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Adaptational Nationality

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A character's nationality is changed between the original work and an adaptation. This could be done to simplify the Back Story by saying the character comes from the country the work is set in, or to vary the backstories and turn a group from one country into a Multinational Team. Or just because that's the accent the actor has and the creators don't want to risk Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping. The trope may apply to fictional cultures as well as those in the real world.

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Sub-trope to Adaptational Diversity. Compare with Race Lift, which changes the character's ethnicity rather than country of origin (although these may overlap) and Fake Nationality. A Foreign Remake will usually do a nationality change on the entire cast.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Butler, Baldroy's nationality is changed from American in the Manga to English in the anime, though for some reason he doesn't seem to know the words to "God Save the Queen" despite having served in the Army.
  • Sonic X has a fantasy variation. In the games, as shown by Sonic Adventure, Amy naturally lives on Earth and has her own apartment in Station Square. In X, all the Funny Animal characters are from another dimension. While she did have an apartment in Station Square while stuck on Earth, Amy's home in X is a small, rural looking house. The same applies to almost every other SegaSonic character in the anime.
  • Several anime and live-action series (i.e. tokusatsu) have the characters' nationalities changed when imported into South Korea to comply with broadcasting laws, since there is a limit to how much blatantly Japanese content can be broadcast on South Korean television (with some channels banning it altogether). This is because of political tension between the two countries (see Koreans in Japan).

