Adaptation Displacement

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
It was a book?!

So, you discuss movies with your pal and at some point praise a film that has been your favorite since you remember yourself. The pal remarks that while he likes the movie too, the book is much better.

Wait—there was a book!?

Adaptation Displacement is the phenomenon where a Derivative Works becomes successful enough to totally displace the original in the minds of the public.

Can apply to the adaptation of any one medium to another, but tends to happen more to little-known books adapted into successful movies or television shows. However, even sources that were popular at the time can disappear in the shadow of a successful adaptation.

In ongoing media, surrender to Adaptation Displacement can result in Ret Canon and Lost in Imitation.

Compare Older Than They Think, Popcultural Osmosis, More Popular Spinoff. Covered Up and Breakout Pop Hit are the musical equivalents. Contrast with Ink Stain Adaptation and First Installment Wins. The Weird Al Effect is when a parody of the original displaces it. Sequel Displacement is when sequel is much more known than original and often thought to be the first installment.

Something of a subjective trope, since it all depends what your personal and cultural fields of reference are. Age and date of birth tends to shed light on fields of reference. Just because there must be some people who are more familiar with the adaptation than with the original doesn't make it an example.

Examples of Adaptation Displacement include:


Displaced by Anime or Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Anime boom in America took place well before the manga boom, and as a result, for a couple of years more people remembered the anime adaptation rather than the manga. For a while, the only place to talk about a manga series was the forum of the people translating the manga.
  • Akira, being close to the first anime that shocked viewers out of the Animation Age Ghetto, became a popular movie but is certainly more well-known than its expansive manga.
  • A lot of anime that was based on written novels or stories, especially Japanese light novels, is often mistakenly thought of by the Western world as being original stories or based on manga. Some notable examples:
  • Possibly as an attempt to avoid this, the first Spice and Wolf novel was released in English around the same time as the first season of the anime.
  • The Slayers anime is based off of a Light Novel series; the anime came out in 1995, five years after the first couple of novels were published. Like most Light Novel-originated series, most foreign fans find the anime as the truest source of canon. It is rather unusual in this case because the first season of the anime was released in the states one year after the it completed its run in Japan, and, as a dub released by Central Park Media, was one of the few 90's dubs that didn't suffer from any form of Macekre, Dub Name Change, or any other edits. Both the novels themselves and most of its manga adaptations weren't translated until the mid 2000's.
    • This also happens with the characters as well; in the novels, Lina and Gourry are the only protagonists; the chimera Zelgadis and the princess Amelia were their allies for the first eight novels, and they were replaced by treasure hunters Luke and Millina for the remaining seven. However, both Zelgadis and Amelia became extremely popular, and when newer anime seasons and manga were made, they were in them, quinisentially making the "Slayers" a four-man band instead of a duo. Very few fans outside of Japan know who Luke and Millina are, especially given that the Alternate Continuity manga The Hourglass of Falces has all six heroes together.
  • Battle Royale is originally a novel, but not everybody knows this. In fact, when Battle Royale was mentioned in the Yu-Gi-Oh manga, the Swedish translation included a footnote telling the readers that Battle Royale is a movie and a manga.
  • There are many fans of the Studio Ghibli movie Howls Moving Castle who are entirely unaware of the children's novel by Diana Wynne Jones on which it is based. It veers off into its own plotline and themes rather quickly. Those who take the time to read the book tend to be shocked by the difference. However, Diana Wynne Jones was apparently expecting this, and told them to do whatever they wanted with her script.
  • In Japan, the Pokémon games came first, then some manga, then the anime series, and finally the more popular manga. However, when the franchise was launched in North America, the games and anime were launched around the same time, with Pokémon Special following shortly thereafter. Some mainstream articles refer to the Pokémon and human characters as anime characters, often completely ignorant of the franchise's video game origins. A few articles have even stupidly implied that the card game came first.
    • MANY American fans think the Hero of Pokémon Red and Blue/Yellow is Ash. He's not. He's named Red. Likewise, the Rival is not Gary. It's Green or Blue depending on if you live in Japan or not. On the other hand, people often think that Ethan is based off Gold, and Silver in the original games has also been displaced by his Pokéspe counterpart. Again, the games came first. Ironic since the Johto games are quite popular, well known, and are one of the main sources of nostalgia for gamers in general and Pokémon fans.
    • This came full circle with Pokémon: Trading Card Game for the Game Boy, which was a video game based on a card game based on a video game.
    • Likewise, Pokémon Yellow is more or less a video game based on an anime based on a video game. The Puzzle Game spin-off Pokémon Puzzle League for the Nintendo 64 was also influenced by the anime, though the Game Boy Color Puzzle Game spin-off, Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, was based on the Gold and Silver versions of the video games, despite having similar gameplay.
  • Same goes for Yu-Gi-Oh!, whose manga wasn't even about card games at first. Once the anime got to the US, it took a few months for the card game to show up as well. It doesn't help that 4Kids deliberately picked up the franchise because of the card game plot after how much money they'd made on Pokémon and its various components. The makers of the second anime did this too, so it's also not a surprise they sold it overseas on this—even elements of the storyline they adapted that had little card game elements in the manga had the Duel Monsters segments played up for the anime to sell the cards.
  • A variation of this is the case of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a Spin-Off that greatly outpaced the original in terms of popularity. Reading through this wiki, you may get the impression that the Triangle Heart 3 ~sweet songs forever~ series only consists of the third game, which spawned Nanoha. This is also a straight example since Nanoha was originally a mini-scenario of the Triangle Heart 3 game. People still mistake clips from the original as a video game adaptation of the anime instead of the other way around.
  • Hands up if you didn't know that Sakura Wars was originally an RPG. Unfortunately, the game was never released outside Japan.
    • Aside from a rather bizarre case of two first games getting an official release in Russia, of all places.
    • Sakura Wars 5 got a US release, and the ADV cases did all say "based on the hit game"... although ADV's translated TV series credits say "original manga by Ohji Hiroi" despite the fact that the manga version of Sakura Wars hadn't even started in Japan yet.
  • Few fans outside of Japan knew that there are Vampire Hunter D Light Novels until recently. And that they came first.
  • Love Hina is one of those cases (in the United States) where people very often know that a book/manga series exists, yet haven't really read it, and far more often have seen the anime.
    • Similarly, Mahou Sensei Negima (whose manga is made by the same author as Love Hina above) has several anime adaptations, and most fans know about the first one the most (and it's a rather mediocre adaptation). The manga was being translated by Del Rey's manga division (now by Kodansha USA due to the latter going under) since 2005, and it wasn't until recently that fans have noted that an official translation was available, widely, for that long.
  • Generally, any anime that is based on a Visual Novel has the tendency to be this Stateside/outside of Japan. Good examples would be To Heart, Fate Stay Night, Tsukihime and the three Key Ani adaptations (AIR, Kanon, and Clannad); few know these came from Visual Novels.
  • Show of hands, paws, flippers, or tentacles: who here knew that Digimon was originally conceived and designed as the Spear Counterpart of Tamagotchi? Or that Taichi was actually borrowed from an earlier manga wherein he and his (different) Digimon partner travelled the Digital World alone?
  • While both the Sailor Moon anime and manga are relatively well known, not nearly as many people are as familiar with its sister manga, Codename: Sailor V which stared Minako as Sailor V. It started before Sailor Moon did and Toei saw potential and asked Takeuchi to expand it with more characters. The end result was Sailor Moon.
  • It's easy to assume that BB Senshi Sangokuden is basically a SD Gundam take on Romance of the Three Kingdoms, even though the story itself is set within the existing BB Senshi continuity - region names that aren't the same anymore are still referenced i.e. the Nanban region to the south corresponds to Albion. Even character names are sometimes inherited: Moukaku Gundam carries the title of Ashurao from an actual Gundam Ashurao from earlier in the toyline.
  • It's hard to guess that Gungrave, a crime drama with some sci-fi mixed in for good measure actually originated as an adaptation of a lukewarmly received PlayStation 2 shooter. It's even harder to believe it after you find out about it, just because of how the action sequences in the show took a definite backseat to characterization and drama, not to mention its overall heavy, depressing feel.
  • In the west, a few years ago if you told someone Fullmetal Alchemist they'd think of the iconic 2003 anime. Nowadays though, a lot of people know of the manga thanks to the new anime.
  • Azumanga Daioh, or really anime based off 4koma 5period.
  • The anime Basilisk is based off a series of novels of the same title.

Displaced by Comics[edit | hide]

  • Today, Little Lulu is mostly known as a comic book despite debuting as a series of one-panel cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post.
  • The Barry Allen Flash and the Hal Jordan Green Lantern—and their relative legacies—are far more familiar to Joe Average than the Golden Age Jay Garrick and Alan Scott due to the Animated Adaptation of each (they were sort of displaced by their Silver Age versions even before the cartoons, but Superfriends cemented the newer heroes in popular culture).
    • In that same vein, the popularity of the Justice League animated series pushed the John Stewart version of Green Lantern into the minds of the mainstream audience. It got to the point that when trailers for the 2011 Green Lantern movie were released, many people wondered why the Green Lantern wasn't a black man.
    • Marvel Comics has a similar example with the Human Torch. Johnny Storm is the name most comic fans associate with the Human Torch and thanks to cartoons, video games, toys, and movies, even non-comic fans know about Johnny. There was, however, an unrelated Human Torch in The Golden Age of Comic Books published by Marvel's forerunner, Timely Comics. This character spent decades in limbo but had a stint on The Avengers, was in the WWII-era team The Invaders, and shows up on occasion.
  • Speaking of DC Comics, many of the properties they bought are now more closely connected to them rather than to the companies that created and popularized them -- The Question and Captain Atom from Charlton Comics, Plastic Man from Quality Comics, and Captain Marvel from Fawcett Comics, who were ironically driven out of business by DC.
  • In large parts of the world (particularly continental Europe), Donald Duck's origin in the Classic Disney Shorts, if not entirely forgotten, is completely eclipsed by his being the central character of Carl Barks's Disney Ducks Comic Universe.
  • Robotman was actually a children's toy in the beginning, which later became a merchandise-driven comic strip. The toys fizzled out, but the strip was doing well, so it continued as an increasingly bizarre and subversive strip. Eventually the character was written out and the strip was retitled Monty.
  • Another DC Comics example: Many comics fans are aware that Caine and Abel of The Sandman were originally the narrators of two of DC's horror comics (House of Mystery and House of Secrets). But do they know that the same goes for the three sisters (The Witching Hour), Lucien (Tales From Ghost Castle), Destiny of the Endless (Weird Mystery Tales), Eve (Secrets of Sinister House, in which she has a raven said to be the soul of a dead human) and ultra-obscure Dreaming denizen the Fashion Thing/Mad Yuppie Witch (The Unexpected as the Mad Mod Witch)?
    • And are they aware that in Starman, Mason O'Dare's girlfriend Charity used to be the host of Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion?
    • And how many people know that Jed Walker was originally from the 1970s Sandman stories his introduction deconstructs?
    • In a similar vine the Marvel character Hellcat actually was actually a Golden Age character from the comic 'Patsy and Hedy' before she immigrated into the Marvel.verse and the superhero genre.


