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Truer to the Text

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2018: Simple and blocky again

If a book or comic becomes sufficiently popular, it will almost definitely get a TV show or a movie. While some fans rejoice upon hearing that their favorite series is getting an adaptation, all too often a contingent of the fanbase will find themselves miffed about changes to the work that the general public might not care too much about, and consider that a part of what made the original great is missing. The problems are especially likely to surface when the story is ongoing and the staff has to work with incomplete source material. The usual result of such circumstances is a Broken Base.

It's important to keep in mind that changes from the source materials have often been a good thing, and sometimes very necessary. Sometimes being more faithful is a technicality rather than anything significant and, if done badly, will displease those who wonder why the new adaptation was made in the first place if it wasn't going to do anything new.


The cycle of adaptations from earlier work usually follows a certain model:

  • A series' first adaptation is geared towards introducing the work to the widest possible audience. It will begin with the same basic plot but will try to adapt and condense it to make the public more involved with a certain character, genre, or setting.
  • A new adaptation seeking to revive the IP now has an additional option the first one didn't: go back to the source material and bring in stuff the first version left off especially since the burden of introducing the IP to a general audience has already been achieved.
  • In many cases, the adaptation of the source material is far more notable and memorable than the original source. Not all fans of the movie/show actually read the source material, and are more familiar with the various adaptations. Putting on a play called "Don Juan" but not specifying that you are adapting the original Spanish play by Tirso de Molina, rather than the opera by Mozart (Don Giovanni), or the play by Moliere, or the one by George Bernard Shaw, will confuse audiences, who will mostly not be familiar with how many different versions there are.
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  • Depending on the differences between mediums, such as the inevitable problems that come with adapting a book into a film, "more faithful" does not necessarily equate to "better." Sometimes the original media has had multiple Retools and possibly even a Cosmic Retcon every now and then, making it so that being faithful in one aspect of the original also makes it unfaithful to another aspect of the original. In extreme cases, a more faithful adaptation may only succeed in showing why the first adaptation made changes in the first place; what might work in a novel may not necessarily work in a visual medium, and vice versa.

Sometimes the IP is so valuable that there are many adaptations and inevitably one or more of them, to distinguish itself from the crop, and better market itself, will try and be more faithful to the original adaptation. This adaptation will go out of its way to cover what they missed out on last time and fill itself with more Continuity Porn. There will be no annoying additions, no alternate endings, no important details ignored, just the original story, pure and proper. If done well, the fandom will probably be quite pleased. Or, alternatively, it's closer to the original story far more than other adaptations have been. Some IP are truer to the text in relative comparisons to other adaptations of the same material, but even then it will likely choose what to emphasize and highlight, and other takes might well do their own versions.

If a previous less faithful adaptation has been especially impactful, a Truer to the Text later adaptation may have negative reviews due to it lacking elements that actually weren't in the original work.

When using this trope keep in mind that it refers to works that have been adapted multiple times, has to specify what part of the text it is truer to compared to other versions. To qualify, a work need only be truer to the text relative to other adaptations (subjective quality is irrelevant).

See also Reconstruction.

This is a list of examples that have already been done or are in the works. Do NOT list a series unless it has been officially announced. Mere rumors are not enough.


