Follow TV Tropes


Not His Sled

Go To

"I can tell what you're thinking. You think you know how this ends. You saw the TV show right? Right? But that was a TV show, and TV shows demand a happy ending. You know this ain't the kind of story that has a happy ending..."
Ninja Ninja, Afro Samurai (the video game)

What happens when a work of fiction, so old or so well-known that knowing its ending doesn't even count as a spoiler, is adapted into a new installment? Mostly the adapters choose to keep the main plot points, so the twist ending will stay, and thus there will be no twist at all. But that's not the only option!

Sometimes the production team do want the viewers to be surprised, and so they will change the twist at the end. This is, of course, especially prone to leaving plot holes if the producers do not change the rest of the plot that leads to the original ending accordingly, leaving the new twist hanging over the plot as if suspended by wires.

If poorly done, it can lead to outcries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! from fans of the original work for needlessly diverging from an important plot point and possibly even changing the creator's intended themes in the process, on top of poking holes into a plot that was perfectly sound before. When well done, though, it can lead to genuine surprise, a satisfying new resolution, and an excellent application of Death of the Author, in other words, awesomeness.

As a clarification, this Trope deals with Adaptations and Alternate Continuities; de-twisted sequels fall under Meta Twist. Also, if the plot twist was added by a more successful adaptation and removed by a later adaptation/reboot, the later adaptation/reboot counts here since the audience was expecting the earlier imitation; the original, however, would not count and that instance should be taken to Lost in Imitation.

Subtrope of Meta Twist, contrast with It Was His Sled, the trope that leads to this. If a Twist Ending overlaps, see Adaptational Alternate Ending.

Compare Homage Derailment, in which a homage is set up and then subverted for shock or humor.

Note: This is a Spoilered Rotten trope, that means that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE on this list is a spoiler by default and they will all be unmarked. This is your last warning, only proceed if you really believe you can handle this list. In fact, these spoilers are even more dangerous than the usual variety, since it's impossible to not spoil the twist ending from the moment the name of the work is stated if you're familiar with the original, as well as spoil yourself on both versions if you aren't.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the mist-shrouded island arc ends with Drang revealing to his partner Sturm that Ferry is his deceased grandmother's older sister. This twist shouldn't surprise anyone as it happened exactly like that in the original game, and for those unfamiliar with the source material the anime also goes out of its way to focus on Drang's uncharacteristic behaviour towards Ferry — much more than the game did. The real twist in the anime is that Ferry and Drang are then shown visiting her sister's grave together, which of course implies all sorts of things about their future relationship (though no dialogue is provided.) In the game, they quietly go their separate ways and Ferry to this day doesn't know that Drang is her grandnephew.
  • The Comic-Book Adaptation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie First appeared to be an All There in the Manual affair for the first season (For those who don't know, The Movie First is a remake of that season), much like the A's and StrikerS comics that came before it. Indeed, this seemed to be the case until it reached the series proper in Chapter 5, where it gave a summary of the first Season, except that in place of Nanoha successfully befriending Fate and the two of them joining forces to stop Precia like everyone was expecting, Bardiche is destroyed, Fate never comes out of her comatose state for the final battle, Precia dies without giving Fate any sense of closure, and our last shot is of Nanoha crying about how she wasn't able to save Fate in the end, quickly revealing how this manga was actually another alternate retelling of the first season. Nanoha ultimately succeeds in befriending Fate after a sparring battle later on.
  • People who have read the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga may be surprised when watching the Toei anime, where some stories were given twists that weren't in the manga. For example, during the Burger World episode, the villain wasn't the robber, but rather the manager of the store. In the Tamagotchi episode, the villain wasn't Kujirada, but rather an inconspicuous classmate who liked to keep people as pets, complete with whipping as a punishment and questionable rewards.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, during The End of Evangelion specifically, Shinji has basically given up all will to do anything, and passively sits next to Unit 01. Meanwhile, Asuka is fighting for her life above against the mass-produced Evas, and the power on her Eva is running out. Shinji finally does board his Eva to save Asuka after it moves on its own to save him from falling debris. However, by the time he reaches the surface, Asuka's Eva, and by extension Asuka, has been torn to pieces. Needless to say, this does nothing for Shinji's sanity. In the manga, however, Shinji is much more willing to jump into Unit 01 to save Asuka, and due to this he manages to arrive just in time to save Asuka from getting brutally murdered. Instrumentality still occurs, but...
  • Rebuild of Evangelion initially follows its predecessor material faithfully, which makes the later changes all the more surprising.
    • In the "elevator scene" Rei acts assertively and stops Asuka from slapping her in the face.
    • Toji is not piloting Unit-03. This is also toyed with in that Toji's replacement Asuka does not get majorly crippled or die in his place, as she is present in 3.33 with only an eye missing.
    • Perhaps the greatest example is that instead of Unit 01 absorbing Shinji into itself and killing Zeruel monkey-style before shutting down, Shinji takes control of Unit 01 at its full berserk power, forcibly yanks Rei's soul out of Zeruel, and proceeds to ascend to godhood and nearly kickstart Third Impact before Kaworu stops him. Needless to say, some people were a bit surprised at these developments, which officially begin the point where Rebuild splits from the original events entirely.
  • Each version of Sands of Destruction is an Alternate Continuity, which makes for plenty of surprises no matter what order you watch/play/read them in. The anime hides the fact that Kyrie is a Person of Mass Destruction until the final episode, making him an Amnesiac Hero (of sorts.) The gamenote  and manga open with this fact. Everybody Lives in the anime, barring the death of Aquilla Rex and a couple of his mooks in the last episode, while in the manga, Naja almost dies and Morte does. But she's revived in the last chapter. Kyrie is also Spared by the Adaptation in both of these. The exact identity of the main characters varies, too. Kyrie is always the Destruct, but in the anime that means he's been alive in his current body for millennia, and he will end the world if someone in it truly wishes him to, whereas in the manga he's still an amnesiac but what he's forgotten this time is that he's one of two angels who make up the Destruct system, and he's reincarnated every thousand years in order to destroy the world so that it can be reborn fresh and new. In the anime, Morte is just a random girl who happens to really want to end the world because her family was killed by Ferals and she believes she has nothing to live for and anyone who thinks the world is worth saving is deluding themselves, but in the manga she's the Planner, Princess of Guidance who incarnates every thousand years in order to determine the qualities of the next world after Kyrie destroys it. Yes, she royally screwed up this last time; that's why she's so eager to see the world end: so she can fix it. Agan is also merely a random smuggler in the anime, rather than being Morte's Childhood Friend as he is in the game and manga. The anime also features a small black ball called the Destruct Code, which makes no appearances in any other adaptation.note  This sphere is actually a memory storage device for Kyrie, which not only allows him to recall the millennia of his life, but also to show his memories to anyone he chooses. Rhi'a loses her guns in the manga, becoming a largely-Neutral Female rather than The Gunslinger. The manga also cuts many side characters, preferring to focus on the leads.
  • The big turning point in Fuuka is when Fuuka herself gets run over by a truck and dies, leading the second half of the story to be about the band struggling to cope with her death and their life with a new member of their band, also named Fuuka. When the adaptation came, many expected the last episode to play out as it did before, but Fuuka is saved, continues to play with the band, and finally upgrades her relationship with Yuu.
  • Prétear is a loose adaptation of the Snow White fairy tale already, being a Magical Girl Warrior story where the dwarves are instead a harem of young men, but the villain has a twist when she's revealed, too. Himeno's selfish, vain stepmother isn't her. She's just a normal person, and the villain is someone else.
  • Fate/Extra Last Encore is billed as a straightforward adaptation of Fate/EXTRA, however it quickly reveals that it's a completely original story from the second episode onwards.
  • In Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, when the existence of an eighth Class Card is revealed, anyone familiar with the mainstream Fate/stay night would expect the Class Card to be an Avenger, specifically Angra Mainyu. This is not the case: it's a second Archer card, and its Heroic Spirit is Gilgamesh. While a major shock to the characters, Gilgamesh being a rogue element isn't new for the series; it's what comes after this first encounter with Gil that hurls the story into uncharted territory for a Fate plot.
  • Megalo Box, being essentially a sci-fi re-telling of Tomorrow's Joe's first major arc, plays up the friendly rivalry between Joe and Yuri who are both stand-ins for the original Joe and his Worthy Opponent Tooru Rikiishi and the famous ending to their rivalry. Only for the ending to reveal both survived the final match, although Yuri is now wheelchair-bound.
  • Lusamine in Pokémon Sun and Moon is revealed to be the Big Bad of the game's climax and Lillie's and Gladion's Abusive Parent. But when we meet her in the anime, she turns out to be an amazingly embarrassing and doting mother to her children, with her interests in Ultra Beasts being curiosity rather than an all-consuming obsession. Her associate Faba is actually the one who unleashes the Ultra Beasts here.
  • In-Universe example in Assassination Classroom with Class 3-E's play edition of Momotarō. It starts with the old couple discovering that a child is developing inside the peach...and then the husband proclaims that it'll bring fame and fortune to him. His selfishness towards their child becomes the last straw for his wife, who finalizes their divorce and takes the peach to raise it in safety, while the husband is left penniless and trains a dog, monkey, and pheasant (Momotaro's usual companions) to be his attack animals. Needless to say, the other students disliked this version.
    Student: It totally ruined my appetite!
  • Scott Pilgrim Takes Off was marketed as and initially presents itself as being a direct adaptation of the the comic series, until the end of the first episode, where Scott apparently dies in his fight with Matthew Patel. The following episodes are basically an original story with the same characters, following Ramona as the main protagonist, rather than deuteragonist, until it's eventually revealed the whole series is a Stealth Sequel by way of a time-travelling Scott from the future.

    Comic Books 
  • In Marvel Adventures: The Avengers, the Hate-Monger is revealed to be, not a clone of Hitler, but Karl, resident Hyper-Incompetent Sidekick, wanting to unify the Avengers through Hate.
  • The Mini Marvels adaptation of World War Hulk appears to be going this way at first, with Namor successfully convincing the other members of the Illuminators — sorry, The Illuminati — to not send the Hulk into outer space. But then Namor notices that Hulk stole his sandwich. Cue Gilligan Cut of Hulk flying in space on a shuttle.
  • Spider-Man: In The Amazing Spider-Man (1963), Spider-Man's archnemesis, the Green Goblin, tossed Spidey's first love off a bridge in one of comics' most iconic moments. It was a huge twist when the comic was published (never before had a superhero let someone die, except in an origin story) and shocked many readers. Since then, however, whenever Gwen Stacy is present, it's become more shocking not to have the Green Goblin kill her.
    • The most straight example of this is in the mini-series Powerless, which re-imagines, among others, Peter Parker becoming a cripple due to the spider-bite, rather than getting superpowers. When Norman Osborn kidnaps Gwen Stacy, they both fall off a balcony, but Peter manages to catch Gwen Stacy, saving her.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, instead of throwing Gwen Stacy off a bridge, the Green Goblin throws Mary Jane, and she ends up surviving. On the other hand, Gwen Stacy is killed by Carnage instead. But then, Gwen's memories and personality were absorbed by Carnage which wasn't sentient before, resulting in Carnage essentially becoming Gwen, making her technically alive.
    • Played straight or averted in Marvel 1602, depending whether or not you consider the spin-off, Spider-Man: 1602, canon. Virginia Dare is said to fill the role of Gwen Stacy, and she survives in the original mini-series, and it's heavily implied she and Peter end up together. In the spin-off, however, not only is she killed by Osborne, but Peter very quickly gets over her to get together with Marian Jane Watsonne, effectively restoring the status quo that the original mini-series worked to avoid.
    • Also played straight with Marvel Adventures, in which Gwen Stacy is present, but her death is never explored.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes had a Pre-Crisis story in Adventure Comics #353 where the sun was under threat by a Sun-Eater, and recently inducted Legionnaire Ferro Lad gave his life to allow a bomb to detonate and kill the Sun-Eater. Years later in Final Night, another incarnation of Ferro Lad attempted to do the same when a Sun-Eater was devouring the sun in the Twentieth-Century. However, Hal Jordan, then under the possession of Parallax, arrived and rescued Ferro Lad, before giving his life to kill the Sun-Eater and restore the Sun.
  • A sort of double subversion occurs with the new version of the Crime Syndicate. In previous continuity, most of the evil counterparts of the Justice League had radically different backstories than their main counterparts. For instance, Ultraman (the evil Superman) was an astronaut who was experimented on by aliens, and Johnny Quick (the evil Flash) gets his powers from drugs. In the New 52, the Crime Syndicate members' backstories are dark, twisted parodies of the main heroes of the DCU. Not only is this a subversion, but it's also an inversion since their backstories are now much closer to the pre-Crisis CSA.
  • In Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1812, which crosses over with The Duellists, both d'Hubert and Ferraud make appearances. However, Ferraud is quickly killed off by a hungry Constanta, making his later duels with d'Hubert from the film impossible. D'Hubert himself later also dies, but is resurrected as a servant of Baba Yaga.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Spider-Man: Peter Parker taking photos of himself as Spider-Man is the reason he goes to the Daily Bugle, but he does not get to be a regular freelancer taking such photos as in the mainstream comics. He instead gets a job as a webmaster.
    • Ultimate X Men: Rogue started with her basic natural powers, just power and life absorption. Did you expect that at some later point she would permanently absorb the Flying Brick powers of Ms. Marvel, or some similar character? Nope. That did happen...but with Gambit.
    • In Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, Jennifer Walters is introduced as a scientist working on a serum that will turn someone into a Hulk, but without the rage. It looks like this is setting up the introduction of Ultimate She-Hulk, and it does...when the serum is stolen by Betty Ross.
  • Two of the Muppet Classics miniseries had the story end differently from how it usually does.
    • Muppet King Arthur had the notable divergence from the original legend by having King Arthur marry Morgana Le Fay and Sir Lancelot marry Guinevere rather than the other way around. This is justified because Kermit is playing King Arthur, Miss Piggy is playing Morgana Le Fay, Gonzo is playing Sir Lancelot and Camilla is playing Guinevere. Also, Morgan Le Fay isn't Arthur's half-sister in this version, so there's no incest involved.
    • Rather than ending with Snow White being awakened by the prince's kiss, Muppet Snow White ends with Snow White hooking up with Pepe the King Prawn and the Evil Queen attempting to marry Prince Kermit.
  • In the Detective Comics (Rebirth) storyline "Medieval", we're introduced to the mainstream version of the Arkham Knight, the titular villain from Batman: Arkham Knight. Those who played the game would know that the Arkham Knight was actually Jason Todd, who was never killed and felt betrayed by Batman who thought he died at the Joker's hands. As the story goes on, we find out this isn't the case here, and that the Knight is actually Astrid Arkham, daughter of Arkham Asylum head Jeramiah Arkham, who developed a hatred on the Dark Knight because she believed her mother was killed by him (this makes her more or less Lady Arkham from Batman: The Telltale Series).
  • When Hal Jordan returned to both life and his Green Lantern role that meant the Spirit of Vengeance had no human host. Gotham Central introduced a new Jim Corrigan, the cop who'd become The Spectre in the Golden Age. But this Corrigan turned out to be irredeemably corrupt and murdered Crispus Allen, the man who would actually be the new Spectre.
  • In the original Beast Wars cartoon, Dinobot attempted to overthrow Megatron after they seemingly failed to reach their destined planet, only to be blasted away by Scorponok. He then challenges Optimus Primal for leadership for the Maximals, only to join after the Predacons interrupted their honorable duel, and this lead Optimus to take in Dinobot as a valued team mate thanks to his support and him saving him from falling off a stone bridge during their duel. In Transformers: Beast Wars (2021), Dinobot is sickened by the torture Tarantulus enacts on Nyx and Megatron's plan to hunt and kill her after letting her out. This leads him to trapping the Predacons in their own base, then finding the injured Nyx and taking her back to the Maximal HQ.
  • Just Imagine... Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe, a series of one-shots where Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame did his own interpretations of DC Comics characters, had two notable instances of averting the audience's expectations after teasing that things would be how they were in the standard DC Universe.
    • At the end of Wonder Woman's one-shot, a man named Carter and a woman named Saunders find a pair of hawk amulets fabled to grant power. They decide to leave the amulets alone and never become the Just Imagine universe's takes on Hawkman and Hawkwoman.
    • Most incarnations of Robin are Batman's sidekick, but the one-shot focusing on the Robin of the Just Imagine universe ends with him turning down Batman's offer of partnership. This is Lee rules, after all, and Lee rarely-if-ever wrote Kid Sidekick characters.
  • Star Trek (IDW): Mostly downplayed, but several storylines adapt the plots of TOS episodes with some minor variations due to the changed relationships and personalities of the characters.
  • Cinema Purgatorio: The film It's a Breakable Life is a retelling of It's a Wonderful Life about the dangers stuntmen face. The Clarence stand-in teaches George Bailey how stuntmen are used to replace an important person and risk themselves simulating scenes of injury meant for them, replacing his being shown a world where his loved ones didn't have him in their lives in the original. Much to "Clarence's" dismay, George takes in the exact opposite moral: that because he's important, he can do whatever reckless actions he wants and let the stuntmen take the hit for it. He then uses this ability to rush down and kill Mr. Potter, getting another stuntman killed in his place in the process, and becomes the Mean Boss to everyone else in Bedford Falls, thinking that he is now eternally above consquences.

