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Spared by the Adaptation

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By the way, I never died in this version.
Android #16, Dragon Ball Z Abridged Kai 3.5.

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 took it as a given that life is cruel and unfair so they didn't need to kill a beloved character just to make that point to the audience yet again. 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.


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 
  • 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 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.
  • 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 resurrected, Aunt May and Doctor Octopus could count, too, since they also died during the Clone Saga.
  • 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.
  • 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 (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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The comic continuation of the Justice League cartoon reveals that Queen survived her apparent death in the episode "Wild Cards."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Saurod is never killed in Marvel’s adaption to Masters of the Universe.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jacob Marley is zombified to begin with in Zombies Christmas Carol, but is restored to life after Scrooge's reformation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • A good percentage of fix fics fall under this trope; mainly done if the character in question was a fan favorite.
    • Many Harry Potter fics set after the series will just depict Fred or Snape alive, even if that's not the main point of the story.
  • Deconstructed in For Want of a Nail fic Better Angels when Shane Walsh outlives Rick Grimes following the Walker Invasion at Hershel's farm. Shane kills Rick and the only people alive suspicious of him are Glenn, Daryl, and Lori. Accusations against him combined with grief over murdering his best friend put Shane at odds with Daryl and Lori, but he is still forced to take over Rick's role as leader when the group begins a journey into Season 3's setting, the prison. Rick's death prevents the group from learning the truth about reanimation and Shane's ruthlessness inevitably puts the group on a darker path than when Rick was alive and Shane wasn't.
  • Bleach
    • Many works both play this straight and invert this, mostly due to the seeming immortality of the main characters while often sparing fan-favorite villains like Ulquiorra. Starrk and Lilynette, nine times out of ten, will survive their canonical deaths even if it's not the fic's main point.
    • Downfall and Hammered Down are interesting examples because the former has a large percentage of the backstory characters alive and well, others die, though - Hammered down starts plays this somewhat straighter.
  • Date A Re:Live: Despite the Darker and Edgier premise, several characters who expired in the source material either survive or get revived here:
    • Tohka Yatogami faded away as a result of Mio Takamiya's death. Here, both of them survive the events.
    • Sawa Yamauchi/Saya Yamada gets brought back to life as a normal human, unlike in canon where she remains a Posthumous Character.
    • In her movie, after kissing Shido, Mayuri faded away as a result of being only made of spirit mana. Here she lives to be adopted by the Takamiya Family.
  • Trisha Elric in Doctor Who: The Manga
  • Professor Quirrell in A Very Potter Musical. And Dumbledore.
  • Particularly popular in Naruto Fan Fics is Haku—Zabuza is spared half the time too, but not as often and almost never without Haku.
    • Haku and the Third Hokage (at least so far) in Team 8. However, in the latter case, he lost an arm and was forced to step down as Hokage.
    • While Sarutobi has survived in a number of stories that cover the canon timeframe, these are rarely serious stories (Lucillia usually spares him in her more comedic narratives, but he usually dies in the dramatic ones) - outside of the need for drama, his death in canon leads to Tsunade's succeeding him, and fanfic writers have commented that giving both characters a role in the story after this point is difficult (which is probably why, for instance, Team 8 forces him to retire so that Tsunade can succeed him anyway).
    • Haku and Zabuza both survive in Fly Free. So far, the story seems fairly lighthearted, though the advent of the Chunin Exams arc seems like it may change that.
    • Following Neji's death in the 4th Shinobi World War Arc, fans have started to spare him in fanworks; Shikaku, Inoichi, Ao and Mabui are harder because of circumstances (and require a vaster plot changed), but Neji can be saved if someone else is Taking the Bullet in the scene where he dies.
    • Some also spare Asuma from his death at Hidan's hands - Dead Garden became a Dead Fic before it reached his point of death,, but Hidan's death in the first story arc has ensured that if the story had continued then Asuma's potential death would be very different to canon anyway.
