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Promoted to Love Interest

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"Victor Hugo always intended for Esmeralda and Quasimodo to get married at the end of the book. He just didn't have the technology to write it back then."
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So, you're adapting this great book, TV show or comic for the big screen. It's got action, comedy, drama, rom... what, it doesn't have romance? Well, that won't do; we can't break the formula. Looks like it's time for a previously platonic character to be Promoted to Love Interest.

The idea is that in order to appeal to a broad audience, we need romantic subplots. The original work (usually not film, because that's where executives have a field day) may have survived all on its own without a romance subplot. However, studios think that every story needs romance.

This sort of thing happens to everyone all the time in fanfiction, for some reason.

The convention is not an inherently negative one, but when done poorly, this may become a Token Romance or even a Romantic Plot Tumor in the worst cases.

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Although normally reserved to adaptations in traditional media, interactive media that feature Romance Sidequests can also fall under this, if a character whom the Player Character cannot woo in one game gets a Romance Arc of their own in a sequel.

See also Hotter and Sexier. Compare Relationship Compression, where the romance is present in the original but significantly altered due to the different constraints of the new medium.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aggretsuko: The Netflix adaptation turns the playboy-ish Haida into the main character's Love Interest, as well as some major personality changes compared to the original shorts, including the fact he was merely a secondary character.
  • Oujirou in the Angelic Layer anime. His girlfriend in the manga epilogue gets shoved off with Misaki's own love interest from the manga.
  • The closest thing to an original canon for Black★Rock Shooter is a music video of the eponymous character fighting Dead Master. Once people started making actual stories, Dead Master ended up as the love interest in one manga, the "other self" of BRS's "other self"'s love interest in both anime, BRS's mother figure in the gag manga, and nonexistent in the game.
  • Bleach:
    • Word of God has stated it's not a romance manga, which is why the two main characters have no romance and any romance that does get covered tends to be in the background (aside of some Ship Tease) or part of another character's back story. However, in the anime filler arc, the Gotei 13 Invasion, the anime team demote all the main cast and even the secondary cast to extras in favour of their filler villains and heroine and their filler evil clones. To ensure there's romance in the arc, they make Kon the hero of the arc (demoting even the main character) by promoting him to the filler heroine Nozomi's love interest (even changing his back story to accommodate her).
    • In the manga, Ichigo and Rukia are Platonic Life-Partners and each other's not-love interests, and have Ship Tease with Orihime and Renji respectively. The anime not only takes out some of Ichigo's ST with Orihime but adds as much teasing between him and Rukia as possible without making her into Ichigo's official girlfriend, e.g. adding a Canon Foreigner Shinigami who clearly ships them and making a whole filler episode littered with semi-romantic interactions. Ironically, the manga not only decreased the teasing from the end of the Soul Society arc onwards, but sank the Ichigo/Rukia ship without mercy.
  • In the Deltora Quest anime Dain becomes a love interest to Jasmine allowing for Love Triangle with Lief who also has a crush on her. In the books Dain does give Jasmine an admiring glance to Lief's jealously, but Jasmine shows no romantic interest in Dain.
  • Yamato Hotsuin and the main character from the original video game version of Devil Survivor 2 have a complex relationship to say the least, but the general way to describe it is that Yamato sees the protagonist as a submissive badass and treats him as his Number Two and later a Worthy Opponent. In fact, if the protagonist goes on a story route other than his, Yamato is furious and believes the others "corrupted him". In the Devil Survivor 2 anime however, Yamato's interest in the protagonist, named Hibiki Kuze, is hit with Flanderization and makes Yamato have massive Ho Yay moments, to the point where he outright claims that "Hibiki is mine".
  • In the original Dragon Ball manga blonde Launch has a minor attraction to Tien Shinhan in the 22nd World Martial Arts saying she's rooting for him after seeing how violent he is, but doesn't interact with him afterwards. In the anime Launch explicitly falls heads over heels in love with Tien, as she blushes along with Tien when Oolong points how cute they are together when she bandages his injuries and she spends the rest of her appearances chasing him and Chiaotzu around the world. In Z Tien even saves Launch from a earthquake and flood by holding her close, unfortunately Launch is Put on a Bus for the rest of the franchise barring a few appearances in the Buu Saga, Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot where she doesn't interact with Tien.
  • Saki Miyajima in Durarara!! is introduced as Masaomi Kida's ex-girlfriend and for the rest of the novels, stays that way. Even when he runs away from Tokyo at the end of the third book and ends up staying with her, it's because it's her apology for all the pain she put him through prior to the series' beginning. The anime, however, has them get back together after the end of the same arc and run away to elope, rather than the books' original reason for Masaomi's sudden departure being that he felt he couldn't face Mikado and Anri any more after they had found out about his past.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Rose is a minor character in the manga. In the 2003 anime she returns partway through the series and becomes a major character. There is Ship Tease between her and Edward. She is canonically in love with Ed, with Ed's feelings being unspecified.
    • Inverted with Winry and Edward since she becomes a sister figure to Ed (though official art still portrays Winry as a love interest). In the the manga and the Brotherhood TV series they're the Official Couple throughout the story, with a large amount of Ship Tease and eventually Babies Ever After.
    • In the 2003 anime, Hohenheim flirts with Maria Ross and Maria clearly likes him back. This isn't in the manga and is out-of-character for his manga interpretation.
  • Highschool of the Dead: While there's some UST between Takashi and Saeko in the manga, it's mostly one-sided, since Takashi's rekindling his relationship with Rei. The anime changed things by making it more reciprocal, with additional amounts of ship tease between him and Saeko, especially in the "Drifters of the Dead" OVA.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love is War:
    • The main series is partially a modern day retelling of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Shirogane (who was based on one of the five failed suitors) instead takes the role originally held by the emperor as Kaguya's love interest. As for the emperor himself, he's instead her cousin Mikado Shijo.
    • The Offical Doujin has a recurring Kindergarten A.U. where Hayasaka and Shirogane end up dating and eventually get engaged, in contrast to their mostly platonic relationship in canon. Notably, it's the only A.U. shown where Kaguya's crush on Shirogane isn't reciprocated (since it would be rather creepy given the age gap).
  • Several manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda add pretty explicit romance, especially between Link and Zelda, when the games rely primarily on varying levels of subtext:
    • One of the adaptations of The Legend of Zelda has Link crushing on Zelda. It is unrequited because, unknown to him (but not to her), he is her half-brother.
    • One adaptation of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has both the original Zelda and the sleeping Zelda fighting over Link. In the games, the Zelda from the first game doesn't even appear in the sequel, and the sleeping Zelda simply gives Link a "Thank You" kiss after he awakens her.
    • The manga for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time adds more emphasis on something between Link and Zelda than the games do. Zelda's character is partially composited with Malon's due to Link spending a day with a disguised Zelda in the third chapter. He's attracted to her from the start. Later on, Malon realizes that she isn't the person that Link wants, which is implied to be Zelda. To a lesser extent, Link is implied to like Saria in the manga (if the jealous Mido isn't just seeing things).
    • The second adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past plays up Link's and Zelda's queenly/knightly relationship to the point where it's romantically tinged.
  • Lupin III: The status of Lupin and Fujiko's relationship changes dependent on which continuity, or the movie. In The Castle of Cagliostro, they're exes, while in The Secret of Twilight Gemini and The Columbus Files', they still see each other on the side. But in Farewell to Nostradamus, she feels nothing for him, at all.
  • Inverted with Chrono Harlaown in Lyrical Nanoha, who was Nanoha Takamachi's rival and later love interest back in Lyrical Toy Box, but that honor instead went to his adoptive younger sister Fate when it was adapted into an anime series. And some time later, Chrono was quite Happily Married to his assistant Amy Limietta.
