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Dolled-Up Installment

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If only they were all this easy to spot.

Radd: I don't get this sequel.
Sequel Radd: Huh?
Radd: It's not much like my game at all. The rules are too different. I mean, you can stand on top of enemies? And you can't shoot Radd Beams??? What's the deal with that? It's almost like the humans just copied our characters into a totally unrelated video game!
Sequel Radd: What makes you think they'd do stuff like that?

This is the practice of inserting a work into a franchise which it was not originally intended for, usually because of the marketing value of the name. This is usually the result of Executive Meddling, or else a dangerous similarity between a work-in-progress and a published and copyrighted one. Usually easy to spot, since the setting or style is noticeably different.

If the decision to doll up the installment is made soon enough, attempts can be made to make the installment more like the series it's being installed into. The differences between setting and style will then be toned down.

If a dolled-up installment is sufficiently successful and accepted, it can trigger Lost in Imitation: that is, later intentional installments of the series will take on characteristics that began with the Dolled-Up Installment.

It's common with Licensed Games. In some cases, all the programmers do is replace the sprites, for a game that ties into the source material In Name Only. A True Dolled-Up Video Game Installment will at least fit a bit more seamlessly into the franchise, such as with games dolled-up to fit into other, already established game franchises. Compare Super Mario Bros. 2, for example, to Yo! Noid!.

In some cases they could become believable Gaiden Games.

Subtrope of What Could Have Been.

Might overlap with Market-Based Title, if the new title puts the work in a franchise popular in the country.

The opposite of a Spiritual Successor, where the official franchise may be different, but the installment has a clear heritage.

For when it's the box cover that makes the work look as though it's something it's not, see American Kirby Is Hardcore. See also Canon Discontinuity, In Name Only, Translation Matchmaking, Recycled Script. Divorced Installment is the opposite, where a work originally intended to be part of a series or franchise is revised to become a standalone work.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • Since the transition to CGI, the Energizer Bunny's commercials in North America are remade in Europe and Australia with Mr. NRG, an anthropomorphic battery, in place of the Bunny. This is because Duracell still holds the copyright to their pink bunny mascot (whom the Energizer Bunny is a not-so-Affectionate Parody of) in Europe and Australia.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Italian dub of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star had plans to make it into a sequel instead of an Alternate Continuity to the original Futari wa Pretty Cure, making Saki and Mai into older versions of Nagisa and Honoka. Given how much the new heroines were Expies of the original duo, it could have worked, at least until the team-up movies started. In the end they changed their minds.
  • Robotech was an amalgamation of three different series into one; Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. None of these have anything in common, other than Transforming Mecha and a similar artistic style. The Robotech movie also added scenes from Megazone 23, tacked onto footage from Southern Cross (even creator Carl Macek thought this was a dumb idea at the time, and so did the handful of viewers who saw one of the test releases).
  • The first season of Voltron was the American adaptation of GoLion, while the second was an adaptation of Dairugger XV; they were unrelated, other than being Combining Mecha series involving a Five-Man Band (in the latter's case, three separate Five Man Bands). Downplayed in that the two series were in the same universe, but not the same part. Lion Voltron was the Voltron of the Far Universe, Vehicle Voltron was of the Near Universe, and an unproduced third series using Lightspeed Electroid Albegas would have had Gladiator Voltron of the Middle Universe.
  • Ninja Resurrection is a separate production from Ninja Scroll, and they have entirely different names in Japan (Makai Tenshō: Jigoku Hen, "Demonic Resurrection: Portrait of Hell" and Jūbee Ninpūchō, "Jubei Ninja Wind Scroll"). But because both have similar settings, art styles and protagonists based on the historical figure of Yagyu Jubei, ADV Films marketed Ninja Resurrection in the USA with a title (and font) that brought to mind the well-known Ninja Scroll and added the subtitle "The Return of Jubei", all to make it look like a sequel. The result was a lot of confusion and controversy.
  • The Italian version of the volleyball anime Attacker You! made the main character You into the cousin of Kozue Ayuhara, star of Attack No. 1, another famous volleyball anime. The two shows have nothing to do with each other besides being both about volleyball, and Attack No. 1 is a mostly serious and dramatic series while Attacker You! is much more lighthearted comedy.
  • Ganbare, Kickers!: In the Italian and French versions, it's mentioned that the main character Kakeru comes from Syutetsu, Genzo Wakabayashi's old school from Captain Tsubasa. In reality, there's no relation between the two series, except that both are sport animes about Association Football.
  • A milder example: The Italian release of Digimon V-Tamer 01, which is completely unrelated to the anime except for the main character being Taichi Yagami, tried to pass it off as a midquel set between Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02.
  • Transformers: Cybertron is an oddball example. It was originally intended as the third in a trilogy following Transformers: Armada and Transformers: Energon, but the writers of the anime clearly treated it as a standalone series. The dub made some small changes, but overall didn't do much to bridge the gap. However, both Hasbro and Takara-Tomy treat it as a followup, dismissing any changes as the result of a Negative Space Wedgie instituting a Cosmic Retcon. The American airing of the final episode even included new footage showing some of the human characters from Armada and Energon in order to cement the connection.
  • Originally Go Nagai’s horror one shot Susumu’s big shock was supposed to be a standalone work, but it was later integrated into the Devilman mythos, where it was used as a turning point to begin the darker final storyarc.
  • A very weird example is the Italian dub of Daimos: while the dub of the series is straight forward, there is also an original Compilation Movie made in Italy that is titled Daimos, il figlio di Goldrake ("Daimos, Son of Goldrake") that tries to make the series into a sequel of UFO Robo Grendizer by stating that the protagonist Kazuya is actually the son of Duke Fleed from Grendizer, who built Daimos for his son and then escaped into an alternate dimension and died there.
  • The Italian dub of Magic Knight Rayearth was going to add lines in the dialogue suggesting that Hikaru Shidou is the younger cousin of Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon, but CLAMP forbade them from doing so.
  • Downplayed by the French dub of Maple Town: while the show itself is largely untouched, the theme song tries to pass off the show as being based on Gabby Bear, a talking plush bear similar to Teddy Ruxpin produced by toy company Vulli. The opening features newly made visuals which show Gabby interacting with the show's main characters and shows them on life-sized version of two other Vulli toys, a treehouse playset and a train-shaped funicular/carnival ride.