    • Kushina and Mikoto (Sasuke's mother) have also been treated to this trope, whether the work in question covers the canon timeline, is set in a universe where one change to the plot altered the continuity, or is set in a whole different universe altogether. Both of them are alive and well in the High School A.U. fic Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, Kushina is alive but crippled in Dead Garden (where the Kyuubi was sealed into Sakura instead of Naruto), and Mikoto is the main character of One Small Kindness (set around the time of the Uchiha Massacre).
    • Son of the Sannin spares Hizashi Hyuga, Shisui Uchiha and Yashamaru during the introductory arc timeframe, as well as Zabuza and Haku who become ninjas of Konoha by the time the story enters Part I. Hayate Gekko is also spared from being killed in the Chunin exams, as there's no conspiracy during it. By the beginning of Part II, Hiruzen Sarutobi and Rasa still remain alive.
      • On the bad guys' side, Tayuya and Kimimaro of the Sound Five survive their battles against the heroes during the final arc of Part I, and Word of God is that they'll return for Part II. Also, Orochimaru's genin trio, Zaku, Kin and Dosu, survive by the end of Part I, ending up as prisoners of Konoha and under the custody of Anko Mitarashi.
    • Dreaming of Sunshine spares a number of characters aside from Haku and Zabuza, including Hayate, Sandayu from the 1st Movie, and more recently: Tayuya, Sakon & Jirobou.
    • War OF The Biju:
      • Haku is dead like in canon and revived by the Edo Tensei, but Kakashi transporting him into his personal Kamui dimension manages to break the control seal on him, essentially reviving him like Itachi.
      • Rin. Since Obito was never designated as Madara's successor and never became Tobi (and was even killed by this story's Tobi), Madara never arranged the events that led to her death in canon. Unusual for this trope, Rin was still considered dead In-Universe — her death was faked during the Kyuubi attack after Danzo saved her, and she was subsequently press-ganged into joining ROOT as his personal medic. She joins the main forces during the war after Danzo dies and reunites with Kakashi after his battle with Edo Tensei!Obito.
      • Kushina has been living as Tobi's prisoner since the day of Naruto's birth, and finally manages to escape during the war.
  • Iris and Colonel get this treatment invoked on them in Burning Stickman Presents...Something! by one of the main characters. Said protagonist is Trapped in a Video Game and is well aware of exactly which game he's in, so he takes steps to prevent their deaths and knocks the games' plot Off the Rails in the process.
  • Nihlus in Renegade. Since the MacGuffin on Eden Prime is a Tacitus, rather than a Prothean beacon, Saren is carrying it around with him; Nihlus notices and is about to turn and ask Saren about it when the latter tries to shoot him in the head. Thanks to the movement, though, it's not as deadly as it "should" have been.
  • Evangelion fan manga RE-TAKE does this with Touji. As Shinji knows that Touji will die if he's hesitant when Unit-3 is taken over, he manages to cripple the Eva without kill Touji. However, Touji is still Put on a Bus for the next two chapters because his injuries. Kaji also survives, though it's not made clear if Shinji's actions had anything to do with it or he survived in this timeline's series of events without Shinji doing anything.
  • In Game Theory, Precia and Alicia Testarossa. Although the latter is not so much spared as brought Back from the Dead. And Precia is still terminally ill, so her reprieve is temporary.
    • It should also be mentioned Linith is still alive in the story.
  • In the Attack on Titan/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover story Attack on Titan: The Ponies from Afar, Petra and Auruo were rescued from their canonical deaths thanks to Spike and Rainbow Dash respectively. Less importantly, a minor character, Dieter's friend Ivan, isn't killed thanks to Applejack and Twilight Sparkle and the dead bodies aren't left to be abandoned.
  • In Mercenaries Of Fortune, a squadron of highly-trained soldiers are able to reach Saki Konishi and get her out of the TV world before the fog clears up, preventing her untimely demise in the original story.
  • In Worldwar: War of Equals, both Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi live much longer than they did in OTL.
  • Quite a good number of Danganronpa fics like to do this with the Human Chiaki Nanami, whether by setting the story in an Alternate Universe, or have her surviving her canon execution and becoming the Hero of Another Story
  • A few cases in System Restore
    • The fic's entire premise is based around Togami tripping while rushing over to prevent the first murder, resulting in Hanamura killing Komaeda.
    • On a lesser scale, Koizumi has survived through Chapter 2, when she was murdered in canon, and when the murder victims of Chapter 3 are discovered, neither are the canonical victims; Mioda and Saionji.
  • The crossover between Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon Fist of the Moon does this with one-third of the Earth's population. Advancements in technology save billions of lives in the Great Freeze.
  • Wally West in many Young Justice fanfics that take place after the Grand Finale.
    • Young Justice: Darkness Falls uses the explanation of Wally being covert zeta beamed off planet by Darkseid as a way to gain metas for his control.