Displaced by Films (Animated)[edit | hide]

  • Most classic fairy tales and works of children's world literature have been eclipsed by the Walt Disney film versions. (See Disneyfication.)
    • Almost every retelling of "Snow White" since 1937 has the dwarfs described as individual characters, while the original story doesn't describe them that way. The original story has the Evil Stepmother try two other tactics to unsuccesfully kill Snow White, before she finally tries to use the poisoned apple. In Disney's version he only focused on the apple narrative. Also, the Prince doesn't kiss Snow White back to life, but decides to take her coffin with him, whereupon the thing drops on the ground making the piece of apple that Snow White swallowed fall out of her mouth.
    • Most of Disney's films are based on previous sources, even less obvious ones like 101 Dalmatians (which was originally a book). The most notorious of these displacement sources is Dumbo, which is based on a experimental children's book (basically a scroll with pictures) that had an insanely low print run that Walt himself hand-picked out of a bookstore for a couple bucks. They share a basic plot and not much else.
    • Winnie the Pooh is remembered by some people more for the Disney animations than for the books by AA Milne. And Disney is working hard to keep it that way. Which is sad since Walt Disney was something of a fan of the books.
      • Also unusual, because (in the original film, at least) Gopher wants you all to know that "he's not in the book".
    • Believe it or not, Bambi is also based on a book - which is hilarious when you consider the original poster was a picture of the book. Also an example of Disneyfication: the novel was intended for adult audiences.
    • Even Lady and the Tramp, which was based on a short story called "Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog". Walt read it in Cosmopolitan, bought the rights, and actually had the author write a novelization of the planned movie which came out two years before the film itself. This was so people would be familiar with the story, since most people associated the Disney studio with adapting famous tales, and it was thought that people wouldn't watch the film if they didn't know there was a book. How many of you knew there was a book? Thought so.
    • Disney's The Jungle Book is so well known, some people aren't aware that there really were Jungle Books. Or that Baloo was the serious one, and Bagheera the playful one. And Kaa was Mowgli's third mentor.
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, based on the 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (Literature)? by Gary Wolf. The original novel is about comic strip cartoon characters who speak in word balloons, and Eddie Valiant is in fact investigating Roger's murder. Even Wolf acknowledged that the movie was superior to the original, and wrote two sequels to the film, in which Jessica says that the original novel was a dream.
    • How about Pinocchio: the story of a puppet by Carlo Collodi? This was possibly for the best; the original Pinocchio story was just plain weird, as Roberto Benigni unfortunately proved by making a more faithful live-action adaptation. The original was also an extremely irritating and tedious Author Tract about obeying your elders, a moral that definitely would not sell will in this modern age of pop-culture rebellion.
    • While not entirely Disney's fault, their 1951 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland forever linked the events of Through the Looking Glass with the very different book it was a sequel to. However, several adaptations in film and theater before it had been doing this well before. In fact, very few people even realize that characters like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum never appeared in the book Alice in Wonderland and it's not uncommon to hear people complain about their absence in works that are more faithful to the source material because they have become so accustomed to seeing the two books presented as Alice in Wonderland. It doesn't help that the two books are often published as a single volume under that title.
    • The Fox and the Hound (film) is derived from a much darker novel in which everyone dies.
    • The Rescuers were based off of Margery Sharp's books, specifically, two of them. There are actually nine books in the series. The Rescuers Down Under, however, was an original story.
    • Speaking of Disney, The Great Mouse Detective was based off a book series, Basil of Baker Street (which was obviously inspired by Sherlock Holmes).
      • Ratigan's Basil doll closely resembles Basil from the original book's illustrations.
    • There are those who think that Disney created Peter Pan from whole-cloth in 1953, with their still-classic animated motion picture. Never mind the fact that Disney actually made a live-action Peter Pan film a couple of decades earlier, they (usually children, it must be said), are surprised to hear it was a book back in 1904....based off the original stage play that debuted in 1902. There is a rather larger section of the populace who believe that Disney currently own the copyright on Peter Pan. They don't, that belongs to Great Ormond Street Hospital in perpetuity;[1] they get royalties on all derivative works, but cannot stop anybody from making something they don't want made (hence Disney rolling out its new Tinker Bell movies).
    • The Little Mermaid doesn't have a happy ending. The mermaid becomes part of the sky and never marries her prince. Also, the Sea Witch is, in contrast with the Disney movie, not a real villain and more of a simple, amoral saleswoman who grants magical favors for a hefty price (like in the Disney movie, the price here is the mermaid's voice...but it's done by literatelly taking her tongue away!)
    • The Three Little Pigs short cartoon adaptation is another case where the Disney version has completely taken over the original fairy tale. The pigs all flee to the third pig's house while in the original the Big Bad Wolf just eats the two of them.
    • The Other Wiki has a page [1] listing the sources for the Disney Animated Canon. The entries of the canon that are fully original are:
  • The Shrek series of films is based on an obscure picture book by William Steig which has overall little to do with the films.
    • Steig's son Jeremy Steig, a jazz musician, shows up in Shrek Forever After as the Pied Piper playing one of his tunes, known to younger listeners through the Beastie Boys song "Sure Shot," which samples it.
  • The Iron Giant is based on a book (The Iron Man by acclaimed writer and Poet Laureate Ted Hughes) bearing almost no resemblance to the movie.
  • How many viewers of Over the Hedge The Movie know about the newspaper comic on which it was based? We do see characters checking out the comic during the credits, but it's hard to make out on the screen; besides, many viewers don't stick around for credits.
  • Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest is a frequent target of mockery of the early 90s enviromania craze that few realize was based on a novel.
  • Many people are unaware that The Secret of NIMH was based on a book called Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien.
  • How to Train Your Dragon. Fairly obscure children's book series, explosively popular movie.
  • How many of you have heard of or read The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch? Now how many have seen the three animated films?
  • Rock-a-Doodle is based on a fairly obscure play by Edmond Rostand (more famous for Cyrano De Bergerac) called Chanticler. To name a few differences, the Edmond character isn't there, there isn't any magic, the Grand Duke is only a minor villain, and the Aesop of the play is centered around how, even though the rooster hero's crowing doesn't make the sun rise, he is still important to the farmyard by waking everyone up and keeping away predators.
  • Most Americans are unaware that The Adventures of Tintin is based on a Belgian comic book series, due to it being very unpopular in America.


Displaced by Films (Live-Action)[edit | hide]