  • In the auto industry, this is known as rebadging or badge engineering, taking a single car and selling it across multiple brands with only a few changes (mostly cosmetic and trim) across an automaker's different brands. Sometimes it works well; the famed Mercury Cougar (in its first two generations, at least) and Pontiac Firebird pony cars were based on the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, respectively, while many cars sold internationally have had Market Based Titles in different countries. When poorly-done, however, it can be disastrous; the notorious Cadillac Cimmaron (essentially a rebadged Chevy Cavalier that was in no state to be sold as a luxury car) nearly destroyed the Cadillac brand in The '80s. Malaysian automotive firm Proton also gained notoriety for producing what are essentially rebadged versions of popular Mitsubishi models. They are significantly cheaper than their Japanese cousins, but are occasionally derided for being unoriginal and shoddy at worst.
  • The J29/A90 Toyota Supra is essentially a BMW Z4 in a Toyota bodyshell. This didn't bode well with JDM purists and those who are critical of the Bavarian automaker especially in light of reliability issues associated with BMW.

    Comic Books 
  • It was a common occurrence in American comics to alter comic scripts (and sometimes already drawn stories!) made for one series to another one when needed; one example was a canceled John Carter of Mars miniseries converted into a Star Wars fill-in story by Marvel Comics.
  • Some of the Conan the Barbarian stories written by Roy Thomas for Marvel Comics were adaptations of novels by Gardner Fox about his barbarian hero, Kothar. Change a few proper nouns, and presto!
  • There is evidence that some stories in the Golden Age Of Comic Books were hastily rewritten to accommodate various in-house situations (at least one very late Golden Age Green Lantern story has him so OOC that it must have originally been a Batman story, and at least two All-Star adventures were rewritten with cast changes).
  • Marvel sometimes did this with reprints of old comics from the 1950's. For instance, one sci-fi/horror story had an unnamed scientist character changed to a young Hank Pym when reprinted, while an issue of Menace had a nondescript foreign spy changed to an agent of HYDRA. One Strange Tales story about astronauts from the U.S. and U.S.S.R. who mistake each other for aliens was altered to instead have the characters be from S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA.
  • Spider-Man: Even though you don't notice it when you read it, the classic Kraven's Last Hunt started out as a Wonder Man/Grim Reaper story. When that was rejected, writer J. M. DeMatteis reworked it into a Batman/Joker story and submitted it to DC. When that was rejected for containing too many elements similar to another story then in the works (i. e. The Killing Joke), DeMatteis reworked it again into a story featuring Batman and Hugo Strange. But that was also rejected, and so he finally hit upon the idea to use the story for Spider-Man.
  • In the 1970s, Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart created Shang-Chi, a new Asian martial-arts character, for Marvel Comics. Because Marvel had recently acquired the rights to Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu stories, it was decided that Shang-Chi would be Fu Manchu's son. At one point Marvel believed incorrectly that Fu Manchu was a Public Domain Character—this was half-true and a very complicated issue, but it boils down to certain Fu Manchu stories being in the public domain while others aren't, and the copyright varies from country to country. It was eventually handled via an agreement that they could reprint these stories, but couldn’t use Rohmer's characters or refer to those plots again.
    • Marvel's used Shang-Chi's father as a villain again after this — he came back in an early MAX version of the franchise, for example — but they avoid calling him "Fu Manchu" (using nicknames or supposed "real" names instead), and rarely depict his face unless it's masked or, as in Secret Avengers, mutilated and rotting. They did much the same in the 1990s, using a visually altered version of Fah Lo Suee in a story but only ever referring to her by a newly-coined (Marvel-owned) nickname. Note that Nayland Smith and other Rohmer-original characters like Karamaneh, who did show up when Marvel had the license, simply don't appear anymore.
    • Eventually they formalised this as a Given Name Reveal, with Fu Manchu becoming Zheng Zu and Fah Lo Suee becoming Zheng Bao Yu. That was followed by a Soft Reboot that made Zheng Zu a distinctly different character, finally resolving the issue.
  • Fearless Defenders was originally not going to be called that, as it was a spin-off of the Fearless mini-series from Fear Itself. Word of God states that Marvel slapped Defenders onto the title in order to boost sales, even though the new team had nothing to do with any of the prior incarnations of the group other than having Valkyrie as a member.
  • In the 90s, writer Christopher Priest pitched a DC Comics series called The Avenger, which would've starred a teen superhero struggling with the realities of young adulthood. At some point during development, someone decided that the idea would work better as a Legacy Character series centered around the Ray, one of the original Freedom Fighters, and thus the 90s The Ray series was born.
  • Atlee from Power Girl was going to be an original character before Dan Didio convinced Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti to make her the new Terra instead.
  • Runaways (2015) was originally pitched as an original series with no connection to the old Runaways series, but then Marvel supposedly realized that they were about to lose the trademark to the name "Runaways", and thus slapped it on the new series. Apparently Molly was only added to give it a connection to the original.
  • "The Case of the Vanishing Vehicle" in The Maze Agency #3 started life as a script Mike W. Barr wrote to submit to Banacek before the series was cancelled. This explains why the plot deals with an 'impossible' theft, rather than a murder like the rest of the series.
  • Obscure Marvel hero and occasional Defenders member Devil-Slayer was created by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler as a way to continue the adventures of Demon Hunter, a character they previously created for Atlas Comics before that company went under. The two have gone on record as saying that give or take a few minor details, Devil-Slayer’s Marvel Universe exploits could be easily be considered a sequel to the original Demon Hunter series.
  • Likewise, Howard Chaykin essentially created Dominic Fortune as a way to revive his Atlas character Scorpion for use in the Marvel Universe.
  • The Elseworld Robin 3000, by Byron Preiss and P. Craig Russell, was originally written as Tom Swift 3000, before Simon & Shuster, the Swift trademark holders, abandoned their plans to enter the comics market.
  • Astro City:
    • Kurt Busiek wrote and submitted a sample Superman script about a young Lex Luthor offering Superboy a 24-hour truce in exchange for a favor. It didn't get published, but helped get his foot in the door. He later reworked the premise (using his own characters) into "Wish I May...".
    • Busiek also pitched a one-shot to Marvel of a Spider-Man story where a Mook, completely by chance, sees Spider-Man taking his mask off, and grapples with what to do with the information. Marvel shot down the idea, because they thought leaving that loose end untied wouldn't be feasible. Naturally, he retooled it into "A Little Knowledge", using the local Spider-Man Send-Up instead.
    • "The Dark Age" started life as a proposed sequel to Marvels to be called Cops & Robbers (later Crime & Punishment).

