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Spared by the Adaptation

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Left: The Night Gwen Stacy Died. Right: The Movie Gwen Stacy Survived
By the way, I never died in this version.
Android #16, Dragon Ball Z Abridged Kai 3.5.
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Both an adaptation trope and a death trope, Spared by the Adaptation refers to cases where a character who died in the source material does not die in an adaptation.

The reasons behind these occurrences vary. Perhaps the Media Watchdogs, Executive Meddling, and/or the creator wanted to make it Lighter and Softer than the original. Maybe the character was a fan favorite and the crew wanted to throw them a bone. Maybe the death stood out as especially pointless, and people in charge decided they didn't need to kill a beloved character just to upset the audience yet again. Maybe the material is lacking in villains, so they took a minor character and decided to amp it up and make them a real threat to the cast. Maybe they just planned to make sequels when the source material didn't have any, and wanted to save important characters for the next story. Maybe the events where it happens are cut for other reasons. The sky's the limit as for why this happens, which probably explains why it happens so often.

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Likely to occur during a Gecko Ending where the adaptation is made before the original is even finished. If the character originally died in the ending, see also Adaptational Alternate Ending.

Compare with Schrödinger's Cast where a character's fate is different from the source material, but the source material is still ongoing (which may create the need for the adaptors to do a drastic rewrite if the character in question, or their averted death, becomes important later on in the source material).

Contrast with Death by Adaptation, where a character dies in the adaptation, but not in the source material. Compare and contrast Dies Differently in Adaptation, in which the adapted character may be spared their original fate, but still doesn't make it to the end.

Warning: This is a death (or lack thereof) trope and will contain unmarked spoilers. Read the examples at your own risk.

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    Comic Books 
  • Likewise, both Queen Karnilla and the Grey Gargoyle appear to die near the end of the first season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, but are revealed alive in the tie-in comic.
  • In the comic adaptation of the film Babes in Toyland, Barnaby is forced into a cage and imprisoned at the end of his duel with Tom. In the actual film, Tom stabs him and he falls to his presumed death.
  • IDW's Back To The Future Comic shows that Marshall Strickland is still alive after the events of Back to the Future Part III. Though Buford shoots him in a Deleted Scene so his death was likely non-canon.
  • The Batman Adventures: In Issue #15 of The Batman and Robin Adventures, Dick Grayson foils the attempt on the life of Boston Brandt a.k.a. Deadman.
  • Batman Eternal reveals that, unlike their pre-Flashpoint incarnations, Carmine Falcone and Deacon Blackfire are alive in the present day, whereas Falcone's pre-Flashpoint incarnation was killed by Two-Face at the end of The Long Halloween (and hence early in Batman's career) and Deacon Blackfire's only appearance between his debut in Batman: The Cult and the reboot is as a Black Lantern.
  • As all three were written before Captain America: Winter Soldier retconned that was he still alive as the (albeit brainwashed) eponymous villain, The Ultimates, Heroes Reborn, and Trouble depict a still-living Bucky Barnes who settled down and grew old after surviving World War 2.
  • The '"Director's Cut" miniseries of The Clone Saga sees both Ben Reilly and Baby May survive the events of the story. Despite the former being Retconned as being replaced and never actually having died, and the latter being later resurrected, Aunt May and Doctor Octopus could count, too, since they also died during the Clone Saga.
  • In Victorian Undead II which somewhat adapts the Dracula novel. Lucy Westenra actually survive the entirety of the book due to Arthur betraying the heroes and helping Dracula move her body after he finished feeding on her, allowing her to turn safely and develop her powers to be a vulnerable threat. Even in the final confrontation between with the hunters and backed by Dracula's brides. She manages to escape by killing the last bride for them under the condition they leave her be to enjoy her immortality. And indeed the book ends with Dracula dead but the vampriric Lucy still at large.
  • Ghost-Spider, a.k.a. Spider-Gwen is an alt-universe superhero comic based on the premise that Gwen Stacy not only survived but was bitten by the radioactive spider and received superpowers.
  • G.I. Joe:
  • The comic continuation of the Justice League cartoon reveals that Queen survived her apparent death in the episode "Wild Cards."
  • In the Marvel Comics adaptation of Theodore Sturgeon's Killdozer! for Worlds Unknown, Chub survives to the very end, despite being one of the workers killed during the massacre in the original novella.
  • In Marvel 1602: Spider-Man, when Peter meets some travellers from his home town, he asks for news of his aunt and uncle and is told they recently had some trouble with a robber, but Benjamin Parker saw him off, avoiding the fate of his mainstream universe counterpart.
  • Saurod is never killed in Marvel’s adaption to Masters of the Universe.
  • Marvel Comics had a lot of fun with this with Baldur, the Norse god who was made invulnerable to everything but mistletoe, only to be killed with it by Loki. In the Marvel version seen in The Mighty Thor, (where he is a warrior-god called Baldur the Brave) Baldur's death would trigger Ragnarok, so preventing his death is high on Odin's priority. When Loki slays him with the mistletoe arrow, he's Only Mostly Dead, and Odin prevents true death by creating a shield around Baldur's pyre, preventing his soul from departing; then, after most of the Asgardians die at the hands of the Celestials, Thor brings all of them, Baldur included, back to life with potions of life energy they donated. (This would not be the last close call for Baldur, but curiously, he's one of the few surviving deities left at the present time, after the villainous Mikaboshi broke into the Celestial Axis and waged an assault on every Earth pantheon.
  • Randall from Monsters, Inc. is last seen stranded in the human world while a trailer trash family beat him with a shovel, thinking he's an alligator. The Boom! Studios comic shows that he somehow managed to escape and get back to Monstropolis.
  • In the 1955 Dell Four-Color Mowgli, adapting Kipling's story "The King's Ankus", the last four men to find the eponymous jewelled object are defeated by Mowgli with the help of Hathi the elephant and Mowgli is able to take it back. In the original story, the four men are already dead when Mowgli finds them, poisoned by food prepared by a man they had already killed.
  • My Little Pony/Transformers: The Magic of Cybertron: Rubble was killed off early on in Transformers (2019) when he was murdered by Quake. In this miniseries, Rubble remains alive and well.
  • In Perry, after the death of Thora, Perry Rhodan entered a permanent relationship with Auris of La-Thor, which lasted until the end of the original comic book series and beyond. In the original pulps, her model Auris of Las-Toór and Perry Rhodan felt attracted to each other, but she was killed (in the fifth issue in which she appeared) before they could get anywhere romantically.
  • In The Official Comics Adaption of Return of the Jedi Yoda still says he's dying, but Luke merely leaves him to rest according to the narration. There is still the ghost scene at the end, except that it is just one of several bonus pictures following the narrative, so readers might not actually realize that Yoda has also become a ghost.
  • Due to being aimed at young children and running on Rule of Funny, the Lego Star Wars adaptation of Revenge of the Sith glosses over most of the deaths from the movie. In a notable example, the Signature Scene of Anakin murdering the younglings at the Jedi Temple is changed to him merely locking them in cages while they loudly complain.