  • More people know of the crazily violent film Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky than the manga on which it was based. The movie was actually only based on the first story arc of the manga (which covers the first volume and the beginning of the second), which continued for several volumes that were even more insane than what was adapted into the movie. Considering the content that made it into the film...
  • Because the audience for Hollywood films is much larger than those for comic books, this trope comes into play almost by default. It is particularly true when relatively obscure comics are adapted to into major films, including:
    • Men in Black is loosely based off a relatively obscure comic book. Basically, the characters names and relative roles are there (Zed, K, and J, though J wasn't black and Zed was a computer), and they're MIB's, that's about it.
    • Not many people know that the film The Mask with Jim Carrey, was based on a series of rather adult-oriented and graphic comic books of the same name. Since the movie, more family friendly versions of the comic have been made.
    • A lot of people didn't know Hellboy was a comic before a movie, and that in many ways they're drastically different.
    • Everyone knows about the movie 300; not so many know that it's based on a Frank Miller comic book from the late 1990s.
      • Both were also (very loosely) based a real, historical battle.
    • The Crow. The 1994 film was a critical and commercial success, but how many people have read the original graphic novel, first published in 1989?
    • Wanted was not widely known to film audiences, who wouldn't have noticed that the film has almost nothing to do with the original comic.
    • Road to Perdition was adapted from a comic. The comic itself was loosely inspired by Lone Wolf and Cub.
    • A History of Violence was loosely based on a graphic novel of the same name.
  • James Bond is more famous as a movie icon than as a novel series, with the "Bond formula" pretty much being exclusive to the movies. However, the release of the 2006 version of Casino Royale was accompanied with a marketing push for the original book.
  • Many people that can quote the script of The Princess Bride by heart have never touched the novel it was inspired by. Of course, since said script was written by William Goldman, who also wrote (er, redacted) said original book, "inspired by" may be putting it too mildly...
  • Who remembers the The Godfather novel by Mario Puzo? Ironically, the novel was a bestseller at the time, but the movie has so overshadowed it that the book is rarely remembered. And is also considered the better of the two versions.
  • The same thing happened to Jaws. Ironic, as the poster reminds you that it's based on the book.
  • And Jurassic Park is an impressive example. The book is the most popular novel of one of the most popular modern novelists, yet the film is one of the highest grossing films of all time, and ushered in the reign of CG effects in cinema(Actually Terminator 2 ushered the age of CG, this fact was a focus of every article at the time of the movie). The film was so popular that Crichton used its plot rather than the one from his own novel when writing the novel's sequel.
  • The Pagemaster was originally based on a well-illustrated children's book.
  • The Untouchables had a television show that is nowhere near as popular as the film.
    • And before that it was a 1957 book written by Eliot Ness with Oscar Fraley.
  • Epic Korean revenge thriller Oldboy is based on a Japanese manga that it has since totally overshadowed.
  • In this day and age, far more people are aware of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, or the 2007 TV series, or even the 1930s serials than are aware that it was a daily newspaper comic that ran for nearly 70 years.
  • Some people react the same way to Buck Rogers, which was based on the novel, Armageddon 2419 A.D.
  • Scarface began as a novel by Armitage Trail, and was adapted into a film directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Howard Hughes. Both have been completely displaced in popular consciousness by the 1983 Brian De Palma reimagining.
  • Arguably, John Carpenter's 1982 version of The Thing is closer to undoing an earlier Displacement by Howard Hawks, by actually adopting the entire story of John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes There?" rather than just its opening gambit, as 1951's The Thing from Another World did.
  • Ben-Hur was based on a book by Lew Wallace, (which was the best-selling American novel until Gone with the Wind) but has overshadowed it, as well as the other three film adaptations, including an animated one.
  • Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho famous as a movie, but it was originally a novel by Robert Bloch. Some of the displacement here may be attributed to Hitchcock himself: the story goes that he bought all the copies of the book he could find so that the ending of the movie wouldn't be spoiled.
  • The Wizard of Oz. Not only was there a book, not only was there a whole series of books, but there were decades of Oz movies before the famous one.
  • Fight Club was based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk. The book popularized Palahniuk as an author, but the film's cult success, social impact, and the fact that even the author prefers the book to the movie cause almost everyone to think of the film first. In a print edition of Fight Club that came out after the movie, Palahniuk relates a tour in which the tour guide quoted the movie. Palahniuk said, "You know, I wrote that book", and he responded, "There was a book?"
  • When most people think of Planet of the Apes, they think of the classic 1968 film starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Maurice Evans, or perhaps the ultimately forgettable 2001 remake starring Mark Wahlberg—not the novel by Pierre Boulle. This may largely be due to the fact that the original novel was written in French. Despite what you might think, Tim Burton didn't make up the ending to the 2001 movie; it's actually closer to the original book than the 1968 movie. But in the book, it made a kind of sense and followed naturally from the events in the story, instead of being tacked-on surreal randomness.
  • Pierre Boulle also wrote The Bridge Over the River Kwai (and its sequels) - which also suffers from adaptation displacement, as most people can only recall the famous movie starring Sir Alec Guinness.
  • Many features popularly associated with the story of Frankenstein derive from the movie version with Boris Karloff as the monster, not from Mary Shelley's story (though that movie wasn't responsible for people calling the monster Frankenstein).
    • The book had previously been displaced by stage plays, in part because the novel went out of print for a while in the decade after its release.
  • The vast majority of people who have seen Forrest Gump aren't even aware that a book exists. (If you thought he got up to a lot of hijinks in the movie...)
  • The classic 1931 film Little Caesar gets a permanent mention in all accounts of film history for practically creating the whole gangster genre (making it the great-granddaddy of The Sopranos). What every account leaves out is that it's based on a novel by W. R. Burnett.
  • Movies based on Alan Moore's work for DC usually follow this trope pretty well, though, because of his disgust with working with them (and hence Warner Brothers Films); he often insists his name be taken off the projects.
    • Watchmen has mostly avoided this do to it being based a graphic novel being heavily advertised and accompanied with a huge re-surge in the comic books popularity and media attention.
  • The Naked Gun film trilogy, starring Leslie Nielsen and written by the famous Zucker/Abrams/Zucker (ZAZ) team, was based on a short-lived TV series called Police Squad!! that was canceled after 6 episodes due to low ratings. The TV series had pretty much every joke in the movies, plus a large number of bizarre additional running gags (impossible to replicate in a movie), and had very high joke density (blink and you'll miss three) -- best watched on DVD, but aired before home video recording became common.
  • Most people outside Germany, where it remains a literary classic, have no idea that The Neverending Story was in fact a bestselling book first - and that the book contains about twice as much material as the first film. The author, Michael Ende, was not pleased with the changes even with the first film and wanted his name to be removed from the credits.
    • Another one of Wolfgang Petersen's films, Das Boot is an icon of the war genre, but most people don't realize it was actually based on a novel written by a man who actually served aboard a real-life U-Boat during World War II.
  • People might make the connection that I Am Legend starring Will Smith is a remake of the B-Movie cult classic The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston, given the latter's, well, cult classic status. Fewer even realize that both movies are based on the book titled I Am Legend. Or that the the book in turn was based on a short story. There was also a pre-Heston movie version, The Last Man On Earth, starring Vincent Price and scripted by the original author.
  • Not only is the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon an (incredibly faithful) adaptation of a novel, there were two other adaptations, one with the same title, before it. Dashiell Hammett is still widely known as a highly influential and often-imitated author, but The Maltese Falcon is considered one of the greatest films of all time.
  • Maybe one of the most magnificent examples of adaptation displacement is in the progression of Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest—the story began as a Film Noir novel (Red Harvest), then became a Jidai Geki film (Yojimbo), and was then adapted once more as a Spaghetti Western (A Fistful of Dollars) before being again adapted as a Gangster Film (Last Man Standing).
  • Jerzy Kosinski's novella Being There is still in print, but it's with a picture of Peter Sellers on the U.S. cover and a tagline that it was the basis for a film on the U.K one. Arguments that the movie was an improvement on the book don't help.
  • A lot of Die Hard fans don't know that the first movie of the series is based on a novel (Nothing Lasts Forever, 1979). But wait—there's more!. The book that Die Hard was based on was itself a sequel to a 1966 novel, The Detective. The Detective had a film adaptation in 1968 starring Frank Sinatra which is unrelated to the Die Hard series. Moreover, Die Hard 2 was also based on a novel—a novel entirely unrelated to the novel on which the first film was based (but all Die Hard sequels started unrelated).
  • The same thing applies to the Rambo series (First Blood, 1972), which is also victim of the Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo—most people forget that the first Rambo movie was itself called First Blood, not Rambo. The sequel was Rambo: First Blood Part 2, which was followed by Rambo 3 (there is no Rambo 2), which is then followed by the confusingly titled Rambo from 2008. Also First Blood was actually based on a book wherein John Rambo dies at the end. Bet you never knew that. Also, there has been significant displacement of the first film within the Rambo film franchise itself. How many Rambo fans remember that First Blood was a depressing film about a Shell-Shocked Veteran fleeing the law?
    • To put it in further perspective: the original casting choice was Dustin Hoffman, and had elements closer to a slasher film than an action flick, with the unique twist that the slasher himself was comparatively innocent. Sure, he was a threat to everyone around him, but only due to the law provoking him to the point where he had flashbacks.
      • Colleges and high schools actually used to teach First Blood (Stephen King used in it when he worked as a teacher). The association of the novel with reactionary produces grows doubly ironic.
  • Mystery Men was (very loosely based on) a comic by the creator of Flaming Carrot before it was a movie.
  • Some youngsters think the cartoon version of Inspector Gadget was based on the movie, making their older cousins/siblings feel very old.
  • There was a small segment who had no idea there were books of The Lord of the Rings when Peter Jackson's films were released. This was parodied in at least one comic strip where kids muse how much of a pastiche of other, earlier films it was—the hobbits were clearly stolen from Willow, for example—and that they were thinking of checking out "the Novelization". There are many more who only know the films because, well, the books are not light reading—enough that Fanfiction.net has a filter in its The Lord of the Rings section allowing choice of Book, Movie, or AU fics.
  • The Departed is based on the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The Hong Kong film was very successful and spawned several sequels, but never got any mainstream attention in the west. An announcer at the Academy Awards ceremony went as far as to state that it was adapted from a Japanese film called "Internal Affairs".
  • Taxi was a remake of a French film by the same name, few people knew it was a remake due to the fact that the original Taxi and it's sequels were never officially released on DVD in the U.S., although series director Luc Besson was a producer for the remake.
  • Most people know Richard Strauss's tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra as "that song from 2001: A Space Odyssey." Not many of them realize that there's still 30 minutes of music left after that iconic opening. ...Or that Richard Strauss's tone poem was inspired from a philosophical treatise of the same name by Friedrich Nietzsche.
    • And how about 2001 itself? It was adapted from Arthur C. Clarke's short story, The Sentinel, which it swiftly overshadowed. Working in collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, Clarke wrote a novel version which Kubrick turned into a screenplay as they went. Then when Kubrick shifted the penultimate scene from the surface of Saturn's moon Iapetus to Jupiter orbit for ease of production, and invented the "open the pod door, Hal" scene, Clarke's novel was pushed to the back too (and ultimately retcanoned).
  • Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork Orange, aided by a legendary score and a star-making performance by Malcolm McDowell, overshadowed the book, which has enjoyed much of its later success due to the film. Burgess later regretted the book and was particularly displeased by the film, in part due to the attention it continued to give the book.
  • Although it wasn't a commercial nor a critical success, the Steven Soderbergh film Solaris is more famous than the Soviet classic cult film by Andrei Tarkovsky, if only because the Soderbergh version enjoys better distribution. And both movies are better known than the original Stanislaw Lem novel.
  • Likewise STALKER, the other Soviet classic cult film by Andrei Tarkovsy is loosely based on the short novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
  • Quite a few people are unaware that Steven Spielberg's film Munich, as well as the lesser-known Sword Of Gideon, are both adapted from a book "based on true events".
  • Doctor Dolittle was a series of books by Hugh Lofting. There are two film adaptations, but the one with Eddie Murphy is more known.
  • The same goes for The Nutty Professor. Oh, and Flubber (remake of The Absent-Minded Professor), sans Eddie Murphy but with Robin Williams.
  • Most people who watched and enjoyed the Bourne movies are blissfully unaware of the books they're loosely based on. Whether or not this is a bad thing is left as an exercise to the reader.
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is most remembered as the title of a 1953 movie starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. It's sometimes forgotten that this was loosely adapted from a Broadway musical (but not so loosely as to discard the show's most famous songs) adapted from a best-selling novel by Anita Loos.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire is actually based on the book Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine, re-titled Alias Madame Doubtfire in the U.S.
  • Both the 1963 black-and-white psychological horror piece The Haunting with Claire Bloom and its 1999 remake are much more well-known than the book they were based on—Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House.
  • The Exorcist. Yes, there was a novel before the film, which in turn was based on allegedly true events that took place in the Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. In Real Life, a young boy was allegedly possessed, but the novel's author changed it to a girl either out of respect or just for fiction's sake.
  • The Silence of the Lambs was a book. A good book.
    • Manhunter (1986) and Red Dragon (2002) were also based on a book. Also a good book.
      • As was Hannibal, though the quality of both the film and the book are arguable.
  • Philip K. Dick is a favorite source for film adaptations, though he didn't live long past Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) to see much of his influence. Other novels and short stories turned into films include Total Recall ("We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"), The Minority Report ("The Minority Report"), Imposter ("Imposter"), Screamers ("Second Variety"), Confessions d'un Barjo (Confessions Of A Crap Artist), A Scanner Darkly (A Scanner Darkly), Paycheck ("Paycheck"), and Next ("The Golden Man"). Most are far more well known to the general public than the originals, though Dick's writing is still quite popular in science fiction literary circles. Perhaps due to the fact that the originals aren't terribly well known, most adaptations take massive liberties with the material, making them almost entirely unlike the original. It doesn't help that Philip's style is so left field as to be out of the ballpark.
  • There are lots of people who love A Christmas Story who are unaware that: 1) It's only based on a few chapters of one Jean Shepherd book, and 2) Shepherd has an entire body of work about growing up in Indiana during the Depression, which he worked on for about three decades, spanning books, magazines, radio, TV and film.
  • The Third Man is a novel by Graham Greene, but almost everyone knows it as a film. This case is sort of similar to 2001. Greene wrote the short novel to prepare himself for writing the screenplay. He might not even have published it, but the film was a runaway hit.
