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No Adaptations Allowed

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Most of the time, adaptations are seen as a positive thing and many works are made with adaptations or merchandise in mind. The works listed here are the exception. They cannot legally have adaptations due to various reasons. They're considered impossible to adapt, difficult to get rights to, or the creators/publishers simply don't want adaptations.

Compare with Fanwork Ban, contrast with Self-Adaptation (where the creator only permits adaptations that they are personally responsible for) and see also Disowned Adaptationnote  (when adaptations have been made but the creator presumably wishes they hadn't happened) and Hard-to-Adapt Work (which is often why this happens).



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kiyohiko Azuma has not allowed Yotsuba&! to be adapted into an anime, citing a belief that it's not well-suited to an animated format (some of this may stem from the liberties taken with the anime adaptation of Azumanga Daioh, which suffered a similar problem of trying to adapt a number of jokes built strictly around the 4-panel format). However, there have been audio adaptations and an anime spin-off.
  • Despite running for more than three decades and being quite popular, From Eroica with Love has never been adapted to anime, as a result of Yasuko Aoike not being a fan of animation.

    Comic Books 
  • Art Spiegelman has turned down all offers to adapt Maus into a film, viewing it as commercialization of a very personal story he never expected would explode into such popularity. According to him, his wife even joked that his greatest accomplishment has been not adapting it.
  • Brian K. Vaughan said that in an age when comics are sometimes criticised for being nothing but high-quality storyboards angling for a live-action adaptation, he and Fiona Staples deliberately made Saga "unadaptable" with a combination of completely off-the-wall visuals and things basically never allowed to be shown on TV. The very first panel is a baby crowning.
  • Alan Moore doesn't like his comics being adapted into movies, because he believes what's written as a comic usually doesn't work in other media. But due to DC Comics retaining the copyrights to anything he wrote for them, movie adaptations have been made without Moore's consent.

    Comic Strips 
  • Unusually for such a popular comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes has never had an Animated Adaptation. Official merchandise is also exceedingly rare (though bootleg material is common, such as the infamous "Peeing Calvin" decals). Bill Watterson won't allow adaptations for various reasons, including fear of loss of control over his work and a dislike for other comic strips getting adapted and marketed to the point of growing stale, such as Garfield and Peanuts. While he was open to doing an animated adaptation at one point, Watterson ultimately decided against it in part because he couldn't imagine Calvin having a voice, and because he feared that it would force him to provide a definitive answer regarding whether Hobbes was real or imaginary (which he deliberately refused to do in the strip). He even turned down talks with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg because he was that committed to his characters staying as they were.

    Film — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 

    Pinball Machines 
  • There are several hard-to-license tables that are impossible to port to home computers. Not only are the rights for the table itself needed, but music in the game, any movie license and actor likenesses can be involved too. But at least any patents are either expired or included.

  • Samuel Beckett was notorious not just for refusing to allow his works to be adapted to different media, but for demanding that all theatrical productions adhere with complete rigidity to the original detailed stage directions.
  • After the Animated Adaptation of The King and I became a Box Office Bomb, Rodgers and Hammerstein stated that their musicals would no longer be adapted into animated feature films.
  • Agatha Christie decreed that The Mousetrap can have no adaptations while the play is still running. Not that it stopped the USSR from doing a straightforward film in 1990.

  • LEGO shot down all pitches for a theatrical film involving the BIONICLE universe. This is due to these pitches involving human kids, which is contrary to the world building of the series, which states humans don't exist or will ever be a part of the universe. However, BIONICLE still got four Direct to Video movies.

    Video Games 

In-Universe Examples

  • In Knives Out, Harlan Thrombey refuses to allow adaptations of any of his highly successful mystery novels. Son Walt is shown trying to talk him into a meeting with representatives from Netflix, and his feeling of redundancy as head of a publishing company that can't make any deals is depicted as a potential motive making him a murder suspect.


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