      • Young Justice Titans also gives this treatment to the Aquababy. Aquaman's son is alive and well in Atlantis, and even old enough to interact with others, as opposed to being killed by Black Manta.
  • Played with in regards to Amon in the The Legend of Korra fic Forced To Be A Family; he survives the first arc, but is taken into custody by the police and slated for execution shortly thereafter.
  • In BioShock: Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Guy, Langford died in the game after Ryan found out she was working with Jack and gassed her office, suffocating her. In this story, which is an alternate re-telling with a new protagonist, she survives thanks to Mark having the foresight to realize how paranoid Ryan is and reaching her office in time just as the gas was being turned on. Using his weapons to blow a hole into her office and pull her out. Elizabeth, following her role in the Bioshock Infinite DLC game Burial at Sea, somehow survives her last meeting with Fontaine whereas at the end of the game he brutally beat her to death with wrench.
  • Latios from Pokémon Heroes survives the outcome of the movie's events in A New Chance at Life thanks to a soul-bonding technique with Ash and Latias in a First Episode Resurrection. The rest of the fic deals with Ash traveling the rest of his journey in Johto with the Eon Dragons.
  • In The King Nobody Wanted, the Tower of Joy incident does not occur leaving all participants, and Lyanna, thus far alive.
  • The Little Pony Legend While most of the comings and goings are replicated note by note, there are 2 characters whom the author decided to give life to rather than death: Queen Hou-Ting, and P'Li.
    • The author also allows the Makorra ship to stay afloat from the end of Book 2 onwards.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic Build Your Wings on the Way Down, Nina Tucker was spared when Edward managed to reverse her chimera transformation and return her back to normal. She is then Happily Adopted by the Hughes since her father died.
  • Cycles Upon Cycles: In this Mass Effect cross with StarCraft, Nihilus survives the battle on Eden Prime as does Jenkins. Nihilus then becomes the Normandy's quick pass through Citadel space and Jenkins becomes head of their Piranha force. And as of Legacy of the Void Zeratul as well.
  • Aftermath of the Games: The Human version of Applejack's parents are alive and well. She and Human Apple Bloom were horrified when they discovered from Princess Twilight that their pony counterparts were dead.
  • An in-universe example happens in Digimon Adventure 02: The Story We Never Told where in TK's initial draft (aka Digimon Adventure 02), Ken survives to the very end, with him having a successful career where in reality, he gets murdered by Oikawa right before they escape from the Dark World.
  • In The Sunsetverse, Applejack's mother is still alive.
  • Candy For Your Thoughts? spares Cody's alien clone, of all people. He becomes the antagonist of the Area 51 episode and appears a few other times in the story, as a hammy, super-powered villain with some of Cody's personality traits.
  • The Reactsverse:
    • Weiss Reacts: Due to the author's known distaste for it and the fic having been written since Volume 1, Pyrrha, Penny and Roman survive to the present day. On a lesser note, Yang keeps her arm.
    • Corrin Reacts: Scarlet and Izana are spared, despite having died on the Revelation route the fic is set after.
  • The Vow, an Alternate Universe Fic about Kung Fu Panda 2, ends with both Lord Shen and the Wolf Boss being alive.
  • One of the installments in the Black Crayons series, A Child's Innocence (which is a rewrite of Transformers: Dark of the Moon) has Ironhide, Megatron, Starscream, Wheeljack/Que, and Soundwave surviving their fates from the movie.
  • madsthenerdygirl's MCU Rewrites: In this rewrite of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver survives in the Final Battle against Ultron. Subverted, though as in New Avengers, he is killed by Tomi Shishido/Gorgon.
    • Also, in New Avengers the final scene shows that Wanda and Pietro's father is still alive and is in fact Magneto.
  • In The Side Effect, Uncle Ben survives. This is because Gwen ended up getting superpowers as well, and because of that, Spidey's a good deal more selfless in his early superpowered days. As a result, he decides to apprehend the hoodlum who robs the sleazy fight promoter, meaning he never gets anywhere near Ben.
  • The Code Geass fanfic Mosaic takes place in an alternate universe where the Chinese Federation invaded Japan, only to be defeated with the help of Britannia. Since Japan is still free, Kallen's older brother Naoto was never killed resisting an occupation.
  • In the Prehistoric Park fanfiction Prehistoric Park: Returned from Extinction, the mother T-Rex (whom the park staff calls "Sue") manages to survive the injuries inflicted on her and is successfully brought back to the present.
    • Additionally, Nigel is also able to rescue the four Mei long were suffocated by volcanic fumes, in part because this time around, the fight is interrupted by the arrival of a hungry pack of Sinotyrannus. He's also able to rescue the Incisivosaurus, when in the original story, it is presumed they died (he never rescued them before the volcano erupted).