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    Adapted from Comic Books 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) was a closer approximation of the style and tone of the original comics than the 1987 series. Whereas the show was very playful and aimed more towards big sci-fi adventures, the comics and movie had a more gritty, urban vigilante take on the Turtles (albeit mixing elements of the show such as the Turtles' personalities, and April's job as a TV news reporter). Additionally, the 1990 film directly adapted several stories from the comics themselves, including the Leonardo and Raphael one-shots,note  "Silent Partner,"note  the extended arc of the Turtles in exile on April's upstate farm, "Return to New York," and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1.note  In an interesting play on the trope, both were quite successful (the show was a Pragmatic Adaptation in every respect) and both ends of the spectrum are widely accepted as part of the TMNT lore.
    • Zig-Zagged in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003). Much of the series' first season episodes are adaptations of the comic books, and often faithfully (albeit often with some liberties taken, such as new characters like Hun, and other changes to keep the Shredder relevant). Mid-Season 1, and especially after Season 2, the series started greatly diverging from the comics, eventually telling a new story by Seasons 3 and 4.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) had an interesting deal with this behind-the-scenes. The original script had the Shredder be the alter-ego of an American businessman named Eric Sachs, who adopted it from the stories of an ancient Japanese warlord. This is actually in line with the comics mythology as many different characters have taken on the name of the Shredder (replicated in the 2003 series) but was not present in the 1987 series or the 1990 film series. Fan backlash to the idea of a "Whitewashed Shredder" led reshoots to have a more traditional Japanese Shredder included in Sachs's Evil Plan. The sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, incorporates more elements of both the 1990 film series (Casey Jones) and the 1987 series (Bebop and Rocksteady), along with the now younger Japanese Shredder with no trace of Sachs.
  • The 1990s films based on The Addams Family took on the much darker humor and more genuinely malicious and occasionally murderous characterisation of the protagonists from the original newspaper cartoons, compared to the significantly fluffier TV series (in which the family are essentially just Dark Is Not Evil bohemian proto-Goths in a stereotypical white-picket-fence American suburb). Some fans of the TV show found them quite unpleasant. The 2019 animated film is similarly much closer to the visual style of the comic strip; among other things, Gomez is depicted as quite pudgy and homely (unlike the thin and handsome John Astin and Raúl Juliá), Morticia's facial features are noticeably exaggerated, and Wednesday is cartoonishly thin.
  • DuckTales (1987) was loosely inspired by the original American comics written by Carl Barks. While it did adapt a small number of stories from the comics, it lacked a number of elements from said comics: most glaringly, Donald Duck, who played a large role in many of the original stories but was barred from appearing in the show due to Executive Meddling. DuckTales (2017) is not only more faithful to the works of both Carl Barks and Don Rosa in terms of characterization and tone, but also combines aspects from all other areas of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, the video games, and even a number of The Disney Afternoon shows into an Ultimate Universe.
  • Dredd is considered much closer in tone to the titular judge's characterization in the original comics than Sylvester Stallone's version. It helps that Karl Urban's Dredd kept his helmet on for the entire film.
  • 1987's The New Archies and 1999's Archie's Weird Mysteries fixed Veronica's Unexplained Accent from previous adaptations. In Archie Comics, Veronica is a New Yorker, yet The Adventures of Archie Andrews radio show and cartoons influenced by it portray her with a Southern accent.
  • Hellboy (2019) demonstrates more closeness to the source material than Guillermo del Toro's films. Del Toro's Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army were more specifically based on the first volume, Seed of Destruction, which itself was rife with a few Early Installment Weirdnesses while this film brings to focus the expanded lore in later volumes such as Hellboy's ancestral connections to King Arthur and Nimue being the Big Bad after Rasputin was quietly defeated and done away with. There's also the B.P.R.D.'s expansion from mostly consisting of generic men in black Red Shirts to including weird and colorful characters like were-jaguar Ben Daimio.
  • The Hellboy Animated animated movie duology is the closest an Hellboy adaptation has come to faithfully adapting the source material's tone. The "Iron Shoes" short, in particular, is an almost panel-by-panel recreation of the original story.
  • Watchmen (2019) is a sequel to Watchmen rather than an adaptation, but it's still considerably more faithful to the comic book than the 2009 film adaptation in a few key respects. Among other things: Ozymandias apparently did attack New York with a genetically engineered monster (not an energy explosion), Robert Redford did apparently get elected President after Nixon's resignation (not Ronald Reagan), and Doctor Manhattan is still living in isolation on Mars and treated with bemused wonderment by humanity (and wasn't blamed for New York's destruction). The series also works in a few details that the movie left out, like the idea that Doctor Manhattan's abilities allowed humanity to develop futuristic new inventions, and the idea that the advent of superheroes drastically changed the face of American popular culture. As seen in the third episode, Adrian Veidt's Ozymandias costume is also quite accurate to the comic, being bright purple and gold with a prominent collar (not a formfitting spandex suit of black and silver).
  • The Alternate Continuity of The Boys: Diabolical episode I'm Your Pusher is more in line with the original comic book than the series and was written by Garth Ennis himself, having a perpetually-smiling Butcher investigate a supe's shadier practices (a common plot in the comic) and featuring comic-centric character Jack from Jupiter.
  • MAD Magazine has been on a rollercoaster of this. Their first TV adaptation was in 1974, with an animated special that faithfully adapted the magazine. In 1995, Mad TV began as a late-night, live-action sketch show. However, after its' first 3 seasons, it largely dropped any pretenses of connection with the magazine aside from the name. It ended in 2009 (with a brief revival in 2016)... and the following year, Cartoon Network's animated MAD went on the air, and was perhaps even more faithful than the 1974 attempt, to the point of having animated versions of the MAD Marginals!

    Adapted from Film 

    Adapted from Literature 
  • The Animorphs graphic novel series follows the books' plots note-for-note with only minor changes, unlike the budget-restricted TV show.
  • Dracula: Bram Stoker's Dracula and a 1977 BBC series are more faithful adaptations than most, including the iconic Dracula (1931). Christopher Lee enjoyed Count Dracula (1970), as he felt it was this. The BBC series is considered the most faithful adaptation period.
  • Frankenstein: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a more faithful adaptation of the book than most adaptations, including the iconic Frankenstein (1931).
  • The 2000 Dune miniseries took some liberties with Frank Herbert's book, but compared to the 1984 David Lynch movie, its fidelity is nigh-slavish.
  • The 1997 miniseries of The Shining was far closer to Stephen King's book than the 1980 film, apart from the miniseries' Bowdlerised ending. This is a strong example of "more faithful" not equaling "better."
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
    • Tim Burton adapted the book into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, following the book closer than Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. For example, in the Tim Burton movie, the lyrics of the Oompa-Loompas' songs are shortened versions of the songs in the book, whereas the songs in Willy Wonka have completely different lyrics. Subverted with the endings, however; Willy Wonka kept the ending relatively faithful to the book (although it ended the story slightly earlier), while Tim Burton's version threw in a twist right at the end.
    • The 2013 West End stage musical is a Pragmatic Adaptation that's more faithful than either film version despite a Setting Update and more emphasis on the story's Black Comedy. There's far less Adaptation Expansion than in either film — no Slugworth subplot or backstory for Willy Wonka — and what expansion there is exists mostly to make Charlie a less passive protagonist (he's a budding inventor, etc.), meaning that it also focuses more on Charlie himself than the films do, or to make the Bratty Kids more obnoxiously deserving of their fates. Averted by the 2017 Broadway Retool, which follows the lead of the film adaptations by greatly expanding Mr. Wonka's role and diminishing those of Charlie and his family.
  • The Coen Brothers said this was their intention when they made their film adaptation of True Grit.
  • Carson McCullers adapted her novel The Member of the Wedding for the stage herself, despite never having written a play before, to preempt the production of a more conventionally theatrical adaptation by another writer.
  • John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) compared to The Thing from Another World. The older film used the book's beginning with the researchers finding a UFO in the ice containing an alien, but from there diverged quite a bit. Carpenter's version had the alien keep its assimilation powers and overall stayed much closer to the plot of the book.
  • Conan the Barbarian (2011), according to Word of God, was intended to be closer to the original Robert E. Howard novels than the 1982 film was. True, Conan isn't Made a Slave and forced to fight in Gladiator Games for years, but the plot is still original.
  • The American film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is often mistaken for a simple remake, when in fact it's an example of this trope: the Swedish film suffered from some really bizarre adaptational choices, whereas the American version was an almost 1:1 adaptation of the original book with some very minor cuts to make the story flow better.
  • Peter Pan:
    • Hook arguably captured the spirit of the Peter Pan original stageplay and book better than the Disney film, despite being more of a sequel.
    • The 2003 live-action Peter Pan is a straighter example.
  • Land of Oz:
    • The 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz makes fewer changes to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz than some silent movie adaptations did.
    • The 1985 Return to Oz comes even closer to the style and tone of the original Land of Oz books. It features a more age-appropriate actress for Dorothy, references the Deadly Desert (which separates Oz from the rest of the world), and features numerous book characters. Return to Oz is based heavily on The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz. However, it was advertised as a sequel to the MGM film, confusing people who didn't know of the books.
    • A 1984 Text Adventure from Windham Classics (an offshoot of educational software company Spinnaker) was a shockingly faithful adaptation, almost going scene by scene, save for splitting off at the point where the party hunts for the Wicked Witch of the West by incorporating a huge chunk of The Marvelous Land of Oz by finding Tip, Jack, and Sawhorse and quelling Jinjur's revolt. They did have to cut the Gender Bender aspect of Tip, though.
    • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz while including lots of jokes and meta humor, also has a lot more plot points from the original novel than many adaptations. (Such as there being four witches.)
  • The 1982 film adaptation of Ivanhoe is significantly closer to the source material than both the condensed 1952 film adaptation and the expanded 1997 miniseries adaptation.
  • Carrie:
    • The Made-for-TV Movie from 2002 is much closer to the book than the original film. Like the book, the story is told in flashbacks via the interviews that the few survivors give to the police (the book did this through memoirs, investigative reports, and news articles), Carrie destroys the entire town as opposed to just the school and her house, and she kills her mother with a psychically-induced heart attack rather than stabbing her. The only major difference is that she survives the ordeal and goes into hiding, which was meant to lead into a TV series which never came about.
    • A leaked script for the 2013 adaptation also indicated a film that was meant to be closer to the book. The initial teaser indicated that this film, like the 2002 version, would feature the destruction of the town from the book, and hinted at the book's use of flashbacks and witness testimonies to tell its story. Executive Meddling, however, turned it into something close to a Shot-for-Shot Remake of the 1976 film. Naturally, there have been rumors that a lot of scenes (up to 40 minutes' worth) were cut from the finished film, rumors that have been backed up by some of the actors, which has led to a fan petition asking the studio to release an extended cut or at least the deleted scenes.
  • The 1971 BBC eight part mini-series adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans is the most faithful adaptation of the second part of The Leatherstocking Tales to date.
  • The two-part Richard Lester film adaptation of The Three Musketeers is extremely close to the novel despite combining, cutting, and killing off some characters. It is more faithful than all other film adaptations.
  • Jew Suss, a 1925 novel by Lion Feuchtwanger, is most widely known for its infamous 1940 Nazi adaptation, which is widely considered one of the most anti-Semitic films of the Nazi era. But what many people don't know is that the novel received a far more faithful 1934 film adaptation in Britain that actually condemned anti-Semitism.
  • In Justified, Raylan Givens is well known for his Nice Hat. However, the character's creator, Elmore Leonard, was never quite satisfied with the look of the hat. In the final episode Raylan's hat is destroyed in a duel with the wannabe duelist Boone. For the rest of the episode, Raylan wears Boone's hat, which is far closer to the hat Leonard imagined for the character.
  • The candidates for the most faithful adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the 1959 film The Doctors Horrible Experiment, 1971's I, Monster and the 1980's Burbank Films Australia adaptation. Later Broadway revivals of Jekyll & Hyde hew closer to the show's original vision, which was darker and edgier than the 1997 version and closer to the book, having Jekyll revel in the freedom Hyde gave him and paraphrasing directly from the book as he contemplated his dual natures. Some play versions also keep the twist a surprise and have Utterson keep his investigatory role. In Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll and his friends are middle-aged, Jekyll's hypocrisy is acknowledged by himself and other characters, and Utterson's investigatory role is kept; much of the major incidents from the book are kept, with the exception of Carew's murder, which is given to Enfield. However, it must be noted that no matter how faithful the adaptation is a lot of the story will be changed in some way or another and new characters may be inserted.
  • The most faithful adaptation of The Iliad is The Fury of Achilles, a little-known Sword and Sandal film from 1962.
  • The 2017 Netflix TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events is much closer to the book series than the 2004 film. It helps that the TV series dedicates two episodes to each book, as opposed to three stories in one film. Also, Daniel Handler, the original author of the books, was more involved in the series than he was in the film.
  • The 1972 Italian animated adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio called Un Burattino Di Nome Pinocchio (A puppet called Pinocchio) is by far the most faithful adaptation of Pinocchio, having dialogue taken from the book and respecting its topics and times. It shows the Busy Bee Island, for example, which is taken out of many adaptations. The Green Fisherman who almost eats Pinocchio is also present in this adaptation when he's usually not seen in other Pinocchio adaptations.
  • Tarzan:
  • The 2002 film version of The Quiet American was much more faithful to the novel than the 1958 film, which was a product of the Cold War years and was criticised by author Graham Greene for being too propagandistic. The biggest change made in the 2002 film was the addition of an epilogue showing newspaper stories by Fowler about the events after the novel was first published.
  • Martin Scorsese's 2016 adaptation of Silence by Shūsaku Endō was far more faithful to the text than the 1971 adaptation by Masahiro Shinoda which took massive liberties with the novel's final section and deleted many important elements from the book. Scorsese's adaptation includes virtually the entire novel, including the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • The graphic novel of The Book of the Named is this to the 1980s animated special. It keeps the character designs more intact and is significantly less toned down than the cartoon version.
  • It (2017) and its sequel have the advantage of a bigger budget and an R rating, making them both closer to the book than the 1990 two-part miniseries and a lot scarier.
    • Zig-zagged. Although the 2017-2019 duology is more violent and actually includes the Niebolt house, It (1990) is actually more faithful to the plot of the novel, not to mention the fact that It (2017) adds a Second-Act Breakup and turns Beverly into a Damsel in Distress.
  • The Jungle Book: The Chuck Jones specials and Adventures of Mowgli have proven to be the most faithful adaptations. The former for the most part are the stories themselves with some minor changes, the latter covers Mowgli's life from childhood to adulthood and keeps the tone of the stories. Mowgli is also a lot closer to the original books than the Disney adaptations. Tabaqui and Messua have roles in the story when in most adaptations they're Adapted Out, Shere Khan has a bad leg, Mowgli goes back to the jungle because he struggles at adjusting to human society, Baloo is a serious teacher, Bagheera used to live among humans in a cage, and Kaa is wise and not a villain.
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is one of the most faithful adaptations of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, oddly enough. It's one of the rare versions that leaves the Horseman open to possibly just being a prank, keeps the Ambiguous Ending, and leaves Ichabod as more of an Anti-Hero to Brom's Anti-Villain. The same movie includes an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows that's much looser, however.
  • The Lightning Thief musical is a much more faithful adaptation compared to the 2010 movie adaptation.
  • The second Kino's Journey anime uses Kino's design from the light novels. The first anime featured a slightly different design with Anime Hair.
  • A Christmas Carol
    • In A Christmas Carol (1971), Scrooge remembering the storybook characters he loved in the Past sequence is usually left out for brevity's sake, with this version being one of the few that keeps it. It also keeps in the many other spirits that Scrooge sees outside his window, the ever-changing appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Past, the lighthouse workers celebrating Christmas, and Ignorance and Want.
    • Likewise, A Christmas Carol (1997) also keeps the storybook characters.
    • A Christmas Carol (1999) is one of the closest adaptations of A Christmas Carol filmed, retaining three scenes almost always omitted from other adaptations — the lighthouse workers, coal miners, and sailors on a ship at sea celebrating Christmas. Ignorance and Want are also included, as are the young debtors relieved at Scrooge's death and the other chained spirits Marley shows Scrooge.
  • Out of the four adaptations of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. note  Only two adapted the original 1939 story/poem by Robert May. The 1948 cartoon by Max Fleischer and the obscure 1996 direct-to-video adaptation Rudolph's Lessons for Life by Montgomery Ward are the only versions of Rudolph that actually adapted the original story. Rudolph's Lessons For Life even keeps the rhyming scheme found in the original story. The Max Fleischer cartoon and the 1996 adaptation both show Rudolph properly meeting Santa in his bedroom where he finds Rudolph sleeping, and Rudolph's red nose glowing all the time (such as still glowing while Rudolph's sleeping), unlike the 1964 and 1998 adaptations where his nose works like a light bulb. The Rankin-Bass Special and the 1998 movie by Golden Films also adapted the song, while the 1998 movie uses small bits from the 1939 story/poem.
  • The 1978 film The Thirty Nine Steps (1978) is a fairly close adaptation of John Buchan's novel, apart from the addition of an action climax. It was explicitly intended to be a more faithful adaptation than Hitchcock's version, which the producer described as "about 20 percent Buchan and 80 percent Hitchcock".
  • The Day of the Triffids has been adapted for the screen three times. The most faithful was the 1980s BBC adaptation, which pruned a few subplots and overhauled a couple of character backstories to fit with a downplayed Setting Updatenote  but otherwise stayed very faithful to the text. The 2009 miniseries was much looser, with several Composite Characters and others having their backstories changed heavily, not to mention some major alterations to the titular triffids. The 1960s movie adaptation was so different one wonders why they even bought the rights.
  • Once Upon a Time does this with a lot of the stories it adapts (which were adapted into popular films).
    • When Oz appears, there are four witches to represent the four points on a compass. The witches are given magical items to focus their powers. The shoes are also silver like they are in the book (the MGM film famously made them ruby).