    Comic Strips 
  • Readers of the original E.C. Segar Popeye comics will be surprised to find out that not only was Bluto a minor oneshot villain in a 1932 story (as opposed to his recurring nemesis in the animated cartoons), but that Popeye did not use his spinach to defeat him, settling for the Twisker Punch instead.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: It was foreshadowed repeatedly that the pilot of Unit-03 would not be Toji this time around. Confirmed when it was revealed that Hikari Horaki had been selected as the Fourth Child.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron:
    • The Green Paladin isn't the one that causes the mind meld in Some Assembly Required to fail — it's the Black one.
    • The same is the case in regards to the Paladin that chooses to leave the team in Fall of the Castle of Lions.
    • A more minor one, but unlike in the series, the attempts to create a chant succeed this time around.
    • Once again, it is implied that Lelouch, the Black Paladin, is the member of Team Voltron who is part-Galran.
  • Code Prime:
    • Lelouch does not throw Kallen off by having a Geassed Sayoko play a recording of him to the girl. Instead, he has Bumblebee do it.
    • Shirley isn't the one to shoot Viletta — Bumblebee does that. However, being present at the fight and almost shooting Viletta does take a toll on her.
    • The SAZ Massacre isn't an accident caused by Lelouch using his Geass on Euphemia in a moment of Power Incontinence. Instead, it's a deliberate action orchestrated by Megatron via replacing Euphie with a Pretender as part of a False Flag Operation.
  • Crimson and Noire:
    • Chapter 24 plays out like the episode "Riposte", with Kagami and Adrien having their fencing match, Marinette asked by D'Argencourt to pick the winner of the match, and Marinette hastily picking Adrien as the winner since she didn't know the rules and he was her friend. Marinette goes to explain the situation to Kagami only to find her about to be akumatized... then the butterfly pulls away. After that, Marinette, Adrien, and D'Argencourt convince Kagami to try a rematch and join the fencing club. It's later revealed that Monarch/Nathalie recalled the akuma because Kagami would have targeted Adrien.
    • Chapter 31 starts the same as the episode "Zombizou", with Marniette's gift for Ms. Bustier's birthday being vandalized and Chloe accused as the culprit... except Chloe protests that she didn't do it, and both Adrien and Kagami point out that it doesn't seem like hernote . At the end of the chapter, Ms. Bustier reveals that Ms. Mendeleiev saw Chloe leaving the locker room right after Marinette and the other girls did, meaning she wouldn't have enough time to ruin Marinette's gift.
  • Dæmorphing starts out as straightforward adaptations of Animorphs books but with daemons, but eventually goes in a completely different direction. For example:
    • In Seeing in Color (based on The Departure), instead of going back to the Yeerk Pool and later Shapeshifter Mode Locking herself as a whale, Aftran decides to share a body with a Chee.
    • In The Cowardice of Lions (based on the David trilogy), the Animorphs kill David instead of turning him into a rat.
    • In Abel or Cain (based on The Conspiracy), instead of breaking Tom's leg and allowing him to go back to the Yeerks, the Animorphs and Chee fake his death so they can take him into hiding and kill his Yeerk.
    • At the start of Welcome Home (based on The Diversion), the Animorphs evacuate Cassie's family last instead of Jake's, leading to Michelle getting infested instead of Jake's parents.
    • The permanent residents of the children's hospital never get the morphing power; instead, they join the war by becoming voluntary-ish controllers. This, combined with Tom's second Yeerk already being dead, means that the Yeerks never get the morphing cube. Instead, the Yeerks and Taxxons' salvation is reconnecting with their pre-Empire cultures, thus fixing their souls.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic inspired an abridged series by the name of Friendship is Witchcraft. For the most part, the episodes have more or less started and ended the same way as their counterparts in the actual show. Along comes Foaly Matripony, a parody of the Season 2 finale "A Canterlot Wedding." Instead of a changeling queen, Princess Cadence Notevil Goodpony really was a not-evil good pony, all the business with the changelings was completely skipped, and Twilight's had a crush on her brother since day one. Oh yeah, and at the end, Twilight leaves Cadence to die so she can marry Shining Armor. They're not biologically related, so it's okay!
  • The premise of Coming Home is that James Sunderland didn't kill his wife and Mary dies of her terminal disease. Unfortunately Silent Hill still wants him.
  • In Pony Fantasy VI, a romhack of Final Fantasy VI featuring the cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy stands in for Shadow, and during the game's ending, shoos her dog Angel away while opting to stay in Discord's tower as the place collapses. This time, however, Rainbow Dash/Setzer will have none of it and drags her to safety.
  • Xenonauts being a Fan Remake of X-COM, you might expect that psionics and energy weapons are your endgame tools. Nope! Humanity has no psionic potential and aliens highly resistant to energy weapons come into play. You have to take a different path and hope you can go far enough before it's too late.
  • A few cases in Necessary to Win:
    • In Girls und Panzer, while spending time in town after their practice match against St. Gloriana, the girls run into Hana's mother, who disowns her after finding out that she's been doing tankery. Here, the girls just miss Hana's mother, although she finds out later.
    • Several canon matchups are different. Anzio loses to Oarai in the first round, rather than the second. St. Gloriana, rather than losing to Black Forest in the semifinals, loses to Oarai in the second round. Pravda makes it to the semifinals, but loses to Black Forest rather than Oarai; Oarai's semifinals opponent is Saunders instead.
    • During the semifinals, an incident similar to Rabbit Team stalling in the river happens (but to Octopus Team), and at that point, Momo is forced to reveal that Oarai is at risk of shutting down unless it wins the tournament. In the finals, Rabbit Team makes it across the river, but loses a tread and has to stay behind.
    • During the finals, Rabbit and Duck Team are eliminated early on, while the Maus quickly defeats Leopon and Turtle Team, forcing a change of tactics later in the battle.
  • Madame Macabre inverted this with her song based off the Pianist — she added a twist where The titular pianist sides with the demon and they, to quote a commenter, become the demonic version of Team Rocket.
  • Corrin Reacts seems to begin with the same way the other Reactsverse fics do, even starting with the same structure that Lucina Reacts started off with in the first chapter. Then Corrin is revealed as the resident prankster, with the story proceeding as a Perspective Flip from the Antic Order's perspective.
  • A version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow features characters from Kim Possible in the main roles, with Kim as Katrina, Ron playing the role of Ichabod Crane and Erik taking the place of Brom Bones. During the climax where Ron was to have the infamous Chase Scene with the Headless Horseman, he ends up getting lost in the woods and the horseman (whose identity is not ambiguous in this instant and is confirmed to be an actual ghost) ends up chasing Erik. Ron, meanwhile, gets out of the woods alive and ends up with Kim.
  • The Gender Flip Harry Potter fic Weasley Girl has Snape resigning from his position as Potions master. References are made to a replacement Potions teacher, which the reader assumes will be Horace Slughorn — but it's actually Nicolas Flamel, who in this alternate universe has chosen to stay alive for a while longer.
  • War of the Biju: Tobi is not Obito Uchiha or Madara Uchiha. The story even has Kabuto use Edo Tensei to revive an artificially aged up Obito to fight Kakashi to confirm it.
  • In the Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic "Promise" one goes through the story thinking it's another Prussia Death Fic, but at the end it's revealed that Germany was the one who died.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): Thea is not the biological child of Malcolm Merlyn. It's Oliver.
  • RWBY: Scars:
    • RWBY: Scars is a straightforward RWBY rewrite until Volume 3 starts deviating from canon. The biggest change is to the end of Volume 3: Yang's arm gets ripped off by an Ursa, not Adam, and Jaune is the one who Cinder kills, not Pyrrha. These two changes dramatically change the upcoming chapters, with Yang's arc no longer relating to Adam and Blake in the same way (instead, Yang has no clue who Adam is, is in love with Blake's girlfriend Weiss, and distrusts Blake because she thinks that Blake was The Mole for the White Fang) and a traumatized Pyrrha is the one who tags along with Ruby during Volume 4. Another change is Penny's death scene. Instead of being squeezed to death by wires, she's torn apart and beheaded by Pyrrha (who is under Emerald's semblance and believes that Penny is a Grimm who somehow got into the ring) after the battle had already ended.
    • There's a major change in the backstory: Summer and Qrow were a couple dating back to Beacon and Qrow is Ruby's biological father, not Taiyang.
  • A well-known fancomic for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has the events of the first trial play out exactly as they did in canon. The culprit is successfully convicted and about to be sent off for execution...along with everyone else, because Leon really was innocent this time. Instead, we see an uncharacteristically nonchalant Makoto Naegi seeing his fellow students off while the others despair from the news.
  • In most Danganronpa fanfiction, the story will have 6 distinct Chapters/Trials as in each game. In the first story of Danganronpa: The Immersive Learning Program, The Immersive Program the students are trapped in shuts down while they are in the Fun House, which is part of the Fourth Chapter of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.
  • The Alternate Tail Series often sticks to The Stations of the Canon of Fairy Tail, with each pair of character following the role they swapped with. But often it will diverge with individual events, such as Pantherlily destroying the Jupiter Cannon's power source instead of Gajeel (who takes the place of Natsu), Levy defeating Freed in the Battle of Fairy Tail arc in place of either Erza or Mira, or Mira and Lyon fighting Ultear and Azuma respectively instead of vice-versa like Gray and Erza in canon.
  • Throne of Glass, which takes place in an Alternate Timeline of Code Geass where Nunnally is killed alongside Marianne, has a scene in the first chapter where Tohdoh enters Prime Minister Kurugiri's office, only to discover his dead body. But instead of being killed by Suzaku to prevent the death of Japanese soldiers like in canon, he was killed by Lelouch so that the Japanese military can prepare for a resurgence against Britannia in the future.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Lev Flarous arrives in the Fuyuki singularity, seemingly surviving the bombing at the start of the game. When Olga runs over to greet him, he reveals that he set the bomb and that her body died, before throwing her soul into Chaldea to kill her. In Little Ritsuka and her Loving Family, Ishtar, one of the servants Ritsuka summoned, interferes by bringing in her sister Ereshkigal, who bonds with Olga to become a pseudo-servant, before killing Lev for his treachery.
  • Hunters of Justice had a non-canon vignette in chapter 52 based on Batman: Last Knight on Earth, but instead of the original Bruce Wayne being the Big Bad Fallen Hero Omega, it's Ruby Rose.
  • The Persona 5 fanfic So Who Broke It? is based on a scene from Parks and Recreation, where the Phantom Thieves discover a broken coffee maker in Leblanc, and they, with the exception of Ren and Makoto, fall into a riot blaming each other for the damage. Ren later tells Sojiro that he broke it after it burned his hand, and like Ron Swanson, wanted to see his teammates fall into chaos, before providing Sojiro with the yen to buy a new coffee machine and leaving with Makoto. It then turns out that Makoto broke it after it scared her, with Ren deciding to Taking the Heat. Meanwhile, the riot was caused because their teammates were spying on their date.
  • The collaboratively fan-reanimated version of Duck Amuck ends with Daffy Duck abruptly discovering and killing Bugs Bunny, followed by a crudely recorded Evil Laugh.
  • In Cat-Ra, Double Trouble is set up to become a spy working for the Horde as they were in in show's canon. Except in canon, they took on the role of an Invented Individual named Flutterina to accomplish this. Here, Flutterina really is a young girl eager to join the cause, with Double Trouble having replaced one of the preexisting characters instead. Said character being Bow, who was kidnapped during the events of "Flutterina".
  • In Helluva Wizard, Striker still makes his canon appearance and with the same goals, but Stella is not the one who hired him, with his employer instead being Vox.
  • In The Council of Voices series by NicoB, a team of detectives consisting of Kyoko Kirigiri, Tyrell Badd, and Bobby Fullbright are tasked to find the missing Voices. However, they soon discover they have a spy in their midst. Badd brings up the possibility that Fullbright might be the Phantom in disguise, a reference to The Reveal in Dual Destinies, and Bobby isn't helping his case when it is revealed he made a secret phone call. However, it turns out that he's the real Bobby Fullbright, and that he's been working with Shuichi Saihara to corner the real mole: Badd.
  • In Friday Night Funkin' Soft, It's not Ben's (the Boyfriend stand-in) love interest that has parents out to ruin his life — it's his own. The parents of Pico (the Girlfriend stand-in) never appear, while the parents of Grace (who physically resembles Girlfriend) are primarily tied to her own development.
  • The Joestar Chronicles, a set of stories following the all-female Joestar protagonists, usually follows closely to the plot of Jojos Bizarre Adventure. However, they are a few noticeable changes.
    • Rather than being the son of Johanna and Erin, Jorge Joestar is the son of Johanna Joestar and Dio Brando. Likewise, Holliusnote  is the son of Josephine Joestar and Caesar Zeppeli, conceived before Caesar's death.
    • A rather noticeable change is at the end of Josephine's chapter during the fight against DIO, when DIO drains her blood to strengthen himself so he can kill Joriko. While in Stardust Crusaders Joseph came back from the dead thanks to the efforts of Jotaro and the Speedwagon Foundation, Josephine ultimately dies on that cold night in Cairo.
  • In Friday Night Funkin' D-Sides, the intro to "Stress" plays out similarly to the original; Tankman (here known as Planeman) is fed up with Boyfriend and Girlfriend and attempts to kill them. Whereas Pico saves them and continues to mow down the other Tankmen in the original level, the pair is brought to safety during a surprise rescue by Boyfriend's own parents, who in the original had never gotten involved with the plot.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight changes Jack the Ripper from Jacob Packer, a character created for the original comic to Commissioner Gordon.
  • Gnomeo & Juliet manage to survive (though they do go through a Disney Death at one point) and the feud between the red and blue gnomes ends peacefully, with Gnomeo and Juliet getting a Happily Ever After.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox plays with this trope: the Fox's Feast which the original book ended on happens around the 2/3 mark, and is rudely interrupted when Bean floods the tunnels with apple cider. However, the actual ending is much the same: the animals toast to their survival while Boggis, Bunce and Bean are left standing around a hole waiting for Mr. Fox to come out (which he never will, since he's so thoroughly outsmarted the farmers that the animals are now all living quite happily off of food stolen from them.)
  • Batman: Hush (2019) sees its title villain turn out to be the Riddler acting completely on his own, instead of Thomas Elliot being Hush, with Elliot really being killed by Nygma instead of Clayface and Two-Face helping Elliot fake his own death. This is in line with how the original comic storyline was supposed to end until Executive Meddling changed it to Elliot.
  • In traditional versions of Cinderella, the happy ending is achieved when Cinderella tries on the glass slipper, after it's been tried on every other girl in the kingdom, and it fits. In the Disney version, just as she's about to try the slipper on, her stepmother Lady Tremaine trips the messenger carrying it, causing him to drop it and break it. But then Cinderella reveals that she has the other slipper.
  • The Lion King (1994) is traditionally considered a Recycled In Space adaptation of Hamlet. However, instead of everyone dying in a free-for-all, Simba (Hamlet) and Nala (Ophelia) survive to become the next king and queen. Timon and Pumbaa (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) also survive, as does Sarabi (Gertrude).
  • The fairy tale Rapunzel includes a confrontation at the tower between the witch and the prince that ends with her blinding him. In the Disney adaptation Tangled, Flynn returns to the tower in time for the climax, leading the audience to expect something similar or a more kid-friendly confrontation. Instead, Gothel sneaks up behind him and fatally stabs him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Almost all of the film adaptations of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None use a different ending from the book; the killer's identity is usually left unchanged, but their Perfect Crime doesn't go as perfectly as it does in the book with Vera and Lombard surviving. The only adaptations that retain the book's original ending are the 1987 Soviet film and the 2015 BBC miniseries.