    • He also manages to save the second of the female Smilodon's original cubs, as here, he splits off with Saba so that they can rescue the male, female and cubs simultaneously.
    • Let's just put it this way: if the creature is question was alive when it first appeared in the original series and died a tragic death later in the episode it appeared in, it was spared in this series. The only animals not spared are Martha's sister, the juvenile Ornithomimus, the first of the female Smilodon's cubs, and the Parasaurolophus eaten by the Deinosuchus mob.
  • The main premise of Summer Crowns is that Rhaegar (and his mother, Rhaella) is still alive after the Rebellion, having fled to Essos.
    • Brandon Stark was only imprisoned and tortured by the Mad King, rather than being executed with his father.
  • Ill Met by Moonlight:
    • In comparison to Faded Blue at least. Because she is a vampire and not a gem in this story, Blue Diamond (here named "Blue") did not have to give up her physical form to give birth to Steven and thus is alive (or undead, given the circumstances) and well.
    • Played straight in the case of Rose in comparison to the original animated series for the same reasons.
  • Though a Bird Can't Fly, That Doesn't Mean It Never Will is an Alternate Universe Fic for One Piece where Zoro's childhood friend Kuina is struck blind (and becomes a Blind Weaponmaster) instead of suffering Death by Falling Over.
  • This Bites!, another AU One Piece fic, also avoids one of the most tragic deaths in the series, by having the Straw Hat Pirates first ship, the Going Merry, eat a Devil Fruit and become human instead of receiving a Viking Funeral.
  • In the House fanfic "Its-It's", Amber doesn't die because the bus crash never happened, the garbage truck hit a parked car instead, making it a For Want of a Nail fic.
  • In Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Lex Luthor of Earth-Two, killed off by Brainiac in the canonical Crisis on Infinite Earths, survives thanks to Darkseid blasting Brainiac first.
  • Three-Point Shot:
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse):
    • Robert Queen and Sara Lance never join Oliver Queen on the Queen's Gambit, sparing them both from their eventual fates.
    • Akio Yamashiro, who is injected with the Mirakuru, saving him from the Alpha-Omega virus.
    • Bette Sans Souci.
  • In the Torchwood & The Sarah Jane Adventures crossover fic The Fury of a Storm, Ianto Jones and Steven Carter survive thanks to the Bannerman Road gang assisting Torchwood Three, as Luke is able to create a cure for the poison used by the 456 before Ianto and others are dead ‘by every Galactic standard’, and later takes on Steven’s role of transmitting the final signal, with Luke's unique physiology allowing him to withstand the strain of the transmission so that he is only in a coma for a few days rather than dying.
  • The portions of Double Agent Vader corresponding with the events of A New Hope don't have any major differences, because Vader can't take overt action without blowing his cover, but Biggs Darklighter survives the attack on the Death Star, presumably because Vader isn't trying as hard to kill the Rebel pilots as in canon. When the story moves on to The Empire Strikes Back, Lorth Needa doesn't die but fakes his death with Vader's help as he's about to be exposed as a spy.
  • In The Heart Trilogy, a series of The Hobbit fics, Smaug is mortally wounded by Bard's Black Arrow, but the magical outside intervention of his Love Interest Kathryn saves him while turning him into a human. He eventually learns to shift between his true form and the human form, becoming involved in the War of the Ring sixty years later.
  • The Hours Verse spares several characters. Namely Minato Arisato, Ryoji Mochizuki, Hamuko Arisato, Shinjiro Aragaki, the SIU Director and Goro Akechi.
  • A wand for Steven: Since Steven was the one chosen to be Hogwart's Triwizard Tournament Champion, Cedric was saved from his unkind fate at the hands of Voldemort.
    • Thanks to Sapphire's future vision, the team was able to prevent the deaths of Sirius and Dumbledore.
    • Using his healing spit, Steven ended up reverting Voldemort into an innocent child. Whether or not it was worth the trouble considering his damaged soul is left up for debate.
  • Remember the old bull Liopleurodon who died from suffocation after being beached in Walking with Dinosaurs? Well, in Prehistoric Earth, he ends up getting saved by humans from the distant future.
  • In Every Right Thing Will Find Its Right Place, Thanos spares Wanda when he triggers the Snap, but only because he has realised that she is pregnant with the Vision's twins, intending to recruit them into his new Black Order in the future.
  • In Ice Fury, Stoick’s life is saved by Elsa, although at the cost that he must avoid prolonged contact with heat sources due to her ice magic keeping him alive.
  • The Demented'verse sees Kevin Tran, Gadreel, and Charlie Bradbury surviving thanks to the Winchesters' new associations with the Wizarding World.
  • In the Elfen Lied fic The Butterfly Effect, Aiko Takada survives and is taken in by her mother, unlike canon. Ultimately subverted with Kaede's puppy, who nonetheless lives far longer than he did in the original manga.
