As long as it is still the same basic story and keeps all the best bits and characters intact, then it doesn't matter too much that Bob's bald, Alice dies in a train wreck instead of a car crash, the football game ended with a different score, and they cut the watermelon scene, right? It's a bit of a shame they screwed that bit up, but really, it's not as if the entire work is Ruined FOREVER, right?
...or so you would be told by many fans.
For some people, the mere act of adaptation is decay. A film version of something should be a direct word-for-word transcription, with utmost care that the sets, costumes and people be reproduced in every detail. If a character who wears a homburg in the original now wears a fedora, that will be enough to ruin the character, and therefore ruin the film. It will be all you will hear about from these fans on message boards, with them going on at length to explain how their homburg visually defined their entire personality in a way that a fedora never could.
And don't you dare suggest that in changing it they made it better. If certain fans take the Chicken Little approach and announce that the sky is falling, it's mainly an expression of their fears that the writing staff don't care much about the source material, particularly if it's not mainstream-friendly.
This also happens a lot with translations. People can become religiously attached (sometimes quite literally, in the case of texts like The Bible) to one translation of a work, and when a new translation comes out they condemn it as a travesty, accusing it of distorting and cheapening the meaning of the original, whether or not the new translation is a more literally accurate rendering.
This is not only used for adaptations and translations. It is also applicable to ongoing series where a significant change is made between seasons. This can be explained in terms of prospect theory, where fans are much more averse to losing any aspects of the original, compared to the enjoyment gained from any "improvements".
Sometimes, the complaints are about a sequel or remake to an adaptation, and the original adaptation actually made changes from its source material, and the new adaptation tries to be more faithful, but people don't know that and complain about changes anyway.
This is sometimes a result of Ability over Appearance.
But sometimes the fans who complain may be right:
- When producers make drastic changes just for the heck of it, it can get rid of any redeeming qualities the property had. An established franchise making sudden, drastic and often unnecessary changes usually heralds the beginning of Running the Asylum and/or a Dork Age.
- If fans liked the franchise for what it was, and then it is totally changed, the new stuff may be good and please the fans, but they are right to complain that what they liked is never coming back. If a complete overhaul of a franchise is old enough, fans who want the franchise to go back to its roots are not rejecting change, they are demanding change.
- An adaptation/reboot that has too many changes can become a bastardization of the source material that seems like an insult to the fans, or even become In Name Only, fans can argue about why adapting/rebooting something popular to profit on the existing audience, but don't deliver something that connects to them.
- The introduction of online updates to video games can make the criticisms more valid: unlike a new sequel that can simply be ignored, updates can effectively make the game they enjoyed non-existent. Nerfs are particularly likely to cause fan uproar. The same can apply to any other media that goes through changes in rereleases and the original version becomes unavailable.
- And the most important, they can argue that they aren't complaining because it was changed, they are complaining because it was changed for the worse, the new version is not just different, it is bad.
Compare Translation Style Choices, Darker and Edgier, Lighter and Softer, New Sound Album, Replacement Scrappy, Ruined FOREVER, Seasonal Rot, Network Decay, Jumping the Shark, Fanon Discontinuity, They Don't Make Them Like They Used To, So Bad, It Was Better, or even Damn You, Muscle Memory!.
Remember that Examples Are Not Recent, even if you're writing up an example while fan controversy is erupting.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Fic
- Live-Action TV
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- The 2020 redesign of Froot Loops mascot Toucan Sam got a massive hatedom as soon as it was revealed. Common complaints about Sam's new redesign include his beak being overlayered with a rainbow gradient instead of having individual stripes and his mouth overlayering the edge of the beak, his eyes being overly large and sparkly, looking like he is constantly on some sort of Fantastic Drug, and being extremely lazily designed in general. It's pretty clear that the marketing team is trying to emulate modern cartoon styles, while having absolutely no idea what made those work and falling deeply into the Uncanny Valley instead. Plenty of artists on Twitter have made their own redesigns in response.
- Planters' decision to replace Mr. Peanut with Baby Nut to cash in on the whole Baby Yoda craze drew massive ire from fans. And then Baby Nut evolved into Peanut Jr., leading to even more hostility towards the campaign.
- The 2009 Nickelodeon logo was torn apart by upset Nick fans upon being revealed, with the majority of complaints being that it looked "bland" in comparison to the classic "splat" logo. The logo was so unpopular when it debuted that some believe that the logo's designer, Eric Zim, is actually an alias that was used to protect the designer's identity.
- Format changes often lead to outcry from angry listeners upset with the (often huge) changes, especially if it's a rock station of any format (active rock, classic rock, etc.) or an oldies station. This was amplified in the mid-to-late 2010s when the Educational Media Foundation bought out several popular radio stations - WLUP Chicago, WPLJ New York City and WAAF Boston to name three - and turned them into pass-throughs for their K-Love network.
- Similarly, Boston rock station WBCN being demoted to a HD Radio subchannel of WBZ-FM (a format almost nobody has access to) to make way for WWBX (a generic Top 40 CHR station) also drew massive ire from rock fans.