In Name Only

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Although they weren't in Metroid, it's undeniable that the robot cowboy angel would be the coolest thing ever.

Lois: There were no talking penguins in The King and I!

Peter: There were in Peter Griffin Presents: The King and I!

This occurs when a derivative work (an adaptation, a sequel, a remake, a reimagining) is so different from the work it took its name from that the only thing actually tying it to the original work is the title. Occasionally this will expand to include character names and the setting.

This can happen when the work was originally intended as something completely different, but, being slightly similar to an existing franchise, it is changed to fit in that franchise, or it can be straight-up title hijack. Since titles cannot be copyrighted in common-law countries (including the US, Canada, and the UK), the project may not have any relation to a famous predecessor.

Established properties are much easier to get greenlit than original ideas. In some cases producers purchase franchise rights for the name alone, and slap it on their own original product as a way of getting it pushed through the studio system. Video games and cult franchises are especially popular for this approach as they are relatively cheap to buy and, being "only" popular art, so called, any established canon for the work can be dismissed as unimportant. Many a Cash Cow Franchise has descended to this at least once.

An In Name Only work may well be decent, or even good, if it's assessed on its own merits rather than being measured by how faithful it is to the original work.

If the work in question is not an attempted adaptation of another work, but merely sports a misleading name, that's a Non-Indicative Name. If multiple works share the same name but are unrelated, you have Similarly Named Works.

Compare Dolled-Up Installment.

Contrast Serial Numbers Filed Off, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Expy.

Examples of In Name Only include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Despite the title and what the credits claim, Romeo X Juliet has nothing to do with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet aside of the characters' names (but not their personalities).
  • This was the point of Galaxy Angel, which turned a Space Opera into a Gag Series when the first game was delayed. See Writer Revolt.
  • Despite its name, Go Nagai's manga and anime and novel series God Mazinger has nothing to do with Mazinger Z. The characters, the setting and the plot are completely unrelated, and the Humongous Mecha hardly looks like Mazinger. Apparently the similar title is due to it was intended to be Mazinger Z sequel, but that concept was scrapped, and Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer were created instead.
  • Idolmaster: Xenoglossia retains some of the characters' personalities from the original video game, but changes... well, everything else.
  • The manga Blue Dragon Ral Grad has nothing in common with the Blue Dragon video game or anime series, except for the presence of Living Shadow Bond Creatures which themselves are very different in nature between sources.
  • Tales From Earthsea only really borrowed a few ideas from the Earthsea books and made something completely different. LeGuin was NOT amused, meanwhile (but she was still (slightly) more amused by the anime movie than by the maligned Syfy miniseries).
  • Hades Project Zeorymer - Originally a Hentai manga. The title mech and the name of a female character are the only thing the manga and anime share.
  • Osamu Tezuka's manga Metropolis is literally and intentionally an In Name Only counterpart to the silent film. Tezuka came up with the idea for his story after seeing a single still image of the movie's famous robot woman, then used the title because he thought it sounded cool.
  • The manga adaptation of Princess Tutu has little to do with the show—the names of Ahiru's friends were changed, Ahiru isn't a duck, Mytho isn't really a prince, Drosselmeyer never appears, and the only animal is Professor Cat, for some unexplained reason. The most unrecognizable is Edel, who goes from being a quiet, mysterious woman in doll-like clothing and a huge updo to an energetic Obi-Wan who wears slinky dresses and her hair down—oh, and just happens to be the Big Bad of the manga. The consensus among fans range from "It's sort of funny I guess..." to pretending it doesn't exist at all.
  • The anime adaptation of Eat Man has very little to do with the original story other than Bolt Crank being the main character.
  • Dancougar Nova would be better called Gravion Nova because of its similarity to that series rather than Dancougar.
  • Subverted in Ga-Rei Zero. The first episode introduces an entirely new crew of Badass main characters, completely different from the ones in the manga. The episode ends with Yomi appearing and taking them all out. Turns out the anime is related to the manga in that it centers around Yomi's Start of Darkness.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • When Vertigo Comics publish a series that shares a name with a DC Comics property, that, and a few loose concepts, will be all it shares (with a few exceptions, such as Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Doom Patrol). The most extreme example was Beware The Creeper! which was about a 1920s Parisian surrealist who wore a costume vaguely similar to Jack Ryder's.
  • This trope is a deliberate unifying premise in DC's "Tangent Comics" line and the "Just Imagine Stan Lee" series. Unlike Elseworlds, which is a re-imagining of a DC character that usually retains most of the core elements, Tangent and Just Imagine attach the existing names to completely different characters with different powers, costumes, origins, appearances, and personalities—the latter having been co-designed by Stan Lee. Usually, the only common element is that they're metahumans in a modern setting.
    • Several of DC's Silver Age Revivals fall into this category, as well. Green Lantern and Hawkman come close, but the prize goes to The Atom, who went from a rough-and-tumble boxer who was kinda short to a physicist who could shrink to subatomic size.
  • Since DC's business theory (such as it is) is about hanging onto trademarks as long as possible, they have a long history of reusing names in some odd fashion or another. Such as the 1940's Johnny Thunder, the 1950's cowboy Johnny Thunder, and the 1980's Jonni Thunder. Or all those characters named Starman.
  • In the foreword to the Wonder Woman Trade Paperback "Gods and Mortals", George Perez mentions that there were several proposals for the Post-Crisis reboot of Wonder Woman, some of which had nothing in common with the original but the name.
  • Michael Fleisher's run on Harlem Heroes was focused on a gang of convicts caught up in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, rather than the sport of Aeroball the original strip. In fact, the only reason that the name came up in story was due to the games being played in prison and the skill of the protagonists at Aeroball.
  • Back in the early 2000s, Marvel Comics decided to radically revamp two titles -- X-Force and Thunderbolts. X-Force went from the exploits of a mutant paramilitary team to the exploits of a mutant celebrity superhero team obsessed with fame. The title was well-received (and rebranded as X-Statix), partially because it inverted the whole "hated and feared" aspect of mutant culture. Thunderbolts, on the other hand, went from the tales of a team of former supervillains seeking redemption to following an underground fight ring centered around C-list villains. This change was quite a bit less well-received.
  • Many of the characters in Marvel's Noir series of Elseworlds are notably different from their mainstream continuity counterparts, but of particular note is Dr. Otto Octavius, one of the primary antagonists of Spider-Man: Noir: Eyes Without a Face. Noir's version of the character is a sickly, emaciated, wheelchair-bound neurologist. He's a white South African, a Nazi sympathizer, and heir to a large fortune. His actions are motivated by racism. The only thing he has in common with mainline Dr. Octopus is the use of mechanical arms, in this case surgical aids attached to his chair.


Films[edit | hide]