  • In Knockabout's comicbook adaptation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, illustrated by Hunt Emerson, one of many disconnects between the text and the illustrations is that the albatross isn't dead, and spends the rest of the story as a Deadpan Snarker. This has no effect on the curse.
  • In Kevin Van Hook's adaptation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Riff Raff doesn't kill Columbia, though she's never seen again after she takes control of the light when Frank sings "I'm Going Home".
  • IDW's New-Trek-Movie-verse version of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Operation: Annihilate!" spares Captain Kirk's brother George and George's wife Aurelan from being killed by the neural parasites. In the original, George Kirk was dead before the Enterprise ever arrived, and Aurelan didn't last much longer.
    • Dr Elizabeth Dehner also survives the IDW version of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", simply by not being there. (She gets namechecked as having turned down the Enterprise posting because of a past relationship with Dr McCoy - who, of course, wasn't yet the CMO in the original timeline.)
    • All the redshirts in IDW's take on "The Apple", titled "The Redshirt's Tale". The original bumped off four of them; the comic is a Lower-Deck Episode from the perspective of Hendorff (the first one killed in the original, who in IDW continuity is also the security officer who fights Kirk in the movie). At the end, the four are toasting their survival and speculating that in another universe, they might not have made it.
  • In pre-Crisis Superman stories, Ma and Pa Kent are Posthumous Characters who passed away when Clark was in college; post-Crisis has them alive and well as members of the supporting cast.
  • Because the Alternate Reality of House of M was created when Scarlet Witch attempted to fulfill a bunch of characters' deepest desires, certain characters who died in the original timeline are still alive here. Examples include:
    • Spider-Man's Uncle Ben was never shot, while Gwen Stacy was never killed by the Green Goblin, and thus went on to marry Peter.
    • Frank Castle's wife and children still accidentally stumbled upon a gangland execution in the park, but this time, Frank managed to fight off and kill the gangsters before they could shoot his family.
    • Hector Ayala, the original White Tiger, was shot and killed by the cops in the original timeline. Here, he was unjustly convicted and sent to prison instead.
    • A number of other heroes and villains like Thunderbird, Pyro and the Swordsman are also still alive in this universe.
  • An interesting example is given in Teen Titans Go!, the comic book tie-in to the Teen Titans animated series. The 45th issue, which revealed the origins of Cyborg and Beast Boy, established that Cyborg's mother helped his father fit him with his bionic parts after the accident that injured him. Cyborg's mother died in the same accident that injured him in the original comics and was also implied to be deceased in the cartoon the comic was based on in the episode "The End".
  • The UK version of The Transformers sometimes spared characters who had died in the original US issues; most notably, Shockwave and Megatron continued to make appearances long after their supposed deaths, with the former's death issue having its dialogue edited to make his survival more obvious. Both characters returned to the US comics once writer Simon Furman took it over, with Megatron's UK appearances being retconned into those of a clone.
  • Transformers: Deviations consists of a What If? story telling an alternate version of the events of The Transformers: The Movie, with two notable instances of a character surviving when they died in the source material.
    • The main premise of the story is that Optimus Prime does not get killed in his final battle with Megatron due to Kup preventing Hot Rod from interfering with the fight. This leads to Megatron dying instead, well before Unicron could have the chance to reformat him into Galvatron.
    • Kranix was killed by the Quintessons in the original animated film, when here Optimus Prime and Kup are able to rescue him before the Quintessons could carry out their intent to execute him.
  • The Ultimates: In regular Marvel continuity, James Braddock Sr. suffered a case of Death by Origin Story for his son Brian. Here, he sticks around and works with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the European Defense Initiative
  • The original version of Mayfly from Wonder Woman (1987) died within three issues of her introduction due to power incontinence while she was trying to escape from prison. Her Wonder Woman (Rebirth) version actually stayed in prison for her entire sentence and formed a near friendship with Wonder Woman since Wondy visited her as often as she could and was there to pick her up when she got out.
  • In DC's main continuity Wonder Woman's aunt Antiope died in antiquity, but in The Legend of Wonder Woman she's still around, and serves as a villain allied with Ares.
  • In the comic adaptation of X2: X-Men United, Jason Stryker actually lives whereas in the movie he's left for dead when the dam begins to collapse. Jean Grey also never has to perform her Heroic Sacrifice and escapes with the other X-Men on the Blackbird, much like in the novelization.
  • Jacob Marley is zombified to begin with in Zombies Christmas Carol, but is restored to life after Scrooge's reformation.
  • In the standard version of the Alan Scott Green Lantern's origin, his friend (in post-Flashpoint contunuity, lover) Jimmy Henton sufferes Death by Origin Story. In Injustice: Year Zero, Jimmy survives to become an old man, and Alan's husband.
  • Ever since The Flash: Rebirth (the one dealing with Barry's return in Final Crisis, not the tie-in for DC Rebirth), Nora Allen has been dead, killed by Professor Zoom to give Barry angst. In RWBY/Justice League, Nora, much like she was prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, is still alive and wellnote .
  • The Disney Silly Symphonies short “Chicken Little” ended with Foxy Loxy successfully tricking Chicken Little and the rest of the barnyard fowl into hiding in his cave when he caused them to believe the sky was falling, he traps them inside and eats them, the comic adaptation ends with Foxy Loxy luring them over to his cave but Chicken Little trips over a rock and causes a boulder to trap Foxy Loxy inside his cave and they escape.
  • In Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy, the scavenger that Clay and Tsunami encounter (named Mushroom in Dragonslayer) had his head bitten off by Scarlet. In the graphic novel adaptation, he runs away from them before Scarlet shows up. The two scavengers named Cardinal and Arbutus in Dragonslayer don't appear at all, so it's safe to assume that they are still alive as well. The adaptation of The Dark Secret puts that into question, though.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In the original "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship", the Fool's brothers are never heard from again, and we never find out if they met some gruesome end or simply faded into obscurity. In the "The Fool and the Flying Ship" stop-motion adaptation, the two squander their money on gambling and fancy food and drink; the story ends with them alive, but humbled, when their simple but kindly brother (now a wealthy prince) saves them from debt.
  • Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes" ends with the protagonist Karen getting her feet cut off to remove the titular shoes, before she eventually dies. Many adaptations find a less painful way for Karen to remove the shoes, and end with Karen still alive.
  • In the original Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Kasim, Ali Baba's greedy brother, is killed by the titular thieves after they discover him in their cave, and his body is cut into quarters and displayed at the cave entrance. The thieves themselves are all dead by the end of the tale. Kid-friendly adaptations typically spare Kasim by having him simply imprisoned by the thieves (and later rescued by Ali Baba), while the thieves end up in jail rather than dead.

