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Early Draft Tie-In

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With many series, licensed material are developed concurrently with, or even before, the product itself. Many works change in development but often times the developers of the licensed materials don't get the memos in time. Instead of changing the tie-in, they release them as is, often confusing fans as to why a certain character's name is wrong in the book or why a doll has the wrong hair color.

This may lead to a Development Gag. Related to Orphaned Reference.


Examples (sorted by the original media):

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Playstation Vita game for Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Memories of the Forest, features an unused character design for Karin, which has reddish hair instead of brown.
  • The first Fruits Basket anime accidentally Gender Flipped a major character. Akito was revealed late into the series to have been Raised as the Opposite Gender. The anime, having been produced before the reveal, does not have this twist, so Akito is male presenting as male instead of a female presenting as male.
  • Early promotional pictures of the Saint Seiya anime showed Shun holding a single chain in his hands, instead of having two chains coming out from his armor's forearm guards like in the manga and in the final anime design. That picture not only was kept around anyway, but the original action figure was based on it and featured the single chain.
  • The first manga "adaptation" on The Vision of Escaflowne was based on preproduction materials and released before the main show even went on air. As a result, it is markedly different from the final product.
  • Pocket Monsters: The Animation is a novelization of the Pokémon anime that consists of almost nothing but this. It was written by Takeshi Shudō, a director of the Original Series, and contains multiple ideas that aren't consistent with the anime itself (though early episodes do support some of the concepts). For example: The series takes place in the future, Pokémon are aliens who co-exist with humans and animals, Ash's dad is a deadbeat, ten year olds are legal adults who pay taxes, and Misty's sisters wear wigs.
  • The The Legend of Zelda manga portrayed Link as a blond instead of a brunette like in the game. This could be a case of Adaptation Dye-Job or it could be a a reference to concept art that depicted Link as a blond.
  • A few 1998 Sailor Moon dolls put out by Irwin Toys in Canada referred to Haruka, Michiru, and Setsuna as "Corrinn", "Nerissa", and "Celia". When the characters finally appeared in the dub, their Dub Name Changes were "Amara", "Michelle", and "Trista".
  • Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure: The Pretty Cure Style doll of Cure Selene depicts her with half-up pigtails rather than the straight hair she has in the final series.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen:
    • A lot of merchandise use stock art of older models of the sisters; Elsa's face is more angular and Anna's is rounder than in the the final version.
    • The novelization contains a difference near the end that was from a developmental change. Kristoff was going to have a larger role in the climax, knocking Hans out after the guy has a villainous second wind and tries to attack again. The novelization kept the scene.
    • There's a plush Elsa doll with a voice box; one of her given lines is "But I am still your queen," which comes from an earlier version of the scene where Anna asks for Elsa's blessing to marry Hans. When Elsa refuses in the cut version, Anna responds that she doesn't need Elsa's permission anyway, because Elsa isn't her mother, prompting this quote.
    • An early coloring book followed the "Life's Too Short" version of the story, in which Elsa tells Anna she won't thaw the Endless Winter, as opposed to what happens in the final cut, in which she instead says she can't.
  • The Simpsons Movie: Russ Cargill underwent a complete design overhaul late in production, but a tie-in Burger King figure retains his original design.
  • In the Picture Book Novelization of The Great Mouse Detective the scene where a drunk mook of Ratigan insults him and is then fed up to his cat is slightly changed: Ratigan thinks he heard someone insult him, and choose one random gangster (the same drunk fool from the movie) to make an example (which is arguably even more evil).
  • The original picture book for Alice in Wonderland featured the Jabberwock scene that was cut in the final film.
  • The Lion King video game contains several levels and enemies inspired by concept art that never made it into the film, including the scenes that were eventually truncated into "Hakuna Matata". You can see a bit about it here, with Louis Castle of Westwood Studios (who worked on the game).
  • Some merchandise for Zootopia still alludes to an older version of the story, where Nick was the main protagonist and being framed for a crime he didn't commit, and was being chased down by Judy, who was a seasoned detective rather than a rookie cop.