  • In Angels & Demons, just when you think Langdon won't be able to save the drowning bishop who's been weighted down in the fountain and dies in the book, a group of passers-by jump in and help lift him out of the water. Of course, the villain is still the same character, and he still gets caught. But the Red Herring doesn't win the papal election as he does in the book — this honor goes to the bishop who was saved from the fountain and who was originally a frontrunner in the election, anyway.
  • In the book of Avalon High, the Love Interest Will is revealed to be the reincarnation of King Arthur, and the protagonist, Ellie, is assumed to be the reincarnation of Elaine (as in Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott"), due to her name and her addiction to floating in the family pool. In fact, she's the Lady of the Lake, and thus far more important in the story than anyone guessed. In the movie the Protagonist's name is changed to Allie, and she is the reincarnation of King Arthur instead (which was a Foregone Conclusion considering her name was Allie Pennington.)
  • Batman (1989) begins with a family walking through the streets of Gotham when they're accosted by muggers in an alley. This seems to be showing the tragic origins of Batman/Bruce Wayne, but instead, the muggers get away without killing anyone and shortly after, we see Batman swooping in and subduing the muggers, and the tragic evening that changed Bruce Wayne's life is seen in flashbacks, instead.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): During the Beast's Disney Death, the last petal falls from the enchanted rose before Belle says "I love you," seemingly making the spell unbreakable and causing all the Enchanted Objects to turn inanimate. But when she finally does say "I love you," Agathe the Enchantress overhears her, and out of sympathy and approval she removes the spell and restores everyone to life.
  • Blood & Chocolate (2007): The original novel ends with Vivian getting stuck as a human-wolf creature after her human boyfriend Aiden tries to kill her, with her werewolf boyfriend Gabriel freeing her via The Power of Love and Vivian happily accepting her place in the pack. The film version (which was already an incredibly loose adaptation) ends with Vivian defeating Gabriel (who is the Big Bad here) and leaving town with Aiden, who accepts Vivian being a werewolf.
  • The Brady Bunch Movie adapts the original series' famous episode "The Subject Was Noses" as one of its plot lines. In the original episode, Doug Simpson breaks his date with Marcia when he sees her swollen nose. But in the movie, he assures her "It's not your nose I'm after" and takes her out as planned... only to ditch her by the roadside after she refuses to sleep with him.
  • The false end of the Tim Burton adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory uses this to great effect. When Charlie asks if his parents can come with him to live in the factory, Wonka responds:
    "My dear boy, of course you can't! ...You can't run a chocolate factory with a family hanging over you like an old, dead goose!"
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In The Dark Knight, both Harvey Dent and Sal Maroni appear, and it looks like we will see Two-Face's origin the way it was in the comics, with Maroni throwing acid in Dent's face. However, that doesn't happen, and Harvey becomes Two-Face in an explosion set up by Joker instead.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, a loose adaptation of the Knightfall storyline, Bruce Wayne doesn't wind up paralyzednote , and the Big Bad is ultimately revealed to be Talia Al-Ghul rather than Bane. For bonus points, they manage to throw off fans of the comics by giving Talia Bane's origin story. It isn't until The Reveal towards the end that we realize that "The Child" born and raised in that hellish prison was actually Talia, not Bane (who is more of a Composite Character with Ubu here). There is actually foreshadowing earlier in the film: when confronting Batman, Bane says that "I didn't see the light until I was already a man," meaning he couldn't have escaped as a child.
  • The Dark Tower (2017) ends with Roland apparently killing the Man in Black, while his young companion Jake Chambers is still alive and well by the end of the movie. By contrast, the first book in the original series infamously ends with Roland choosing to let Jake die rather than let the Man in Black escape (although he later gets better with the help of time travel), while the Man in Black dies in the very last book at the hands of one of his allies. Notably, this is a rare case where the change from the source material is actually justified in-universe: the book series ends with The Reveal that Roland's entire quest occurs in a "Groundhog Day" Loop that he has lived through multiple times; according to Wordof God, the movie takes place in a later cycle than the book, technically making it a sequel as well as an adaptation.note 
  • Deadpool 2 has this as its premise. Instead of the familiar scenario of Cable founding and leading X-Force, with Deadpool as one of their first adversaries, Deadpool is the founder and leader of X-Force, and Cable is their first adversary. Relatedly: one of Cable's biggest story arcs in the comics involves him protecting a powerful mutant child in the "Messiah Complex" storyline and its aftermath; the film has him trying to kill a powerful mutant child, with Deadpool and co. setting out to stop him. In the end, the child sparing the person whose death was his Start of Darkness allows Cable to spare his own life in turn.
  • The Death Note Series loosely follows the structure of the first arc of the Death Note manga, though many important plot details are changed and some are combined with the second arc. The arc's climactic scene, in which Light manipulates Rem into killing L with her Death Note, first diverges when Light writes his father's name to make him hand over the task force's Death Note and then changes completely when L re-emerges alive and well, Light and Misa are arrested by the task force, Light's Note is revealed to be a fake, and Ryuk writes Light's name in his Note after he decides there is no more fun to be had. After this clears up, L dies peacefully three weeks later, as he had written his own name in the Death Note; since his name was already written, he could not be killed by any other notebook. Because of this, a third movie is made entirely about L's character stopping a completely DIFFERENT group of criminals during the last weeks of his life.
  • Death Note (2017):
    • The biggest is both Light and L managing to survive the events of the movie, though ending with a cliffhanger where the latter has a piece of the Death Note and is tempted to kill the former with it.
    • Kira does not use heart attacks as his signature move in this version, identifying himself by telling his victims to say the name Kira. More explicitly, Mia writes that Light's heart will stop, implying that he will have a heart attack like his manga counterpart, but he actually falls off a Ferris wheel and survives.
    • Unlike in the Japanese versions, Light is not the one to kill all the FBI agents investigating Kira. It is Mia who does it, without his knowledge, and in a manner fairly similar to how Light did it in the original.
    • Much like in the original, Light's name ends up being written in the Death Note. Unlike the original, it's not Ryuk who writes his name, but Mia. More crucially, unlike the original, Light survives, due to a loophole that was added specifically for this adaptation — that if the page someone's name is written on is burnt before the time of death, then that person won't die.
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a remake of Bedtime Story, has gotten a major alteration to the plot despite being a faithful remake in every other way. The original has two crooks who specialize in swindling rich women compete first for the wallet of a rich heiress, and then (when it turns out her riches were vastly overstated) for her heart, with the chase ending in one of them eventually falling in love for real, marrying her, and quitting the crook business. In the remake, however, the naive heiress, who was actually a crook herself all along, wins the hearts of both of those men and escapes with their money. The 2019 gender-swap remake "The Hustle" also goes with the updated plot.
  • Disney Live-Action Remakes:
    • The twist in Cinderella was that Lady Tremaine breaks the glass slipper (seemingly preventing Cinderella from trying it on) only for Cinderella to reveal that she has the other slipper — confirming her to be the right girl. In Cinderella (2015) however Lady Tremaine finds the slipper in her belongings and breaks it, and Ella ends up trying on the one the Prince still has (although he recognized her anyway), effectively reverting that part of the story to be more in line with the original fairy tale. The prince is also present when Ella tries the slipper on.
    • The original Jungle Book film ended with Mowgli leaving the jungle to live in a human village. The live-action 2016 remake plays with this quite a bit: Mowgli actually comes within sight of the village halfway through the film but is persuaded by Baloo to stay with him instead. When he does enter it later in the film, it's only to get fire to fight Shere Khan with, and the film ends with him happily living in the jungle with his animal friends and no further mention being made of the village. This is also a case which is more accurate to the source material: Mowgli's original climax with Shere Khan also involved stealing fire to fight him, but it didn't kill the tiger, and Mowgli still went to the Man-Village and found another way to dispatch Shere Khan for good, only to later be ostracized into returning to the jungle by the villagers.
    • In the original Beauty and the Beast, when Maurice comes in to Gaston's Tavern trying to tell them about the Beast and begging for help, Gaston has him thrown out before getting Maurice committed for this, as a means to blackmail Belle into marrying him. In the Live Action version, Gaston agrees to help Maurice as a means to have Maurice get Belle to marry him. He later attempts to murder Maurice, by knocking him out and leaving him to the wolves, but Maurice is rescued and Gaston has Maurice committed as a way to cover up his attempted murder.
    • In Aladdin (2019), Jafar's iconic Scaled Up battle with Aladdin in the palace of Agrabah is replaced with Aladdin and Jasmine grabbing the lamp from Jafar and escaping across the rooftops of Agrabah on the Carpet, while the One-Winged Angel role goes to Iago, who Jafar turns into a roc to capture them.
    • In Pinocchio (2022, Disney), Geppetto is the character who suffers a Disney Death near the end rather than Pinocchio, with a teardrop from Pinocchio reviving him. Then, at the very end, it's left ambiguous whether Pinocchio becomes a real boy or stays a puppet: what matters is that he has the heart of a real boy and that he's real to Geppetto.
  • In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1973), unlike most adaptations, Hyde doesn't kill his love interest, but breaks her mind so badly that she's reduced to cuddling a doll and singing.
  • The 1931 film adaptation of Dracula with Bela Lugosi is a famous example. Just like the Bram Stoker novel, it begins with an English solicitor traveling to Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania to sell Carfax Abbey to him, only to wind up a prisoner in the castle. But it's eventually revealed that said solicitor is Renfield, not Jonathan Harker—and instead of escaping the castle, he's made into Dracula's brainwashed slave.
  • The past sequence of Ebenezer (1998), an update of A Christmas Carol, starts out similarly to the book and many adaptations. Scrooge was a promising business student as a young man, but instead of being called home for the holidays, the collapse of his father's business causes him to be yanked out of his schooling prematurely, and he becomes a ruthless gambler and gunslinger instead. Also, Scrooge does marry his lost love, but it's only to get her father's money and land, and she leaves him when her father dies because of the scheme.
  • Evil Dead (2013): The biggest twist of the original The Evil Dead (1981) was that Sheryl — the withdrawn artist set up as the movie's Final Girl — was actually the first to go, with the only survivor being her jockish, doofy brother Ash (who becomes a total badass in the sequel.) The remake seems at first to be going in the same direction, but after a fair bit of flirting over which character is going to be the movie's Ash equivalent (one girl even cuts off her own demonically-possessed hand, just as Ash did in the second film, while a male character is simply given Ash's exact character relationships within the story), ultimately reveals that the Ash equivalent is also the Sheryl equivalent, because although she's the first to get possessed, and it's explicitly shown that victims can only exorcised via one of three gruesome forms of death, her brother unexpectedly manages to kill her and resuscitate her in such a way that the demonic influence is purged. Thus, after the original subverts the Final Girl trope, the remake double-subverts it.
  • The Fly (1986): The original 1958 film has the scientist and the fly switching heads in the matter transporter. The David Cronenberg film features the scientist stepping out of the transporter completely unharmed. However, it turns out the fly's DNA merged with his own, and as his cells divide over the next few weeks, his body gradually mutates into a grotesque hybrid.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Doctor Serizawa once again gives his life in a Heroic Sacrifice in an underwater diving mission...except this time, it's meant to revive Godzilla, not kill him.
  • Hairspray (2007) has, among other changes, Tracy hidden in the giant hairspray can, Velma losing her job, and Little Inez winning the pageant. Of course, much of the stage version's Act 2 was modified and swapped around to facilitate some of the changes, but the third one is a true example. The film also omitted Amber and her mother performing a Heel–Face Turn at the last moment and joining in the dancing for the final verse of "You Can't Stop The Beat" — which, ironically, was already a Not His Sled from the original film.
  • Happy Death Day 2U: Tree assumes Babyface is Lori, as she was in the original movie. When she confronts Babyface with this information, an elevator opens nearby, revealing Lori, who takes one look at the situation and pulls Tree out of danger. The twists only pile up afterward, especially with the reveal that Tree is not Babyface's target (Lori is) and she can actually just leave the plot and not deal with the murder mystery (she doesn't).
  • Roger Ebert joked about this trope in his review of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film: "I dare not reveal a single crucial detail about the story itself, lest I offend the Spoiler Police, who have been on my case lately. Besides, you never know. Maybe they've completely rewritten J. K. Rowling's final book in the series. Maybe Harry dies, Voldemort is triumphant, and evil reigns."
  • Inglourious Basterds changes the ending of World War II itself, having Shoshanna and the Basterds succeed in assassinating all of the top Nazi officials, including Hitler himself. Subtly lampshaded with this Wham Line from Hans Landa: "So, gentlemen, what shall the history books read?"
  • James Bond:
  • Inverted in the now-lost German Expressionist film The Janus Head, starring Conrad Veidt. The Twist Ending is that the movie is actually an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The twist ending is the same as in the source material, but nobody in the original audience realized this because all the names had been changed and because of general ignorance of everything except the twist of the original story.
  • In the original Land of the Lost (1974), Enick is a good, monk-like person, helping the heroes as much as he can. In the movie, he's a Villain with Good Publicity who plans on using the portal to Earth to overrun it with Sleestaks.
  • Logan is loosely based on the Marvel Comics miniseries Old Man Logan, which also follows the adventures of a burned-out aging Wolverine in a grim near-future America. As a nod to the miniseries, it features a tragic Plot Twist revealing the ultimate fate of the X-Men—but with one key difference: instead of [Wolverine accidentally slaughtering his teammates thanks to a villain's illusions, it's revealed that Professor Xavier accidentally killed them after losing control of his psychic powers due to dementia.
  • The final twist of the play Speaking in Tongues is that Sarah Phelan is having an affair with John, the husband of her therapist Valerie. The film adaptation Lantana replaces Sarah with a gay man named Patrick. While Patrick admits to having an affair with a married man, and John admits to having cheated on Valerie, the two are not connected in this version.
  • In the original Topps trading card series Mars Attacks!, the war with the Martians ends with a group of brave human soldiers launching a counter-attack on Mars and wiping out the Martians with nuclear weapons. The 1996 film adaptation, which is quite a bit more comedic than the original trading cards, opts to end the story with the humans defeating the Martians after discovering that country music causes their brains to explode.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • For years of his comic book existence, Tony Stark maintained the ruse that Iron Man was his bodyguard, using a suit provided to him by Tony's company. At the end of the movie adaptation this is the cover story Tony has been provided to use at a press conference set up to deal with the Iron Monger incident, but Tony decides to go off-script and end the movie with the bold declaration "I am Iron Man" (cue the Black Sabbath song).