  • The 1998 Godzilla strays so far from the source material, many fans like to call it GINO. (Godzilla In Name Only)
    • Fans? Toho went so far as to rename the beast "Zilla" because they believed that Emmerich managed to remove the 'God' from Godzilla.
  • Final Fantasy the Spirits Within is a noted example. Direct sequels notwithstanding, the Final Fantasy games all take place in different settings, but at least have some shared elements: fantasy worlds, heavy use of magic, swordplay, revolutionaries, tyrannical political institutions, series mainstay creatures like Chocobos, etc. Unlike the high fantasy settings of the games, the film was set in a distantly futuristic Earth, one that had essentially none of these mainstay elements. So why is this one the embodiment of the trope? Because Square themselves made it. Yes, even creators can fall victim to this trope.
  • Most film versions of The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are like this. They have a setting of Victorian England and a doctor who turns evil by drinking a self-made potion... and that's it. Jekyll is usually young, not middle-aged, and he has a girlfriend or wife; Hyde looks disfigured and terrorizes prostitutes, a bit like Jack the Ripper. And in Hammer's crazy, the wonderfully enjoyable Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde has, like the title tells, a female Hyde, and Jekyll IS the Ripper...
    • The main reason for this is that, in the original story, the revelation that Hyde and Jekyll are one in the same was a Twist Ending, but is now a case of It Was His Sled. Since the chances of shocking the audience while sticking to the original narrative are nil, adaptations tend to show the story from Jekyll/Hyde's point of view (he's actually not the main character in the book) and spoil the "surprise" early on.
  • The Stuart Little movies. The books were set in the late 1940s, Stuart was born from a human mother rather than adopted, and only the boat race in the first movie bears any resemblance to the events of the book.
  • The new character Batgirl introduced in Batman and Robin is considered by many fans to be this due to the liberties taken with her origin, changing her from Commissioner Gordon's daughter to Alfred's niece, and dropping any original characterization and Backstory.
  • I Robot, which was actually started as a completely unrelated script named Hardwired until the studio got the rights to the book and decided to use the name. They also included very nearly every action and line of dialogue from Robot Dreams, an Asimov short that was published decades after I, Robot itself. The movie credits say that the movie is "suggested by", rather than "based on", the book.
  • Starship Troopers, which was really more of a Take That against the original book than an adaptation. It's not even a horribly-executed Take That—the producers bought the rights to the original after the script was written.
  • Raphael Sabatini's novel The Sea Hawk was a tale of an English gentleman framed for murder by his fiancée's brother, getting shanghaied to the Mediterranean, and converting to Islam that he might become a pirate and wreak vengeance on the people that threw him away. The Errol Flynn movie is a tale of an English privateer and his affair with Queen Elizabeth, with a bit of background about the Spanish Armada.
  • The Lawnmower Man has nothing to do with Stephen King's short story of the same name. They had the gall, originally, to call it Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man anyway, and he successfully sued to get his name taken out of the title. The short story is about a creepy satyr who mows lawns. The movie is about a mentally deficient gardener who has his brain transplanted into cyberspace and becomes a god of computers.
    • The Lawnmower Man 2 had nothing to do with the first film. It was also utter crud.
  • The Dark Is Rising movie. One reviewer joked that "They only changed one thing in the plot—everything", and it's not far wrong. The Stanton family, who in the books are warm, caring and British, are now dysfunctional and American; Will is changed from a thoughtful, wise-for-his-age eleven-year-old to a whiny fourteen-year-old hormone-addled Jerkass who's more interested in stealing his brother's girlfriend than completing his quest for the Signs, and all the Arthurian mythology is hacked out and replaced with Christian allegory.
  • The Bourne Series have nothing whatsoever to do with Ludlum's novels, aside from the name of the main character and his amnesia. They cut out the primary villain (since Carlos the Jackal is just a teensy bit in prison at the moment), changed the time to present day, completely changed the backstory behind Bourne's skills, changed the last name, nationality, profession (and, in the second film, lifespan) of his love interest... The movies are generally considered good, mind you (especially the first one). They're just... expect to be disoriented if you read the books afterward.
  • The Running Man film and novel are both set in a dystopian world and center on a television show where a man is hunted. Beyond that, they have nothing to do with each other. In fact, the film adaptation has far more in common with an earlier Robert Sheckley short story entitled "The Seventh Victim", but presumably, Sheckley's relatively-obscure name wouldn't sell as many tickets as the Stephen King pseudonym. "Based on the novel by Richard Bachman" is placed in the opening credits, and copies of the novel featured Arnold Schwarzenegger's face on the cover, advertising the film.
  • Given only 5 of the James Bond films don't take at least the title from Ian Fleming's novels/stories, it happened often.
    • The Spy Who Loved Me had to be done this way; Ian Fleming disliked the book, and refused to allow them to use the storyline.
      • Except the adaptation of Horror, the novel's steel-toothed villain. Obviously, he was renamed Jaws.
    • To a smaller extent, Moonraker also has little to do with the book outside of the villain being named Hugo Drax.
    • The short stories Octopussy and Quantum of Solace have nothing at all to do with the films.
      • While the film has nothing to do with Octopussy, the short story is in fact the backstory to the title character, as revealed in a somewhat shoehorned-in dialogue sequence.
    • The 1967 version of Casino Royale (done by a producer who had the rights to the novel) suffered through both Development Hell and Troubled Production, and the final product bears only a slight resemblance to the novel.
      • Although the central idea behind the novel of Casino Royale (A British agent is hired to bankrupt an enemy agent by gambling against him) is used in the 1967 movie along with some plot points (such as the Bond character being captured by the enemy agent who is then killed by his own side).
    • Averted in the 2006 remake of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig, which hews about as closely to the original novel's plot as can be expected, considering that approximately 50 years separated the writing of the book and the making of the film.
  • Catwoman, which dumped the original character.
  • Philip K. Dick stories sometimes get this treatment, except they tend to change even the name.
    • Blade Runner, while a fine and excellent movie, took the title of one book (The Bladerunner by Alan E. Nourse) and slapped it on a movie made from a completely different story (Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). But except for a few names and concepts like the robotic animals that the movie borrowed, everything else differs from Dick's original.
    • Total Recall is very loosely based on a short story called "We Can Remember It For You, Wholesale.". Actually, both the film and the story begin being roughly the same, but there's a point in which they divert: just after the protagonist has his malfunctioning memory trip. Viewers of the movie will instantly recognize that point as the same one in which the movie has a sudden Mood Whiplash from classic sci-fi to pull-all-the-stops action movie, while the story turns into a spectacular Mind Rape.
    • Next is based on The Golden Man, and differs greatly from its source material even for a movie based on a Philip K Dick story: Both share the general idea of the government trying to capture a main character who has the ability to foresee the immediate impact of anything he does before he does it. However, the setting, the main character's background, personality, and appearance, and what the government wants with him are all changed beyond recognition: In the original story, it was a post-apocalyptic future, the main character was a golden-skinned, non-sapient mutant, and the government was trying to wipe out all mutants with superhuman powers. On the other hand, the film takes place in the present, where the main character is a perfectly normal-looking, sapient human, and the government wants him to use his abilities to help them stop a nuclear threat. Reportedly, the original script was much more faithful to the source material before some drastic rewrites kicked in.
  • Andre Norton's The Beast Master series tell the story of retired veteran Hosteen Storm, an American Indian in the far future who was recruited into an elite commando force, the titular Beast Masters, which were telepathically bonded to a team of genetically enhanced animals (a horse, tiger, pair of ferrets and hawk in Storm's case) to fight an interstellar war. With Earth destroyed on the way to a costly victory, he is discharged with honors to seek his fate and sort out his life on a distant colony world. It's been adapted to other media a number of times... In a manner of speaking:
    • Three films were made, recasting him as Dar, a Mighty Whitey blond He Man knock-off with telepathically linked animal companions in a generic High Fantasy setting. While a box-office bomb, the first film was actually pretty good for what it was and received a cult following on TV.
      • Marc Singer managed to pull it off, and is largely responsible for its cult following. It's debatable whether his other cult roles, such as V, contributed to it.
    • A Sci Fi Original Series was made, seemingly through direct Popcultural Osmosis from the films.
  • Roger Zelazny's 1969 Damnation Alley was set in a post-apocalyptic Nation of California in which the aftereffects of WWIII twenty years ago have spiraled way beyond nuclear winter to bring the entire Earth to the brink of death, including continuous several hundred mile an hour winds that continually roar by about 500 feet above the ground to produce a blanket of radioactive rubble and garbage mixed with the contents of a good part of the world's oceans (which regularly results in a shower of horribly mutated sea life raining down to feed the giant abominations that dominate the land) in the sky. The story follows a Sociopathic Hero (the last living Hell's Angel) who has been forced into a lone suicidal medicine delivery mission through the inland no-man's-land to the U.S. East Coast as the result of a murder conviction.
    • This story would later be used in Escape from New York.
    • The movie was instead set in a toned down version of this two years after the fireworks, with the protagonist recast as a soldier at a missile base in the desert. After braving some drunken hillbillies and rubber cockroaches to investigate a mysterious radio signal, he and his squadmates discover a completely untouched haven and live Happily Ever After. The film was the more strongly favored of two "Sci-Fi" films being made by Fox at the time. The other film was Star Wars (1977); this one's budget was 1.54 times larger.
  • Happens all the time with comic book movies. Given that Constantine doesn't even keep the Hellblazer title out of confusion with Hellraiser, you have to wonder why they bothered.
  • The opening credits to Adaptation list it as based on Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief, to which it bears very little resemblance. But then, that was the point of the movie.
  • This was common with movie versions of Broadway musicals produced in the 1930s, 1940s, and sometimes in the 1950s:
    • The 1956 film version of Anything Goes bears next to no resemblance to the musical it's based on. Aside from five songs (sung in completely different contexts) and the fact that there's a boat (going to a different place), they may as well have called it something else and not stepped on anyone's toes.
    • The 1949 film Red, Hot and Blue shares its title with a Cole Porter musical and absolutely nothing else.
    • The 1936 movie version of Rose-Marie resembles the original musical play in score only. They share a number of songs and a few Leitmotifs, but the plots have almost nothing in common other than both having a title character trying to protect a wanted man from a determined Mountie. Between the versions, these three characters all have different names (the "Rose-Marie" of the 1936 movie is a pseudonym), and the relations between them are very different: in the musical play, the wanted man is Rose-Marie's lover, not her brother as in the movie.