  • Deadly Tide was originally a licensed game for an animated film named Blue Planet, however the film fell into Development Hell and ended up being cancelled.
  • The toy line to The Good Dinosaur contains dinosaurs that were meant to be in the film but were scrapped.
  • The manga adaptation of Big Hero 6 contains multiple differences from the film due to being based on unused concepts. The Japanese version even has Aunt Cass as Hiro's and Tadashi's mother, which she was in earlier drafts.
  • In The Road to El Dorado, originally there was a scene of Chel escaping being sacrificed to the gods. This is why she is seen being chased by the guards when Tulio and Miguel first meet her. This was cut out of the film for being too dark, but was left in some promotional media like the tie-in book on tape.
  • Toy Story:
    • In Toy Story 2, Other!Buzz's final scene was supposed to be him carrying Zurg's supposedly dead body and lamenting to the others that he now had to go bury his father. It was deemed too dark, however it was too late to remove it in the novelization.
    • The "Nightmare Buzz" boss from Toy Story is based off of a deleted scene from the movie.
  • In the video game adaptations of WALL•E, WALL•E and EVE's roles are reversed in the airlock dump scene, with EVE being the one AUTO damaged and WALL•E never making it to the deck, and WALL•E fixing EVE in the dump. This is was changed very late in production when the scene was nearly complete, until director Andrew Stanton decided to change it at a test screening.
  • Joy from Inside Out originally wore a light yellow dress, but was changed to lime green late in production. The majority of the film's merchandise still have her in the yellow dress.
  • The novelizations for the BIONICLE movies feature deleted or altered scenes, and sometimes described the characters looking differently. Takanuva's very brief death is absent from the first novel, as he simply walks out of a dust cloud to the other characters' delight, instead of having to be resurrected by them. The third novel contains awkward innuendo which was cut from the film, and the fourth novel has a much serious and dramatic tone compared to the more comedic and lighthearted movie. The regular, non movie-based books also portrayed certain character with weapons that the prototype action figures carried but were removed from the final products, like Jaller Mahri's second sword or Nuparu Mahrii's blaster shield.
  • The novelization of Doug's 1st Movie retains the scrapped subplot of Roger having a crush on the disguised monster.
  • In Moana, Heihei was originally going to have a Sebastian-esque personality, before it was changed because it made him seem too unpleasant. Merchandise featuring him, however, makes him seem far more serious than the actual movie.
  • The movie storybooks and novelizations of Anastasia all feature a more bittersweet version of Empress Marie and Sophie's final dialogue after Anastasia leaves with Dimitri, where Sophie laments that it seems like just yesterday she came back to them, and Marie replies. "At least we had that yesterday. She has her tomorrow." In the actual film, they're unambiguously happy for Anastasia: Sophie calls her elopement "a perfect ending" and Marie replies "No, it's a perfect beginning."
  • The Robots video game has introductory scenes for each level taken from scenes in the movie with Herb Copperbottom narrating, but the cross-town express scene shows Rodney sharing a pod with a knitting old woman instead of Fender.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Trouble in Paradise, one of the video game adaptations of Lilo & Stitch, gives Lilo the power to curse people with Scrump, which she does not do in the final film.
  • In Megamind, Roxanne originally had a bright yellow scooter that she would ride everywhere, but this was cut from the film. Nonetheless, McDonald's toys featured Roxanne with her scooter.
  • Disney Store doll sets based on Ralph Breaks the Internet give to Snow White and Jasmine respectively a pair of glasses and an inhaler as their accessories. These are based on an alternate extended take of the Disney Princesses scene, where Snow White admits she's near-sighted and Jasmine that she is allergic to cats.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • About a year before the movie Return of the Jedi was released, at least one licensed toy was labeled with the title of the forthcoming sequel Revenge of the Jedi. Theatrical trailers said the same thing. Apparently the title was changed because revenge is not part of a Jedi's character. Star Trek II: Vengeance of Khan changed its name Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan to avoid similarities to the then-upcoming Star Wars film.
    • The Empire Strikes Back is famous for having Yoda as a blue creature, not green.
    • The Marvel comic adaptation of Episode IV (A New Hope) includes a deleted scene of Han Solo chatting with Jabba the Hutt, who looks nothing (being based on a Nimbanel instead) like the Jabba who would first appear in Return of the Jedi, and would later be added to A New Hope in the special edition and later releases. The novelization also includes Luke's cut scenes with Camie and Biggs.
    • The novelization of A New Hope, released the year before the film itself, was based on an early draft of the screenplay.
    • The toyline for The Force Awakens includes an action figure of Constable Zuvio, a character whose scene was entirely cut from the final film. This has become rather infamous in the fandom for being a prominent example of why Spoiled by the Merchandise isn't always true, since his emphasis in the toyline suggested that he would be a notable character in the movie.
    • In some of the Rogue One toylines (such as the LEGO sets), Jyn is referred to as a sergeant, leftover from when Jyn was originally a rebel soldier in early drafts.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Averted in the toyline for the first film: The heads of Megatron and Starscream were changed late during production of the film, but the toy headsculpts were redone in time. The picture on the back of the boxes of Leader Class Megatron and Deluxe Class Protoform Starscream still show the original designs.
    • Played straight in many other pieces of merch such as books, where Megatron's original face design was still used.
    • The transformation scheme and overall design for Optimus Prime was dramatically changed in the film, as the toy for the film quite accurately reflected the original model. The general look of Optimus was similar enough to not be a big deal (all variations on the window chests, smokestacks on the shoulders and the grill for abs), but he got a significantly more accurate toy for the sequels.
    • The toyline for Age of Extinction featured "Silver Knight" limited releases of almost every Optimus Prime figure released, which recolored in silver all the armor parts that are usually blue. He was supposed to get that color scheme after taking the sword from the knights' armory in the movie, but in the final release he only gets new forearm armor with no color change. The toyline also featured Slash, a Dinobot who turned into a Velociraptor and was supposed to bond with Hound, which was going to be in the movie but was ultimately cut.
    • In the toyline for The Last Knight, the Nitro Zeus figure has an easily detachable head using the same kind of pegs as the Titan Masters from the Titans Return toyline, and Cogman's head is also an Headmaster using the same tooling as Titan Masters. This refers to a scene shown in press previews but removed from the final movie where Cogman, after beheading Nitro Zeus, uses his Headmaster powers to control his body.
    • The comic prequel of Bumblebee features the titular character on Earth in the 70's, while the movie clearly shows that he arrived on Earth in 1987. The reason behind this discrepance is that the comic was done early in the movie's production when it was clearly supposed to be a prequel of the Michael Bay movies (where, as shown in The Last Knight Bumblebee was on Earth since World War II), while the final product got multiple alterations to make it a Continuity Reboot.
      • As an additional note, most of the Bumblebee toys made for the film are based on an earlier character model that has the same front door wings as the Camaro Bee from the precedent movies, while the render used in the final movie has the front doors folded up and pointed downwards.
  • The Novelization of the first Night at the Museum film (not to be confused with the original children's book that the movie was based on) was based on an earlier draft of the script that had Akhmenrah unable to read heiroglyphics, requiring Larry to seek the help of his Love Interest to translate them.
  • It was intended that the character of Robin be introduced in Batman Returns. Reportedly, Tim Burton collaborated with DC Comics artist Norm Breyfogle to redesign the Robin costume so that it would coincide with the one planned for the film. Kenner Toys even went so far as to produce a corresponding action figure, but when Robin was eventually written out of the script, Kenner released the toy anyway, as the character newly rendered in the comic books.
  • The Star Trek: Generations action figures were this. Most notably a Kirk figure was made in a space suit which he doesn't wear in the film, as it was based on a Deleted Scene. More subtly, the whole crew wears a uniform designed for the film that was ultimately scrapped.
  • Dark Horse Comics released a comic adaptation of Army of Darkness that was based on the early script of the film.
  • The novelization of Back to the Future is based on its earlier drafts, with changes so drastic the novel (thanks to exposure courtesy of Ryan North's B to the F: The Novelization of the Feature Film) got its own trope page.
  • Supergirl had a headband during the 80s because she originally wore one in the Supergirl film. The headband was ultimately scrapped from the film, but it was too late for it to be removed from her comic design.
  • Kamen Rider OOO had a crossover movie with its predecessor series Kamen Rider Double early in its run, early enough that the movie was written based on an earlier draft of the show's events. The result is that the movie has the series Big Bad perform a test of a plan that actively goes against his goals in the show, another Greed is introduced who doesn't exist in the show, and Eiji is very noticeably out of character in terms of what he thinks about solving people's problems by giving them money.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Many of the original Star Trek: The Original Series Novelizations by James Blish were based on early scripts, and contained elements that didn't make it into the finished episodes.
    • The first couple of Star Trek: The Next Generation novels included concepts that, while used in the Pilot "Encounter At Farpoint", did not appear in the rest of the series. The first novel, "Ghost Ship", featured Deanna calling Riker "Bill" instead of "Will", Deanna wearing a micro-dress uniform instead of the normal bunny-suit, and her and Riker having a fully fledged psychic link. Picard tended to be intensely French in it to a degree he never was in the series proper. The cover art also appears to have a picture of the classic Battlestar Galactica only upside-down on it instead of the Enterprise.
  • Doctor Who had a retrospective example in the novelisation of "The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Eve". The original scriptwriter disliked the changes made to his story in development, and years later novelised his first-draft scripts.
    • On a similar note, James Goss's novelisation of Douglas Adams's "The Pirate Planet" is based on the first draft scripts, which are much longer, and very different, from what made it on screen.
    • The first Dalek comics based their artwork on photos taken at rehearsals, at which the Daleks had numbers on their domes so the director could tell which Dalek was which. The numbering was faithfully reproduced in the comics.

  • Transformers:
    • The Decepticon Logo seems to be a stylized version of Soundwave's face, and the Autobot Symbol appears to be based on Prowl's, suggesting at some point that these two were intended as the leaders - This was obviously changed, but the logos remained.
    • Often, toy designs, colour schemes, and even whole alt modes are based on earlier designs or concepts that become changed in the finished comics, cartoons or movies.
    • In G1, characters had their character models drawn based on their toys... or pictures of their toys... or in some cases, concept drawings of their toys. This resulted in some of the biggest deficits in Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy in the series. For a good example, Grapple's character model shows his crane arm going down his back, but the artists and animators interpreted it as a part of his leg, including the person who drew the back view of the model.
  • One of the My Little Pony G3 cartoons prominently featured a pony named "Fiesta Flair". She was never released, which fans theorize is because she was deemed too stereotypically Mexican, and her design was reused for "Candy Apple".
  • Several pieces of BIONICLE media depict the characters based on the toy prototypes rather than the finalized models, such as all six Piraka on the cover of the book Dark Destiny, most characters in the Voya Nui Online Game, the Toa Metru having exposed chest-gears throughout the 2004-05 comics, Hewkii Inika being brown instead of gunmetal in the 2006 web animations, or the Bone Hunters looking like Rock Tribe Agori and the Thornax fruit appearing as an orb of glowing energy in the movie The Legend Reborn.
  • Ruthie Smithens and Molly McIntire from the American Girl toy line had brown eyes in the tie-in books that came with the dolls, yet the latter shipped with grey eyes for some reason.
  • To promote Sonic Adventure in Japan, a few commercials feature Sonic plushes. These were prototypes of the Sonic Adventure plushes. They're different from the released products, most noticeable in that Sonic's smirk is different.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • Blaine in the Pokémon anime is based on a developmental design instead of his finalized design. In development, Blaine had the head of his anime version but was army-based like Lt. Surge. Blaine's eventual design belonged to a completely different character. Eventually, that character was removed and his design given to Blaine. The anime, however, used his original design (without the military uniform).
    • The first Pokémon manga, a 4-koma anthology, featured Red with straight hair, similar to his prototypical Capsule Monsters design.
    • Many of the early artworks and illustrations released in Japan when Pokemon Red and Green were released showed many details from preliminary concepts for the game, such as Poké Balls splitting in half when the Pokémon inside is released and Pikachu's and Charizard's prototypical designs (with Charizard having a larger lower jaw and Pikachu being abnormally large and having a white belly). Even the unused female character was shown off, once in an origami book's comic and another promotional art of her, Red, and Blue with the a Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander respectively (her design was recycled for Blue in Pokémon Adventures, later again in the remake games for the female protagonist Leaf with a redesign, and reused again in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! as a bonus boss).
    • Ho-Oh as shown at the end of the first episode of the anime is from a very early design that differs from the finalized Pokémon Gold and Silver design.
    • Gold and Silver were originally going to include a character disguised as Professor Oak. Although this character didn't appear in the games themselves, Impostor Oak still managed to make repeated appearances in the trading card game.
    • Gary's sudden personality change in Johto is lifted from earlier versions of Gold and Silver's script. In an earlier version of the game, Blue is a much more humble person who mentions that Red knocked him down a peg. He now works as an assistant to his grandfather Professor Oak. In the final game, Blue still keeps his cocky spark and he works as the Viridian gym leader. Even after the script for the games changed, the anime's script didn't. As a result, Blue and Gary are very different in terms of character and occupation.
  • An early Universe Bible for Donkey Kong Country named "Donkey Kong and the Golden Banana" shows an unused plot where a Kremling steals the special Golden Banana of "Grandpa Kong" (the prototypical Cranky Kong) and Donkey Kong has to retrieve it. The Golden Banana appeared in the Donkey Kong Country cartoon. The Golden Banana was later used in Donkey Kong 64.
  • The Planescape: Torment novelization is based on an early draft.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Splats the Rabbit, an unused enemy from Sonic the Hedgehog, appeared in Sonic the Comic, Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, and early merchandise. Splats didn't make it into the games themselves until Sonic Mania - around 25 years after said appearances in tie-in materials.
    • The first promotional manga for Sonic the Hedgehog, named Sonic the Hedgehog Story Comic and dating to summer of 1991, contains a lot of this. For one, it shows Sonic with fangs, which were supposedlynote  cut from his finalized design to make Sonic look less scary. His shoes also have buckles like in his original concept art as well. The manga has Sonic being in a band, which was cut soon alongside several other elements (Sonic's human girlfriend Madonna, the original non-badnik enemies, etc) to make Sonic more kid-friendly, and it also uses the developmental names for various zones.
    • An in-character interview released in a Japanese magazine not soon after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog has Sonic as a rock star, despite the fact the concept was changed before release. This idea was later made reality by the short-lived Sonic Underground cartoon and also existed to an extent in Sonic Sat AM.
    • According to Sonic the Hedgehog 3's standalone sound test option, Flying Battery Zone was originally supposed to be the fifth level in the game, taking place in between Carnival Night Zone and Ice Cap Zone, with cutscenes showing a cannon from Carnival Night launching Sonic into Flying Battery and Sonic using the door from Flying Battery as a snowboard for Ice Cap. However, because no proper transition cutscene between Mushroom Hill Zone and Sandopolis Zone was made, or possibly to keep the levels even between Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles, Flying Battery Zone didn't make it as a playable zone for Sonic 3. It was later used as one of the zones for Sonic and Knuckles, taking place in between Mushroom Hill and Sandopolis. Nevertheless, the bag for the Sonic 3 McDonald's happy meal tie-in shows Flying Battery as one of the zones for its activities.
    • Though not exactly a tie-in, Wayne's World cameoed Marble Zone from the first game in an early format. It shows the infamous scrapped UFOs.
    • In the Shogakukan manga Spring Yard Zone is called "Sparkling Zone" and Scrap Brain Zone is called "Clockwork Zone". These are their prototypical names.
    • The ultimately cancelled Sega Saturn title Sonic X-Treme had a fair amount of merchandise, including the Blue Bell Sonic ice cream having an X-Treme edition wrapper for a while.
  • The Prima Strategy Guide for Paper Mario: Sticker Star mentions various enemies that aren't in the game, such as 4-Fold Goombas and Shiny Dry Bones.