    • The ending of Spider-Man: Homecoming, a direct sequel to Captain America: Civil War, leads directly into the famous moment from the Civil War storyline where Tony Stark gets Peter to reveal his identity to a group of news reporters. But unlike in Civil War, Peter turns down his offer, preferring to stay at street-level and keep his identity secret. This thoroughly flusters Stark, who has to come up with a different dramatic announcement to give to the assembled news reporters. This was originally a subversion, as Spider-Man would've actually revealed his secret in that scene, and when this was changed, it was planned to happen in sequel film Spider-Man: Far From Home instead, only to be abandoned again in favor of Mysterio doing it for him in his attempt to turn him into a Hero with Bad Publicity.
  • The remake of Miracle on 34th Street changed the post-office ending. The Judge is sympathetic to Kringle, and the support he's receiving from the citizens of New York, but doesn't feel as if he has any proof. The little girl hands him a dollar note, with the words 'In God We Trust' circled and it gives the Judge the opening he needs: if the US Treasury can state God exists without needing to provide any proof, then he can legally accept that New York believes that Kringle is Santa.
  • The 1936 Frank Capra film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town famously ended with Cedar trying to swindle Deeds out of his fortune by scheming to have him declared legally insane, forcing him to defend his sanity in court. In the 2002 Adam Sandler vehicle Mr. Deeds (a relatively loose remake of the film), it turns out that Cedar's plan is to get rich by selling Deeds' great-uncle's company, leaving all of his employees jobless. Instead of a courtroom climax, it ends with Deeds showing up at a shareholders' meeting to talk the shareholders out of selling the company—leading to the surprise twist that Deeds' great-uncle's butler is actually his son, making him the real heir.
  • My Bloody Valentine 3D changes the final revelation of the killer's identity.
  • My Sister's Keeper makes major changes to the book it is based on, actually changing the ending so that Kate dies instead of Anna. This seems to work better for the movie, though, as while the book focuses on the moral and legal ramifications of obligating a child to donate organs to a sibling, the movie focuses on how the family deals with pain and loss, which would not work as well with the original Twist Ending.
  • In the Tom Savini remake of Night of the Living Dead (1968), Barbara survives and turns into an Action Girl. Not only that, but the black hero who steps out of the farmhouse at the end does so as a zombie, which she and the rednecks kill. Then the film's jerkass emerges, having survived by hiding in the attic after he shot Ben, to greet Barbara with relief that she's alive and came back to rescue him...only for her to shoot him in the head as deliberate payback, before telling the rednecks that there's "another one for the fire".
  • In contrast to the original classic, Werner Herzog's 1979 remake of Nosferatu features a vampirized Jonathan Harker at the end of the film, who had earlier been subject to the predations of Count Dracula. Interestingly, this fate befalls no one else in the film, all of whom just die if they were drained by Dracula (or otherwise expire from The Plague he brought along with him). Likewise, Harker can apparently survive openly in broad daylight, whereas the sunlight was shown to kill Dracula outright (though possibly not permanently, as speculated by Van Helsing), even as Harker shares Dracula's aversions to religious items.
  • The Odyssey-inspired O Brother, Where Art Thou?: From the moment John Goodman's "cyclops" appears on screen, one expects him to get a skewer in the eye. He doesn't, stopping a Confederate flag from impaling him inches from his face. But then, the twist is immediately untwisted when Everett cuts the wire holding up the Klan's burning cross and it falls directly onto Big Dan's face, no doubt taking his other eye.
  • The Remake of Ocean's Eleven whilst obviously differing significantly from the original still manages to use this, with the heart attack now being part of the plan.
  • Ophelia utilizes this. Anyone familiar with Hamlet knows that Ophelia loses her mind from grief and drowns in a river shortly before the climax. The film's opening scene even depicts this. Except not quite. One of the biggest twists of the movie is that Ophelia actually fakes going mad and drowning, and ends up outliving everyone else. Also, Gertrude is the one who kills Claudius.
  • Pan, which tries to tell the origin story of the Peter Pan lore, depicts Captain Hook as Peter's closest friend and ally. One would expect that he'd pull a Face–Heel Turn over the course of the film, but no such thing happened, and he never became the villain people would know him as. More cynical people guessed that it was being saved as a Sequel Hook.
  • Played with in the case of the DL-6 Incident in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The confrontation takes place in the evidence room, and almost everyone involved believed that Gregory Edgeworth was trying to destroy von Karma's key evidence (a handgun, which was later used to shoot von Karma and kill Gregory.) Because the movie did not include Gregory revealing of von Karma's use of fraudulent evidence during the case (as he did in the game), von Karma has no motive to kill Gregory, which is brought up in the final case. Phoenix manages to turn it all around and prove that von Karma did have a motive — the gun was forged evidence, Gregory was in the process of figuring this out, and Phoenix is able to prove it in front of the entire courtroom.
  • The Mark Wahlberg remake of Planet of the Apes changes the twist ending. Instead of discovering that he is on Earth All Along in the future, the main character discovers that he really was on an alien planet, but he returns to present-day Earth to find himself in an Alternate Timeline where the planet is ruled by intelligent apes—with General Thade replacing Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. Overlaps with Truer to the Text, as it's considerably closer to the original book's ending (where the astronauts who discover the manuscript are revealed to be apes — who find the idea of intelligent humans ridiculous.)
  • Robin Hood (2018) is set up as an origin story, but still has the Sheriff of Nottingham as the Big Bad. The movie also features "Will Tillman," Robin's romantic rival for Marian and somewhat reluctant ally. At the end of the movie, the Sheriff dies, and instead of becoming Will Scarlet, Will is appointed as the new (and implicitly, "real") Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • Roger Corman's The Raven opens with Dr. Craven in his study, reciting or paraphrasing lines from a certain poem and more or less following its arc as he does so. Until...
    Craven: Are you some dark-winged messenger from beyond? Answer me, monster, tell me truly! Shall I ever hold again the radiant maiden whom the angels call Lenore?
    Raven: How the hell should I know? What do I look like, a fortune teller? Ooh! I'm chilled to the bone — why don't you get me some wine?
  • Richie Rich — the live-action adaptation of a lighthearted, cartoon-y children's comic series — has its conflict centered around Van Dough attempting to break inside the Rich Family Vault to steal all their fortunes inside. However, once he does manage to break into the vault, all he finds are very modest family keepsakes, which carry sentimental value but are of no financial worth to him. He would've been right to pursue it in the comics as it was indeed a Treasure Room, but in the movie?
    Van Dough: The money? Where is the money?!
    Mr. Rich: In banks, where else? Oh, and the stock market, real estate...
  • Roxanne is an updated version of Cyrano de Bergerac, with Steve Martin in the Cyrano role. He doesn't die and gets the girl.
  • Scary Movie: The movie is a mix and match spoof of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and despite being entirely comedic, manages to do this by having neither murderer be like the ones from the movies this one is parodying. Bobby and Ray, the equivalent to Billy and Stu are only Copycat Killers to the real Ghostface and have only killed people at the party. The Fisherman is merely a Red Herring and has nothing to do with theirs or the real killer's motive—the guy that Cindy and her friends ran over was buried without issue. The real killer turns out to be Doofy (the film's equivalent of Dewey Riley), who appears to kill people all around just for the pleasure of it and is faking his mental disability (as a spoof of The Usual Suspects).
  • Screamers, which was based on "Second Variety" by Dick, retains the original surprise ending that the woman the hero met and bonded with is one of the robot decoys, but changes it so she has broken her programming and isn't out to kill humans. It further departs from the original ending by having her "dying" and putting the hero safely on the shuttle to Earth in a happy Hollywood ending...until it reveals that the teddy bear the hero kept as a souvenir is another deadly robot decoy. The direct-to-video sequel briefly mentions the first film's protagonist choosing to destroy his ship rather than allow the teddy bear to get to Earth, although it's difficult to imagine a single killer robot being able to wipe out the human race without the means to make more of itself.
  • Used in A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    • In the first book, Violet avoids marriage by signing the marriage contract with the wrong hand. The movie resolves the plot differently than in the book, and when that moment comes up Olaf insists on her using the correct hand to sign.
    • The movie consisted of the first three books squashed together, so the ending of each individual story was changed. The segment taken from The Bad Beginning ends with the children taken from Olaf's care after he tries to leave them trapped in a car about to be hit by a train, and Mr. Poe chastises him for letting Sunny sit in the driver's seat. The rest of the plot of the first book is stuck at the end, after the plots of the second and third book are gone through. The segment that was taken from The Reptile Room did not end with Klaus proving that the death of Uncle Monty did not match up with what Olaf claimed (that a snake bit him), and Sunny biting off the Hook-handed Man's fake hands, revealing his identity. Instead, Uncle Monty's death is blamed on the Incredibly Dangerous Viper, and Sunny proves the story false by going over and showing that the viper is perfectly harmless towards her. The segment taken from The Wide Window ends with Count Olaf saving the children without his Captain Sham disguise, leading Mr. Poe to mistakenly believe he has their best interests at heart and put them back in his care.
  • Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining took substantial liberties with the original novel by Stephen King, and the differences between Kubrick's version and the novel (and the far more faithful miniseries) can surprise people who are only familiar with one of the versions. In particular, Halloran the groundskeeper dies in Kubrick's version but not King's version. Jack's ultimate fate is also different; Kubrick leaves him freezing to death in the hedge maze, but in King's version, the rampaging Jack ends up regaining enough control to overload the Overlook Hotel's defective boiler system, sacrificing himself to destroy the hotel in a massive steam explosion.
  • In Shredder Orpheus, Orpheus looking back and dooming Eurydice isn't the end of the story or his interactions with Hades; he's given a second chance to save her later on with a game show rigged to kill him.
  • In the live-action version of Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers), the nature of the Gamilons, Iskandar, their relationship to each other, and the Cosmo DNA, are all radically altered.
  • Subversion in Speed Racer. Speed suspects that Racer X is his long-lost brother, and asks him to take off his mask. This qualifies because it turns out he looks completely different from the Rex Racer we saw earlier in the film. Subverted at the end when we find out it really is Rex after all, he's simply undergone extensive reconstructive surgery and won't tell his family to protect them.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: The moment Khan is revealed, viewers that saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan are likely to jump to the conclusion that Spock will pull a Heroic Sacrifice again by fixing the Warp Core, complete with his Last Words being mentioned early on as foreshadowing. Nope, it's switched up: Kirk makes the sacrifice and Spock watches him "die" through the radiation door. This also serves as a Meta Twist for those who were expecting a completely different resolution due to the first movie in this new continuity implying that the previous continuity no longer applied.
  • In the Starship Troopers film adaptation, Johnny's father strongly disapproves of his decision to join Mobile Infantry (just like in the book), but the Plot Twist where his father has a change of heart and decides to enlist himself (ultimately serving under Johnny in his unit) never comes up. Instead, his father is killed in the destruction of Buenos Aires.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire: The 1951 film version still ends with Blanche being committed, but Stella decides to leave Stanley and take the baby with her. This change was done less to surprise the audience with a new ending and more to conform to The Hays Code, which dictated all immoral acts (Stanley's rape of Blanche) must be somehow punished.
  • In Tall Tale, John Henry actually loses his legendary contest with the steel-driving machine, though at the end he mentions looking into a rematch.note 
  • In the 1925 silent film Tartuffe, the Engineered Public Confession ploy doesn't work like it did in the original play. Tartuffe realizes what they're trying to do when he sees a Revealing Reflection of Orgon eavesdropping.
  • The 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre delights in switching up a few of the original film's more famous moments, keeping fans of the original on their toes. To name a few examples:
    • The opening sequence ends with the hitchhiker (who's a woman in the remake) shooting herself in front of the main characters, which took most fans of the original completely by surprise. As a result, the famous plot twist that Leatherface is the hitchhiker's brother never comes up, and the hitchhiker turns out to be a victim of the cannibals trying to escape.
    • The gas station owner is absent from the remake, which means that the film's other big plot twist (where the protagonist goes to the local gas station for help, only to discover that the owner is one of the cannibals) never comes up; instead, it's the town's sheriff who's revealed to be one of Leatherface's relatives.
    • The remake keeps the original's ending, where the protagonist manages to escape the cannibals after catching a ride from a friendly local trucker. But unlike the original, the story keeps going from there, with the trucker stopping at a local diner for help, only to find the cannibals hanging out there. The film actually ends with the protagonist stealing the sheriff's car and running him over with it.
  • With the exception of Blair, The Thing (1982) changed the identity of those people replaced by the shapeshifting monster from those it mimicked in the original novel Who Goes There?
  • Tromeo and Juliet: Not only do Tromeo and Juliet not die, they discover they're actually siblings, but then decide to get married anyway, and raise a family of mutant children. (Of course, the original ending has them run off and get married, then kill themselves in a motel room.)
  • The film adaptation of The Turkish Gambit changes the Secret Identity of Anwar, the Turkish spy in the Russian camp.
  • Warcraft (2016) changes several plot points from the original game's plot:
    • While Garona kills Llane like she did in the game, she does that because he orders her to do it so that she may forge peace between two species, and not because of Gul'dan's order.
    • Lothar, rather than Orgrim, kills Blackhand.
    • Stormwind is still standing, while in the game, it ended up ruined.
    • Khadgar doesn't get magically aged from fighting Medivh.
    • Durotan is killed, rather than by Gul'dan's assassins, by Gul'dan himself in a mak'gora.
    • Huamns have access to dwarven guns two wars early.
    • The entirety of Mannoroth's blood subplot is removed (the orc chieftains were thought to have been possessed into drinking Mannoroth's demonic blood, enslaving them, until Grom reveals the chieftains went along knowingly, later killing Mannoroth in a Heroic Sacrifice).
  • Watchmen: Yes, Ozymandias is still the Big Bad. Yes, he still kills millions and thus succeeds at uniting mankind against a fictitious common enemy. The twist is that, in the film, he frames Dr. Manhattan for the destruction instead of teleporting a squid-thing into NYC.
  • In the remake of The Wolfman, Lawrence is not killed by his father, nor does it turn out that Malevra's son is the one who bit him. Instead, his father is the werewolf that killed Lawrence's brother and bit him. The film ends with Lawrence, as a werewolf, killing his transformed father and in turn being shot by Gwen. This leads to a Sequel Hook where we see that the police officer investigating the entire situation had also been bitten.
  • X-Men Film Series: In X-Men's The Dark Phoenix Saga, Wolverine managed to open his way to Jean, and she accepted her fate and requested him to kill her. But he goes back at the last moment: he loves her, he can't bring himself to kill her. Same thing in the animated series. Same context in X-Men: The Last Stand...completely opposite outcome.