    • Broadway Rhythm was nominally an adaptation of Very Warm For May; though the show had been a flop on Broadway, its writers, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, were hired to write Movie Bonus Songs. However, the film producers ended up throwing out almost everything from Very Warm For May aside from its Breakaway Pop Hit, "All The Things You Are."
    • The 1952 film version of The Belle of New York replaced all the songs, and most of the plot as well. However, the original musical dates back to 1897 and has not lasted well in popularity.
  • Both film versions of Planet of the Apes share nothing in common with the novel that inspired them except the existence of a planet ruled by intelligent apes with humans as savage animals. Both movies... well, ape the Twist Ending of the novel the narrator returns to Earth after his voyage only to find that it too has been dominated by intelligent apes, though in significantly different ways.
    • Oddly, the third movie in the series, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, is similar to that of the original novel (loosely), but with the roles of humans and apes reversed.
  • The Natalie Wood romantic comedy Sex and the Single Girl, though it references the original Helen Gurley Brown bestseller and its author, has nothing to do with the original, which was a self-help book.
    • Woody Allen performed a similar "adaptation" on the advice book Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask).
    • And somehow the book Please Don't Eat The Daisies, which was a collection of essays and articles, became a feature film starring Doris Day and David Niven.
    • Rebel Without a Cause was named after a book by a psychiatrist. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with it.
    • Both Fast Food Nation and He's Just Not That Into You were based on (successful) non-fiction books as well, but both have little in common with them other than being about fast food and relationships, respectively.
    • Yet another example of a (nominally) nonfiction book somehow turned into a movie: The Men Who Stare at Goats.
    • Still yet another example: Mean Girls is based on the self-help book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" by Rosalind Wiseman
  • There is the 1990 film, Troll 2, which is not related to the 1986 B-movie Troll. Also, there are no trolls in this film (just goblins), nor is the word "troll" spoken once throughout the movie.
    • Troll 2 was followed by a further in-name-only sequel, Crawlers: Troll 3. This one didn't have trolls or goblins, instead featuring the oh-so-terrifying menace of killer tree roots.
    • Another movie claims the title of Troll 3, a sword-and sorcery film, Troll 3: The Sword of Power (AKA Quest For The Mighty Sword), both of which were directed by Joe D'Amato. The latter film DOES feature one of the goblin costumes from Troll 2.
      • Four Troll movies, all of them having nothing to do with each other. What are the odds?
      • It's notable that only Troll 2 was made by the rights holders of the original, making it the only "official" sequel. Doesn't make it any better, though.
      • And there's another sequel in the works. The title? Troll 2: Part 2.
  • The 2003 film The Italian Job (2003 film) was fairly good, but any similarities to the 1969 film are closer to homages than anything else.
  • The classic Ray Bradbury short story, A Sound of Thunder and the film of the same title both involve time travelers accidentally altering the past while hunting a dinosaur—and that's literally it. The movie even kills the concept on which the book was based in the first five minutes. That's like Marty getting run over by a semi before he can hit 88 MPH in the first Back to The Future.
    • The best part is how, in the original story, the possible effects of the altered past are built up to be unspeakably disastrous during the course of the story. When the Time Safari does get back, however, everything is basically the same... and then they notice the wonky spelling... The story's ending was apparently too subtle for Hollywood, so we got a city overgrown with jungle (it doesn't even make sense in context) and crawling with killer baboon-things and sewer sharks. Oh, and there's also something about a catfish-man. Of course.
    • The worst part is the movie can't even keep it's own mythology straight. In the book, it was simple - changing something in the past changed the future. In the movie, changing the past causes time to change in six "waves", and the protagonists remember everything that happened before the change. At the end, when the timeline is set right, the changes happen instantly and nobody remembers what happened.
  • The only thing the Cheaper By the Dozen movies have to do with the original Cheaper By the Dozen novels is that they are both about a family with twelve children.
    • The book is actually about the world's first efficiency expert and how he raises his twelve children, while the movie is about a husband trying to raise twelve kids while his wife is away on a business trip.
  • Wanted takes out 90% of the original background (no supervillains, no parallel-dimension robbing), and replaces it with a society of assassins who kill people to save the world. It's not bad, but the changes weren't particularly wanted either.
    • 90% is a remarkably low estimate, as really, only 4 things that were kept the same: 1) His girlfriend is a cheating whore who does his "best" friend on an IKEA table he bought, 2) He kills people (With an entirely different motivation and degree of competence from the comics), 3) There's a "love" interest that plays a role (Though a completely different one), 4) His father has some significance for his life (See point 3). Given that 2-4 are so common you can expect at least 2 of them in just about any movie of almost all genres, and point 1 isn't even used for much of an effect in the movie. That this results in a story that is only slightly less ridiculous than the comics while being far less over the top to compensate (Though still acceptable popcorn cinema) AND losing all of the message the original author intended is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask.
    • Author Mark Millar had no problem with the changes and liked the film, though.
  • Aside from a few throwaway lines and other minor elements—some of which don't actually match the game versions anyway (e.g. the beholders) -- |Dungeons and Dragons is nothing more than a generic (and not very good) fantasy movie with a famous brand name attached to it.
    • The second, SyFy Channel Original Movie, however, sticks much closer to the original game content, right down to mentioning established gods, demons, spells, monsters, and even having Gary Gygax involved.
  • Max Payne keeps the general concept of the games intact (rogue cop out for revenge) while making the story significantly less complicated (no specific frame job, and line between Max and his ultimate goal is much straighter). This isn't a bad thing, but it also calls into question the relationship of the movie to the game - the drug, the protagonist, and his target are all that remain.
    • It also has the pseudo-supernatural feel of the first game.
    • His final target is also different. While Nicole Horne is the game's Big Bad, in the film, her involvement is mentioned in a single conversation, and she is not Max's primary target. The film's Big Bad is, actually, the game's minor boss.
    • Mona Sax also doesn't have a twin sister named Lisa. Instead, she has a sister named Natasha. Oh, and they're Russian, for some reason. By the way, both actresses are Ukrainian.
  • Similarly to the page image, IGN once announced on April Fool's Day a Metroid movie... directed by Uwe Boll... produced by Troma... and set on Earth, with a plot similar to Half-Life.
  • Doctor Dolittle, with Eddie Murphy, is named after a literary character named Doctor Dolittle who talks to animals—but beyond talking to animals itself, the two productions have essentially nothing in common with each other. The book is set in Britain sometime in the past, the movie is set in the USA of today. The main character got a Race Lift. And that's just the beginning.
  • The Nostalgia Chick, in her Bratz review, admits that it's only really about the toy line In Name Only. But then again, considering the source material was just about implied attitudes (How the dolls they were based off of really were was up to the person who was playing with them) and what kind of setting they existed in other than Generic High... well, let's just say they really didn't have much to go on.
  • The "remake" of Day of the Dead is nothing like the original except for being a zombie movie. Except for the setting, the monsters, the downbeat ending and the dying hero turning plot.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button only takes the basic premise and title from the F. Scott Fitzgerald story that it is based on. While the former is a good Magic Realism drama by itself, the latter is mostly a comic farce.
  • I Am Legend: The original ending would've given it some connection with the book it was apparently based on, but that was changed too... now the only thing they have in common is a disease that turns people into monsters. And even then they didn't get it quite right. In the new movie it's a virus, but in the old book, it was a type of bacteria. Also, a Caucasian-to-minority Race Lift for the main character, Robert Neville.
    • Of course, I Am Legend isn't The Film of the Book so much as a remake of The Omega Man, which is itself an In Name Only adaptation of the book I Am Legend... Except for the name, of course.
  • Quite a few supposedly "based on a true story" movies fit this trope -- The Exorcism of Emily Rose springs to mind. I'd include The Amityville Horror, but the "true" events of that one were something of a hoax anyway.
  • The sequel to The Blair Witch Project, Book Of Shadows, is actually about some dorks, inspired by the previous (and acknowledged as fictional) film, trying to find the witch for themselves. Mind Screwiness, naked breasts, and random owl "symbolism".
  • The Underdog Movie
  • The Russian Urban Fantasy movie based on the book Night Watch, itself titled Night Watch, was faithful to the book, except for the depth of the story, the ending and the fact that in the book Anton and Yegor are unrelated and Anton never went to that old witch. But the book is divided in three stories, and only the first was made into the movie Night Watch. The second movie, Day Watch was completely unrelated to the book of the same name: it was a completely new story with the beginning taken from the second story of the book Night Watch and some elements from the third one (namely, the magic chalk).
    • It should be noted that Sergey Lukyanenko, the author of the novels, was involved with writing the script. The extent of his involvement is a different question. In the book Final Watch, released after the first film, he makes a passing reference to the film as a dream one character has.
  • Hitchcock's suspense classic The Birds was inspired by a Daphne du Maurier short story of the same name. The only thing they have in common is that there are birds and they attack people.
    • The same could be said for many of Hitchcock's films and is, in a way, what makes them appealing. Hitchcock distills story down to its most basic visual elements.
  • Classic Humphrey Bogart film noir In a Lonely Place shares it's title and the character's names with Dorothy B Hughes' novel, and absolutely nothing else. One can see Dix Steele's (successful) attempt to adapt a trashy novel into a screenplay as a metaphor for adapting Hughes' book into a film,
  • Halloween III Season of the Witch abandoned the Michael Myers storyline in favor of one involving an insane Irish toymaker and his army of evil killer robots trying to take over the world (or something) using Stonehenge and rigged Halloween masks that make the wearers' head explode into a writhing mound of insects and snakes if they watch a certain commercial. It bombed horribly and the idea of turning Halloween into an anthology series was dropped, with Michael coming back in the next installment.
    • It's notable that the anthology part was the original concept, it's just that the Michael Myers part ended up lasting two movies.
    • The only reason that Halloween was not turned into a series of unrelated events was because the third film did badly. The Myers story was told completely within the first two films, then they moved on. It was intended to be like a big-screen, adult Goosebumps, with a new story every year. But people responded to Myers' films better than they did to Season of the Witch, so the film makers decided that Myers should return. At one point, they also intended on having Jamie become the antagonist, but dropped it.
  • The fourth and fifth entries in the Silent Night Deadly Night are unrelated to the previous three movies, which features an Ax Crazy family of Santa imposters. The fourth film is almost unrelated to Christmas and involves some kind of ancient Egyptian witch cult and the fifth has evil toys connected to an enigmatic toymaker by the name of Joe Petto. The films have homages to the original three though, with scenes of them being briefly shown on televisions and the villains dressing up as Santa at least once.