  • Maken-ki!:
    • In the manga, Takaki became a lesbian after a traumatic event that left her androphobic. Whereas the anime adaptation downplays her phobia, to the point of being virtually nonexistent, to have her instantly become smitten with Akaya.
    • The anime also changes Himegami's relationship status from being Usui's love interest and adds her to Takeru's harem. Likewise, Usui's crush on Himegami is only briefly touched upon twice. He spends the rest of the series perving on any other girl he sees.
  • Neji in Naruto is a protective cousin and friend towards Hinata for most of the series. In Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth he is outright in love with her to obsessive degrees. It is very one-sided.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • This happened somewhat to Yue Ayase in the anime. While it was just barely alluded to in the Class Trip arc (which is where they likely drew it from), the love triangle plot come into play much later in the manga.
    • An even bigger example would be Chisame Hasegawa. A side character in the beginning who was mostly annoyed with the whole situation, Chisame gets pulled rather unwillingly deeper into the story, and subsequently starts acting Tsundere towards Negi. Then UQ Holder! reveals they got married.
  • On Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka has a Precocious Crush on Kaji. In Rebuild of Evangelion, it's entirely gone.
  • Very common in the various Pokémon adaptations:
    • Pokémon Adventures:
    • The Pokémon anime:
      • Lucy and Brock never even meet in the games, but in the anime Lucy is one of the few women to like Brock back.
      • Inverted with Professor Kukui and Professor Burnet. They're Happily Married in Pokémon Sun and Moon but are acquaintances in the anime. Subverted after Kukui proposes to Burnet.
      • It has never been concretely confirmed that Misty has a crush on Ash. There are scenes suggesting she might, but they're up to interpretation and aren't as explicit as Serena's crush on Ash. However, 4kids added a few extra Ship Tease moments between Ash and Misty compared to the Japanese version. Even after Misty was Put on a Bus, Ash referenced her at least once in the dub when he hadn't in the original. 4kids also added explicit Ash/Misty elements into supplementary material such as the song "Misty's Song" and theatre adaptation Pokémon Live!.
    • Satoshi from Pokémon Zensho seems to have a crush on Misty. In the games, Red is a silent protagonist and Misty is just another gym leader. The interpretation may come from a piece of early artwork depicting Red and Misty taking a picture together.
    • Jun from Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! flirts with Mitsumi, who plays the role of Professor Rowan's assistant from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. In the games Barry doesn't even take much note of the assistant.
    • The Electric Tale of Pikachu:
      • In the anime, Ash and Misty had their Ship Tease moments but the writers are intentionally vague on whether they were intended to be love interests or not (with the lead director of the Original Series, Takeshi Shudo, saying they weren't). In the manga, Ash and Misty clearly like each other.
      • Jessie and James have had some Ship Tease over the years but are mainly depicted as Platonic Life-Partners. In the manga, they obviously like each other. The manga ends with them engaged and Jessie pregnant.
      • In "Pikachu's Goodbye", Pikachu befriends a small Pikachu. It's never made explicit if it was small to signify it as a baby (the episode predates Pichu's reveal) or small to signify it as female. In Electric Tale of Pikachu, it is explicitly female (complete with a flower behind an ear) and is a love interest for Pikachu.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • In the manga, Yahiko and Tsubame were never fully shown as a couple though they did marry anyway. The anime shows Yahiko nursing a big crush on Tsubame, and on several occasions he gives her presents as well as goes on social activities with her.
    • Similarly, in the manga Sano and Megumi were mostly platonic friends. The TV series shows Sanosuke giving Megumi gestures of affection and while her primary man of interest is Kenshin, she is fully aware of Sano's attraction and appreciates it even if she doesn't necessarily return it. (Yahiko even points out the Ship Tease and ends up smacked for it.) Once she confirms Kenshin's true one is Kaoru, she begins to show affection towards Sanosuke especially in the filler Tales of the Meiji Arc. Even while admitting Megumi was a beauty, manga!Sanosuke never showed the level of attraction towards her as he did in the anime and was too busy with his own personal business to attempt to get with her in a few social activities as the anime filler did.
  • In Shimoneta's manga adaptation, Tanukichi eventually develops feelings for Ayame, whereas her feelings toward him remain platonic. But the anime version implies the attraction is mutual at the end of it's 11th episode.
  • Subverted in the anime adaptation of A Silent Voice, the manga ends with Shoya Ishida and Shoko Nishimiya taking each other’s hands and entering the next stage of their lives together, signifying they might become a couple. In the anime on other hand downplays the romantic aspects of the leads, in favour of focusing on Shoya overcoming his depression and self-hatred thanks to Shoko and unlike the manga ends right there and doesn’t explore any further. Their relationship is mainly left affectionately platonic in the anime, while the manga was more clear about it.
  • In Street Fighter II V Chun-Li becomes Ken's love interest and even fights with Vega over her. In the games Ken is Happily Married to Eliza and is Just Friends with Chun-Li, who mostly gets Ship Tease with Ryu since they are two of the few World Warriors who are still single. Inverted in the anime though as Ryu and Chun-Li don't interact much.
  • The French dub of Sonic X combined this with Filling the Silence. The final episode has Sonic stating something inaudible to Amy in the original version. Various dubs decided to give Sonic dialogue during this portion. The English dub had a vague enough "Don't worry Amy, I never will [abandon you]". The French dub however took it up a knotch with "Of course I love you Amy—forever".
  • Double subverted with Sound! Euphonium. The first two seasons heavily downplay Kumiko's relationship with her childhood friend Shuichi in exchange for emphasis on her Romantic Two-Girl Friendship with Reina. The third and final movie is romantic-focused and features Kumiko's Relationship Upgrade with Shuichi from the books.
  • Strangely, the anime adaptation of Snow White with the Red Hair felt the need to give Ryuu, a twelve year old Child Prodigy who is completely absorbed by his interest in plants and their pharmaceutical uses and has little understanding or desire of human interactions, a Precocious Crush on Shirayuki. They erased a chunk of his backstory in doing so in addition to drastically altering his character in the present.
  • In the Tokkô manga, Ranmaru and Sakura don't show any specific romantic interest in each other, but in the anime they develop feelings for each other and become love interests.
  • The sequel of To Love-Ru, TLR Darkness, add more potential members to Rito's harem:
    • Nana, Lala's younger sister, starts to show interest in Rito after Mia's friendship mending chapters.
    • Rin, one of Saki's bodyguards, develops feelings for Rito after he saves her from a cursed sword (with the help of Mea and Yami).
    • Kyoko was born as fictional character of her Show Within a Show. After, she appears as real character and became Run's best friend and in "Darkness" she fall for Rito herself after being subjected to the "Princess Carry".
  • In Trigun, Meryl and Milly care deeply about Vash and Wolfwood respectively, but it doesn't go beyond anything platonic. In the anime adaptation they become their respective love interests, and it's even implied that Wolfwood and Milly have sex with each other later in the series.
  • Inverted in Twelve Months. In the original play, April and the girl are a couple, but the anime reduces it to a few moments of barely-there Ship Tease. In general, there is no indication there is anything but friendship between them or that he is more special to her than the rest of the Months.
  • The Valkyria Chronicles anime adaptation promoted Faldio to one of Alicia's love interests in order to introduce a Love Triangle, despite the fact that the original game already had a major romantic subplot between protagonists Alicia and Welkin. It becomes a rather large Romantic Plot Tumor as the show goes on; for instance, a rather epic battle in the game against an enormous overpowered tank was completely skipped in the anime to allow Alicia and Faldio time to flirt.
  • Nitori had a mild crush on Takatsuki in Wandering Son that went away by the time she dated Anna. The anime keeps Anna and Nitori together but has multiple scenes showing Nitori likes Takatsuki. It isn't helped that the anime ends right after Anna broke up with Nitori, leaving room for Takatsuki/Nitori potentially. In the manga Nitori and Anna end up back together but the anime adaptation never went that far.
  • In the Yo-Kai Watch video games, Katie is the female protagonist. In the Yo-Kai Watch anime she is the crush and classmate of Nate, the male playable character in the games. Yo-Kai Watch 2 added some Ship Tease between them to go with how it is influenced by the anime. Thirty years later in Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside they're shown to be married with kids.