    Literature 
  • A Bambi read-along book never mentions the death of his mother. Now, she COULD have died, but it just jumps from Winter to Spring and Bambi being grown up with no deaths. She just disappears.
    • Another storybook, this time based on The Princess and the Frog, actually does not mention Ray the firefly's death at all!
    • Some storybooks based on Cars 2 actually leave out the deaths of Rod "Torque" Redline, Leland Turbo, and Tony Trihull. Also, one LEGO playset based on that movie had Leland Turbo's cube drawn in a way so it now shows his pitiful eyes, suggesting that he is still alive even as a cube.
    • In fact, a lot of tie-in Disney storybooks tend to leave out the deaths of important characters, which occasionally result in plot holes, especially if the death is related to the plot. An inversion would be in some tie-in storybooks based on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, King Kashekhim Nedakh's death is not mentioned at all, yet we still see his daughter ____ as a Queen at the end.
  • Takanuva in the novelization of BIONICLE: Mask of Light is spared his brief Disney Death, the cause and reversal of which weren't even explained in the animated movie. Also, in Web of Shadows, Roodaka orders a bunch of Visorak spiders to jump down from the top of the Coliseum to make a point. In the movie, they fall to their deaths, but in the novelization, they land on a nearby balcony.
  • The novelization to Constantine says that Chaz ends up getting resurrected as a half-breed angel.
  • At the end of the Novelization of the Doctor Who story "Shada" all Skarga's victims are restored to new bodies on an alien planet.
  • Zorg doesn't die in a hotel explosion in the novelization of The Fifth Element, he survives by creating a forcefield around himself. He then lands on an iceberg on an uncharted part of the planet where his phone's battery runs out when he tries to call for help.
  • The novelisation of Forbrydelsen (The Killing in English-speaking markets) changes Meyer's fate as the Sacrificial Lion: instead of dying from his gunshot wounds, he's left paralysed for life. The effect on Lund is still as major, though, considering in the novel he openly blames her for the loss of his mobility, which also indirectly costs him the job he loves and the active life he enjoyed with his wife and daughters.
  • The 14th century English poem Sir Orfeo is a Setting Update of Orpheus and Eurydice from Greek Mythology which does this to "Heurodis" twice. At the start, she is abducted by The Fair Folk instead of dying from a snakebite and going to The Underworld, and at the end, Orfeo succeeds in rescuing her.
  • Honor Harrington is Horatio Nelson In Space! Except Honor lives through the IN SPACE! version of Nelson's final battle, as found in At All Costs. due to some last minute changes and going Off the Rails. She was supposed to die in At All Costs until David Weber was convinced to move the next generation plot up about 20 years.
  • Youth adaptations of 11th-century Welsh legend How Culhwch Won Olwen cut out the death of Ysbaddaden the giant, skipping straight to the wedding. This is strange because Ysbaddaden's curse - that he will die once his daughter marries - is why he sends Culhwch on the impossible Engagement Challenge in the first place.
  • The junior novelization of Jurassic World spares one ACU trooper who gets killed in the movie. In the film, he's shooting at Indominus rex but she keeps coming at him despite him unloading his assault rifle into her and eats him. In the book, his gunfire successfully drives her away and he survives.
  • In the novelization of L: change the WorLd (part of a film continuity that already spared Soichiro, Ukita, Demegawa, and Misa), it is vaguely suggested that Mello might exist. If he does, then he falls under the trope too.
  • In the MAD parody of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Wreck of the Hesperus", both the skipper and his daughter survive the storm. The latter is still tied to a broken-off 20-foot-tall mainmast (!) and brings back her father from his frozen state.
  • Ramba Ral survives in the Mobile Suit Gundam novelization, where he is a bodyguard instead of a Mobile Suit pilot and never meets Amuro.
  • In the novelization of Mortal Kombat: The Movie, Sonya Blade spares Kano's life by not giving into Shang Tsung's demands to "Finish Him!" and arrests him instead.
  • Pecos Bill: Slewfoot Sue dies in some of the tall tales that make up the story, but in Kellogg's version she just has a tremendously wild ride after Lightning throws her.
  • Some adaptations of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, including the aforementioned Fantasia 2000 retelling, spare the romantic leads.
  • Possibly the cook in the novelization of Titan A.E. At the very least, their death occurs off-screen.
  • The novelization of Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Megatron surviving. In the film, Megatron is killed in a final confrontation with Optimus Prime. Well... insofar as Dark of the Moon itself is concerned, as Transformers: Age of Extinction revealed that Megatron again survived and became Galvatron.
  • David Lewman's adaptations of Trolls (Trolls: The Junior Novelization and Trolls (Treasure Trove Story)) don't have Chef and Creek dying at the end like in the movie. Instead, they remain living together in the forest, isolated from both Troll and Bergen society.
  • The novelization of X2: X-Men United spares Jean Grey because of Fridge Logic: why did she have to leave the plane to levitate it to safety? Instead she levitates it from the inside and gets saved with everyone else.
  • The novelization of X-Men: The Last Stand reveals that Psylocke survived the movie's gratuitous Kill 'Em All ending.

    Music 
  • The novelty song "The Thing", which is about a man who gets stuck with a box containing unidentified contents, usually has the man dead by the end of the song because of the penultimate verse mentioning him ending up in Heaven after years of carrying the box around, only for St. Peter to force him to take the box with him to Hell. June Carter's cover version (which was also an example of The Cover Changes the Gender) and the version used in the Kidsongs video Very Silly Songs change the lyrics to the penultimate verse to instead be about the woman's possession of the box forcing a suitor to call off his proposal to her and the man being chased out of town by his inability to dump off the box on anyone else respectively.

    Radio 
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Almost all the main characters were killed off in Mostly Harmless, but were spared in radio show's Quintessential Phase (yes, that DOES include Marvin). (This gets more complicated later when And Another Thing... reveals the characters didn't die in Mostly Harmless after all, but references a scene similar to the radio show's return of Marvin as a hallucination. The Hexagonal Phase follows this ... and then adds another scene in the final episode establishing that Marvin's still around.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • The James Bond RPG included character sheets for some of his allies who were killed in the course of the movies where they showed up, presuming they survived instead to let them appear in later adventures.

    Theatre 
  • In Verdi's opera Aida, the title character's father Amonasro is killed offstage before the fourth act. In Elton John and Tim Rice's musical version, he escapes and survives, with Canon Foreigner Mereb killed in his place.
  • When Agatha Christie wrote the play adaptation of Ten Little Indians a.k.a. And Then There Were None, she changed the ending so that Vera Claythorne and Phillip Lombard both survive. It's helped by the fact that there are different versions of the poem the murderer bases the killings on, with different endings (one of which sounds much cheerier than the "hanged themself" ending actually used in the original book).
  • In Thomas Lodge's novel Rosalynd, usurping Duke Torismund dies in a forest battle at the end. When William Shakespeare adapted Rosalynd into the play known as As You Like It, he spared the Duke, now named Frederick, by having him find religion and make an offscreen Heel–Face Turn. This is probably because the Duke is the father of one of the heroines, who loves him very much and is deeply sad that he's so evil; killing him off would ruin the gleeful party atmosphere of the quadruple wedding at the end.
  • Babes in the Wood is a popular British Christmas pantomime, based on a seventeenth-century ballad. Both versions tell of how an Evil Uncle arranges for his orphaned niece and nephew to be murdered, only for the killers to lose heart and abandon them in the wild woods instead. The pantomime then tells of their rescue, usually by the fairy folk, or by friends of Robin Hood. In the ballad, they have a more likely fate: they die of exposure and hunger after a few days.
  • In the Broadway adaptation of Beetlejuice, Maxie Deen and his wife as spared by the titular Ghost With The Most. Their movie counterparts weren't as lucky. Averted in the DC tryouts where Beetlejuice does away with them the same way he did in the movie, albiet much earlier in the plot.
  • In the film Big Fish, Don Prince, Edward Bloom's high school nemesis, loses his fiancee to Edward and later dies an absolutely humiliating death when his bad heart gives out in his twenties. In the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation, he not only lives, he becomes Mayor of his hometown and ultimately buries the hatchet with Edward. The Witch is also made far younger in this version, enabling her to outlive Edward and attend his funeral at the end (as does Don).
  • Captain Vere in the opera version of Billy Budd. In the book he's shot in a battle, in the opera he lives to old age and the whole story is his flashback. However, at least one production (in Hamburg) had him slitting his wrists in the Epilogue, and there have also been productions in which he's played as a ghost during the Prologue and Epilogue. The play by Louis O. Coxe and Robert Chapman simply ends with Billy Budd's hanging, leaving what became of Vere an open question, though the 1962 movie, based on the play, does include his death.
  • City of Angels: In-universe, Stine is mad at Buddy Fidler for changing the screenplay of the Film Noir adapted from his novel to let Mallory Kingsley survive. (The actress playing her apparently arranged this by way of Buddy's notorious Casting Couch.) Her brother Peter is implied to have escaped death due to more meddling.
  • In Danganronpa the Stage, Junko Enoshima's suicide by execution is prevented by Makoto Naegi as a form of Cruel Mercy. In the same play, Alter Ego is introduced only after the trial concerning Sakura's suicide, which is when Monokuma executed him in the game. Downplayed in the case of Celeste and Hifumi, who die after Sakura as opposed to before. Averted in the 2016 version with Junko.
  • The Death Note anime's ending strongly suggested Misa's suicide, which was later confirmed in supplementary material. In the musical adaptation, she lives.
  • Dracula: As in the novel, Hamilton Deane's play has Renfield killed by The Count for trying to double-cross him. John L. Balderston's revision lets Renfield live to the end.
  • According to contemporary sources, Euripides had the title character and Haemon survive in his (now lost) Antigone.
    • There is also evidence his adaptation of Phaethon might have had the title character survivng.
    • From extant plays, he has Artemis rescuing Iphigenia from the sacrificial altar at the last moment.
  • Clarisse in the adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. In the book she's abruptly mentioned to have been hit by a car. The movie adaptation had her survive and join the party at the end, and author Ray Bradbury approved and so used that ending for the play version of his book.
  • In Sholheim Alechim's Tevye and his Daughters, Tevye's wife Golde, his son-in-law Motel, and fourth daughter Shprintze, are dead by the last story. The musical Fiddler on the Roof has them all remain alive at the end.
  • In The Golden Apple, as in many other adaptations of The Odyssey, Penelope's suitors are spared. This particular adaptation, however, gives them no individual characterization and nothing to do other than hang around and try to convince Penelope to remarry. Paris and Hector also survive as Karma Houdinis, though their roles are greatly different.
  • In Golden Boy, Lorna is reported to have died offstage with Joe in the original play's ending, but lives to mourn him in The Musical's final scene.
  • Zig zagged when it comes to Eurydice in Hadestown since it’s ambiguous if the people in Hadestown are really dead. Hermes describes her as “dead to the world anyway“, but the Fates said that she was given “everlasting life”. It’s still played straight with Orpheus, who has to walk the earth without his other half.
  • When composer Ambroise Thomas adapted Hamlet, he actually wanted to keep the title character alive; he was originally supposed to kill Claudius, then sing that he was still depressed, but had a kingdom to rule. It was eventually impressed on him that the audience would not be pleased by this, but he still left Polonius and Gertrude standing in the final version.
  • The stage play adaptation of His Dark Materials, Lee Scoresby is absent from the later part of the story, and as such he doesn't die, and Lyra and Will do not meet him in the world of the dead.
  • There's a stage version of The Hobbit in which Thorin survives the final battle.
  • The King and I combines this trope with Adaptational Name Change. The King's head wife and Prince Chulalongkorn's mother, Lady Thiang, is a prominent character throughout and eventually outlives her husband; the real Chulalongkorn's mother, Queen Ramphoei, actually died when her son was just nine years old, the same year Anna Leonowens first arrived in Siam. Phannarai, the real Thiang, was the senior consort, not the queen but a woman of extreme importance. She did outlive Mongkut and died in 1909.
  • The Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of The Little Mermaid spares Flotsam and Jetsam, who were accidentally blasted to smithereens by Ursula in the film.
  • Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Inverted with Mushnik, Audrey and the entire human race, who don't die in the original. (And then played straight again in the film based on the musical, where Audrey and the human race are spared. The film also spares Seymour, who had died in both the original and the stage musical.)
  • In Les Misérables, Madame Thénardier lives and gets off scot free. In the original novel, she died in prison.
  • As in most adaptations, Fagin survives in the musical Oliver! and also escapes; in the original ending he decides to clean up his act, although the alternate ending (used for the movie) has he and the Artful Dodger decide to continue their life of crime.
  • In The Oresteia, written Aeschylus, the plot starts with King Agamemnon being forced to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to appease the angry goddess Artemis, which leads to the Cycle of Revenge that ensues for the rest of the series. In Euripides's adaptations Iphigenia At Aulis and Iphigenia At Tauris, it is revealed that Artemis saved Iphigenia from actually dying, and took her away to be her priestess in Tauris. When Orestes is acquitted of murdering his mother Clytemnestra, Apollo orders that he has to atone by traveling to Tauris, stealing the statue of Artemis and bring it to Athens. Orestes and his friend Pylades are captured by the Taureans, but Iphigenia recognizes her brother, who she thought was dead. Iphigenia helps Orestes and Pylades steal the statue of Artemis, and accompanies them back to Athens.
  • Emilia doesn't get killed in the Verdi-Boïto opera Otello, mostly because its Compressed Adaptation of Shakespeare's text leaves no time for minor characters to have death scenes. Some productions have Iago stab her as she flees, though nothing remains in the libretto to suggest this.
  • In Kotone's version of Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade, both Chidori and Shinjiro survive where they die in the original games and Sakuya's version.
  • In RENT, Mimi survives her brush with death, unlike the Mimi of La Bohème. Averted in the Dutch production, where she is Killed Off for Real.
  • The 2006 Copenhagen The Ring of the Nibelung production took significant liberties with the plot and changed the fates of several major characters.
    • Hunding survives in the end of the second opera. Instead of dropping dead as in the libretto, he spits on Siegmund's body and leaves. That was seen as especially unfair, since Hunding in this production is made particularly cruel and unsympathetic, compared to other interpretations.
    • Brünnhilde survives. She never intends to die at all and gives birth to a baby daughter. There is a reason why the production is often called the Feminist Ring.
  • Romeo and Juliet:
    • In The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, the source material for Shakespeare's version, the Apothecary is hanged and both the Nurse and Friar Lawrence are exiled for their roles in the tragedy. Shakespeare's Downer Ending didn't go this far, and they receive no punishment.
    • Some productions do this to Paris by cutting the scene where he gets killed, as does the 1968 film and the 1996 film. Both films, and some stage productions, also leave out Lady Montague's Death by Despair and let her mourn Romeo's death with her husband in the final scene.
  • In 2019, University College Dublin Dramsoc produced a play based on The Room which ended with Johnny singing "I Will Survive" instead of Eating His Gun.
  • Sailor Moon: Prince Diamond dies in the manga and both anime adaptations, but lives in the Musicals.
  • In the screenplay adaptation of The Shadow by E. Schwartz, the writer is brought Back from the Dead.
  • The musical Show Boat let Andy and Parthy survive into the final scenes. In Edna Ferber's novel (and the 1929 film, which mostly followed the novel) Andy is drowned in a storm and Parthy later dies during the Time Skip. Also in the novel, Ravenal is never seen again after leaving his family; he and Magnolia are ultimately reunited in all adaptations.
  • In the Mozart opera Idomeneo, unlike the classical myth it is based on, Neptune intervenes and has Idomeneo spare his son's life.
  • Tobacco Road: The play adaptation omits the book's ending where Jeeter Lester inadvertently burns down his house while he lies sleeping inside. However, it's still a Downer Ending for Jeeter, who has been crushed by a Trauma Conga Line and realizes that his life is essentially worthless.
  • West Side Story, which is based on Romeo and Juliet, spares Maria, who is its version of Juliet. (The characters who are versions of Romeo, Mercutio, and Tybalt all still die.)
  • Wicked: Elphaba, the protagonist, and Fiyero, her love interest, are spared their grisly deaths from the book and live "happily ever after" at the end of the musical. Also, Funny Animal goat professor Doctor Dillamond, escapes his death, instead turning into an ordinary, non-sentient goat, while antagonist Madame Morrible is merely imprisoned in the end rather than killed off. In fact, almost everyone in the book who dies either lives or never existed in the musical.
  • The Witches of Eastwick: In the novel, the Witches curse Jenny Gabriel with terminal cancer out of jealousy after she marries Darryl Van Horne. This doesn't happen in the musical, mainly because the Witches realize Van Horne's toxic nature, and the climax instead has them thwart him from marrying Jenny.
  • Both opera adaptations of Wuthering Heights, Carlisle Floyd's and Bernard Herrmann's, end with Cathy's death scene, leaving Heathcliff still alive and grieving, instead of granting the lovers the Together in Death ending that the novel and most adaptations do.
  • In Euripides' Andromache, the title character's son Astyanax is long dead and she seeks to protect her Child by Rape with Pyrrhus from Hermione's jealousy. In Jean Racine's version, Astyanax is still alive and she's caught between appealing to Pyrrhus to protect him from the other Greeks and staying loyal to the memory of her husband. Racine explained in his introduction that he thought audiences wouldn't care as much about a child that wasn't Hector's.

    Video Games 
  • The TurboGrafx-CD game based on The Addams Family has Tully survive (assuming that you beat the game).
  • The Advanced V.G. series puts a different spin on the trope, by sparing Kaori from being raped, rather than killed. In the original H-Games, she advanced to the finals of the previous two tournaments, but lost both times to Reimi Jahana. So she had to suffer the penalty, meaning, she was publicly raped by members of the audience. TGL rebooted the series years later, by removing the hentai aspects entirely and axed the part about Kaori being raped.
  • Several of the video game adaptations of Alien³ allow Ellen Ripley (the main heroine of the series) to remain alive at the end of the game, and disregard the plotline about being infected by a facehugger. The NES adaptation ends with her simply leaving the facility after she completes the final mission (and presumably escaping via unknown means), while the Game Boy adaptation ends with her using Bishop's body to fix the controls of the EEV and travel back to Gateway Station.
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines explicitly changes the plot of Alien³ to ensure that a major character survives — Corporal Dwayne Hicks, who is woken out of hypersleep in the Stasis Interrupted DLC by colonists from the USS Legato, fights his way through enemy forces to broadcast a Distress Call, and is captured by Weyland-Yutani forces for several weeks before being rescued by USCM soldiers.
  • In the video game adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Aunt May mentions that Gwen Stacey broke up with Peter Parker some time after the events of the previous game. She never appears onscreen, so she isn't there for the battle against the Green Goblin, where she died in the film.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • According to the Arkham City Stories in Batman: Arkham City, Carmine "The Roman" Falcone is alive and well in the Arkhamverse. Granted, according to the Arkham City Stories, Hugo Strange and Quincy Sharp drove him and his family out of Gotham and into hiding in Bludhaven prior to Arkham City, but considering Two-Face killed his comics (post-Crisis/pre-New 52) counterpart at the end of The Long Halloween and his The Dark Knight Trilogy counterpart was driven insane by the Scarecrow's fear toxin in Batman Begins, Falcone in the Arkhamverse is doing quite well by comparison.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight:
      • This happened to Jason Todd. In a bit of a twist, rather than being killed off and brought Back from the Dead ala the comics, he was instead tortured by The Joker for a period of at least one year, before Joker seemingly shoots him and mails a videotape of it to Batman. However, when the Arkham Knight reveals his identity as Jason, the Joker hallucination plaguing Bruce's mind tells him that he lied about actually killing him and that the videotape didn't show him everything.
      • Much like in the New 52, Deacon Blackfire manages to survive Batman taking down his cult, whereas Batman The Vult saw his followers turn on him once Batman humiliate him in front of them.
  • Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions heavily implies that Karen, Stefan Levin's fiancée (who in the original manga died by being run over by a truck), is alive and well in the Episode of New Hero mode timeline. The player can unlock a Rank Up scene where he accidentally overhears Levin talking through his cellphone, and while she's not mentioned by name, he does refer to her as his girlfriend.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth: First, Gandalf faces off the Balrog and wins, continuing down the road alongside the rest of Fellowship. Then, possibly because of that, Boromir survives the skirmish on Amon Hen and accompanies Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas throughout Rohan, Helm's Deep and eventually returns home to Minas Tirith. Then Théoden can survive the battle of Minas Tirith and will continue leading Rohan's army.
    • According to Word of God when the game was in development, whether or not those two survived was meant to be up to the player's abilities. They can still die, but if you're careful they'll survive instead.
      • Saving Boromir is optional, but he appears in later levels either way.
  • Subverted with Grimmjow's Fracción in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom. All five of them survive their assault on Karakura Town that originally ends in them dying — however, D-Roy and Nakeem are killed when the five of them join Grimmjow in a raid on the Soul Society. Shawlong, Edrad and Ilford escape this, only to later be killed trying to defend Las Noches near the end of the game.
  • The Updated Re-release of The Caligula Effect has Shadow Knife survive his Disney Villain Death on the Musician route; however, this comes at the cost of either Eiji's exile from the Go-Home Club or Kotaro's death.
  • In the original Civil War comic book, Goliath was famously killed by the Clone Thor killed during a battle with the Pro-Registration forces. In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Goliath is merely knocked out and taken into custody. Also, Captain America isn't assassinated.
  • The Wii release of Dead Rising, Chop Till You Drop, lets you save the gun shop owner Cletus, whereas in the original game you had to kill him as part of a boss battle. Likewise, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record has a divergent plot from the original Dead Rising 2, where Rebecca Chang becomes Frank's love interest and survives the game, whereas Stacey turns out to be the Big Bad and is killed in the finale.
  • The NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge has a new ending where Billy's girlfriend Marian is restored to life, whereas in the original arcade version she remained dead.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu, if Goku completes King Kai's training perfectly, he can arrive at the battle before Nappa kills Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and Tien Shinhan, and the three survive and go to Planet Namek.
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Guldo manages to outlive Burter, Jeice and Recoome in the altered timeline. Bardock also survives the destruction of Planet Vegeta by being sucked into a wormhole, and he also survives in the sequel thanks to being pulled from time and brainwashed into the Masked Saiyan.
  • The PS1 and DS remakes of Dragon Quest IV gives you the option of redeeming and recruiting Psaro, the Tragic Villain Big Bad, and joining forces to fight The Starscream who was really responsible for the whole damn mess.
  • Dynasty Warriors 8 features Hypothetical routes in its story campaigns, in which any captains working for the Kingdom you're playing as avoid their historical deaths.
  • More like "Spared by the Localization", but the extended ending in the English translation of EarthBound Beginnings and its re-release in Mother 1+2 show Teddy alive and well. In the original version, the game simply ends after beating Giegue, and Teddy is implied to have died.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, this time around, it is explicitly shown that Biggs survived the Sector 7 plate collapse. Wedge also survives the plate drop only to face Uncertain Doom in Shinra HQ, and the circumstances surrounding Biggs' survival make it very plausible Jessie could have survived as well. Perhaps most incredibly though, Zack actually survived his heroic Last Stand and made it to Midgar with Cloud, performing the second-biggest Cosmic Retcon in the world of Final Fantasy VII short of reversing Aerith's death and making clear that this is an alternate timeline to the original game's Bad Future.
  • The DS remake of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem allows you to save and recruit Michalis, who only lived long enough to deliver the Starlight tome in the original.
  • Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is set in an Alternate Continuity and as such, two characters defie their canonical fate from the Manga. Rei survives as he never confronts Raoh, which led to the injury that would claim his life, and Yuria is cured of her radiation poisoning by Sphere City's medical pod and goes on to live with Kenshiro.
  • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator features (well, kind of) Cassette Man, who is implicitly Henry, a character who had previously only existed in Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes, which is set in an Alternate Universe. There, he was Driven to Suicide before the 90s, but here he's still around in what seems to be 2023.
  • GoldenEye (1997) has Boris Grishenko survive, thanks to him being turned from a legit accomplice into a kidnapped technician forced to work for the villains against his will. If you play the game correctly, Defense Minister Dimitri Mishkin also survives; however, because of an oversight on the developers part, it is possible to kill him and get away with it after he serves his purpose. Since he is an ally though, there is no reason to do this other than to be a Jerkass.
  • The Game Boy game Gremlins Unleashed plays around oddly with the trope. In the final boss against Spike in Gizmo's story, his defeat leads to his usual death animation. The ending cutscene after however shows him alive, humiliatingly captured by Gizmo. Similarly Spike kills Gizmo in his final boss battle, but the ending cutscene instead has him stuffing the still alive Gizmo's face with food as a nearby clock counts to midnight, implying an ill fate for the mogwai.
  • This holds true for many of the Gundam licensed games too. For instance, Christina Mackenzie is famous for unknowingly killing her lover Bernie in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, but there are several games where the player can spare Bernie's life, and even convince him to switch sides and join the Federation.
  • Hook:
    • The point-and-click adventure game leaves out Rufio's death and you can see him alive and well on the ending screen.
    • The arcade game has Rufio as a playable character, and he appears in the epilogue alongside the other playable Lost Boys.
    • Averted with the NES and SNES games, though.
  • In the Wii U version of Hyrule Warriors, the main villain Cia dies at end of the second part of the main story mode, just before Ganondorf shows up to do what he does best. However, in Hyrule Warriors Legends, she is brought back to life in a new story arc that takes place after the original and promptly undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, every named character who died in the backstory of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (plus the entire civilain population and most of Hyrule's army) manage to survive thanks to Terrako's involvement creating an Alternate Timeline where Everyone Lives.
  • In the The Iliad, Ajax dies during the war of Troy. In the campaign of Age of Mythology he survives and accompanies the hero, Arkantos, during the rest of his journey.
  • In the adventure game Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade if you're very quick with your Pixel Hunting, it's possible to pick up the Holy Grail before Elsa Schneider can grab it and then return it to the immortal knight, allowing Elsa to live.
  • The good ending for the video game adaptation of Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream allows the player to completely avert the grisly fate that befalls the cast in the original story. The ending sees AM truly destroyed by the protagonists, with humanity seemingly restored thanks to a conveniently-revealed cryogenics facility filled with humans who could potentially repopulate the devastated Earth.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Games:
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • A strategy game based on The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Chaos Island, allows Eddie to be used throughout the entire campaign. Occasionally, clicking on him will cause him to lampshade the circumstances: "Didn't I die? In the movie, I died."
  • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, the remake of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, has Maxim and Selan surviving in the New Game+ ending, although it seems to be pretty explicitly an alternate timeline or simply a vision granted to Erim by Duel Blade.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Games, due to their Pragmatic Adaptation treatment, tend to allow characters to survive for the sake of gameplay (Satipo, for example).
    • It's also Played for Laughs a lot of the time. In the Jurassic Park game, Muldoon, Gennaro and Nedry all survive their death scenes, and at the end of the Jurassic Park segment of the game, Muldoon can be seen running for the helicopter evacuating the survivors only to arrive late, and then later on in the Jurassic World levels, it turns out that they've been living on the island during the whole 22-year Time Skip by squatting in the ruins of the Visitor Centre and sleeping in one of the jeeps, complete with long grey old man beards.
      • Also in that game, some Character in Peril areas in the hubs involve saving characters from the parts of the movie where they died, including Nedry.
    • In LEGO The Incredibles, Gazerbeam is revealed to be alive in the caves under Nomanisan Island, and assists Mr. Incredible in the level that follows.
    • LEGO Harry Potter:
      • In the book and movie, Professor Quirell died at the end of Philosopher's Stone when Voldemort left his body. In LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4, he's last seen in a full-body cast in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing.
      • Implied with Cedric Diggory, as Dumbledore hands his father an assembly manual for LEGO minifigures, allowing him to be rebuilt.
      • Early in the film and book versions of Deathly Hallows, Hedwig is killed by a Death Eater. In LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, though, her death doesn't happen because she's needed to deliver the red bricks.
      • In the film version of Deathly Hallows, Part 2, Lavender Brown is slaughtered by Fenrir Greyback. In the LEGO version, Hermione saves her in the nick of time by blasting Fenrir out of a window.
  • The first Reinforce is alive and a playable character in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games. However, Hayate's ending in the first game suggests that she will fade from existence in the near future.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo video game, which followed the plot of the movie trilogy, did this with the ending, where instead of Neo sacrificing himself to stop Smith, Smith merges all his pieces into a 500-foot-tall Mega-Smith, which Neo fights as the final boss. This was lampshaded with a tongue-in-cheek cameo by the Wachowskis explaining that artsy everybody dies plots are fine for films, but video games are about punching out Galactus using the Hulk.
  • Im Mega Man Powered Up, if the Robot Master is defeated with just the megabuster (primary weapon), the robot in question will be disabled rather than destroyed, and Dr. Light will patch them up. Since you start without special weapons, at least one Robot Master will be saved. In the original Mega Man, the robots were always destroyed.
  • Monsters Inc.: Scream Arena shows that Randall survived the movie and got his job back at the Monsters Inc. factory.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 has a few in-universe example. The first thing you see in the game's opening sequence is the conclusion of the Armageddon, with several of the combatants dead. Sonya has been torn in half (by who is not known) Johnny Cage has been beheaded (again, it is not known by whom) Sheeva, Baraka, and Scorpion are dead, presumably by Nightwolf, Kung-Lao, and Sub-Zero, respectively (due to the weapons lodged in their bodies) and Quan Chi's body is present, though it's impossible to tell how from his injuries. Although Raiden's attempt to change the timeline is very much a Pyrrhic Victory (while the Armageddon is averted and Shao Khan is - probably - dead, most of the Earthrealm warriors are slain and Shinnok is about to attack with their enslaved souls) Sonya and Cage survive at the end and can fight the oncoming threat, while Sheeva, Baraka, Scorpion and Quan Chi also survive.
  • There is at least one Neon Genesis Evangelion Licensed Game where you can save Kaworu Nagisa, who dies in his first appearance. He pilots Unit-04, which arguably also falls under this trope.
  • HOME, a spinoff of OFF, has The Judge's brother Valerie survive being possessed by Japhet, to join your party. Justified, as HOME takes place after the events in OFF were reset.
  • In One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, both Ace and Whitebeard are still alive since Marineford never happened in the original story.
  • Among the characters who died in the original version of Persona 3 were Chidori and Shinjiro, both of whom developed strong fan followings. When the game was remade as Persona 3: FES, a sidequest was added to allow you to save the former, then when the game was remade again for the PSP, another sidequest was added to save the latter. The frustrating thing is that both of these are pure Guide Dang It! and the latter is only possible if you chose the female main character, so it's missable from the very first choice in the game.
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Game of the Movie has the unlockable bonus ending in which you can actually save King Kong from his fate atop the Empire State building.
  • The PS2 rerelease of Phantasy Star II allows you to restore Nei back to life, thereby thumbing your nose at her extremely cruel Plotline Death by Neifirst in the original. It involves a very convoluted and difficult process.
  • The NES Rambo game based on First Blood Part II allows the player to save Rambo's Vietnamese love interest Co from the grasp of death by ignoring her completely after Rambo escapes from the Vietnamese prison camp. It makes sense from a gameplay standpoint, though, since talking to NPCs serve as save points.
  • In Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, collecting all 50 Corrupted Emperor's Kamons and defeating Aku unlocks the Golden Ending where, unlike the Grand Finale of the show, Ashi survives being erased from existence, allowing her to marry Jack and live peacefully with him in the past.
  • Historically speaking, the famous samurai Ryoma Sakamoto was assassinated before the Meiji Restoration began. In Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow, his fictional counterpart Zeyo Sakamoto is one of the Player Character's love interests and lives through the events of the game itself.
  • The fate of Randam Hajile is left ambiguous in the original floppy disk versions of Snatcher. The later CD-ROM versions of the game killed him off for good, but SD Snatcher actually kept him alive until the very end.
  • Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is a Lighter and Softer game based on the Spider-Man Trilogy—and as such features still-living versions of both Goblins, Dr. Octopus, and Venom.
  • In the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, during the intro to Mystic Marsh, rather than being Squashed Flat by the Snailphants when the fountain goes down, the Water Wizard is only chased by them.
  • The Star Trek: Generations video game adaptation has an alternate ending where you can track down the movie's villain, Tolian Soren, before he gets to the climactic setting of the movie on the planet Veridian III, defeat him in starship combat, and spare both the destruction of the USS Enterprise D and the death of Captain James T. Kirk, who in this scenario plays no part in the plot at all and therefore presumably remains alive inside of his Nexus fantasy.
  • Several throughout the Star Wars video game adaptations:
    • Greedo and Jabba in Yoda Stories (at least in the Game Boy version).
    • In Rebel Assault, the final mission is a retelling of the Death Star battle from Episode IV. At the end of this mission, many more starfighters are seen to have survived the battle (at least eight in the game, as opposed to two X-Wings and a Y-Wing in the film).
    • Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles loosely tells Episode I's story as an action game, but with two notable differences. The first is Mace Windu and some other Jedi are fighting alongside Obi-Wan and Qui Gon the entire time. The second? Qui Gon lives.
    • Mace Windu vanishes from LEGO Star Wars after Grievous' flagship crash lands on Coruscant.
  • Rather Dashing in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
  • The Super Robot Wars franchise is the king of this trope. While many characters are usually brought back to life as hidden characters, there are a few who actually live due to this trope. Amongst those are Amuro Ray, who is saved from his Heroic Sacrifice in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack during Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, and Flay Allster, whose lifepod was intercepted by the protagonists instead of the Earth Alliance, completely averting the events that led to her death in Super Robot Wars W.
    • There is one guy who just can't make up his mind on if he wants to live or die in these games: Gai Daigouji, who, in seven games the Nadesico series has shown up in (Advance, Reverse, Judgement, Impact, MX, W, BX), two he lives all the way through, three he's an optional character and two he STAYS dead!
      • The Evangelion cast has a much much happier and better existence in SRW, and most of the sympathetic characters live. Ritsuko always dies in any game that finishes the End of Evangelion plot. Only in L was she spared because L only used the plot of the first two Rebuild movies. Kaji also usually doesn't make it, although he, too, survived L for the same reason, and unlike Ritsuko he made it through MX. Gendo always dies, but he arguably deserves it. Misato, and at least one of the Reis always make it, and the Bridge Bunnies always survive, although they're never seen again after getting Tanged in Alpha 3. Third Impact is always averted, and in a way that doesn't end with Shinji and Asuka alone in a world of Tang.
      • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Lee Linjun dies aboard his ship when he stupidly tries to use it to take down the Kurogane. In the Enhanced Remake, Super Robot Wars Original Generations, his ship is merely crippled in the same scene, not destroyed, which allows him to escape. The Anime of the Game, Super Robot Wars Original Generation: The Inspector, also spares him by keeping him from having his Face–Heel Turn.
      • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Gaiden features a lot of these and an eventually subverted inversion. When they chose to adapt the OVA into game form in the bonus section of Original Generations, the segment ended in Lamia, who survived the OVA, getting shot down dead by Wilhelm von Juergen and thrown off to space, left for the dead, making her seemingly an inversion of the trope. The actual game later revealed that she actually survived, picked up by Duminuss then Brainwashed and Crazy to play the Master Asia part of Reversal. She gets better... and later, the game plays it straight for some of the Compact 3 cast, including Fernando Albark, Alion Lucada, and Maysis Mark, when you compare to the original where every original except Folka died. And the game also pulls a surprise one in form of Reversal's Despinis, one of the Quirky Miniboss Squad that you fight in Reversal, resulting her pulling a Heel–Face Turn for good.
      • And then 2nd Original Generations inverts this: In Super Robot Wars Destiny, Perfectio is impossible to kill and only defeated when Treize Khushrenada pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to seal him off forever. They went along with this plot point, and picked Ventus, who was promoted from Secret Character into an automatic-join (and no longer exclusive with fellow secret character Glacies), to take Treize's place in the Heroic Sacrifice of sealing and defeating Perfectio. Also previously in Destiny, Rim gets to keep her two personalities throughout the game. In OG, one of them, the Nice Girl one, Chris... VANISHED, lost forever, and leaving Rim with just one personality, and she is not happy about it.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars: Heinel, Master Asia, Amuro, Char, and Julia Asuka get to live due to various reasons.
      • After Domon's last fight with him, Master Asia (who is an alien in the game) needs to return to his homeworld and enlist aid. Domon, moved nearly to tears, praises Master Asia's dedication to peace and freedom, and the two exchange manly martial words before Master Asia's departure.
      • When beaten in the final battle against Neo Zeon, Char will furiously say that Amuro wouldn't have even had a chance if he hadn't leaked info to the Federation about the Psychoframe, noting further that Amuro wouldn't have even been worth killing in the RE-GZ (the mobile suit Amuro piloted before the Nu Gundam). Amuro figures that Char is doomed to look down on others for all eternity. Nanai will then go over and fish Char out, saying that he's indispensable to Neo Zeon AND to her, and ignoring his pleas to stay out of it.
      • Once Zuhl and the Skullrook is eliminated in an Earth Route scenario, Heinel decides to go on a little journey, on which Katherine insists on accompanying him. Kazuya figures that the two of them will be happy together.
    • Super Robot Wars Z series:
    • Super Robot Wars V:
      • Black Might Gaine, the beloved Ensemble Dark Horse from the series gets to survive and become a playable unit once players can successfully trigger and complete the secret scenario.
      • Averted with the plot of Zambot 3. Though Celestial Being stopped it early, Kappei's grandparents and his dad are still dead. His older brother Ichitaka, however, remains alive to pursue engineering and publicize a utility for Bealian technology, thus justifying the use of the Ion Cannon without the King Beal.
      • Hathaway Noa reads about the exploits of his New Correct Century counterpart and vows to avoid ever becoming Mufti Nabiyu Erin.
      • Chan Agi survived Char's Rebellion thanks to the Axis Shock happening just as Hathaway was about to shoot her. She eventually reconciles with Hathaway and helps upgrade his Xi Gundam.
      • Thanks to the ELS being Demoted to Extra (see above), Graham Aker survives by default. The same goes for everyone killed by the ELS in the movie, since the ELS aren't in the same universe as the Gundam 00 world.
      • Both Daguza and Marida survive by default, marking the first Unicorn appearance where Marida isn't a secret character.
      • Though she never appeared on screen, Tessa mentions that Nami has been taken into protective custody by Mithril after ARX-8's debut.
    • Super Robot Wars X:
      • Both Nia and Lordgenome (as a head) live on after the finale of TTGL thanks to Nadia's Blue Water. Averted with Kittan who still dies just like his canon.
      • Black Might Gaine lives. Only this time, he doesn’t do any Stupid Sacrifices and takes out his brainwash through pure will of justice.
      • Jill survives by default this time with no secrets needed. Meanwhile, Irma and Tanya, pilots of the Eirene and Victora, also survive. However, their machines are destroyed during their escape from Embryo and thus unplayable.
      • Provided the players fulfill the requirements, Todd, Glemy, Kia, Mashmyre, and Bizon live.
    • Super Robot Wars T:
      • Black Might Gaine survives off-screen, since Might Gaine is given a Post-Script Season, and after being saved, he was sent to train with the El Dora Five team. If the requirement is fulfilled, the El Dora team deemed him ready to return, otherwise he stays. But it's still confirmed that he survived.
      • Eagle Vision survives the events since Debonair didn't execute the sudden attack that killed him before, nor is he rendered into a coma due to not being chosen as the Pillar in the manga. In the same time, while the events is based on the anime, Presea also survived the events, since Ascot, along with Caldina, was dispatched by Zagato earlier and then made to pull a Heel–Face Turn in the same time, so Ascot didn't have the time to summon the monster that would've originally killed Presea, so there is no Backup Twin involved this time. Unfortunately averted with Princess Emeraude and Zagato, their tragedy still has to be played straight.
      • Played With when it comes to Spike Spiegel. During the ending of the default game, it's mentioned that he confronted Vicious and the Red Dragons alone, and it just ended there with no clear conclusion, staying true to the original anime where the ending was really ambiguous. If the Expansion Pack is installed, the story takes place after the events of T, and Spike pops back out, turns out he survived that.
  • In Sword Art Online, Yuuki is an Ill Girl with AIDS who passes away at the end of Mother's Rosario. The game Lost Song set in the Alternate Continuity, however, has Yuuki's condition improve and her lifespan increases. She even makes a triumphant return in the sequel Hollow Realization, as full of life and cheer as ever.
    • Also, in Alicization Lycoris, Eugeo's death at the hands of Quinella is averted, with Kirito stopping his suicidal charge and Dual Wielding him along with his own sword to defeat Quinella.
  • A couple Terminator video games use this:
    • The Sega CD adaptation of the first film has Reese killing the Terminator and surviving. Subverted in the Sega Genesis version, where he likewise still kills the T-800, but the text in the ending still mentions that he died.
    • LJN's release of Terminator 2 Judgment Day completely changes up the ending that both subverts this trope and plays it straight: after the T-800 knocks the T-1000 into the molten steel, but rather than dying the T-1000 actually merges with it and is fought as a final boss. The T-800 then truly kills it, and then with its mission of saving John Conner complete proceeds to teleport back to the future (somehow).
  • In the video game adaptation of Tomorrow Never Dies for the Playstation, James Bond is successfully able to save Paris Carver, who died in the original film.
    • Though he still ultimately dies, in video game of From Russia With Love Red Grant lasts a bit longer than his film or novel counterpart. He secretly survives his fight with Bond on the train and shows up at the very end for one final showdown before being put down for good.
  • Tomorrow's Joe famously had a Downer Ending where the titular protagonist died in the ring after his bout with Mendoza. In the arcade and Neo Geo games, Joe defeats Mendoza and survives, even marrying his girlfriend Yoko in the arcade game.
  • Total War: Warhammer has several playable Legendary Lords that have been dead for decades if not centuries in the Tabletop Game, such as Azhag the Slaughterer and Vlad von Carstein.
  • In most versions of Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen, the fortune teller Sara is murdered, but in the TurboGrafx-16 CD version, she flees town instead, returning in Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys.

    Web Animation 
  • Gaming All Stars Remastered: Vexx, Cole MacGrath, and Knuckles the Echidna all survive for a longer period of time here than they did in The Ultimate Crossover. They still, however, perish in the finale along with the remainder of the cast.
  • RWBY Chibi disregards several major character deaths from the end of RWBY's third season to keep with its Lighter and Softer tone. Which comes as a shock to Team RWBY when they find out in the sixth episode.
    Pyrrha: Hello again!
    Ruby: [gasps] You're okay! How are you even here?!
    Pyrrha: What do you mean?
    Ruby: I-I mean I watched you d—
    Nora: Nope! Never happened!
    Ruby: But—
    Nora: NOPE! Everything's fine! Pyrrha is fine! Nothing bad. Ever. Happened. [turns directly to the viewer] Evveeeeerrrr.
  • The Transformers: Combiner Wars: The miniseries opens up with Menasor and Computron fighting. In the comics the series loosely adapts, Nosecone, Lightspeed and Afterburner were all killed during Galvatron's attack on the Kimia facility. With three of the Technobots gone Computron never got a chance to form in the IDW comics.

    Webcomics 
  • Arthur, King of Time and Space:
    • In the baseline arc, the False Guenevere dies of her Incurable Cough of Death, just as she does in the sources. In the space arc, they Human Popsicle her and find a cure many years later. Her contemporary counterpart, Fasha had a scene where she said everything was going dark, and then didn't appear again, but The Hero of Three Faces later revealed that her condition just put her in a wheelchair.
    • Arthur himself, depending on how dead you consider Arthur to be in the myths. In the Space Arc, he isn't even wounded when the Ladies of Avalon retrieve him from the Stag King planetoid (but probably can't return to British Space, hence his journey to Avalon). And, again in Three Faces, it's revealed that the contemporary equivalent is Arthur opening Avalon Links Golf Course.
  • The Bloody Nipple Saga (a Campaign Comic adaptation of the first Conan the Barbarian movie) ends with Conan burning Thulsa Doom's temple, while Doom's beheading is cut from the story (the author explained that he wanted to release a PG rated - at worst, PG-13 - webcomic). The scene is followed by a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, in which Doom is stated to have survived, and spent the rest of his live as a respected cleric.
  • A bit of an odd example: in Blue Milk Special, as per Word of God, Biggs Darklighter is dead. Biggs just refuses to accept that. Unless he can use being dead to get Wedge into trouble.
  • Alderaan in Darths & Droids, because Naboo is destroyed instead.
  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night:
    • Lucy herself, Dracula manages to reach her crypt in time and allows her to escape before the hunters can stake her By the end, she and her mother flee into the night once Dracula and the brides are killed.
    • Lucy's mother, here named Minerva, survives the novels events whereas in the book she died via a heart attack due to Dracula invasion of her house. This is due to the fact the event doesn't happen here as Minerva has to leave the house on an out of town errand when Dracula comes to claim Lucy. Though likewise an inversion as Dracula's brides intercept Minerva's carriage and and her vampiric daughter later bites her and turns her into a vampire, meaning she does die but comes back as an undead. Like Lucy, she remains as such to keep vampirisim alive at the end of the story.
    • Quincy is likewise an inversion. As in the book, he dies in the final confrontation, but is bitten several times during it. His friends think he was spared the curse due to killing Dracula before Quincy passed on. But when his body is shipped to Texas for burial, he rises as a vampire himself and the end of the story see him starting his own "kingdom" via a ranch he owned.
  • Dumbing of Age is basically a College AU of the creator's Walkyverse comics. Since the latter involved battles with aliens and several deaths, this will presumably happen a lot. Word of God has specifically said that Dina is safe, and Pamela, a Posthumous Character from Shortpacked!, is known to be working at Galasso's Pizza.
  • In Megan Kearney's Beauty and the Beast, Beauty's mother Elise is Not Quite Dead. She sacrificed her mortal life to save Beauty's when the later was gravely ill as a child; but because she was really an immortal swan maiden, she couldn't die. Instead, she became a part of the castle's magic, and spends the entire story watching unseen over Beauty and the Beast and working to bring them together.
  • In The Order of the Stick's Stick Tales:
    • "Elan and the Beanstalk": Falling damage can't kill a giant – and the giant is reasonable once people actually try talking to him.
    • "Little Red Riding Hoodlum": No one even gets eaten. The wolf ties up the wizard (Red's "grandmother") and stuffs them in a closet, Red knocks the wolf out, and the wolf is given to a druid as an animal companion.
    • "The Tragedy of Greenhilt, Prince of Denmark": Ocelia pulls a Screw This, I'm Out of Here! and goes to the Plane of Air to look for her birth parents rather than kill herself.
    • "Haleo and Julelan": Daggers don't deal much damage, and before Julelan can finish killing himself, Haleo makes her second save against the poison and wakes up. The two run away together.
  • In Sailor Moon, the fates of the moon cats, Luna, Artemis, and Diana, were left ambiguous after Sailor Lethe killed them and it wasn't made clear if they were revived with the rest of the major characters or not. Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc makes it very clear that they were indeed revived, and now live in the restored Moon Palace.
  • Played for Laughs in Shouting Is Fun's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic take on The Little Match Girl, The Little Match Filly. Anon sits down to read the proper story to you until he gets to the part where she freezes to death, refuses to accept it, and hastily writes a Self-Insert Fix Fic ending where he shows up in a sports car filled with burgers, flies her to Mars, and plays video games with her and her grandmother who also survived.
    Jesus Christ... What the HELL?! She's basically homeless, gets beaten by her dad, hallucinates, and then straight-up FREEZES TO DEATH?! Christmas stories are meant to be warming, and happy, where everyone gets fat and no-one cares! No! I refuse to accept this! No one will die tonight!!!

    Web Videos 

 
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Alternative Title(s): Spared By Adaptation, Spared In The Adapation

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The Fourth Wall

We missed you, Pyrrha! Looks like nothing bad ever happened at all.

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