    • Mulan is closer to her counterpart in Chinese mythology - a proud young woman who wished to become a warrior and prove herself.
    • Cruella de Vil is attractive like her book counterpart, and there's a reference to her being married (she had a husband in the book).
    • Ursula appears this time as a benevolent sea goddess, referencing that the sea witch was a neutral entity in the original story. When another take on Ursula appears (this one said to be named after the goddess) she too is an Anti-Villain who gets redeemed.
    • Pinocchio is shown to be very flawed like his book counterpart. While Disney made him a naive child who got talked into bad things because of his innocence, the book version knew right from wrong but still chose wrong more often.
    • When the Frozen characters appear, the show ties them into The Snow Queen tale. The actual Snow Queen appears as a separate character from Elsa (who was inspired by her in the film) and her plot involving a mirror making everyone see the awfulness in humanity comes from the devil's mirror in the story. Anna and Elsa's mother is renamed Gerda after the heroine of the tale (and Fanon has the father named Kai to follow suit).
    • Peter Pan is portrayed as a villain, which isn't too far off his book counterpart - where he was a morally ambiguous Anti-Hero who would frequently switch sides during fights with the Lost Boys and the pirates.
  • Hallmark did a miniseries Jason and the Argonauts, which more accurately depicted the adventures of the Argonauts more than the Ray Harryhaussen film. It also more accurately represented Greek culture and architecture.
  • Catch-22: The 2019 six-part miniseries is more faithful to the original book than the 1970 film, though it still takes considerable liberties due to the book's abundance of plot lines and Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • And Then There Were None (2015): Along with the 1987 Soviet film, the BBC miniseries is the only adaptation that restores the Kill 'Em All ending and deep cynicism of the original And Then There Were None.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: This is zig-zagged considering the play’s parody nature, but quite a few elements from the A Song of Ice and Fire books make more of an appearance than they ever did in Game of Thrones:
    • Leo Lefford makes an appearance in "Hand of the King".
    • Roose Bolton wears pink, which is the main House Bolton color in the books. The TV show went with Red and Black and Evil All Over.
    • Sarella Sand is among the Sand Snakes.
    • The animosity between the Reach and Dorne, which was absent from the TV show.
    • Shae is played as the Gold Digger she is in the books.
    • A hairnet is used to get the poison used to kill Joffrey where it needs to be, while the accessory was changed to a necklace in the TV show.
    • Edric Storm serves as Melisandre’s source of King’s blood, while this part of his storyline was given to Gendry in the TV series.
    • Several characters who were Adapted Out of the TV series, such as Coldhands and Ser Cortnay Penrose, are among the name-dropped characters.
    • The actress playing Catelyn is also credited as playing Val, which indicates that the blonde Wildling woman seen in "Sword in the Darkness" is supposed to be her.
  • When it comes to Planet of the Apes, truer to the text adaptations have been minor in their approach. Return to the Planet of the Apes featured the apes with the advanced technology analogue to the era the show was produced in like how the novel had the apes with technology analogue to the era it was written in, and Planet of the Apes (2001) keeps the titular planet as being a separate planet rather than a future earth. As previously stated, these more faithful changes are relatively minor.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • As the book had for decades been considered unfilmable, there are only a handful of attempts to adapt The Lord of the Rings to film.
      • Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings is by far the closest to the text of the few, starting by actually breaking it into three films, as opposed to Ralph Bakshi's incomplete two-parter, and Rankin/Bass Productions only adapting The Return of the King. Jackson's films also keep more of the Loads and Loads of Characters and subplots intact.
      • The Extended Editions of the trilogy are this compared to the theatrical release, restoring more content, characters, and explorations of Tolkien's setting that was cut from the theatrical release for time, and concerns that Viewers Are Morons.
      • WXP's licensed video game adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring from 2002 is most notable for being considerably closer to the plot of the book than the Peter Jackson movie. This is because it was adapted directly from the book, and wasn't officially a tie-in with the movie released the previous year (WXP only had the rights to adapt the books into video games, while Electronic Arts had the rights to adapt the movies). Among other things: Tom Bombadil has a prominent role, the subplot about Frodo selling Bag End and pretending to move to Buckland is added back, much of the dialogue is lifted word-for-word from the text of the novel, and it features an extended prologue set in the Shire where nearly every minor Hobbit character from the books is an NPC.
    • Likewise, there have only been a handful of adaptations of The Hobbit. Rankin and Bass' animated The Hobbit is generally viewed as more faithful, as Jackson's live-action film invented numerous subplots, as well as incorporating material from other sources (such as the appendices to The Lord of the Rings) to more closely tie his adaptation into The Lord of the Rings, while also inflating the single, relatively short book, to three three-hour films. The 1966 short film was an In Name Only adaptation.
  • When it comes to faithful animated adaptations of fairy tales, Sanrio was able to successfully pull this off with their characters in 1989 and 2000.
  • The little-known 1949 film adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is ironically one of the most faithful. The narrative sticks relatively closely to the book without incorporating elements of Through the Looking-Glass, and the puppets that represent the inhabitants of Wonderland are designed to closely resemble the original John Tenniel illustrations. Some characters rarely seen in adaptations, such as the giant puppy, also appear.
  • The 1989 version of The Phantom of the Opera is essentially a Slasher Movie that features time-travel, a deal with the Devil and the flaying/harvesting of skin for the Phantom's mask...but at the same time, it's actually pretty faithful to the original novel in many respects. It features a lot of details that have often been left out of the various adaptations over the years, such as constant references to Gounod's version of Faust and Christine being cast as the lead role of Marguerite; Erik playing the violin for Christine at Monsieur Daae's grave; the punjab lasso; the rat catcher; Erik having a black mask rather than a White Mask of Doom like most adaptations. This line especially is used from the original novel:
    "This is either a wedding march or a funeral mass. You decide."
  • The 1962 Broadway musical based on I Can Get It For You Wholesale, with a script adapted by author Jerome Weidman, is far closer to the original novel than the In Name Only 1951 movie, despite a few plot changes. In particular, while the movie erases all traces of the main characters' Jewish heritage, the musical plays them up to the point of including a bar mitzvah scene.
  • The Prime Video adaptation of Jack Reacher stars Alan Ritchson, wanting to depict the title character as the big burly blonde of the novels after the movies went for the clear opposite of that in Tom Cruise.

    Adapted from Manga 
  • The 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist was made when the manga was very early in the author's planned storyline (four volumes into what eventually became a twenty-seven volume series). Consequently, its first half adapts then-existing manga chapters with some liberties, and its second half is wholly original. By the time the manga was reaching its final year, it had remained popular enough to receive a direct adaptation called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
  • Hellsing, in a rather similar vein, got a more faithful adaptation in the form of an OVA series, titled Hellsing Ultimate. The fact that creator Kouta Hirano hated the 2001 TV anime is probably a big reason for that.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi is an interesting case. The OVA releases have been faithful to the manga, but they're so deep into a story that none of its multiple previous adaptations properly covered, that they won't make much sense to anyone who hasn't read the manga.
  • Dragon Ball Z Kai serves as a remastered Adaptation Distillation of the first Dragon Ball Z anime, with most of the filler removed (not to mention greatly reducing the original show's infamous abuse of Talking Is a Free Action). Even its dub is this, sticking closer to the original characterizations and dialogue, by contrast to the DBZ dub.
  • Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is the most faithful adaptation to the original manga in spirit, tone, and content — even more than "Green Jacket."
  • The TV anime of Part One of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is much more faithful to the manga than the unreleased on home video film from 2007. The TV series' art style is much more in-line with Araki's original artwork and only a few plot-irrelevant scenes are cut. By contrast, the movie had a rather different art style and went so far as to remove characters, most notably JoJo's faithful sidekick Speedwagon. No wonder Araki was dissatisfied, leading to rumors that he blocked its release because of this. Part 3 is also this, in comparison to the OVA series from years before.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Moon Crystal is a more direct Animated Adaptation of the original manga, specifically the first three acts, than the 90s anime or live-action show, albeit with a Setting Update from 1992 to 2014. To this end, character designs have been Art Shifted closer to Naoko Takeuchi's Noodle People aesthetic, and the plotting and pacing follow the manga's structure closely, recreating some panels scene for scene. As with the manga's chapters, episodes are called "acts," and each episode takes its title from the chapter it adapts. In fact, it's so faithful that it's pretty much a Shot-for-Shot Remake. In fact, some fans argue that it's too similar to the original manga.
    • The Viz redub of the original anime is much more faithful to the original Japanese script than the dub made by DiC Entertainment during The '90s. Among other things, Zoicite is a man again and he and Kunzite are stated as lovers, and there’s no censorship of the lesbian relationship between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.
  • Gunslinger Girl Teatrino is this to the manga. The art style resembles the manga more closely, it's more of an action/thriller like the manga, and it diverges less from the manga's plot. Henrietta also smiles a lot more in comparison to her perpetually stoic-looking original anime version. Note it being Truer to the Text is seen as a bad thing by many fans, as the changes are widely scorned, and there are manga fans who are dissatisfied with the adaptation nonetheless.
  • The 2011 Hunter × Hunter anime is a straightforward adaptation while the 1999 adaptation included many original ideas and scenes. This does not apply in every facet, however. The 2011 adaptation contains notable moments of censorship and missing scenes such as cutting a character who would later prove to be very important from the first episode.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light are closer to the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga than the second-series anime, with Joey's fighting skills coming into play and the dub having Yugi and Yami call each other "partner."
  • The 2001 anime adaptation of Fruits Basket only covers the first seven volumes of the manga, is generally Lighter and Softer with more emphasis on comedy, makes several changes to the plot and characters (including unintentionally changing Akito's gender), and would have overtaken the manga entirely had it gone on any longer. The 2019 anime adaptation, however, covers the entire story and sticks much closer to the original manga's plot and tone than the first adaptation did. The fact that Natsuki Takaya hated the 2001 adaptation even while it was being made undoubtedly has something to do with it, and she serves as chief production supervisor to the 2019 anime.
  • Though a major case of Adaptation Distillation, the One Piece TV special Episode of East Blue contains elements from the manga that weren't in the original anime, such as Makino having black hair (as opposed to dark green) and Koby getting shot while trying to save Zoro.
  • The anime adaptation of the Haruhi Suzumiya spinoff manga The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan restores some characteristics of the original series that were absent in the manga, such as Kyon’s First-Person Smartass narration and Koizumi’s Ambiguously Gay moments.

    Adapted from Mythology and Religion 
  • The 1995 made-for-television film Moses is the most faithful screen adaptation of the Book of Exodus to date, making some consider it superior to The Ten Commandments, The Prince of Egypt, and that other film. For instance, the parting of the Red Sea is not immediate but takes time as it did in the scriptures. However, instead of the Pharaoh of the Exodus being Horemheb, Thutmose I or Thutmose II as Rabbinical Judaism, Jerome or Ussher's date for Moses' birth lined up with Egyptian history would indicate but rather Merneptah, the thirteenth son and successor of Ramesses II.
  • The Gospel According to St. Matthew by the Italian film-maker Pier Paolo Pasolini (ironically enough a gay Marxist atheist) created the most faithful version of the Life of Christ, as acknowledged by the Catholic Church and several protestant denominations in America and the world. It's truer than any other movie by Hollywood. How true is it? Well, it uses and adapts the entirety of the Gospel of Matthew, leaving out nothing from the book (narration, scenes, parables, dialogues). It is a word-for-word literal adaptation from text to screen to the point that during the set, the director used his copy of the Bible as a script rather than a separate screenplay.
  • Norse Mythology and Classical Mythology:
    • Marvel Comics and DC Comics are an interesting case. Marvel focuses mainly on Norse Mythology, with which they take many liberties (albeit they played a major part in popularizing the myths to a popular audience). By contrast, its forays into Classical Mythology (mainly with Hercules) are relatively more accurate. Meanwhile, DC focuses almost completely on Classical mythology, again with a lot of liberties, but is more accurate in its rare takes on Norse myths. For instance, Neil Gaiman's use of the Norse Myths in the Vertigo series The Sandman features a red-haired Thor (who is a dimwit), a crafty and very sinister Odin, and a Loki who's Odin's blood-brother rather than Thor's. Gaiman pointed this out when he got complaints from fans who felt it was a Take That! to Marvel where the author had to remind them that in the myths, Thor is really dumb and gullible, was often outsmarted by simple schemes and as per the Lokasenna, his own wife, Lady Sif, cheated on him with Loki. Gaiman pointed out that his stories were well received by Scandinavian readers for this reason.
    • Disney High School mostly follows the Disney Animated Canon, but Hercules is the son of Zeus and Alcmene, as in the legend, with Hera and Amphitryon being stepparents. To keep it family-friendly, however, this is depicted as a divorce/remarriage situation rather than an affair. (And of course, it's a High School A.U. where everybody's human, and where Hades isn't Zeus' brother.)
    • God of War (PS4) and the God of War series in general offer a more mythologically accurate portrayal of Classical and Norse myths than Disney, DC, or Marvel. The gods are shown as Jerkass Gods, being Above Good and Evil, the games emphasize the alien moral values of these mythological times without the Bowdlerization of more child-friendly and Christianized takes on the myths. That said, God of War (PS4) takes a ton of artistic licenses with its portrayal of the Norse gods. While their morality was very different from conventional views of right and wrong, the Norse gods were largely depicted as being on humanity's side. Here, they're as evil as the Olympians in the original Greek trilogy, purely to make Kratos look more sympathetic. A solid example of this is the game's portrayal of Baldur, traditionally the most beloved and gentle of the Norse gods, and sometimes a Messianic Archetype, but here depicted as a Psychopathic Manchild. The end result is that when it comes to Norse mythology, it is only more faithful to an extent, while DC portrays the deities more accurately.
    • DuckTales (2017): Zig-zagged. The Season 1 episode "The Spear of Selene" portrays Zeus as a capricious, arrogant, petty deity and abusive father. However, in the original Greek myths, despite all his flaws, Zeus was decidedly capricious and temperamental but was not an abusive father. The majority of the ill treatment Zeus' children got was from his vengeful wife, Hera, and Zeus went to great lengths to try and keep Heracles safe from her.
    • A Total War Saga: TROY: Unlike most of his other modern appearances, where he's simply portrayed as a dog with three heads, Cerberus is depicted as in myth with living snakes making up his mane and tail.
    • Orfeo ed Euridice typically ends with an Adaptational Alternate Ending, where after Orpheus turns around and loses Eurydice again, Cupid brings her back to life as a reward for their undying love. Some versions stick closer to the myth's original ending by cutting the final scene out, having Orpheus successfully kill himself, or making Cupid a fantasy, among other variations.
    • L'Orfeo typically ends with Apollo taking Orpheus to Olympus after he turns around. The opera's original ending was closer to the myth, with Dionysus's followers pursuing Orpheus, and some productions either retain the original ending or alter it to be closer in other ways, such as cutting Apollo's scene.

    Adapted from Theatre 
  • The Children's Hour is a more accurate adaptation of the original play than the 1930s adaptation These Three. They were directed by the same individual, but the original film was heavily censored due to The Hays Code to the point where they had to rename it, as the original play was well-known for being about LGBT matters.

    Adapted from Toys 
  • Bumblebee got a lot of attention for being much more faithful to the original Transformers toy-line and cartoons than Michael Bay's Transformers Film Series, even though it's ostensibly a prequel to Bay's movies (so much so that its lead to speculation about the film potentially launching a Soft Reboot which ended up true). This is evident in some relatively minor details (like Bumblebee being a Volkswagen Beetle instead of a Chevrolet Camaro), but it's also an overriding feature of the visual style and art direction. The characters' designs prominently feature bold primary colors and simple geometric shapes, and they're considerably cleaner and less visually busy—making them look like actual transforming action figures brought to life.

    Likewise, the story, tone, and characterization feel much closer to the cartoon. The film completely eschews the previous films' crude humor and sexualization in favor of a light-hearted and wholesome feel more typical of the Transformers brand. Rather than being a high-stakes Disaster Movie, it's about a kid bonding with a robot, and the focus is largely on their platonic bond, with nary a hint of adolescent romance anywhere. The action sequences are mainly clashes between robots, with minimal focus on human military personnel, avoiding the previous movies' slide towards Military Fiction. The plot is also far simpler, feeling more like an episode of one of the cartoons, with most of the movie just being Charlie and Bumblebee dealing with everyday problems.

    A major reason is that Travis Knight actually grew up watching G1 transformers unlike Michael Bay.

    Adapted from Video Games 

    Adapted from Visual Novels 

    Adapted from Western Animation 
  • The first Scooby-Doo film felt like a parody of the cartoon while its sequel Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed was able to be more in line with the cartoons featuring fan-favorite monsters and a haunted house for a central location.
  • Inspector Gadget (1999) based on the cartoon had little in common with the cartoon with the exception of the characters' names. Inspector Gadget 2 remedied it by having Claw's face not shown, a clumsy Gadget and Penny being a key character.
  • Welcome to Pooh Corner is based on the Disney version of Winnie-the-Pooh, not the original books, but like the books, it portrays Tigger as living with Kanga and Roo. Most of the animated franchise has him living in a treehouse by himself.