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Creator-Preferred Adaptation

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"I was sort of embarrassed of the book, because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make."

Let's face it: Most of the time, a work is at its best in its original form. However, sometimes there are exceptions to this, and be it by Adaptation Distillation, Adaptation Expansion, Woolseyism, or Superlative Dubbing, the new version of a story comes out so much better than the old that even the original creator admits the superiority of the new one.

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Compare Approval of God, which refers to fan-works that the creator has a positive opinion on, even if they don't Ascend into canon. Contrast Disowned Adaptation. See also Superlative Dubbing.


Examples: (sorted by medium of the adaptation)

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Elric Saga's author Michael Moorcock considers the Elric - The Ruby Throne graphic novel adaptation by Titan Comics his favorite one yet, with several liberties being taken that Moorcock himself wished he had thought of them first.
  • René Goscinny commented that a pun added to the English translation of Asterix in Britain, to replace one that didn't work in English, would also have worked in French (as a parody of Britishisms) and he wished he'd thought of it. note 
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jaws: Not necessarily as a whole, but Peter Benchley wished he had the classic "You're gonna need a bigger boat" in his novel. Benchley also admitted the movie had much better character development. And while he likes the way he wrote the shark's death (finally dying of its wounds), he admitted that Spielberg's depiction worked for the big screen in a way that the original wouldn't have.
  • In the book Fahrenheit 451, Clarisse is abruptly revealed to have been killed by a speeding car. The film changed this so that she lived and escaped with the exiles. The author Ray Bradbury preferred her survival, and included it in the stage adaptation and semi-official video game sequel.
  • James M. Cain noted he preferred the movie Double Indemnity to his original story — specifically the framing story element. He also thought it ended better.
  • House of Dark Shadows was much closer to Dan Curtis's original vision for the Barnabas Collins character, much more monstrous than the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire he became. Neither Grayson Hall nor Jonathan Frid cared for this take as much as Curtis.
  • Philip K. Dick felt that Blade Runner was superior to its source material, his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and was amazed at how the book was "escalated into such stunning dimensions."
  • Janet Evanovich feels One for the Money enhanced the tone of her novel, even though the film is disliked by critics and much of the fan base.
  • On the author's commentary for The Princess Bride film, William Goldman mentions wishing certain lines were in the book. Although he wrote the script, certain lines ("Dream of large women") were added to the film.
  • Nick Hornby, the writer of About a Boy, prefers the ending of the 2002 movie to that of the original book.
  • P.D. James was reportedly quite happy with how the film version of Children of Men came out and admitted that certain details from the movie (such as the Sterility Plague afflicting women instead of men) made more sense than in the novel.
  • Despite he and the rest of his The Death of Superman cohorts having done material built off it, Dan Jurgens had taken issue with how John Byrne ended his Superman run—or more specifically, the fact that it ended with Superman executing General Zod at the end of The Supergirl Saga. Jurgens has said that he prefers how Man of Steel handled its version of Superman killing General Zod, done as a heat-of-the-moment decision made to protect an innocent family over the cold execution Byrne went for.
  • Batman co-creator Bob Kane loved the idea of The Joker being the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents in the 1989 film adaptation and wished he would've done it had he introduced the Joker at the same time as Batman.
  • Stephen King:
    • In an interview on the DVD of The Mist, he said that he liked the movie's bleaker ending better than that of the original story, and wished he'd thought of it himself. In fact, when he first saw the new ending that Frank Darabont came up with, he personally intervened to get the studio to approve it; they wanted to remain faithful to the more hopeful ending of King's original story.
    • He feels the same way about the original 1976 adaptation of Carrie, to the point where it's the chief reason why he doesn't like the sequel or either of the remakes — he feels that they do a disservice not to his book, but to Brian De Palma's film.
    • He also prefers the happier ending of the film adaptation of Cujo to the grimmer ending of the book, which he views as something of an embarrassment in hindsight, having written it when he was at a very dark point in his life due to cocaine addiction (such that he can barely remember writing half of it).
  • Mark Millar:
    • He has said that the Kick-Ass movie is superior to the comic book. He had originally devised the comic story as a movie pitch.
    • He also liked Kingsman: The Secret Service so much that he seemingly forgot that his original comic book wasn't actually called Kingsman. Indeed, the series took the adaptation's name for the collections.
  • Chuck Palahniuk prefers the ending of the film version of Fight Club to his own, feeling that David Fincher emphasizing the narrator's romance with Marla was more in keeping with the message he was going for, and that the point of the story was to show the narrator "reaching the point where he can commit to a woman." He's even said that he's a little embarrassed by the novel nowadays.
  • Christopher Priest, the author of The Prestige, had this reaction to seeing the movie: "'Well, holy shit.' I was thinking, 'God, I like that,' and 'Oh, I wish I'd thought of that.'"
  • J. K. Rowling has said that there are some things in the Harry Potter movies which she wished she had made up when she wrote the books. The only such thing she has named specifically is the talking Shrunken Head from the third film. Ironically, the fandom tends to regard the shrunken head as The Scrappy.
  • Andy Weir once expressed regret that The Martian didn't open with the accident that stranded Mark Watney on Mars, instead of leaving it to a flashback mid-way through. The film corrected this.
  • Gary Wolf preferred the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit to the novel he wrote, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, upon which it was based. He loved it so much that when he wrote a sequel to the film, he retconned the first story as a dream. It was also a matter of practical marketing, since the movie was so much more popular than the book, he figured people who got the later books would expect something more like the movie.
  • Dav Pilkey of the Captain Underpants series has stated that one of the things he loved most about Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was how it gave Mr. Krupp more depth as a character, something he wished he'd done.
  • The Incredible Melting Man was intended as a parody of horror movies by the director, but Executive Meddling intervened and saw to it that the film become pretty much they type of movie it was intended to spoof, much to the director's dismay. A couple decades later, Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed on the movie and unintentionally restored the parody element, resulting in the director vocally approving of the MST3K episode (unlike several others). (It helped that the episode was filled with shots at Executive Meddling and Hollywood in general, as a way of therapy for Best Brains after the horrors they endured making Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.)
  • Cloud Atlas: Author David Mitchell was highly impressed by the film, citing it as an example of a Pragmatic Adaptation done right, plot changes and all. He was particularly blown away by the All-Star Cast as well.
  • When Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park, he intended to mix not just a park going horribly wrong, but also the child-like wonder of dinosaurs come to live. The publishers wouldn't allow it as they thought the novel wouldn't sell with that angle, and told him to focus on the horror aspect. Come Steven Spielberg's film adaptation, and Crichton was able to help him tell the story with the tone he wanted in the first place.

    Literature 
  • Umberto Eco thinks that William Weaver's English translations of his novels are better than the originals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, prefers the TV series over the original comic on a number of points. In particular, he's a huge fan of Daryl, a character created for the show, to the point where he feels that bringing him into the comic would do a disservice to the show. He also feels that Shane and Carol's arcs were handled better on the show.
  • Hilary Mantel has openly lauded The BBC in their adaptation of her novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (the series covered both novels despite taking the title from the first one). She even says she is now considering incorporating some of the series' characterization in the upcoming final installment of her trilogy, The Mirror and The Light.
  • George R.R. Martin hasn't stated that he prefers Game of Thrones to his series of books it is based on (and has hinted at the reverse as the show progressed), but he has gone on record that there are slight differences he wished he had thought of, for example, he stated he considers the show version of Shae a much better character than his book version. In addition, he's apparently said that he might move some of the TV-only characters over to later books, citing Natalia Tena's performance of Osha as being more interesting than how he had written it.
  • Jim Henson, was so impressed with Paul Haenen and Wim T. Schippers' performance on Sesamstraat, the Dutch adaptation to Sesame Street, as Bert and Ernie respectively, that they are the only performers for Bert and Ernie to be allowed to write their own sketches.

    Music 
  • Billy Bragg enjoyed Kirsty MacColl's cover of his song "A New England" and wrote two entirely new verses of the song especially for her to record. After her death in 2000, he has always included those verses in his own performances of the song as a tribute.
  • Bob Dylan loved Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower" on Electric Ladyland, and began to incorporate some of the cover's elements into his own performance. Dylan wrote in the liner notes of his Biograph box set "I liked Jimi Hendrix's record of this and ever since he died I've been doing it that way. Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it's a tribute to him in some kind of way."
  • Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who sang lead on King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man", loved how Kanye West sampled the song in his single "Power", stating that it made the song sound fresh to modern audiences. In the last few years of Lake's life, he always opened his solo shows with a version of "Schizoid Man" that incorporated almost two minutes of West's song.
  • Robert Plant famously hates Led Zeppelin's Signature Song "Stairway to Heaven." However the cover sung by Heart at the Kennedy Center Honors concert brought Tears of Joy to his face.
  • The Presidents of the United States of America started performing their song "Lump" with the Forrest Gump quote that finishes the parody ("And that's all I have to say about that") after "Weird Al" Yankovic released "Gump".
  • It's widely believed that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails disowned his version of "Hurt" in favor of Johnny Cash's cover, saying the song wasn't his anymore. He was actually giving artistic ownership of the cover to Cash, whom he felt brought so much new creativity to the cover that Cash had made an original song.
  • In the 1970s Frank Sinatra added the Beatles song "Something" to his regular concert repertoire, and tweaked the line "you stick around now, it may show" to "You stick around, Jack, she might show". George Harrison was initially apathetic about Sinatra covering his song and changing his lyric, but grew to appreciate it in time. By 1991, Harrison had begun singing Sinatra's version of the line in concert and continued to sing it that way until his death. Harrison has also been quoted as saying "My personal favourite is the version by James Brown. It was one of his B-sides. I have it on my jukebox at home. It's absolutely brilliant."
  • Though he hasn't gone so far as to call it superior to the original, Robert Smith from The Cure loved Dinosaur Jr.'s version of "Just Like Heaven", and has said it influenced the way The Cure play it live. The original studio recording had a clean guitar lead, whereas in live performances they tend to emulate J. Mascis' distorted guitar tone, making the song sort of sound like a hybrid of the original version and the Dinosaur Jr. cover.
  • Ringo Starr started using the modified lyrics of "With a Little Help from My Friends" after Joe Cocker's version changed the line "what would you think if I sang out of tune" to "what would you do if I sang out of tune".
  • Tears for Fears love Gary Jules and Michael Andrews' stripped down cover of "Mad World" (which renewed the popularity of the original), and it was one of the reasons they got back into the music industry. They have commented that the original new wave mood of the song was of its time and not necessarily fitting to the lyrics. Since the cover came out, they play a sort of hybrid version of theirs and the Jules/Andrews version when playing it live.
  • Billy Joel has said that he prefers Garth Brooks's cover of "Shameless" to his own version of the song.
  • David Bowie has said that astronaut Chris Hadfield's cover of Space Oddity, recorded and filmed on the International Space Station itself, is the most poignant version of the song he's ever heard.

    Theater 
  • Vincenzo Bellini preferred Maria Malibran as Amina in his opera La Sonnambula even though the character was first portrayed by Giuditta Pasta.
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    Video Games 
  • Shinji Hashimoto and Tetsuya Nomura, the creators of Kingdom Hearts, apparently liked the dub voice actors so much that whenever special-edition re-releases of the games come out of Japan, they use the English vocal track exclusively. It helps that many of the English voices are the original voice actors from the original English releases of the Disney movies. Many Japanese fans also agree.
  • Tom Itagaki considers the Sega Saturn version of the original Dead or Alive to be the definite version, moreso than the Model 2 arcade original or the later PS port that added Ayane and Bass to the roster, to the point that it's the version of the game included in DOA Hardcore.
  • Even though it's a Massively Multiplayer Crossover, the writers behind Super Robot Wars generally churns out favorable results from Humongous Mecha series that wind up not being well received in their original animated form (various Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion being a few prime examples). Kenichi Suzumura, the voice actor for Shinn Asuka in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, stated he preferred how the events of Super Robot Wars Z handled his character.

    Western Animation 

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