    Comic Strips 
  • Charles Schulz originally created the character of Peppermint Patty for a children's book he planned to write. He never got around to writing it, so he made her a Peanuts character instead. Relatedly, Schulz is on record saying that she was the only character other than Charlie Brown who was strong enough to carry their own comic strip.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Italian dub of the Japanese movie adaptation of The Wild Swans had a large alteration: since the main character Elisa looks a bit like a slightly older version of the titular character from Heidi, Girl of the Alps, they renamed her Heidi, got Heidi's voice actress Francesca Guadagno to voice her, altered promotional artwork for the film to make her look identical to Heidi and named the movie Heidi diventa principessa ("Heidi becomes a princess"), passing it off as a sequel to the aforemented series.
  • The origins of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island began as an unfinished episode of SWAT Kats, oddly enough (though this might explain a few things - the Darker and Edgier tone, the cat-themed villains, etc.) As a side note, parts of the SK script were also recycled for an episode of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest.
  • The second Italian dub of Fritz the Cat tries to turn the movie into a sequel of The Aristocats, stating early in that Fritz is actually O'Malley under a pseudonym.
  • One of oddest examples is Simka Entertainment's dub of the Hong Kong film Sky Force, which was renamed Wings: Sky Force Heroes in a feeble attempt to pass it off as a sequel to Wings, their earlier dub of the Russian Planes Mock Buster Ot Vinta. Despite both being about anthropomorphic planes the two films could not be more different, and aside from changing two of the characters' names (That Sky Force already had a protagonist named Ace seems to have been a lucky coincidence) absolutely no effort was put into connecting Heroes to Wings. To make things more confusing, TriCoast Studios released a more faithful dub of Sky Force in the same year.

  • Orson Scott Card had already drafted an outline for his novel Speaker for the Dead before deciding to insert the protagonist from his previous short story "Ender's War" into the lead role. He expanded the short story into the novel Ender's Game to provide Backstory for Speaker for the Dead. Ender's Game became by far the author's most successful book, and launched a popular series. When asked by his publisher to write a third installment, he used an idea for a standalone book he was writing, Philotes, and inserted Ender into that one as well.
  • Leslie Charteris wrote several stories early in his career featuring protagonists very similar to The Saint. When he decided to concentrate on the Saint as his main character, these stories were included in the Saint short story collections with the hero's name changed to Simon Templar.
  • William Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom! is a sort of classic-literature version of this. The young people in the "present time" of the novel were originally going to be characters Faulkner had never written about before: one a Southerner and one a Northerner. However, Faulkner ended up giving these roles to Quentin Compson (a main character from his earlier novel The Sound and the Fury) and his Canadian roommate Shreve, thus giving Absalom, Absalom! intertextual relationships with other works involving the Compson family.
  • The Ian Fleming short story "Quantum of Solace" is largely simply about a doomed marriage and the power plays within it. However, Fleming also inserted a framing device of James Bond being told the story at a cocktail party so he could put it in For Your Eyes Only, a collection of James Bond short stories.
  • It is rumored that most, if not all, of the stories Casshern Sebastian Goto writes for The Black Library are actually rewritten from original military SF pieces he had previously tried and failed to publish with other companies, which would certainly explain his cavalier attitude towards 40k Canon.
  • This happened to the work of Robert E. Howard, the inventor of Conan the Barbarian. Four novellas which originally had nothing to do with Conan and in fact had entirely different settings were posthumously rewritten into Conan stories. Indeed, Howard's The Phoenix on the Sword, the first Conan story published, started life as a rewrite of a rejected Kull of Atlantis story. Relatedly, several of Marvel's early Conan comics were plots from the "Kothar" novels by Gardner Fox, with the names changed.
  • E. E. "Doc" Smith's Triplanetary originally had nothing to do with his later Lensman novels, but was heavily rewritten after their success to serve as a prequel, with First Lensman written specifically to bridge the two storylines. Triplanetary is something of a double example, since it wasn't even a book at all to start with; it was three entirely unrelated short stories which were rewritten to be a single book so that the book could then be used as part of the Lensman series.
  • Somewhere between this and Poorly Disguised Pilot, Rinkitink in Oz was intended as the beginning of a new series, but crossed over with Oz because the author was having a hard time getting anything published that wasn't an Oz book. Sadly for him, everyone preferred Dorothy and company, and he found himself writing yet more Oz books.
  • The fifth Artemis Fowl book, The Last Colony, originally had nothing to do with Artemis and centered around a new character, Minerva. She's a lot like Artemis (an insufferable Child Prodigy who wants to capture a supernatural creature), so Eoin Colfer eventually decided that he should bring him back as the protagonist and make Minerva a secondary character instead.
  • When a collection of James H. Schmitz's Federation of the Hub stories was republished by Baen Books, the non-Hub story "Planet of Forgetting" was rewritten as a Hub story, "Forget It". The theory here was that it may well have been a Dolled Down Installment in the first place.
  • When Douglas Adams needed to come up with a storyline for the third book of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, Life, the Universe and Everything, he took an old Doctor Who movie script called "Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen" and rewrote it to be about the Guide characters (with some difficulty; he would later say the problem was finding a Guide character who was interested in saving the universe — he eventually settled on Slarty and Trillian, who essentially become Expies of the Doctor and Sarah Jane).
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was likewise cribbed from "Shada", an uncompleted Doctor Who story. Professor Chronotis was originally from "Shada", as was the fictional college he works at (St. Cedd's), his time machine (which closely resembles a TARDIS), and his unnaturally long life. The story itself also derives from his completed Doctor Who story "City of Death".
  • Tracy Beaker: The Dare Game was originally a play for a Manchester theater. Jacqueline Wilson was originally going to let Tracy rest, but the lead girl was very similar to Tracy. So when the theater rejected her play after a fire and some new management, she turned it into a Tracy book.
  • P. G. Wodehouse rewrote a few of his earlier stories around his more popular characters, such as Jeeves and Wooster.
  • The Graduate (yes, it's based on a book) has a little-known sequel called Home School. Ben and Elaine are married and want to homeschool their kids, but have to get Mrs. Robinson to sleep with a local principal to do this for contrived reasons. Most fans would agree that this ruins the original story's Ambiguous Ending, and Charles Webb has admitted that this plot was originally imagined for different characters.
  • Will Murray wrote several official Doc Savage novels based on fragments and story ideas left behind by the original Doc Savage author Lester Dent. One of these — Flight Into Fear — was an unsold non-Doc Savage story Murray rewrote to star Doc and his aides.
  • Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier's English translation of the early French SF novel Docteur Omega by Arnould Galopin controversially included multiple Shout Outs to Doctor Who, including a strong innuendo that Dr. Omega actually was the First Doctor using a pseudonym.
  • The Faction Paradox novel Erasing Sherlock has a complex history. It was first a prize-winning manuscript, which the author then had difficulty in finding a publisher for due to its uncertain genre. It was finally published by Mad Norwegian after being slightly rewritten to make it a Faction Paradox novel. However, the author later released a self-published version with all Doctor Who and Faction Paradox references removed to make it a stand-alone novel again.
  • Odd example in Goosebumps: the Series 2000 book Return to Ghost Camp really has nothing to do with the original Ghost Camp from the main series, save for both involving a camp with ghosts.note  The camps themselves, as well as the main characters and the motivations of the ghosts are all different. It's not clear why they decided to make the connection to that book in particular, except perhaps that, again, it had an easy, descriptive name.
  • In-Universe in The Cloak Society: the characters play a terrible video game starring the Rangers of Justice. It has little to do with the real Rangers, aside from using unauthorized sound bites of theirs from interviews.
    Kyle: It wasn't originally supposed to be a Rangers game. That's how it came out so fast [after the battle of Victory Park]. The people who made it just changed the main characters' clothes and added in the opening credits and stuff. I've read a lot about this game. If we get to the castle, you fight Dracula and Frankenstein. I think it's level three.
    Gage: Frankenstein's monster, actually.
    Kyle: Whatever.
  • Survivors was prompted by the publisher, however none of the writers who write under Erin Hunter were interested in the idea. The publisher gathered a new group of writers to write the Survivors series. It's the only Erin Hunter series written by a different team than Warriors.
  • Discussed In-Universe in Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure: After Rowley, under Greg's suggestion, adds a bunch of random Public Domain Characters in the book he's writing, Greg suggests to replace altogether the story's main character Roland with Tom Sawyer or some other literary characters, as he believes it would sell better if it was passed off as a sequel of a classic book.
  • In 2022, The Unadulterated Cat by Terry Pratchett was republished as The Unadulterated Maurice, to tie in with the movie of The Amazing Maurice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Torchwood began as an idea for an original series called Excalibur. When Russell T Davies' revival of Doctor Who did well, he converted it into a Spin-Off.
    • According to Peter Davison, the Doctor Who serial "Black Orchid" was a script that Terence Dudley had written as a standalone murder-mystery that he just dolled up for the series. Also, the first story that Robert Holmes wrote for the series, "The Krotons", started life as a standalone science-fiction serial he unsuccessfully pitched to the BBC in 1965.
    • In a reverse example, a script originally written for the abruptly cancelled fifth series of The Sarah Jane Adventuresnote  was eventually reworked and made into an episode of the show's spiritual successor, Wizards vs. Aliensnote 
  • The Super Sentai series Hikari Sentai Maskman and Choujuu Sentai Liveman were renamed Bioman 2 and Bioman 3 when aired in France.
  • In Brazil, the Metal Heroes series Jikuu Senshi Spielban became Jaspion 2. This happens with the American versions of Toku series as well, and it's not just in name. When the footage from one series runs out, it's time for a new enemy to displace the old, render the current tech obsolete (or scrap), and have the same characters don new gear. The two seasons of VR Troopers, the two seasons of Beetleborgs, and the first six seasons of Power Rangers were done this way, to generally agreeable effect, before Power Rangers made the switch to the Japanese format starting with Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. Of course, when you have an original cast using only the suited fight footage from an earlier series, it's easy.
  • An episode of The Rockford Files ("Sleight of Hand") was based on a novel called Into Thin Air.
  • Gene Roddenberry combined this with Poorly Disguised Pilot to try getting a potential series called Assignment: Earth off the ground. When no one went for his pitch, he turned the pilot into an episode of Star Trek. The result is that Kirk and Spock enter the storyline and... do nothing. In the end, no series was made despite the Sequel Hook.
  • Much like "The Slaver Weapon" example below, the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Catspaw" was loosely based on the writer Robert Bloch's earlier unrelated short story "Broomstick Ride" (though with a different ending).
  • Shotaro Ishinomori intended to adapt his story "Onigeki Hibiki" into a TV series. However, he died before doing so, but said work did end up being produced...dolled up as Kamen Rider Hibiki.
  • Friday the 13th: The Series was originally intended to be a stand alone series entitled "The 13th Hour" but Frank Mancuso decided to connect it to the Friday the 13th franchise at the last minute, despite it having nothing to do with Jason Voorhees or the films.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent was originally going to be a standalone series, based on the character dynamic between Detectives Goren and Eames. The studio, thinking that it was more likely to be picked up and draw a larger audience as a Law & Order show, added the DONG DONG Law & Order-sound and called it Law & Order.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was originally supposed to be a standalone series called "Sex Crimes".
  • The Murder, She Wrote episode "The Grand Old Lady" was based on an unused Ellery Queen script, with Ellery replaced with expy Christy McGinn and a Framing Device added with Jessica Fletcher. Additionally, the final follow-up TV movie, The Celtic Riddle, was adapted from a completely unrelated novel by Lyn Hamilton with Jessica Fletcher filling in for the book's protagonist.
  • From Columbo:
    • "No Time to Die" is an adaptation of the 87th Precinct novel So Long as You Both Shall Live, with Columbo taking the place of multiple 87th Precinct cops (in the novel Bert Kling's new wife Augusta is kidnapped on the day they're married, in this adaptation it's Columbo's nephew's wife who's taken). This one stands out as it is the only episode to feature any member of Columbo's family - namely, Detective Andy Parma.
    • "Undercover" is also an 87th Precinct adaptation, of the novel Jigsaw. Unlike the above, this version includes one of the characters from the 87th (Arthur Brown, who's also one of the cops investigating in the book).
    • "Uneasy Lies The Crown" is an unusual example — the script had been written for Columbo, but Falk passed on it. With a few changes to the plot it was instead filmed as "Affair of the Heart" in the sixth season of McMillan & Wife. In 1990 during season 9, Falk chose to go ahead with the script. A good chunk of the dialog and even character names are the same although certain major plot points differ — though Falk apparently stuck to the script as it had been originally written. Nancy Walker, who had been a regular on McMillan & Wife, appeared as one of the celebrity poker players in the Columbo version. Columbo even points out that she was in "the Rock Hudson mystery show".
  • The 77 Sunset Strip episode "One False Step" is based on Strangers on a Train. Screenwriters Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde and novelist Patricia Highsmith are credited.
  • Kelsey Grammer intended his own sitcom to feature a recently paralyzed media billionaire and his relationship with his carer. Executive Meddling rewrote this into the Frasier spin off from Cheers.
  • 12 Monkeys began as a pilot script involving time travel called Splinter. That script found its way to Atlas Entertainment, the company that produced the original movie, which had been attempting to make a 12 Monkeys series. After some deliberation, the writers of Splinter agreed to transform their script but they were able to keep certain elements from being changed including the name of the female protagonist and the terminology of time travel (Splintering).
  • Once ITV's Marple ran out of Miss Marple stories to adapt, they began to adapt lesser known Agatha Christie novels that didn't feature any of her recurring detectives, such as The Secret of Chimneys and The Sittaford Mystery. Miss Marple was usually made into a friend of one of the suspects or victims, and whoever was the sleuth in the novel is demoted to The Watson. In one case, the story does feature a recurring detective; the adaptation of By The Pricking of my Thumbs sees Tommy and Tuppence get this treatment.
  • Issa López initially conceived "Night Country" as a standalone murder mystery set in Alaska before she was approached by HBO about working on the fourth season of True Detective.

  • When Michael Jackson released Off the Wall, it was such a monumental success that his previous record label, Motown, released an album of material—both unreleased and just kinda obscure—as One Day in Your Life in 1981, the pure schmaltz of which made "ABC" sound like AC/DC. The following year, Thriller (1982) was released and by 1984, it became the biggest selling album ever, prompting Motown to remix some older songs—some being over decade old—and released Farewell My Summer Love the title song of which makes "The Girl Is Mine" sound like "Helter Skelter". This stopped happening, thankfully, however, future Michael Jackson album releases seemed to coincide with well-timed The Jackson 5 hits collections.
  • In 1983, Yes had kinda reunited (four of the five members of the new band - all save guitarist Trevor Rabin - had been in Yes at one time or another, though never all at once) and recorded 90125, but had decided to rechristen themselves Cinema. The recording company said it would make more sense to keep the Yes name, and so they did (though the guitarist objected, as he wanted a new band instead of inadvertently joining a reunion).
    • After several former members of the band formed a parallel group with the Exactly What It Says on the Tin name "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe"note , several songs which would have been released for the second album ended up with some form the above incarnation of Yes, to form the somewhat awkwardly named Union album, all under the Yes banner. It's awkwardly named as the two different lineups didn't really record much together; other than Jon Anderson's lead vocals on every track and Chris Squire's backing vocals (but not bass playing) on some of the ABWH tracks, it's two different bands on the same album.
  • A much earlier Yes-related example was a track Rick Wakeman composed for the album Fragile, entitled "Handle With Care" (as a play on the album's title). Due to contractual prohibition of Wakeman making any compositional contributions to Yes works, it eventually got renamed "Catherine of Aragon" and inserted on his first solo album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
  • Jay-Z's song "Renegade" with Eminem off the The Blueprint was originally written and produced by Eminem as a song for Royce da 5'9". The part during one of Eminem's verses containing what sounds like vocalized record scratches was actually dubbing over a reference to Royce in the lyrics.
  • When a band breaks up and the member who was the main creative force records a solo album, it's not uncommon for the record label to insist that the album be released under the band's name. Black Sabbath's Seventh Star, Candlemass' Dactylis Glomerata, Manilla Road's The Circus Maximus, Jethro Tull's A and Megadeth's The System Has Failed and United Abominations, among countless others, are examples of this phenomenon.
  • It's even worse when the member involved wasn't the main creative force. After Velvet Underground split up, the group's non-original member Doug Yule recorded a solo album called Squeeze (1973), which the record company, against Yule's wishes, insisted on releasing as a Velvet Underground album. This naturally led to Yule and the album being despised by the few people who had actually been Velvet Underground fans during the group's existence, and killed his career stone dead.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach apparently composed several church cantatas by taking a previously written secular cantata, replacing the texts of the arias and choruses and composing new recitatives and chorale settings. In some cases, such as the Easter Oratorio (BWV 249), all that survives of the original secular cantata is its text and the numbers reused in the sacred version. Cantatas 134 and 173, like the Easter Oratorio, betray their secular origins (specifically, as congratulatory pieces for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen) by not including any chorales or Bible verses, which anchor the vast majority of Bach's sacred cantatas.
  • After a breakup of Meat Puppets' original lineup in the late 1990s, frontman Curt Kirkwood relocated from Arizona to Texas and started a new group called Royal Neanderthal Orchestra - they had difficulty finding a label willing to sign them, until one proposed they change their name to Meat Puppets, which Curt could have done legally to start with. Thus the album Golden Lies featured only one original member of the band, as did a Live Album released on the same label.
  • When Gary Numan announced his retirement from touring in 1981, the members of his backing band formed a new group called Dramatis, and released one album, For Future Reference, the next year. It was later reissued twice with Numan's name attached to it, first as The Dramatis Project by Tubeway Army Featuring Gary Numan, and again as Terrestrial Channels by Gary Numan; Numan contributed guest vocals to the song "Love Needs No Disguise", but otherwise had nothing to do with the album.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • On a September 2000 edition of Monday Nitro, World Championship Wrestling held a special match that, having been conceived by Vince Russo, was unneededly confusing and gimmicky. It pitted two teams of five wrestlers against each other inside the triple-tiered cage seen in Ready to Rumble and previously used in a tie-in match for that movie. The WCW Championship was hung above the highest cage, and the person who walked out of the bottom cage with the belt in hand would win the match for their team and the title for themselves. Despite sharing almost no similarities with the classic War Games match other than a team format inside a special cage, WCW decided to call the match "War Games 2000: Russo's Revenge".
  • After trimming down the number of live monthly pay-per-views from twelve to four in 2013, TNA Wrestling began dolling up episodes of their regular weekly show Impact Wrestling as installments of the disused PPV shows and concepts (e.g., Destination X).
  • WWE:
    • When the WWF bought a controlling stake in George Championship Wrestling, they used previously-filmed WWF footage to fill GCW's World Championship Wrestling Saturday night program on TBS (rather than using matches exclusively filmed for the program, as Vince McMahon had promised Ted Turner). This practice continued until McMahon eventually sold his shares of GCW to Jim Crockett, Jr.
    • WWE last held The Great American Bash pay-per-view in 2009 (and even then, it was shortened to "The Bash"), but in 2012, they aired a special live episode of SmackDown as Super SmackDown Live: The Great American Bash.
    • WWE does a variation of this by taking shows scheduled as untelevised live events and converting them to WWE Network-exclusive specials (essentially dolling up house shows as sub-PPV special events).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Fantasy Flight Games secured the rights to the old Dune board game, but were unable to get the Dune license itself. Their solution was to recycle the mechanics and set it in the backstory of their own Twilight Imperium series as REX: Final Days of an Empire. Some of this was pretty straightforward, with the races pairing well with Dune's factions; the Proud Merchant Race Hacan having the same gameplay as the Spacing Guild makes perfect sense for example. Others are kind of ridiculous; the Xxcha might be skilled diplomats, but giving them the Bene Gesserit's All According to Plan victory condition is just silly.

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Parks & Resorts has several examples of this:
    • At Islands of Adventure, the classic rollercoaster Dueling Dragons had an original theme to tie it in to the Lost Continent area of the park. When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was built on most of the Lost Continent’s land, Dueling Dragons was retained, given a light retheme to fit its new surroundings and renamed Dragon Challenge. The ride eventually closed permanently in 2017 to make way for a new coaster, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Very similarly, Flight of the Hippogriff was previously Flying Unicorn, though this one still stands and has even been cloned at other versions of Hogsmeade.
    • Universal Studios Beijing contains a clone of Islands of Adventure's famous The Incredible Hulk Coaster. As Marvel's theme park rights don't apply to Universal's parks outside of their Orlando resorts, the ride was rethemed to the Transformers Film Series-based Decepticoaster.
  • Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey has a floorless roller coaster that originally opened as "Medusa", complete with a green paint job to imitate the mythological figure's snake hair. Then in 2009 it was re-themed to Superman's twisted clone, Bizarro, complete with a blue and purple paint job, so it would match other DC Comics-themed rides in the park (and in Six Flags in general). It was reverted to Medusa in 2022.

  • After the cancellation of Iron Man: The Animated Series, ToyBiz was left with a final wave of Iron Man figures that now no longer had a show to shill them. However, both the X-Men and Spider-Man still had popular cartoons on the air at the time, so the Iron Man figures were ReTooled as the Spider-Man: Techno Wars and X-Men: Mutant Armor lines.
  • Dolls from the American Girls Collection were actually derived from those by German dollmaker Götz. AG founder Pleasant Rowland was looking for a manufacturer to produce her doll line, and found one in Götz. She then bought the remaining stock of Romina dolls and retooled them as Samantha Parkington, one of the first three historical characters to be released by the company in 1986.
  • Kenner's toyline for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves reused parts and molds from many of their previous lines, such as Star Wars, RoboCop and the DC Super Powers Collection. A particular case is one Robin Hood figure which still has a big letter "G" on its belt buckle.
  • Because Lucasfilm went to them so late, there was no way Kenner could get any toys out for the May release of Star Wars, and the only things they could get out for Christmas were board games and stuff they could re-label to be Star Wars toys.
  • The Gogo's Crazy Bones series called "Mags" wasn't part of that toyline when it was originally released in Spain, and was instead its own toy series. The Gogo's name was appended to it for international releases, probably to try to boost its sales due to the popularity of Gogo's at the time.
  • Producers of Shoddy Knockoff Products are fond of this, repurposing their limited selection of molds to mimic a given popular brand. Attempting to pass off Transforming Mecha toys as Transformers or turn any muscular male bodies they have access to into superheroes is particularly common. A particular example is a Superman figure that still has the web pattern from when it used to be a Spider-Man.
  • The original Transformers line was itself a case of this. The franchise already began as an Americanized rebranding of toys from Takara's Diaclone and Micro Change, but as time went on, figures from other Japanese toylines like Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Special Armored Battalion Dorvack also made their way into the series. Perhaps most infamously, the original Jetfire toy was simply a redeco of a VF-1 Valkyrie from Macross, leading to a murky legal situation that resulted in the character being redesigned and renamed "Skyfire" for the original Transformers cartoon.
  • Great Railway Adventures was a short-lived wooden train line produced by Learning Curve, the makers of Thomas Wooden Railway. Due to BRIO holding the license for making wooden Thomas trains in Europe from 1996 to 2000, Great Railway Adventures' engines, rolling stock, and destinations had similar shapes to those of Thomas Wooden Railway, but with a more generic and realistic theme. Learning Curve's patented Clickety-clack Track remained the same, as did the signs and trees.
  • Hasbro's Street Fighter II action figure line consisted almost entirely of repurposed G.I. Joe toys, usually with a new head and paint job to change an existing Joe like Scarlett into a new character like Chun-Li.