    Comic Books 
  • In Timestorm 2009-2099, which features an alternate version of the Marvel 2099 universe, teenage Miguel O'Hara has a bit of UST with Shakdi Hadaad (who in regular continuity is Cerebra of the X-Men 2099). Their counterparts in the regular 2099 universe never even met.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • Stormer and Kimber became very close friends in one episode of Jem. The 2015 comic reboot makes them a couple.
    • In the cartoon, Riot liked Jem (but not Jerrica) while Jem didn't like him back. In the comics, his feelings are requited however she's still in a relationship with Rio.
  • Afterlife with Archie:
  • Sonic the Comic inverts this with Amy and Sonic. In the games Amy has a Precocious Crush on Sonic and being a lovesick preteen is one of her more defining traits. In the comics she is implied to only be teasing Sonic, and once her personality was altered thanks to Executive Meddling even that was gone.
  • Post-Crisis Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon have a thing for each other and dated in the past while in Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter neither of them showed the least inclination of romantic interest in the other, they just liked fighting together, though they had a hard time getting along without Ben (Bronze Tiger)'s intervention, and valued each other's skills.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda early 90's comics do this for Link and Zelda, who are presented here as teenagers following the first two games. Unlike the animated example, the relationship is portrayed more sympathetically (he doesn't ask for a kiss at ridiculous moments, and she clearly reciprocates his feelings); it's implied that they will eventually marry when they reach adulthood. As noted elsewhere, no romance exists between them in either of the games which existed at the time the comics were made.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Zelda is changed from an Implied Love Interest (which she was in the original game) to a Love Interest.
  • Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are one of the "it" couples of DC Comics, but their romantic relationship only started in the early-to-mid 1990s. Prior to that Babs saw Dick as a younger sibling if anything. There was a dispute at DC on whether Nightwing was a Teen Titans or Batman character, so Starfire/Nightwing was broken up and the narrative of Barbara being Dick's First Love was retconned in. Since then, Barbara has been Dick's main love interest (with Starfire being his second).
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In the post-Crisis Wonder Woman (1987) Diana's former love interest and husband Steve Trevor is married to Etta Candy instead, without Diana or Steve showing any inkling of romantic interest in each other.
    • In Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman: Earth One Diana and Mala are former lovers. Mala from the original comics was Diana's dearest friend who grew up alongside her like a sister on Paradise Island and came in second in the contest to see which Amazon would act as their champion in the wider world to return Steve Trevor home and respond to WWII.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cats: The stage productions have always kept things ambiguous where the subject of Mistoffelees and Victoria are concerned: Victoria's solo dance of sexual awakening is usually watched by an awestruck Mistoffelees until he joins in and sings the Invitation to the Jellicle Ball; he singles out Victoria for a trick during his own song; and they're often placed together in certain background scenes. In some stage productions, it's Mistoffelees who performs the 'mating dance' with Victoria instead of the more usual Admetus/Plato. How all that's interpreted, however, has been left up to the audience. In the film, they remove the ambiguity in favour of having Mistoffelees spend the entire film crushing on Victoria and looking after her whenever trouble happens. His bumbling attempts to impress her with his constantly-failing magic becomes the main plot set-up for later events in the film. By the end of the film, they do become an item.
  • Downplayed concerning Wilhelm Hauff’s fairytale The Cold Heart. In the fairytale, Peter marries Lisbeth after his Face–Heel Turn, having never met her before. She only marries him because her father forces her to, and Peter treats her awfully, although it eventually leads to his Heel Realisation. After he regains his human heart, Lisbeth stays with him, although he is ready to accept that she’d never forgive him. To make her decision to remain his wife more believable, the film adaptations (such as the ones made in 2014 and 2016) usually give Peter and Lisbeth a romantic arc before his Face–Heel Turn (and with it, an additional motive for Peter being so desperate to get rich, as he is initially Unable to Support a Wife).
  • The 1962 film version of The Day of the Triffids leaves out Josella Playton, the character who was Bill Masen's love interest in the novel, and instead gives the role to Christine Durant.
  • Liz Sherman from Hellboy. In the comic books, she's Hellboy's co-worker and friend, and something of a little sister. In the movies, she ends up boinking Hellboy. It did give her some character, since in the comics, she's mostly a Flat Character that the author has no idea of what to do with and only narrowly avoided killing off. (Her first four comics appearances all involve an antagonist sucking her power out for his own ends, which was apparently the only plot Mignola could think of for her.) Mignola actually okayed the Retool of her character. Interestingly, in the comics Liz actually has something of a romantic subplot with Abe Sapien, professional fish-person and Hellboy's best friend. Still, this subplot is extremely subdued, but it does get played up a bit in the animated adaptations.
  • Somewhat (and very surprisingly) averted in I, Robot. Both the male lead and the female lead are very attractive, yet they never get romantically involved. Well, not explicitly, but there are hints at it, and Susan Calvin in the short stories was an elderly, celibate misanthrope after the first few Time Skips. She gets upgraded to a Hot Scientist, and at least a potential love interest, but thankfully they focused on the robots and the related ideals.
  • For the movie adaptation of Watchmen it was originally planned to give Rorschach a love interest, but the idea was dropped.
  • The Time Machine:
    • The 1960 film adaptation is an Alternate Trope Namer. In the book, an Eloi woman named Weena shares a close relationship with the Time Traveler, but not a romance, at least not overtly. Largely because Weena, like all Eloi, was a child-sized androgynous-looking creature mentally on the level of an eight-year old. However, the film turns Weena into a love interest, looking human except still with the mentality of a child.
    • The 2002 film goes further: not only was Weena replaced with a love interest named Mara and the Eloi made even less childlike, but the Time Traveler was given an entire backstory of building the machine as a way to save his girlfriend from being killed by a mugger.
  • Isabella of France in Braveheart was in France and ten years old at the time of Wallace's rebellion. Particularly unfortunate, as her romantic subplot is at cross-purposes with some of the most powerful moments in the film.
  • The 1966 film version of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 not only had Clarisse survive, but also had her become a sort of love interest for Guy.
  • Star Trek (2009) does this to Lt. Uhura. What they probably didn't see coming was that she's Spock's love interest, not Kirk's. Which is less surprising if you keep in mind a couple of early episodes of the original series in which she was blatantly flirting with him (and, more strangely given his later characterization, him with her!). Of course, given the time period of the original series, the only reason Uhura wasn't officially anyone's love interest was probably because of the interracial relationship thing. Word of God did once say he had dropped the idea of Spock/Uhura in the original series because he feared it would reduce Uhura to being viewed as nothing more than "Spock's other half" instead of letting her being a character in her own right.
  • The Film of the Book of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian creates a bit of Ship Tease between Caspian and Susan. It's limited to mild flirting and a kiss at the end, though they still end up separated and Caspian gets paired up with his canon wife in the next film.
  • Three film versions of The Last of the Mohicans de-ages Hawkeye and pairs him up with one of the female characters. This is silly, because there's already a romance - two, even.
  • Trillian in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the original, Arthur met her at a party and tried to (clumsily) chat her up, only for Zaphod to sweep her off her feet and take her into space; when they meet up later on, their relationship is purely platonic. The movie changes this to Arthur missing his chance at True Love by being too wimpy, inspiring him to be more assertive when Trillian gets kidnapped (it's also helped by introducing a new love interest for Zaphod).