  • In the Life Is Strange fic Bloom Rachel Amber, who was Dead All Along in the game, is alive and well, because the person responsible for her death was Adapted Out.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Harrison Wells is alive and well (albeit wheelchair bound) and the proud head of S.T.A.R. Labs along with his alternate universe counterparts Harry Wells and H.R. Wells. In the Arrowverse, he's murdered by Eobard Thawne, who proceeds to steal his identity to mess with Team Flash.
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures/Sherlock Holmes crossover novel The All-Consuming Fire, Kate Prendersley is the first victim. In the Nu Who/Sherlock fanfic "The All-Consuming Fir", she's briefly mentioned at the end, alive and well.
  • Childhood's End features the Gascoigne sisters, Laure and Adele, being escorted to safety by Eileen The Crow before the Player Character of the game even reaches them. However, due to their worry for their mother, they end up back in the heart of Yharnam with Djura the retired hunter and everything goes downhill from there.
  • Professor Arc: Due to Jaune being able to catch wind of some of Cinder's schemes, Pyrrha, Penny, and Roman avoided their canon deaths.
  • In Jurassic World, the Indominus was devoured whole by Jurassic World's sea monster. In It's not the Raptor DNA, Owen was able to stop its rampage by learning about her sentience.
  • Infinity Crisis: Aside from Hope van Dyne not suffering her canonical death, Different Strokes reveals that Quentin Lance survived because Oliver was able to kill Diaz before he could cause Quentin's death.
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon fanfic A Thing of Vikings, a few historical characters live longer in this fic then they did in Real Life.
    • Theodora Porphyrogenita will die in 1068, twelve years after her historical death date.
    • Downplayed with Harthacnut who in Real Life died on 8 June 1042. Here he survives for an additional 3 days.
  • Allura in many Voltron: Legendary Defender fanfics that take place after the Grand Finale or fix fics that ignore it completely.
  • Skyhold Academy Yearbook does this for Felix Alexius, whom the authors like too much to allow to die.
  • Many Dragon Age fanfics do this for Hawke's younger twin siblings, Bethany and Carver. In the game, one is always killed during the prologue (which one is determined by Hawke's class), but it's not uncommon for fic writers to have them both accompany their elder sibling to Kirkwall. There's actually a tag on AO3, "Bethany and Carver Hawke Live," for such stories. Some of them have someone else die instead, such as Hawke or their mother Leandra, but others have the entire family survive together.
  • In the Lucky Star fanfic, Missing Piece, Kanata Izumi, the deseased mother of Konata, is alive. However, she was still abstent for most of Konata's life due to being kidnapped when Konata was still a little babie.
  • In The Strongest Hero, because the world knows that Saitama is the World's Strongest Man, several villains survive either because they surrender or they pull a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Vaccine Man and the Brain and Brawl brothers surrender the second they spotted Saitama during their rampage.
    • The members of the House of Evolution join the Hero Association because they know One-Punch Man could wipe them all out in a heartbeat. Mosquito Girl becomes part of Saitama Group while the rest of the members are recurring support characters in the story.
    • Geryuganshoop is the Sole Survivor of the Dark Matter Thieves simply because he wisely chooses to escape after seeing Saitama fighting against Boros inside the ship. He becomes Tatsumaki's roommate after Lord Boros is defeated.
  • In The Web Of The Spider Man, Uncle Ben is spared from his usual fate of being Peter's Death by Origin Story catalyst. Instead, Peter is such a nerd for fiction tropes that he Jumped at the Call to be a superhero.
  • In X Men 1970:
    • Angel's girlfriend Candy Southern doesn’t get murdered.
    • Thanks to their early retirement, neither Jean Grey nor Scott Summers go through their many canonical deaths.
  • In canon Pelter/Stefanie dies during the Endbringer fight, in Wolf Spider she lives and becomes a recurring character.
  • In prompt 50 of Calling You Out!, Tony Stark survives using the Infinity Gauntlet due to Quill getting all of the heroes to form a chain, splitting the burden between dozens of people rather than just one, though Tony's arm is still damaged to the point of requiring amputation.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Almost none of the deaths in the original canon occur here. Penny never dies because Cinder didn't need to use the plan she had in place to kill her (and the tournament gets interrupted a little earlier anyway), Pyrrha never gets killed by Cinder because Cinder stops at the last second and kidnaps her instead (she'd get in huge trouble for killing a girl who is in love with Jaune), Roman never gets killed because he is largely uninvolved with the Battle of Beacon (which wasn't as bad in this version anyway, since Cinder ordered everyone to stand down and Adam attacked without orders), Sienna Khan never gets killed by Adam (because he died at the Battle of Beacon), and Leo Lionheart survives the Battle of Haven (but is arrested for his crimes).

  • 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.
  • Possibly the cook in the novelization of Titan A.E. At the very least, their death occurs off-screen.
  • 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.
  • 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 to begin with.
  • 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.
  • In the MAD parody/adaptation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Wreck of the Hesperus, both the skipper and his daughter survive the wreck, with the latter still tied to a broken-off 20-foot-tall mainmast (!) and bringing back the former from his frozen state.
  • 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.
  • 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 14th century English poem Sir Orfeo is a Setting Update of Orpheus and Euridyce 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.
  • 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.
  • Some adaptations of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, including the aforementioned Fantasia 2000 retelling, spare the romantic leads.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dan Turpin is believed to have died in Final Crisis after Darkseid leaves his body. The novelization depicts Turpin as comatose, but still alive.
  • The novelization to Constantine says that Chaz ends up getting resurrected as a half-breed angel.
  • 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 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.


    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.

  • 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).
  • According to contemporary sources, Euripides had the title character and Haemon survive in his (now lost) Antigone.
  • 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 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.
  • The Death Note anime's ending strongly suggested Misa's suicide, which was later confirmed in supplementary material. In the musical adaptation, she lives.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Mozart opera Idomeneo, unlike the classical myth it is based on, Neptune intervenes and has Idomeneo spare his son's life.
  • In Les Misérables, Madame Thénardier lives and gets off scot free. In the original novel, she died in prison.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of The Little Mermaid spares Flotsam and Jetsam, who were accidentally blasted to smithereens by Ursula in the film.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 sees 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.
  • While it's not a straight-up adaptation, all of Grimmjow's Fraccion in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom survive the raid on Karakura town. Subverted in that they do die later on (D-Roy and Nakeem in a raid on Soul Society, and the rest protecting Las Noches).
  • 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.
  • The Wii release of Dead Rising, Chop Till You Drop, let 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 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 PS! 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 mogwi.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Games:
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • 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 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • In the original Japanese version of Megaman Battle Network 6, Lord Wily dies with his hatred as his headquarters crumbled along with him. In the English version however, he somehow managed to survive mostly unscathed and in the future managed to become a dedicated scientist to help Lan's father to search and destroy the viruses.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 crashlands 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 on, the game pulls a massive straight playing on some of Compact 3 cast, including Fernando Albark, Alion Lucada and Maysis Mark, when you compare to the original where every originals 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
      • Once again, 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 Siegel. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • In most versions of Ys, the fortune teller Sara is murdered, but in the TurboGrafx-16 CD version, she flees town instead, returning in The Dawn of Ys.
  • 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.

    Web Comic 
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alderaan in Darths & Droids, because Naboo is destroyed instead.

    Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged reveals that the Kanassans, a psychic race that were killed off in the original show (and the main reason Bardock could see the future), managed to miraculously repopulate.
    • Also, while Nappa stayed dead in the actual series, he's accidentally wished back along with everyone killed by Freeza and his minions at the end of season 2.
    • Nail and Kami also receive this - while they effectively ceased to be after fusing with Piccolo in the series proper, here they still exist as voices in Piccolo's head.
    • In a manner of speaking, Android 16. He did die, and remained dead, but in canon he had no soul, and simply stopped existing. Here, he actually did have a soul that went to heaven, as the final credits shot for episode 60 demonstrated. Parodied in Z Kai Abridged Episode 3.5 where, because Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 through the thought of waiting a year to fight Cell, Android 16 is never killed and casually walks across the screen to let the viewers know so at the very end.
    • Dr. Wheelo from The World's Strongest gets this as well, as well as an upgrade from evil Mad Scientist to good Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. He's eventually wished a new body to live his life in peace. Though subverted later as during the Broly adaptation, it's revealed he died of brain cancer since...well they gave him a body but his brain was still too big.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged spares one member of the Moonlit Black Cats, only for Kirito to kill him two episodes later, because said guild member was an NPC whose Artificial Stupidity caused the death of his only real friend up until that point.
    • A Freeze-Frame Bonus at the start of the second season reveals that Kayaba didn't die at the end of the Aincrad arc, and is still playing video games, presumably in hiding after becoming "the most wanted man on the planet."
  • Several Sassy Gay Friend shorts involve the title character stepping in just in time to stop a famous character's death, including Juliet, Desdemona, Ophelia and Anne Boleyn.
  • Rhett & Link's Middle School Musical version of Breaking Bad falls under this trope. Having an original ending made before the final season, they save Hank, who arrests Walt, implying he falls under this trope as well. The musical can be found here.
  • 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.
  • In the universe of Brighthammer 40000, there was no Horus Heresy. As a result, the Emperor isn't stuck inside the Golden Throne, perpetually on the brink of death.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Spared By Adaptation


The Fourth Wall

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

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SparedByTheAdaptation

Media sources:

Main / SparedByTheAdaptation