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Dies Differently in Adaptation

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A lot can get changed in adaptations, particularly when it comes to characters' deaths. Perhaps the death in the original medium was too graphic for the target audience. Perhaps the death was slow and therefore not suitable for a film's pacing. Or perhaps the adapted version of the character was so despised, they required a more graphic or elaborate death.

This is quite common in family-oriented works—where characters who died of illnesses get sudden and more immediate deaths to make them more accessible for children. Back in the days of The Hays Code, some deaths had to be changed to meet the standards of the film's censors. In works prone to Adaptation Expansion—where the original cause of death is not mentioned—this counts too in the sense of confirming what the cause was.

This trope can also be used to keep the adaptation interesting to those who are already familiar with the original version.

Note that it's only this trope if the character dies in both versions of the work. If the character dies in one but lives in the other, that's Death by Adaptation or Spared by the Adaptation, although it can overlap with these tropes if it happens earlier or later than in the original version. It is also only this trope if it's the same character. If Alice gets pushed off a bridge in the book, but Bob does in the movie, that's Decomposite Character.

Compare Death by Adaptation, Spared by the Adaptation, Fictionalized Death Account, Bloodier and Gorier, Lighter and Softer.

As a Death Trope, you should of course expect unmarked spoilers.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Snow White": Traditionally, the Evil Queen dies after being forced to dance in hot shoes. This has been censored in multiple versions. The first English translation from 1823 had her choking on envy after finding out Snow White is alive, while another 1871 English translation has her own feet turning hot from anger. Translations often have her either killed by something she did (accidentally touching her own poisoned rose, falling into quicksand after poisoning her step-daughter, etc), killed by the dwarves, turned ugly as a result of her envious heart, or simply exiled.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the Arabian Nights tale of Aladdin, the evil sorcerer is either poisoned or drugged with a sleeping potion and beheaded by Aladdin, depending on the version. In the Disney version, Jafar is Spared by the Adaptation in the original film by being turned into a genie and imprisoned in the magic lamp, but is eventually killed in the sequel when his former sidekick Iago kicks the lamp into lava.
  • Animal Farm (1954): In the book, Farmer Jones eventually died in a drunkards' home, long after the revolution which overthrew him. Here, he accidentally blows himself up while sabotaging the windmill.
  • Astro Boy: Most versions of the story (including the Manga and TV shows) had Tobio/Toby, the basis for Astro, die in a car crash. The animated film has Toby vaporized by an out of control military robot.
  • Batman: The Long Halloween sees all three members of the Falcone family who appear, Carmine, Alberto, and Sofia, undergo this.
    • Carmine Falcone's death is the closest as he's still shot and killed by Two-Face, but in the film, he's shot in the neck and lives for a couple of more minutes afterwards. In the comic, he's shot in the head and dies instantly.
    • Combined with the "dies earlier" version of Death by Adaptation, but both Alberto, who faked his death on New Year's, and Sofia in the comic lived to appear in the sequel Batman: Dark Victory, where Sofia, having survived a fall, employs Obfuscating Disability to hide that she's really the Hangman, added Alberto to her body count by smothering him with a pillow for not being more like their father, and she herself is killed the same way her father died: shot in the head by Two-Face. Here, Alberto really is killed on New Year's (shot in the gut, falls off the boat, and finished off by the turbine) and Sofia, Driven to Suicide, lets go of Catwoman's hand and falls all the way down onto a police car.
  • Batman: Soul of the Dragon:
    • The Adaptational Vilified version of Rip Jagger (the original Judomaster) is killed by the Great Naga's demons rather than having his back broken by Bane like what happened in Final Crisis.
    • The O-Sensei is possessed by the Great Naga and Richard Dragon is forced to kill him to stop the demon. In the comics, the O-Sensei drowned while trying to make a pilgrimage to his wife's grave, poetically sending him to her actual final resting place beneath the ocean.
  • Green Lantern: First Flight:
    • The "Secret Origin" arc that came out about a year prior to the film revealed that the reason Hal Jordan's predecessor Abin Sur was dying in the first place was because he was mortally wounded by Atrocitus, the founder and leader of the Red Lantern Corps. This movie changes it so that Abin Sur's assailant is instead an underling of Kanjar Ro's named Cuch.
    • Tomar Re's death in the comics happened at the hands of Hal Jordan's enemy Goldface, while here he is among the Green Lanterns Sinestro slaughters after obtaining his yellow power ring.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo throws Frollo to his death in the original book, while in the movie Frollo accidentally falls into a pit of molten lead due to standing on a crumbling gargoyle. The stage musical adapted from the movie restores the original death.
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox:
    • Lex Luthor in the original Flashpoint comic event had his counterpart in the Flashpoint timeline die as a child as a result of his father using him as a Human Shield when he was mauled by the timeline's counterpart to Krypto. In the animated film, Flashpoint Lex Luthor instead lives to adulthood and appears among Deathstroke's crew before they are attacked by Atlantean soldiers and is ultimately killed by Aquaman.
    • Clayface is blown apart by Ocean Master using hydrokinesis, when the original comic event had Aquaman kill Clayface by forcing him underwater to make him fall apart.
    • Professor Zoom is still killed by the Flashpoint timeline's counterpart to Batman (who here is Thomas Wayne taking up the cowl after Bruce Wayne was shot), but is shot in the head rather than impaled on a sword.
    • Despite clips of this movie frequently being used in the "It was me, Barry" memes, ironically in this version of the story Reverse-Flash didn't kill Barry's mother as it's shown to have just been a faceless burglar near the end of the film.
  • Justice League: The New Frontier, an animated film based on DC: The New Frontier, has King Faraday sacrifice himself by letting one of the Centre's prehistoric creatures eat him alive while he's holding live hand grenades as opposed to dying from drawing the Centre's influence away from J'onn like in the original comic.
  • In the Brothers Grimm's "Snow White", the wicked queen is forced to dance to death in hot iron shoes at Snow White's wedding. In the classic Disney film, she falls off a cliff as a lightning bolt breaks the floor she's standing on, and she's crushed off-screen by the boulder she was gonna use to run over the dwarves.
  • In the comics, Peter dies fighting the Sinister Six before Miles Morales took over as Spider-Man. in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Peter is mortally wounded from an explosion before The Kingpin finishes him off.
  • In The Swan Princess, Odette's Disney Death is caused by Rothbart's spell: if Derek vows everlasting love to Odette, the spell will be broken, but if he makes the vow to another woman, Odette will die. In the original ballet Swan Lake, however, the misplaced vow doesn't kill Odette, but only makes the spell unbreakable, and Odette drowns herself rather than be forced to marry Rothbart or else trapped as a swan forever. Also, unlike the luckier animated Odette and Derek, the original Odette and her prince are Killed Off for Real.
  • A minor example occurs in Treasure Planet as while the first mate Mr. Arrow dies in both mediums for the same purpose, the method changes. In the novel he is secretly given alcohol by Long John Silver during a storm to engineer his "accidental" death by falling overboard and drowning. But in this movie he is actively murdered by Scroop by being tossed into a black hole.

  • A Tale of...: The Evil Queen's famous Disney Villain Death is changed into a suicide. Grimhilde was given a choice between saving herself and being killed, but she opted to die instead.
  • BIONICLE Chronicles #1: Tale of the Toa: In the unpublished story outlines, the Toa realize that the evil Shadow Toa symbolize their own inner darkness, and by accepting this, they absorb their respective clones into themselves. In the book, they also fight to a standstill but destroy their duplicates by simply switching their opponents and reducing them to whatever element they represented. However the book's earlier manuscript gave yet another account, in which the Shadow Toa's remains somehow stay "alive" and scurry back into the tunnels they came from, the implications of which are left unresolved. This was removed from the final text but oddly survives in the book's Hungarian printing. Later, the BIONICLE Encyclopedia retconned this defeat in favor of the "Toa merge with their duplicates" scenario, which was the original plan for the scene.
  • In Real Life, Neil Armstrong died of complications for Coronary artery disease in 2012. In Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain, he was eaten by Lunans in 1960.

  • Batman: Joe Chill, the mugger whose murder of the Waynes led their son to become Batman, usually lives long enough to realize what he did. In the Golden Age, he's killed by his henchmen when they realize it too. Various adaptations play it out differently:
  • In Batman: Dark Victory, Gillian Loeb, who was forced to resign from his post as the GCPD commissioner, was killed by Sofia Falcone hanging him during her killing spree as the Hangman shortly after Jim Gordon took over the commissioner post. In both The Dark Knight and Batman: Arkham Origins, he's killed by the Joker:
    • In The Dark Knight, the Joker poisons a bottle of Loeb's alcohol.
    • In Arkham Origins, the Joker, impersonating Black Mask, slams him into a gas chamber and using the gas intended to execute the Calendar Man.
  • Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman's Dead Person Impersonation of Matches Malone started when he turned to Matches for help against Ra's al Ghul, only to result in a fight in which Matches accidentally killed himself.
    • Post-Crisis, it's established in the "Close Before Striking" arc in 2001 that Matches Malone and his brother Carver, a pair of arsonists who specialized in insurance scams, came into Gotham during Bruce's first years, while Harvey Dent was still Gotham's DA and not Two-Face, and years before Bruce would adopt Dick and meet Ra's. In fact, here, it's ultimately revealed that Matches wasn't even dead yet when Bruce started posing as him, he'd only faked his death and returned to Gotham to confront rumors about him being a rat thanks to Bruce's impersonation of him — only to die for real when Scarface, looking for revenge against "Matches" after Batman busted one of his operations, guns him downnote .
    • While the Batman: The Animated Series tie-in comic Batman Adventures kept the detail from pre-Crisis that Matches Malone was indeed dead when Batman started impersonating him, the details were changed to his death being the result of Rupert Thorne sending hitmen after him when he realizes that Matches was stealing money from him.
    • In Gotham, Matches commits suicide after being confronted by Bruce about his killing of Thomas and Martha Wayne (a deed itself usually done by Joe Chill).
  • Black Panther: T'Chaka has to be the absolute king of this trope. While he was murdered by Ulysses Klaw the original comics, he's killed by a different person in almost every adaptation:
  • Oliver Twist: Bill Sikes accidentally hangs himself while fleeing justice for his murdering his girlfriend, Nancy. Quite a few adaptations play it out differently:
    • David Lean's 1949 film has Sikes sniped by a policeman in the crowd, which results in his hanging, rather than him being spooked by a sudden vision of Nancy.
    • The musical Oliver! also sees him sniped by a policeman, though he just falls to his death afterwards. The film of the musical plays out similarly to Lean's film, though instead of his rope dangling around his neck, it's wrapped around his body.
    • Oliver & Company has Bill Sykes run over by a subway train while on his limousine, with his remains falling into the river below the bridge he was on.
    • Oliver Twisted has him possessed Nancy's vengeful spirit, who blows him up from the inside.
    • Twist has a Gender Flipped Sikes shot by Fagin.
  • Superman: In The Death of Superman, Superman and Doomsday inflict a Mutual Kill with a single punch to their necks. Adaptations of this storyline play it out differently:
    • In Superman: Doomsday, Superman slams himself and Doomsday into the ground from orbit.
    • In The Death of Superman, Superman punches Doomsday so hard that his neck is wrenched a full 180 degrees. Superman is similarly fatally wounded in the effort.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Superman stabs Doomsday with a Kryptonite spear and is fatally wounded in turn.
  • Superman: A few adaptations have The Kents die just before Clark reaches adulthood. In the Pre-Crisis continuity, for example, they die of radiation poisoning from a sunken treasure they recovered. In Post-Crisis, Jonathan Kent is killed by a Brainiac attack. In the New-52, it was by a drunk driver though it's later undone. Whether one or both or none of the Kents die in the adaptations differs:
    • Superman: The Movie and Smallville has Jonathan die of a heart attack. In the former's continuity, Martha passes away by Superman III.
    • Man of Steel has Jonathan die in a tornado. Martha survives to Clark's adulthood.
    • Superman: Doomsday has Martha alone, suggesting that Jonathan was already dead. This was a year before the comic story that killed Jonathan.
    • Injustice (2021) has him accidentally killed by Superman when he swats one of Green Arrow's arrows away and it strikes him instead.
  • Superman: While the planet Krypton and most of its people, including Superman's parents Jor-El and Lara, go boom in his backstory, nearly every version changes the reason for the planet's destruction. The Golden Age comics has it caused by a massive earthquake; the Silver Age attributes it to a dangerous build-up of Uranium and other metals in the planet's core; Modern Age has it caused by the delayed effects of a Doomsday Device used on the core in a prior conflict. As for other media:
    • In Superman: The Movie, Krypton is destroyed when its red sun goes supernova.
    • Man of Steel and Supergirl both have Krypton's core weakened by overmining, causing its destruction. In Man of Steel, Jor-El gets killed by General Zod just as he sends Kal-El's ship to Earth, which happens well before the planet goes boom.
    • In The Last Days of Krypton, the Krypton Ruling Council tosses Jor-El's Phantom Zone projector into the planet's core, which naturally weakens it to the point of destruction.
    • In Smallville, General Zod and Zor-El use Brainiac to ignite Krypton's core.

    Myths & Religion 
  • While many, if not most, versions of the legend of Faust end with Faust's demise, the method in which he goes often differs. Originally, Faust is allowed until he finds a moment of satisfaction. Eventually, that moment comes and he dies on the spot. Others simply end with Faust being taken to Hell by the demons he trafficked with. The 1994 movie ends with Faust being struck by a car.

  • The original Back to the Future film has Doc Brown getting gunned down by the Libyan terrorists whom he swindled plutonium from. The Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of the film doesn't include the Libyans at all, so Doc dies from radiation poisoning when loading the DeLorean's reactor with plutonium instead.
  • The Beetlejuice musical changes the Maitlands' fatal accident in the original film from driving their car into a river to falling through the creaky old floor in their house.
  • In A Christmas Carol, Jacob Marley's cause of death isn't specified, but it's implied to have been a drawn-out illness, as a minor character mentions that he "lies upon the point of death, I hear" in a flashback to the year it happened. In A Christmas Carol: The Musical, both the stage version and its 2004 TV adaptation, he dies suddenly of a heart attack in his office.
  • Danganronpa: The Stage:
    • In chapter 3 of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Kiyotaka Ishimaru is bludgeoned to death with a hammer by Hifumi Yamada, who was acting under the orders of Celestia Ludenburg, who in turn, bludgeons Yamada with another hammer. In The Stage, however, Ishimaru is killed alongside chapter 2's culprit, Mondo Owada, because he refused to vote for Mondo as the killer. As for Hifumi and Celestia, they both die together when they vote that Sakura Ogami's death, a suicide, was murder.
    • The Stage also foregoes the elaborate executions of the convicted in favor of the Spears of Gungnir, ala Mukuro Ikusaba's death.
    • Super Danganronpa 2: The Stage still has Ibuki Mioda killed by Mikan Tsumiki, but here, she's injected with poison instead of getting strangled. After the relevant trial, Gundham Tanaka and Nekomaru Nidai die together to save Akane from a Monokuma horde. Their deaths cut out the game's fourth chapter, in which Gundham kills Nekomaru and is executed for it (albeit in a mutual sacrifice pact).
  • Two examples in the stage version of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • Esmeralda dies of smoke inhalation after being rescued from burning at the stake. This combines her original death from the novel, which was by hanging, with the Disney film's ending where she's rescued from the stake and survives.
    • In addition, Jehan Frollo dies near the end of the book, during the assault on the cathedral (and at the hands of Quasimodo, of all people). On stage, however, he dies in the opening number, succumbing to the same pox that killed his lover a few months prior.
  • A minor example in the Broadway musical adaptation of Jane Eyre. In the novel, Helen Burns dies of tuberculosis, which she already had when she and Jane first met. Her death just happens to coincide with a typhus epidemic at Lowood School which also kills many of the other girls. In the musical, she dies of typhus like her schoolmates.
  • In The Strange Caseof Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Jekyll/Hyde is Driven to Suicide with cyanide in the end. In Jekyll & Hyde he transforms into Hyde involuntarily at his own wedding party, but becomes Jekyll again just long enough to beg Utterson to kill him. Then, depending on the version of the show, he either is shot by Utterson after he turns into Hyde again, or throws himself on Utterson's swordstick when Utterson can't bring himself to do the deed.
  • Les Misérables includes some slight examples that don't change the causes of death from the novel, but do change the circumstances a bit:
    • In the novel, the gravely ill Fantine is still alive when Javert barges into her hospital room to arrest Jean Valjean; in her feeble condition, the shock of Valjean's arrest (which means that he can't reunite her with her daughter Cosette after all) is to much for her and kills her. In the musical, she simply dies of her illness in peace before Javert arrives.
    • The novel's Éponine takes a bullet for Marius during the first battle on the barricade. In the stage musical, she's shot before the first formal battle, while climbing over the barricade to reunite with Marius. The film version brings back her self-sacrifice from the novel, though. More recent stage productions have combined the two scenarios by having her almost make it to safety when she comes back to the barricade, only for Marius to rise up from cover too soon and nearly be shot, with Éponine Taking the Bullet for him.
    • In the novel, Enjolras and Grantaire are the last two named revolutionaries to be killed, and their death takes place in the tavern, with the National Guard forming an impromptu firing squad to shoot Enjolras and Grantaire joining him out of Undying Loyalty. In the musical, they're killed on the barricade, where Enjolras is shot while defiantly waving the revolutionary flag and then Grantaire climbs up to die with him, and in most productions, Enjolras is the first student to die, followed by Grantaire and all the others soon afterwards. Again, the 2012 film changes their deaths back to the novel's version, though.
  • In the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of The Little Mermaid (1989), Ursula, rather than being impaled and electrocuted, dissolves after Ariel smashes her nautilus shell, implied to be a Soul Jar similar to Genie!Jafar's lamp and Rasputin's reliquary. The Junior production gives her a death somewhat closer to the film, with the trident's magic backfiring on her.
  • In Auntie Mame, Beau Burnside's honeymoon with Mame ends when he's kicked in the head by a horse. In the play and its musical adaptation Mame, Beau falls off a mountain instead. The film of the musical, meanwhile, has Beau killed in an avalanche.
  • In the original book of Matilda, Miss Honey's mother died when she was two years old, of unspecified causes. In the musical, the Acrobat died in childbirth after being gravely injured in a fall during her last performance.
  • In Native Son, Bigger rapes Bessie and then throws her off a building in the original novel (though it's later revealed that her actual death was more prolonged). The play renames her Clara and has Bigger kill her instead by more or less using her as a Bulletproof Human Shield.
  • In E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker, the Mouse King is Killed Offscreen by the Nutcracker in a Duel to the Death. Exactly how he dies in the ballet varies between productions. Sometimes Clara kills him by hitting him on the head with her shoe. Sometimes her thrown shoe only distracts him and gives the Nutcracker the chance to stab him. And still others have Clara grab the Nutcracker's sword and stab the King herself.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark changes the Green Goblin's death from getting impaled on his own Goblin Glider to getting dragged off the Chrysler Building by his own piano.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: The original novel, The String of Pearls, ends with Mrs. Lovett poisoned by Sweeney, who in turn, is caught and sent to the gallows. The musical and the Christopher Bond play it was based on has Sweeney toss Mrs. Lovett into her oven, and then offer his neck for his maddened ward, Toby, to give a close shave. Less elaborate productions, including the 2000 concert and 2005 revival, have Sweeney deliver Lovett a close shave.
  • National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island:
    • Blind Pew is stabbed to death by another pirate instead of being trampled by a horse (which would have been rather more difficult to stage).
    • Israel Hands is a Self-Disposing Villain (he accidentally blows himself up while guarding the ship's armoury), saving Jim from having to kill him in self-defense as in the novel.
  • In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo commits suicide with poison. In West Side Story, Tony is shot by Chino, the equivalent of Paris, in a sort of suicide by enemy gang when he runs into the street calling for Chino to come and get him.
  • The Witches of Eastwick: In the novel and film, Clyde beats his fundamentalist wife Felicia to death with a fire poker, and hangs himself afterwards. The musical has Clyde whack Felicia once with a frying pan, and Felicia in her last spiteful act, sticks his tie into the garbage disposal and turn it on.
  • In Oliver Twist, Bill Sykes beats Nancy to death with a club. In the script of the musical Oliver!, the stage direction only reads "He kills her"; while most productions, and the 1968 film version, retain the fatal beating from the novel, some productions have him strangle, stab or shoot her instead.
  • The opera Un ballo in maschera is loosely based on the story of the Swedish king Gustav III's assassination. The real king was shot, but the opera's libretto calls for Riccardo to be stabbed instead: this was demanded by censors to distance it from the historical assassination, along with changing the setting and the characters' names. Many modern productions restore the gun, though. Additionally, whether by knife or by gun, Riccardo dies of his wound within minutes, while Gustav III didn't die of the wound itself, but of an infection two weeks later.

  • Watchmen: In the comic, Captain Metropolis is mentioned to have died in a car crash long before the start of the story. Here, he’s abandoned with the hostages in the Statue of Liberty as the other Watchmen flee the time bomb in the cold open.

    Video Games 
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, Conker faces a gargoyle atop a bridge in the tutorial level. Upon hitting the gargoyle with a frying pan, the gargoyle starts to mock him just before he loses his balance and falls to his death. In the remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded, the gargoyle doesn't fall off the bridge upon being hit with the frying pan. After a moment of Lampshade Hanging, Conker hits the gargoyle with a baseball bat which causes the gargoyle to fall over and be Squashed Flat by a boulder.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Jedi Master Shaak Ti is shown to have survived Order 66 and has been living as a Nubile Savage on the jungle planet of Felucia before being murdered by Starkiller on Darth Vader's orders. However in canon, Vader himself killed her in the Jedi Temple during Operation: Knightfall as shown in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and deleted scenes from Revenge of the Sith.
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: Han Solo still doesn't survive The Force Awakens. Instead of Kylo Ren impaling him with his lightsaber however, Han tries to fix said lightsaber, accidently cuts a hole into the ground, and then falls to his death.
  • Whenever the plot of a world is essentially the plot of the movie that said world represents in Kingdom Hearts, there are chances of the villains deaths being played out differently.
    • In Tarzan, Clayton falls and ends up hanging himself. In Kingdom Hearts, the Stealth Sneak that fights alongside him in his boss fight collapses on him, crushing him.
    • In The Little Mermaid (1989), Eric kills Ursula by impaling her with the ship he is steering. In Kingdom Hearts II, he throws the trident right through her instead.
    • In The Lion King (1994), Scar is eaten alive by his fellow Hyenas. In Kingdom Hearts II, he becomes a Heartless and continues his fight against Simba only to immediately die upon defeat. He returns as the world's Satanic Archetype in Act Two, and is defeated again as Groundshaker.
    • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Jafar's lamp is kicked into the lava by Iago, effectively destroying him. In Kingdom Hearts II, he dies the instant he's beaten in his boss fight, with his lamp simply vanishing the moment he does.
    • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the gargoyle that Frollo is standing on break off, sending him falling to his death. In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], it plays out the same way in Sora's story, but in Riku's story, he is blown off the church by the boss of the world, Wargoyle.
    • In TRON: Legacy, Rinzler dies in a failed kamikaze to give the heroes more time to escape from Clu. This time around, Clu murders Rinzler when Sora sets the latter free in his scenario. Rinzler's fate is not revealed in Riku's scenario, but is assumed to be the same as the film.
    • In Tangled, Mother Gothel ages into dust after Rapunzel's hair is cut. It almost plays out the same way in Kingdom Hearts III, but is turned into a Heartless. She dies after Sora defeats her.
    • In the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the Kraken is suddenly dead in the third movie (killed by Davy Jones in the novelization). It survives in Kingdom Hearts only to get killed by Sora later on.
    • Even between games, deaths may change. In the original GBA Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Vexen gets stabbed in the back by Axel after Sora defeats him. He briefly pleads for his life before Axel strikes him again, thus killing him. In the remake, or PS2 port, Re: Chain of Memories, however, Axel shoots him with a fireball once to shut him up before he can reveal Organization XIII's secret to Sora, then snaps his fingers and literally burns him up. Depending on who you ask, the former may be seen as more brutal and the latter as being Lighter and Softer. Then again, in the remake Vexen is given no time to beg for mercy which to some might be seen as more ruthless, and he burns to death even if it is all over within a matter of seconds. So an argument for which death is more brutal can be made for both versions, really.
  • Historically and in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Sima Shi died of illness. Dynasty Warriors 8, however, sees him get killed in an ambush by his enemies, which was mainly done so that there would be a branching point to open the hypothetical route, where he ends up living.
  • In the original version of Ratchet & Clank, Chairman Drek rushes towards his frankenstein planet in a Villainous Breakdown, and Ratchet turns the Deplanetizer, intending to destroy Veldin, towards that location and fires. While this is still the way Drek died in the film and reimaginging, the circumstances were changed so that Dr. Nefarious turns Drek into a sheep, and sends him to the planet on an escape pod. The planet's destruction was made an accident as a side effect of stopping Nefarious from destroying Umbris and setting off a chain reaction that would destroy countless planets.
    • Nefarious also dies differently between the movie and the game based on the movie. In the former, Ratchet hits Nefarious with his Omniwrench and sends him hurtling into the Deplanetizer's core, where he appears to be digitally scanned (allowing him to be rebuilt as a robot in the Sequel Hook). In the latter, he summons an Instamech and tries to detonate the artificial supernova that, in the game, is what powers the Deplanetizer, and upon defeat his mech explodes into it (the game also omits the Sequel Hook from the movie).
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury, Super Buu never uses his Human Extinction Attack to kill off the entire population of Earth. They end up dying anyway when Kid Buu blows up the planet later, but in the meantime, you've got more time to do all the sidequests.
  • In the arcade version of Double Dragon II, Marian gets gunned down by Machine Gun Willy at the start of the very first stage. In the NES version, her death is simply mentioned in the opening text, but it is implied in the images shown afterward that she was stabbed by a ninja. Stabbing also seems to be the method in the PC-Engine Version as shown in a cutscene.
  • Every version of Emerald Dragon has its own version of Yaman's death. In the PC versions he's sneak attacked by a monster disguised as a villager. In the PC Engine version he takes an arrow in place Atrushan shot by a hidden monster. And in the Super Famicom version he's accidentally shot by a child he just taught how to use a bow.
  • Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand: In the original game, Rizze stays behind on Kefin as it disintegrates while King Kefin died prior to the game. In the PS2 remake, Jabir kills them when they are no longer useful.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake: In the original Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife's mother Claudia was killed by the fire Sephiroth set to destroy the town of Nibelheim. In the remake, Sephiroth murdered her with his sword.
  • In Hook, Captain Hook dies when he gets his hook caught in the Not Quite Dead crocodile and its mouth falls on him. In every game adaptation except the arcade game he's killed by Peter directly.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes:
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Miklan, Sylvain's Big Brother Bully, is killed by the player's army after being turned into a Demonic Beast. In Three Hopes, Gwendal kills him during the Adrestian Empire's raid on the fortress city of Arianrhod.
    • Duke Aegir, Ferdinand's father, dies at the hands of an angry mob during a cutscene in Ferdinand's paralogue in Three Houses. Depending on the route in Three Hopes, he is either executed by his son while the Imperial army attempts to liberate Fort Merceus, or killed by the Kingdom army as he attempts to flee to Enbarr.

  • And Shine Heaven Now changes the deaths of Walter and Anderson from how it happened in Hellsing:
    • Instead of dying either in a fire or from his Deadly Upgrade from his willing Face–Heel Turn (the manga doesn't make it quite clear how he died, just that he did]), Walter is brainwashed into working for Millennium, and when he finds out there's no way to break the brainwashing permanently, he asks to be Mercy Killed. To make it even more tragic, his own daughter Maggie was the one to do it.
    • Instead of using Helena's Nail to turn himself into a monster to fight Alucard, Anderson uses the nail on the I-Jin of Jeeves, who takes Anderson with him by slashing him into pieces as he dies.
  • Camp Counselor Jason: Various crossovers with other horror films within the comic changes the deaths of certain characters from how it happened in their source materials:
    • The escaped criminals in the The Last House on the Left crossover are killed indirectly by Jason whereas in the original film, they were intentionally and brutally killed by the vengeful Collingwood family.
    • Margaret White is implied to have been murdered by Pamela Voorhees at the end of the second part of the Carrie crossover. Usually, Carrie herself is the one to kill her mother by the end of her story.
    • The sinister old man from Night of the Demons (1988) is implied to have been killed by Michael through the latter making him to eat one of the apples he put razor blades in. In the original film, the old man's wife did the job by making an apple pie made from those apples and had him eat a piece without his knowing.

    Web Original 
  • The original Japanese version of Danganronpa Re:Birth had Maiko Kagura murder Saiji Rokudou in Chapter 1, after which she is executed. In the English dub, Maiko is murdered in Chapter 1, and Saiji is executed in Chapter 3.
  • Kentucky Fried Politics:
    • Martin Luther King Jr. doesn't get assassinated, but he does die at 56 from heart failure.
    • Michael Jackson perishes when his Neverland ranch mansion burns down.
    • Brian Epstein is killed during the Manson Family's failed attempt to kill the Beatles.
    • The Colonel himself gets 10 extra years of life, but eventually his diabetes takes him in his sleep, instead of leukaemia/pneumonia.
    • John F. Kennedy is never assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald and dies from Addison's disease at the age of 74.
    • Elizabeth Taylor dies in a car accident at the relatively young age of 33.
    • Jeffrey Dahmer is killed by John Wayne Gacy when he's just 17 years old instead of being murdered by an inmate while serving his life sentence in prison.
    • Jeffrey Epstein dies in a plane crash after he flees the United States to avoid getting convicted for sexual pestering.
    • George Lincoln Rockwell is killed by a fellow inmate at the Petersburg Federal Correctional Institution when he's 75 years old.
    • Lee Iacocca is assassinated by Lynwood Drake during a presidential tour in Los Angeles.
    • Otis Redding dies from heart disease at age 69.
    • Malcolm X dies at the ripe age of 82 from natural causes.
    • Robert Maxwell, the father of Ghislaine Maxwell lives much longer and dies at the age of 88.
    • Jimi Hendrix dies in 2013 at the age of 70.
    • Instead of being killed by police during a killing spree, Charles Whitman is killed by a Cuban sniper during the Cuban War, believed to have been Lee Harvey Oswald.
    • Marilyn Monroe dies peacefully from congestive heart failure at the age of 87.
    • Non-person example: The World Hockey Association (WHA) lasts up until 2004 as opposed to an immediate merger with the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1979.
  • In BIONICLE, all six Bohrok-Kal get deactivated when they suffer Super-Power Meltdown, with the vacuum-powered Lehvak-Kal shooting itself into space where it presumably remained forever. But in the 2003 online animations, the Lehvak-Kal simply blows itself apart in a blink-and-miss-it moment.

    Web Video 
  • In "What if DC and Marvel Share the Same Cinematic Universe", Abin Sur was killed by Ronan the Accuser, while trying to help Carol Danvers get the Skrulls to safety.
  • In The Attic, a webseries that resets Little Women in a modern college setting, Beth dies of a congenital heart defect instead of complications from scarlet fever. (The better-known webseries adaptation, The March Family Letters, makes a similar choice and gives Beth fanconi anemia instead of scarlet fever, but in that version Beth is Spared by the Adaptation.)
  • What If Harry Was In Slytherin:
    • In Chamber of Secrets, Harry can't use the Sword of Gryffindor, so he tries talking to the Basilisk in Parseltongue out of sheer desperation. He succeeds and convinces the Basilisk to join him. The Basilisk is Harry's ally for years and gets killed by Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts.
    • Cedric survives Goblet of Fire because Harry touches the Triwizard Cup without him. He joins Dumbledore's Army in Order of the Phoenix and gets killed at the beginning of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
    • Dobby doesn't get killed by Bellatrix Lestrange because Ron manages to help everyone escape Malfoy Manor without his help. During the Battle of Hogwarts, he gets killed by Crabbe and Goyle in the Room of Requirement.
    • Instead of getting beheaded by Neville, Nagini is bitten by the Basilisk.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Redwall book Martin the Warrior, Felldoh goes down in a blaze of glory, fighting tens of soldiers at once, Rose dies fighting Badrang when he throws her against a wall, and Badrang the Tyrant is stabbed by Martin to avenge all the evil he's done. In the animated adaptation, however, Felldoh is taken down by only a handful of soldiers, Badrang stabs Rose while holding her hostage, and Badrang falls down a pit onto Martin's sword.
  • Todd McFarlane's Spawn: While Billy Kincaid was killed by Al Simmons (AKA Spawn) himself in canon, in the animated series, he decides to spare him. However Billy still dies by Violator's hand via a gun when he ceased to be a valuable Unwitting Pawn for him anymore.
  • Animated adaptations of E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker (and the ballet) tend to do this with the Mouse King and, in the Truer to the Text versions that include her, with his mother the Mouse Queen:
  • Star Wars:
  • Young Justice (2010)
    • In the comics, Aquagirl was killed by Chemo's poison. In Young Justice: Legacy, she sacrifices herself to hold down Tiamat until the ritual to seal the alien was complete.
    • Ted Kord in the comics was killed by a headshot from Max Lord after discovering his access to Brother Eye. In the series, it is revealed he was assassinated by Sportsmaster and Deathstroke in their attempt to acquire the Blue Beetle scarab originally belonging to his predecessor Dan Garrett.
  • ThunderCats Roar: In the original series, Jaga dies inside the ThunderCats' spaceship during their journey to Third Earth. In this series, he was caught by the explosion that destroyed Thundera.
    • In the original Thundercats, Lion-O's father King Claudus was initially believed to have died in the explosion of Thundera; but is later revealed to have been captured by the Shadowmaster, then he dies of old age and is seen alongside Jaga's spirit when he's freed. In the 2011 reboot, he's killed during the siege of Thundera.
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood: Mr. Pheasant is killed alongside his wife in the books, but in the show however, he is killed by the farmer an episode later when he returns to the farm in order to rescue Adder.
  • Transformers:
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Superman: The Animated Series has an example in the episode "In Brightest Day", where it is established that Abin Sur (here Kyle Rayner's predecessor as a Green Lantern rather than Hal Jordan's) was dying because of Sinestro killing him. In the comics, it was established in the Emerald Dawn miniseries that Abin Sur was dying because of mortal injuries inflicted upon him by a villain called Legion (which was later retconned after the DCAU ended its original run when the "Secret Origins" arc of the Geoff Johns run instead established that Atrocitus, future founder and leader of the Red Lantern Corps, was responsible for mortally wounding Abin Sur).
    • Justice League:
      • Green Lantern Corps members Arkkis Chummuck and Galius Zed's respective deaths in the comics were sacrificing himself to defeat Maaldor and getting killed by Fatality. In this continuity, they both instead perish at the hands of Despero's invasion fleet in the episode "Hearts and Minds".
      • In the Unlimited episode "Double Date", Steven Mandragora alludes to Tommy Monaghan as someone who killed one of his associates and implies that Tommy himself was murdered by being shoved in front of an incoming train, when the original Hitman comic concluded with Tommy being shot and dying from bleeding out.
  • A Tale Dark And Grimm: In the book, as in "Hansel and Gretel,'' the baker woman is cooked to death in her own oven. In a small case of Not His Sled, the cartoon version, Mrs. Baker, escapes but winds up falling out of the window, impaling herself on a broken piece of candy-cane fencing.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dies Different In Adaptation, Dies Differently In The Adaptation


Lust's Death

In the 2003 version of FMA, Lust is killed off by Wrath for siding with the Elric brothers and dies a redeemed Homunculus. In the manga and Brotherhood, however, she suffers a fiery death at the hands of Roy Mustang and dies without any redemption.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / DiesDifferentlyInAdaptation

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