    In the original radio series, Trillian was indeed meant as a love interest but things didn't progress the way Adams intended. That's why their romantic involvement was played up in the movie. In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish we're told that the official answer to the question of whether anything happened between Arthur and Trillian (at least in the book continuity) is "mind your own business".
  • Starship Troopers does this with "Dizzy" Flores who, in the book, is just a guy in the same platoon as Rico, is only mentioned in the first chapter, dies by the end of it, and is not romantic at all. (Per the other wiki and, you know, the book.) [1] Of course, Dizzy gets an upgrade with boobs and boinked. It's good both ways.
  • In the movie of the children's book Tuck Everlasting, the main character, Winnie, is a teenager and thus old enough to have a romance with a Flying Dutchman who's been seventeen for ages. In the book, she was a preteen with perhaps a slight implied crush on him and nothing more.
  • Inverted in Angels & Demons: Vittoria is in bed with Langdon by the end of the book, but in the movie, romance is never hinted at. The same was done in the film of The Da Vinci Code.
  • This is actually inverted in the movie adaptation of Psycho. In the original novel Lila and Sam become romantically involved after Mary is killed and they try to solve her murder. Alfred Hitchcock made their relationship platonic in the film, because it would be gross otherwise. In the 1982 sequel Psycho II, though, Lila has married Sam and had a daughter with him, called Mary.
  • One of the changes made in the film version of Kick-Ass. In the film, he ends up boinking with the girl he's got a crush on. In the novel, he ends up crumpled on the floor at high school due to a Groin Attack from her boyfriend.
  • The 1960 film version of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher makes Madeline the fiancée of the narrator.
  • The film version of Queen of the Damned made the main subplot a romance between the two main characters Lestat and Jesse, who, in the book, do not speak. One of the many things altered from the book is the identity of Jesse's maker. In the book, it's her "Aunt" Maharet (a distant ancestor-turned-vampire). In the movie, it's Lestat. This was obviously meant to reinforce the bond between the characters, which was never there in the book.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two implies that Luna and Neville became a couple. This wasn't in the book and both marry other people. His wife, Hannah, was a classmate of his but she wasn't friends with Harry and therefore just isn't important to the story. Luna's eventual husband, Rolf Scamander, (yes, the grandson of Newt) was never in the books at all. He got cut out of the last book note  and when the movie was written, this wasn't known. Rowling has said that personally she sees Luna's weirdness as too far outside his comfort zone but also said that she could see where fans were coming from.
    • The head-writer of the films thought Harry and Hermione were going to end up together. The films include scenes, some rather Ship Teasey, that weren't in the books. This didn't help the Relationship Writing Fumble already present between Harry and Hermione.
  • Inverted in Shooter, which is based on the Stephen Hunter novel Point of Impact. In the book Bob Lee Swagger becomes romantically involved with the widow of his old war buddy. In the movie the two become friends and allies, but they do not fall in love with each other.
  • The 2009 film of Land of the Lost has a truly bizarre version of this. Rick Marshall has a romantic relationship with Holly, who was his prepubescent daughter in the original TV show. The movie makes them unrelated and ages her up, obviously, but one wonders why they even bothered to call her "Holly" at that point.
  • In Dorian Gray, Basil and Dorian finally get together. This is completely justified by all the Homoerotic Subtext in the original book, as at the time, Oscar Wilde could do no more than insert subtext to let the reader know what was really going on.
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth promotes the middle-aged hotel maid Betty Jo, who nurses an unrequited crush on Alien Among Us Thomas Jerome Newton and is one of his only confidantes in the novel, to an out-and-out love interest. Renamed Mary-Lou, she's also de-aged to her mid-twenties when their relationship, which plays out over several decades, begins.
  • In The Giver, Fiona is a good friend of Jonas's whom he eventually drifts apart from (although he's definitely interested in her). In the film he manages to convince her to stop taking the injections and she realizes she loves him as well. She eventually aids in his escape and he promises her he'd come back for her.
  • Ramona and Beezus promotes Henry Huggins, Beezus's childhood friend in the books, into her love interest, although the Ramona books imply that the two aren't so close anymore since they're in middle school.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron makes Bruce Banner, who has little interaction with Black Widow in the comics, into her love interest. This is partially because Bucky Barnes and Daredevil, Widow's two major love interests in the comics, have no real connection to her in the MCU continuity.
    • Pepper Potts is usually married to Happy Hogan but in the MCU she’s Iron Man’s love interest and future wife.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Inverted. In the comics, Winter Soldier and Black Widow were in a relationship while they were both working for the Soviets. In the MCU, Widow was born decades after the Soldier became active, so her only encounters with him have been while fighting for her life when he's been ordered to assassinate her. She also gets promoted to a Not Love Interest for Steve himself.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy has Gamora be Peter Quill's love interest, in the comics Gamora's actual love interest was Nova (Richard Rider) with her relationship Peter being platonic. Since the massive success of the films, Marvel soon had Quill and Gamora sleep together and have a relationship starting in issue 7# of the 2019 series.
    • Ant-Man makes Hope Van Dyne into Scott Lang's love interest. In the comics, Hope originally only existed in the Marvel Comics 2 continuity, which was set in the future.
    • In Black Panther, Nakia is T'Challa's ex-girlfriend and primary love interest. This is in contrast to the comics, where Nakia was significantly younger than T'Challa and simply had an (extremely unhealthy) unrequited crush on him.
    • Black Widow: Inverted again. Alexei Shostakov aka Red Guardian in the comics is Natasha's ex-husband, in the film Alexei is her father figure instead. This due to making Melina Vostokoff, who is Alexei's ex wife and Nat's surrogate mother a Composite Character of Natasha and herself.
  • Lifetime's adaptation of Seeds of Yesterday has adoptive siblings Bart and Cindy ending up together.
  • Inverted with David Campbell in Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. for the simple reason that the movieverse's Susan Who is about eleven.
  • Attack on Titan already takes many, many liberties from the manga, but one of the biggest is the relationship between Eren and Mikasa. In the original, they are adopted siblings (though there are many, many hints that Mikasa sees Eren as more than a brother), while the adaptation drops the adopted sibling angle and goes for a full-on romance between them. While this may not sit well with traditionalists, it's safe to assume those who ship Eren/Mikasa couldn't be happier (not that them being canonically adoptive siblings ever stopped them in the first place).
  • The Hunger Games
    • The movie franchise adds several hints of a romantic development to Effie and Haymitch's relationship, especially in the two parts of Mockingjay. One suspects this has less to do with the need for yet another romance in the series and more to strengthen the expansion of Effie's character, since she has only a cameo in the last book but plays a far more significant role in the films. There's also the fact that Elizabeth Banks, whose performance was the very reason the series creator Suzanne Collins chose to spare Effie from her planned Demotion To Extra in the first place, was a pretty hardcore Shipper on Deck for the pairing by all accounts.
    • Catching Fire hints at Johanna having a one-sided romantic attachment to Finnick, giving her a bitter speech about his (to her) incomprehensible devotion to Annie. The idea that she might be in love with him pads out her motivations some more than in the books, where she treats him with slightly less disdain than she does everyone else but with no reason given; it also explains why, despite claiming that she's already lost everyone she loves and has nothing to lose, he seems to be the one to convince her to join the rebellion against the Capitol.
    • Speaking of Catching Fire, in the books Gale's crush on Katniss was purely one-sided and she was confusedly worried about breaking his heart and losing her closest friend. In the films for the sake of having a Love Triangle with him and Peeta Katniss does reciprocate his feelings. At least until Mockingjay Part 2 when he played a part in her sister Prim's death.
  • Averted only through the author's stubbornness in the movie adaptation of Ender's Game. Executives originally wanted to give Ender a love interest, but Orson Scott Card refused. Instead, Ender's friend Petra's role got expanded in the adaptation and her personality was changed so their relationship strongly resembled a romantic one, despite being entirely platonic.
  • DOA: Dead or Alive
    • In the Dead or Alive games the movie is based on, Ryu Hayabusa (same of Ninja Gaiden) protects Kasumi because he made a promise to her brother, his best friend Hayate, to look after her. The film keeps that backstory, but makes it clear Hayabusa is also watching out for her because he has feelings for her (which she ends up returning).
    • In the games, Ayane and Hayate are half-siblings (and cousins, it's complicated). The movie removes their blood relation and turns them into a couple.
    • The movie seems so determined to include romantic subplots for just about every main character that it even invented new characters to serve as love interests for Christie and Helena: conman/master thief Max (who is also Christie's frequent partner-in-crime) and tech genius Weatherby, respectively.
    • Surprisingly averted, however, with Tina and Zack. Zack still flirts with her, but Tina wants nothing to do with him.
  • The film version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, written and directed by the book's author, has a minor example, with Charlie and Sam being promoted from Maybe Ever After to Official Couple.
  • Seventh Son (2015) changes Tom and Alice from twelve-year-olds with Unresolved Sexual Tension to young adults who share a kiss at the end.
  • Tekken makes Christie into Jin's love interest, even though they've never interacted in the games.
  • In the X-Men comics Iceman is just a friend to Rogue, which in later comics is partly due to Bobby being gay. In the X-Men Film Series thanks to Gambit (Rogue's actual love interest) being Adapted Out of the first three movies, Iceman becomes Rogue's boyfriend instead.
  • Jurassic Park turns Ellie into Alan Grant's girlfriend in addition to being his student. The second book does say something about Ellie being "involved" with Grant, but doesn't specify if it was romantic. Ironically in the film's canon, they've split up by the third.
  • Leslie and Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia have a friendship that can be interpreted as romantic, however canonically they're only ever specified as friends. The 2007 film aged them up from 10 to 12 and added some more Ship Tease.
  • Virtually all film adaptations of And Then There Were None include a romance subplot between Vera and Lombard, two characters who had at most a few Ship Tease moments in the book, and also have them survive together instead of dying. This is subverted in the 1987 Soviet film and 2015 BBC miniseries, however: the "romance" in the Soviet film culminates in Lombard raping Vera which further worsens her mental breakdown and the romance in the BBC series does not stop a paranoid and mentally unstable Vera from shooting Lombard dead just like in the original book.
  • The movie version of Perfect Pie changes Francesca's relationship with the boy who took her to the prom as a teen. In the movie he apologizes when she returns to Marmota for leaving her at the dance, and they share a kiss as they reconcile. In the play, he's never mentioned again after he abandons her.
  • This is inverted with V for Vendetta. In V for Vendetta, Evey and Gordon are lovers. In the movie, they are merely good friends from work, and Gordon is a closeted gay man.
  • Poltergeist: In the 1982 original, Dr. Lesh and Tangina were colleagues and acquaintances . In the 2015 remake, Carrigan and Brooke are ex-husband / ex-wife (they were also Adaptationally Name Changed, and Tangina got Gender-Flipped).
  • Cloud Atlas:
    • Frobisher has a short-lived infatuation for Ayrs in the film.
    • Hae-Joo and Sonmi have sex in the novel too, but the novel's incidence is emotionally sterile Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex. The sexual encounter in the film is on much better terms; the film also has Sonmi declare her undying love for Hae-Joo in her orison.
    • Meronym for Zachry.
  • In Stephen King's IT Richie is just a good friend to Eddie, affectionaly piching his cheek and calling him cute. In It: Chapter Two it's revealed Richie nursed a closeted crush on Eddie throughout his childhood and couldn't reveal his feelings before Eddie was killed by Pennywise in the climax.
  • In Heart of a Dog, Bormental only meets Vasnetsova once, when Sharikov brings her to the apartment as his future wife. In the 1988 film, Bormental has a long-standing crush on the girl (she is aware of it, but her feelings on the matter are up for interpretation).
  • The 1968 version of Heidi, featuring Maximilian Schell as Klara's father Herr Sesemann and Jean Simmons as an Adaptational Nice Lady Fraulein Rottenmeier, adds a romance between the two of them.
  • The much-maligned 1998 film of Les Misérables adds a romance between Jean Valjean and Fantine, making her his Lost Lenore for the remainder of the story after she dies.
  • This was slated to happen at the end of The Wizard of Oz, but was cut before filming. In the scene, Hunk, the farmhand who in Dorothy's dream becomes her friend the Scarecrow, is preparing to leave for agricultural college. He and Dorothy have a conversation about writing letters to each other which has heavy romantic overtones, implying that the exchange will become a long-distance relationship. This is why she tells the Scarecrow "I think I'll miss you most of all" in the finished film. Described here.
  • Inverted in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which takes the Clara/Nutcracker romance from the original stories and reduces it to "a bit of Ship Tease if you squint." Then again, it's a pretty loose adaptation.
  • Bicentennial Man: In the original story, the closest Andrew gets to having a romantic relationship is whispering the name "Little Miss" while on his deathbed, a century after she's died. In the film, we're shown that she has a crush on him, but chooses to marry Chaney instead, leaving Andrew as the Romantic Runnerup. Although Andrew seemed oblivious to this, his Second Love appears in the form of Portia, Little Miss's granddaughter, added specifically for this role. Her desire for their marriage to be seen as valid spurs Andrew to fight for his humanity against the World Congress.
  • Both the 1987 and 1993 adaptations of The Secret Garden add some romance between Mary and Colin, never mind that they're cousins. To be fair, the former made them Unrelated in the Adaptation, but the latter made things worse by making their mothers (apparently) identical twins, which would make them biological half-siblings.note  The 1987 version also killed off Dickon, which some fans suspect was a case of Die for Our Ship.

    Literature 
  • Adaptations and pastiches featuring Sherlock Holmes almost always do this to Irene Adler, the one person to outsmart and upstage Holmes, who Holmes refers to as "the Woman". Canonically, Holmes only ever had one brief meeting with Adler, and his feelings for her are more along the lines of grudging admiration. There's also the fact that the one story that Adler appears in revolves around her running off to marry someone else, with Holmes being the best man, no less (due to him standing outside the church after the couple realized that they forgot to bring some witnesses to the wedding). Even if Holmes was into relationships, Irene seems pretty stoked with her hot lawyer husband.
  • Most adaptations of Dracula make Mina Murray Harker (or her equivalent, as sometimes her role and that of Lucy Westenra are flipped or combined) into the title character's love interest, a trend that's often attributed to Bram Stoker's Dracula (the film), which made Mina the reincarnation of Vlad Tepes' bride Elisabeta. However, a similar incident occurred in the 1973 TV version, where Lucy looked like Dracula's lost love, and even the 1950s Hammer Horror version referred to Dracula in the posters as "the terrifying lover who died—yet lived!" In the book, there was indeed a vague indication that Dracula intended for her to become his queen, but Mina regarded this as a Fate Worse than Death, complete with all the rape associations that went along with this.
    • Inverted in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which Mina isn't paired off with Dracula—but she still left her canonical Love Interest, Jonathan Harker, after he rejected her for being "ruined"... so that Alan Moore could then put her in a May–December Romance with Allan Quatermain. This is then doubly inverted in the movie, in which Mina's husband is dead and she has no affair with Quatermain. Sawyer flirts with her a bit and she did have an affair with Dorian Grey in the past, but it's implied that her years of living as a vampire have left her unable to really love anyone.
  • Flonne and Etna from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness in the Disgaea novels. In the game the nature of their feelings for Laharl is very debatable, in the novels they both got a crystal clear crush on him.
  • In the Resident Evil books, it appears the author SD Perry is a big Cleon shipper. As the City of Dead (a novelization of RE2) unlike the original game, greatly empathises Claire Redfield as Leon Scott Kennedy's love interest and actually downplays Leon's canon relationship with Ada Wong, to the point of removing their kiss in the finale. If that wasn't enough the Underworld novel focuses on Leon and Clarie's bond and ends with them quote: "smiling at one another like lovers".
  • In the Novelization of Douglas Adams' Development Hell Doctor Who episode Shada, the Fourth Doctor gets some fun sexual tension with a sentient spaceship. In the original her role is simply to be confused by him with a Logic Bomb, but in the book the experience (along with him also teaching her how to time travel in a way suggestively related to him teaching her how to orgasm) makes her curious about the world and eventually fall for the Doctor, who for his part is respectful but not very reciprocal of her feelings - though it's worth pointing out that when he attempts to guilt Skagra about trying to destroy the Ship, his retort (that 'a machine consciousness is worthless') is the This Means War! moment.
    • Chris and Clare also become love interests for each other, though this was an element that Douglas Adams had intended to put in the story, managed to get elements of in the first couple of episodes, but then got cut thanks to a combination of deadlines and Executive Meddling. So in this case, it's more of a What Could Have Been.
  • The Wicked Witch of The West doesn't even interact with Glinda the Good in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and in the MGM film they are enemies, but in Wicked they have a relationship that edges into the romantic.
  • In the world of Alternate History novels about the Russian royal family surviving World War I (most notably Triumph of a Tsar by Tamar Anolic), Princess Ileana of Romania is often paired off with her second cousin, Tsarevich Alexei. The two met in 1913 and became quite close, with a legend even circulating that Alexei promised to come back for her one day. As an Orthodox princess, Ileana would have been an eminently suitable bride for Alexei from a dynastic perspective; however, as Alexei and Ileana were, respectively, thirteen and nine at the time of his death, nothing ever came of this in real life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The TV version of Johnny and the Bomb adds a bit of a Toy Ship between Johnny and Kirsty.
  • Alice and the Hatter become a couple at the conclusion of Syfy's Alice. Although it isn't the same Alice as from the books.
  • There have been several examples of a Saracen character appearing in Robin Hood stories: Nasir from Robin of Sherwood and Azeem from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but in the BBC's Robin Hood the character is Gender Flipped into a Sweet Polly Oliver called Djaq. Sure enough, she ends up a Love Interest to at least two of the male outlaws.
  • Jack Robinson in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. In the novels he is a Happily Married middle-aged man, in whom Phryne has no romantic interest. Phryne's canon love interest in the novels, Lin Chung, only appears in two episodes of the seriesnote , and Phryne's relationship with the separated-later-divorced Jack is decidedly not platonic.
  • This happens occasionally in Once Upon a Time.
  • Surprisingly subverted in Elementary. Despite the fact Watson is now a woman there is no explicit romance between Sherlock and Joan. Word of God is that they're Platonic Life-Partners. However there is an example with Moriarty and Sherlock, as she has also been genderswapped and combined with Irene. Their relationship is different though as Sherlock didn't know her true identity at first and she didn't really love him.
  • Goosebumps seemed to do this for Steve and Carly Beth. In its adaptation of "The Haunted Mask," Chuck and Steve confess to the masked Carly Beth that they only teased her "because we liked her," something the book never mentioned or even hinted at. The later episode "The Haunted Mask II" makes significant changes to the plot of the corresponding book, including Steve getting his mask off through The Power of Love when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Carly Beth from the first mask (again, something that never even came up in the book's version of the plot).
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Grey Worm and Missandei. In the books, Missandei is only a ten-year-old child and there's not much interaction between them. In the show, she's given an Age Lift and the writers paired her with Grey Worm, which started when she taught him to speak the Common Language.
    • Arya and Gendry get more Ship Tease in the show than the novels. Arya actually propositions Gendry to be her family and in their reunion she is obviously flirty. They sleep together in Season 8 but she turns down his marriage proposal.
    • Starting in Season 7, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen fall in love. They have yet to interact in the books so it's yet to be confirmed if this is canon.
    • Love interest is a stretch, but the series combined Sansa with her friend Jeyne Poole and gives her the storyline where Jeyne is married off to Ramsay Bolton. As Ramsay is a depraved serial killer and rapist, this makes the marriage as close to Awful Wedded Life as possible. Although this did result in another variant of this trope, as Theon shakes off his conditioning as Reek, helps Sansa escape and develops a lot of Ship Tease with her.
  • In-universe in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. When two producers from LA want to make a sitcom based on the twins' lives, they give London a Gender Flip to create a romance with Maddie. London's reaction?
    London: I wouldn't want to date Maddie. She's not my type; she's poor.
  • Inverted in The Witcher (2019) in the books and games Triss Merigold is one of the main love interests of Geralt of Rivia competing with his One True Love Yennefer, whom she is jealous of. In the show Geralt and Triss show no attraction to each other and are Just Friends.
  • The Scarecrow, one of Dorothy’s friends from the Land of Oz books, is re-imagined as Dorothy’s love interest Lucas in Emerald City.
  • Riverdale:
    • Moose sleeps around with Kevin in secret.
    • While not exactly a "love interest", Archie has a fling with Ms. Grundy (who has been significantly aged down). Things end up very awkward between them afterwards due to their relationship to each other and the fact they're both witnesses to Jason Blossom's murder.
    • Jughead and Betty start dating as of episode 6/7, the first time they've done so in any Archie adaptation.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • In Animorphs, Tom has a romance with Melissa Chapman. Of course, since Tom is a Controller, that actually means that the Yeerk in his head is just trying to manipulate Melissa so that she gets infested. Either way, the two never interact in the books, but it gives Melissa, a minor Ensemble Dark Horse, a chance to appear more often.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019):
    • In the comics Agnes is just a hostage to the Ax-Crazy Hazel and Cha-Cha, the former of whom threatens to kill and torture her. In the show Hazel becomes infatuated with Agnes who inspires to his heel turn to good and to turn againist his partner.
    • Inverted with Diego and Vanya, in the comics much like Luther and Allsion, there are romantic overtones to Diego and Vanya's relationship. In the show, they love each as adoptive brother and sister and show no romantic allusions.
  • Titans (2018):
    • Dove had a thing with Robin back when they were part of the original Titans, and it's implied that Robin still has some lingering feelings for her in the present. Needless to say, none of this has any basis in the comics, where Robin and Dove typically had very little interaction with one another, and certainly never slept together.
    • Aqualad and Wonder Girl also had feelings for each other, and were about to start a relationship before Deathstroke killed Aqualad.
  • In the Batman comics, there was never any implication of romance between Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins. On Gotham their on/off love affair is one of the driving plots of the series. Inverted Trope for Sarah Essen, Gordon's lover and second wife in the comics but just a mildly crooked superior in the show.

    Music 
  • Tiffany and Roland in the song "Just One Heart" from the deluxe version of Wintersmith by Steeleye Span, which goes on at length about The Power of Love they share. Admittedly, in the books, there is more than one Shipper on Deck, and Tiffany is a bit jealous when she learns Roland visited a young noblewoman, so a case can be made ... except the album came out long after I Shall Wear Midnight, where Roland marries someone else and Tiffany starts stepping out with Preston.

    Theater 
  • The play The Solid Gold Cadillac had a relatively low-key romance between Mrs. Laura Partridge and Ed McKeever, even though the narration referred to the couple as "Cinderella" and "Prince Charming," who (of course) were married in the end. The movie version is much more of a romantic comedy, playing up the romance between McKeever and Mrs. Miss Partridge to an extent that the Tabloid Melodrama about the characters is fairly justified.
  • In the stage musical of Beauty and the Beast, Cogsworth and the wardrobe are portrayed as a couple, but are much more reserved about it than Lumiere and the duster.
  • In the musical of The Producers the previously minor part of Swedish secretary Ulla is not only expanded into leading lady but she becomes Bloom's love interest and briefly is the center of a one-sided Love Triangle between him and Max.
  • The musical adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel adds a romantic history for the villain Chauvelin and the heroine Marguerite, making the former something of The Vamp, since the latter used to be on his side. In the original novel, they were nothing more than acquaintances in the past and Chauvelin sees Marguerite as nothing but "a tool" now, his faith in her intellect to help him nab the Scarlet Pimpernel and his constant Terms of Endangerment aside.
  • In Seussical, Horton gets a lover interest in Gertrude McFuzz, a character from another of Seuss' books.
  • Wicked:
    • The Wicked Witch of the West and the Scarecrow are promoted to being love interests in the musical Wicked; more specifically,the Witch Of The West, Elphaba, turned Fiyero, her boyfriend, into the scarecrow to keep him from being tortured to death. This is partially a function of him being a Composite Character from the book of the same name; in the Wicked novel, Elphaba and Fiyero do have a relationship, but Fiyero is not the Scarecrow.
    • In the books, Glinda has no feelings towards Fiyero and if anything is Ambiguously Gay. The musical adds a love triangle between her, Elphaba, and Fiyero. note 
  • In Agatha Christie's own theatrical adaptation of And Then There Were None Vera and Lombard survive and fall in love.
  • The musical adaptation of School of Rock does this to Dewey's boss Ms. Mullins. Aside from them kissing a couple times and them making her younger and around Dewey's age, this does not alter the plot that much from the film. This has some justification in that the original script did have the two ending up together.
  • Sister Act the Musical rewrites Lt. Eddie Souther as an old high school classmate of Deloris who secretly has a crush on her, and at the end, the two end up becoming a couple. They had no such relationship in the original film, however.
  • In Pokémon Live!, Delia and Giovanni were a couple in the past. In the anime there's no sign that they have ever met.
  • The Crucible portrays an illicit relationship between (married) John Proctor and Abigail Williams as a motivating factor in Abigail's actions. The real Abigail Williams was only twelve years old at the time of the Salem Witch Trials, and there is no evidence that she and John Proctor had ever so much as spoken to each other.
  • Orin Scrivello is Audrey's abusive boyfriend in Little Shop of Horrors when they are never seen together in the original movie.

    Video Games 
  • Nakaba Hanabusa from the visual novel Clock Zero originally didn't have a route of his own in the PS2 and PSP ports of the game despite all of the members of Clock Zero being romanceable options for Nadeshiko. This, in spite of extra materials all but stating that all of the boys in her club, including him, are in love with her regardless of route. Come the latest Vita port and after much demand from the fans, Nakaba finally gets a route of his own!
  • Harvest Moon:
  • When the Takarazuka Revue stage adaptation of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was announced, fans who were familiar with the Takarazuka's penchant for adding in romantic subplots speculated wildly on who'd end up as Phoenix's love interest, with guesses ranging from the plausible (Mia, Maya) to the highly unlikely (Edgeworth). In the end, the one who got the promotion was, of all people, Lana Skye (well, they called her Leona, but if it walks like a Lana and quacks like a Lana...), a character who appears in only one case (albeit a fairly long one) and doesn't have any particular history or chemistry with Phoenix.
  • In the Mass Effect series, Garrus and Tali weren't originally intended as romance options. Fans liked them so much that they were added to the roster of possible love interests in the second game. Funnily enough, if Shepard pursues neither of them, they hook up with each other near the end of the third game. Additionally, Kaidan Alenko (assuming he survives that long) is promoted to a love interest for Male!Shepard in Mass Effect 3, having previously been exclusively susceptible to FemShep's charms.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Anders is first introduced in the expansion Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. He can flirt with a female Warden-Commander and was well-received by fans, some of whom were disappointed that he could not be properly romanced. He's a full-fledged romance option in Dragon Age II, where some of his dialogue implies that he actually falls in love with Hawke whether he's romanced or not.
    • Cullen's fans have been asking the developers to do this for him since he was introduced in Dragon Age: Origins. They finally did in Dragon Age: Inquisition, making him romanceable by human or elven female Inquisitors. His is one of the longer romance arcs in the game, and he's the only male love interest who will propose marriage in the final DLC.
  • Crea's route in Duel Savior Destiny mostly replaces the harem route from the original game, though in order to accommodate this change they made surprisingly few tweaks to the original story, which makes Crea not really fit in very well with what's going on.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In the original RE2 and following titles, Claire Redfield is Just Friends with fellow protagonist Leon Scott Kennedy and mostly shows no romantic interest in him like she does with Steve Burnside in Code Veronica, nor does Leon show interest in her. In the 2019 remake however Claire has a none too subtle crush on Leon, low-key flirting with him at one point in his A scenario which he responds to, and even Sherry Birkin assumes they're couple at the end. According to producer Tsuyoshi Kanda, this was entirely intentional.
    • Similarly in the original RE3 Carlos Oliveira's attraction to the heroine Jill Valentine was quite one-sided with Jill (who cared more about suriving the Zombie Apocalypse) not responding to Carlos's several attempts to hit on her. In the remake, Jill is presented as a Tsundere who slowly begins to warm to Carlos throughout the game, even giving him a Longing Look through a window when she speeds away from him on a train and has a Nightmare Sequence about being forced to kill him when he zombifies.
  • In the original Dragon Quest VIII, Jessica was a friend of the hero and her feelings for him were platonic. In the 3DS version, however, there's an alternative ending where the hero marries her instead of Medea.
  • In AZEL: Panzer Dragoon RPG, Azel feels loyalty for Craymen, the man who woke her from her sleep, and she regards Edge, t he protagonist, with little more than cautious friendship. When the game was localized as Panzer Dragoon Saga, her lines were rewritten to have her confess her love for Edge by the end of the game, and she travels the world looking for him. The following game, Orta, apparently adopted this as canon, as she has produced a child named Orta by using Edge's genes.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Jessie Rasberry was a minor member of AVLANCHE who very briefly flirted with protagonist Cloud Strife if the player choose to respond to her before dying when Shrina attacks Sector 7. In the Final Fantasy VII Remake Jessie gets a massive Adaptational Expansion to her character, and is firmly Cloud's Third-Option Love Interest after Tifa and Aerith even inviting him back to her room for sex at one point in the game. This makes Jessie death towards the end all the more sad despite it being a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Stardew Valley originally only had 10 romanceable characters. Roughly a year after initial release, the game received an update that added Emily and Shane to the player's marriage roster. About two years after this, another patch promoted Ensembled Shadow Person Krobus to The Not-Love Interest—he can become the player's roommate in a method that's mechanically identical to marriage, but he's stated to simply be the player's platonic friend.

    Visual Novel 
  • In the original version of Princess Evangile, Ruriko, Tamie, Mitsuki, Konomi, and Marika were all supporting characters that Masaya had no option of pursuing. Come W, he now has the option of hooking up with all of them.
  • In the original version of Little Busters!, Sasami and Kanata were minor characters who were only relevant when it involved Rin and Haruka respectively. When the Ecstasy version was released, the new content included routes for the two of them.
  • In the original Dengeki Stryker, Hilko was an antagonist from the Balboran Empire who uses telekenesis as her main type of attack and has tried to kill Yuuki at some occasion. In Chou Dengeki Stryker, Hilko has a route where she can romance Yuuki, ignoring that he is Stryker.
  • Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow follows the "interactive media" deal described above, by first introducing the cast and then gradually releasing the romance sidequests: that way, charas that are seen in the background of each path at first gain their own romance routes. The strategy includes four "release series", each one featuring three prospect boyfriends (or five, in the last batch) whose quests are released gradually as months pass:
    • Series 1, The Revenge on the Evil: it has Ukyo, Asagi and Eduard
    • Series 2, The Truth of Nagasaki: it has Yuzuki, Ritsu and Kagura
    • Series 3, The Hidden Story of Nagasaki: it has Makoto, Shintaro and Toru
    • Series 4, Coming of the New Age: it has Tsubaki, Hijikata, Okita and Sakamoto as of November 2017. The last route, belonging to Nobuyoshi aka the Shogun, is slated for either late January or early February 2018.

    Web Comics 
  • Peanuts Untold: Lila in the original Peanuts was a rather minor character whose only relevance was being Snoopy's previous owner. In this webcomic, she joins the gang and becomes Charlie Brown's girlfriend.

    Web Original 
  • Barbie Vlog: Inverted. The toy couple, Ken and Barbie, are Just Friends. It's heavily implied that Barbie likes Ken.

    Western Animation 
  • BIONICLE:
    • The franchise usually follows the No Hugging, No Kissing rule to the extreme — justified since the characters are cyborgs who don't reproduce that way — but in the second and third movies, Matau noticeably flirts with Nokama quite a bit and there are some pretty noticeable hints that Nokama herself is into Vakama. The third movie also involves an Unholy Matrimony plot with the villains. (Other Bionicle media does include this stuff, but pretty much only to keep consistent with the movies. In the case of the Unholy Matrimony, Word of God writes off "marriage" as strictly political in this 'verse.)
    • In the first movie, there are some incredibly obvious hints that Hahli and Jaller like each other, though this was back before the hugging/kissing rule was really brought in.
    • The fourth movie took place in a world where the characters weren't nonromantic cyborgs, and one of the female characters (well, the only one to ever get a spotlight, anyway), Kiina, has shown feelings toward Berix — which Word of God promptly declared to be a show of mere sympathy. However in the sequel novel, Kiina was then promoted to a romantic interest, for real, to the movie's main hero Mata Nui. But as the storyline was still targeted at a younger male audience (who, according to the creators, are still afraid of cooties), and since Mata Nui was an outcast from the no-romance world and also had to turn back into an Humongous Mecha, this "relationship" didn't last beyond one small reference in the novel.
  • Happened to Spider-Woman in the Iron Man cartoon. Considering the Merchandise-Driven nature of the show, this was assuredly so that they could give Tony Stark a love interest who could get a toy.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man inverts this in the case of Mary Jane Watson. In the comics, she's one of several Love Interests for Peter, albeit the one he finally married (until One More Day, at least). In most adaptations, most notably the movies, she's given a greater role while the others are reduced, cut or combined with her. In The Spectacular Spider-Man, she goes with Peter to a dance in her first appearance, but is otherwise just a close friend—the main love interests are Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan (plus some heavy-duty flirting from Black Cat when she appears). However, there were five seasons planned and, according to Word of God, Mary Jane would have eventually been promoted. Notable in that Gwen Stacy would still be alive. Some other non-canon couples get together (Sally with Randy, Kenny and Glory).
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Hydro-Man was Mary Jane's ex-boyfriend from high school.
  • Also inverted in Ultimate Spider-Man where early episodes went out of their way to ship sink Peter and MJ. Given his teammates were often jerks in the first season, this led to it looking a lot like Harry Osborn was the closest thing to a love interest. However in the end Peter seems to just not be shipped with anyone by the show.
  • Inverted in Martin Mystery, where a character that serves as the protagonist's fiancee in the original comic is made his stepsister instead. Then it becomes something else.
  • In Justice League, an animated adaptation that is set in the DC Animated Universe, we have Hawkgirl and Green Lantern John Stewart. In the Unlimited seasons, she went into comics canon pairing with Hawkman, but John engaged in a relationship with Vixen, which fits this trope. Also, Huntress and The Question. To a lesser extent there's Wonder Woman and Batman, in the comics prior Diana and Bruce had kissed and flirted on rare occasions, the Justice League cartoon has Wonder Woman genuinely attracted to Batman who tries and fails not to fall for her as well.
  • Almost none of the couples in the Young Justice animated series are present in the comic; Miss Martian and Superboy are paired up together despite the former being single and the latter being in a relationship with Wonder Girl II in the comic; the Artemis from the comic is a villain and never had a relationship with Kid Flash; on the other hand, Speedy and Cheshire did get together and have a daughter in the comic, although the Speedy, now known as Red Arrow, that wound up with Cheshire on the show was really a clone of the original. Robin (Dick Grayson) and Zatanna are an interesting variation. In the series, Zatanna is a teenager roughly the same age as the rest of the main cast, rather than being around the same age as Batman. Zatanna has been a romantic interest for Batman in certain continuities (particularly the Main DCU and the DCAU), albeit, Dick and Zatanna only dated for a short time on the series anyways. The tie-in comic also reveals that he dated Rocket at some point and currently has an ill-defined thing with Batgirl. The season 2 finale also revealed that Cassie (aforementioned Wondergirl II) and Tim (Robin III) are in a relationship. While Cassie did kiss Tim in the comics she followed that up by fleeing from the room crying as they were both mourning their significant others and mutual friends Superboy and Spoiler at the time. The third season had hints that Artemis and Red Arrow, despite technically being in-laws, but living in the same house at the time, would also get together (even Artemis' own mother seemed to encourage it), but they decided they were better not falling in love with each other. Eventually, a few later canon pairings were established among the young heroes, as Guardian (Mal Duncan) and Bumblebee hook up in season 2, and season 3 had two pairings that hooked up offscreen prior to the season, with Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) and Thirteen, and the aformentioned Dick Grayson, now Nightwing, finally hooking up with Oracle after his relationship with Zatanna (and Rocket in the tie-in comics) ended.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Kid Flash is paired with Jinx, who is also a supervillain with whom he had no relationship in the comics. So apparently he has a type.
    • It's inverted with Beast Boy and Raven. While in the comics that were out at the time had them in a romantic relationship, in the cartoon they have more of a brother-sister relationship instead. Canonically. Don't tell the shippers.
    • It's inverted with Robin and Raven. During the '80s run that the show is based on, Raven had an unrequited crush on Robin. It is not present in the cartoon. They're strictly platonic on both ends, minus the occasional Relationship Writing Fumble.
  • Teen Titans Go! is based on the aforementioned cartoon but is set in an Alternate Universe. Raven and Beast Boy are no longer platonic, and Cyborg gets teased a lot with Jinx (though they did kinda have a thing when he infiltrated the Hive Academy in the original series). Inverted with Starfire and Robin. Robin is head-over-heels for Starfire but many jokes are made about how Starfire only likes him platonically (though Depending on the Writer there are some implications she may like Robin).
  • While the episode focused on Gus and Cornchip Girl in Recess had the trappings of Star-Crossed Lovers and Dating What Daddy Hates plots, it was nothing more than Ship Tease given the characters' ages and midsets. The Japanese dub, however, simply made it an actual romance plot by titling the episode "Gus's Girlfriend."
  • Inverted in The Super Mario Bros Super Show!. Mario and Peach are possibly the video game Official Couple but there is no romantic implications between them in the cartoon. Then again, the games can be ambiguous about this at times, too.
  • The Legend of Zelda cartoon is infamous for this. Zelda and Link are given an Age Lift and Link is constantly asking for a kiss. In The Legend of Zelda there is nothing to suggest anything between them besides Link saving Zelda, plus they're both in their "young" forms rather than their teenage versions.
  • In the mainstream Sonic the Hedgehog games, Amy has an unrequited crush on Sonic and is very loud about it, much to his distress. In Sonic Boom, the two are good friends and Amy keeps her crush a secret. Unlike in other continuities, Sonic is shown to also have feelings for Amy.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! never depicted anything but platonic interactions between its teenaged cast, but since the franchise revival in the late 90s it's been rare for adaptations not to portray anything from mutual crushing to Official Couple status between Fred and Daphne (a classic Fan-Preferred Couple due to their tendency to go off alone together when the gang "split up," which was apparently just a way to get the two relatively "boring" characters off-screen and focus on the quirkier Velma, Shaggy and Scooby). It's also become increasingly common to pair Shaggy and Velma.
  • In the original She-Ra cartoon Catra is Archenemy to Adora aka She-Ra, in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power she's Adora's Love Interest and they kiss in episode 13 of the fifth season.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Inverted with Casey Jones in the 1987 cartoon. While he and April are an Official Couple in the original comics, here he’s Demoted to Extra and there is nothing romantic between him and April.
    • In the original comics, April and the turtles’ relationship is platonic, but adaptations like to have at least one of the turtles have a crush on her. In the 1987 series, all the turtles show interest in April at least once. In the 2003 series, Donatello is implied to have a Precocious Crush on April. The 2012 series takes it to new levels: Donatello has an obvious crush on April, but unlike other versions, there are hints the feelings are mutual, not to mention there’s a Love Triangle between Casey, April, and Donnie.
    • In previous versions, Karai and Leonardo don’t have all that much Ship Tease, though fans liked to ship them. In the 2012 series, they have a Dating Catwoman thing going on and often flirt with each other.

Alternative Title(s): Weenalized, Promotion To Love Interest

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