  • The second Prom Night has no connection to the first outside the setting. Likewise, the fourth is unconnected to the previous three outside a brief appearance by Hamilton High. The remake is similar to the original in only the most basic sense, having a different story all together. Some even consider it to be a completely independent film.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer was based on a book from the 1970s. The film and the book have almost nothing in common, besides the vaguely similar plot and some character names. Lois Duncan, the writer of the book, was apparently pretty unhappy about this.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas has nothing whatsoever to do with the stories about Sinbad the Sailor other than featuring a character named Sinbad who happens to be a sailor. Further, it removes "Sinbad" from the original story's Arabian Nights background and places him in a completely Greek setting. (This being 2003, the producers might have felt that it was Too Soon after 9/11 for an Arab hero.)
  • The third movie in The Neverending Story series shares no plot at all with the book. The only element from the book it uses that wasn't in the first two movies is the Old Man of Wandering Mountain - and in a very different context.
    • Not only does it share no plot, the third movie rips out and destroys the entire philosophical significance of the book and first two movies. The rules of the world of Fantasien (a.k.a. Fantasia, or Fantastica) are essential, they cause the story to exist and to move forward. The third movie blatantly ignored these rules, having torn out the whole heart of the story, to make it just another kids movie. It cannot truly be called The Neverending Story.
      • As the Old Man of Wandering Mountain chronicles the story that is Fantasien, and the Childlike Empress is the collective imagination which allows the land she rules to exist, the two are never supposed to meet. The situation is akin to a mirror looking in a mirror, and can cause the end of the universe.
      • A person is only allowed to meet the Childlike Empress once, at least, until her name is changed again, and Bastian had already met her.[1]
      • AURYN can only exist in Fantasia, as its power is Fantasien, the world of human fantasy. A person cannot make things from their imagination magically appear in the human world.
      • The Fantasians are not supposed to enter the human world, due to the fact that they are then no longer part of the imagination, but become lies. That was part of the problem with the Nothing - the things it ate up were sent off to the human world, which destroyed both Fantasia and the human world.
  • The movie version of Ella Enchanted had almost nothing in common with the actual book other than character names and the curse on the main character.
    • Can you say, Disneyfication?
      • But the book was written for kids anyway. It's not like the book was excessively violent or anything, In fact, the movie is probably more violent than the book. The movie wasn't actually bad though, it's just strange that they'd deviate so much from the original when the original was intended for the same audience.
  • Pedro Almovadar's movie Live Flesh was supposedly based on a novel of the same name by Ruth Rendell. Both featured a policeman crippled by a shot from a criminal who, when released from prison has an affair with the policeman's partner... and that's it.
  • Death Sentence the film has a different story, focused on a Papa Wolf Vigilante Man going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, as opposed to the original novel, which was a sequel to the Death Wish novel. Author Brian Garfield has stated that despite the differences, the film still did get the novel's point across.
    • Garfield actually insisted on the changes. Due to his hatred of the sequels to the film version of Death Wish, he would not sell the film rights to Death Sentence unless the main character was not Paul Kersey and the adaptation didn't follow the film series. This in turn led to a long development hell period for the project.
  • For that matter, Death Wish; the film's supposed glorification of vigilantism goes against the intended message of the novel.
  • Shrek and all its sequels, though it is entirely justified - the William Steig novelty children's story that inspired the series would barely have stretched to a five minute short.
  • The Kevin Costner movie of David Brin's very fine novel The Postman is barely recognizable (starting with the fact the movie is not so 'very fine'). The scene where the main character discovers the postman's uniform is pretty much the only scene from the book to make it into the movie. Otherwise the main character and his motivation is completely different (in the book he's much less of an obvious white-hat), the love interest is completely different, the villain is completely different (in the book being a genetically-enhanced warrior, in the movie just a weird guy with a beard), there is a second 'hero' who doesn't appear at all in the movie and there is an interesting subplot about a super-powerful AI that is guiding a remote village of survivors back to civilization that isn't even mentioned in the film. The author is quite aware of the necessary changes for a movie adaption and is rather pleased with the result.
  • Men in Black: The first five minutes of the first movie is a faithful reproduction of the first few pages of the first issue of the comic. After that, they have almost nothing in common.
  • There's a movie called Watcher in the Woods and there's a book called Watcher in the Woods. The claim has been made that one was based on the other...
  • The Dreamworks Animation adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon. While some character names are the same, the plot and setting is otherwise completely different. (An article linked to on The Other Wiki said the new directors found the original story too "sweet and whimsical") The original author approved of the changes, it got stellar reviews and did very well commercially, though, so who's counting?
  • The 1939 film version of The Women is very faithful to Clare Boothe's play. The 2008 remake is basically Sex and the City with a different cast and no visible men.
  • The film of The Borrowers shares at least a few characters (even, sort of, down to their personalities) with the books, but the plot has nothing whatsoever to do with any of the books, and even the relationships between the characters were changed (a cousin became a brother).
  • The Alone in the Dark video game series is a rather atmospheric experience, usually residing within the territory of Survival Horror, but Alone in The Dark is just a hardcore action flick with a few horror elements stolen from various sources, with almost no story elements from the games.
    • When Uwe Boll was handed a working script, his first comment was "There weren't enough car chases."
  • I Spy. Has none of the wit or coolness of the original. In fact, the director begged the studio not to use that as the title for the movie, but Executive Meddling won the day.
  • The movie version of How To Eat Fried Worms has nothing in common with the book other than that the main characters gets stuck in a bet that involves having to consume earthworms. And even then, the film still gets it wrong by saying he has to eat ten worms in one day, when in the book, he had to eat one worm a day for 15 days.
  • The Earthsea Trilogy movie had very little in common with the books except the names, and sometimes it didn't even get the names right.
    • And given that it's Earthsea, where knowing the correct names for things is the root of magical power, that's kind of horrible.
  • As definitive proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, David Cronenberg's version of The Fly has very little, apart from the basic premise, in common with the campy 50s movie with Vincent Price and even less to do with the original French science fiction story. It is still widely considered to be better than either of them. By some people.
  • If Kevin Smith is to be believed, Jon Peters' Superman Lives, a movie that was never made, would have had Superman's iconic outfit be replaced by an all black one, Superman wouldn't fly, and he'd fight a Giant Spider, it would have also given Lex a pet named "Chewie", as well as making Brainiac fight polar bears. This is true folks. Fortunately, Kevin Smith tried to make a script that worked the changes in while still throwing in the traditional Superman feel, but Superman Lives was never made to this day.
  • The Resident Evil movies got the look of the games down for the most part. Too bad they threw out the plot, characterization, atmosphere, and everything else that makes the games so enjoyable. The movies should have been called "The Amazing Alice's Kung-Fu Adventures in Zombie Apocalypse MatrixLand." It would have made much more sense as a title and pissed off far fewer Resident Evil fans.
    • Which is such a shame, as the first few minutes of the film really capture the 'feel' of Resident Evil, only to have it immediately thrown away to move out of the mansion and onto the technological underground bunker.
  • The first The Princess Diaries film took the basic plotline of the books and the character names and did its own thing, probably because they got Julie Andrews to play the grandmother, but the sequel basically did its own thing entirely. The fact that Mia's mother married Mia's teacher and had a baby is the only thing the sequel took from the book series.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The Alan Moore comic won't remind you of the film, and vice versa.
  • A Cry in the Wild is an adaptation of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, but the sequel, White Wolves: A Cry in the Wild II has no relation to the series other than having the same director.
  • Kemper: The Co-ed Killer has almost nothing to do with the killer it claims to be based on.
    • A few other biopics of serial killers and other infamous criminals also count, especially any created by Ulli Lommel.
  • Jonah Hex bears very little resemblance to the comic book, save for the scarred protagonist. The filmmakers added an inexplicable super power to temporarily resurrect the dead, which served no purpose, as he just uses this ability to pump the dead for information, something the hardcore western Hex of the comic would have accomplished simply by shooting the living in the kneecap.
  • The film The Hustler is a reasonably close adaptation of the book of that name. They each have a sequel called The Color of Money in which Fast Eddie is struggling to make a comeback against the new young pool players, but their storylines have nothing else in common.
  • To Have and Have Not, the film, has very little to do with To Have and Have Not, the Ernest Hemingway novel. This may have something to do with the fact that the director, though a Hemingway admirer in general, hated the book.
  • The 1934 movie The Black Cat starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi has nothing to do with the Edgar Allan Poe story of that title.
  • Virtually every movie with Poe's name in the publicity has little or nothing to do with the author. Roger Corman took this to an extreme when he made The Haunted Palace; it's actually based on HP Lovecraft, but Corman thought Poe's name was more famous and thus would put more seats in seats. Today he'd probably do the opposite....
  • Priest is a rather unique and strikingly drawn manwha combining Religious Horror, Zombie Apocalypse and The Western, as Badass Preacher Ivan Isaacs treks across the American frontier battling a band of rebel angels. The movie...is about a bunch of priests fighting vampires in the far future. About the only thing the two have in common is a main character with a cross on his forehead. The only people who are happy about this are the ones who've never read the comic.
    • The director made this change as he didn't want people saying that he was copying his previous film Legion.
  • Conan the Barbarian scarcely bears any relation to the books (and comics), besides some few elements like names and most notably Mako's narration at the start. Conan's character is fundamentally altered since he now grows up in slavery, becoming what he is all due to others (e.g. devoting his life to revenge against the warlord who left him an orphan, being educated in the arts and in swordsmanship by Eastern masters). The Conan of the books was always master of his own fate, Walking the Earth because he felt like it and absorbing knowledge as he went.
  • The film Pathfinder is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name. Other than having a Scandinavian main character and the same title, they are completely different films (the title even became Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior when Fox realized this).
  • The film Jumper shares the title, the fact that the main character can jump, and two names with the book. The book is a character study with a science fiction twist, the movie is a science fiction action flick.
    • The author of the original book tries to remedy this with the third book in the Jumper series, "Griffin's Story," which is slightly closer to the movie than the first book in the series "Jumper"
  • Jumanji was vastly different than the book. Of course, the book, by Chris Van Allsburg, was a children's picture book and so would've made a movie that lasted around 4 minutes. But the whole plot of the movie revolving around Robin Williams' character and his love interest was made just for the movie.
  • Apparently City of Angels is a Foreign Remake of Der Himmel Über Berlin (Wings of Desire), but aside of the central premise (angel longs to live a human life) there's nothing left.
  • Masters of the Universe, which was shot as a tribute to Jack Kirby's Fourth World.
  • Invoked Trope in film in Jurassic Park by Ian Malcolm: "At some point, we will see some dinosaurs on this dinosaur tour, right?"
    • Jurassic Park itself counts more as a Pragmatic Adaptation (and a fine one at that). It condenses a few characters, cuts down on the chaos-theory technobabble (though that was arguably the entire point of the book), and is all in all a well-liked film. The sequel, The Lost World, on the other hand bears very little resemblance to the book. Which is odd, since Michael Crichton specifically wrote the second book to closer resemble the first movie (revealing that Malcolm actually survived for instance).
  • Wild Wild West. The original show was a merging of the Western with the Spy Drama. It didn't really have much Steampunk elements, just some technology that would have been high-tech for the time period. The movie ran with Steampunk and the specific James Bond-style "save the world" spy escapades. The show didn't have anything like the Spider Tank or the magnetic collars, which makes it a very stark contrast going between the two.
    • According to Cracked, the premise of the Wild Wild West movie is based on a Batman the Animated Series episode that originally starred the above-mentioned Jonah Hex. It isn't exactly known how it became a Wild Wild West story.
    • The above clip linked about Kevin Smith working on the unreleased Superman movie has him mentioning that the same guy that wanted all the weird changes worked on the script for Wild Wild West, and he got the giant spider he was so adamant about.
  • The play Stage Door by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber had so little in common with the movie nominally adapted from it that Kaufman joked that the movie might as well have changed its title to Screen Door. The movie's vast changes in characterization, plot and dialogue (barely any of the play's lines were retained) were arguably for the better.
  • The 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park. They didn't like the book, so they converted the Extreme Doormat protagonist to a Deadpan Snarker Plucky Girl, peppered with some "subtle" hints on slavery, and crowned the whole with a dose of Les Yay.
  • The movie adaptation of Andzej Sapkowski's Witcher books had little if any resemblance to the source material and many fans have decided to simply deny its existence. The later video games are much more faithful.
  • The film Saint Sinner had nothing to do with the Clive Barker comic book series.
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll fans' general reaction to it is "Off with his head". Just go onto the "Movies" subforum of Lenny's Alice in Wonderland site if you need proof. The only way it resembles the books is that it has a girl called Alice in it...and some characters who are only vaguely like the ones she encountered in the books...and that's about it.
  • Doom has very little in common with the game series it is supposedly based on other than the title. Both the games and the movie feature humans on Mars trying to repel a sudden outbreak of horrific monsters whose origins are initially unknown. The name of the Evil Corporation responsible for the outbreak is the same, but that's where the similarities end. When the origin of the monsters is eventually revealed, it is completely different than the games, being more akin to another video game series featuring similar monsters.
    • Even the monsters themselves (at least, the three types of them that actually appear in the movie) qualify for this trope. Though they do vaguely resemble their counterparts from the games as far as their physical appearances are concerned, the behaviour they display is noticeably different and they possess none of the signature abilities that their game counterparts have.
    • AFAIK the original script was closer to the game, Doom 3 at least, but the idea of opening a gateway to Hell was not considered acceptable for a mainstream film, so it was hastily retconned to be genetic engineering gone wrong.
  • The 2005 movie adaptation of |The War of the Worlds features Earth being attacked by hostile aliens in three-legged "tripod" machines. After all the human military's attempted counterattacks are ineffective, the aliens are ultimately defeated by illness due to their immune systems not being able to cope with Earth's bacteria. Beyond that, it has nothing in common with H. G. Wells's |original novel. Most notably, the movie is set in the United States in the early 21st century instead of the novel's late 19th century England and the aliens are never stated to be Martians in the movie as they are in the novel.
  • There have been many modern day film adaptations of Shakespeare plays which may or may not retain the original play's title. These films typically follow roughly the same plot as the original play, but have next to nothing in common with it beyond that. They are usually set in the modern day United States as opposed to England during Shakespeare's time period and most of the characters have completely different names.
  • The sequel to Pure Country shares literally no characters or actors with the first film.
  • The upcoming movie adaptation of World War Z is shaping up to be an example of this.
  • The Saint: Val Kilmer plays a character with the same name as the classic character created by Leslie Charteris, but Kilmer's character is an angsty,semi-OCD, nonentity. And That's Terrible.
    • The character is specifically said to have been inspired by Charteris's stories, which are Recursive Canon within the movie.
  • Wild Geese II features no actors (or even characters!) from the original, and also is in a different genre.
  • Neil Gaiman used to tell a story about receiving a prospective script for a Sandman movie. Near the beginning, he read a scene in which the title character is attacked by soldiers while declaring "Puny humans! Your weapons have no effect on Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams!" Gaiman then put the script down and refused to read another word.
  • In Argentina, there's a pornographic film called Pollémon, leading one to believe that it's a Pokémon porno spoof. The film's cover even advertises, "Vive las fascinantes aventuras de Pollachu!" ("Live the fascinating adventures of Pollachu!") If you were expecting to see someone in a poorly-designed Pikachu costume, Team Rocket, or anything else having to do with Pokémon, well... let's just say you'll be PRETTY disappointed.
  • Neither the 1993 nor the 2011 versions of The Three Musketeers were at all like the book. In particular, the 2011 film had a zeppelin in 1630s France.
  • The live-action film version of Aeon Flux had nothing in common with the TV series except for three character names, a couple of prop designs, and that it involved an Action Girl. The creator of the TV show has been complaining ever since.
    • Interestingly, the video game is actually a wonderfully faithful adaptation of the cartoon, despite being produced as a tie-in for the movie.
  • X Men First Class has nothing to do with the comic book of the same name and features entirely different origins for many of the characters. Despite this, the movie was very well-received by critics and was a hit at the box office. In this case, the extreme liberties taken with the source material arguably made for a more successful film.
  • Peter Benchley's Creature is almost completely different from the book its based on. Several characters have the same names from the book, but there is no guarantee that they will have the same personality, Race Lift, or role. It has a completely different setting and backstory. Even the titular creature is completely different (the only similarities they have are that they are humanoid amphibious creatures, but one is a scientifically modified human with steal claws and teeth and one is a genetically engineered shark with human DNA.) While some scenes from the book survived for the adaptation (often heavily edited), they are spliced in all over the place and interspersed with completely made up subplots. To top it all off, it really doesn't even share the name. The original novel was called White Shark, but was renamed for The Movie. The original novel was retroactively renamed Peter Benchley's Creature. Although, that said, it wasn't really that bad of a movie....
  • The film version of Steel cuts all Superman references apart from the title character wearing a Superman tattoo...which is unintentional, since Shaquille O'Neal, who plays the title character, already had it.
  • The 1960 film of Pollyanna has the title character, the Glad Game, something of the setup, and a few character names/traits in common with the book. The plot, much of the characterization, and some of the side plots are entirely different.
  • The comic book The Spirit is about a Badass Normal with no powers, who is a Celibate Hero that gets nervous around women and wears an ugly, off the rack blue and white suit. The Spirit is about a revived dead guy with a Healing Factor, who is a Handsome Lech in a stylish, tailored, black-on-black suit.
    • And his enemy, the Octopus, is an intimidating and powerful gangster obsessed with not letting anyone see his face. In the film, he's a lower-tier scientist with ambitions of godhood who is incredibly vain and showoffy about his good looks. It's like they were trying to do the exact opposite of the comics.
      • The irony? Will Eisner gave the rights to Michael Uslan, the producer, on the understanding that Uslan wouldn't give the project to anyone who 'Didn't get it'. There were further ironies in the fact that Frank Miller was a big fan of Eisner, one of Eisner's friends, and showed himself to be capable of understanding the concept of The Spirit as indicated by his Daredevil work.
  • Hype Williams, a hip hop video director, took a shot at directing a movie in 1998. The result was Belly. Now it may not have won any oscars due to a mediocre plot, but the film became a cult classic with it's distinctive narrative and visual style that Williams videos were known for. Eight years later, Millionaire Boyz Club was finished and ready to be released straight to DVD. This movie has no connection to Belly whatsoever. For reasons unknown to even the actors, the film was released as Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club. The original film featured heavy Music Video Syndrome (specifically videos Hype Williams directed), narration from the main character, themes of self destruction, knowledge of self, redemption, salvation, albeit done very sloppy in terms of writing, and dropped many anvils towards the end. This "sequel" had a completely different cast and director, none of the themes of the first film, and lacked the visual style and narrative that the first film was known for.
    • The title change may also have suffered from Comically Missing the Point. The title "Belly" was meant to mean "Belly of the Beast". The "Beast" supposedly meaning the evil of men, or in this case the evils of the ghetto (drugs, alcohol, violence, etc). The second film however was a cookie cutter "gangsta' flick" that glorified every tired cliche used in 'hood movies.
      • Ironically enough, a true sequel titled "Beast" was supposed to be released around the same time as Millionaire Boyz Club, and was meant to follow up on the two main characters since the last film. This was either scrapped or put on the shelf. The main cause was of course the many legal troubles of one of it's main actors, DMX.
  • Other than being about twenty-somethings entering a program to go undercover in a high school, does Twenty One Jump Street have anything to do with the show of the same name? It might has well been called Never Been Kissed Goes Undercover.
  • Scroll down to number four in this list. Yes, that's right, Twilight would've been an In Name Only (and a pretty damn epic one, too) adaptation of the books if it weren't for Executive Meddling.
  • The Korean film Hansel and Gretel borrows some concepts from the original tale but overall it's a completely different story.
  • The film version of Kuroshitsuji takes from the original manga half of a premise and some general concepts. The main character is turned into a girl, and the location is changed from Victorian England to near-future Asia. It goes on.
    • The movie also paraphrases some of the most dramatic lines from the manga, but freely changes the situation, delivery, and even the deliverer, so that every time this occurs, the effect is decidedly different from how it was in the original. For example, some lines that were said by a characteter who had just been turned temporarily Laughing Mad by a dramatic revelation are in the film said calmly at home in response to nothing in particular. Things like that.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Inverted in Game of Thrones with Jon Snow. While he doesn't share the Stark name since he is a bastard his siblings treat him as a Stark as well as his father.
  • Super Sentai in Korea a is named as Power Rangers instead of the Super Sentai names of the series that air there.
  • In-Universe: In one episode of Murder, She Wrote, some film execs buy the rights to one of Jessica's novels merely so they can use its title for a crappy slasher film.
  • The series Poltergeist: The Legacy shares nothing in common with its namesake, the |Poltergeist films.
  • Mad TV bore no resemblance at all to the magazine that is its namesake. For the first few seasons, there were Spy vs Spy cartoons in every episode, but even those were eventually removed.
  • Japanese Spider-Man: He looked like Spider-Man and had the same powers, but he was more a tokusatsu superhero (in fact being the' predecessor for Super Sentais Humongous Mecha elements) than a comic book superhero. He had a wrist-worm transformation device (although it merely stored the Spider-Man suit in this case), a Spider car (technically the comic had one too, but it was totally different and short lived), his webshooters were voice activated (he would shout Spider String!) and last but not least, he had a Humongous Mecha. Yeah. Imagine Peter "constantly strapped for cash" Parker being able to to buy, repair, refuel and run general maintenance on a robot the size of a skyscraper.
    • Never the less, Stan Lee was actually involved in the production, and has said several times that he thought the series was excellent, even praising its creativity (and thus its deviance from the character he created). There's an interview with him on the Japanese DVD box set.
      • Apparently, Stan Lee is not too familiar with Japanese media. While the battle mechas would be seen as creative at the time, seeing how Spider-Man was the first too do that, everything else, from the transformation device to most of the plot, seems to be copied straight from Himitsu Sentai Goranger and JAKQ Dengekitai, two show which were already released at the time.
    • This was likely Lee's first exposure to Japanese Tokusastu as Marvel would later produce Battle Fever J and Lee would later attempt to unsuccessfully bring Super Sentai to America
  • Slightly averted case: In the 1980s, an American production company approached John Cleese with the intention of remaking Fawlty Towers for an American audience. When he asked them about it, they told him they'd only made one slight change from the original; they'd removed the character of Basil Fawlty. They end up making it, without the Basil Fawlty character, but changed the name right before air. It was called Amanda's and it starred Bea Arthur.
  • Friday the 13th: The Series was unrelated to the film series, and despite common rumor there were never any plans to have Jason appear on the show or feature his mask as one of the artifacts. The films get a small Shout-Out in the episode "Crippled Inside" though, where the song the rocker chick from Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan plays on her guitar can be heard on the radio.
  • The 2001 revival of Card Sharks had contestants predict whether cards were higher or lower than each other... but other than that? Where were the survey questions? The second player's row of cards? And what the hell are Clip Chips?!!? It quickly got the Fan Nickname of "CaSINO", an acronym for "Card Sharks In Name Only".
  • The Electric Company: Its 2009 "revival" has almost nothing in common with its predecessor but its name! Bad enough they threw in a "they fight crime with superpowers" motif, that has little, if anything to do with phonics, but they even ruined the softshoe silhouettes. Why even bother calling it The Electric Company?
  • As the series went on Robin Hood kept moving further and further away from its source material. By the time Tuck shows up (black, fit, not a Friar and pontificating on the "idea of Robin Hood" instead of spiritual matters) and Robin Hood is paired up with a whiny village girl called Kate instead of Maid Marian, you begin to wonder what the point was.
  • Merlin: Take everything you thought you knew about Arthurian Legend and throw it out the window. Arthur is a Prince right from the start, there's a dragon under the castle, Merlin is Arthur's servant who is around his age rather than much older, magic is outlawed, Morgana is not a villain, Gwen is dark-skinned... Then again, the Arthurian Mythos has been doing this with every iteration of King Arthur since before the written word, so it's tradition.
    • As of series 3, Morgana is, in fact, a villain - and, to be fair about that, the seeds of her Face Heel Turn were planted with the introduction of Mordred in series 1.
    • For further deviations from previous versions, however, a number of the named Knights of the Round Table are killed off over the course of the series, well before the Round Table is formed. (EG: Owain and Pellinore at the hands of the Black Knight.)
  • Legend of the Seeker, while not technically bearing the same name as The Sword of Truth, is very much in the spirit of this Trope. The series is "based" on the first book, Wizard's First Rule, but past the first half of the pilot episode, you can basically take everything you remember from the book and just stop expecting any of it to match. There are a ton of characters that share the same names but have completely different appearances, attitudes and role, and while there are a few episodes that are closer to chapters in the book than others, overall most fans of the book who watch it would be sorely disappointed. Anyone who hasn't read the book or just doesn't care about the changes might enjoy it, though... if they could get past the campy fantasy stereotypes.
    • Given that the first book's Big Bad is killed (rather anticlimactically and not by the protagonist) at the end of the first season, and the Zedd reveals the second wizard's rule at the beginning of the second season, it can be assumed that the show's creators hoped to have a book-per-season sort of deal. This leaves the viewers (even those who haven't read the books) wanting, when each season is quickly wrapped up in a single episode. Oh, and Rahl gets better in the second season.
    • Some of the changes were simply pragmatic. For example, the likeliest reason why Darken Rahl is Richard's brother instead of father is that Craig Parker (Rahl) is not much older than Craig Horner (Richard).
    • Some of the differences from the book, at least, received some nods in the show, such as one of the biggest complaints by the fans of the books that Rahl doesn't have white hair in the show. The flashbacks in season 2 reveal that Panis Rahl, his father, had white hair.
  • The ITV/AMC remake of The Prisoner bears only the faintest resemblance to the original—it occurs in a place called The Village, the hero is called Number Six and the villain is called Number Two, and that's about it. The underlying premise is almost totally different.
    • Given how unique the original version was, making an In Name Only version with some of the same inspirations and preoccupations was truer to the original spirit than a slavish remake would have been. Unfortunately, it wasn't awesome enough to deserve to carry the name.
  • The 2010 Human Target TV show shares the title and the name of the main character. That's about it. Just like in the title sample, you get the feeling that they had a bodyguard show lying around waiting for a name.
  • In the early nineties, a fifty-ish Terrence Hill starred in the Italian movie and following TV-series Lucky Luke, about a gunfighter in The Wild West with a Badass Longcoat, dressed entirely in white, who took up a job as sheriff in Daisy Town. The whole thing looked as if someone had read the back-cover of a Lucky Luke comic and based everything around that.
  • In 2011, NBC made a pilot for a Wonder Woman TV series. Their version of Wondy is a vigilante who commits assault, battery, slander, Cold-Blooded Torture, and dozens of other crimes all in the name of doing "what's right"—all while telling the authorities (including the police and the US government) to smooch her backside. Also, her civilian identity admits that she's Wonder Woman while being the head of a corporation that sells Wonder Woman merchandise (her costume was specifically designed to sell toys), even getting into an argument over how big the boobs are on her action figure in one scene. In short, the character is more like the worst parts of Batman and Iron Man rolled into one and has absolutely nothing to do with William Moulton Marston's character.
  • The New Monkees, It's a musical/comedy starring a band, made up of four cute boys selected by the shows' creators; the similarities to the classic series end there.
  • The live-action version of Spanish children's books Manolito Gafotas. The eponymous Kid Hero was Demoted to Extra, his popular little brother even more so, and much of the plot centered on his parents and neighbours, most of which were bit players on the novels. In particular, Manolito's dad and his godfather became Ascended Extras, getting even more role than Manolito himself at times. Oh, and the plots of the novels were all but ignored. In short, it was basically a generic Spanish Sitcom with the names of the Manolito Gafotas cast.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Guns N' Roses. Actually, they have been In Name Only since 1985, two months after LA Guns and Hollywood Rose merged, when Axl Rose fired all the former LA Guns members (making the name of the band confusing) and replaced them with Slash, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler. And now it is that band In Name Only, because, except for Face of the Band Rose, everyone in that lineup left the band by 1997; and besides, the band's style shifted more toward industrial metal than plain old hard rock.
  • Pretty much any instrumental mix of a song which remains credited to the original singer, even when that person had no artistic input beyond their singing in the first place (which, of course, no longer appears!) Examples might include this vocal-less mix of Kylie Minogue's early hit "I Should Be So Lucky" (back when she was still a puppet of the Stock Aitken Waterman "hit factory"); she neither wrote, nor apparently appears on this mix of the song, but it's still credited to her(!)
  • Underworld's "Born Slippy" and "Born Slippy.NUXX" are two completely different songs. The latter became much more popular, due to being featured in the film Trainspotting.
  • All remixes of The Vengaboys - Kiss (When The Sun Don't Shine), the best known of which is the Airscape remix.
  • Alice Deejay - The Lonely One (Airscape remix). The only connection is that Airscape also co-produced the original version.
  • The "Inferno Mix" of Xorcist's "Scorched Blood" sounds nothing like the original.
  • Cygnus X's remix of The Art of Trance - Madagascar, which is the basis for most subsequent remixes, uses almost no material from the original version.
  • Most Velvet Underground fans consider Squeeze to be this, especially since none of the original members - especially core songwriter Lou Reed - play on it.
  • The 2008 reformation of Captain Jack bears no resemblance musically to their predecessors. (Francisco Gutierrez, the original Face of the Band, passed away in 2005)
  • Queen + Paul Rodgers on The Cosmos Rocks. Might as well have been called 'Paul Rodgers, and two ex-members of Queen were at the studio that day'.
  • In 2010 or so, ACDC released a compilation CD of several of their existing songs. It's called the Iron Man 2 soundtrack, apparently because the director likes AC/DC. Only two of the songs on the CD are in the movie (one was in the first one).
  • This is Steve Nalepa's "Monday". And this is The Glitch Mob's remix of it. Other than the riff at the beginning, the two have very little in common.
  • The recent reformation of Hole... with only Courtney Love as an original member. Her former partner was much critical.
  • A rare case of a singer In Name Only-ing his own song. Ike Reilly's "Duty Free" was covered by Cracker. Reilly then re-wrote the song, keeping only the opening line and part of the chorus the same for his album "Salesmen and Racists."
  • Insane Poetry was once a group consisting of three rappers and a DJ. One of the rappers, Cyco, continues to release music under the name Insane Poetry even though the group has pretty much disbanded.
  • The group Gregorian is closest to its namesake in that it's a choral group. Their music involves harmony and full instrumentation, neither of which are involved in true Gregorian chanting.
  • Red House Painters' fifth album, Songs For A Blue Guitar was originally supposed to be a solo Mark Kozelek effort, but when 4AD dropped Kozelek and his project and he got picked up by Island Records, he was pressured into renaming it to a Red House Painters effort. What listeners were treated to was something so vastly removed from the nightmarish, stark textures of the first 4 albums that the album was only lukewarmly received at first. Many were a little jarred to hear Mark suddenly singing slightly more upbeat, borderline Southern Rock songs with some minor folk influences. The album has warmed up in overall opinion, though.


New Media[edit | hide]

  • There is a Flash Gordon comics series available for the iPhone, and probably other portables. Flash is a former CIA operative, and Dale a current one; they know each other from the Agency, and Dr. Zarkohv is a close friend of Flash. He's also considered a terrorist, and believed to be creating WMDs.
  • Linkara has evoked it in Atop the Fourth Wall more than once; Bearded Idiot for 'Superman' and Crazy Steve for 'Batman' stand out.
  • In computing, there is a technology called "Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks" (RAID). One version, RAID 0, has no redundancy (which makes it extremely vulnerable to one drive error ruining the entire array, kind of defeating the purpose of a RAID, which is to set up multiple physical drives as a single logical array, wherein a single error does not necessarily mean a failure of the array).


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Some Professional Wrestling fans refer to WWE's ECW revival as ECW In Name Only, due to the fact that it seems completely opposite from the old ECW in terms of atmosphere, storyline tone, wrestling style, and talent level. Others don't even give it that level of respect.
    • WWECW is another popular name for it.
  • Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. The company seemingly embodies this trope increasingly by the day.
    • The ultimate kicker here was on October 14, 2010, where there was so much emphasis on putting over Hulk Hogan's Immortal faction revealed at Bound For Glory as The Illuminati that in the first hour of Impact only ten seconds of wrestling had occurred. That number expanded to nine minutes by the end of Impact, and 20 total minutes of wrestling within the full three-hour block of Impact and ReAction.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • The 1940s radio series, The Weird Circle specialized in Book-To-Radio adaptations that had nothing in common with the source material other than the titles.


