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Death by Adaptation

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Goku: Vegeta, no! [Ginyu] can't hurt anyone anymore, stop!
Vegeta: Oh alright, fine!
Goku: See? He really can be a nice guy!
Vegeta: Psych, eight for eight!
Goku, Gohan and Krillin: Awwwwwww!

A character who remains alive in the original work dies in the adaptation. Or dies a lot sooner in the adaptation.

The reasons for doing this vary. Perhaps the crew wanted to surprise everyone, including fans of the source material. Perhaps they personally viewed the unfortunate character as The Scrappy and wanted to get rid of them. Maybe Executive Meddling required this change to be made. Maybe this happened as a result of Adaptational Karma when the character in question was a villain, and in grand movie tradition, the villain had to die at the end of the movie even if he or she was a recurring villain in the source material. Whatever the reason, the result is the same: a character you did not expect to die met their end. Frequently a cause of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! and is actually one of the cases where that can be a very valid complaint.


Despite the above hypothetical example being a movie, this trope is hardly limited to book-to-film adaptations, as you'll see in the examples.

Compare with Schrödinger's Cast where a character's fate is different from the source material, but the source material is still ongoing (which may create the need for a drastic rewrite if the character in question becomes important later on in the source material) and Superhero Movie Villains Die for when death in adaptations is more permanent than the source.

The exact opposite of Spared by the Adaptation where a character who died in the source material does not die in the adaptation.

Not to be confused with Doomed by Canon (which is when the prequel cannot prevent a character's death from happening) or Dies Differently in Adaptation (where the character dies in both the original work and the adaptation, but the difference is the cause of death).


Warning: This is a death trope and will contain unmarked spoilers. Read the examples at your own risk

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Examples where the character did not die in the source:

    Comic Books 
  • Afterlife with Archie takes place in a Zombie Apocalypse so this is obligatory:
    • There are three notable examples that occurred prior to the start of the series: Veronica's mother died some time ago due to illness, Cheryl's puppy Sugar was murdered by her jealous brother, and Kevin states that his father died in the Gulf War. All three are alive and well in the main series.
    • Characters that have died in this comic include Hot Dog, Jughead, almost all the major adults, Ethel, Moose, Midge, Vegas, and Jason.
  • In Marvel's adaptation to Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, De Nomolos is killed rather than arrested. Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book runs with this and occasionally shows him breaking rocks in Hell. They even bring him back to life and kill him again.
  • DC Comics Bombshells: While Steve Trevor has died in the main DCU it's usually played off with him coming back in some form or another very quickly, even if it's just his body being possessed, in this continutiy he dies and stays dead. By the overveiw at the end even his gravesite has been lost.
  • G.I. Joe:
  • G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers kills off several G.I. Joe and Transformers characters who usually survived until the end of the series. The most notable casualties are Bumblebee, Xamot, Major Bludd, Mercer and Megatron.
  • Robert Bloch's The Shambler From the Stars ends with the narrator surviving his encounter with the creature and fearing its possible return. The comic adaptation Marvel did in Journey into Mystery instead has a Bolivian Army Ending where the Shambler is seen entering Robert's jail cell and creeping up on him from behind, implying that it kills him.
  • In Gerry Conway's adaptation of Theodore Sturgeon's Killdozer! for the Worlds Unknown series from Marvel, Kelly is killed by the titular Killdozer. This is in contrast to the original novella, where Kelly was one of the three survivors at the end of the story.
  • In the New 52 universe, a flashback in the Lois Lane oneshot reveals that Elinor Lane died in Lois and Lucy's childhood. Her post-Crisis self was still alive as of the Flashpoint universe reboot.
    • Similarly, while a very minor character who only had two major appearances, the mother of Jonathan Crane, aka The Scarecrow, Karen was alive and well in the post-Crisis continuity, but became a victim of Death by Origin Story in the New 52 (and subsequently in the Gotham TV series) much like Elinor Lane. Gerald Crane also never died.
  • Ken Masters in Malibu Comics' Street Fighter is brutally beaten and scalped by Sagat after already dealing with Balrog and a handful of Shadaloo gunmen.
  • A major part of the premise of Ruins is that many of the individuals who became super-powered beings in the standard Marvel Universe were instead subjected to horrible deaths, and some of the non-powered beings end up getting killed anyway (e.g. Hawkeye gets shot and the protagonist Philip Sheldon at one point trips over the Punisher's corpse).
  • Scooby Apocalypse kills off Fred Jones in the 25th issue and revives him as a nanite zombie in the 28th issue before he ultimately gives his life for good to aid in the destruction of the nanites that have caused the apocalypse at the end of the series. Every other continuity in the Scooby-Doo franchise to date has had every member of Mystery, Inc. still alive by the end of the series.
  • The Smallville: Season 11 comics made Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner into Posthumous Characters, with John Stewart being Earth's last surviving Green Lantern.
  • Chaos in Sonic the Comic is eaten alive, but in the games, he's dragged to a safe place.
  • Dr. Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), although he's a rather odd case: the comics treat Ivo Robotnik and Eggman Robotnik as two separate characters, then Ivo was Killed Off for Real and Eggman took his place. Splitting him into two characters is pretty much the only thing that prevents this from falling under Schrödinger's Cat.
  • Gen is killed by Akuma in UDON's Street Fighter series. While something similar did eventually happen in Street Fighter V, it wasn't until many years after it had occurred in the comics.
  • Transformers: Deviations, a comic book one-shot consisting of a What If? story that tells a version of the events of The Transformers: The Movie where Optimus Prime did not get killed, features some characters who survived the source material getting killed off.
    • Rather than sustaining injuries in his fight against Optimus Prime and being reformatted into Galvatron by Unicron, Megatron is offlined from the start when Optimus Prime shoots him in the head. As a consequence, the damaged Decepticons end up completely devoured by Unicron after being dumped into space from Astrotrain rather than being reformatted into Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps.
    • Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Springer and Perceptor end up perishing when their shuttle explodes, when they not only survived the events of the original animated movie, but also lived to the very end of the associated cartoon's remaining episodes.
    • Hot Rod ultimately sacrifices himself to aid in defeating Megascream (a reformatted Starscream) and Unicron, when he survived to the very end of the original cartoon even after he gave the position of Autobot leader back to a resurrected Optimus Prime.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, when J. Jonah Jameson gives his Freudian Excuse for not trusting Spider-Man, he mentions in passing that his son is dead, when John Jameson is still alive in the regular Marvel continuity.
  • In the second volume of Victorian Undead (aka Victorian Undead II) which covers vampires and retells the Dracula novel. It's revealed that Mina killed herself after being bitten by Dracula via sunlight rather then turn into a vampire. Arthur, who turns against the heroes and sides with Dracula for the sake of Lucy, dies when Lucy turns on him to heal herself and Seward is killed during the fight against the vampire brides. Oddly Quincy dies in this version too but he likewise did so in the main book.
  • Warlord of Mars:
    • Zig-Zagged with Tardos Mors and his son Mors Kajak end up dying in the storyline adapting Book 3 in John Carter of Mars, whereas in the books they survive. It was a rather odd choice to kill them, since we never see their corpses and the nature of their death's ends up being extremely ambiguous. Tardos seemingly returns to life in a later story arc, but that is revealed to be simply a copy with the real one's skull being found, confirming his death. Other publications following this have decided to ignore this with either Tardos or Kajak being alive and well without explanation.
    • Emperor Bandolian was the Big Bad in Skeleton Men of Jupiter and a notorious Karma Houdini as a sad result of the author dying. He ends up meeting his end in one special issue that serves as conclusion for that book, which ended on a cliffhanger note.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • While Volume 1's Hippolyte of Earth-Two and Hippolyta of Earth-One were both immortal and well off the Post-Crisis Volume 2 Hippolyta died while acting as Wonder Woman, though given the medium she did eventually make a return.
    • In Wonder Woman (Rebirth) Hercules legitimately learns and repents for his actions, growing over time to become humble even. Then he gets killed and leaves all his stuff to Diana even though his own series Hercules Unbound, published back in the 1970s, had him walking the earth After the End and previous continuities never killed him off despite his antagonistic qualities.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth) has Adrianna Anderson, a character who was alive and well in the pre-Flashpoint continuity and had given up on her amoral friend to start a relationship with Ferdinand die off in an experiment of Cale's early on. This drives Cale to further desperation and she ends up building an AI based on her one true friend's mental map.
  • In the Bad Future of Zombies Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit dies instead of Tiny Tim, who instead becomes a zombie who can't die. In the present day, Scrooge himself dies after saving the day.

    Films — Animation 
  • J. Thaddeus Toad in the Disney Theme Parks version of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, who apparently dies after being hit by a train during his escape from prison, and actually goes to Hell!
  • In the film adaptation of The Adventures of Tintin, Barnaby does not recover from his injuries after being shot by goons before he can tell Tintin about Sakharine.
  • In Animal Farm, Snowball is simply run out of the farm by Napoleon's dogs and Napoleon will probably rule the farm for the rest of his natural life. In the 1954 Animated Adaptation, the dogs actually killed Snowball and the film ends with all the other animals attacking Napoleon and the other pigs while his dogs are too drunk to defend them.
  • Batman: Soul of the Dragon sees Jade Nguyen killed by Rip Jagger die during her training years, long before she could even adopt her comic book persona of Cheshire.
  • Hrothgar in the 2007 Beowulf. In the poem, we don't see him again after Beowulf kills Grendel's mother and the story skips to Beowulf as a king in a different country. In the film, once Beowulf claims to have killed her, Hrothgar gives him his throne and commits suicide out of the shame for being a fraud who fathered Grendel in the first place.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Cinderella and Snow White's fathers are alive in their respective Perrault and Grimm fairy tales, although the Disney counterparts kill them off to avoid the moral implication of them abandoning their children to their second wives.
    • Ursula, in The Little Mermaid (1989). Her fairy tale counterpart, the Sea Witch, never shows up again after making the deal with the mermaid, though she does help the mermaid's sisters with the issue.
    • Quasimodo's mother in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the original book, he was Switched at Birth with Esmerelda and then abandoned because of his ugly appearance before being adopted by Frollo, who took pity on him. In the movie, she loved him, but Frollo killed her and made him think that his mother abandoned him as a baby.
  • The Sphere in Flatland: the Film, but not in Flatland: the Movie (another adaptation that was, oddly, released the same year).
  • In the DC comics, when Bolphunga the Unrelenting discovers that Mogo is a living planet, he flees from him fast. In Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Mogo kills Bolphunga before he could get away.
  • In the original The Hobbit, only three of the thirteen dwarves (Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli) die. In the Rankin Bass version, besides Thorin, five of them die, including Bombur.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Bill the pony is eaten by the Watcher in the Water. In the original novels, Bill is initially presumed dead, but later turns up alive and well.
  • Both Rowf and Snitter, the main heroes, drown in the ending of The Plague Dogs instead of being saved by real-life naturalists Sir Peter Scott and Ronald Lockley on a nearby boat.
    • This is actually the ending the book was supposed to have originally, before the publisher and friends convinced Richard Adams to save the heroes and give the already extremely depressing story a happy ending. There are two conflicting versions about how the original ending appeared in the movie - first one claims that the ending was animated before the Deus ex Machina was added to the book, the second one that Martin Rosen, the director, liked the original ending better and used it on purpose instead, as he has gone on record saying he did actually prefer the original ending to the new one.
    • Also Snitter's owner, who turned out to be Not Quite Dead in the book, is Killed Off for Real in the film.
  • In Ratchet & Clank (2016), Planet Novalis is destroyed by Chairman Drek (though the entire population is able to evacuate), whereas in the game it was adapted from, the worse that happens to it is the mayor going paranoid and pleading for his life. Drek's Lieutenant is also killed off through rusting in this adaptation.
  • Nicodemus in The Secret of NIMH.
  • Metallo in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. In the comic version, outside of a mention that he might've been involved in the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne that turned out to be a Red Herring by Lex Luthor to keep Batman away, his subplot didn't have anything to do with the main plot; In the movie version, he was killed by Major Force (under orders from Luthor) to frame Superman.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, Luthor murders his longtime assistant Mercy after she erases all evidence of his hand in Superman's death.
  • Blackavar in the animated adaptation of Watership Down.
  • Wonder Woman: Bloodlines: Julia Kapatelis was kind ally in Wonder Woman (1987) whose life was threatened on occasion but was always saved. In this iteration she dies at the hands of Diana's foes to give her daughter motivation to turn on Wondy, instead of having her tortured and mind raped into it.
  • Superman: Red Son:
    • Superman's childhood friend Svetlana, having been condemned to an underground gulag and suffering from an unspecified illness, dies in Superman's arms after he frees her and the other inmates.
    • The shrunken and bottled city of Stalingrad and its people are destroyed by Brainiac in the climax.
  • Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is the first DC animated film to feature the deaths of Batgirl, Blue Beetle, Steel, Batwing and Bumblebee.

  • In the novelization of Back to the Future Part II, Marlene McFly commits suicide after her brother Marty Jr.'s incarceration. The film has her attempt to break him out of prison, only to get caught and incarcerated too.
  • Everyone except the protagonist from the book adaptations of the Baldur's Gate games.
  • There is actually is a pro-hunting educational book out there called Little Jake and the Three Bears that has the titular Little Jake off one of said bears and Bambi's father. As if kids weren't traumatized enough by Bambi's mother's death.
  • The novelization of Batman: No Man's Land sees Two-Face kill the original Tally Man, whereas this didn't happen in the comics and Tally Man had a cameo in Infinite Crisis. Additionally, while someone who claims to be Gilda Dent appeared during Dick Grayson's second tenure as Batman, her fate after the events of The Long Halloween was never revealed and Dick doesn't believe it was really her, but the novelization likewise depicts her as dead.
  • Pretty much the entire supporting cast (or their Suspiciously Similar Substitutes, anyway) get axed in the Carl Dreadstone Novelization of Creature from the Black Lagoon. In contrast to the one written by Vargo Statten, which follows the movie more faithfully, Dreadstone's adaptation mercilessly gives pretty much everyone who survived the film a Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of the Creature, a giant beast referred to as "AA" ("Advanced Amphibian"). Maia gets eaten, Dr. Thompson is impaled with a tree branch, and "José Goncalves Fonseca de Souza" (this book's incredibly unlikable Jerkass version of Lucas) has his head bitten off. Ouch.
  • The novelisation of the Doctor Who story "The Curse of Fenric" apparently decided that the Kill 'Em All ending didn't go far enough, so Vershinin and Bates, practically the only guest characters to survive the TV version, get shot dead by Commander Millington.
    • Likewise, the novelisation of the next story, "Survival," makes a point of having Derek, one of the few survivors, killed by the Master, as well as having minor characters Harvey and Len transported to the Cheetah People's planet and presumably killed.
  • In comics following Final Crisis, Director Bones is depicted as having survived a failed attempt to lay siege to Darkseid's fortress in Bludhaven and Count Veritgo's fate is unknown. In the novelization, they died with Negative Woman, the Atomic Knights, and several Checkmates agents.
  • Chief in the Disney Read-along record/picture book version of The Fox and the Hound (he is simply never seen, heard, or mentioned again after being hit by the train, which implies his death). Interestingly, he died in the original novel as well, making the Disney film the only adaptation where Chief survives.
    • Some tie-in storybooks based on the Disney movies actually changed how the villains are defeated: For example, one out-of-print storybook based on Robin Hood had Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham all simply disappear after the castle fire at the end, "and were never seen again" is what the book stated of their fates, implying that they were burned alive in that fire; while some storybooks based on The Lion King (1994) had Scar simply die after being thrown off a cliff by Simba, despite in the actual movie Scar survived the fall but is instantly killed by his own hyenas when he lands.
  • The novelization of Ghostbusters II has Jack Hardemeyer devoured by the Museum's slime barrier. This was filmed, but left out of the final film, where he's last seen singing Auld Lang Syne outside the museum with the other bystanders.
  • The novelization of The Jewel of the Nile kills off Omar's Dragon Rachid. In the film, Rachid just gets defeated when Ralph uses a firebreathing trick to burn off his eyebrows (and possibly blind him). In the book, he ends up falling to his death down the bottomless while Omar has Joan and Jack dangling over in the dungeon.
  • Quentin Coldwater in The Magicians. In the books he survives saving Fillory and leaves with Alice to guide the world he created. In The Magicians he died saving Earth from evil minor gods, by fixing a mirror needed for their banishment.
  • The Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots novelization reveals that Solid Snake lived long enough to raise Sunny into adulthood and gave her away at her wedding before dying peacefully. The original game left Solid Snake's final fate ambiguous.
    • The novelization of The Phantom Pain ends with Quiet committing suicide by pouring gasoline on herself and lighting a match. In the game, nobody knows what happens to Quiet after she leaves Diamond Dogs following the events of Episode 45.
  • The novelization of Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team has Kiki commit suicide by biting off her tongue when she is captured and gang-raped by Federation soldiers]].
  • Morphine by Mikhail Bulgakov is a story about how a doctor becomes a morphine addict during the revolution, and is based on Bulgakov's own experiences, with the main protagonist Polyakov clearly based on Bulgakov. The story end with Polyakov being Driven to Suicide. In real life, Bulgakov was able to overcome his addiction and lived for over 20 more years.
  • Speedball dies alongside the rest of the New Warriors in the novelization of Civil War. In the original comic, he survives and becomes the Darker and Edgier Anti-Hero Penance.
  • The novelization for Pacific Rim pretty explicitly states that Hannibal Chau's trip down the gullet of a Kaiju was fatal. In the movie he's spared by The Stinger.
  • The novelization of RoboCop 2 includes a scene with one of Cain's lieutenants, Catzo (a.k.a. "Elvis guy"), get in a knife fight with Officer Lewis, where she kills him. The scene was filmed, but cut from the final film, resulting in Catzo's fate becoming ambiguous. The scene was used in the comic adaptation as well, though in that instance it was an unnamed thug who looked nothing like the Elvis wannabe from the film.
  • Barricade in both the novelization and comic book versions of Transformers. In the movie, he simply disappeared without a trace.
    • In the novelization of the 3rd film, Mirage is killed; in the film, he survives.
      • Skids and Mudlap also appear in the novel, apparently so they could get Rescued from the Scrappy Heap without having to appear in the film. They both get killed by Sentinel Prime, just right after he kills Ironhide.
  • In The Twilight Zone (1985) episode "Healer", the mob boss Joseph Rubello has a bad heart which Jackie Thompson is unable to heal as he has begun using the healing stone for selfish purposes. In spite of this, Rubello is still alive when he is last seen. In the short story adaptation by Alan Brennert, Jackie is able to heal Rubello in the short term but his heart problems return and he dies two weeks later.

  • At least two reimaginings of Peter and the Wolf do this.
  • More likely "Death by Cover Version": In "Leader of the Pack" by The Shangri-Las, the girl, Betty, was forced to break up with Jimmy, the titular "leader of the pack" after her parents declared that he's not good for her. As he leaves on a motorcycle on a rainy night, she warns him to go slow, but her efforts are in vain as she watches him get killed in a motorcycle accident. In Twisted Sister's version, however, the gender and perspective roles are swapped: After her forced breakup, it is Jimmy who watches (and lives) as Betty gets killed in an automobile accident.
  • The "Extra Gory" version of the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "The Night Santa Went Crazy" ends with Santa getting shot in the head, when the regular version merely has him serving a 700-year prison sentence.

  • In As You Like It, Orlando comes to Arden with his Old Retainer, Adam, who's elderly, starving and close to death. Searching for food, Orlando stumbles upon the banished Duke Senior, who's feasting with his lords. The Duke, who was a great friend of Orlando's father, immediately sends Orlando to bring Adam to the table and feed him. However, Adam is conspicuously absent for the rest of the play, which has led some directors to imply that he died anyway. The 1996 RSC production went so far as to show a grave covered in flowers. Whether or not Shakespeare actually intended Adam's death, killing him off would be a case of this trope, since As You Like It is itself an adaptation of Thomas Lodge's novella Rosalynde, in which Adam lived to the end.
  • Schaunard, the musician, survives to the end of La Bohème. His counterpart in RENT, Angel Dumott Schunard, does not.
  • In Voltaire's Candide, the pessimistic Martin survives to the end. In the 1956 and 1989 versions of Leonard Bernstein's operetta, he dies in a shipwreck, and unlike most of the other characters who "die", doesn't come back. This is because his part is written to be doubled with Pangloss, who needs to come back. (The 1973 version adapts him out altogether.)
  • The 2013 musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cranks up the Black Comedy of the source material by, after establishing that Backstory-only character Prince Pondicherry died in the melting ruins of his chocolate palace (unlike in the book), having three of the naughty kids plus Veruca's father threatened with death as a result of their misadventures. Augustus might be rescued offstage, but that's Uncertain Doom at best. Violet might get an offstage Disney Death if she's lucky (given that she explodes). Veruca and her father are much iffier cases as they are last seen headed for an incinerator, with no hope of rescue mentioned. The fourth and arguably worst kid, Mike Teavee, doesn't face death, but he instead looks to remain shrunken forever (because his long-suffering mother prefers him that way). In the book and most adaptations, all the characters survive their potentially lethal experiences but are definitely changed for them, while the 1971 film version left their fates ambiguous.
  • In the TV versions of Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein), the king and queen are benevolent, funny supporting characters. The 2013 Broadway stage production makes the prince an orphan raised by a villainous prime minister named Sebastian, whose influence Cinderella helps him learn to break free from.
  • In the Broadway version of Into the Woods, Cinderella's step-family starves to death while lost in the woods.
  • Both Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell end after Jesus dies but before we find out if he resurrects or not.
  • King Lear was panned in Shakespeare's time because of this trope: the widely-known old fable that Shakespeare adapted had a happy ending, with Cordelia and Lear reconciling and successfully retaking the throne. Shakespeare's audience got a nasty surprise.
  • The musical Little Shop of Horrors kills off several characters that survived in The Little Shop of Horrors, the movie on which it is based. These include Audrey (who is, however, spared in the film of the musical) and Mr. Mushnik (who isn't).
  • In the often forgotten original novella of Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long, Cho-Cho-San only attempts suicide: her maid Suzuki stops her and they take her little boy and run away before Mrs. Pinkerton can come back to claim him. When David Belasco adapted the story for the stage, he changed the ending to have the heroine go through with her suicide, and of course Puccini followed suit in his opera, as has every subsequent adaptation, retelling and deconstruction.
  • A notable staging of The Merchant of Venice had Shylock stab himself before exiting the court scene.
  • In Persona 4 Visualive the Evolution, a play adaptation of the second half of Persona 4, Tohru Adachi is struck down by the hero. His body disappears, and that's the last you see or hear of him for the remainder of the story, giving the implication that he died.
  • The serialized tale of The Cunning Little Vixen ended with vixen Sharp-Ears alive and wed (the latter may have just been a hallucination by the woodsman), though the last paragraph suggested that she was probably dead by now, since this was all set in an unspecified but idyllic past. The opera had her shot dead in front of her defenseless cubs, then skinned and her pelt presented as a wedding gift by the one stealing the woodsman's love interest. And yet it's still considered a comedy.
  • In Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Enfield is murdered by Hyde, who also kills Utterson's butler when he comes to Enfield's defense. Both characters survive to the end of the original novel. (Enfield's death in the play is an adaptation of the murder of Sir Danvers Carew in the novel; Carew is Adapted Out in the play.)
  • In the National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island, all the pirates wind up dead, including the ones who survive in the novel; some are killed along the way and most, including Long John Silver, are caught by a cave-in in the cave where the treasure is hidden. By that point the pirates have killed many of the loyal crew members, again including some who survived in the novel. (The production rather glosses over the question of who sailed the ship home again.)
  • Witness for the Prosecution deals some Adaptational Karma to Leonard Vole. Both the play and original short story see him acquitted of murder thanks to his wife, Christine, letting herself get caught for perjury. In the play, she kills him when he leaves her for another woman after the trial.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Interesting case with Higurashi: When They Cry. When the game was ported to PS2, the original ending was changed into one where Hanyuu gets Killed Off for Real. Other adaptations used the original ending. Curiously, the author claims that the PS2 ending is the "True" ending while the "normal" ending is the "Good" ending. This is probably because traditional, route-based Visual Novels frequently have two endings to each route (aside from bad ends). The True ending is typically bittersweet, while the Good ending ensures everyone lives happily ever after. It's not to do with one being canon, as the PS2 ending certainly isn't.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!
    • Wonder Man, who was given Adaptational Villainy to be loyal to the Masters of Evil because Enchantress was the only thing keeping him alive, dies in a Heroic Sacrifice to stop her when she targets the team in revenge.
    • When the Avengers form an Enemy Mine with the supervillains they locked away in Prison 42 against Annihilus, several supervillains perish in the fight, these being Iron Man villain Blizzard, Thor villain Radioactive Man, and Ant-Man villain Whirlwind.
  • Mei-Ling, Hsien-Ko's sister, was killed by Demitri at a young age in the Darkstalkers cartoon. In the games, Mei-Ling is still alive as an adult, and appears in some of Hsien-Ko's intros and victory poses (in addition to transforming into the talisman on Hsien-Ko's forehead during combat).
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Justice League:
      • Steppenwolf, Desaad, Professor Ivo, and Orm. Though the creative team originally considered bringing Orm back as Ocean Master like in the original comics. The idea was scrapped because it would require an explanation about how he would've escaped from the cliff.
      • As well as Darkseid, Silver Banshee, Rampage, the Shade, Parasite, Weather Wizard, and most of the Legion of Doom members in Justice League Unlimited. Though Darkseid is a maybe at best as the characters outright speculate that he's Not Quite Dead.
    • Static Shock sees the title character's mother, Jean Hawkins, die before her son Virgil become the titular Static, whereas in the Static comics, she's still alive.
    • Dan Turpin died in Superman: The Animated Series. While his fate was ambiguous in the initial releases of Final Crisis, the expanded version in later versions does show he survived Darkseid possessing him and the Black Racer's exorcism of him.
  • DuckTales (2017): In the 1987 series, Duckworth was alive and well. In the reboot, Duckworth is confirmed to have died a few years before the show began. That said, he comes back as a ghost in the same episode.
  • The special Garfield: His 9 Lives changes up the ending segment from the book. In the book's version of "Space Cat", it turns out that the ship Garfield is on is actually just a simulation video game he's been playing, while in the special, it's all real, and when the ship is destroyed he and Odie both get killed. Of course, this being a family special for prime time, it isn't permanent: after the two go to Heaven, Garfield's able to convince God to give the both of them a second chance.
  • Gurth, Demoted to Extra and all, is dead at the beginning of his sole appearance in Ivanhoe: The King's Knight.
  • Captain Smollett is killed by Pew in the finale of the loosely based The Legends of Treasure Island cartoon, while Long John Silver, who had already died once and revived himself from hell previously, was dragged back down for cheating Death.
  • Doctor Octopus has died and came back to life a few times in the comics. In Marvel's Spider-Man, he dies a Redemption Equals Death by saving New York from the Goblin King at the cost of being erased.
  • Both Tom Sawyer (Bart Simpson) and Huckleberry Finn (Nelson Muntz) in The Simpsons version of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Their version ends with both Tom and Huck jumping into a river as an attempt to escape a mob of angry townsfolk, but the townsfolk were waiting right at the bottom. A funeral is held for them, where at first we see both Tom and Huck hiding in the rafters of the church said funeral is held in, as if they had survived and faked their deaths like in the original story, but then it is revealed that they both actually died when it was time for "the lowering of the bodies into the coffins."
  • Mysterio notably died in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and it actually stuck (this was before he was Driven to Suicide by Daredevil in the comics).
  • The Lizard falls to his death at the end of his debut episode in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the original live-action films, Rahzar's fate was being reverted back into an ordinary wolf. Here he first gets drowned by Leatherhead, then he gets brought back to life by Kavaxis only to suffer a Disney Villain Death two episodes later.
  • Jefferson, Miles Morales' dad in Ultimate Spider-Man. Ironically, it was Miles' mom who died in the comics.
  • Allura in Voltron: Legendary Defender.
  • Viper in X-Men: Evolution.
  • What If?:
  • Red Torpedo and Red Inferno, the android siblings of Red Tornado, are melted in lava as they bring down their villainous sibling Red Volcano in Young Justice.
    • L-Ron, robotic sidekick to Justice League International, undergoes Adaptational Villainy in Young Justice: Invasion, participating alongside Despero in attempting to conquer Earth, but is destroyed by the heroes.
    • In the season finale of that same season, a Reach chrysalis activating and nearly dooming the Earth sets in motion the death of a speedster by disintegration right out of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but what makes it this trope is that despite the presence of Barry Allen in the scene, Wally West dies instead due to his slower speed making him the vent for the released energy (the change was because according to Word of God, Wally's death would've resonated better with audiences than Barry's since Wally was a main character and Barry wasn't).
    • Ex-Prince Orm, the supervillain known as Ocean Master and the original Aquaman's evil brother, is decapitated by Lady Shiva in the revival season Young Justice: Outsiders, after having been captured offscreen since at least after season one, when he attempts to kill the Justice League's loved ones (something the Light was against).


Examples where the character died a lot sooner in the adaptation than in the source:

    Comic Books 
  • Another Warlord of Mars example: Matai Shang dies in the climax of the third book, at the hands of his former ally Thurid. In the comics, he dies much earlier than his book counterpart at the hands of Salensus Oll, another ally besides Thurid, because he didn't felt honoring his agreement.
  • In Spider-Man: Life Story, Flash Thompson is killed in The Vietnam War after enlisting during college. This is contrast to the mainline continuity, where Flash became a teacher after the war and even had a crime-fighting career as Agent Venom before meeting his end at the hands of the Red Goblin.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the Animated Adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm, Old Major dies peacefully as the animals sing "Beasts Of England" during their meeting, while in the original book, he dies a few days later. The 1999 live action adaptation takes this Up to Eleven: he is accidentally shot by Mr. Jones during the meeting.
  • Batman: Soul of the Dragon sees Rip Jagger himself die after killing Jade Nguyen during his training years, long before she could even adopt his comic book persona of Judomaster (and by extension, long before the point he'd meet his death at the hands of Bane).
  • In the comics, the Joker followed-up crippling Barbara Gordon with killing Jason Todd, with Barbara even attending his funeral in a wheelchair and Joker's actions being motivated to get more money after the GCPD seized his assets after what he did to Barbara. Even ignoring that Jason was later resurrected, the Animated Adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke suggested the inverse happened, as one of the images Bruce looks up on the Batcomputer after he learns the Joker escaped from Arkham is an image of a bloodied Jason based on the cover of the issue where Bruce finds Jason's body.
  • In the Grimms' "Snow White", the Queen dies dancing in red-hot shoes at the Wedding of Snow White and the Prince. Her Disney Counterpart never makes it that far: immediately after poisoning Snow White, she's pursued by the Dwarfs and their animal friends. She falls to her death while trying to kill them with a boulder.
  • Superman: Doomsday sees Martha Kent living alone, suggesting that Jonathan Kent had already passed on. While he did suffer a heart attack during The Death of Superman, he recovered and wouldn't die until the Brainiac arc that'd serve as the basis for Superman Unbound (where he ended up with the opposite trope). Additionally, given Doomsday came out in 2007 and Brainiac the following year, it was type 1 at the time.
  • Giant-Man dies at the end of Ultimate Avengers 2. In the actual Ultimate comics, he didn't die until until the Ultimatum crossover. However, as said comic was published a few years after the movie was released, it was type 1 at the time.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse's backstory sees its version of Vanessa and Richard Fisk die in an accident right after finding out about Wilson being The Kingpin. Additionally, as the story in set in a universe based on the Ultimate Marvel universe, it's doubles as type 1 for Vanessa as her Ultimate counterpart was merely comatose (Richard was Adapted Out).

  • The novel for The Death of Superman has Mongul killed at the hands of the Eradicator instead of getting knocked out by Hal Jordan, due to the fact that Hal was removed from the storyline entirely despite Coast City still being destroyed. Interestingly, Mongul does get killed in the comics, but in a later storyline, so his death in the novel was type 1 at the time.
  • The novelization of Raiders of the Lost Ark has Toht aboard Gobler's jeep when it flies off the road during the truck chase. This keeps him from his gruesome fate along with the other Nazis (and Belloq) via the Ark at the end of the movie.

  • DanganRonpa: The Stage introduces a new rule to the Class Trial system which executes students if they vote against the correct majority vote. Because of this, Kiyotaka Ishimaru is executed alongside Mondo Owada in the second trial and the events of the game's third case (in which Ishimaru dies) never happen.
    • The play's next case is when Sakura Oogami dies. This means that she dies before Celestia and Hifumi Yamada, who die in the game's third case, while Sakura dies in the game's fourth case.
    • In the play's sequel, ''Super DanganRonpa 2: The Stage, Gundham Tanaka and Nekomaru Nidai die together when they take on the Monokumas just after the third class trial. In the game, Gundham was the one who killed Nekomaru and was executed for it after the fourth class trial.
  • Hamilton places the death of Hamilton's son Philip before the election of 1800: one of the musical's many cases of Artistic License – History for dramatic effect. Philip's fatal duel actually took place in 1801.
  • In Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde murders Dr Lanyon at the end of the confrontation in which Lanyon learns Hyde's secret. In the novel, Hyde leaves him alive, though the shock of the revelation ruins his health and he dies some time later, after writing an account of the confrontation which would have been superfluous in the stage version where the audience saw the confrontation directly.

    Video Games 
  • The second episode of Batman: The Telltale Series sees Carmine Falcone die after his first encounter with Batman.
  • In the Nintendo Wii GoldenEye, Zukovsky is killed less than a minute after Bond meets him, instead of living until The World is Not Enough like he does in the films.
  • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, Video Game Remake of the first Mega Man X game, Dr. Cain is killed off in the Day of Sigma OAV before the game even starts. In the original version he's a major character in the first three games and dies of natural causes sometime between X4 and X5.
  • In the Coraline video game, the Beldam is defeated outright and ends the game right then and there. Unlike the movie, where her severed hand doesn't survive for a final confrontation.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Ramza survives the game's events. His counterpart in the Return to Ivalice raid questline in Final Fantasy XIV isn't as fortunate, as he sacrificed his life to seal Ultima away until a Warrior of Light can destroy her for good and all.

    Web Animation 
  • Gaming All Stars Remastered: Quite a few characters who lived for a good portion of the plot in The Ultimate Crossover are given the boot earlier in this version, such as Glover and Fancy Pants Man (The former who only shows up as a trophy, getting knocked into lava during the Giga Bowser fight, and the latter getting killed in the penultimate episode in favor of keeping Knuckles the Echidna alive)]].

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017): In most other continuities, Donald was raised by his loving parents who died when he was a young adult. In this version, they both died with he was a small child, leading Donald and Della to be raised by their Uncle Scrooge.
  • Ferro Lad in Legion of Super-Heroes was around for only three episodes before his Heroic Sacrifice, staying behind to destroy the Sun-Eater machine. In the comics, he was around for about two years before this event and his character was more fleshed out.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Commander Zog, the turtles' Triceraton ally in the original comics is sliced to pieces by the three mutant Shredder clones. In the second cartoon, he is mortally wounded by a stab to the stomach from Shredder and dies in the collapsing lair, taking Shredder with him.
  • Kent Nelson, the original Doctor Fate, lives to over 100 years old in Young Justice, only to be struck down by Klarion the Witch Boy, who wants the Helmet of Nabu for himself. He just can't catch a break!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Killed By The Adaptation


Dan Curtis' Dracula [Vampire Harker]

Edited clips from a 1973 TV version of "Dracula" (helmed by "Dark Shadows" creator, Dan Curtis). In the original novel, Harker survives his ordeal in Dracula's castle and the entirety of the book. In this version however, he isn't as lucky, being fed to the brides Dracula initially saved him from. An act that ultimately killed and turned him into a ravenous vampire who attacks Van Helsing and Arthur, forcing Arthur to put him down.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeathByAdaptation

Media sources:

Main / DeathByAdaptation