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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 instrumental albums 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.
  • While Hayao Miyazaki isn't against the idea of adapting his work into other mediums in general, there are two mediums that he is absolutely against having his works be adapted to.
    • According to Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, many have come forward with proposals to adapt Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind to live action, with all of them being rejected by Miyazaki, who is against the idea of adapting his animated works to live action films. This doesn't seem to apply to prequels or sequels to his work, as an official live-action prequel short to Nausicaä titled Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo premiered in 2012.
    • Miyazaki has also forbidden his films from being adapted into video games, and he has had a history of rejecting such pitches immediately. This is largely thanks to the infamous Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind video games that were released on Japanese PCs roughly around the same time the film came out, which he despised so much that they've caused him to develop a hatred for video games as a whole. That said, despite his distaste for video games, he doesn't seem to be against Ghibli's general involvement in video games, as the studio would be involved with Magic Pengel and the first Ni no Kuni game. He was also open to the idea of collaborating with Nintendo after the latter offered him to work with them on a game. However, the game in question (which was reportedly centered around insects) never got off the ground due to Miyazaki being too busy on other projects at the time.

    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 
  • The creators of Bob Roberts refused to release an official soundtrack, despite the film having several original songs, because the song were all deliberately intended to be catchy far-right-wing anthems, and they feared that the soundtrack might attract a huge Misaimed Fandom.
  • Due to Amazon leaking spoiler-filled images from the Comic-Book Adaptation of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay decided there would be no comics based on Age of Extinction.
  • Mario Puzo had a stipulation in his contract that said that only he was allowed to write novelizations to Superman and Superman II, which he never wrote.
  • Paul Schrader has noted that he and Martin Scorsese have regularly halted, blocked, and stalled attempts to license Taxi Driver spin-offs or adaptations beyond its movie form. There was a Tie-In Novel that was released around the same time as the film but is now out of print. A never-released video game was in the works. According to to one of the staff, it was going to be a Grand Theft Auto Clone, written by Hollywood Writers who had never played a video game or seen the movie (beyond the mirror scene) before. Featured stupid dialog with awful voice acting and made Travis a mass-murdering psychopath instead of a deranged loner posing in the mirror. It even went through a period where the license was removed from the game before getting applied again.

  • After J. D. Salinger's short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut was adapted into the critically panned film My Foolish Heart, he refused to allow any more film adaptations of his works, even after his death in 2010. This included his most famous story, the novel The Catcher in the Rye; he also rejected a proposal in the 1950s for a play based on that book.
  • Roald Dahl hated Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and refused to allow adaptations for his children's books before dying of myelodysplastic syndrome in 1990. Eventually this was overruled, leading to various adaptations of the film (including the theatrical musical and Truer to the Text Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film) and adaptations of other books by him such as Matilda. However, Dahl put in his will a stipulation that prohibited its sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, from being adapted into a film. This is one of the reasons why the Sequel Hook to the original film never went anywhere, and why the second film never had a sequel.note  It may fade, however, with his estate selling the movie rights to Great Glass Elevator, among others, to Netflix in the wake of the failure of Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
  • Mark Z. Danielewski has refused all offers to adapt House of Leaves, as by necessity it would have to discard the multiple layers of the Nested Story that's told through the footnotes, appendices, and bizarre formatting that make it such a compelling Scrapbook Story. In addition, most offers apparently only envision adapting the most straightforward of the book's elements, Navidson's story, and ignore the fact that it would make far less of an impact without Johnny, Zampanò, and all the other layers. When he did try something with Netflix, it was more of a sequel than an adaptation, and fell through anyway. (Danielewski has since released the scripts he finished.)
  • Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss' wife, was absolutely dissatisfied with the film adaptation of The Cat in the Hat to the point where she vowed never to produce any future live-action adaptations of her husband's works for the rest of her life. Dr. Seuss, on the other hand, had collaborated with Chuck Jones and then Friz Freleng to make Animated Adaptations of his books (plus a few original stories) while he was still alive.
  • Clive Cussler so disliked the film adaptation of his novel Raise the Titanic! that it would be over twenty years until he allowed another adaptation of his Dirk Pitt Adventures series during his lifetime. Said adaptation was Sahara (2005), another Box Office Bomb that Cussler liked even less.
  • Ian Fleming wasn't happy with his novel The Spy Who Loved Me and only sold the rights to use the book's title for an In Name Only movie.
  • The estate of J. R. R. Tolkien had previously forbidden any film adaptations of The Silmarillion, due to dissatisfaction with the Lord of the Rings movies. Following the retirement of his son Christopher Tolkien as the estate's manager, they relaxed this stance somewhat (only forbidding adaptations of material from the "Third Age" time period of the Legendarium), leading to an Amazon-produced series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which is set in the Second Age.
  • During her life, Astrid Lindgren refused to allow any animated adaptations of her works. Most notably, she rejected Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata's proposal to adapt her most famous work, Pippi Longstocking. However, she made exceptions for the 1997 animated adaptation of Pippi Longstocking and the 2002 animated adaptation of Karlsson on the Roof.
  • The poor handling of Destination Moon led to Robert A. Heinlein flatly refusing for any of his books to be adapted into films ever again. This ban extended well past his death, though we eventually got the likes of The Puppet Master and Starship Troopers.
  • Dune: Owing to how the deal for the movie rights came about, for a long time nobody else was allowed to make a Dune movie following the David Lynch film. The SciFi Channel (now Syfy) found a loophole and made two miniseries, though the lackluster performance of both (based on the first three books) torpedoed any plans to keep going. It was not until 2017 that Legendary Pictures hired Denis Villeneuve to be the director for a new adaptation of the book.
  • Downplayed with the Earth's Children series. Jean M Auel was not happy about the way the 1986 film adaptation of The Clan of the Cave Bear turned out (partly because she was completely left of the film's production despite previously being promised she'd be consulted). As a result, she never sold the movie rights again, although she stated in a 2011 interview that her children were free to sell the rights after she'd died. She also gave permission for a television series based on the first book to be made in 2014, though it ultimately didn't go ahead.
  • Sue Grafton always stated that she would never allow the Kinsey Millhone series to be adapted to film. Following her death, her family has said they will continue to follow her wishes. Grafton herself wrote for TV movies before she wrote novels. As a TV/film writer, she recalled, "You're treated like a clerk whose job it is to type up everybody else's notes."

    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, the descendants of 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. The play had stopped performances for fourteen months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but it has since started back up.

  • 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 Worldbuilding 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.