  • How many people are familiar with the children's novel The Sheep-Pig, by Dick King-Smith? How about Babe?
  • Midnight Cowboy was originally a novel by James Leo Herlihy.
  • Many people who have seen the extremely cinematic movie version of The Sound of Music could swear that it wasn't an adaptation of a stage musical, and certainly not a star vehicle for an actress who wasn't Julie Andrews. Some who are familiar with both the movie version and the original Broadway version say that the movie version was an improvement; a few elements of the movie version have even made it into licensed productions and revivals as Ret Canon. And then there's the autobiography The Trapp Family Singers Rodgers and Hammerstein were Suggested By, but that's obviously not as similar.
    • The autobiography had already been eclipsed by the West German movie Die Trapp-Familie (1956), which also was fairly successful in America and had spawned a sequel - Die Trapp-Familie in Amerika (1958) a year before The Sound of Music opened on Broadway.
  • The film Soylent Green was inspired by the novel Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison. In the novel, "soylent" is not made out of people and only warrants a passing reference. The novel is, in turn, an expansion of the short story "Roommates" by the same author.
  • All About Eve was based on a short story "The Wisdom of Eve", which was only later adapted into a play and a musical.
  • Before Babes In Arms was a famous MGM musical starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, it was a Broadway hit by Rodgers and Hart. The film version retained and popularized the original show's premise of kids putting on a show in a barn; what it did not retain, sadly, was more than a couple of Rodgers and Hart's songs.
  • The Andrew Lloyd Webber version of Phantom of the Opera rendered every other adaptation, and fantastic book of the same name, completely invisible.
  • Nanny McPhee was originally a series of books, called Nurse Matilda.
  • Mary Poppins was a series of books, numbering along the order of the Oz books, and Miss Poppins was not 'Practically Perfect in every way', as evidenced by the stage play. Furthermore, while the books are set in the 1930s, the Disney film has inextricably associated with Britain's Edwardian era of 1910.
  • The English Patient is better known as a movie than as a book, inasmuch as it's known at all.
  • Most people who saw the film Slumdog Millionaire aren't aware it's an adaptation of a book by Vikas Swarup. Which is a shame, because that fact appears on screen during the Academy Award-winning song-and-dance part of the closing credits. Before the actors are named.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show is another movie musical that displaced the original stage version (known as The Rocky Horror Show).
  • You know the The Mothman Prophecies? Yeah it was a book. And a non-fiction book, at that.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was originally a novel by Ken Kesey, later adapted into a film with Jack Nicholson.
  • Likewise, The Graduate was originally a book by Charles Webb.
  • Grand Hotel was adapted from a play, which was translated from a German play, which was based on a novel.
  • The German children's novel Das doppelte Lottchen by Erich Kästner, translated into English as Lottie and Lisa isn't nearly as well known as The Parent Trap and its remakes.
    • Except in German-speaking countries, where the book is considered a classic and where film adaptations tend to stick closer to it.
  • The 2001 version of Ocean's Eleven overshadows the original 1960 version by the same name to the extent that people who see the Ocean's Eleven Casino near San Diego think the casino was named for the 2001 movie, not the 1960 version.
  • Freaky Friday was originally a novel with three sequels. The screenplay of the first film adaptation was written by Mary Rodgers, the author of the novels.
  • There Will Be Blood was based on (part of) Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, though most do not know that the film is even an adaptation. It is understandable that most would assume that this is an original creation from Paul Thomas Anderson, because each of his works prior to this one are all his original properties.
  • Clive Barker's Hellraiser, as well as its 9 sequels, are so popular with horror fans that there are probably some people out there who don't realize that it was based on a novella called "The Hellbound Heart", which was also written by Barker.
  • Few people realize that The Warriors is based on a 1965 Sol Yurick novel of the same name. The novel is, in fact, considerably darker and more realistic than the fantastical setting of the movie.
  • The classic romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner is based on an obscure Hungarian play, which also served as source material for the Broadway musical She Loves Me.
  • Fantastic Planet is based on the novel Oms en Serie by Stefan Wul. That it's never been translated into English, well, didn't help.
  • His Girl Friday is the most popular version of the story which originated in the play The Front Page, which had an earlier film adaptation. Long stretches of The Front Page are still recognizable in His Girl Friday, despite substantial alterations including a gender flipped protagonist.
  • The Running Man, The Shawshank Redemption, and Stand by Me are all based on short stories written by Stephen King. Most people are very unaware of this. It also applies, albeit in a lesser sense, to some other films based on King's books, such as Cujo, Carrie, Pet Sematary, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, IT, The Shining even Apt Pupil etc... Well, the man *is* known for churning out a lot of books.
  • Some people don't know that |Mission Impossible was originally a TV series (which was loosely inspired by the film Topkapi, which was based on an Eric Ambler novel).
  • Mel Gibson's Edge of Darkness was based on a seminal British miniseries that is very obscure outside of the UK.
  • Babes in Toyland is best known as a Laurel and Hardy movie from 1934, which was subsequently remade several times. Its true origin was thirty-odd years earlier as a stage extravaganza (which was produced as a Spiritual Successor to a highly popular adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).
  • The silent science-fiction film Metropolis, which codified many sci-fi tropes, was written concurrently with a serial novel of the same name by the screenwriter, Thea von Harbou. English translations of the novel have been reprinted over the years, but the reason was mainly because previously available copies of the film were incomplete; the only way people could piece together the original plot was by reading the novel. Now that a (nearly) complete cut of the film has been found the novel might fall into obscurity again.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's was a novella by Truman Capote.
  • In many cases, if you say "Transformers", people will think you're talking about the original cartoon thanks to Popcultural Osmosis. However, kids, teenagers and mainstream audiences will think you're talking about the live-action film series, due to the relatively low popularity of the cartoon outside its designated fandom.
    • Psssssst... they were toys first.
  • Relatively few people have heard of the play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan", which was adapted into Finding Neverland.
  • Disney managed to displace itself with Pirates of the Caribbean, which is better known than the ride in Disney Theme Parks that inspired it.
    • In fact, the movie became so popular that they have since modified the ride to feature Jack Sparrow animatronics in place of the generic pirates they had before.
    • Likewise, the ride displaced the film it was based on: the 1950 version of Treasure Island. Hence, the film series is based on a ride, based on a film, based on a book.
  • In the US at least, more people have watched the Battle Royale movie adaption instead of the 600+ page book by Koushun Takami. Opinions are split on whether the film does the novel justice or if the alterations are far too drastic.
  • Zathura seems like a space-themed Jumanji knock-off. Turns out not only is it based on a book, but the book is a sequel to Jumanji.
  • Takashi Miike's The Happiness of the Katakuris is very loosely based on a 1998 South Korean film by Kim Ji-Woon called The Quiet Family.
  • Alexandre Dumas fils (Alexandre Dumas' son) novel/play La Dame aux Camélias, about a consumptive courtesan who falls in love, was overshadowed first by Verdi's opera adaptation La Traviata and then by several film adaptations, including Camille (1936) starring Greta Garbo.
    • The 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge also borrows heavily from Dumas' novel. Early drafts of the script included even more plot parallels to Camille/La Traviata, including an intervention by Christian's father.
  • The manga Ichi the Killer has been displaced by its live action adaptation. Especially odd since the manga was Banned In Japan. Even more so then the manga though, is the anime.
  • The Brad Pitt film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is based on a jazz age short story with the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • In a rare case of a film displacing another film, David Cronenberg's remake of the 1950's film The Fly is more famous than the original.
    • On a further note, The Fly was originally a short story by George Langelaan, but good luck trying to find it.
  • Single White Female was originally based on the novel SWF Seeks Same by John Lutz.
  • Primal Fear with Richard Gere and Edward Norton was based on a novel by William Diehl.
  • The Fan with Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes was based on a novel by Peter Abrahams.
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow was based on the novel by Wade Davis. Well, loosely based actually, as the original novel was more like a documentary and nothing at all like the horror film Wes Craven directed. Furthermore, Davis was not at all pleased with the film.
  • Hardly anyone remembers the Patricia Highsmith novel that Strangers on a Train is based on.
    • Richard Castle does; this is referenced in an episode which borrowed the plot. When Castle alludes to the story, the detectives he's talking to reference the Hitchcock movie, but Castle remarks that he's "partial to the novel".
  • The Philadelphia Story was a play by Philip Barry before it was a movie, but the play, like the movie, was produced as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn.
  • And speaking of The Great Kate, how many classic cinema fans today are aware that The African Queen is actually based on a novel by C.S. Forester?
  • The 1961 Kaiju film Mothra is loosely based off of the obscure novel The Luminous Fairies And Mothra.
  • The 2002 Christopher Nolan film Insomnia is a remake of the much less known Norwegian film Insomnia from 1997. The original is said to be much darker, in particular the dead dog that Al Pacino fires a bullet into in the remake was alive in the original.
  • True Lies completely eclipsed the French film on which it was based, La Totale!.
  • The Producers has a long and convoluted one. The musical movie based on the broadway show (itself satirized in Curb Your Enthusiasm), based on the 1960s hit film that launched Gene Wilder's career, was itself based on Mel Brooks' unproduced musical, Springtime For Hitler.
  • Chocolat? Oh yeah, the Johnny Depp movie - Wait, it was based on a book?
  • Casablanca was based on an unperformed play called Everybody Comes to Rick's.
  • The 1957 film 12 Angry Men starring Henry Fonda was a remake of a 1954 teleplay.
  • Annie is a famous 80s musical about a little red-headed girl who goes through a Rags to Riches story. The movie is based off a musical. The musical is based off a long-running comic strip called Little Orphan Annie, who most people probably only recognize from A Christmas Story or Robot Chicken. It's arguable whether the musical or the strip is more well-known, but they're both displaced by the movie.
  • Night at the Museum as based off a children's book. But you didn't know that.
  • The Children's Hour is best known as the 60s film, then the original play. The earlier Bowdlerized version of the play, a film adaptation named These Three is somewhat well-known though it's typically known in connection to the former two.
  • Sannikov Land.
  • The Disney Channel movie (and later band) The Cheetah Girls was based on a 13 book series by Deborah Gregory that lasted from 1999-2001.
  • The Beastmaster combines this with Adaptation Decay. The original Andre Norton novel takes place in the future and involves Earth being destroyed, and the protagonist is Navajo. Nobody wears a loincloth, and there isn't any Human Sacrifice.
  • Anyone who knows the name Howard the Duck most likely knows it for the infamous movie by George Lucas instead of the obscure Marvel comic book character.
  • One, Two, Three is based on the obscure Hungarian play Egy, kettő, három by Ferenc Molnár.
  • Many remember one version or the other of Village of the Damned but would look puzzled if asked about The Midwich Cuckoos.
  • 42nd Street is based on some novel by Bradford Ropes.
  • The Blade movies were pretty sucessful but they overshadow the comic character to the point that even comic fans seemingly prefer the movie version since none of Blade's comic series lasted very long.
  • To say that this trope happens often in Westerns would be an understatement. Who remembers that Three Godfathers, Rio Bravo, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and True Grit were based on novels or stories (by Peter B. Kyne, B. H. McCampbell, Dorothy M. Johnson, and Charles Portis, respectively)? And it is a pretty good bet that few people will have read or even heard of Stage to Lordsburg by Ernest Haycox, Massacre by James Warner Bellah, The Blazing Guns of the Chisholm Trail by Borden Chase, The Search by Alan LeMay, The Tin Star by John W. Cunningham, or The Stars in Their Courses by Henry Brown but almost everyone knows the movie versions, Stagecoach, Fort Apache, Red River, The Searchers, High Noon, and El Dorado.
  • Whenever someone mentions Titanic most people will think of the famous James Cameron film. To be fair, it is still a well-known fact that the film was inspired by a real-life disaster, but normally upon hearing the name, they'll still think of the movie first before the actual event. What most people also fail to realize is that there were at least nine different films about the Titanic (most of which also go under the same title) that came out before it, including A Night to Remember (which inspired James Cameron to make his film) and a made-for-TV film that came out only a few months before Cameron's.
  • Meet the Parents, the 2000 film starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, is a remake of the little known 1992 independent film of the same name, which featured Emo Phillips in a One-Scene Wonder role but otherwise didn't have anyone well-known in the cast. Basically, the names of main characters and the general premise of a man having a disastrous first meeting with his girlfriend's parents are all that remained from the original film.
  • Most people(especially if they're younger) know Starship Troopers from the Paul Verhoeven film, not the Robert Heinlein novel. Though the book and the movie are sufficiently different enough for one to get away with treating them as two different entities with a similar plot(the book focuses more on political commentary of the society the story takes place in, while the movie is more of a straight action-adventure flick).
  • Hairspray: Everybody knows the 2007 musical... which was adapted from a broadway show that was based off of a much better movie released in 1988 which wasn't actually a musical.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (and its game adaptation) has gotten lots of attention, popularity, and praise. But what some people don't know, is that it was based on a six-volume comic book series.
  • Most people nowadays are unaware that the story for Avatar was inspired by Dances with Wolves and Pocahontas.
    • Though it's common on the Internet for people to say that it's basically both of those movies In Space.
    • Of course, while it shares some similar themes to those two, plot-wise Avatar is actually closer to an underrated 1986 drama titled The Mission. Of particular note is the way the film's final battle plays out with the small group of protagonists unable to sway the opinions of those with power, attempting to help the Na'vi fight off the humans, and most of the cast dying, though Avatar goes for a Bittersweet Ending in which the Na'vi ultimately win but only a handful of the main cast survive rather than the Kill'Em All Downer Ending of The Mission in which the Portugese settlers are victorious and murder every single one of the protagonists.
  • What? Kick Ass was a comic book before it was a movie?
  • "Herbert West: Reanimator" was a series of short stories by HP Lovecraft. Its 1985 film adaptation is better known by far. While the title character of Lovecraft's stories was explicitly blond and blue-eyed, all adaptations after the movie came out more closely resemble the film's lead Jeffrey Combs.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was originally a Wuxia novel written by Wang Dulu, part of a pentalogy released between the years of 1938 and 1942.
  • While not completely displaced, The Little Rascals movie is a lot more well-known than the original show with modern audiences.
  • The movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High is remembered for many things today—Sean Penn's breakout performance as Jeff Spicoli, his "Hey bud, let's party" Catch Phrase, his battles with Ray Walston and the poolside scene with Judge Reinhold and Phoebe Cates. It has been almost totally forgotten that it was based on a novel by Cameron Crowe, which was itself based on his year undercover at a Southern California high school.
  • Fatal Attraction was based on a short film called "Diversion" by James Dearden. Stanley Jaffe and Sherry Lansing saw it and thought it could be a feature film. So they hired Dearden to adapt it, and he got the unusual credit "Screenplay by JAMES DEARDEN, based on his original screenplay." When it became a huge hit, most people didn't realize it was a derivative work.