  • Beauty and the Beast gets this a lot.
    • The earliest versions of Beauty and the Beast have a subplot in which Beauty is torn between her growing connection with the Beast and an attractive prince who appears in her dreams begging for help; most modern adaptations skip it, because everyone knows the ending and can easily foresee the revelation that the dream prince is the Beast. Ursula Vernon's novel Bryony and Roses puts it back in, but the attractive young man in the dreams isn't the Beast — it's the novel's equivalent of the witch who cursed him, trying to distract Bryony so she won't break the curse.
    • Some modern retellings of Beauty and the Beast, such as Rose Daughter, don't have the Beast change back to a handsome prince at the end to avoid the Unfortunate Implications of a tale about looking past appearances ending with both of its main characters having conventionally beautiful appearances and instead have Beauty accept him for who he is with no change in his appearance needed.
    • The Tale of the Rose by Emma Donoghue is a Twice-Told Tale of Beauty and the Beast with a Beast who constantly wears a mask around Beauty. When the Beast confesses to Beauty that he's no man underneath the mask, Beauty assumes that he means that his appearance isn't human. However, when Beauty removes the Beast's mask, she learns that the Beast meant "not male" and is actually a perfectly normal-looking woman who secluded herself not because of her appearance but because of society's attitude towards lesbians.
    • Megan Kearney's Beauty and the Beast does have the Beast become a man again in the end, but rather than Beauty becoming a princess when she marries him, he goes back to her village with her, where they live as peasants with her family. Justified, since in this version he was the king's unacknowledged illegitimate son, never legally a prince, and by the time he meets Beauty he's been a beast for centuries, so all his royal relatives are dead.
    • "The Maiden and the Beast", a Portuguese version of the tale, unfolds much like how you'd expect...until the ending where instead of Beauty coming back just in time to save the dying Beast, she returns too late and he curses her and her family as he dies which causes her to die too and her family to lose their wealth. Talk about a Sudden Downer Ending!
  • Discworld: Done In-Universe by Death in Hogfather to "The Little Match Girl".
    "I'm The Hogfather. The Hogfather gives presents. There is no greater present than a future."
  • The twist in Kim Newman's "Further Developments in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is that Jekyll and Hyde were lovers, and the "confession" about being two sides of the same man was completely made up. Probably.
  • In More Information Than You Require, during an anecdote about William Randolph Hearst (on whose life Citizen Kane was, of course, based), it's casually mentioned that "Rosebud" was his nickname for Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In Legends, Grand Admiral Thrawn is a talented Chiss naval officer who was exiled by his people when he broke their first rule of military combat: never strike first. He was then found by the Empire shortly after its formation. In the new-canon novel Thrawn, all that's true — except it turns out that his exile was fake, and he was actually sent by his superiors to investigate the Empire and see if it could be an ally to the Chiss Ascendancy in combatting mysterious threats in the Unknown Regions.
  • "The Tortoise and the Hare" by James Thurber tells the story of a Genre Savvy tortoise who knows from reading books that in a race between a tortoise and a hare, the hare always loses. The tortoise finds a hare, challenges him to a 50-yard dash, and has proceeded less than a foot when the hare crosses the finish line.
    Moral: A new broom may sweep clean, but never trust an old saw.
  • The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle is a version of the classic The Fisherman and His Wife, only without the fisherman. Most tellings of this version end much the same way; with the old woman getting increasingly demanding, the wish-granting fish or fairy sends her back to the vinegar bottle and the life she had to start with. In the Rumer Godden and Mairi Hedderwick picture book, however, the woman then sincerely apologises to the fish for her demands, and the fish re-grants her original Mundane Wish of a regular Sunday dinner. The fish even says that until she apologised, it had expected this to be a sad story.
  • What Moves The Dead, a retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher: Madeline Usher kicks it about halfway through the book. The original famously ends with the reveal that when Madeline "died", she was actually just having a catalepsy fit, and the narrator and Roderick unknowingly (probably) buried her alive. Here, Alex goes to check on her body because kan is on edge from everything going in the manor...and discovers that she has a broken neck and clearly hand-shaped bruises.
  • Wicked was originally billed as an Origins Episode for the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, although it incorporates multiple elements from the MGM movie. It introduces numerous plot points that put the characters from the original book in a very different light, but otherwise stays faithful to the story—up until the ending, when Elphaba finally has her fateful meeting with Dorothy Gale. It turns out that Dorothy was just traveling to the Witch's castle to apologize for accidentally killing her sister, and she accidentally kills her with a bucket of water while trying to save her after she lights her dress on fire.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow:
    • One of the suspects for creating the Brother Eye computer virus is named Myron Forest, the same as the Brother Eye satellite's creator in O.M.A.C.. He's actually the Red Herring.
    • In the comics, Adrian Chase is Vigilante, but instead Adrian is Prometheus, born under the name Simon Morrison, and Vigilante is revealed in Season 6 as Vincent Sobol, Dinah Drake's supposedly dead partner who became a meta-human at the same time as Dinah.
  • In Bates Motel's Finale Season, which takes place within the timeframe of Psycho, the sixth episode revolves around Marion Crane's stay at the eponymous motel. Norman ends up sparing her, and she leaves unscathed. Instead, it's Sam Loomis who gets offed in the shower.
  • Being Human (US) plays around with this. Some of the plots taken from the original play out the same way as they did in the British version while others use this trope. In the season one finale, the final confrontation with Bishop averts the big twist from the British season one as Aidan figures out what Jeff is trying to do and does not let him fight in his place.
  • The Boys: The end of the original comic book reveals that Black Noir is in fact a clone of Homelander created to act as a contingency should he go rogue, but has been secretly gaslighting him by committing several of the atrocities he was supposedly responsible for and framing him for them in order to get the chance to kill him. Season 3 of the show reveals that its version of Black Noir has no ties to Homelander at all, being an unrelated black super who was a member of Payback during the Cold War. However, Homelander is revealed to have a connection with a different member of Payback, as he is revealed to be the son of Soldier Boy.
  • In Carmen: A Hip Hopera, the 2001 MTV adaptation of Carmen staring Beyoncé, Carmen isn't murdered by the Don José character Derek Hill, but accidentally shot by Lt. Miller, equivalent of the opera's Lt. Zuniga.
  • Daredevil (2015): Season 3 adapts the church fight between Matt and Bullseye that happened in the 1999 comic Guardian Devil. In the comics, Karen is impaled and killed by Bullseye using one of Matt's batons. In the show, Father Lantom is the one who gets killed shielding Karen from Dex. At the end of the fight, after Karen defeats Dex by knocking him over a railing, the cinematography recreates the comic panel featuring Karen's death, but switches her and Matt's positions; so that Karen breaks down sobbing while cradling a battered and bruised Matt.
  • In the first season finale of Dexter, Dexter tracks the Ice Truck Killer down to a shipping container, which was the location of the final showdown between Dexter and his brother in the first novel. In the series, the shipping container is full of bananas. Also, in the novel Dexter's brother escapes alive and Deborah finds out about Dexter being a killer. LaGuerta dies. The first season ends with Brian's death and Deb remains in the dark about Dexter, while LaGuerta lives to continue to annoy Deb. Deb does end up killing LaGuerta in a later season in order to keep Dexter's nature secret.
  • In the Doctor Who Story; "A Christmas Carol", Kazran, the Scrooge archetype, realizes that the Doctor is deliberately invoking the Christmas Carol Story, suspecting that when the Doctor plays the Ghost of Christmas Future, they shall show him a future where he shall die bitter and alone. The Doctor confirms they are playing Ghost of Christmas Future, but instead for Kazran as a child, brought forward in time to see exactly what kind of man he will become.
  • In Elementary, Irene Adler turns out to be Moriarty.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • One of the major characters in Season One is Eddie Thawne. Comics fans will immediately recognize the name as sounding remarkably close to villain Eobard Thawne, also known as the Reverse-Flash, and will expect him to most likely undergo a Face–Heel Turn down the line. Then it turns out that Barry's mentor Harrison Wells is really the Reverse-Flash while Eddie has been a Red Herring. Then it turns out that Eobard Thawne is still the Reverse-Flash in the series: Not only has he been posing as Wells via genetic impersonation the entire time, but he's also Eddie's descendant from the distant future.
    • The second season of the show does this again by revealing that Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth-2, was Zoom all along. In fact, there was never a Jay Garrick at all! It was Hunter Zolomon posing as a hero via a time remnant Body Double that allowed him to exist in two places at once in order to gain Barry and his friends' trust and sympathy.
      • Except there is a Jay Garrick, whom we meet in the season finale. He's Henry Allen's Earth-3 doppelganger, as a reference to the fact that his actor, John Wesley Shipp, played the Flash (Barry Allen) in the 90s TV show.
    • Early in Season 5, Sherloque deduces that Cicada is David Hersch, as in the comics. He's wrong, it's Orlin Dwyer. It then turns out he hadn't deduced anything, he just knew Cicada was always David Hersch, and didn't realize Nora had changed history.
    • The Elseworlds crossover hinted that Barry would not die in Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) due to Oliver's deal with the Monitor. Yet in season 6, the Monitor still prepares Barry for inevitably dying in the event. Except, Oliver's deal was still intact. A Flash dies, but it was The Flash (1990)'s Flash instead, and Barry survived the Crisis.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn doesn’t even try to maintain the notorious Halfway Plot Switch of the original movie. The supernatural elements are evident from the very first scene of the pilot.
  • Some Game of Thrones fans who read the original book series A Song of Ice and Fire often delight in teasing newbies about upcoming events: "Just wait! You're not going to believe what happens next!" Every once in a while, though, the series diverges from the books enough to leave these fans blindsided.
    • In the Season 4 finale, the dramatic revelation before Tywin's death that Tyrion's first wife wasn't a prostitute, and that Jaime lied about it at Tywin's demand, never comes out.
    • Book readers generally suspected that Season 4 would end like A Storm of Swords, with a Wham Shot revealing Lady Stoneheart as a resurrected Catelyn Stark. Not only did that not happen, but as of the finale of Season 8, Lady Stoneheart still has yet to make an appearance.
    • Season 5 introduces the previously unnamed leader of the White Walkers as the Night's King, the name of a semi-legendary figure from the books who is generally believed to be long dead, a previous Lord Commander of the Night's Watch who fell under the sway of a female White Walker. Later revelations in the series (as well as confirmations by Wordof God) more or less confirm that said individual is an In Name Only Canon Foreigner with a completely different backstory.
    • The Dorne arc in A Feast for Crows ultimately climaxes with Prince Doran Martell's daughter Arianne trying (and failing) to put Myrcella on the Iron Throne as a Puppet King, which leads to The Reveal that Doran has been planning to return the Targaryens to power from the beginning, making him a well-veiled Chekhov's Gunman. The show changes this arc significantly: not only is Arianne Adapted Out, but the arc instead climaxes with the Sand Snakes successfully assassinating Myrcella, then pulling a coup d'etat by assassinating Doran and his son Trystane, with Doran having had no secret plan at all in this version and being just as willing to appease the Lannisters as he seemed.
    • Throughout Seasons 5 and 6, many fans of the books were left wondering whether the show would feature the dramatic reveal from A Dance with Dragons that Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell's son Aegon was still alive (or at least being unwittingly impersonated by a lookalike raised to believe he was Aegon, as Tyrion suspected) and being groomed to take back the Iron Throne. Instead, the finale of Season 7 features the revelation that Jon is really Aegon Targaryen, and that Ned renamed him "Jon" and passed him off as his bastard son to protect him. Though many people guessed that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark were Jon's real parents, nobody expected him to be a Composite Character with the young man who in the books is his half-brother.
  • Gotham has this going on, too.
    • Arnold Flass got a case of Decomposite Character going on with his role as Gordon's partner going to Harvey Bullock and being locked up before Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. He is technically locked up twice, as Gillian Loeb blackmails Harvey into discrediting the evidence used to put Arnold away, but when Jim wrestled Gillian's leverage over Harvey away from him, Arnold is permanently put away for good.
    • Between the Seasons 1 and 2, Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni, and Gillian Loeb got hit with this as well. All three men continued their activities into Batman's first years, with Loeb being forced to resign from the commissioner post at the end of the first year, and the three of them dying during Batman's early years: Maroni and Falcone dying during The Long Halloween and Loeb coming Back for the Dead in Dark Victory. The Season 1 finale saw Falcone retire, and Maroni get killed by Fish Mooney, and the season 2 opening saw Loeb forced to resign, all not long after Thomas and Martha Wayne died.note  This also likely means that much like Rupert Thorne in Batman: The Animated Series and the Joker in the aforementioned The Dark Knight, someone else will take Maroni's role in Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face. However, Harvey Dent wound up an Advertised Extra in season 2 and disappeared entirely from the show, and instead, Jeremiah Valeska, Jerome Valeska's good twin, ends up Bruce Wayne's friend who is forced into a Face–Heel Turn in his corruption into The Joker, sort of.
    • Barbara Kean (Jim's first wife and mother of Batgirl) initially appears as his fiancée early on in the series. Several episodes in, however, she ends up leaving him for Renee Montoya (which, in turn, leads him to start a relationship with Dr. Leslie Thompkins). Then, by the season one finale, she falls under the influence of a Serial Killer and murders her own parents, becoming a full-blown psychopathic villain, and is subsequently incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, later emerging as first a henchwoman and then a crime boss in her own right. Zigzagged in that by season 5, she stays with Jim briefly and conceives a child, the future Batgirl, with him anyway. But they never marry. Instead, Jim marries Dr. Thompkins and they share custody with a mostly reformed Barbara.
    • Sarah Essen also gets hit with his. In the comics, she ends up becoming Gordon's second wife. In the show, however, she gets killed in the season two episode "Knock Knock", therefore eliminating any possibility of a relationship with Jim.
    • In all other adaptations, Victor Fries puts his wife Nora into cryostasis to prevent her from dying of her illness as he researches a cure. Everything seems to be proceeding the same way in the show, right up until Nora swaps out the working version of the cryo formula with one of the failed versions while Victor isn't looking. After hearing that Victor had been testing his formulas on people in order to find one that doesn't kill the subject, she decided that she would rather die than wake up in a world where her husband is either dead or in prison.
    • The producers first told everyone they would not provide an obvious origin for the Joker, instead providing several candidates for the person who would assume that identity. They introduce Jerome Valeska, and in Season 2 made him basically be the Joker in all but name, only for Theo Galavan to kill him to set up his own Villain with Good Publicity act. Hugo Strange then has his body, and is experimenting in resurrecting people, but doesn't get around to resurrecting him before Indian Hill gets shut down, so the body is stolen by some acolytes who have already successfully resurrected people in the past. While they initially seem to fail, they did manage to resurrect him, he's alive in Arkham, and it looks like he will likely become the Joker, only to be killed off, this time for real. But having planned ahead in the event he got killed again, his Backup Twin Jeremiah Valeska is blasted with Joker venom from a present mailed posthumously, giving him the white face and insanity, the only thing keeping him apart is that Jeremiah is very serious despite his madness. In season 5, Jeremiah is then subjected to another crucial step in Joker's origin story, the fated fall into the chemical vat within Ace Chemicals (the one thing decisively known about Joker's backstory). The Red Hood Gang existed in prior seasons, but Jeremiah was never a member of them and was therefore already insane before he took the plunge.
  • Hannibal starts out as a loose prequel to Thomas Harris' Red Dragon, portraying Detective Will Graham's relationship with the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter at a point when Lecter is still a practicing psychologist with his secret well-hidden. Viewers familiar with the Hannibal Lecter saga might think that they know how the series will play out, but the show delights in throwing them curveballs:
    • Around the middle of Season 1, a flashback shows Hannibal being exposed as the Chesapeake Ripper by someone finding a sketch of The Wound Man in his office only to jumped by Hannibal who had taken off his shoes to mask his footsteps. In the novels, this is how Will Graham caught Hannibal. Here it's Miriam Lass who does it and she is apparently killed for her trouble. This was the first sign that the story would not follow the novels.
    • Instead of ending with Hannibal getting outed as a serial killer and imprisoned in Frederick Chilton's mental institution, the Season 1 finale has Will institutionalized after Hannibal successfully frames him for the murders that he committed. Just to drive the point home, the last scene of the season features a Mythology Gag where Will and Hannibal reenact Clarice Starling's first meeting with Hannibal from The Silence of the Lambs, but with Will in Hannibal's place.
    • The big plot twist in Season 2 takes it a step further, when Hannibal manages to frame Dr. Chilton for his crimes after Will proves his innocence, and Chilton is subsequently shot to death by Miriam Lass. While the next season dials it back a bit (it turns out that Chilton survived his gunshot wound), absolutely nobody saw that coming.
    • In the Season 2 finale, Will and Hannibal finally have their big one-on-one confrontation after Hannibal's secret is revealed, and Hannibal disembowels Will with a razor—just like in the backstory of Red Dragon. Unlike in Red Dragon, though, Crawford and the police still fail to capture him, and he goes on the run.
    • Then there's the series finale, which loosely adapts the plot of Red Dragon itself. But unlike in the book, Hannibal joins Will for his final confrontation with Francis Dolarhyde, and the series ends with both of them seemingly falling off a cliff to their deaths. According to Wordof God, they both survived, and Will chooses to join Hannibal on the run.
    • Seasons 2 and 3 notably include Mason Verger—the Big Bad of the novel Hannibal, who was established as a vengeful victim of Lecter's who narrowly survived their confrontation (albeit with a severely mutilated face.) Unlike in the novel, though, Verger's sister Margot ultimately kills him long before he would have met Clarice Starling.note 
  • The Haunting of Hill House (2018): In previous versions of the story, including the original novel, Nell is the central protagonist and sole view-point character. In this version she is one of five siblings who are all of equal importance and she dies at the end of the first episode.
  • In Kamen Rider Agito, the title character is an amnesiac who goes by the name "Shoichi Tsugami" because it was written on a letter he had when he was first found washed up on the shore. Late in the series, he recovers his memories and it's revealed that his original identity was Tetsuya Sawaki, who was trying to find his late sister Yukina's boyfriend Shoichi Tsugami when he got attacked and lost his memory. The modernized manga adaptation of Kamen Rider Kuuga eventually started introducing plot threads from Agito, with Shoichi himself showing up as well; in this series, the "Akatsuki Incident" that kicked off Agito's plot doesn't happen here, meaning "Shoichi Tsugami" is his real name and Yukina (who's still his sister) is alive in this continuity.
  • Krypton:
    • In season 1, Brainiac doesn't successfully steal Kandor like he does in practically every single other story where it appears, creating an Alternate Timeline where Superman's home planet Krypton may never be destroyed.
    • In season 2, Well-Intentioned Extremist Jax-Ur doesn't blow up the moon of Wegthor like in the comics despite spending a lot of time there. Val does, albeit by mistake.
  • Legends of Tomorrow does it rather cruelly for John Constantine. His story of finally saving Astra is dashed to pieces when he finds out she's grown into a trashy streetwalker in Hell and wants payback for John not saving her. Subverted when she is revealed to be the Unwitting Pawn of the Fates and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn to help the Legends defeat them.
  • In Lois & Clark, when the Prankster first appears, Lois suspects that he's really a former Abhorrent Admirer named Randall Loomis, which would cause fans who know the comic book Prankster is Oswald Loomis to nod sagely. The Prankster turns out to be a completely unrelated guy called Kyle Griffen.
  • One episode of Midsomer Murders was a direct retelling of Hamlet...Except this time the Claudius-Expy gets wise to the Hamlet-Expy's plan and kills him.
  • The Mist: Like the novella and movie that preceded it, the television series features an antagonist named Mrs. Carmody. Her previous incarnations were as the story's Big Bad, transforming a group of frightened survivors into a murderous religious cult. In the series her evil antics are different. She's just an uptight soccer mom who gets a teacher she doesn't like fired from her son's school. She dies in the Mist before the end of the first episode..
  • One stage performance of Monty Python's Parrot Sketch ends about 30 seconds into the sketch with Palin agreeing that the parrot is dead and giving Cleese a refund. This was also to reflect the improved likelihood of stores accepting returns.
    • Palin also wrote about an ill-advised ad-lib in the sketch where he plays a man who goes up to a policeman played by Cleese to say his wallet's been stolen. The policeman apologetically tells him there's not much he can do, and after an uncomfortable pause the man asks, "Do you want to come back to my place?" and the policeman is supposed to say, "Yeah, all right." One night Cleese just said "no!" instead, which left them with nothing to do except slink offstage in a way that was no longer a punchline.
    • One clip from The Young Ones appears to be setting up a rendition of the Pythons' "Cheese Shop" sketch. When asked if it's a cheese shop, however, the proprietor says "No", so the customer quips that they can't do the sketch after all.
  • Once Upon a Time is built around pulling this trope with various fairy tales. One particularly notable twist is that Red-Riding Hood is not eaten by the Big Bad Wolf, she is the Big Bad Wolf by way of lycanthropy. And she eats her boyfriend before her grandmother can explain it to her.
    • Another notable one was that Jekyll and Hyde were indeed a sci-fi scientist and his Literal Split Personality, but they weren't neatly split into "good" and "evil"; Jekyll was guilty of murder as himself before his exile to the Land of Untold Stories, and in the present he sabotaged the Storybrooke heroes' attempts to stop Hyde.
  • The BBC's 2018 adaptation of Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Innocence, among many other changes, has a completely different murderer.
  • Word of God by the producer of Pretty Little Liars made an ambiguous comment about -A being Mona, saying that "It won't be exactly like the books", which much of the Fan Dumb interpreted as an absolute statement that Mona wasn't -A. It turned out -A was the same individual as in the books, but the motivation was altered along with other details (including that in the books Mona dies immediately after being revealed). However, the reveal sequence and following confrontation still play out almost exactly the same.
  • Paranormal (2020): The Myth of the Naiad story originally involved a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax perpetrated by the village doctor. The episode that adapts it plays the paranormal aspect completely straight.
  • In Queer as Folk (UK), Phil dies of a drug overdose in the second episode. In the U.S. version, Phil's analogue Ted ODs in episode 2 but survives.
  • The identity of the "traitor" in Runaways is changed from the one in the comics it's based on. In the comics, it's Alex, but in the show, it's Chase.
  • Sherlock frequently changes details and yes, even endings, from the original books.
    • The most epic instance has got to be when Moriarty commits suicide at the climax of "The Reichenbach Fall", thereby forbidding Sherlock from pulling a Taking You with Me.note 
    • Another good example is the episode "The Hounds of Baskerville". The plot is similar, with Henry thinking he's been pursued by a hellish hound. However, the character of Dr. Stapleton, originally the villain, is a decoy here, and the real villain is Dr. Frankland. While the fog was an environmental hindrance in the original story, here it is a hallucinogenic gas. The image of the hound derives from the name of Frankland's illegal project H.O.U.N.D. on his shirt, and led to Henry's Insistent Terminology (which was carried over from the book.)
    • "His Last Vow" throws book-reading viewers straight from the outset by being an adaptation of The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton rather than of His Last Bow, but then just when the viewers are all comfortable that they know where the plot is going, it throws them again by revealing that C.A.M's murderer in this version is not the rich lady he was blackmailing, but rather Mary Watson — and the episode is also adapting The Adventure of the Empty House with Mary in the role of Sebastian Moran!
    • "The Six Thatchers" casually mentions the missing pearl of the Borgias early enough for viewers (and Sherlock himself) to guess that, like in The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, the pearl will be hidden in one of the busts that the criminal is tracking down. Instead, a Wham Shot when the last bust breaks reveals that the pearl is a Red Herring, and the murderer was tracking down a hitherto-unmentioned different MacGuffin, the relevance of which is explained by the rest of the episode.
  • Stargirl (2020) features the character of Artemis Crock, the daughter of villains Sportmaster and Tigress. In the comics, Artemis succeeds her mother in becoming Tigress, however in the series her unnamed persona takes after her father instead.
  • Supergirl (2015):
    • In their adaptation of the villain Toyman, Superman: The Animated Series named their version Winslow Schott Jr., with his father being named Winslow Schott Sr. Supergirl inverts this, as there's a character named Winn Schott who's helping Supergirl — he's Winslow Jr. whereas it's Winslow Sr. who's Toyman. Later in the series, after Winn joins the Legion of Super-Heroes, he does later take on the Toyman name as a hero.
    • Supergirl works for a man named Hank Henshaw. That name belongs to a supervillain also known as Cyborg Superman in the comics, and his duplicity seems confirmed by Red Eyes, Take Warning and hints that he killed Supergirl's adoptive father. However, it turns out that, while the real Hank Henshaw was a nasty piece of work, he apparently died years ago, and the one we've met is a certain shapeshifting alien named J'onn J'onzz. But, as it turns out, the original Hank's still alive, and was turned into the Cyborg Superman by Project Cadmus (despite looking nothing like Superman here). The twist got untwisted.
    • Like with Flash above, Oliver's deal with the Monitor ensured Kara would survive Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019).
  • Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero is a Foreign Remake of Ultraman which rehashes plenty of plotlines and monsters from the original show, including the battle against Zetton which climaxes the final episode. While the original Ultraman being defeated by Zetton is one of the series' most iconic moments, the remake instead ends with Ultraman actually defeating Zetton. Using the same Specium Ray attack which proves to be a No-Sell in the original.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • The show makes a concentrated effort to surprise even people who read the comic (something creator Robert Kirkman is in favor of.) Examples include: Shane dying and Lori's pregnancy being revealed much later, and the revelation that everyone's already infected, Otis' death and Michonne's Adaptational Early Appearance. But the real winner has to be Sophia dying during their time at Hershel's farm.
    • The series also adds surprise for comic readers by keeping the iconic events and deaths of the comics but changing the characters involved (though some of these are justified by the comic characters not being present or of the same prominence in the TV show.) Examples include Dale's early TV death resulting in Herschel and Bob respectively replacing him in surviving a walker bite by leg amputation, and losing the other leg to cannibals, Denise suffering Abraham's death for the show and Herschel replacing Tyreese in the TV representation of the latter's death.
    • A huge subversion happens in the season 7 premiere. Abraham (who had already died earlier in the comics) suffers Glenn's fate of getting brutally killed by Negan...but soon after, Negan kills Glenn in the same way anyway.
    • Another huge one partway through Season 8: Carl is infected by a walker bite and shoots himself before he turns.
  • In the first episode of Westworld, Teddy, our POV character, and Dolores are being hunted by an implacable Man in Black, just like the one who touched off the robot rebellion in the movie. And then Teddy is killed — and we find out that he's the robot and the Man in Black is a human guest.
  • In Young Dracula, it is revealed that Robin Branaugh and Vladimir Dracula may have been switched at birth. This theory is quickly discarded, with Robin being forced to go back to the Branaugh way of life and Vlad continuing to stay with his father in Stokely Castle. This greatly varies from the source material, Young Dracula And Young Monsters, in which the entire point of the story is that Wilfred and Smirk were switched at birth.

  • The song "Snoopy versus the Red Baron". In Peanuts, Snoopy always fails to defeat the Baron in his fantasies. This time? He actually wins!


    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Sesame Street episode, "Birdie and the Beast", after Big Bird befriends the Beast, the Witch's curse upon the Beast is broken. However, rather than turn the Beast back into a human, the Beast's hair is straightened out. When a surprised Big Bird tells the Beast that he's still a beast, The Beast tells him that he's always been a beast, and that the Witch's curse just messed up his hair.
    • The Muppets were often fond of doing strange retellings of popular stories that took them in strange directions.
      • Jim Henson's version of The Frog Prince begins with the princess dropping her ball and agreeing to kiss a frog in exchange for its return, like the fairy tale, then takes a slightly different turn. The story typically has the princess trying to get out of the deal only to be pressed into swallowing her pride and keeping her promise. In Henson's film the princess actually tries to keep her promise only to be delayed by circumstances outside her control. Also it turns out that the Big Bad responsible for turning the prince into a frog also cursed the princess so she can only speak in anagrams (specifically, spoonerisms).
    • One episode of the The Muppet Show had Sam the eagle try to read The Ant and the Grasshopper. It starts off alright until out of nowhere it ends with the grasshopper driving off to Florida, and the ant getting stepped on. Lampshaded with Sam immediately getting upset about the story having the wrong ending.
    • The Muppet Classic Theater had a version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf that changed a few things. In the original story, the boy decides to cry wolf thinking it woul be fun. In the muppet version, the boy has apparently been repeatedly causing a panic in town warning them about nonexistant disasters. These turn out to be caused by his sheep, who keep exaggerating mundane occurrences (claiming a pile of rocks falling is an earthquake, or a bucket of water falling over is a tidal wave). Furthermore, while the story usually ends with the sheep being eaten by the wolf, the muppet version instead has one of the sheep call in their bigger cousin to trample on him.

  • Agatha Christie adapted some of her novels into plays and often changed features.
    • In her adaptation of Appointment With Death, she changed the identity of the murderer.
    • The stage adaptation of And Then There Were None kept the identity of the murderer the same, but replaced the original book's Downer Ending with a more hopeful conclusion.
    • A different adaptation, called Ten Little Indians, keeps the audience off guard by having a different killer for each performance. Sadly, this results in an unsolvable mystery for the audience, as all clues must apply equally to all characters. Or not.
  • For Duke Bluebeard's Castle, the fairy tale ended with Bluebeard's wives very much dead while his latest wife escapes, while here they're ambiguously alive and Judith joins their number.
  • Euripides' Medea: In the original story, Medea's sons were killed by a mob of women in revenge. Having her kill them herself was a shocking twist at the time. Ironically, it's since become the most famous part of the story. It's actually very common in Ancient Greek tragedy. A lot of plays had different endings than the ones we consider canonical, and, in fact, what we consider canonical is often, like in the aforementioned case, just the best known (or the only surviving) case being Lost in Imitation.
  • West Side Story is based on Romeo and Juliet, but at the end, Tony dies while Maria lives. Also, he was shot by Chino (Paris' counterpart), though it's a bit of a Suicide by Cop situation.
  • William Shakespeare did it.
    • In the story that King Lear is based on (which the audience would have been familiar with), Cordelia survives. Shakespeare killing her off changes the ending from bittersweet to bleak.
    • In the original Danish legend of Amleth, the title character kills his wicked uncle and has a glorious reign as king. Shakespeare ends Hamlet by killing almost every major character.
    • Historically, Macbeth's rule was fairly successful, and lasted 10 years.
    • Shakespeare also changed the Ending of The Winter's Tale from the original Downer Ending to something worthy of a fairy tale.
  • The musical adaptation of Wicked has one, compared to the book or The Wizard of Oz by giving the Wicked Witch of the West a Disney Death instead of her famous melting death.
  • The two stage adaptations of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame have Esmeralda die, nixing the Happily Ever After ending from the movie. It's probably not a coincidence that this is what happened in the original Hugo novel.
  • In the finale of Hairspray, Amber and Velma perform a surprise Heel–Face Turn and join in the number for the final verse. This is a stark contrast to the original film, in which Velma tried to attack Tracy with an explosive hidden in her wig.
  • Little Shop of Horrors: In the original 1960 film, Seymour is eaten by the plant, but manages to kill it at the same time. In the stage musical, the plant survives, and cuttings from it are sold all over the country, leading to hundreds of Audrey II plants taking over the world.
  • The 2013 stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory puts its own twist on the novel's ending: when Charlie wins the factory, he is immediately made the new owner — Willy Wonka disappears after a celebration with Charlie and his family. This is justified because Dahl's will prohibited anyone making Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator into a movie, so there was no point in staging the book's ending and leaving a Sequel Hook; other adaptations of the novel have done much the same, and at least two other stage adaptations immediately have Charlie become the new owner. The 2017 Broadway Retool changed this again to an ending similar to that of the 1971 film adaptation, with Mr. Wonka becoming a Parental Substitute for the boy (in the novel Charlie's father is still alive, but here...)
    • The novel had the other children survive their ordeals in the tour, though somewhat altered by the experience. The stage play, however, very heavily implies they actually were killed (most notably, Violet ends up exploding just off-stage instead of making it to the juicing room). Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas sometimes claim that the children will be alright, but they never appear again after that...
  • Most productions of Chess end with Florence not getting her father back, either because Anatoly refused to throw the game or because her (real) father is probably long dead. However, an 1991 American touring production (loosely based on the Broadway version) ended with Florence and her father tearfully reuniting.
  • A Very Potter Musical:
    • In the first installment, it's revealed after Harry's pseudo-death that Dumbledore somehow survived Snape's Killing Curse and is now Faking the Dead.
    • The final scene reveals that Voldemort is still alive, and it's implied that he lost his duel with Harry on purpose so that he could be with Quirrell.
    • In "Sequel", we're led to believe that Ron's pet rat Scabbers is Peter Pettigrew as in canon. It turns out that Scabbers died years ago, and Pettigrew was somehow hiding in a poster of Taylor Lautner.
  • Once Upon a Mattress, a Fractured Fairy Tale retelling of "The Princess and the Pea," ends by revealing "it wasn't the pea at all," with a large number of unpleasant objects being pulled out from between the mattresses the princess couldn't sleep on. (The pea alone, however, is implied to have been sufficient even if the court's plan to keep her from sleeping hadn't been used: Winnifred is still uncomfortable and only after the pea is also removed does she actually fall asleep.)
  • RENT is based on La Bohème, but Mimi's death becomes a Near-Death Experience instead, ending the show on a much happier note than the original tragedy.
  • Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein):
    • In the original 1957 TV version, after the stepsisters fail to fit the glass slipper, the Fairy Godmother directs the messenger to look upstairs for Cinderella, making us think he's going to find her and try the slipper on her then and there at the house, as in most versions. But as it turns out, Cinderella isn't there: she's taken her Godmother's earlier advice to heart and run away from home, and when the messenger goes back to the palace, he finds her there, secretly watching Prince Christopher in the garden.
    • In the 2013 Broadway version, Cinderella runs from the ball at midnight and loses her glass slipper... but then picks it up and runs away with it. But since this is only the end of Act I, in the second act Prince Topher hosts a banquet in hope that his mysterious beloved will attend, which she does, and when she has to flee at midnight, she purposefully leaves her slipper behind to give Topher a way to find her. This version also has Cinderella run away from home and eventually come back to the palace to try in the slipper – in this case, she never goes home again after the banquet, and instead of taking the slipper from house to house, Topher has all the maidens come to the palace to try it on, with Cinderella arriving at the last moment.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong ends with King Kong falling from the Empire State Building to his death. However, this then unlocks the final level where you can blast the US Army planes to bits and take Kong back to Skull Island.
  • The ending of Afro Samurai was changed greatly from the anime. Might have just been Rule of Fun, though. Ninja Ninja even says that just because you watched the TV show doesn't mean you know what's going to happen here, though it does takes cues from the manga that pre-dated the anime. But the only reason you fight Justice is to avoid the manga's anticlimactic ending.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo, after the final battle between Neo and a lone Smith, instead of Neo willingly sacrificing himself to nullify Smith, all of the Smiths combine into one giant Smith to serve as the final boss. At this point, the Wachowskis stop the game to explain that while a sacrificial ending works for a movie, it wouldn't be very satisfying in a game.
  • In Jeanne d'Arc, it's a Foregone Conclusion that the Maid d'Orleans will be burned at the stake. How did Level-5 Studios handle a game where the main protagonist and primary player character is meant to die halfway through? By temporarily replacing her via an El Cid Ploy, so that the impersonator is the one killed instead, freeing Jeanne to continue through the rest of the campaign incognito.
  • How Silent Hill ends (or perhaps more accurately, the canon Multiple Ending) is made pretty clear by its direct sequel, Silent Hill 3: Harry survives the crash and all the subsequent weirdness to succeed in getting Cheryl back, more or less. The remake, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, plays on the players' assumed knowledge by having the big twist be that Harry died in the car crash after all and the whole game has taken place in the grown-up Cheryl's mind.
  • More Agatha Christie examples:
    • The video game adaptation of And Then There Were None begins to diverge radically from the book at Emily Brent's death by actual bee sting, as opposed to lethal injection. When Wargrave turns up most unambiguously dead, all hope for the original book's ending is lost. The real killer turns out to have been Emily Brent all along, a.k.a. Gabrielle Steele, an actress who took her method acting too far and was possessed by Madame Borgia while playing the role in a movie; the events on Shipwreck Island are all her plan for revenge against Wargrave, the man who sentenced her lover Edward Seton to the gallows. Thankfully, finishing the game gives you a chance to see the original book's epilogue, which reveals Wargrave as the murderer and explains his methods and motivations in a much more satisfying fashion.
    • In the video game adaptation of Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, the Everybody Did It reveal is kept exactly the same but with an added twist that even the mastermind didn't know about: it turns out that Daisy Armstrong is actually alive, was secretly adopted by the train engineer under a different name, and just happens to be hiding on board the same train as the parents who thought she was dead for years.
  • The NES Rambo game based on Rambo: First Blood Part II has an alternate ending where Rambo saves his Vietnamese love interest Co, and then he turns Murdock into a frog.
  • Two distinctly different versions of how Kalecgos becomes the Aspect of Magic for the Warcraft universe exist. In World of Warcraft, a player on the Dragonwrath questline, with help from Tarecgosa, uncovers Arygos plotting with Deathwing. Tarecgosa sacrifices herself, but Kalecgos becomes Aspect and makes you the Dragonwrath staff, forcing Arygos to flee. In Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, Thrall is Kalecgos' ally, and after Kalecgos becomes Aspect, Arygos is killed by Blackmoore.
  • In Dead Rising 2, it is revealed that Sullivan was the mole that framed Chuck. In the Updated Re-release, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, they change this to Stacy, who was your Mission Control in the original.
  • In the computer game adaptation of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, the short story's ending of Ted being turned into an amorphous blob by AM is the Bad Ending and it can happen to any of the five characters. The good ending involves destroying AM so that the humans frozen in the moon can return to earth and the five characters, while dead, are remembered as heroes.
  • In Shin Super Robot Wars, Master Asia is an agent of the Dug Interstellar Republic, sent in response to report intelligent life on the planet. Also, Heinel does not learn that he's the Go brothers' half-brother, and thus he doesn't sacrifice his own life. Zechs does not reveal that he's Relena's long lost brother and stays loyal to Neo Zeon, the replacement for OZ in this game.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen Char Aznable actually didn't want Axis to fall onto Earth. He formed Neo Zeon because he realized the Axis asteroid was the Singularity Point and wanted all of the galaxy to be united in one will against a single enemy which would solve the singularity issues like how it did in Z1. This is why he has GN particle generators set up throughout space and on the earth — to unite humanity's will and have it be expressed through the GN particles. The problem is, Full Frontal and the Banpresto Original enemies do want Axis to fall and they try to make it so.
  • In Super Robot Wars V, Banagher, Mineva and Full Frontal ultimately decided not to reveal the contents of the Laplace's Box to the world.
  • In Don't Look Back, unlike in the original legends of Orpheus and Eurydice, the protagonist and his lover make it out of the cave...only to dissipate together when they come upon the protagonist still standing at the graveside.
  • Being very explicitly based on Heart of Darkness, it's obvious that Spec Ops: The Line would depict the fall of a man as he realises what darkness lies within his heart. The twist is that it's not Kurtz Expy Col. John Konrad who has fallen, but Marlowe Expy and protagonist Cpt. Martin Walker.
  • In DuckTales Remastered, the only things similar to the ending of the original game are that Scrooge loses the five treasures after he gathers them all, has to fight Dracula Duck, and then has an uphill race against enemies Flinthart Glomgold and Magica DeSpell at the very end. The difference is that it's Magica, the real Big Bad of this installment, who steals the treasures from Scrooge rather than Dracula Duck since they're instead used in a ritual to summon him, and because of that they are lost instead of being recovered at the end. The uphill race against the duo is now to recover Scrooge's first dime instead.
  • The ending of Q.U.B.E. shows that the structure you were trapped in is in space. The Director's Cut has a narrative that not only tells you this in the beginning, but also explains why you're there in the first place. And then you get to Sector 5 and get contacted by a man who calls himself "919", who then reveals that the structure is actually an underground facility where you are forced to solve puzzles until you die, and that the woman who's been talking to you is lying, and he then goes on to keep trying to convince you of that. The woman you normally get contacted by will show some signs that what 919 said might be true. And here's where things get interesting: At the end, it's all subverted: The cube really is in space, it was gonna end all life as we know it, and 919 did go MIA and slowly went insane.
  • The Nintendo GameCube remake of Resident Evil features a number of twists geared to surprise veterans of the original. Remember the key you find by draining the bathtub? This time it's a zombie. The dogs that smash through the windows to attack you? They don't show up...until the second time you pass through that hallway, when you're probably not expecting it anymore. And God help you if you assumed the zombie bodies didn't vanish just to avert Everything Fades. Wesker being the Big Bad is still done as a legitimate twist.
  • The La-Mulana remake does a number of things to throw off those who played the original "8-bit" version:
    • The portal to the Temple of Moonlight from the Temple of the Sun requires you to hit a large sun face. In the original version, it's that simple. In the remake, you must move to the right as the sun face will fall, delivering a One-Hit Kill if it squashes you, which can easily happen to players who were expecting this puzzle to be identical in the remake.
    • The "unsolvable puzzle" in the Twin Labyrinths. In the original version, one particular puzzle to access an item shop is impossible to solve, so you double-jump up to the shop door instead. However, in the remake, the puzzle has been fixed so that it is solvable, and attempting to double-jump to the shop without solving the puzzle will result in a Bolt of Divine Retribution. The tablet in the puzzle room delivers some meta-humor on this adaptational twist:
      "Those that created this contraption are fools. They mistakenly created a puzzle that could not be solved. But after all this time, it has been rewritten. Those who fail to solve this puzzle shall be punished."
    • The Hell Temple bridge. In the original, trying to cross it straight opens up a trap door to a Land of Hell; you need to jump over the center of the bridge to bypass the trap door. In the remake, the trap door still exists, so one could be forgiven for trying to cross it the same way...and then get punched by a massive stone fist into said Land of Hell. The way to cross this time is to jump onto the trap door, but then double-jump off and continue traveling across.
  • One of Cave Johnson's hidden messages in the Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC of Portal 2 puts a variation on this via Shout-Out to Soylent Green. The ending of that film is pretty well-known, ("Soylent Green is PEOPLE!") so you'd think that when an alternate Cave says he's going to stop serving his staff Soylent Green it would be for that reason. But in fact he's not stopping because Soylent Green is people (which Everybody Knew Already) but because it's doubling in price.
  • Star Fox Zero is heavily based on Star Fox 64 but there are several twists to the storyline. For example, in 64, you see the Attack Carrier fly off into the coastline during the Corneria stage. In Zero however, instead of the Attack Carrier, you see a ship piloted by a Cornerian Army soldier. Also, in 64, the object of the Titania stage is to rescue Slippy Toad. In Zero, however, it's Peppy Hare you have to rescue. There's even an instance of Slippy pulling a Borrowed Catchphrase during this stage (as Peppy is known to exclaim, "Do a Barrel Roll!").
  • Sands of Destruction is an Alternate Continuity from its anime and manga adaptations. As mentioned above, the game opens with Kyrie accidentally losing control of his powers, which he wasn't even aware he had until the last episode of the anime. This is also the only adaptation where Kyrie dies because he decides he's a danger to the world and everyone he loves and asks Naja to kill him so he can't destroy the world. He's resurrected a few days later. Kyrie is also revealed to be the son of the Creator of the world, something not mentioned in the other adaptations. Yeah, he kinda has a Jesus metaphor going in this one. Elephas Rex is also killed, whereas he survives to the end of the anime and doesn't even appear in the manga. Morte also lacks the angsty backstories she gains in other adaptations, and the only time her mood is even slightly depressed is when Kyrie is killed. She flat-out refuses to eat for three days, though she quickly recovers when it's revealed there might be a way to revive him.
  • Xenonauts, as a Spiritual Successor to X-COM: UFO Defense, you might expect your end-game technology to be similar to it, as the option to research these show up just as late. Not only does the game throw aliens that are highly resistant to energy weapons near the end, psionic research turns out to be a dead end because humans have no psionic potential.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series plays with several aspects of the Batman canon:
    • Rather than pure and innocent, Thomas and Martha Wayne were involved with the mob, and the leader of the Children of Arkham turns out to be someone who's never been a villain in any other continuity: Vicki Vale.
    • Season Two keeps the trend going strong: Harley Quinn is revealed to be a terrorist well before having met Joker (and exerts a tight psychological grip on him, rather than vice versa though he may be getting beyond her control), Lucius Fox and Riddler dying rather abruptly, and Bruce being forced to choose between hanging up the cowl or losing Alfred forever.
  • Nintendo has done this with its remakes of the first two Metroid games to mess with people thinking the games will flow in the exact same way, even if one discounts the added powerups that were brought in since.
    • Zero Mission has a number of differences from the original Metroid, but mostly flows the same way, even including the fight with Mother Brain and the subsequent escape sequence, but once Samus flies off of Zebes, she is swarmed by Space Pirates and shot down, with only the Zero Suit and an emergency pistol to her name as she tries to get rearmed, get a new ship, and get out of dodge.
    • Samus Returns does this thrice over in the same game at that, which will shock players who came off the fan remake with the experience fresh in their minds.
      • In the original and the fan remake, your first fight with an Omega Metroid is preceded by an Alpha in the general area the Omega shows up later; the Omega is moved a few rooms away, but is still accessed from where you fought the Alpha. In Samus Returns, you fight a Zeta first.
      • When you enter the Metroid nest in the original game and fan remake, you are given eight extra Metroids to kill just as you roll beneath the egg the Baby is later hatched from. In Samus Returns, the tally goes up a couple rooms later by ten, the first of which is two seconds away from eating your face when you regain control.
      • After Samus fights the Metroid Queen and gets the Baby, she has to return to her ship to end the game. In the official remake, Proteus Ridley shows up as you approach the ship to crash the party and steal the Baby, serving the role of final boss as a result. This particular detail can be spoiled by the use of Scan Pulse in areas near the final escape route, which possess features that shouldn't be there if the Queen really was the final boss.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002) has a few plot differences from Ratchet & Clank (2016):
    • The Reveal of the first game was that Chairman Drek was the one who polluted Orxon to the point that his people couldn't live there, and he was building their "new home" planet as a real estate scam with the goal of repeating what he did to Orxon. Meanwhile, in the latter game, Drek is genuinely a decent guy who wants to build a new planet for his people, with no ulterior motives.
    • In the original game, Qwark backstabs the titular duo about midway through the game on Umbris by trapping them with a Blargian Snagglebeast. However, in the latter game Ratchet doesn't find out Qwark has joined the bad guys until nearly the end of the game when he infiltrates the Deplanetizer for the first time, and after defeating Qwark in battle later, Qwark returns to the good side again. The Blargian Snagglebeast is instead a secret project that the Blarg were working on at Nebula G34.
  • Some of the Dramatic Finishes in Dragon Ball FighterZ change the canon outcome of some of the series's most iconic fights:
    • During the Saiyan Saga, Yamcha died when he was blown up by one of Nappa's self-destructing Saibaman. In this game, however, Yamcha can turn the tables and send the Saibaman flying back at Nappa with a Kamehameha, killing him instead (same pose and all.)
    • In Bardock: The Father of Goku, Bardock died making a bold last stand against Frieza. In this game, however, Bardock can survive Frieza's finishing attack, become a Super Saiyan, and kill Frieza instead.
  • The early games developed by Wave based on the boxing manga Tomorrow's Joe, including the infamous Legend of Success Joe, ignored the comic's ending, in which Joe Yabuki loses his final match against Jose Mendoza, confesses his love for his girlfriend Yoko, and then dies of his injuries with a smile on his face. This would be less notable if said ending wasn't one of the most famous endings in Japanese media (with the final full-page spread of Joe passing away being a Stock Shout-Out) and if the games also didn't replicate the moment where Mendoza's hair turns snow white from the stress of the fight. The extremely rare Success Joe, the first (with Legend as the second), even went as far as to not just have Joe survive, but marry Yoko afterward. Only in the Super Famicom game was it possible to get the famous ending, by surviving the last match for three minutes without knocking out Mendoza.
  • In the Scooby-Doo video game Scooby-Doo, Who's Watching Who?, the first four levels have the player having to decide which of the three suspects is the real identity of the costumed criminal they're trying to capture by having Velma analyze the clues and capturing the villain once enough clues have been put together. The game pays homage to the original cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! by making Stuart Weatherby a suspect for the true identity of the Ghost of Elias Kingston, Henrietta Bascombe (a Gender Flipped version of Henry Bascombe) a suspect for the true identity of the Space Kook, and C.L. Magnus a suspect for the true identity of the Ghost of Redbeard, but the suspect who turns out to be guilty in the end is randomized, so fans of the original cartoon expecting the villain's true identity from the original show to be the culprit might be caught off-guard when one of the other suspects turns out to be responsible instead.
  • The Licensed Game version of Duck Amuck ends by revealing the source of Daffy's torment, just as in the original...only this time, instead of Bugs Bunny, it's another Daffy, who declares "Well, if you can't beat 'em, beat 'em."
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake pulls off a rather spectacular instance of this: the party ends up quite literally fighting fate by slaying the Whispers, ghostly Time Police that spent the whole game trying to Railroad the story to match the original Final Fantasy VII as closely as possible. From that point on, whatever happens might resemble the old FFVII, but it won't be the same — as indicated by the fact that Zack Fair is shown surviving his Last Stand from Crisis Core.
  • The YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse raid questline in Final Fantasy XIV messes with players something fierce, especially those who had previously beaten Automata. Players are introduced to 2P, who looks almost exactly like 2B, albeit with dark skin, black hair, and white clothes. The main boss of the first dungeon is 9S, who Automata veterans will remember went off the deep end and turned Ax-Crazy. A hidden room in the Copied Factory containing several 2B corpses reinforces this. In the 5.3 questline, however, everything gets turned on its head: 2P is actually an Evil Knockoff of 2B created by the machine lifeforms, meaning 9S had been Good All Along. This is reinforced by the name of the quest that unlocks the Puppets' Bunker dungeon: "Everything You Know Is Wrong".
  • Idle Mine Remix: Most of the ores you meet seem to be present in the original game, in the same order, and you'll probably think that you'll also have to mine increasingly durable levels of Hellstone. Once you reach Hellstone, the game throws a curveball at Hellstone Lv. 4 by going straight to Hellstone Lv. 666 and beginning Chapter 4 once you break it, with completely new ore.
  • Fate/Grand Order
    • The Sixth Singularity, named Camelot, taking place in AD 1273, have the heroes after the crusade (who were given the Grail originally) is defeated by Ozymandias, while Artoria Pendragon, left unable to die since Bedivere failed to return Exalibur to the Lady of the Lake, appears and forms a new Camelot to accept only the lawfully good. In the arcade version, Chaldea arrives when the crusade, lead by the servant Jacques de Molay, are using the Grail in an attempt to capture Jerusalem.
    • Similarly, the mobile version has Ozymandias turn into the Demon God Pillar Amun-Ra to fight Chaldea and their allies, while in the arcade version he transforms to help Chaldea against Jacque.
    • The Lion King, originally the main antagonist of the mobile version's sixth singularity, is summoned by Ozymandias and Nitocris as an ally of Chaldea.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity tells the story of what happened 100 years before The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Anyone who's played the latter game will likely go into Age of Calamity knowing that the four Champions will die and Hyrule will fall. However, the presence of the time-traveling guardian starts to change the exact order of events as seen in the flashbacks in Breath of the Wild. Then, when it comes time for the four Champions to meet their fate at the hands of Ganon's Blights, the time-traveling guardian summons the Champions' descendants from 100 years in the future to save their lives, revealing once and for all that Age of Calamity is not a prequel, but an alternate timeline.
  • The MV version of The Witch's House has three difficulty levels. On Easynote  and Normalnote  mode, the puzzles are identical to the original game. On Extra, many puzzles have been changed in a way that using the old solution will get you killed.
  • The remake of Live A Live pulls the rug from under everyone who had tried to get the game's good ending in the same way as in the original, by adding one extra boss after the Boss Rush that originally was simply one last fight (due to case of Villain Forgot to Level Grind). It averts the game's usual Arbitrary Headcount Limit and forces you to use everyone, punishing anyone who did not properly level or equip the remaining three.
  • In Corpse Party (PC-98), there's an optional sequence in which Satoshi will beg Sachiko to kill him instead if it means she'll spare Yuka. In the original game, it does nothing except waste time. In ~Rebirth~, however? Sachiko will accept the offer, and Satoshi will die.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Great Ace Attorney:
    • Zig-zagged all over the place in Case 2 of Adventures, which is loosely based on the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band". Firstly, though there is a snake involved in the case, it isn't the cause of death. Secondly, a character named Grimesby Roylott appears, who was the killer in the original story. But then it turns out "Roylott" is actually a disguise for a young ballerina named Nikolina Pavlova. But she's still the killer. But while the original Roylott was a ruthless man who willingly murdered his family for their inheritance, Nikolina is an Anti-Villain who never even meant to kill anyone: she accidentally pushed the victim and he hit his head wrong. And THEN, in Resolve, it turns out the victim didn't die, so it wasn't even a murder.
    • This trope is also common in Herlock Sholmes' Dance of Deduction sessions, where many of his deductions are based on the solutions to some of the real Holmes stories. In most cases though, they turn out to be wrong here.
  • Misuzu lives in the manga of AIR, while Yukito remains human in The Movie.