  • Kid Radd 2 (a fictional game within the comic) resembles the original Kid Radd in name and main characters only, to Radd's dismay. It somewhat resembles Super Mario Bros. 2, in that the "damsel in distress" is playable and the heroes can lift and throw enemies, and the physics are different in other subtle ways.
  • Spoofed when Platypus Comix featured a Mulberry comic with artwork taken from Shadowgirls.
  • Bobwhite: This guest comic shows young Cleo's distraught reaction to Mario 2.

    Western Animation 
  • A 2017 [adult swim] bumper revealed that many early Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes were inspired by rejected Space Ghost Coast to Coast scripts, such as the case of the episode "Dumber Dolls", which began as script about Space Ghost falling in love with a musical doll that dances into a roaring fireplace to get away from him. Everyone in the staff hated that script, then years later it was repurposed as an ATHF episode.
  • The Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Slaver Weapon" was adapted by Larry Niven from his short story "The Soft Weapon", with the Pierson's Puppeteer being replaced by Mr. Spock, and the Enterprise crew standing in for the other humans opposing the Kzinti.
  • Michel Vaillant, a French animated series based on a comic book of the same name about a heroic race car driver who keeps getting mixed up in crime and espionage, aired in the United States on the Family Channel (now known as ABC Family) under the title of Heroes on Hot Wheels. The show had nothing to do with the Hot Wheels toyline, other than the fact that Mattel sponsored the English dub.
  • The Rick and Morty episode, "Lawnmower Dog", was based on a rejected series that Justin Roiland pitched called Dog World. It was about a family transported to an alternate universe where sentient dogs kept people as pets.
  • An episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show, "Haunted House", was originally a rejected episode of Tiny Toon Adventures featuring Hamton Pig and GoGo Dodo in Ren and Stimpy's roles.
  • Defied with the Japanese dub of Transformers: Animated. Interviews on magazines announcing the show's release implied that the show was going to be heavily altered to become a prequel to the Michael Bay movies, with the main point being that Bulkhead's character was going to be completely rewrote to make him the same as the movie incarnation of Ironhide. The final product didn't have any big change outside of the usual Gag Dub bits Japanese dubs of Transformers media usually have and Bulkhead is still the same character with only his name changed to Ironhidenote .
  • Planet Sheen was originally supposed to be called Red Acres and be about an adult stranded on a planet full of hillbilly aliens. Nickelodeon didn't usually make shows with adult characters so retooled it into a spin-off of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

  • Prior to the release of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia had dabbled with touchscreen smartphones in the early 2000s. One of these was the Nokia 6708, which had essentially nothing to do with the Finnish firm apart from the name as this is a licensed variant of the BenQ P31 running off UIQ, a departure from the Series 60 UI Nokia used on their smartphones from the decade. Similarly, a number of Pantech-manufactured CDMA phones were sold by Verizon as Nokia models despite sharing next to no underpinnings as the Eurasian GSM offerings, as well as a company named Telson who manufactured Nokia CDMA phones for the Korean market under license.
  • Conversely, Nokia granted Brazilian electronics manufacturer Gradiente the licence to manufacture mobile phones in Brazil, especially considering the usual barriers to entry with foreign manufacturers selling electronics and other consumer goods in the country. The licencing deal also granted Gradiente the rights to sell localised variants of Nokias under their own brand name, such as the Gradiente Neo (a TDMA variant of the Nokia 8210), and the Gradiente Chroma, which was their own localised version of the Nokia 8810, so called because of the 8810's chrome-plated housing.

Alternative Title(s): Dolled Up Instalment