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Pre-Crisis Kristin Wells was an Earthwoman descendant of Jimmy Olsen. In Post-Crisis Superman story arc The Third Kryptonian, she's a Kryptonian woman whose real name is Karsta Wor-Ul.
    • In the New 52 continuity Silver Banshee is explicitly identified as Irish, and coming from Dublin. In the Post-Crisis continuity she came from a fictional island that was between Scotland and Ireland.
    • In the Post-Flashpoint universe, Firestorm, Firehawk is a Frenchwoman who is the official Firestorm Effect of the French Government. In the original continuity, she was an American who was given Firestorm's powers by a villain.
    • In Forever Evil, Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah's backstory is that she grew up in an orphanage in Idaho. However, Wonder Woman reverts to the pre-Flashpoint English heiress.
    • All over the place in DC Comics Bombshells. Harley Quinn is British, Poison Ivy and Barbara Gordon are French, Catwoman is Italian, Supergirl and Stargirl are Russian, Huntress, Joker's Daughter and Zatanna are German, and Kimiyo Hoshi is a Nisei Japanese-American.
    • A number of DC Elseworlds do this, either as the central point (Superman: Red Son is "What if Superman was Russian?") or as part of the set-up (Batman: Castle of the Bat is "What if Bruce Wayne was Victor Frankenstein?", so relocates him to Bavaria).
    • In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) Philippus is now the former nomad queen of the "Ice Lands of Alcyones" rather than having been with Hippolyta from the start of the Amazon nation. She is still one of the oldest and the most loyal of the Amazons by the time of the story.
    • Earth 2:
      • Wesley Dodds is Canadian, rather than American, to emphasize the international nature of the Sandmen organisation.
      • Hank Henshaw/Captain Steel is from the Philippines (and is, therefore Race Lifted to Filipino). He still wears an American flag on his chest, though.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. itself, it is an American organization rather than an international one.
    • Overlap with Race Lift with Abomination and Crimson Dynamo, who are Chinese nationals rather than East European. Swarm is Syrian rather than German (also gender-flipped).
    • Ultimate Spider-Man's Kraven the Hunter is Australian (and a Steve Irwin Expy) rather than Russian.
    • Morbius is Romanian (as result of being Count Dracula's brother in this universe) instead of being Greek-American.
    • Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil are natives of the Savage Land instead of English and American-Zairian respectively.
    • Earth-616 Jessica Drew is ... well, her parents were British and she grew up in a fictional East European country. Ultimate Jessica is Peter Parker's Opposite-Sex Clone, so she's American.
  • In Powerless, Magneto is an American senator instead of a Polish Holocaust survivor.
  • In Spider-Gwen, Felicia Hardy is French (and black).
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    Fan Works 
  • Examples in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
  • The Destiny series changes some of the character's nationalities. In some cases, characters are just changed from being from a country's fictional counterpart to their real world incarnation. Others get outright edited, such as Rapunzel being from Italy rather than a Germanic country.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the original Tarzan books, Jane and her dad her Americans. Disney's Tarzan movie turns them into British people.
  • The Tarzan (2013) CGI film reversed this, with Tarzan and his parents being American.
  • Disney's Aladdin makes Agrabah out to be in the Middle East, implicitly near the River Jordan. But the original story was actually set in China (admittedly, the characters still had Arabic names and customs).
  • Done in Big Hero 6 with GoGo: while she was Japanese in the comics, she's Korean in the film, presumably to match her voice actress. Several of the comic's main cast underwent Race Lifts for the film. San Fransokyo appears to be a Japanese-influenced American city, rather than the actual Tokyo of the comics, suggesting the characters are all [country of origin]-American.
  • In the source book Coraline is British, however in the Coraline film she is American.
  • The Invincible Iron Man turns the normally-American Pepper Potts English.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the 2016 film of Swallows and Amazons, Mrs. Walker is Scottish; in the books she was Australian.
  • In the film of The African Queen, the American Humphrey Bogart was cast as Charlie, who is a patriotic working-class Englishman in the original novel. Bogart couldn't do the English accent, so the character was made Canadian. His patriotism still applies to The British Empire, which sort of works.
  • Hannay in the original book version of The Thirty-Nine Steps is Scottish. British actor Robert Donat played him as a Canadian in The 39 Steps (1935), which might be an in-joke to the original author, who became the Governor-General of that country.
  • Sandy in the theatrical version of Grease was American, but when Olivia Newton-John was cast in the film version, the character was made Australian to account for her accent.
  • Matilda: The 1996 movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel changed the setting from Great Britain to the USA, thus Americanizing all the characters, except for the evil headmaster Mrs. Trunchbull, who remains a Mean Brit.
  • Blade Trilogy: Blade, who in the comics is canonically of British origin, is portrayed as an American in the films in large part to match that of Wesley Snipes, who portrays him. This continues in the TV series, where he's portrayed by the American rapper Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones.
  • In the The Dark Is Rising the Stanton family are British, in the film adaptation The Seeker they are Americans who just moved to England.
  • In Constantine, Constantine is an American (played by Keanu Reeves). In the original Comic Books, John Constantine is British. In the TV series, he's played by Matt Ryan (Welsh).
  • U571: A very controversial example. This World War II movie stars Americans as the heroes. In real life, the first to capture the submarine-based ENIGMA machine were the British.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Iron Man movies zigzag this with the Mandarin. Originally a (rather overblown) Chinese Yellow Peril character in the comics, he doesn't appear at all in the first film, but is hinted there to be affiliated with an internationally-affiliated terrorist cell operating in Afghanistan. In Iron Man 3, he's portrayed by Ben Kingsley, who's British with Indian ancestry, but then it's revealed that the "true" Mandarin-behind-the-Mandarin is a white American businessman who paid Kingsley's character to pass himself as a generically-foreign terrorist to stoke American paranoia. And then the short Hail To the Chief reveals that there is indeed a real Mandarin who is not the villain from 3, with the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings confirming that the MCU's actual Mandarin is indeed Chinese.
    • In The Incredible Hulk, Emil Blonsky (the Abomination) is British (though born in Russia) and a Royal Marine seconded to the Hulkbusters. The original version was a Yugoslav spy. The change of nationality allows Tim Roth to use his native British accent rather than a fake accent.
    • Peggy Carter was American in the original Captain America comics, but is British in Captain America: The First Avenger.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Batroc, who is French in the comics, is noted as Algerian in a throwaway line.
    • The Maximoff twins (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) were originally from the fictional Eastern European country of Transia, but Avengers: Age of Ultron establishes them as being from the (also fictional) Eastern European country of Sokovia.
    • In the comics, Helmut Zemo is German, and the son of a Nazi war criminal. In Captain America: Civil War, he hails from Sokovia, much like the Maximoffs.
    • Zigzagged with Ulysses Klaue. In the comics, he is a Belgian of Dutch descent, while in the films, he's presented as South African, probably to invoke the connotations associated with the Amoral Afrikaner trope. However, his file in Avengers: Age of Ultron states that the MCU's Klaue is also actually a Dutchman with Belgian citizenship.
  • In the film version of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly and Nigel, both British in the book, are portrayed by Americans Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. Nigel doubles as a Race Lift, being black in the novel but played by the white Tucci onscreen. Meanwhile, Emily was supposed to be American, but the director decided he liked the character better with Emily Blunt's native British accent.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has Breaker as Moroccan, Heavy Duty as British, and Scarlett as Canadian. All three of these characters are normally American in the G.I. Joe franchise (with Scarlet, between her place of birth, her codename, and her real last name of "O'Hara", being a Shout-Out to Gone with the Wind).
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X2: X-Men United: The Australian Saint-John Allerdyce from the comics has been adapted to an American without the "Saint" in his given name.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Sean Cassidy and Moira MacTaggert are American, but in the comics, they were Irish and Scottish respectively.
      • In the comic books, Charles Xavier is fully American, but this movie establishes that he's half-British through his mother, and therefore he may possess dual USA/UK citizenship.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The Eastern-European Pietro Maximoff has been Americanized into Peter Maximoff.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • The British Psylocke is played by the American Olivia Munn.
      • Storm hails from a more remote part of Africa in the comics, but is depicted as living on the streets of Cairo. note 
    • Deadpool (2016): Ajax is English rather than American.
  • Frankenstein:
  • In Captain America (1990), the Red Skull is Italian instead of German like in the comics..
  • Edge of Tomorrow combines this with Race Lift: the main character is a Japanese man named Keiji Kiriya in the original light novel All You Need Is Kill, but an American soldier named William Cage in the movie adaptation.
  • In Left Behind (2000), Buck Williams' contacts Dirk Burton and Alan Tompkins, both of whom were Brits in the book series, were made American in the film, with Alan also getting a Race Lift from Caucasian to African-American.
  • In Vampire Academy, the Moroi royals are of Russian descent, in the film adaptation they are all English.
  • Both Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory do this to various characters from the book:
    • Willy Wonka is British in the books but American in both films.
    • Augustus Gloop is either British or American in the books but is German in both films.
    • Veruca Salt is either British or American in the books but British in both films.
    • Charlie is vaguely British in the first book but is American in the second book. The first film has Charlie as an American while the second adaptation has him as British.
  • In Angels & Demons, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca (Italian) changes into Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Irish). This was likely done to fit the actor Ewan McGregor, although he's actually Scottish.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Etta Candy is British. All previous versions, from Golden Age sorority sister to New 52 A.R.G.U.S. agent, have been American.
    • Doctor Maru is Japanese in the comics, but becomes Isabel Maru in the movie, hailing from Spain like her actress.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Dr. Carol Marcus is an American. In Star Trek Into Darkness, Carol is British since she's played by Alice Eve. Word of God said that this universe's Carol grew up in England.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Sort of with Minerva McGonagall. Her nationality isn't stated in the books but she was presumed English. The films have Maggie Smith do a Scottish accent as her - and Word of God later confirmed that Minerva is Scottish.
    • Luna Lovegood was an English country girl in the books. But because Evanna Lynch's audition was so good, they made her Irish in the films. This extended to her father, as Welsh actor Rhys Ifans does an Irish accent to match Evanna's.
  • The Girl on the Train relocates the British setting of the book to New York. All the characters become American except Rachel — who remains English.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe doesn't name Mrs MacReady's nationality. But in the BBC adaptation she's Scottish, while she's Irish in the Walden Media film. Maugrim speaks with an English accent in the BBC version and an American in the Walden Media.
  • The film version of Cabaret switches the nationalities of the two leads, to match the nationalities of the actors: in the stage version, Sally is British and Cliff is American, but in the film, Sally (Liza Minnelli) is American and Brian (Michael York) is British.
  • The film adaptation of Memoirs Of A Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin is an International Coproduction between a Japanese studio and an American studio. As such, some of the characters, including the main character, have been changed from American to Japanese.
  • Punisher: War Zone: The Bulats were changed from Romanian in Punisher MAX to Russian mobsters.
  • In the film version of Mamma Mia!, Bill's nationality is changed from Australian to Swedish to match his actor Stellan Skarsgard, with his surname changed from Austin to Anderson.
  • In the short story "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt, Pete and Ally are Americans. Considering that the short film adaptation changes the location of the story from the United States to Tel Aviv, their counterparts Daniel and Shiri are Israelis.
  • Zatoichi and the Flying Guillotine, an unauthorized Taiwanese take on the Zatoichi franchise makes the titular iconic Japanese character a native Chinese, who was only captured by pirates as a child and then raised in Japan.
  • Alice Monaghan (Irish) and Ben Daimio (Japanese-American) from the Hellboy comics are both British in Hellboy (2019).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 1954 US television adaptation of Casino Royale, James Bond was an American agent called Jimmy Bond, and American Felix Leiter was now British and called Clarence Leiter (but played by an Australian).
  • In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, Malone is American, but the character was Irish in the original novel. He was also Canadian in the 1992 film adaptation.
  • Elementary: Due to the setting change, a lot of characters are turned American, such as Watson (who also received a Race Lift and Gender Flip) and Captain Gregson.
  • Meanwhile, in Sherlock, Irene Adler goes from being an American in the books to English in the show.
  • Arrowverse
    • In Arrow, Deathstroke and Wintergreen are both ex-Australian Intelligence. In the comics Slade is American and Wintergreen is British. This change was made partly to accommodate Manu Bennet's thick New Zealand accent.
    • In the comics, Doctor Light is a Japanese national, but in The Flash, she's Korean-American ( due to being a Composite Character with Linda Park).
    • Savitar hails from an unnamed Eastern European country in the comics, but the Arrowverse's version of him is American due to him turning out to be a time remnant of Barry Allen.
    • Clifford DeVoe/the Thinker is American in the comics but South African in the series.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion's mistress Shae is a Westerosi woman with her dialogue written in working-class English dialect. In the TV adaptation Game of Thrones, the Turkish-German actress Sibel Kekilli was cast, and Shae originated from the quasi-Mediterranean city of Lorath, accounting for her accent.
  • In the original Marvel Comics, the Purple Man is from Croatia. In Jessica Jones (2015), he's a Brit and is played by David Tennant.
  • Trillian is English in the original The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy radio series, but American in the TV version. Douglas Adams later said that Sandra Dickinson could do a perfect English accent if asked, but the Troubled Production was such that no-one thought of it. She is also American in the film, portrayed by Zooey Deschanel.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • In the Secret Warriors comics, Yo-Yo Rodriguez is from Puerto Rico. In the series, she's from Colombia instead. Likewise, her comic book teammate Hellfire is American in the source material, but Australian in the show.
    • Holden Radcliffe is American in Machine Teen, but Scottish in the series.
    • Played with concerning Graviton. Franklin Hall remains Canadian, but he does not become Graviton, and the role goes to Glenn Talbot, an American.
    • In the comis, Whiplash (real name Marco Scarlotti) is an American, presumably of Italian descent. In the show, he is Marcus Scarlotti, a German.
  • The comic book version of Siobhan Smythe (alias Silver Banshee) is Irish but in Supergirl (2015) she is changed into an American of Irish descent, albeit one whose Irish heritage is very important as the source of her powers.