    Web Animation 
  • Both of the original books that Homestar Runner was based on were adapted into full cartoons years later, and, in both cases, the ending is changed (though Homestar still expects the original ending in each case.)
    • In Strongest Man in the World, Pom Pom refuses to share the trophy that Homestar helped him win.
    • In Where My Hat Is At?, Homestar's winning run doesn't count because a) his team is far behind, b) the game isn't close to over, and c) Homestar ran onto the field illegally.
  • In the RWBY Chibi Christmas Episode "Nondescript Holiday Spectacular!", Torchwick and Neo decide to pull a How the Character Stole Christmas and steals everyone's Christmas spirit. In his attempt to escape, he finds out Team RWBY is happy through other means, Torchwick is infected by the spirit, his heart grows three times...and proceeds to have a heart attack.

  • In Darths & Droids, Darth Vader isn't Luke's father, Anakin. She's his mother, Padmé. The fact that the story is told chronologically makes this even more of a surprise.

    Web Videos 
  • One of the most famous scenes of Pride and Prejudice is the one where Mr. Collins proposes to Lizzie Bennet and keeps mistaking her adamant "No"s for attempts to flirt with him. In the modernized adaptation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the scene is foreshadowed in Mr. Collins' introduction, where it's mentioned he and Lizzie were jokingly "married" while they were children, hinting he expects her to follow up on their Childhood Marriage Promise. However, when the scene arrives Lizzie mistakenly thinks he's about to propose, only for the confused Collins to explain he's just making a business offer.
    • The series also teases the possibility of George Wickham marrying Lydia like he did in the novel with them being shown together in Las Vegas and Lydia opening a later video with an announcement that she's married — only to reveal immediately after that she was just joking and isn't dumb enough to accidentally marry someone in Vegas. George uploading a sex tape of him and Lydia online without Lydia's knowledge is substituted for the marriage scandal instead.

    Western Animation 
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man:
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the writers didn't want to include a character explicitly so they could die, and so Gwen Stacy was only present in the show as part of an Alternate Universe.
    • It splits the difference when recreating the scene with Mary Jane: she's saved by a portal opening under her (Green Goblin steals portal technology from Hobgoblin, which was originally designed by the Spot), but this just leaves her trapped in limbo. Still, Spider-Man did not know that, and the angst was the same as if Mary Jane had died. She later inexplicably appears again, but it turns out this is just a clone; just like the clone of Gwen Stacy that showed up in comics some time after the bridge. When the clone MJ, whom he'd spent several months with and married, dies for real, his anguish is the biggest Tear Jerker in the whole series, even beyond the original MJ's "death" and Peter's belief that it was real. Then the show was cancelled before we could see any closure to the storyline, though the final episode does feature the promise that rescuing Mary Jane is Spider-Man's next stop.
    • The trailer for the "Spideyology" marathon of this series really made you hold your breath with this even though the series had been over for years and everyone knew Gwen Stacy wasn't even in it except for one minute of the series finale in a parallel universe. We see images of the Green Goblin as we hear a voice say "The measure of a man is how he handles defeat. Let's see how you handle yours!" and we see a blonde woman falling. Later in the trailer, he catches her. (As for what was really going on: the line comes from the Hobgoblin as he attacks the Kingpin's Mooks. The falling woman is Felicia Hardy, who doesn't have white hair in this series until she is augmented to become the Black Cat.)
    • The two-part Season Two premiere features Spider-Man facing a team of his old enemies called the Insidious Six (rather than Sinister Six like in most versions) while having the disadvantage of his powers disappearing on him. In the original comic story, the reason he was losing his powers was because of Peter's guilt over his Uncle Ben's death, causing his subconscious to unwittingly make them vanish. This version? It's the first stage of his body continuing to mutate from the bite the radioactive spider gave him, which is slowly transforming him into something completely inhuman which eventually occurs midway through the season, adapting the Six Arm Saga which turned Spider-Man into the Man-Spider.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, Zog the Triceraton has always been a revered minor character, as he bravely sacrificed himself to save the Turtles in the original comics and the 2003 cartoon. This gets averted in the 2012 series. The gravity of the Turtles taking advantage of someone not in their right mind is fully explored and called out, with Zog furious that Raphael tricked him when he was slowly dying in Earth's atmosphere. Furthermore, he ends up committing suicide when it appears he's failed to summon his superiors to Earth in order to destroy it. To make matters worse, his efforts weren't in vain, and the Triceratons invade and destroy Earth in the following episode (which is undone half a season later, but the psychological damage has been done by Zog's turn here).
  • DC Animated Universe
    • In his debut in Batman: The Animated Series, Bane tries to break Batman's back in the same manner as in the comics, but Batman manages to disable him first (in fairness, it probably helped a lot that unlike his comic counterpart, the DCAU Batman wasn't being plagued by a nasty case of fatigue at the time.)
    • A few episodes into the formation of the Justice League, they come face-to-face with Aquaman, and after a Teeth-Clenched Teamwork scenario it looked like he might join their ranks (since Aquaman has always been a staple of various incarnations of the League). It took the Retool three seasons later before he actually becomes a member.
    • Think Hawkgirl will be exactly what she says she is, and is known to be in the comics: a police officer from another world? Guess again, as she is revealed to be The Mole for a Thanagarian occupation of Earth (which she betrays when its revealed they plan to build an interspace bypass which would destroy Earth). Related to this, in JLA: Tower of Babel, when the League voted on if a member should stay after they'd betrayed their trust, it was the majority that won — and thus Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Plastic Man won out and kicked Batman off the team for a while. While a similar vote for Hawkgirl happened after the events of "Starcrossed", it was revealed in "Wake the Dead" that the majority (Superman, the Flash, and Martian Manhunter, with John Stewart abstaining) voted for her to stay.
    • Likewise, the first time Doomsday (the creature that "killed" Superman in the comics) shows up in the DCAU, he faces an alternate-universe Knight Templar Superman, and wastes no time whatsoever lobotomizing Doomsday with his heat vision. Besides, his first appearance is the same as in the comics (he simply gets out from a meteorite, and begins a senseless rampage of destruction), but it is later revealed that Doomsday's origin is far more complex than that. Doomsday turned out to actually be an escaped clone of Superman created by Project Cadmus. While Doomsday does eventually meet the original Superman later into Justice League Unlimited, he still doesn't get the chance to kill him and is instead banished to the Phantom Zone.
    • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker reveals the Joker tortures and mind rapes Tim Drake instead of killing him like he did Jason Todd in A Death in the Family, and eventually uses him as a host body in the future.
  • In the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, Venom appears as one of the show's toughest villains. However, here he isn't Eddie Brock. After jumping through an initial wave of hosts, the symbiote takes on Harry Osborn as its host. Also, Carnage appears later. But Cletus Kasady doesn't. Peter is the one possessed by the Carnage symbiote through Osborn's machinations for a short time, until being reabsorbed into Venom, the closest there was to a true Carnage that wasn't Cletus Kasady came from the symbiote's later possession of Mary Jane Watson.
  • Young Justice:
    • Wally West taking over for Barry Allen as The Flash when he died saving the world has been a staple since the '80s. So anyone expecting this to happen here will be surprised that Wally dies saving the world (albeit rather than dying to destroy a weapon used by the Anti-Monitor to destroy the multiverse, he does so destroying a weapon by the Reach which would have destroyed the planet), ironically in the same manner of disintegration that Barry died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, after giving the Kid Flash name to Impulse. Especially considering that Barry's death was foreshadowed earlier in the season and when Barry realizes Wally is in trouble, he tries to slow down so that he and Impulse can take some of the pressure off of Wally, despite the Atom telling them how vital it was that they not slow down at all. The implication is that Barry is trying to sacrifice himself in place of Wally, but it's too late. Wordof God confirmed Barry was originally going to die like in the comics, but this was changed later in production with the intention of surprising the audience, with any scenes that could've foreshadowed Wally's death being scrapped to maintain the surprise.
    • In season three, Outsiders, we're introduced to Brion and Tara Markov, better known as Geo-Force and Terra. Everyone who knows their comics (specifically the iconic The Judas Contract story) knows that Brion becomes a stalwart, if just a bit hotheaded, hero while Tara works for Deathstroke, flips out, and kills herself in a manic state. Which is a surprise when it's Geo-Force who turns evil, killing his uncle Baron Bedlam and overthrowing his twin brother Gregor to become king of Markovia (albeit a little unwillingly due to Markovian Ambassador Zviad Baazovi, secretly a metahuman psychic, telling him to, as while Brion did want to do this deep down, Zviad simply used his powers to nudge these intentions to the surface) while Terra survives, completes her Heel–Face Turn and becomes a member of the Outsiders. It helps that because Batman spied on Deathstroke and saw through him lying (Deathstroke attempted to give misinformation for Batman to hear knowing he was being spied on, but had his mask off, leaving his true micro-expressions clear), most of the heroes (Brion being one exception, leading to his actions above) knew what Tara was really doing this time around, but showed no aggression when they revealed this in order to successfully convince her to side with them.
    • Barbara Gordon's transition from Batgirl to Oracle notably involved Joker crippling her, leading her to eventually pass the mantle to Cassandra Cain. When Young Justice eventually got around to showing how her paralysis happened in a flashback, they revealed that Cass was the one who did it. Barbara deliberately threw herself in front of a sword Cass meant to kill Joker with so she could save Cass from being a killer.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Wizard of Odd", Candace tries to melt Doofenwarlock with water, but all it does is make his robe shrink.
  • From 2002 to 2005, Nickelodeon ran a series of shorts parodying classic 1960's Christmas specials featuring the Nicktoons characters every December. One of these was entitled "How the You-Know-Who Stole You-Know-What!", featuring Angelica Pickles as "Grinchelica", stealing chocolate candy from the other Nicktoons characters. Towards the end of the short, Grinchelica thinks about the Nicktoons having nothing at all, but rather than undergo a Heel–Face Turn, she decides she doesn't care and keeps all the chocolates for herself, getting very fat in the process.
    "And all the toons in Toonsville say, Grinchelica's tummy grew three hundred sizes that day."
  • Marvel's Spider-Man ends its Superior Spider-Man storyline on a much happier note, as Miles Morales finds Peter's consciousness and helps get him to Otto, who trades places with Peter so he can stop Venom. Peter gets Otto's conscious to his body and is able to return him to it, allowing him to (hopefully) be a better person that he was in the comics. This is followed up in the season finale Goblin War event as the Goblin King here is not Norman Osborn, but Adrian Toomes, the Vulture. Even more, Otto ends up completing his Heel–Face Turn with a Redemption Equals Death, saving New York at the cost of his life and being the hero that not even his comic book counterparts could hope to achieve.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the episode, "Citizen Max", Montana Max yells "Acme!" and Hamton tries to solve the mystery of why he said it. In keeping with the episode being a parody of Citizen Kane, a discarded bicycle that Monty used to ride with Buster when they were friends has the ACME logo on it, leading viewers to believe that that was what Monty was referring to. Then Monty appears and tells Hamton, Buster, and Babs that he didn't say "Acme!", he said "Acne!" and shows them an outbreak of pimples on his face.
    • In another episode that parodies the poem Casey at the Bat with Buster in the main role, the episode ends with Buster hitting a home run, much to the surprise of Sylvester the Interactive Narrator.
      Sylvester: Say! That's not the way the poem goes!
      Buster: You were expecting me to strike out? I'm the star of this show!
  • The Batman: With a close friendship with Bruce Wayne, association with the law, and his transformation at the end of one episode beginning with his face melting, Ethan Bennett seems to be on his way to becoming Two-Face (all that gets deviated was his name and that Dent was a lawyer while Bennett was a cop.note ) The next episode reveals he is instead the show's incarnation of Clayface. This is also hitting two birds with one stone, since Bennett is the first Clayface, not Basil Karlo (who instead shows up in a later season, and ultimately is the sole Clayface left when Ethan is cured of his powers.)
  • Harley Quinn: In the episode "Batman's Back Man," Bane swears to "break the Bat" after defeating Batman, but rather than breaking Batman's back like he did in the comics, he instead breaks Batman's legs.
  • VeggieTales: In the episode based on The Three Little Pigs, it's the house made of wood that survives, not the house made of bricks, because Mr. Lunt, who built the brick house, thought his building materials were strong enough that he didn't need to set a proper foundation. When a flash flood comes around, the lack of a solid foundation causes the brick house to collapse. However, this is true to the other piece of literature the episode adapts: the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Bob being the wise builder, and Lunt and Larry being the foolish ones).
  • The planned fifth season of X-Men: Evolution was apparently going to feature an adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga culminating in Jean Grey undergoing a Face–Heel Turn and eventually dying, just like in the comics. Unlike in the comics, though, the storyline would have ended with Cyclops and Rogue becoming a couple after Jean's death—a notable departure from the comics.note  Due to the show being cancelled after four seasons, this never came to pass, with Jean's future transformation into the Dark Phoenix being merely foreshadowed in a Flash Forward in the final episode.