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Appropriated Title

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An appropriated title is when a franchise is better known by a different title than it was originally known as. There can be various reasons for this:

See also Sequel: The Original Title.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Great Teacher Onizuka (a.k.a. GTO) was a spinoff of an earlier work by the same author titled Shonan Jun'ai Gumi! (The Pure Love Gang from Shonan Beach) and later had its own spinoffs titled GTO: 14 Days in Shonan and Shonan Seven. When Shonan Jun'ai Gumi was adapted into English, it was retitled GTO: The Early Years (in French, it was subtitled Young GTO).

     Comic Books  

  • In an unusual case of entire companies doing this, DC Comics, Archie Comics, and Marvel Comics all got their names from their previous incarnation's most popular title.
    • DC is a bit of a recursive case. Detective Comics, Inc. was spun off from National Allied Publications in 1937 to publish Detective Comics as well as National's other two comics at the time (one of which became Adventure Comics). After buying up National Allied and merging with All-American Comics, Detective Comics, Inc. became National Comics Publications, while continuing to use the DC branding on its comics, and from 1949 to 1970 the logo read Superman/DC/National Comics (as DC had been promoting their flagship character in the logo since 1942). The "National Comics" branding was dropped altogether in 1970, and National Periodicals was formally renamed DC Comics, Inc. in 1977.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was originally released as Batman: The Dark Knight when each issue was released separately. It was only renamed The Dark Knight Returns when all four issues were collected in trade paperback format. The Dark Knight Returns originally referred to the first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight.
  • The adaptations of Scott Pilgrim take their name from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the second book in the series.


  • The first Rambo movie was actually called First Blood. It wasn't until the sequel, Rambo: First Blood Part II, that the "Rambo" name was used at all, followed by Rambo III. This enabled them to call the fourth film simply Rambo, since that title was never technically used. In some foreign markets, the original film was called Rambo from the get-go, so the fourth installment was called John Rambo.
  • The first release in the The Chronicles of Riddick canon was called Pitch Black. This goes along with the complete change in tone and focus the series underwent after the first installment (so much so that when the movie the re-released, it was retitled The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black).
  • The first Indiana Jones movie was just called Raiders of the Lost Ark, while all other media include Jones' name in the title. For what it's worth, later re-releases did change the title to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The ninth, tenth, and eleventh Friday the 13th movies went under the Jason name. However, this was only out of necessity, as New Line did not own the rights to the Friday the 13th title; once they bought them, the series reverted to its original name.
  • Although the third and fourth films in the Alien franchise, respectively Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection (plus Alien: Covenant and the first Alien vs. Predator), went under the original title, most spin-off merchandise is known under Aliens, which was the second movie.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy started with Batman Begins, following the same titling pattern as the Burton/Schumacher series, which all had Batman's name on the title (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin). However, the second film broke this pattern and was titled The Dark Knight in order to stand out on its own and the third film followed suit with The Dark Knight Rises.
  • The Star Wars series was originally meant to be called The Adventures of Luke Skywalker and the early tie-in novels (the novelization of A New Hope, Splinter of the Mind's Eye and Brian Daley's Han Solo trilogy) were released under that title. The first film's tremendous success and fame negated this.


  • The English-translation titles for The Millennium Trilogy books are all structured like the title of the second book, translated as The Girl Who Played With Fire. The first book, whose Swedish title means Men Who Hate Women, was retitled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; the third book, literally translated as The Air Castle That Was Blown Upnote  was retitled The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. The whole series is also colloquially known as the "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" books.
  • Thomas Harris's series of books featuring Hannibal Lecter began with Red Dragon, but it's known as the Silence of the Lambs series due to the popularity of that film.
  • The Dark is Rising takes its series title from the second book in the sequence, although that was author Susan Cooper's idea, since the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, was quite a bit different from the others and was written before she had developed the cosmology of the series.
  • Gormenghast is given a series title taken from its second book (and from the setting of the first two books). However, this was contrary to the designs of the author, who had intended that the series would centre around the doings of the title character of first book, Titus Groan, who leaves Gormenghast Castle to journey the outside world at the end of the second book.
  • Judy Blume's Fudge books actually started with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Of course, since Peter Hatcher constantly focuses on the antics of his brother Fudge, it makes sense.
  • Inverted with the Inheritance Cycle: the series always had that title (well, except for originally being a "Trilogy"), but used Inheritance as the title of its final book.
  • The erotica novel Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure has long been supplanted by its better-known title, Fanny Hill.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Saved by the Bell was a spinoff of a short-lived Disney Channel sitcom titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss, but proved to be more popular than its predecessor, to the point that not only it had two spinoffs that carried on the Saved by the Bell title (The College Years and The New Class), but the original series it was spun-off from was retroactively retitled Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years in syndication.
  • The title The Hogan Family is generally used to discuss all seasons of the show originally known as Valerie.
  • Saturday Night Live originally debuted as NBC's Saturday Night (as ABC already had a show on the air called Saturday Night Live which flopped not long after). The originally planned version was used as soon as it was available (though the call "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" remained as an artifact of the original title), and all seasons of the show are known as Saturday Night Live.


     Video Games  

  • Ace Attorney: The first game in the Gyakuten Saiban series was localized for the west under title of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney a year after Japan had already gotten the third game. The announcement that the fourth game would star a new character prompted the English localization team to promote Ace Attorney as the name of the franchise and downplay the Phoenix Wright part of the title for the sequels.
  • The X-COM series started as UFO: Enemy Unknown. It had to relabel itself X-COM to avoid confusion with the television show and "UFO" was a pretty generic title to begin with.
  • The original SoulCalibur was actually a sequel to another Namco game titled Soul Edge. However, a trademark dispute over the use of the word "Edge" led to the console version being retitled Soul Blade outside Japan. The sequel was titled differently to avoid having two different names for the same game and the SoulCalibur name stuck from that point on.
  • The Dark Forces title was replaced with Jedi Knight when the second game (Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight) proved more popular.
  • Falcom's Dragon Slayer series went through it thee or four times. Second game in the series was called Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu. Then, "Xanadu" became a title for its own series, but "Dragon Slayer" series continued. Then, two series merged again, in a game titled "Dragon Slayer VIII: The Legend of Xanadu", while its sequel, The Legend of Xanadu II, finally dropped "Dragon Slayer" title for good.
  • The Starsiege series is infamous for this, in combination for no two games sharing the same naming scheme.. The first game was MetalTech: EarthSiege, which then became EarthSiege 2. After that came Starsiege, then Starsiege: Tribes, then came Tribes 2. The two most recent games follow the Tribes: [Verb] naming scheme. Starsiege Tribes itself is often simply called Tribes or Tribes 1.
  • First game in Glory of Heracles series is called "Legend of the Fighting Demon's Lair: Glory of Heracles". The original title is not so much of a mouthful in Japanese, but it's still an Artifact Title.
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance features about fifty different playable Marvel superheroes and the story mostly focuses on S.H.I.E.L.D.. Many of the heroes were never members of The Avengers or are not current members but due to the popular movie, the game uses Avengers in the title.
  • Metal Gear Solid was initially titled as such because it was a 3D version of the original Metal Gear games, but also to indicate its placement as the third canonical game in the series, following the MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.note  The game was a bigger success than Konami expected and the name stuck on for all the sequels, from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and all the way up to the latest Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Only a few of the odd spinoffs, namely Metal Gear Ac!d and Metal Gear Rising, were released without the Solid branding.
  • No One Lives Forever was originally the subtitle of the first game, fully titled The Operative: No One Lives Forever.
  • Ninja Gaiden was originally the American title of what was known in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden ("The Ninja Dragon Sword Story") and in Europe as Shadow Warriors. When Tecmo revived the series with the 2004 Xbox version by Team Ninja, they used the Ninja Gaiden title over the two in every region in order to have the franchise under one worldwide name.
  • Castlevania is known as Akumajō Dracula (Demon Castle Dracula) in Japan. During his tenure as producer, Koji Igarashi tried to rebrand Japanese version of the series under the Castlevania banner in order to have one name for the franchise in every region. As a result, Concerto of the Midnight Sun, Minuet of Dawn and Lament of Innocence (simply titled Castlevania in Japan) were all released under the Castlevania brand instead of the usual Akumajō Dracula. This rebranding didn't last long due to negative feedback from longtime Japanese fans and the series went back to the Akumajō Dracula name with the Nintendo DS entries.
  • The original The Legend of Zelda was titled Hyrule Fantasy: Zelda no Densetsu in Japan. Presumably Nintendo intended for "Hyrule Fantasy" to be the title of the franchise rather than "The Legend of Zelda", but that was dropped in the sequels.
  • Intended for the Battlezone (1998) series, whose sequel implemented a subtitle for later appropriation, Battlezone II: Combat Commander. The publisher, Activision, licensed the "Battlezone" title from Atari, creators of Battlezone (1980). The subtitle would have made marketing a third game simpler if Atari refused to re-license the name, so instead of Battlezone III, it would be Combat Commander: Whatever. The gesture proved to be irrelevant, because the first game was an Acclaimed Flop and the sequel was a mixed flop courtesy of its Obvious Beta initial release, killing any chance of a third game.
  • The Forza franchise was originally called the Forza Motorsport series, but it was officially shortened to Forza to accompany the open world Horizon sister series, thus making each game a legitimate title and not a Spin-Off. However, despite the increasing popularity and establishment of the Horizon series (especially after the critically-lauded Forza Horizon 3), the Forza Motorsport games are still often referred to as "Forza [number of Motorsport title]" while the Forza Horizon games are shortened to "Horizon [number of such title]".
  • Descent: FreeSpace, the first entry in the FreeSpace series, was so named for trademark reasons and had nothing to do with the Descent series other than sharing a publisher. Future entries could and did drop the Descent name.

     Western Animation  

  • Jem was originally a One-Word Title; however, it has always been more well-known as Jem and the Holograms, which is the name of the in-series band that Jem leads. In the early 2010s the series was officially renamed Jem and the Holograms. The comic reboot, film reboot, DVDs, and reruns use the title, though all the text in the cartoons still say Jem.


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