    Radio 
  • The BBC radio series The Rivals, which features 19th century fictional detectives other than Sherlock Holmes, makes American detectives, such as Augustus van Dusen, the Thinking Machine, and Constance Dunlap, Woman Detective, British (along with nearly everyone else in their stories) in order to fit them into a series linked together by Inspector Lestrade.
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    Theater 
  • In a stage adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Henry Baskerville changes from Canadian to American for no particular reason.
  • The 2018 stage version of Moulin Rouge! changes Christian from British to American.

    Video Games 
  • Taken to the extreme in Broforce, all the Lawyer-Friendly Cameo characters are walking Eagleland displays, even when the original character wasn't american. The biggest example being Bro Heart, whose original character is based on an historical scottish hero.
  • Gaston Garson and his wife Gariella Gourmet from Gary Gadget series, who are French in original, in Russian translation are named Gogi and Guliko respectively and are Georgian.

    Web Comics  

    Western Animation 
  • Spider-Man:
    • In the Spider-Woman animated series, Jessica Drew and her scientist father are American. In the comics, her parents were MI-5 agents and she grew up in Eastern Europe.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Swarm is an American Stark employee instead of a a World War II German scientist.
    • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Electro is the Russian-born son of the German Red Skull, rather than the American Max Dillon.
  • DuckTales (1987) and DuckTales (2017):
    • Because of the political tensions with South Africa at the time over issues like apartheid, Flintheart Glomgold is Scottish instead of South African. As a Mythology Gag, the 2017 reboot has him exaggerate his Scottish tendencies to a truly ludicrous degree because he actually is South African, and assumed a fake Scottish persona to one-up Scrooge in as many ways as possible.
    • Magica DeSpell was Italian in the original comics. Where she was from was more vague in the series, with June Foray using a vaguely Slavic accent much like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. Catherine Tate uses her natural British accent in the 2017 series.
  • The X-Men's Wolverine was given an Australian accent in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and the 1989 animated pilot Pryde of the X-Men instead of his usual Canadian origins.
  • In the Suicide Squad comics, Plastique is a former terrorist from Quebec. In Justice League Unlimited, she instead speaks with an accent that suggests she's from somewhere in the Southern United States.
  • In Iron Man, the Beetle (an American in the comics) is British and has a distinct Liverpudlian accent (as a Shout-Out to a certain famous band from that area).
  • A retroactive example is found in the CINAR and DiC Madeline cartoons. Like most of the other characters, Madeline is portrayed with a French accent. But Madeline in America, a discarded manuscript from the '50s by original author Ludwig Bemelmans that was eventually completed and published by his grandson in 1999, reveals that Bemelmans envisioned her as American, with the last name "Fogg" and with family in Texas. Meanwhile, the 1998 live-action film portrays her with a British accent, though it's not clear whether she's actually supposed to be British or whether it's a case of Translation Convention.
  • In the original 1978 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! film, the sole female member of the Killer Tomato Task Force was a German athlete named Greta Attenbaum. In the '90s animated series, she is Russian and renamed Mary Jo Nagamininashy.
  • In Teen Titans, Argent is reimagined as being from New Zealand rather than America.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades sees Breaker changed from an American to an English college student.
  • The 1939 Terry Toons version of The Three Bears makes the titular bears Italian, complete with spaghetti instead of porridge.

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