Displaced by Literature[edit | hide]

  • Just about everyone knows the first two lines of Felicia Hemans' Casabianca ("The boy stood on the burning deck/Whence all but he had fled"), but hardly anyone knows the rest; parodies have displaced it. Probably the best-known is Spike Milligan's Casabazonka, the one which ends simply "--Twit."
  • How many people have read Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere? How many knew the book is in fact a novelization of a British mini-series written by Gaiman?
  • The original myths of Merlin were of a Welsh wizard who had nothing to do with King Arthur. Additionally, all prior characterizations of Merlin were displaced by newer myths, culminating with the Lancelot-Grail cycle.
  • Many fans are of the mistaken belief that the Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy novels are the original, and either have never heard of the radio series or assume it's an adaptation.
  • In 1982, Sue Townsend wrote a radio play called The Diary of Nigel Mole, Aged 13 1/4. Later that year it became a book called The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4.
  • A lot of people know some longish literary classics only from the versions abridged and somewhat re-edited for children that they had read when they were young. Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe are common examples of this, as is Gullivers Travels ("you mean Gulliver traveled to places other than Lilliput and Brobdingnag?").
  • A lot of people are familiar with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (and film) but how many are familar with the webcomic in which it originated?


Displaced by Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Not only was Little House On the Prairie based on a book, Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy preceded its publication.
  • The science show Beakman's World has proven so popular, very few people know that it was adapted from a Sunday comic strip - which is still running, even though the show is long over.
  • In this day and age, far more people are aware of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, or the 2007 TV series, or even the 1930s serials than are aware that it was a daily newspaper comic that ran for nearly 70 years.
  • The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed was originally a novel.
  • Mash: Everyone knows the series, and some remember the movie it was based on. How many know the movie was adapted from a series of novels? Not that you'd recognise Hawkeye from the books to the show.
  • The original Match Game had two celebrity panelists, four contestants, and no double entendres. It's the second version, Match Game '73, that everyone remembers.
    • It doesn't help that virtually all of the original series no longer exists on tape.
  • To an extent the British version of The Office has been displaced by the American version - at least, it's been going longer and has much higher ratings. This might be down to the fact that the US has a population of apporximatley 4.5 times that of the UK.
    • The American, German, and French versions all have better ratings than the original. In the UK, however, the original is still best known (although unlike many US translations of British shows, the US version has gone down quite well in the UK). "Replaced" is a local phenomenon.
    • Parodied by the new ads for the British version's airing on Adult Swim, with Ricky Gervais stating, through gritted teeth, that he plays Steve Carell's role, that he got so famous for. It's uncertain how much is parody, and how much is genuine envy.
  • By this point, when people think of Mr. Belvedere, they're most likely thinking of Christopher Hewett's '80s sitcom, little realizing that the title character was once played on the big screen by Clifton Webb...or that before that, he was a character in a novel by Gwen Davenport.
  • Not many people are aware that there was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer film which preceded the TV series. This is probably just as well, as even Buffy's creator Joss Whedon would like to forget the film ever happened.
  • The '70s sitcom Alice was based on the 1974 movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. The movie has been eclipsed not only by the TV show, but by the later movies of its director, Martin Scorsese.
  • These days the Dexter TV series is much better known than the Dexter book series. It also affected the font on the front of the books, changing the capital "T" in DEXTER to "t" to resemble the show.
  • Stargate SG-1 is far more popular than the film that spawned it, Stargate. SG-1 lasted for ten seasons, spawning two TV sequels, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe; two direct-to-DVD-movies, with one more in the works; a remastered version of its pilot episode; numerous novels; and an MMORPG (though this seems to be stuck in Development Hell).
    • Also an FPS, Online TCG, another FPS, and other direct to DVD movies for the spin off that are supposedly going to happen if MGM is ever solvent again.
  • Andrew Davies changed the ending of the novel House of Cards (British series) in his BBC adaptation. The programme was so much more successful than the (still modestly successful) book that author Michael Dobbs wrote a sequel, To Play the King, and retconned it to fit with the ending of the programme. Then Davies adapted To Play the King and exactly the same thing happened again.
  • Although Barry Sonnenfeld claimed his film of The Addams Family was directly based on the original comics; just about every significant detail was taken from the TV series (for example, the original comic strip never named the characters).
  • I, Claudius; the miniseries displaced Robert Graves's novel.
  • The 60s TV adaptation of The Green Hornet has pretty much displaced the original radio series on which it was based. This is most obvious in the characterization of Kato: in the original radio series Kato was merely Britt Reid's valet and the Hornet's companion, and had no notable martial arts skills. Bruce Lee's portrayal of Kato as martial arts master and all around Badass is now so firmly entrenched in the audience's expectations that all subsequent adaptations of the property have that as a prominent part of Kato's characterization.
    • In the 1990s NOW Comics adaptations, the writers went so far as to make the entire Kato family (Ikano Kato, companion of the 30s-40s Hornet, Hayashi Kato, son of Ikano and companion of the 60s and 90s Hornet, and Mishi Kato, half-sister of Hayashi and companion (for a time) of the 90s Hornet) proficient martial artists
      • The above displacement of Kato is so famous he got his own Expy without Green Hornet (the 90s martial arts film, Black Mask, has people comment upon the characters' similarity).
  • Many Japanese tourists, upon seeing the "Backdraft" attraction at Universal Studios, wondered why they were playing the theme music to "Ryoori no Tetsujin" (known elsewhere as Iron Chef).
  • Telly Savalas first played Lt. Kojak (listed in the credits as "Kojack") in an Abby Mann-scripted teleplay about a real-life miscarriage of justice called The Marcus-Nelson Murders, which was itself based on a book by Selwyn Raab.
    • However, Raab wrote that book as a non-fiction work, not a novel, so Kojak did debut for television.
  • The Adventures of Shirley Holmes was adapted to TV from a series of books produced by Winklemania Productions, UK. If you grew up in The Nineties, it's almost a guarantee you've heard of the series: it aired in over 80 countries and was translated to 8 languages. The book is nowhere near as well-known.
  • The original book Deep Love had a large cult following in Japan and while there was a series of popular manga (with multiple spin-offs) the live-action drama was by far more popular.
  • Tales from the Crypt was based on a 1950s EC Comics horror comic of the same name, complete with Crypt-Keeper.
  • A lot of people know that Sabrina the Animated Series is an adaptation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but few people realize that the Live Action TV sitcom is based off a comic book series.
  • The British crime TV series Midsomer Murders has hugely overshadowed the book series by Caroline Graham that it was inspired by and that early episodes were adapted from.
  • The Disney Channel itself has been in existence since 1983, and its tween-centric original series have been in existence at least since the late 1990's, but because the channel rarely shows very much programming dated before 2005, certain gnerations may be unaware of Lizzie McGuire, Phil of the Future, Even Stevens, So Weird or The Famous Jett Jackson setting the stage for Hannah Montana, That's So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Wizards of Waverly Place. Far fewer have even seen a younger Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, etc. make their debuts in MMC in The Nineties.
  • Life started out as a manga however the TV drama is considerably more well-known for whatever reason.
  • Dinotopia. Fewer people know about the novels now because of the crappy TV series.
  • Highlander falls into this to a point-not everyone realizes there were movies first.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man is one of the prime examples of this trope. The TV series was extremely popular and generated many iconic images and sounds; most people are unaware that the TV series was originally based on the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, and the book has become almost entirely forgotten. In this troper's opinion, just as well; the Steve Austin of Cyborg was considerably more a Jerkass than the hero of the TV series.
  • The BBC series Doctor Who has successfully managed to displace itself, as a lot of fans of the new series that started in 2005 are unaware that it was a continuation of the original series which started way back in 1963.

Displaced by Music[edit | hide]

  • The Elvis Presley song "Can't Help Falling in Love" is a rewritten version the French song Plaisir d'Amour, written in 1780 by Jean Paul Égide Martini.
    • Similarly, Elvis' song "It's Now Or Never" uses the melody from the Italian aria "'O Sole Mio".
    • ...and "Love Me Tender" uses the melody from the civil war song "Aura Lee".
  • Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is rewritten french song "Comme D'habitude".
  • "Pictures at an Exhibition" is less well-known as a piano piece by Modest Moussorgsky than in the orchestral version by Maurice Ravel.
    • Both displaced by the 1971 Emerson Lake and Palmer album.
      • Only temporarily. There's also an orchestral version by Rimsky-Korsakov which was displaced by Ravel's.
    • Speaking of Rimsky-Korsakov, his arrangement of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" completely eclipsed the original, which is nearly extinct nowadays. In turn, R-K's version was rearranged by Leopold Stokowski for Fantasia.
  • This is often the case with literary works that have been used as sources for far more famous classical vocal works. For example, the Carmina Burana manuscript of medieval German poems and dramatic texts that was used for Carl Orff's famous cantata, or Schiller's poem "To Joy" which was used for the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
  • There are plenty of cases in music where a re-make of a song has eclipsed the original version. For example, few people know that Otis Redding first recorded "Respect" as it's been eclipsed by the Aretha Franklin version. And younger people are more likely to know the versions of "I Want Candy" recorded by Bow Wow Wow or Aaron Carter than the original by The Strangeloves.
    • Also true with hip-hop that "samples" earlier music. Most young people who love Kanye West's "Gold Digger" have probably never heard of the Ray Charles song, "I Got a Woman", that Jamie Foxx samples in it.
    • Another Kanye example, in that most don't realize the "Stronger" is essentially him singing along to Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." Or that the video for "Stronger" is a giant reference to Akira.
    • Many Rock and Roll pioneers, like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, made their careers performing covers or re-workings of blues songs originally written and recorded by black artists; many of whom are long forgotten by all but the most stalwart fans. Few of the original creators were ever compensated, or even acknowledged, for their work; and those that were, were typically hired by the music labels at very low pay, and their songs re-recorded by the more popular white artists. All of which constitutes a substantial Old Shame for the American music industry. A few artists, such as Elvis Presley, did attempt to make these black musicians better known, but the institutionalized racism of the time greatly limited their ability to do so.
    • Arguably Jimi Hendrix's remake of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" is an example of this.
      • It's not much of an argument. Dylan himself prefers Hendrix's remake, to the point where it's now difficult to find the original version.
      • As is The Byrds' version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", which includes only the intro, chorus and second verse of the original.
    • All cover versions of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now" use a tune for the chorus which is slightly but very noticeably different from the one she wrote. The printed title also usually omits the comma.
  • Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt has been displaced by the incidental music Edvard Grieg wrote for it, except in Norway, where it is his perhaps most famous and popular play. And few people have heard any part which didn't make it into the two suites, which includes the lyrics to "In the Hall of the Mountain King," heard here.
  • "Twist and Shout" wasn't written by The Beatles, nor was it first performed by them. But after listening to their version, it can be hard to remember that.
  • "Mack the Knife" (Die Moritat von Mackie Messer in the original German) has been covered so many times that it's probably no doubt become more recognizable than the musical it was written for, Die Dreigroschenoper. Also on a further note, Die Dreigroschenoper itself was based on The Beggars Opera by John Gay.
  • Smokey Robinson's "Who's Loving You?" was overshadowed by The Jackson Five cover.
  • "Black Magic Woman" is today mostly known as a Santana song - few people remember that it was originally Fleetwood Mac's debut single, and was indeed written by their founder, Peter Green.
  • Only ardent Nine Inch Nails fans mention that frontman Trent Reznor originally wrote "Hurt" for his 1994 album "The Downward Spiral". Everyone else assumes that Johnny Cash created the single, despite Cash acknowledging that it was a cover song, and credited Reznor for writing it. Oddly enough, Reznor doesn't exactly mind the confusion. Although Reznor still plays "Hurt" in NIN concerts to this day, he was so thoroughly impressed by Cash's cover, he outright stated, "[Hurt] is Johnny Cash's song now."
  • At least one cover of "Tainted Love" is clearly a cover of the Soft Cell version, rather than The Sixties original.
  • Ever since The Fifth Dimension did a version of "Aquarius", the opening song from Hair (theatre), which for some reason tacked on the "let the sun shine in" finale of "The Flesh Failures" (the closing song), just about every cover of "Aquarius" has done the same.
  • There are some who reckon that "You'll Never Walk Alone" was written by Liverpool FC supporters, not realising that in fact it's the closing number of Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
  • Few people realise that "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix was a cover of a Tim Hardin song—which was itself a cover of a song by The Leaves.
    • That's simply the earliest known version. It's likely much older.
  • The Uncle Remus stories written by Joel Chandler Harris were later displaced by the Disney adaptation Song of the South, which itself is more famous for the fact that, since the 1980s, Disney has suppressed the film because of racial sensitivity. The Oscar-winning song from the film, Zip-a-dee Do-dah, however, has outlived both the film and the Harris stories.
  • There are people out there who are unaware of "I Will Always Love You" being a Dolly Parton song before it was covered by Whitney Houston for the 1992 blockbuster hit The Bodyguard.
  • There are also people out there who are much more familiar with Bananarama's "Venus", instead of the early '70s version by Shocking Blue.
  • Nirvana sang "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" during their famous Unplugged performance in the 90's and it ended the show so well Cobain refused to play any more songs, convinced he couldn't top it. Unless they've checked Wikipedia or paid close attention during the performance, any random person would likely think it was written by Cobain and not the blues artist Leadbelly.
  • The song "One Night In Bangkok" was a hit in the 1980s, and is one of the prototypical examples of songs from that era. Few people realize it's from a rock opera, "Chess", and fewer still realize it's probably the least plot-critical song, simply summarizing the petulant singer's walk around Bangkok when he gets frustrated in a chess match. Though "Chess" has been rewritten extensively in its many stagings, this song is the only one all but certain to remain in for the popularity alone.
  • Rossini's William Tell Overture is arguably his most famous piece, but has long since become more known in the United States as the Lone Ranger's theme.
  • Not counting devoted folk-blues fans, few people seem to realise that "The House Of The Rising Sun" is a very old traditional. Most people who are aware of the song at all seem to think that the Animals version is the "original".
  • Typically Tropical's smash hit "Barbados" has been obscured almost completely by the Venga Boys' cover, which substituted Ibiza for Barbados as the singer's destination.
  • You know Liebesträum No. 3 by Franz Liszt, that extremely famous piano piece that's on all the "Piano Favorites" collections? It's actually a transcription of Liszt's song O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, which was originally for voice and piano. Same goes for the Petrarch Sonnets found in the second book of Années de pèlerinage. Today, the piano versions are extremely famous, whereas the original songs are barely known.
  • More people know Here Comes the Bride as a "trad." instrumental tune played at weddings than as a chorus from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner. (You sometimes even see it listed as "traditional" in film soundtrack credits).
  • The song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" has been covered by a number of english musicians such as the band Cake, Doris Day and the Pussycat Dolls, but few people seem to know that it was originally written in Spanish, composed by Cuban musician Osvaldo Farres. The song was first adapted into English by Joe Davis.
  • The MK Nocturnal Dub (and the slightly edited Dub of Doom) remix of The Nightcrawler's "Push the Feeling On" (with its characteristic indecipherable resampled vocals) completely outshone the original lyrical version, and all later remixes were therefore based on it. This occurs alot in dance music, where a sometimes completely different remix ended up eclipsing the original, such as Brainbug's "Nightmare (Sinister Strings mix)", Art of Trance's "Madagascar (Cygnus X remix)", and Ayla's "Ayla (Taucher mix)". Can also happen with softer and slower versions, such as the unplugged versions of DJ Sammy's "Heaven" and DHT's "Listen To Your Heart" (covers of Bryan Adams and Roxette, respectively).


Displaced by Theater[edit | hide]

  • This qualifies as Older Than Steam, at least: many of William Shakespeare's plays were based on earlier sources. **Romeo and Juliet
    • Othello was originally the Italian short story "A Moorish Captain" by Cinthio, in which Disdemona [sic] is the only named character.
      • Measure for Measure is also from Cinthio's work: "The Story of Epitia"; and also some borrowing from George Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra.
    • All's Well That Ends Well is from a short story in The Decameron (day 3, story 9).
    • As You Like It is based on Thomas Lodge's "Rosalynde, Euphues' Golden Legacy", which in turn was derived from "The Tale of Gamelyn", wrongly attributed to Chaucer and printed in some editions of The Canterbury Tales.
    • The Comedy of Errors is based on an Ancient Roman play, Plautus' Menaechmi.
  • The Phantom of the Opera musical has displaced the original Gaston Leroux novel in the minds of many. And also—though not quite to so grotesque an extent—the old Lon Chaney movie, which was relatively faithful to the book.
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's first two musicals, Oklahoma! and Carousel, are legendary works of American theatre, whereas the plays on which they are based, Green Grow the Lilacs and Liliom (by renowned playwright Ferenc Molnar), are all but unknown.
    • The latter is still very well known in Europe, though, while Carousel is so little known that most people think that its closing number was either written by Gerry and the Pacemakers or created by the fans of Liverpool FC.
  • The operatic adaptations of The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville are both far better-known than the Beaumarchais plays that they're based on.
    • Also that the Rossini version of Barber is at the second (popular) version. Which makes sense if you consider that he wrote his opera 30+ years after Mozart wrote the sequel.
      • Rossini's version pretty much completely displaced the earlier opera treatment of the same play by Paisiello; which makes the attempts by Paisiello's admirers to wreck it by disrupting its first performance appear Harsher in Hindsight.
  • The famous opera Porgy and Bess was faithfully adapted from a once-famous play called Porgy, which itself was adapted from a novel of the same name. DuBose Heyward wrote or helped write all three.
  • Colm Wilkinson, who starred in Les Misérables on Broadway and the West End, has spoken publicly about his shock at people who didn't know the musical was based on a novel. Liam Neeson, while working on the 1998 film version, was reportedly annoyed with all the people asking him if he was going to sing. He might have been better off if he had; the musical is a far better adaptation.
  • The famous ballet The Nutcracker is actually based on a book with a slightly different plot and a different backstory for the Nutcracker himself. The ending is also different—many productions of the ballet have Clara awaken at the end to learn it was All Just a Dream, whereas the book ends with Marie discovering that it was all real and her love for the Nutcracker breaking his curse. Some productions of the ballet actually include elements of the original ending anyway; Mark Morris' tongue-in-cheek Setting Update The Hard Nut spends much of the second act telling said backstory.
  • Puccini's opera La Boheme has handily displaced Henri Murger's novel Scènes de la Vie de Boheme (interestingly, there was a rival operatic adaptation by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, composer of Pagliacci; this is also forgotten).
    • Which itself is on the verge of being overtaken by Rent.
  • David Belasco's once-popular plays Madam Butterfly and The Girl Of The Golden West have been displaced by Puccini, as has Victorien Sardou's play Tosca.
  • The musical My Fair Lady is much more popular than the original Pygmalion - not surprisingly due to its In Name Only inspiration and its decidedly unromantic Downer Ending.
  • Maurine Watkins' play Chicago was highly acclaimed when it was first produced in 1926, but now remembered only as the source of the musical adaptation written half a century later.
  • The musical Little Me seems to be better known than the Patrick Dennis book it was based on—which is somewhat odd considering that the show was neither a Broadway hit nor made into a movie.
  • Before Kismet became a musical, it was a play by Edward Knoblock popular enough to have been filmed more than once. Since "Stranger in Paradise", the non-musical original has been forgotten. The melody for "Stranger in Paradise" comes from the "Polovtsian Dances" from Alexander Borodin's opera Prince Igor. While the opera itself is fairly obscure, the Polovtsian Dances are a popular symphonic favorite - but people still always think of the melody as "Strangers in Paradise".
    • And other tunes in the show are also pillaged from Borodin's portfolio, including his 2nd Symphony ("Fate"), his String Quartet No. 2 ("And This Is My Beloved") and In The Steppes of Central Asia ("Sands of Time").
  • Hello, Dolly! is only arguably more popular than Thornton Wilder's play The Matchmaker, but that in turn was a revision of Wilder's earlier play The Merchant of Yonkers, which was adapted from a 19th-century Austrian farce.
    • And many fans of WALL-E are unaware that the latter's title music is from Hello, Dolly!—even though the relevant clip is included in the movie.
  • Many people have seen Guys and Dolls; few today have read any of Damon Runyon's stories.
  • Georges Bizet's popular opera Carmen was originally based on a novel by Prosper Merimee.
  • Though the book series is still popular, most people when they hear Wicked think of the musical first.
  • Trivia clue for Aida: "Disney musical by Elton John and Tim Rice".
  • Little Shop of Horrors is remembered as a film adaptation of an off-Broadway musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, but few remember that the musical was in fact based on a (non-musical) comedy made in The '60s.
    • Similarly, the original 1988 film version of Hairspray is seldom remembered.
  • Before the 1954 play, the 1956 film and the 1985 remake, The Bad Seed was originally a novel by William March.
  • Verdi's opera La Traviata is based on the novel/play La Dame Aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas, fils.
  • The Threepenny Opera has become considerably more popular than the 18th-century Beggar's Opera it was based on.
  • Luther Vandross's famous hit "A House Is Not A Home" was originally a song by Dionne Warwick.
  • So maybe the film hasn't completely displaced the musical, but how many people knew that everyone's favorite Ax Crazy barber Sweeney Todd originated in The String of Pearls, a serialised of penny dreadful novel from Victorian England? Even the musical's immediate source material, a play by Christopher Bond, is obscure in comparison.
  • More people will be familiar with The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner than will have read either of the medieval works on which it is based, the Nibelungenlied, the Eddas or the Volsunga Saga.


Displaced by toys[edit | hide]

  • Two of the most important Hasbro franchises did this (both cases are toy displaced by other toy):
    • The well-known 3 3/4 G.I. Joe figures took their name from an old 12 figure (in fact, the first action figure).
      • Even odder, the "original" GI Joe (the one from the 12 line) actually appeared as a character in the 3 3/4 line named Joseph Colton.
      • The toys were named after the 1945 film The Story Of GI Joe, which they have by now thoroughly displaced.
    • Transformers began as a reuse of the molds for the Takara collections Diaclone and Microman. The original Diaclone collection was about piloted mecha, while the Transformers took the Mechanical Lifeforms approach we all know.


Displaced by Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The vast majority of 80's arcade games are displaced by any adaptations or sequels on home consoles. This is rather understandable, mind: When was the last time you saw a functional '80s or '90s arcade game... anywhere?
    • Most people seem to think the NES version of Bubble Bobble (that is also out on Virtual Console) is the original. There was an arcade version, and it didn't include a compulsory crystal ball!
    • Contra and its sequel, Super Contra, were originally arcade games that were adapted to the NES. The NES versions were more successful than the coin-op versions, and all the subsequent sequels were released specifically for home consoles.
    • The arcade version of Gradius was released in North America and Europe under the name of Nemesis, while the NES version kept the original title. This led many fans to believe that its NES conversion is the very first title in the series. Gradius III is a similar case; the Super NES conversion is far more well known than its Nintendo Hard arcade counterpart, though said arcade original did have a prior American release to Collection, in Gradius III & IV, which was released in 2000.
    • Punch-Out!!!! started as an arcade game which even had an arcade sequel titled Super Punch Out!! Most players are more familiar with the console versions, Punch Out!! for the NES and Super Punch Out!! for the SNES, both which were completely different games from their arcade counterparts. Even the official site for Punch Out!! for Wii doesn't acknowledge the arcade games.
      • Which is bizarre not only because these games not only introduced many of the opponents, but the entire Title Defense level, which is nothing more than a souped-up version of the "Top Ranked" matches you had after winning the championship.
    • The NES version of Super Dodge Ball is a cult classic, with most people not even aware that it was based on an arcade game of the same name.
    • Most people who know both the NES Beat'Em Up Kung Fu and Legend of Kage have no idea they were both originally arcade releases.
    • As little as it's remembered today, Legendary Wings is much more known for its NES port (who made quite a few changes to scenery and gameplay) than its arcade original.
  • ICOM's adventure games Deja Vu, Uninvited and Shadowgate are most recalled in their NES versions, though they all were originally for the Macintosh.
  • Whenever somebody mentions playing Warcraft, most people would automatically assume this being World of Warcraft MMO, not one of several RTS games preceding it that, you know, actually were called simply Warcraft.
    • Lampshaded by Blizzard during one of their April Fool's jokes. They proudly announced the creation of the new RTS game Warcraft: Heroes of Azeroth and proceeded to list details and show screenshots of Warcraft III. Needless to say, not everyone got it.
  • Many have played the Sam and Max Freelance Police games without ever knowing they were based on a comic series. Others are only aware of the cartoon series. With the more recent games, many players might not even be aware of the older adventure game adaptation Sam And Max Hit The Road.
  • Seemingly very few on the internet know that there was an original Rainbow Six novel (to be fair, the original game and novel were being produced and written at the same time, and the game was released before the novel was published).
  • Ragnarok Online, popular MMORPG. Not many people are aware that it was based off of the Manhwa Ragnarok.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic turn-based strategy series are far more well-known than Might and Magic, the RPG series they were spun off from.
    • And how many people have heard of Kings Bounty, the original TBS that wasn't set in the Might and Magic universe?!
    • After Kings Bounty got a remake by 1C/Katauri, many players of the new games were surprised to learn they were based on such an ancient DOS game.
  • Few Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune players are aware that it is based on the still-running manga series Wangan Midnight. Most think it's the other way around.
  • On a similar note, even less players have heard of the original Wangan Midnight arcade game, released in 2001 and published by the same publishers of Maximum Tune, as well as its update Wangan Midnight R. These two games, however, bear little resemblance to the Maximum Tune series; they play more like the Tokyo Xtreme Racer/Shutokou Battle series, in that you and your opponent have life meters, an unusual feature in a racing game.
  • The cult Game Boy RPG Magi Nation was made to advertise a card game made during the TGC fad. The game is more fondly remembered then the cards.
  • While quite a few fans of the Persona video game series know that it is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series, some of them do not know that Shin Megami Tensei is a spin-off of another RPG series (Megami Tensei) that was in turn based off the Digital Devil Story novel trilogy. Most don't even know that there were regular Megaten games that were released before Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne yanked all the Cyberpunk tropes from the series and got translated.
  • Some gamers may suspect that the Xbox version of the Ninja Gaiden series is having this effect upon the original NES series, especially in terms of their Nintendo Hard reputations. Whether or not this is true, both have certainly displaced the original, almost completely unrelated Beat'Em Up arcade game from everyone's mind.
    • The arcade and NES versions of Ninja Gaiden were made simultaneously, but they don't really have much in common other than the main character in both games being a ninja.
  • Pretty much any song that gets covered on a Dance Mania album and brought into Dance Dance Revolution (Konami relies on the Dance Mania series for much of its licensed songs). And for that matter, any song that gets ported from another Bemani series into DDR gets mistaken as a song that debuted in DDR.
  • Many have no idea about the Gauntlet (1985 video game) series prior to Gauntlet Legends.
  • Ditto Xenon II Megablast. It consigned the original to an entirely reasonable obscurity.
  • Parasite Eve was a 1995 novel by Hideake Sena, then a 1997 movie, then a 1998 Squaresoft Action-RPG.
    • Note that the Squaresoft game(s) are sequels to the novel, while the movie is an adaptation.
    • However, it's worth mentioning that one of the reasons it's relatively unknown outside of Japan is because they weren't released outside of Japan for awhile. The 1995 novel was actually not published in English until 2007. And even then, it's pretty rare.
  • Kickle Cubicle was based on a Japanese arcade game called Meikyu Jima, which had identical gameplay but a completely different plot.
  • Marth is far better known in the west for appearing in Super Smash Bros. then for being the star of his own game. As such, outside of Japan he is more associated with Roy and Ike who aren't in the same universe as him rather then characters from his own games such as Jeigan, Caeda, and Ogma.
  • Similar to Marth, Morrigan Aensland is starting to be far better known for appearing in Marvel vs. Capcom than Darkstalkers. The fact that there hasn't been a Darkstalkers since Vampire Savior probably contributes to this.
  • Zero Wing. Many forget that the Sega Genesis version was actually adapted from an arcade game (which didn't feature the infamous "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" intro... but had its own screwed up ending), and everyone forgot that there was a TurboGrafx-CD port (which had a completely different plot).
  • Strider Hiryu is a subversion, since it was actually a three-way collaboration between Capcom and manga studio Moto Kikaku. Moto Kikaku artist Tatsumi Wada drew the manga version, which was published first in 1988, while Capcom produced two separate video games for the project: an NES version which more or less followed the manga (but oddly enough never came out in Japan), and an arcade version which deviated from the other projects completely in terms of story. A common misconception is that the manga was made first without any intention of turning it into a game, but this really wasn't the case at all.
  • Area 88 is a Displacement Food Chain; it started off as a manga, which got adapted into a somewhat more well-known anime, which got adapted into the kinda-more-well-known arcade game (the U.S. title, U.N. Squadron, only made the connection between the games and the anime/manga even more obscure), which got adapted into a well-known SNES port.
  • Turok, Son of Stone was a comic book in the 1950s, alongside such other well-known Gold Key titles as Doctor Solar Man of the Atom and The Occult Files of Dr Spektor. Valiant Comics got hold of a load of Gold Key Comics properties in the '90s, and relaunched Turok as Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. In 1997, a video game was released based on this incarnation. The Turok series of games is now much better known than either comic book version.
  • Little Nemo isn't one of the most well-known animated films, but the game Little Nemo the Dream Master resided in many an NES of people who'd never even seen the cartoon. It's likely that few fans of the cartoon (which was a Japanese/American co-production) know that it was originally a comic strip in the first decade of the 20th century.
    • The situation became more confusing when the video game was released in America before the movie was released (even though the movie was released first in Japan and is what the video game is based on).
    • And like the Area 88 example mentioned above, there was an arcade version of Little Nemo (simply titled Nemo) that came out before the NES version.
  • STALKER started out as a very popular Russian novella called Roadside Picnic which then got turned into a movie. However, in the West, (at least outside of science fiction circles) the video game has quickly become far more well-known than either of them.
    • Curiously, the creators of the game, GSC Game World, have produced a proof-of-concept trailer for a STALKER television show. They're currently shopping it around.
  • Metro 2033 is an interesting (US only) case. It's not so much that the book is less well known, but that it has never been released in the US.
  • Most people didn't really notice that the obscure SNES platformer Dino City is based on the Made for TV Movie Adventures in Dinosaur City. To be fair, that movie was also relatively obscure.
  • Do you remember Shuma-Gorath? Do you remember him in a medium that doesn't involve Shoryukens? He was originally an enemy of Dr. Strange, and in fact hadn't been seen in six years before Marvel Super Heroes.
    • Shuma-Gorath's a strange example, he was originally from a short story for the 'Kull' series, but the short story was unpublished. When they published it after the Author's death, it was adapted into the Dr. Strange series.
  • The Darkness; depending on the circles you orbit in, you may encounter people who are either unaware the comic exists besides the unlockables in the game, or unaware it came first.
  • The original Neverwinter Nights was a MMORPG on America Online that was operational from 1991 to 1997, and used SSI's "Gold Box" engine. The 2002 game by BioWare is much more well known now.
    • Notable especially is that the original was the first modern MMO, predating Ultima Online by several years. Previous games in similar veins were typically primarily text-based, with few or no graphics and little depth in comparison to console and computer RPGs of the same timeframe.
  • The original Tetris was released on an Electronica 60 in 1985, followed by a release on IBM computers (as well as pretty much every other Home Computer in existence). However, it wasn't until the Game Boy version, released in 1989, that most fans around the world got into Tetris.
    • This of course also started the phenomenon of the melodies of Korobeiniki and Dance of The Sugar-Plum Fairy being "Tetris Themes"...
  • A subversion: the Nintendo Entertainment System was a success in North America due to the popularity that the arcade version of Super Mario Bros. (Vs. Super Mario Bros.) enjoyed. Nowadays, not many people are aware that Super Mario Bros. had an arcade port.
    • And if they're aware that Super Mario Brothers was itself a sequel, it's probably only because the original Mario Bros. is a frequent minigame/easter egg in other games.
  • Thunder Force II was originally released on the Sharp X68000, then ported to the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. Many people think it's the other way around (o).
  • One of the designers for the arcade Spy Hunter deliberately took the theme music from Peter Gunn, an old, obscure detective show, most likely to stave off any "ripoff" (or worse, copyright) issues. The game became so popular that the song is now far more closely associated with Spy Hunter than Peter Gunn.
  • Konami released Metal Gear for the NES in America without players realizing it was based on an MSX2 game of the same name. Nowadays, most people are better aware of its sequel Metal Gear Solid than the early MSX and NES games in the series.
  • A lot of people are familiar with the game The Witcher, but not with the series of fantasy novels it is based on, especially in English-speaking areas.
  • Only the most avid of fans of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer are aware of the fact that the Bomberman franchise started on this computer in 1983 (actually, this version was concurrently released on various Japanese computers), with a rather different look from the iconic NES version. Not even most of them realise that in the same year, on the same platform, Hudson tried out the concept that was to become Pang (as Bubble Buster).
  • Wolfenstein 3D (1992) is widely known as "the first FPS" (it's not), but a lot fewer people are familiar with Castle Wolfenstein (1981), an Apple II game that might be considered the first stealth-based game.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the Re-Shelled edition of Turtles in Time were the omission of numerous stages and bosses from the SNES version of the game. However, the Re-Shelled version was actually based on the original arcade game and the "missing" stages and bosses were simply extra stuff added to the SNES port.
  • Chaos Legion is an obscure enough Hack-and-Slasher by itself, but is apparent based on an even more obscure series of light novels.
  • The Valis series was originally released for various PC platforms, but the series did not gained its cult following until the second game was ported to the TurboGrafx CD. Oddly, the No Export for You TGCD port of the first game wasn't made until after the fourth game, which didn't make it overseas either.
    • Ys was another PC-88 game series which gained a cult following only with the TurboGrafx CD ports.
  • Below the Root is the best-known of the Windham Classics games and a minor Cult Classic among platform gamers. The books it was based on (and is the canonical sequel to, making it possibly the first of its kind) are terribly obscure and were out of print for years.
  • Monster in My Pocket was originally a line of toys, but nowadays, it's more well known as a classic NES game.
  • Once upon a time, a webcomic called Prodly the Puffin was created as a parody of Pokey the Penguin. The webcomic is long since gone, but an Interactive Fiction adaptation of it has lasted better.
  • The NES version of Nuts & Milk displaced the original version for the MSX, PC-88 and other Japanese computers, which plays quite differently and even in Japan is largely ignored.
  • Soul Calibur was only meant to be the sequel to Soul Edge (Soul Blade for home release) but ended up becoming a series. This meant that only a few people know about Soul Edge/Soul Blade due to it not being a numbered entry in the series.
  • Many people thought that Vice City and San Andreas were entries 4 and 5 in the GTA series rather than spin-offs, which led to confusion when GTAIV came out.
  • Few people remember that a game called Starsiege was the foundation for the Tribes franchise. Fewer remember that Starsiege was a sequel to the Earthsiege games.


Displaced by Web Animation[edit | hide]


Displaced by Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • A minor case, but though the characters of Final Fantasy I had no defined personality apart from their character class, the work of webcomic Eight Bit Theater has largely determined their roles in any future parody.
  • Likewise, Bob and George has done the same thing for Mega Man, to the point where certain fan-characters are often mistaken for canon, and a good chunk of the fandom takes the "Zero kills everyone" version of the end of the Classic timeline as fact, despite its Fanon status and Word of God later debunking it.
  • Many people don't realize that Pastel Defender Heliotrope, a webcomic that defines True Art Is Incomprehensible, was based on a light-hearted, straightforward Pinocchio story for the Kamishibai program that Reitz and her husband produced. It's quite jarring for those few souls who read the Kamishibai story first and then tried to read the webcomic.


Displaced by Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon is vastly more familiar to the public than the original black-and-white comics. An example of this is that in every Turtles-related review by The Nostalgia Critic, he constantly criticizes an adaptation for not being "faithful" when its actually using something from the comic instead of the 80s series (such as his constant complaints about April's lack of yellow jumpsuits in the films, or that Judith Hoag looks nothing like April, when her portrayal did in fact resemble the original comic's version).
    • This Adaptation Displacement was taken into account by the creators of the second film who originally intended to stick closer to the comics and have the mutagen be the creation of a brain-like alien race called the Utroms. Professor Perry, who still appears in the movie as the man who created the mutagen, was going to be revealed as the last Utrom still on Earth. However, the cartoon featured a villainous alien brain named Krang who bore a strong physical resemblance to the Utroms but little else. Since the movie was being marketed to fans of the cartoon, the Utrom subplot was ditched because of concern that viewers would assume the brain was Krang.
  • In the case of DuckTales, it depends on where you live. In the US and the UK, the cartoon is still remembered, while the comics it was based on have mostly fallen into obscurity. In many other countries, however, Disney comics, especially those by Carl Barks and Don Rosa, are still widely popular, much more so than the cartoon.
    • Up to the point that Duck Tales comics were released to promote the show and they flopped because kids didn't get why the continuity was all different from normal Disney comics.
  • Before Arthur was a cartoon, it was a series of children's books by Marc Brown.
    • Which is strange since after every episode you're told to visit your local library for more Arthur adventures.
    • Before the Arthur Cartoon, Bionic Bunny was Marc Brown's first picture book.
  • Many more people know about the cartoon series The Magic School Bus than the picture books it was based on.
  • Then there's Little Bill, which was heavily advertised as being created by Bill Cosby, but many people didn't know it was for the fact that he created the original series of picture books, not the actual show.
  • U.S. Acres, the middle segment on Garfield and Friends was actually based on a short-lived comic strip Jim Davis did during the 1980s.
  • Ace the Bat-Hound was a Batman supporting character in the Golden and Silver ages. However, many more people remember Ace as Ol' Bruce Wayne's dog from Batman Beyond.
  • You'd be surprised to know how many people are unaware that the "My Little Pony" franchise originates from the toys, and not the 1980's cartoon. The cartoon was actually made to promote the toys.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas has arguably begun to overshadow everything else in the Peanuts universe, including the actual newspaper strip, which is ironic because most of the special's dialogue is taken verbatim from the strip. For example, a lot of people think that Linus is supposed to have a lisp because of Christopher Shea's voice acting in A Charlie Brown Christmas. This carried over into the 1999 Broadway version of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
  • Many people are familiar with Rankin Bass' stop-motion animation classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and even more are familiar with the song by Johnny Marks. But many don't even remember the original story/poem by Robert May that inspired both the song and the special.
    • And almost NOBODY remembers that the character was originally created for an old Montgomery Ward ad campaign.
  • Speaking of Christmas specials, while the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas hasn't exactly displaced the book—partly because Dr. Seuss is one of the most famous authors of children's books in the world—we challenge anyone to read the book to himself and not hear Boris Karloff narrating it.
    • Or remember Chuck Jones' animation of the Grinch's expression during the "awful idea" more so than the lower-key one in the book.
  • Relatively few people are familiar with the classic Space Ghost, Birdman and SeaLab cartoons. More people are familiar with the Williams Street productions that took those characters and turned them into something completely different.
  • In Superman comics, Ms. Gsptlsnz, extradimensional paramour of Mister Mxyzptlk, appeared during the Silver Age comics, but so obscure was she that even That Other Wiki erroneously reported her as a creation of Superman: The Animated Series.
  • Everyone knows or remembers the Popeye cartoons; not so many know the Thimble Theatre comic strip (which actually started nine years before its Breakout Character was introduced).
  • The WITCH TV series is much better known in the US and UK than the comics, though the comics are well-known elsewhere.
    • This is probably because the US publisher Hyperion didn't release the comics as such at first, but rather novelizations of the comics, with a few pages from the respective comic bookending the text. As with the animated series, Hyperion only got as far as the Nerissa's revenge arc (total run: 26 volumes). (They did eventually release graphic novels, essentially two comics per book, only getting as far as the 8th volume).
  • While (one hopes) most people realize that Batman's sidekick Robin originates in comic books, many fans of the animated Teen Titans don't realize that the rest of the show's main characters, the team and its headquarters, most of the villains, and many of the plotlines on the show, as well as its title, originated in comic books as well.
    • As the series progresses, however, this becomes increasingly less likely. Several characters are implied to be sidekicks as well (most notably Speedy, Aqualad, and Kid Flash), and more noticeably the entire final season of the show relies heavily on Beast Boy's backstory. Lampshaded when people react with surprise when they find out Beast Boy's been a member of a team previously, and apparently has more experience as a hero than anyone but possibly Robin. Possibly.
  • One of the main criticisms of the animated special of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer lie in the awkwardly implemented songs. The title song of course everyone is familiar with, but not so much the other Dr Elmo Christmas songs, believed by many to be written for the movie, when they're all just horrible covers not involving Dr Elmo despite him narrating the special and voicing Grandpa.
  • The cartoon version of The Tick (animation) is vastly, overwhelmingly better known than the original black-and-white indie comic.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine is best known for its TV adaptation that's been running since the mid-1980s. Less well known outside the UK is that it was based on a series of books that's been running since the mid-1940s...
  • The Ben-10 follow-up Man Of Action created series, Generator Rex, is based on a fairly unknown and crazier comic from the same creative team titled M.Rex.
    • Considering the comic only lasted two issues, this can also be considered some serious Adaptation Expansion.
  • Martin Mystery is possibly best known for the Western Animation show, that is almost a In Name Only version of the original comic ("almost" because they changed "Mystere" in "Mystery").
  • The 1985 series Robotech is a Cut and Paste Translation of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Superdimension Calvalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada. Despite modern anime fans bashing its redundant narration and clumsy translation, Robotech continues to surpass the popularity of Macross in the USA, which was the only popular anime of the three in Japan. Southern Cross was a total flop, and Mospeada is largely forgotten. Original Macross continues, more or less, with sporadic sequels and prequels of which Macross Plus has become a classic in its own right and Macross Frontier was one of the most successfull anime series on its release year. Even ADV's recent attempt to market the original Macross series on DVD (including a non-Robotech dub) failed due to lack of interest, probably because unlike Robotech, it was never shown on American TV and for younger audience it's too old.
  • "Isn't Destro supposed to be Black?" is a common question asked by those who questioned the casting of Christopher Eccleston as Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In the original comic, he was caucasian and a Scotsman. In the memorable 80s cartoon, he was voiced by African American actor Arthur Burghardt, hence the confusion.
  • Who remembers that Josie and the Pussy Cats was a comic before it became the famous cartoon?
  • The Pink Panther movies are very often displaced by the cartoons, to the point where people have complained about the 2006 movie being about an inspector instead of the panther. The Pink Panther mascot is actually a personification of a diamond within the series.
  • Certain DC superheroes are better known in their cartoon versions. While with characters like Superman and Batman it's debatable whether they're more displaced by cartoons or movies, characters like the Green Lantern's and Aquaman are displaced.

Displaced by Merchandising[edit | hide]

  • Most Brits, and many from further afield, will be familiar (perhaps overly so) with Quality Street sweet assortments. Far fewer will be aware that the brand name, along with the scene depicted on the packaging, were taken from a play by J.M. Barrie, written three years before he wrote Peter Pan.
  • Thanks to Disney suppressing the source material, few people realize that the Splash Mountain ride at Disney Theme Parks is actually inspired by Song of the South.
  • It's often believed that the Coca-Cola Company created the modern image of Santa Claus in his red-and-white garb, displacing earlier portrayls in which he wore other colours (green was a favourite) and styles of outfit, but this is only an urban legend; depictions of Santa in his red suit existed long before Coke thought up their ad campaign.
    • Santa Claus himself is an adaption of the Dutch and Flemish holiday figure Sinterklaas, which is based on the Catholic St. Nicolas.
  • Betty Boop. She's been quite popular with merchandise however most people that like her have only seen her in animation once, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Displaced by All of the Above[edit | hide]

  • Almost no-one reads HP Lovecraft, but Cthulhu is everywhere. Certainly you can find Cthulhu on Hulu.
    • In fact, a lot of people are under the impression that Cthulu is not a creation of Lovecraft, but an actual mythical being from an ancient religion. Some don't even realize he's copyrighted, which leads to some issues.
      • Especially considering Lovecraft actively encouraged people to borrow from his works.
    • Likewise, the Necronomicon was an entirely fictional book merely cataloguing the monstrosities in Lovecraft's mythos. It's been so widely used as a literary reference, however, that people have made real life versions (including a visual one that inspired the Aliens movie franchise), and some amateur "occult experts" treat these as a serious work on demonology.


Displaced in Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Hydrox cookies are the original mass-produced chocolate-and-cream sandwich cookie, predating Oreos by a couple years. Most people believe Hydroxes to be the knockoff.
    • Some would argue that they taste like a knockoff.
  • The Czech Budweiser beer are sold as Czechvar in the US, even though it predates American Budweiser, which is made by another company entirely. It's Budvar in the UK. It seems to be Budweiser everywhere in mainland Europe.
  • Neufchatel cheese is often marketed in America as reduced-fat Philadelphia cream cheese, even though Philadelphia cream cheese was created as an imitation Neufchatel.
  • More people have probably heard the wordless chorus from the song Centerfold by The J. Geils Band chanted by football supporters than have heard the actual song.
    • Ditto for "The Hey Song", which is actually Rock and Roll Part 2 - Part 1 actually having words besides "Hey" and "Huh".
    • Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye - how many people know the verses to this song and not just the chorus?
  • Almost nobody seems to be aware of the fact that Beanie Babies are not the only plush line created by Ty, Inc. They had stuffed toys in 1986, seven years before Beanie Babies existed. Many of the Spin-Off lines (Pillow Pals, Attic Treasures, Beanie Buddies, etc.) are also relatively unknown.
  • Since language is a living entity, old language is displaced by new all the time. It's a byword (and frequent complaint in some quarters) that the 1900 New York criminal-classes meaning of "gay" has become the common one, displacing the previous meaning of "happy" (which might cause some Agatha Christie readers to wonder why she "so often wrote about homosexuals"). Likewise, in the 1990s "sad" came to mean "stupid" (though fortunately this meaning didn't catch on).
    • An amusing example of this form of semantic drift is that the original word referring to a woman's makeup table has shifted so dramatically that it now refers to an entirely different piece of furniture, with a different function, in another room of the house. This gets rather jarring when reading stories that take the original meaning, and have women stepping out for the night in style by splashing themselves with toilet water (now known as perfume).
    • Related to perfume, the older a word is, the more negative its connotation becomes (one time, when given a list of words related to smell [stink, stench, odor, perfume, smell, etc.] and asked to rank them from most negative to positive, my class put them in almost perfect chronological odor.) This can be interesting when reading older works and hearing about something having a stench and needing a second to realize that it was supposed to smell good.
  • How much do you know about the First and Second Reichs? Yeah, didn't think so.
    • It actually was the Nazis who popularized the concept of "reichs", so that it seems their rise was inevitable/a continuation of German tradition. Similar to how WWI was considered "The War to End All Wars" until WWII came around, whereupon it was demoted to "WWI".
  • Everyone who started using the Internet after the mid-'90s seems to think that the Web and the Internet are synonymous.
  • Have you heard of Japanese singer/voice actress Fujita Saki? If you're in the Anime-watching crowd you might know her roles, but if you aren't, you will probably only know her as the person whose voice is the base for the virtual diva Hatsune Miku, if you know her at all.
  • Armalite developed the AR18 after selling all AR15 patents to Colt, resulting in a unique rifle that was not derived from the AR15 or AK-47. Its intended market of poorer countries was quickly destroyed by NATO and the Warsaw Pact frequently giving away guns to these countries and as a result it was never adopted by anyone significant. Rifles based on the AR18 however achieved widespread adoption and worldwide recognition. These include the SCAR, British SA80, Japanese Type 89, and German G36.
  1. in the UK; it's in the public domain in the US