilot before quitting.
    • Unlike Felix Dawkins who is a Starving Artist and is also a con-man, his counterpart Kaoru Aoyama is straight-laced and more well-off, evidenced by his lofty apartment.
    • Makio Iwaki doesn't have his counterpart Paul Dierden's military background.
    • Instead of her husband, the Nosy Neighbor of Alison Hendrix's counterpart is her monitor.
  • Black Lightning is a high-school teacher in the comics and most media. The TV adaptation instead introduces him as a school principal, though he was a teacher.
  • Happens a lot in Power Rangers being adapted from Super Sentai:
  • The various Netflix shows for the Marvel Cinematic Universe have greatly changed some characters' career paths:
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Played with for Karen Page. She begins season 1 basically the same way as her debut in the comics went, with her being the newly hired secretary for Nelson & Murdock. However, following Nelson & Murdock's breakup in the back part of season 2, she ends up at the New York Bulletin as a reporter, and ends up taking over the confidant role normally played by Ben Urich in the comics (due to Ben having been killed by Wilson Fisk at the end of season 1). Then in season 3, she's fired from the Bulletin and ends the season back at a reformed Nelson Murdock & Page as an in-house private investigator.
    • Luke Cage (2016): Luke's background is changed from petty criminal to a Marine and later a deputy sheriff. However, the petty criminal is still there and is the cause for his rift with his half-brother Diamondback.
      • In the same vein, Mariah Dillard is as much a criminal as she is in the comics, but she's now also a city councilwoman.
      • In the comics, Raymond "Piranha" Jones grew up in poverty and lost all of his teeth by the age of 15, replacing them with long, sharpened steel spikes. He then became a criminal at an early age, eventually rising to the level of crime boss. The Piranha we get in season 2 of Luke Cage, on the other hand, is a Wall Street financier. The origins of his nickname were also appropriately changed.
    • The Punisher (2017):
      • In the comics, Micro was a legendary computer hacker from jump who then got forced underground after a few hacking schemes went bad and his nephew got killed. In the show, David Lieberman is an analyst for the NSA who's forced into hiding after an attempt on his life by the DHS Assistant Director for the New York field office due to watching a compromising video of Frank and a bunch of Marines executing an Afghan cop.
      • In the comics, Billy Russo was an assassin with an abusive background who was hired by the Costa crime family to assassinate all those connected to the Castles' murders. In the show, Russo joins the Marines, becomes friends with Frank, and then joins Colonel Schoonover and Agent Orange to profit off a black ops unit that traffics heroin out of Afghanistan. Then, after a mission gone bad, he uses his spoils of war to open a private military contractor firm called Anvil.
  • In The Handmaid's Tale, Serena Joy's pre-Gilead occupation is changed from a televangelist to a Blonde Republican Sex Kitten political pundit (in the vein of Ann Coulter). This is likely due to Society Marches On, as televangelists are no longer relevant in 21st century America.
  • Gotham:
    • In both Batman Begins and the story arc "Wrath Child", flashbacks to the night the Waynes died had Gillian Loeb, the corrupt police commissioner from Batman: Year One, as a captain at the time. Here, he's already commissioner.
    • Outside of a subplot where she temporarily replaced her husband, Jim Gordon, as commissioner following fallout of the events of Knightfall, Sarah Essen was killed as a Lieutenant. Here, she was a Captain and Gordon's superior officer.
  • The Flash (1990) depicts Henry Allen, a doctor in the comics, as a former police officer.
  • In the Superman comics, Lois Lane's father Sam was an army general. In Lois & Clark, he's a cyberneticist.

  • In the opera Hansel and Gretel, the father becomes a broom-maker rather than a woodcutter, allowing his occupation to be symbolically linked to the Wicked Witch's activities.

    Video Games 
  • On his first appearance in Donkey Kong, the character now known as Mario was a carpenter, using his hammer to smash obstacles. In Mario Bros., he and his newly-introduced brother, Luigi, became plumbers, the occupation in which they've become best known.
  • In Mega Man X, Storm Eagle and Chill Penguin were part of the Air Squadron and Polar Region Squadron of Maverick Hunters, respectively. In the remake, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, the two are transferred to the 17th Squadron, the same as X and Zero.
  • Harvest Moon: Back to Nature reuses many of the characters that appeared in Harvest Moon 64, however almost everyone now has a different job in Mineral Town compared to their old roles in Flower Bud Town. For example, Ann's family used to own a ranch in 64, but Ann and her father now runs an inn while Gray is a blacksmith.
  • Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star becomes a bartender in the new game based on the franchise, which takes many cues from the Yakuza series.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us Harley Quinn used to be a psychiatrist. In most comics and in her original Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn was a psychologist.
  • Batman: Arkham Series
    • Batman: Arkham City Hugo Strange goes from being a self-employed Mad Scientist to being a former doctor at Arkham Asylum and administrator of Arkham City.
    • Batman: Arkham Origins:
      • Bane, Firefly, Killer Croc, Electrocutioner, Copperhead are all working as Professional Killers of the highest caliber.
      • The game also has The Riddler start out as an Affably Evil Super-Hacker called Enigma (and he was part of the GCPD Cyber-Crimes division before that) when in the comics he was a carnival employee before donning the green spandex. Similarly Mad Hatter goes from being a Neuroscientist before fully embracing his insanity where he is the owner of a clothing store. Harley Quinn is also seen as a psychologist working at Blackgate Prison instead of one working as an intern at Arkham which was closed at the time of the game and a Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals that Jonathan Crane (the future Scarecrow) works there as well when was a university professor in the comics. The Cold, Cold Heart DLC also reveals that Mr. Freeze not just a Cryogenics scientist but that one that built Cryo Weapons.
    • Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate sees Rick Flag, Jr. with the lower rank of Captain rather than a Colonel.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight:
    • Professor Pyg going from a member of the Circus of Strange to their boss as well as owning a beauty palor on the side.
      • Dr. Alexander Sartorius (Doctor Phosphorus in the comics) goes from a nuclear physicist to a a scientist working for Stagg Enterprises.
    • The series in general does this Aaron Cash. He first appeared in Batman: Arkham Asylum as one of the head guards like in the comics. In Arkham City he is shown to be working as part of the Medical Protection Team in Arkham City (since the Asylum was shut down). Arkham Knight has him as a GCPD officer and acting as Gordon's Number Two.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The original Angelina Ballerina books and the 2002 animated series had Angelina's father as a reporter for the Mouseland Gazette, the local newspaper. In the 2009 CGI series "The Next Steps", Angelina's father operates a music store.
  • In The Boondocks, Tom DuBois' wife Sarah is an attorney just like her husband. But in the animated series, there are no mentions whatsoever of Sarah having any kind of profession, as she seems to only be a housewife.
  • In the original Busytown books by Richard Scarry, Father Cat was a grocer. The 1994 animated series, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, changes Father Cat's occupation to travel agent. Nowadays in the 21st century, various Internet services like Expedia, etc. have made travel agents not as prevalent as they once were.
  • In the comics, Yuri Watanabe is a police captain. In Marvel's Spider-Man, she is depicted as the chief of the NYPD.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson aspires to be a journalist. Her comic book counterpart has had many careers, but that isn't one of them, though this is arugably more in-line with the Ultimate Marvel self, who did express an interest in journalism.


Example of: