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Divided for Adaptation

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So you're watching The Film of the Book, content in the fact that the movie has been adapting the source material pretty well so far... but then the film ends on a Cliffhanger. Wait a minute, what gives? Was there another book in the series that the writers plan to adapt, so they tossed in a Sequel Hook for that one? Well, no. You double-check the source material and the book continues beyond that point. What happened?


Well, The Film of the Book was split in half.

Divided for Adaptation, as the name suggests, is when the source material is a single work, but its adaptation is split into multiple pieces. This can happen if the original work was something of a Doorstopper, but it can also be the result of a film series wanting to go out on a big note for its Grand Finale: Harry Potter is a good example of this, as the final book was no longer than the others, but was split into two when adapted to film. Executive Meddling can be a major reason this happens, because if the book-to-film series is popular, this is a good excuse to extend the life of the franchise and wring more money out of it. If the source material isn't quite long enough to fill up all that time (whereas 2½ hours wasn't enough, 5 hours is now too much), chances of Adaptation Expansion and/or Filler can also occur.


For the sake of not overloading this page with examples, this trope excludes television series and Mini Series, since those are multi-part by their very nature. However, situations where the show's pacing is drastically changed partway through (i.e., the adaptation of a manga that has always adapted two issues an episode suddenly goes down to one per episode), may be included.

Also see Gecko Ending where an adaption ends just short of the source material ending and the adaptation has to Wrap It Up.

Sub-Trope of Divided for Publication and Movie Multipack.

Contrast the opposite Compressed Adaptation and Adaptation Amalgamation.



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  • The Animated Adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was split into two parts, with Part 1 released in 2012, and Part 2 released in 2013.
  • Sky1's animated series based on The Moomins, Moominvalley, has two episodes directly based on the novel Moominsummer Madness and one that seems to be inspired by it. Instead of ending on a cliffhanger however, the episode of the same title is an Adaptation Distillation in which Moominvalley is flooded, the Moomins discover the theatre and meet Emma, and then the valley is unflooded again. The part about them actually putting on a play is moved to the next episode, after the flood (although the audience still end up in boats), where it's combined with the comic strip story "The Golden Tale". And Snufkin's subplot is likewise given its own episode later, "Snufkin and the Park-Keeper".
  • Hilda: The animated adaptation of the graphic novel "Hilda and the Midgnight Giant" is spread over two episodes, with several new scenes added. The events from "Hilda and the Black Hound" are divided over 4 episodes, though the bulk of the story was used for the Season 1 finale.


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