  • An unofficial strategy guide for Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped was based on an early build of the game and features various beta elements such as different time requirements for relics or different amounts of fruit in a level.
  • Sands of Destruction's opening shows Morte looking serious and pensive, praying in a church of some sort before walking out solemnly. The anime version of her is also quite somber. In the game proper, however, Morte is more of a Genki Girl Mad Bomber who jumps up and down with happiness when she wins a fight. The game's opening also shows Rhi'a walking around with Naja, and the anime has them working together in the World Salvation Committee, with Rhi'a angry and indignant that Morte wants to end the world; in the game, Rhi'a joins the World Annihilation Front out of curiosity and sees the end of the world as its unavoidable fate, whether at Morte's hands or not. The anime was created midway through the game's production cycle, and it's obvious they were working with old scripts: the locations and characters are all there, and even in mostly the same order, but characters' personalities - especially the girls - and the precise chain of events are quite different.
  • In the promotional Splatoon manga, Goggles' Splattershot has an Inkzooka, like the E3 demo of the game. In the final game it has Bomb Rush.
  • The cinematic trailer for Overwatch (the one with the two kids in the museum and Reaper trying to steal Doomfist's gauntlet) shows a group shot of Overwatch members including a bunch of early concept arts for characters, including a red armored guy and a guy in a yellow hazmat-like suit, which were Reinhardt and Junkrat's earliest designs.
  • TRON Deadly Discs: Due to Mattel getting an early and incorrect draft of the script, the Tron sprite in the game was shown as a red-orange figure cutting down hordes of blue Mooks. In the actual film, the colors are reversed, with Red Is Violent and Blue Is Heroic. The simple color goof in 1982 makes for accidental, but Harsher in Hindsight Foreshadowing come 2010's TRON: Legacy.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • One of the early books refers to Princess Luna as "Selena", which was her original name.
    • Many pieces of merchandising used artworks based on concept art, with some design differences such as pegasi having five visible feathers in each wing instead of four, every pony having visible eyelashes on the bottom of their eyes rather than only on top and Sweetie Belle having oval-shaped eyes rather than round. The limited edition glow in the dark Zecora figure released in 2013 takes the crown, since the artwork on her box is literally a colored version of one of Lauren Faust's first sketches for the character which had narrower head and eyes than the definitive model.
  • The Flintstones: A Little Golden Book from 1959, a year before the series premiered, features a son in the family named Junior. In the series, Fred and Wilma were childless until they had a baby girl in 1962.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the original shorts appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show Bart wore his usual orange shirt, however concept art for the series proper had him with a blue shirt. Despite him having an orange shirt in the series proper, a lot of merchandise had Bart wearing a blue shirt during the 90s. Urban Legend have mentioned that this was intentionally done to make real products different from bootlegs, however that is untrue and it's simply a mistake caused by early concept art.
    • The Simpsons arcade game has frames where Marge can be seen with huge, yellow rabbit ears under her hair. This comes from an unused idea for season 1 that Marge hid rabbit ears under a wig.
  • According to Britt Allcroft, Bertram from the Thomas the Tank Engine episode "Toby's Discovery" was supposed to be a tank engine, but due to financial difficulty in making a new model, Duke's model was repainted and given Smudger's face. Bertram's 2000 and 2011 Wooden Railway models depict him as a tank engine, while his 2016 model depicts him with his tender.
  • The first He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figures were based upon early concepts of the characters that were changed by the time the Filmation cartoon series aired.
  • The The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius video game for Attack of the Twonkies uses Cindy's movie design with the Girlish Pigtails, instead of her cartoon design which has a ponytail and looks older.
  • A song for The Powerpuff Girls is called "Signal in the Sky", however the girls use a hotline installed in the Mayor's office instead of a Bat Signal. In two episodes they have a signal (most notably the first episode), but that was a Early Installment Weirdness related leftover from the original Whoopass Girls short.
  • The tie-in books for SpacePOP were written before the cartoon was made, and the first one has differences like Captain Hansome actually looking like his disguise, Rand being blue, and Chamberlin being very old.


Example of: