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You have an ongoing serial or a Verse of some kind. In the canon of that work is an element that has become an embarrassment or is just plain out of date, one that has been abandoned or is in severe danger of being abandoned. Canon Discontinuity is what happens when that element is written out. Reimagining the Artifact, on the other hand, is what happens when you try to make that element work with the overall tone of the serial.

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To qualify, the element must have either been abandoned or been treated purely as The Artifact.

If the problem was with an Artifact Title, this strategy may result in a retroactively Justified Title.

Related to Took a Level in Badass, Reconstruction (when something similar is done for a trope or genre, rather than a character or concept) and Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. See also Cerebus Retcon, where something similar happens mid-story. Also related to Grandfather Clause, where The Artifact or Discredited Trope is kept in a Long Runner because it's so engrained within the work's mythos that it is impossible to dispose of, but this trope can be used in later installments or adaptations to justify keeping said Discredited Trope. May also involve a Replacement Artifact if something thought to be The Artifact was first removed, found not to be, and then replaced with a tweaked version.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, the Great Ape element of Saiyans largely disappeared after the end of the Saiyan Saga in Z. Future Dragon Ball media brought it back in different ways.
    • Goku becomes a Golden Great Ape in Dragon Ball GT after regaining his tail and using the Earth as a substitute for the Moon. Since it can only be used by Super Saiyans with their tails, Golden Great Apes are basically Super Saiyan Great Apes, but with the drawback of having near-uncontrollable rage. More importantly, controlling the rage is a necessary stepping stone to achieve the even greater power of Super Saiyan 4, which draws its strength by using the nature of the Great Ape form in a Saiyan's smaller humanoid state. Even still, Baby Vegeta as a Golden Great Ape is still more than a match for Super Saiyan 4 Goku.
    • While Broly doesn't become a Great Ape in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, he's stated to have a unique genetic mutation that lets him tap into the power of one in his base form, which comes into play for his "Rage" form.
  • In Osomatsu-kun, Iyami was a No Celebrities Were Harmed refence to Tony Tani, whose get-rich-quick schemes and loud attitude made him a Breakout Character among fans. When he was reintroduced in Osomatsu-san, the dated references were turned into him being a former star who clings to 60's humor as a reminder of his Glory Days, and his schemes were made a result of the Matsunos literally robbing him of house and home. "Iyami-san is Troubled" addresses this aspect of his character, and even further states that he was Demoted to Extra in season 2 because the writers couldn't figure out how to keep reimagining him.

    Comic Books 
  • Grant Morrison does this frequently, so much so that they have their own folder.
  • Apache Chief, widely regarded as one of the lamest of the Superfriends, was re-adapted in 2002 by Joe Kelly into a much more interesting character, Manitou Raven.
  • Jughead from Archie Comics wears a whoopee cap on his head: a type of hat made from a fedora turned inside-out with the brim cut into a crown shape. It was an actual fashion in the 1940s amongst young boys, and was meant to signify Jughead being immature for his age, but fell out of style and the significance was lost. Later readers were more likely to assume it was something like a Burger King crown, especially with the comic's more stylised art. The 2015 reboot introduced a new meaning behind the hat: Jughead was a wealthy boy who wore a fedora until his parents lost their money due to being swindled by a water bottle company, after which he cut up his hat into the familiar whoopee cap.
  • This is what Brian Michael Bendis has done with Marvel's lesser or dated 1970s characters like Luke Cage and the first Spider-Woman.
  • According to his commentary in an Ultimate Spider-Man collection, this was also Bendis's intention with the introduction of that universe's Venom. The series' treatment of The Clone Saga is a more solid example.
  • Batman:
    • The Batcave's giant penny. Despite being the most infamous part of the cave's background, Batman got it from an early, absurdly minor foe of his called the Penny Plunderer. Said villain has never made a comeback, but his penny is too iconic to drop at this point, so most later incarnations starting with Batman: The Animated Series kept it but attributed it to Two-Face instead.
    • Robin: As comics get Darker and Edgier, a Kid Sidekick is more and more obviously an unethical endangerment of the poor kid, especially since letting them actually die is nothing new. Why is there still always a Robin? The reasons vary, but they usually come down to the kid being set on a dark and dangerous path anyway, and Batman taking them under his wing to make sure the kid can actually survive in a place like Gotham and, in some cases, be a proper hero instead of crossing the line.
      • Dick Grayson: This is how the original Robin's origin story was reimagined, with Dick trying avenge his Death by Origin Story-victim parents on his own anyway before Batman took him in. It was an important part of the backstory of Nightwing (Rebirth) with the introduction of Raptor, a fellow Romani and old friend of his mother: once thieves, she went straight while Raptor didn't, and he sought to raise Dick his own way but Bruce got to him first.
      • Jason Todd: He was a delinquent who Bruce wanted to help, knowing that he had the potential to be a hero but would more than likely end up as just another petty criminal if Bruce didn't intervene. It's also implied that Bruce used him as a Replacement Goldfish for Dick after their falling-out.
      • Tim Drake: The role of Robin was reimagined somewhat differently with Tim, with Robin stepping in to save Batman from going down a dark path rather than the other way around. After Jason Todd's death, Batman's borderline-instability could easily turn into a He Who Fights Monsters case if he didn't have someone to keep him down to Earth; Tim took up the mantle (after first unsuccessfully trying to persuade Dick to return) out of the belief that "Batman needs a Robin."
      • Damian Wayne is the most blatant example. Raised by a multinational secret society to be the perfect assassin, he seemed all set to inherit the throne of his grandfather, Ra's Al Ghul. However, he instead chose to follow the footsteps of his father, Bruce Wayne. Damian can and has killed many full-grown and trained men, so his time as Robin is more to teach him morality and compassion.
    • This article on The Agony Booth discusses old, laughable Batman villains who were reimagined into much more effective and menacing threats.
    • Batman famously refuses to carry a gun under any circumstances, even though he doesn't have any superpowers, and his job would presumably be a lot safer if he at least kept a pistol around for self-defense. For most of his history, this was largely because the Comics Code Authority severely limited portrayals of violence in comic books, so it became a general rule that superheroes just don't carry guns.note  These days, that's no longer the case; not only is the CCA defunct, superhero comics are now marketed to adults almost as often as children, and superheroes who carry guns (like Cable, the Punisher, and even Batman's former sidekick Red Hood) are fairly common. Today, though, Batman's hatred of guns is a well-established part of his characterization rather than a standard superhero trope. He could get away with carrying a gun if he wanted, but he refuses to stoop to criminals' level by committing murder, and he prefers to prove his superior physical ability by beating them the old-fashioned way. Sometimes it's linked specifically to Batman's grief for his parents, who were killed by a gun.
  • Black Canary's outfit dates back to when she briefly was a 1940s pulp villain. In the 1980s and 1990s, DC tried to reimagine its dated style by having the Legacy Character Black Canary style herself after her mother's old costume. When that became unlikely due to Comic-Book Time, DC reimagined it again. In the 2010s, Black Canary became a punk rocker, which coincidently fits her costume.
  • Superman had several of these:
    • Bizarro was originally a dimwitted clone of Superman created by a scientist's replicating ray, and he famously ruled over the topsy-turvy cube-shaped planet of "Bizarro World", which was populated by similarly dimwitted replicas of Superman and his friends. Some of the campier aspects of the character's origin story — like the cube-shaped planet, and the replicating ray — wouldn't have translated very well to the more grounded and serious post-Crisis continuity, but the general concept of a flawed Superman replica was popular enough that Bizarro himself was brought back. In his new origin, though, he was a genetically engineered clone created by a team of scientists on Lex Luthor's payroll, and his mental deficiency was played a bit more dramatically, making him more of a Tragic Monster than a bumbling simpleton.
    • Superman did this with the Clark Kent identity Post-Crisis. In the old days, he was just what the TV intro said: Superman, disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent. He really had no reason to have a human identity, especially after his powers increased to the point that the job at the newspaper in order to find out about dirty deeds was no longer necessary. Post-Crisis, he's now more Clark Kent who dresses up as Superman and not the other way around. He was raised as Clark Kent, after all, and he doesn't want to give up that identity. Sometimes it's noted that the Clark Kent persona keeps him humble and grounded, avoiding the A God Am I mentality that otherwise might tempt him. (Contrast with General Zod.) It's also been said that he likes the Self-Imposed Challenge of learning to be good at something for reasons other than his Game-Breaker powers; being able to throw a whole island into space won't help you win a Pulitzer.
    • There's also Superman's use of glasses to hide his civilian identity. Today, very few people seriously believe that he can effortlessly disguise his face just by donning a pair of glasses, but a few modern writers have toyed with the idea that he actually uses the glasses to hide his distinctive eye color (a bright shade of robin's egg blue that isn't seen in normal human eyes), which is one of the few visible markers of his Kryptonian heritage. Fittingly, this detail came right about the time that Clark's extraterrestrial roots were starting to get more focus in the series (they were originally just a convenient explanation for his superpowers, but have since become a crucial part of the Superman mythos).
    • Christopher Reeve's performance in the movies also made Clark Kenting make more sense. With his acting ability, the total change in demeanor was enough to make pretty much anyone say "Okay, now I can see it."
    • By The '80s, Oswald "The Prankster" Loomis was one of the most problematic Superman Rogues Gallery villains because, for such an enduring character (he's one of the precious few still recurring Superman characters created back in The Golden Age of Comic Books) he posed the least credible threat of all: a gangster, his gimmick consisted in committing crimes in the form of pranks, without having any extraordinary powers himself. This made him the least threatening Superman villain fifty years later when John Byrne re-imagined him as a deranged former tv star bent on revenge for the cancellation of his show by Morgan Edge. This version still was not enough to convince the readers, but by then the Prankster had been around for so long and appeared on practically every Superman live action television show, so he was difficult to get rid off. Thus, in The Noughties he was again retooled as an arms dealer who also specialized in creating diversions to stall Superman when another more important crime was being committed by the Prankster's clients. Still not happy with the result, during the New 52 the Prankster was again re-imagined but as a villain for Nightwing, this time he appeared as a computer expert bent on avenging his father's death due to the carelessness of the corrupt mayor of Chicago.
    • Power Girl's infamous Cleavage Window has gotten DC Comics many complaints of sexism over the years, since it pretty clearly just exists to give readers something to ogle. It probably wouldn't fly if the character were introduced today, but it's also such an iconic part of her costume that it looks strange without it (partly because she doesn't have a chest insignia to replace it). The artists have tried to redesign her costume many times to get rid of the window, but none of their attempts have stuck. Eventually the writers settled on making Power Girl an unapologetic showoff with a playfully flirtatious personality, so it actually seems (somewhat) in-character that she would show off her breasts for the sake of it. It helps that she also has a healthy sense of humor about it, and isn't afraid to hang a lampshade on her sex appeal.note 
    • In a rather ironic case of Celebrity Paradox, Brainiac's name began to come off as a bit ridiculous after the character had been around for a decade or two, as the term "brainiac" eventually entered the popular American lexicon as a juvenile slang term for "genius" (the character is actually the origin of the word, which was coined simply as a portmanteau of "brain", "maniac", and "ENIAC", the first programmable computer), making one wonder why an alien robot would unironically call himself that in-universe. The Post-Crisis comics eventually retroactively decided that his name was an abbreviation of "Brain interactive construct", making it a bit easier to take seriously.
    • Krypto the Superdog was one of many animal sidekicks introduced during the golden age of comics. He would go on adventures with the other Kryptonians and had a thought process like a human. After Crisis on Infinite Earths and DC's mandate that Superman be the only surviving Kryptonian various substitutes for Krypto were created but none of them stuck. Eventually the mandate lessened on Krypto came back, but by then DC has moved away from goofy animal sidekicks. So instead writers emphasized his dog nature, making him act like an actual dog with a dog's temperament and loyalty to his masters, and usually hangs around the Kents.
  • Earth 2 was meant to do this with a number of Golden Age characters, reimagining them in a modern context. For instance, Wing is now a young Asian-American cameraman rather than the Asian Speekee Engrish caricature he was in the 30s. However, Executive Meddling led to the original writer leaving, and the new writer having to throw away all of that writer's work in favour of a Darker and Edgier plot revolving around an evil Superman.
  • Don Rosa did tons of this in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
  • DC brought back widely-hated Fad Super / Captain Ethnic Vibe, who was killed off in the 80s shortly after his debut. They've given him a less-ridiculous costume and removed the more offensive aspects of his back story (he's no longer a Gang Banger who talks like Al Pacino from Scarface (1983), and his real name — Paco — was reclassified as his Embarrassing Middle Name, with his actual real name being Cisco) to make him a more well-rounded character, which led him to become a main character in The Flash (2014).
  • Likewise, Bucky Barnes. While Robin's reimaginings tend to keep the Kid Sidekick angle as a basis, Bucky, though remaining a junior partner to Captain America, became a kind of shadow assassin that did the dirty work that an iconic symbol like Cap just couldn't be seen to do. The Kid Sidekick turned into a sniper that used "Kid Sidekick" as a cover. The Ultimate Universe had him as a wartime photographer who was assigned to photograph Cap kicking Nazi ass; the movie aged him up and made him a friend and fellow soldier.
  • Rick Remender has stated he's fond of this practice, as he considers it a challenge to use obscure or hated characters from periods like the 90s. He's since made Onslaught, a widely hated 90s villain, the Big Bad of AXIS, and brought back Brother Voodoo, a hero from Marvel's 70's monster era whose obscurity was a Running Gag in Fred Hembeck's gag comics.
  • In X-Men, the New X-Men series ditched the standard superhero threads, a Silver Age convention seen as Narm by the writer in light of today's Darker and Edgier comic stories, for black and yellow leather outfits. When the spandex returned in Astonishing X-Men, we're given a good reason for it: The people need to feel like they can trust their heroes, especially the hated and feared mutants, so a "Darker and Edgier kill squad" look was wrong for them.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman had her invisible jet rendered pointless after it was decided she could fly, and it's been a topic of teasing ever since. However, more recently, people have realized that having a stealth vehicle that could transport people or cargo could be pretty damn useful and a lot more effective than simply carrying one person in your arms. Some versions also make it a high-tech sci-fi super-jet with a Star Trek-style cloak rather than a biplane that is totally invisible and somehow Wondy, appearing to float in midair in a sitting position, just knows where all the buttons are. (Mind you, Narm Charm exists too, so just as often, that's exactly what it looks like, and it is awesome.)
    • Steve Trevor has gone through this often. Being the poster child (and page image) for Useless Boyfriend despite his Ace Pilot status writers can't really find much to do with him, but he hangs on because they all assume that, being the Wonder Woman equivalent of Lois Lane, he should be there. Post Crisis in Wonder Woman (1987) he was reimagined as Etta Candy's husband instead of Diana's, leaving the princess with a several short lived romances with other characters which were all poorly received by the readers. However, the New 52 relaunch has turned him into the liaison between the Justice League and A.R.G.U.S., turning him into the Alternate Company Equivalent of Marvel's Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • IDW's Transformers works do this frequently, reimagining old gimmicks from the franchise's early years.
    • Combiners are treated as a Fantastic Nuke, with the Autobots having to pull out of Earth when the original combiner is abducted by the Decepticons, who naturally want their own.
    • Micromasters are an attempt by the villains to re-create Cybertron on another world, and aside from being smaller and more energy-efficient they are incredibly manoeuvrable, agile, and numerous, what with there being a whole planet of them.
    • Headmasters are the result of several thousand years worth of tinkering and stealing by their creator, and the final result is much more efficient and deadly than the average Cybertronian.
    • The first Pretender managed to ravage Cybertron, and all the ones after are still portrayed as powerhouses and credible threats, resistant to things that would normally be serious threats to a Transformer.
    • The Dinobots choose their out-of-place alternate modes in order to survive on a prehistoric Earth where the conditions are hazardous to them without protection, and quickly become attached. Their designs are also reimagined to look more like real dinosaurs, complete with scale alterations as needed (meaning the member who turns into a brachiosaurus is now head and shoulders over everyone else).
    • Action Masters, the Transformers that didn't transform at all, are Cybertronians who have renounced transforming for religious reasons, even having the mechanisms needed to transform removed surgically, for which they have faced a lot of prejudice, including at one point being the instant suspects in a terrorism case.
    • The existence of Cyber Cyclops characters in a race of sentient machines horrifyingly explained as a form of punitive mutilation called "Empurata" where their faces were removed and their hands chopped off, and they were left with just a singular optic and unwieldy claws. Because it was only supposed to happen to criminals, they were publicly humiliated and shamed for speaking against the corrupt government, while also shoving them straight into the Uncanny Valley from a Cybertronian perspective.
    • Titans like Metroplex and Fortress Maximus are not just really really big Transformers who turn into cities, but are inexplicable relics from an ancient age who served the founders of Cybertronian society, and are considered borderline divine/mystical beings.
    • Those who have extra "superpowers" like Skywarp's ability to teleport, Soundwave's psychic powers, or Trailbreaker's forcefield generation aren't just built that way; they are "outliers", essentially the Cybertronian equivalent to Marvel's X-Men, born with these abilities for unknown reasons.
      • Similarly, the incredible strength and resilience of the likes of Optimus Prime, Megatron, or Grimlock are explained as them being "Point-one percenters", extremely rare sea-green sparks that when implanted inside a body, supercharge them.
    • With the Revolution mini-series establishing the Hasbro Comic Universe, they've done things to some of the other franchises- ie. M.A.S.K. is a sub-division of G.I. Joe (which in turn is now a division of the Earth Defense Command, from the G1 Transformer cartoon) designed to combat the Cybertronians, rather than just a team of good guys taking on bad guys (VENOM being led by the breakaway Miles "Mayhem" Mannheim, who had earlier been in charge of MASK, and prior to that was the "Sea Adventurer" in Joe Colton's Adventure Team).
    • The Decepticons' name in the IDW continuity wasn't, at least originally, an open proclamation that they were the bad guys; it was because their rallying cry, back when they were rebelling against the corrupt Senate and the repressive Functionist caste system, was "You are being deceived".
  • The Shadow Hero is a Revival of the little-known 1940s superhero the Green Turtle, and provides in-canon explanations for many of the more peculiar aspects of the character, such as his unnaturally pink skin, Stripperiffic costume, and curious turtle-shaped Living Shadow.
  • In today's political climate, it's next to impossible to unironically portray an American Captain Patriotic character who can be taken seriously, since unquestioning loyalty to the most powerful military superpower in the Western hemisphere is far more likely to be seen as the mark of a soldier than the mark of a superhero. So then why is Captain America still such a popular character? Well, in addition to being the oldest example of such a character still in publication, the modern incarnation of Cap is easy to root for because he fights for American ideals—freedom, democracy, equality and human rights—rather than for America's government. He's actually far more likely to question (or outright challenge) authority figures than many other superheroes, and will gladly disobey any order that goes against his conscience. In his own words: "I am loyal to nothing... except the dream."
    • This portrayal of Captain America actually goes all the way back to the 70s, as an attempt to portray him as his Golden Age self in the 50s (just having switched from punching Nazis to punching Communists) completely tanked with readers. In fact, that run was so unpopular that it was subsequently retconned that the McCarthy-era Captain America was actually a government assigned replacement; a right-wing man who leapt at the chance to defend America from Communism and who was slowly driven mad by the failed reproduction of Cap's Super Serum. He was even brought back in the 2000s as an Evil Reactionary, as a combination of the damage done to his mind and his strong 50s-era Conservative cultural values left him both horrified by the way progressive values had reshaped America since his time and unwilling to come to terms with it.
  • Gorilla Grodd, one of the Flash's archenemies, was introduced during a period when gorillas were something of a fad in superhero comics. By the end of the Silver Age, he had essentially become an ignored, one-note threat, and only kept appearing because he'd been around so long. But post-Crisis writers brought him back into relevance by making him a Knight of Cerebus bent on complete world domination, and one of the Flash's deadliest foes; in Geoff Johns' seminal run, in fact, he nearly destroyed Central City singlehandedly. It helps that modern writers tend to emphasize the Lack of Empathy at the heart of his character, demonstrating how scary an aggressively territorial ape would really be with genius-level human intellect, but no human compassion whatsoever.
  • In Green Lantern comics, the Green Lantern rings had the weakness of not having effect on anything yellow. This was later said to be due to the influence of Parallax, who had been imprisoned in the Lantern batteries for eons.
  • Egg Fu, a Silver Age Wonder Woman villain who was literally a Chinese sentient egg (the name's based on a Chinese dish named egg foo young) who embodied all Yellow Peril stereotypes imaginable, is widely despised for his bizarre concept and gross racial stereotyping. There have, however, been several attempts by writers who like Silver Age wackiness to update him in a less offensive way, most notably by Grant Morrison in 52 as a serious Chinese mad scientist villain, and later by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti in Harley Quinn as a benign American small-time mad scientist who becomes one of Harley's circle of weirdos in Coney Island. As for his origin, later appearances of him as a villain give him an Apokoliptian origin and a much scarier appearance.
  • Bebop and Rocksteady were created for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) to serve as Shredder's Dumb Muscle, and with the show being comedic and primarily aimed at kids, they were soon Flanderized into being so dumb that they were barely functional and the Turtles outwitted them at every turn, making you wonder why Shredder kept them around for so long; other continuities tended to ignore them as a result. Then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) came along and had them just dumb enough to serve as Comedic Relief Characters while playing up their Super Strength to the point where they are almost impossible to defeat.
  • The Dawn of X relaunch for the X-Men brand retools some of the old lingering elements that go back decades and seem out of place or passe today, but simply couldn't be removed completely due to tradition.
    • The first issue of House of X provides clear and solid definition of what an Omega level mutant was. Before, it was a vague term that loosely meant "mutant who won the Superpower Lottery", and yet it was inconsistently applied and done haphazardly only to be forgotten. Here, the definition is a mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register or reach an undefinable upper-limit of that power's specific classification (ex. Iceman to temperature manipulation, Storm to weather manipulation, Magneto to magnetism, Jean Grey to telepathy etc.) while presenting a list of those definitively considered Omega.
    • One of the messiest backstories, yet crucial to that of an iconic character, was Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke having a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Kwannon that turned her from a wholesome Caucasian Brit to a very sexualized Asian ninja. Racial politics aside, this made her so popular that the change stuck, with Marvel even forbidding the writers from undoing it. However, escalating political correctness and the desire for authentic representation as the years passed eventually drew more attention to Psylocke, and in 2018 she was finally reverted to her original Caucasian body and made Tamer and Chaster as a result. For many, however, this didn't take, and sexy ninja Psylocke proved to still be more popular than wholesome White Psylocke. Dawn of X decides to have its cake and eat it by having Betsy become the new Captain Britain and headlining Excalibur (2019), while Kwannon becomes Psylocke II and becomes an Ascended Extra as the main character of Fallen Angels (2019). Betsy remains white and develops as a character, while a recognizable version of Psylocke fans know and love for decades remains. (Your mileage may vary on how well it works - the character with the name and appearance of Psylocke has a totally different history than the Betsy you were hoping to see in an X-book.)
    • X-Force is reimagined from a dark black ops team of anti-heroes to being the mutant CIA that's equal parts intelligence and special ops. X-Force has a history of this, considering the title was born out of the '90s Dark Age and had to be reinvented numerous times to fit as a current title.
  • Titans Hunt (2015): The members of Diablo are the Silver Age villains of the Titans—Mad Mod, Honeybun, and Ding Dong Daddy—reworked into more sensible incarnations. Mad Mod trades up the 60's fashion for a more hipster-y appearance, Honeybun is a proper Cyborg as opposed to a giant Spider Tank thing, and Ding Dong Daddy is now a mercenary riding around in a Black Magic-enhanced muscle car as opposed to a PSA villain over the dangers of dropping out of high school.

    Fan Works 
  • While he's still a VR genius who locked ten thousand people in a video game to have at each other, Akihiko Kayaba is drastically overhauled to fit the Gag Dub and Fix Fic elements of Sword Art Online Abridged. He has come to genuinely hate every single player due to their stupidity they show for their situation instead of being just apathetic, giving everyone a very real sense that he could kill them at any point for any reason. It's shown that his SAO game itself is very buggy and stale compared to what everyone was expecting, due to him focusing on the VR experience. Finally, this Kayaba didn't actually mean for anyone to get killed in the first place, but was so out of his mind staying awake to finish the game on time (Christmas Rushed being an unfortunate real-life scenario as it is) that he didn't realize a glitch was killing players until it was too late. Sanity Slippage made him just roll with it and trap everyone to save face.
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    Grant Morrison 
Grant Morrison loves doing this.
  • In their JLA run, Morrison brought back such goofy stuff as Aquaman's Silver Age imp sidekick Quisp in a way that fit the tone of the new title.
  • Seven Soldiers was a project whose entire remit was to take dated or underused old characters and re-imagine them for today.
  • All-Star Superman is almost nothing but Reimagining Artifacts from the 1960s and 1950s stories.
  • Grant Morrison's Batman has a bunch of these, as part of their quest to make everything canon.
    • Morrison's unconventional take on Robin with the character of Damian Wayne deserves special mention. Where many fans have previously taken the very concept of a Kid Sidekick with a grain of salt (see above) because of the obvious dangers of the superhero profession, Damian shook up the classic Batman/Robin dynamic in that he was a scarily competent fighter who was raised as an assassin from an early age, and he could be even more deadly in the field than Dick Grayson, who served as the Batman to his Robin.
    • Morrison also brought back Bat-Mite, who was a thoroughly Silver Age thing that wasn't used beyond that point if not in some kind of Mxyzptlk story or something. Morrison reimagined him as the drug-fueled guide to Batman on his journey in "Batman R.I.P." However, it's also played with in classic Morrison fashion when Batman actually asks Bat-Mite if he legitimately is an imp from the 5th dimension or just a figment of his imagination. Bat-Mite answers him by saying that the 5th Dimension is imagination; given their strange behavior and power, he may be telling the truth here (and future content seems to confirm it.)
    • The Club of Heroes that Batman belonged to is reimagined as a kind of parody of the Legion of Super-Heroes; they were formed by a bored billionaire who wanted a club of heroes of his own, and Batman never even showed up to their first official meeting, and the club disbanded after that.
    • On a more general note, Batman's aversion for alcohol, at least as far as The Silver Age of Comic Books had it, was originally part of his goody-two shoes personality. Now, it is part of his fear of losing his physical and mental edge if he drinks, so he has good reason to prefer milk.

    Film — Animated 
  • In DC Showcase: Green Arrow, this is done with Green Arrow's infamous boxing glove arrows. The arrow's purpose was to strike the opponent with blunt force, in order to deal a good but non-lethal blow from long range. However, it was too goofy for some to take seriously. Here, they are replaced with cylinders or segments (about the size of the exploding arrowhead) made out of what appears to be vulcanized rubber or something similar as to be able to impact hard without impairing the arrow's flight or looking goofy. In essence, the arrow equivalent of rubber bullets.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): In the games, Eggman's name is a reference to his bizarre body shape — his fat, round torso and long, thin arms and legs making him look like an egg. However, in the film he's played by average-sized Jim Carrey, and no attempt is made at making him look fat. The name is instead coined by Sonic in reference to the machines Eggman controls, many of which have sleek white and round designs that resemble eggs.
  • Star Trek (2009):
    • Dr. McCoy's nickname from Star Trek: The Original Series, "Bones", comes from the term "Sawbones", which was an old nickname for doctors. Since the term has fallen from the parlance, the film had Kirk call McCoy "Bones" because, in his introduction, he explains he's joining Starfleet because "The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I've got left is my bones."
    • Similarly, simply having an African American woman as a major character was revolutionary and progressive in the 1960s, but many more current criticisms would point out that Uhura was "answering the phones" while the white male leads went off on adventures. This criticism wasn't strictly fair, but that didn't stop the Kelvin Timeline films from making sure to point out that Uhura's linguistic skills were extremely valuable and elevating her to an Action Girl along with the male leads. When dealing with completely foreign cultures, often for the first time, whoever "answers the phone" better be a gifted speaker for your people.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger takes the comic-book re-imagining of Bucky one further and makes him a grown man—the sequel has it that he's actually a year older than Cap. He's also a Chick Magnet who enlists in the army before Steve does. He does look comparatively younger and less intimidating next to post-serum Cap, but that's about it.
    • In Iron Man 3, the Mandarin's Yellow Peril persona is refitted for the 21st century by having this version of the character ultimately revealed as an actor hired to play up foreign terrorist stereotypes to cover up for the real mastermind, Aldrich Killian. Note that this turned out quite controversial, however, with many fans feeling that they were a bit too imaginative with this particular artifact. A short film, All Hail the King, would later reveal that there was an actual Mandarin who was not happy about Slattery posing as him. This true Mandarin would later appear as the lead villain of the 2021 film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): Wong, for decades an infamous example of Ethnic Menial Labor in the comics, is given Adaptational Badass treatment as Strange's magic instructor and eventual partner.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming updates several aspects that originated in the Sixties but don't really hold up as well fifty years later:
      • Peter's supporting cast used to be entirely white in the initial comics. Several characters from the comics are given a Race Lift because Society Marches On and given New York's status as a cultural melting pot with several immigrant communities it's more plausible for Peter's high school to be ethnically diverse.
      • Aunt May is Younger and Hipper, which is more plausible in terms of her being Peter's aunt given his young age and the present setting. That and cultural views of a mother figure have aged down considerably. Peter keeping his identity a secret is therefore less about her being physically unable to handle it and more about him not wanting to give her something to worry about when she's still mourning the death of Uncle Ben.
      • Originally, Peter being a nerd made him a social outcast. These days, nerdiness is more mainstream, and Peter's aptitude for science means he attends a SciTech magnet school. He also has a group of friends and classmates who genuinely like him, including his Best Friend Ned, with his social isolation translating to not being popular in general due to his dorky personality.
      • Michelle "MJ" Jones is a Broad Strokes modern reimagining of Mary Jane Watson. Original MJ was a '60s free spirit, more worldly and social than Peter despite coming from the same working-class background that he did, and was highly liked by fans for being a more modern character than the rest of Peter's gang who were still stuck in a late-50s time-warp. Since much of the context and dynamics have changed, a modern MJ represents a third-wave feminist, social activist common to the millennial generation, which still makes her stand out significantly among her peers, and is also changed to a mixed race girl (played by Zendaya).
      • The comics version of Eugene "Flash" Thompson started as a grab-bag of old-timey ideas of how The Bully looked and acted — i.e. a stereotypical blonde-haired, white-skinned, underwear-yanking meathead Jerk Jock who played American football a lot. This version of him is changed to a dark-skinned smug rich kid and faux-intellectual Nerdy Bully who goes after Peter with verbal insults and name-calling, e.g. "Penis Parker". This not only gels better with the changes to Peter's high school setting, but also reflects new understandings of how bullies look and act and the understanding they can come from any walk of life. Far from Home reveals his Freudian Excuse has been adjusted to fit this new paradigm as well, going from a physically-abusive father to two emotionally-negligent parents.
    • Black Panther also slightly alters some aspects:
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home:
      • Mysterio is a villain who was widely thought to be a little too cheesy and gimmicky to be in the MCU, known for making comic book concepts believable, especially with his trademark Fishbowl Helmet. Impressively, they managed to pull it off, albeit by making changes to the core concept. Instead of being a failed actor, he's a former Stark Industries employee who designed the company's cutting-edge "B.A.R.F." hologram system before being fired. His illusions come from said holograms rather than smoke and mirrors, and he relies on a support team of artists and technicians who consider Mysterio a Collective Identity. Even the costume, which is maintained faithfully to the source (fishbowl helmet and all), is lampshaded as being ridiculous; designed by a team of artists specifically to play into Superhero stereotypes.
      • The Stinger, following the same vein of logic as its predecessor reimagines The Daily Bugle - which has been traditionally depicted as a standard newspaper - as a disreputable news website known for resorting to sensationalist news, which was also done previously in Spider-Man (PS4). The reason for this was that back in the 1960s, more people were more willing to take the news at face value than they were in the 2010s.
    • Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings has the title character fight the real and more comics-accurate Mandarin, due to the backlash against the aforementioned twist from Iron Man 3. The reason is that, again, the Mandarin's Yellow Peril persona would not resonate well with 21st century audiences, especially if he were to go up against a White Male Lead such as Iron Man. However, if the Mandarin were to fight an Asian lead, this would not be the case.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man did some of this:
    • Aunt May: In the comics it's hard to imagine changing her, but this, like most 2000s adaptations, ages her down on the grounds that Peter's aunt — as in, the sister of one of a high-schooler's parents — would probably not be in her nineties.
    • Intelligence making you a total outcast is something of an exaggeration of how high school works — if anything, you'd probably be pretty cool if you could make gadgets like Peter does! As such, rather than everyone being a dick to Puny Parker, he's fairly popular, though Flash Thompson's still his nemesis 'cause hey, everyone's got an enemy or two.
  • Batman Forever applied this trope to the iconic Robin outfit, which had become a source of some mockery for being a bright red, green, and yellow outfit that contrasts sharply with Batman's black, blue, and grey outfit. The film depicts the traditional Robin outfit as the uniform of the Flying Graysons in the circus, so when Dick Grayson becomes a costumed fighter in his own right, he wears a suit of body armor just like Batman's, but bearing the colors of the circus uniform to honor his family, and the colors are muted and metallic to be less gaudy.
  • Although The Star Wars Holiday Special was treated by Lucasfilm as an embarrassment that would never again see the light of day, elements of it still made their way into the canon. Chewbacca's family, named the unfortunate "Malla", "Itchy", and "Lumpy", had their names retconned as nicknames akin to "Chewie", with their full names being "Mallatobuck", "Attichitcuk", and "Lumpawarrump". Likewise, the Wookiee holiday of "Life Day" is mentioned from time to time in Expanded Universe works, and Boba Fett (first introduced in an animated short in the Holiday Special) went on to become a major supporting character with a huge fan following. Life Day would even be brought into official Star Wars canon with an offhand mention in the first episode of The Mandalorian.
  • In Daniel Craig's first two James Bond films, Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace, the filmmakers made a conscious effort to abandon many of the campier aspects of the Tuxedo and Martini genre, like the flamboyant villains and the advanced gadgets. As such, series mainstay Q was nowhere to be seen. But when Q was reintroduced in Skyfall, Craig's third outing, he got a notable modern update as MI6's tech-savvy Mission Control with a talent for computer hacking, as well as being aged down significantly to contrast him with the more traditionalist Bond. Though he does have the obligatory scene where he supplies Bond with a list of new gadgets, his computer skills are his primary talent. As the film is quick to point out, having a tech-savvy spy is still a huge asset in an age of digital espionage, even if he doesn't build exploding pens.
  • The version of Lex Luthor as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an attempt at this. When he was created in the 1930s, he was a Mad Scientist. Once that take got dated in the 1980s, he was changed into an evil businessman evocative of that era. John Byrne specifically modeled him on Ted Turner and someone who won’t be mentioned by name. Lex here is meant to be the stereotypical evil businessman of The New '10s like the guys of the 80s, a millennial tech CEO. He’s a significantly younger science prodigy with an eccentric, manic personality, who commands respect despite being flippant and irreverent to everyone he meets. The way he acts can also be seen as a justification for going by the diminutive nickname "Lex", which has long been established as being short for "Alexander". Back in the 1930s, it was a distinctive name with a sinister ring to it. Today, writers only really use it because it's unthinkable to call him anything else. It’s far easier to imagine that version of the character calling himself "Lex" rather than the now more common "Alex". However, as with the Mandarin, this one fell flat, as the distinguished and masterful gentlemen from the comics and TV shows being reimagined as childish, twitchy, and randomly making high pitched noises for no discernible reason wasn't what anyone wanted from him, and it's not like corrupt businessmen aren't still a thing.
  • The 2005 version of The Producers reimagines the actor playing Hitler in the play from the spaced out hippie LSD (Lorenzo St. DuBois) in the 1967 version to the Camp Gay director, Roger De Bris. LSD was such a product of late '60s counterculture that Mel Brooks thought he just wouldn't work in a modern context. De Bris is in the original movie but due to the time period, had to be more Ambiguously Gay and kept on the sidelines. Since having an explicitly gay character was more accepted in 2005, Brooks felt like it made more sense for him to play Hitler.
  • Wonder Woman (2017) does this with a few elements of Wonder Woman lore that are kept around today out of tradition, even if they don't always seem logical.
    • Diana's iconic star-spangled leotard doesn't exactly mesh well with the elements of Greek Mythology that are so central to the mythos these days, but she still wears it because it's unthinkable to have her wearing anything else. The movie's version generally keeps the design and color scheme of her classic costume, but it nixes the star motif and replaces the white trim with gold trim, making it look more like an exceptionally colorful suit of Greek armor than a patriotic get-up. Her chest emblem is also reimagined as a winged eagle design that just happens to be W-shaped, preventing any questions about why an Amazon princess wears the letter "W" on her armor. note 
    • Steve Trevor is a good example of a character who used to be integral to the mythos, but often feels out-of-place in modern stories as the writers don't always know what to do with him. Since the Golden Age, many writers have waffled on whether he's Diana's boyfriend or just her contact in the military, and the nature of Comic-Book Time means that he can't always keep his original backstory as an Army Air Corps pilot who met Diana during World War II. note  The movie sidesteps the issue by having him die in a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the movie, thus making him integral to Diana's origin without having to explain how he's relevant to her life in the modern era.
  • Aquaman (2018) revels in this, emphasizing and working with the sillier elements of the Aquaman mythos to its benefit.
    • Black Manta's classic bubble-head deep sea diver design has been a difficult thing to process in the modern era, coming across as a silly, impractical top heavy look. This film shows Kane building the suit from scratch, adapting Atlantean weaponry alongside his own high tech armor designs, and specifically making the helmet huge so that it could fire a BFG plasma blast without frying his own head. When he finally shows up he is almost a Walking Tank, believably fighting Arthur on even footing.
    • Ocean Master isn't just Orm's alias, it's an official ceremonial title for the supreme military leader of all of the underwater kingdoms, something similar to the title of dictator in Ancient Rome.
    • The iconic orange and green costume from the comics returns, but is now a suit of fish scale armor with a more chain-mail like texture and golden appearance, as befits a king.

    Literature 
  • In Harry Potter, the later books often mused on the nature of death and how no magic could bring back the deceased. This became somewhat awkward when you remember all the ghosts floating around Hogwarts and interacting with the other residents. Rowling lessened this somewhat with a conversation between Nearly-Headless Nick and Harry, where Nick explains how choosing to become a ghost makes you know nothing of the secrets of death, and how it's just a feeble imitation of life, and he even contemplates how it might have been better to have gone on.
  • Star Trek The Captains Oath has to do some work with Gary Mitchell, asking why in a professional organization like Starfleet they've got a guy like him operating on the bridge of one of their starships, after fifty years of (real life) society moving on. Kirk's own reputation also takes hits from it, since Gary's his friend, and with Kirk's own Improbable Age it looks like a bad case of nepotism. But at the same time it's shown that, unprofessional attitudes aside, Gary is also good at his job and a good person... adding extra pathos to his eventual fate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ryan Howard of The Office eventually lost his role as the newcomer for obvious reasons, and went through an arc that saw him become a Corrupt Corporate Executive and then fall from grace. Despite having no storyline to advance, he stuck around because as he was played by an executive producer on the show. Later seasons remedied this by making the character into a satire of a hipster, thus giving him something unique to do again.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the 1970s the idea of the Doctor travelling around wildly in space and time had been largely dropped in favour of earthbound stories thanks to the show's ReTool into a Spy Fiction-style show, with the exception of one space jaunt Once a Season. Season 12, which introduced the Fourth Doctor, went noticeably 'retro', harking back to the Hartnell and Troughton era in terms of tone. Not only do all of the stories (except the first of the season) involve time and space travel, there is a Dalek story written by Hartnell-era writer and Dalek creator Terry Nation and a Cyberman story written by Hartnell/Troughton-era writer and Cyberman creator Gerry Davis, and a Troughtonesque (but Darker and Edgier) "base under siege". The only Pertwee elements are Sarah Jane's continued presence, "Robot" which was deliberately written as a Pertwee-style story but with the new Doctor in it to show off how different his new personality was, and the Sontarans who reappear as the antagonists in a two-part Bottle Episode to save money on monster costumes.
    • A combination of this and Ascended Fanon lent plausibility to the biggest narrative conceit of Doctor Who: that even when the characters stop off somewhere for totally innocent reasons, they will inevitably encounter not just trouble, but extraterrestrial trouble. Fanon for years has been that the TARDIS, which is a living being, purposely drops the Doctor off in places and times where he is needed. This was heavily implied to be true throughout the revived series, and is eventually explicitly made canon in "The Doctor's Wife".
    • The TARDIS' police box design. At first, in The '60s, it wasn't anachronistic, but nowadays, characters ask "What is a 'police public call box?'" and the broken chameleon circuit, though part of the setting from day one to a smaller degreenote , is sometimes a running gag (It's fixed! ...and its new form is not under the Doctor's control, highly inconvenient, and at least you know where to enter the police box version. It's fixed! ...and when it scans the area and decides on an "appropriate" form, it's always a police box. Or Donna can fix it with her new Time Lord knowledge! ...which is about to burn out her brain, and what comes next is not funny.) and the Doctor has at least once admitted that he could probably fix it if he really wanted to, but likes it the way it is. They also introduced (and named) the idea that the TARDIS has a Perception Filter that makes people not notice it even if its apparent form isn't period-appropriate.
    • The Daleks had suffered some extreme Villain Decay by the end of the Classic series, becoming quite easily explodable and harmless even in great numbers, as well as having no agency thanks to the introduction of their leader, Davros. This was not helped by the species being a UK cultural meme for forty years — impressions of their obnoxious, squawky voices and jokes about their use of plungers as weapons and (imagined) inability to climb stairsnote  were something of a hack comedian standard routine. The new series reintroduced the Daleks in the episode "Dalek", in which we find out that the Dalek race was on the brink of annihilating the Doctor's race, and the Doctor had to commit genocide against both species in order to save the universe itself — the Dalek in the episode gets a much less shrill, much scarier and much more expressive voice than the original series Daleks had, is treated realistically as the death machine that it is, and incorporated elements from the very first Dalek serial (such as the idea of Daleks as objects of pity as well as revulsion) in order to make them just as terrifying as they had first been forty years ago. Throughout both Davies' and Moffat's showrunning of the revival era, there's also been an added emphasis on delving into the psychology of the Daleks and the Doctor's relationship with them. (For example, they claim they grew stronger in fear of him. He's tempted by them to lose his temper several times, and also ponders in private whether he could maybe redeem them one day, somehow.) This effort helped the Daleks return to the sort of nuance and cred they had as antagonists back in the 60s and 70s. And Davros, previously overused in the classic era after his first appearance, has had a guest role in only two revival-era stories so far, one in each showrunner's era. Tellingly, these Davros stories were critically well-received, both for Davros' rare resurgence and the quality of writing put into him as a villain. (Also, Davros sometimes overshadowed the Daleks, Dalek stories at the height of his overuse being more "Davros stories with Daleks as his Mooks." The revival appearances do the same for him as they did for the Daleks themselves, taking him back to his roots. Davros was introduced as the scientist who created the Daleks but was betrayed and killed by them, and reintroduced as the Daleks feeling they needed his genius as they had become creatively stagnant - his second story was more "scientific advisor" than "lord and master," he was their weapon and not the other way around. Davros' new series appearances have him as very much the character from that second appearance - his knowledge is one of the best weapons in their arsenal, rather than them just carrying out his plans.)
    • Several other classic-Who races that'd been fairly lame from the moment of introduction, such as the Silurians, Ice Warriors, and Zygons, have likewise been re-vamped into something much more formidable by the revived series, making them scarier in some cases and more tragic or multifaceted in others.
    • The concept behind the Nimon - aliens based on the Minotaur of Classical Mythology - is used again for the central alien in "The God Complex", this time creating something more complex and tragic than the original take.
    • "Cold War" is a whole episode written to explore the stereotype about Doctor Who monsters always being easily outrunnable Mighty Glacier creatures with movement impeded by the actors' unconvincing rubber suits. It reintroduces an Ice Warrior, an old-school monster who fits this description, and reveals that what was assumed to be his body is in fact his armour. The armour impedes his movement just like the monster costumes do in real life, and once he's shed it, he is a lot faster.
    • The Cybermen started out fairly scary for the 60s, with their emotionless desire to convert other beings into more Cybermen. As time went by, less focus was put on the assimilation aspect of their personalities, and they became generic robotic soldiers, often openly displaying emotions as well. When they reappeared in the new series (as parallel universe counterparts that never had the originals' Weaksauce Weaknesses), much more focus was placed on the Body Horror and Loss of Identity aspects of their nature, making them scary once more. This includes a direct Internal Homage to their big moment of the Classic series (slowly emerging from tombs) in "Death in Heaven". The way of defeating them went from 'throw gold coins at them' to 'give them their emotions back,' creating heart-wrenching scenes of Cybermen screaming in agony, dropping dead, or outright exploding as they were destroyed by the sheer horror of what they'd become. (However, Villain Decay set in once again as this became easier and easier to do.)
  • In Star Trek, the old TOS-era Klingon foreheads were simply dismissed as old budget-level alien makeup effects and style evolution... until the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" brought attention to it by juxtaposing Worf (undercover) next to some old-style Klingons. He said "It's a long story" and the Klingons "don't talk about it with outsiders", making the difference an in-universe affair. Come Star Trek: Enterprise, a season 4 episode finally gives an explanation: They are the result of a badly botched attempt to match human augments with Klingon augments of their own, but it went horribly awry and caused a terminal viral disease. The cure involved a blend of human DNA to undo the damage, which had the side effect of loss of cranial ridges for a few generations. Reconstructive surgery is mentioned, hence specific Klingons showing up in the TNG era with the forehead ridges they hadn't had in their original appearances.
  • Arrow, like the Green Arrow Comic Book examples above, replaced campy Boxing Glove Arrows with high-tech rubber-tipped projectiles. In one episode, though, Oliver does fire an arrow with a boxing glove on the end. But instead of being a pre-prepared gadget, it becomes a hastily-improvised method to incapacitate a fairly skilled opponent, and is only possible because they're fighting at a boxing gym in the first place. It manages to make an homage to the sillier aspects of the character's history into a believable Indy Ploy.
  • Zig-zagged with The Flash (2014) when it comes to Barry Allen's suit. It is adapted from a high-tech firefighting suit that STAR Labs had in development, giving a plausible reason for the red color as well as the close fit and heat-and-friction-resistant properties. However, adding the Lightning Bolt insignia to the chest and earpieces is explicitly an invocation of the Rule of Cool by Cisco - when asked why he's adding them, he simply replies "So it's not boring".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Code used to be the rule of law Ring of Honor was built on. Refusal to follow it resulted in penalty, with the more grievous violations making one eligible to dismissal from the promotion. Eventually, the flaws in such a system became apparent and the code was done away with, except fans wanted it back. So the code returned but was less "law" and more a Character Alignment tool to further flesh out wrestlers.
  • "Women Of Honor" was a broad term referring to any woman working for Ring of Honor. There were always wrestlers among them, but women on ROH shows were better known for their scheming. Actual women's divisions did not get started until 2007 and 2008, both of which were mostly handled by SHIMMER. After Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased ROH in 2011, ROH and SHIMMER decided to operate separately and every woman, aside from Embassy hanger on Mia Yim, was dropped by ROH. SHIMMER still existed, but it turned out some women liked working for ROH and they had the support of a small but loud portion of fan base. ROH brought them back soon enough but took awhile finding a purpose for those more interested in wrestling than managing. It tried using Pro Wrestling Revolution's Women's Division in SHIMMER's place (didn't work out), it tried calling in competitors from SEAdLINNNG (didn't get many) and eventually settled on branding Women Of Honor as a competitive division with its own live shows and title belt.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder had several bestiaries dedicated to re-imagining various monsters; in particular, "Misfit Monsters Redeemed" is purely this trope, as they chose the stupidest monsters from the Gygax era and attempted to make them work. For example, the Wolf In Sheep's Clothing (a carnivorous tree stump with a ludicrous rabbit shaped lure) can now take any dead body and puppeteer it to draw victims closer. This was inspired by their revamp of Dungeons & Dragons Goblins, who are generally just treated as fodder, as they lack the 'technical skills' that they have in other works.
  • Dungeons & Dragons took some cues from Pathfinder in its fifth edition, re-imagining many of the same weird old monsters into something a bit more functional. A good example is the half-orc issue. Second edition ignored the half-orc due to complaints of Moral Guardians, third edition brought them back, but there has been many controversies about half-orcs being potentially children of rape. Subsequent editions and spin-off games portray them differently:
    • 4e replaced them initially with Dragonborn as the new 'big guy'. Later, it established that half-orcs have multiple origins, among which there's a project of an army built by hobgoblins to combine the best traits of humans and orcs.
    • In Pathfinde, many orcs mate with humans willingly... to eventually improve the orcish race and dominate the world.
    • In Thirteenth Age, Orcs arise spontaneously when nature is defiled, and half-orcs are nature's response to that.
    • In 5e orcs, unlike goblins, create huge hordes inviting giants, ogres and human barbarians.
    • Earlier, Arthaus's 3E Ravenloft products had re-skinned half-orcs as a PC race called "calibans". Real orcs aren't actually native to the setting, but pregnant humans may give birth to calibans if they're exposed to curses or other malign eldritch forces.
    • In the earliest editions of D&D, the Githzerai were a highly chaotic race who lived in Limbo because it matched their desire to never be controlled. When Planescape: Torment rolled around, the Githzerai character Dak'kon became so popular the entire race was rewritten to follow his general philosophy and be a generally Lawful society with a penchant for being monks. So to explain why a Lawful race would want to live in the most Chaotic plane, it's said that they see Limbo as the ultimate spiritual test... and the place being nigh-impossible to properly invade sure didn't hurt.
    • D&D 5e also brought back the obscure Flumphs (Lawful Good flying psychic jellyfish) and gave them a niche as probably the only trustworthy monsters in your dungeon crawl, who often have a lot of useful information on whatever supernatural nasties you're facing (Flumphs are passive telepaths who tend to pick up on the thoughts of monsters they live near).
  • In-universe example: within the Sentinel Comics universe of Sentinels of the Multiverse, old and out-of-favour Blaxploitation kung fu hero Black Fist was given a lengthy Time Skip, a much more weary demeanour and a garage and retooled into older, grimmer, much less funky kung fu hero Mr Fixer.
  • One of the main card types in Yu-Gi-Oh! are Normal Monsters, given that they have their own card frame. There was a time when the bulk of your monsters were normal, and a time slightly more recent when you had a few to serve as muscle, but thanks to power creep that doesn't really happen anymore. Over the years there have been attempts to make them more relevant, such as Heart of the Underdog and the Hieratic and World Chalice archetypes. Their success has varied.
    • Similarly, there are many iconic monsters that, due to Power Creep, are now laughably weak. Every so often, the game comes out with a "retrain" of one of them, which is a new, more powerful card representing the same character. In recent years, the game also has a tendency to create "legacy support" cards which are designed to work with these older monsters, with the intention of making them more relevant in the current metagame.

    Theatre 

    Toys 
  • Beast Wars: Uprising:
    • Similar to the examples from Comic Books, Uprising reimagines the Targetmasters, one of the later gimmicks of the original toyline where the main toy came with a transforming gun. In Uprising lore, the Targetmasters get an upgrade - the team-up uses the Sparks of both partners to boost the gun's power phenomenally. And then Thunderwing learned of an even darker aspect: He altered the effect so Targetmasters could drain the life out of anything and everything nearby. Suddenly, both sides realized the Targetmasters had to be taken out. So they were. Three hundred years later, the few remaining Targetmasters have to live in hiding, in case anyone learns what they are and tries to use them for their own ends.
    • Beast modes. In the original Beast Wars, they were adopted because the cast needed them to survive without suffering energon overload, not a problem for the Uprising cast since they're still on Cybertron. But partway through the story, Megatron realizes that Maximals and Predacons still suffer the same fuel inefficiencies as their Abusive Precursors, so he devises the Beast Upgrade. With that in place, both Maximals and Predacons become able to metabolise fuel the way humans metabolise food, rather than having to live off energon. The Beast Upgrade goes from a justification to why the toys are what they are to something that helps the Resistance start winning their war.
    • The Maximal insignia, which in all fiction beforehand was just there, with no comment on the change from the Autobots. One story mentions that it's a stylized Cybertronian wolf's head, after the hound of Maxima, the first Maximal, used as a rallying symbol after her death (neatly also explaining the name "Maximal" - they're the followers of Maxima).
    • The symbol of the Vehicons, an oddity among Transformers insignias for not looking like a face of any kind, gets a note in the grand finale when Knock Out ruminates on its symbolism — not a face, but a stamp, representing the lifelessness the Vehicons bring.
  • One of BIONICLE's original "trademarks" was mask collecting, toys knocking off each other's masks and replacing them with other collectible items. The mask collecting aspect and play features were phased out in favor of projectile gimmicks, and some buyers even complained that the masks came loose too easily (missing the fact that that was their point), but masks remained an important part of the character designs and the lore, so their connections were redesigned to be sturdier. In fact, some masks weren't even traditional mask pieces, and could only be taken off by disassembling their figure's head. Later still, masks were temporarily replaced by helmets.

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Khajiit's appearance changed between Arena and Daggerfall, and again between Daggerfall and Morrowind, becoming steadily more cat-like. Lore from after Daggerfall explains this by establishing that there are 17 known distinct "sub-breeds" of Khajiit, and which sub-breed a Khajiit kitten will grow up to be depends on the phases of Nirn's two moons under which the kitten was born.
    • A similar explanation exists to explain the changing appearance of the Argonians throughout over the course of the series. According to the lore, the Argonians worship a species of sentient (and possibly omniscient) trees known as the Hist. Argonian hatchlings drink the sap of the Hist to grow, and the Hist can communicate with the Argonians via visions transmitted in the sap. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis and the trials that would follow, the Hist recalled nearly all of the Argonians in Tamriel to their homeland and began to change them physically, making them into more effective weapons of war.
    • Cyrodiil, the setting of Oblivion, was described a dense tropical jungle with Mayincatec elements in earlier games. The developers made the conscious decision to go against this established lore in order for Oblivion to have more of a Medieval European Fantasy feel, making the setting in a temperate forest land. In-universe, this change is explained in obscure texts as Talos terraforming the region as a reward for the Imperial Legions who served him so well in life as Emperor, making it a more comfortable place to live. When the developers of The Elder Scrolls Online, a prequel taking place roughly 500 years before the events of the main series, dismissed this inconsistency as a "transcription error", Fanon Discontinuity was declared among lore junkies. Others rationalized that Talos' changes to the landscape were retroactive, making it so that Cyrodiil had always been temperate.
  • Final Fantasy had earlier games featuring four Crystals which acted as MacGuffins, each attuned to an elemental force and being a source of great power. As this trope became stale, later games started to use them in more creative ways that allow Crystals to remain important to the story in a less-dated way.
    • Final Fantasy VI has the Espers turn into shards of magical crystals when they die, which the party members can equip to learn magic. Final Fantasy VII did the same trick with Materia, described as crystallized Lifestream, the spiritual energy of the planet, and so does Final Fantasy X with Spheres formed from pyreflies. Final Fantasy IX uses a concept very similar to the Lifestream with a cycle of souls that are reborn over and over, and they originally came from a Crystal in the planet's core.
    • Final Fantasy VIII referenced the Crystal mythos of Final Fantasy IV with a Crystal Pillar said to come from the moon, and it can summon monsters from the moon down to the planet.
    • As part of Revisiting the Roots, Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII feature more traditional Crystals as gemstones that hold tremendous power. The main plot of XII actually centers on The Empire researching how to create artificial Crystals just as powerful as the original ones created by divine forces.
    • The Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series focuses on Crystals in modern and sci-fi settings. The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy concerns fal'Cie, god-like beings who are implied to be sapient crystals at their cores and form bio-mechanical shells as defenses, and they grant l'Cie eidoloths, crystal shards that contain their Eidolons. Final Fantasy Type-0 depicts the traditional Four Crystals but associates them with The Four Gods instead of the elemental forces, and each grants its nation a particular boon, such as Concordia's crystal granting its people the ability to commune with and control dragons. Final Fantasy XV depicts the Crystal as a treasure from the Astrals gifted to the House of Lucis to use its power to rule over the world, and only those of royal blood or those who swear oaths to them may wield its powers.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy has Cosmos grant power to her chosen Warriors, which will eventually manifest for them in the form of a Crystal. As a Mythology Gag, each of the assembled hero's crystals resemble the kind from their original game, such as Terra from VI getting a Magicite shard while Cloud from VII gets a Materia orb.
  • The typewriters and limited ink ribbons that were used throughout the Resident Evil series up until the fourth installment would be brought back in the form of tape recorders and limited cassette tapes for Resident Evil 7, keeping with the game's theme of getting back to the series original heavy emphasis on slow foreboding horror as opposed to action.
  • Soulcalibur VI
    • The "Soul Charge" mechanic that had last been used in Soulcalibur III returns, but instead of providing a quick buff in attack power to a character's next attack, functions more akin to a Super Mode. It can only be activated at the cost of one bar of super meter, but provides various buffs for several seconds while active. This, in addition to its instant activation also makes it more practical, where Soul Charge in previous games were rarely used due to leaving players wide open to attack while charging.
    • Soul Chronicle mode combines elements of single-player modes from previous games: in addition to having a main narrative in the same vein as "Story ~1607 A.D.~" from V, it also contains various side stories occurring in the same time frame as the main story that focuses on individual characters and their exploits, not unlike arcade modes from earlier games and "Tales of Souls" from III.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time features two of these:
    • The Omniwrench, which had become useless since the second game, was given an overhaul in this one. The previous game, Quest for Booty, had already worked on this by giving it some gadget functionality, which was expanded here to allow you to pull Shields off enemies and have it involved in the Hydra Tank boss fights. In addition, Ratchet is now able to run and throw the wrench at the same time, which on top of a wider hitbox makes it much more useful for smashing crate stacks and small enemies.
    • The Charge Boots were very useful when introduced in Going Commando, but by Tools of Destruction they were included more out of obligation than usefulness. Come A Crack in Time and they have been reimagined into the Hoverboots, able to be toggled with a single button press, can take turns much more naturally, and let you jump off ramps and pads for platforming action. In addition to being more interesting it allows them to be used in tight spaces (Full Frontal Assault kept the trend by reducing it to a single button press).
  • Spider-Man (PS4) has J. Jonah Jameson not as a newspaper editor but as a talk-radio pundit and conspiracy theory podcaster á la Alex Jones. And it makes a lot more sense than it should. So much sense, in fact, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would borrow from this game to modernize Jonah similarly in Spider-Man: Far From Home. The Daily Bugle itself, however, is still mentioned as existing as a newspaper separate from Jonah's podcast, with Mary Jane working for them, though it's mentioned that they offer an online edition like many real-life newspapers do in order to stay afloat in the digital age.
  • League of Legends regularly gives updates to characters whose initial concept has ended up kind of out-of-place now that Runeterra has a detailed, worked-out history as opposed to being a place where slapped-together pop culture fantasy concepts beat each other up because Reasons. For example, Pantheon was hugely out of place, as an extra from 300 who drew his entire look from a culture that did not exist on Runeterra; he has since been tweaked so that he's still a buff dude with a spear, but he now looks like a character from Runeterra as opposed to a Spartan warrior who happened to find himself in Runeterra. Fiddlesticks, who did kind of have a place but wasn't particularly unique, was reworked from a fairly generic Scary Scarecrow to an Ancient Evil that has been feasting on fear since the dawn of humanity. League fans are still waiting on announcements for other reworks for characters seriously in need of them like Cho'gathnote  and Corkinote .

    Web Original 
  • As a long-term collaborative fiction project that has undergone some pretty big paradigm shifts, the SCP Foundation has a small handful of these.
    • SCP-148 was originally a metal alloy which blocked psychic energies without any side effects or downsides, and was used to make some of the holding facilities for other SCPs. Wiki site members decided this was boring and rewrote it so that it has such extreme downsides that no one uses it for anything.
    • SCP-049 is one of the most well-liked SCPs outside of the community, but was one of the most disliked within, being seen as a heavy handed attempt at horror that lacked the intrigue or fear factor most modern pages have. It previously alluded to an illness that showed no signs of existing and at some point created fast zombies. In 2018, djkaktus, one of the biggest contributors to the site, retooled it into a mysterious character that may be delusional or knows about a real disease but no one believes him, and creates passive zombies. It got in-depth interview logs that give it character and depth, and generally created a much more interesting read while keeping the most famous elements from the original.
    SCP-049: I… you are all sick, but I… I can save you. I can save all of you, because I… I am the cure.
    • The Tale series of Ecce Perago and Annon provided a possible explanation for why the various Author Characters who appeared so often in early SCP articles are now rarely seen: They got promoted and are the current Overseer Council nowadays.
    • The Lolfoundation canon similarly tackles the early author avatars. It reimagines the more lighthearted stories about their antics as having been from the perspective of perception-altered reality warpers, whose "fun" is unknowingly causing near-apocalyptic levels of collateral damage.

    Western Animation 
  • Similar to the above Apache Chief/Manitou Raven example, the campy characters original to the old Superfriends show were re-imagined as the Ultimen and given a tragic arc in an episode of the DC Animated Universe Justice League series.
  • Young Justice:
    • The show reimagines sidekicks/young partners for superheroes. Batman points out a rather practical reason to do this: because nobody takes them seriously, they're much better suited to covert operations. After all, if the heroes are all fighting the giant Monster of the Week, surely there's nobody else to worry about?
    • Invasion also did a more serious, respectful take on Apache Chief and several other of the "Affirmative Action" Super Friends. Samurai and El Dorado became Asami "Sam" Koizumi and Eduardo "Ed" Dorado, losing their stereotypical costumes and quirks in the process. Apache Chief's popular for this. The Young Justice version is even named for and voiced by the same guy as his Justice League counterpart. (However, Longshadow is actually his last name, as opposed to Long Shadow as a codename.)
  • Beware the Batman uses the D-list and extremely 80s villain Magpie as a recurring character, but she's been given a 21st century makeover so that she now resembles a flashy, modern pop starlet like Lady Gaga rather than a hair metal groupie.
  • The original Mad Mod was a Fad Super. The version of the character in Teen Titans justifies his dated pop-culture references and basis by having him be an old man who uses holograms to make himself appear young.
  • The villains in ThunderCats (2011) are named after each animal they're based on—Lizards, Jackals, etc.—instead of them all being called "Mutants", and often get new names that while still based on their animal, are a bit more imaginative (Vultureman becomes Prefect Vultaire.) Third Earth is populated by many animal races and the Mutants' equivalents are drawn from them.
  • My Little Pony:
    • Cutie Marks in the My Little Pony franchise have existed since the first generation and have since been The Artifact; even in the original series and comics, they were just there because the toys had them and they were never discussed by the characters. If you were a show-original pony, you didn't have a mark because it wasn't necessary (from a toy-selling point of view) to give you one. It wasn't until Generation 3 that they were acknowledged by the characters and given their name, and only in Friendship Is Magic did they actually have a purpose in the story other than just sort of being there, now representing a pony's special talent and calling in life. Getting one in childhood is used as a stand-in for puberty and someone who helps you figure out the meaning of yours is sort of like a guidance counselor.
    • As an example, consider the Cutie Mark Crusaders, consisting of Apple Bloom, Swetie Belle, and Scootaloo. They spend half of the series trying to obtain their Cutie Marks. Despite showing many, many talents, they finally earned them in Seeason 5, and soon discover their purpose of helping other ponies discover theirs.
    • The Friendship Reports in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic were originally meant as a recap of the episodes events, but began to be phased out near the end of Season 2 and were practically non-existent in Season 3. In Season 4, the concept was been brought back after the Mane 6 found the Princess' old diary and decided to keep one for themselves.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), for obvious reasons, couldn't actually show the heroes slice and dicing with their weapons, at least, not against foes who were flesh and bone. What to do to compensate for the lack thereof? Simple. Turn opponents such as the Foot Soldiers into robots, so that slicing and dicing can be shown freely.note  In the 2012 series, where multiple things from the 1987 series are reimagined to be less silly, the robots are revealed early on to be adaptive, and can challenge the heroes. It's also justified: The heroes keep beating up the Foot so much, they can't recruit any more minions!
  • Batman Beyond features a reimagined version of Ace the Bat-Hound, a loyal masked dog sidekick that Batman had during the campy Silver Age, when animal sidekicks were something of a fad in comics. But instead of taking him as a sidekick, Bruce simply adopts Ace after he retires from crime-fighting, and Ace gives the elderly Bruce some much-needed companionship, with Alfred dead and Bruce having fallen out of touch with his old friends from his days as Batman.
    • However, Ace is still just as badass and heroic as his predecessor. An episode centered around Ace reveals the Great Dane spent his early years forced into dog-fighting. When he was fully-grown, he managed to escape and was rescued and adopted by Bruce. The episode in question starts when Ace recognizes the scent of his former handler, causing him to chase him down. This leads Terry to find Ace and the two bust the dog-fighting ring, with Ace even saving Terry from the mutated dog the criminal had made. Ace has helped Terry a few more times, even against the Joker when he comes back. Good bat dog indeed.
  • The idea of a wrestler taking random challenges from the crowd might just about have been plausible when Spider-Man's origin was written in 1962, but creators since then have just had to barrel through it and hope nobody asks questions. Marvel's Spider-Man makes an attempt at bringing it into the 21st century by suggesting it's not a normal wrestling event but a Reality Show called So You Want to be a Wrestler? (It's still unlikely Spidey could just turn up, not give his real name, and end up wrestling the champ — for real — the same day, but the basic premise is there.)
    • Also, the live-action movies had it as a much seedier affair that clearly isn't playing by any rules.
  • In the original Voltron series, Nanny is Allura's overprotective Arusian caretaker who constantly fusses over the princess's safety and is bent on keeping her away from danger. Voltron: Legendary Defender re-imagines her as Dayak, the Galran governess who raised Prince Lotor, and a Blood Knight Sadist Teacher who considers skipping out on her lessons to be an insult worthy of a Duel to the Death.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • The original Ducktales had some issues when it came to portraying foreign cultures, one such example being Dijon, a greedy stereotype of an Arab person. Come the 2017 reboot, he's been reimagined as D'jinn, a poetic swordsman and total badass. However, he maintains a connection to the film, as it turns out that the genie's lamp in question once housed his ancestor. Said genie ancestor was freed, would find love and start a family. He wants the lamp because it's a family heirloom.
    • The 1987 series has Bubba as a stereotypical Dumb Muscle cave-duck who had a pet Triceratops named Tootsie in 1 Million B.C.. Since none of that is accurate, the reboot has Bubba reimagined as a Genius Bruiser from tens of thousands of years ago, who only encounters Tootsie through Time Travel shenanigans caused by Louie's latest scheme. The ending has him carve a certain hat from stone and uses his stick as a cane, revealing that he is the first McDuck.
      • Speaking of Tootsie, she is reimagined as completely wild, to correspond with the fact that non-avian dinosaurs did not live with early humans, and behaves more like a real Triceratops, although this makes her hostile towards Bubba and the main cast. Her lizard-like appearance from the original show has also been exchanged with that of a warm-blooded animal with the erect legs and a raised tail, thanks to Jurassic Park popularizing the Dinosaur Renaissance.
    • Bombie the Zombie was heavily changed. In the original Carl Banks comics, Bombie was a creature summoned to get revenge on Scrooge McDuck for conning a group of African natives out of their land. Since Bombie and the natives were designed up as racist designs of savages, this would never fly at all. This goes the same with the reasoning for the summoning. When it was brought in for the reboot, Bombie was reimagined as a Solomon Grundy-like monstrosity who was created to forever chase and haunt whoever proclaimed themselves to be the richest person in the world. Scrooge has been keeping it at bay for years and now has a different target after the events of the previous episode. The Bombie's whole reason for doing so is to serve Humble Pie to their target, so it maintains the spirit of its predecessor in terms of serving as a form of penance though here for hubris and lack of humility.
    • Donald's iconic temper tantrums in the original shorts and comics often were targeted at the triplets. However, given how it would provide bad vibes of Abusive Parent for modern audiences, his temper is treated differently. We learn Donald actually goes to therapy and said therapist reveals Donald's anger outbursts comes from being a Cosmic Plaything and no one understanding him... literally. When he took the boys in and went to therapy, he channeled that anger into protective instincts, his outbursts now the result of unbridled fury at anything that could harm his boys.
      • Said therapist, Neighbor J. Jones, was originally Donald's old Sitcom Arch-Nemesis. Here, he runs an anger management business called Good Neighbor Jones. His relationship with Donald is professional though still vitriolic (though namely because Donald has been late with payments, due to his disappearance) because, hey, it is Donald after all.
    • Many of the female characters from the original series had their personalities and traits changed to be more gender-friendly and avoid stereotypes:
      • In the original series, Webby was treated rather poorly by the triplets due to being a girl with feminine interests. Of course, that would be viewed as sexist nowadays, so the reboot has Webby immediately accepted by the triplets regardless of her gender and interests, which is further helped by her now being an Action Girl and a Tomboy with a Girly Streak.
      • Mrs. Beakley, instead of a Granny Classic who faints at the sight of danger, is an ex-spy with a Heroic Build who, beside being Scrooge's housekeeper, is also his bodyguard, and not his secretary.
      • Fenton's mother is not a frumpy TV-addicted housewife but a Spicy Latina police officer (who loves her telenovelas).
      • Goldie isn't just Scrooge's on-and-off Love Interest, but also an adventurer serving as Scrooge's counterpoint to show what life might be like if you only looked out for yourself. Granted, the greater antagonistic approach may be YMMV for some.
      • Gandra Dee is no longer a shallow Dumb Blonde love interest for Fenton, but a freelance scientist. She and Fenton do hit it off in a date, though with the undertones that it may have been for Gandra to get intel on Gizmo Duck, given she was working with Mark Beaks. We haven't seen the last of her, given that we learn she works for F.O.W.L.
      • Daisy has been given a far more complex character than being "girl Donald". She is given a career as a fashion designer, to make her an independent woman albeit with still stereotypically feminine interests. And in order to address the issue of her and Donald's relationship being too toxic over the years, "Louie's Eleven!" starts their relationship over from scratch, showing the aspects why they are meant to be together (particularly, Daisy being the first person to literally understand Donald perfectly). Also, as seen in "New Gods on the Block!", instead of being a nagging shrew who threatens Donald with a breakup over the slightest misunderstanding, she is far more patient with Donald and only flips when the situation gets really bad.
    • The Rescue Rangers would invoke Furry Confusion in a world where anthropomorphic animals are human-sized. To go around this, their origins have been reworked as ordinary lab animals turned intelligent and given anthropomorphic forms by Black Heron's intelligence ray.

    Other 
  • Western Union started out in the 1800's as a telegraphing company that did money orders on the side, then in the 1900's it became a money order company that did telegraphs on the side. But by the end of the 20th century, telegraphs had long become obsolete and several retail chains began their own money order services (and money orders themselves have waned in relevance as an alternative to checks). In the 21st century, the bulk of their business is in international money transfers, especially to recipients in poorer countries who might not have access to PayPal. Many ethnic stores in the US offer money transfer services via Western Union for this exact reason.


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