Religion[edit | hide]


Sports[edit | hide]

  • As the old VFL expanded to become the Australian Football League, most of the Melbourne-based teams lost their links to the suburbs whose names they bear. Collingwood, Hawthorn, and St Kilda no longer have any connection to their original home suburbs, and the other local grounds are only used for training and social purposes. Also, the Brisbane Bears were originally based 70 miles from Brisbane, and their mascot was a koala (Koalas are not bears). They have since moved to actually play in Brisbane, and merged with Fitzroy to be known as the Lions.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • This has been many fans' conclusion regarding several editions of Dungeons & Dragons. There is a relatively natural progression from the original game to AD&D 2nd edition (with gradually increasing complexity and the quiet removal of the original creator's name from the book), but then D&D 3.0 adopts entirely new skill, magic, and monster rules, while 4th Edition scraps most older concepts save for ability scores to make a game that plays much differently. Thematically, however, each game remains a story of heroes and dragons and orcs and treasure.
    • Meanwhile, Hackmaster (which started as a parody game inside a comic book) has continued the progression that AD&D 2e left off with, and Pathfinder is so close to D&D 3.5 that it's often just referred to as v3.75.
    • It's worse with the settings. 3.x era have seen some cringe-worthy shenanigans and slide of the lore into fanfic-grade cheap gasps (Forgotten Realms fans use the abbreviation RSE for "Realms-Shaking Event") and indecisive mumbling (look what happened to Planescape). Margaret Weis fed up and left even before that.
      • And above and beyond this stands 4e Forgotten Realms, which is more of an unrelated setting of "That's How I Think The MMO-friendly Generic D&D Should Be" with some names from FR reused (which is meta-unoriginal, as Eberron crew did this one already), which was sold with a fig leaf on top shaped as a few novels, insulting the readers' intelligence and done by the invited writers who demonstrably never cared about FR lore enough to ask its authors for details.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Variant: There really are video game adaptations where a developer takes a license, takes an existing game, and just changes sprites in the original game based off the license. (Incidentally, this did not apply to the Nightmare on Elm Street game.)
  • When Data East picked up the license to The Real Ghostbusters, all they did with it was take the Japanese arcade game Maze Hunter G and replace the heroes and powerups with Ghostbusters-related themes, before releasing it to the States. Nothing else in the game involves the Ghostbusters.
  • Red Steel 2, a sequel to Red Steel, features vastly different settings, characters and artwork to the point of almost being a different franchise.
  • Opinion is divided as to whether Command & Conquer Generals fits this trope or not. While a good game in its own right, it's noticeably lacking in the C&C series' hallmarks, being closely based on Age of Empires and Blizzard's -craft games.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is Breath of Fire In Name Only, sharing almost nothing with its predecessors, apart from the spell nomenclature and character names. As per series tradition, the two central protagonists are named Ryu and Nina; the other two, Bosch and Lin, take their names from Bosch and Rinpoo from Breath of Fire II.
    • Fans have actually argued that Dragon Quarter is actually in the same canon, or rather takes centuries after Breath of Fire III, which was all about Technology advancing the world.
  • The Makai Toushi SaGa Final Fantasy Legend]] and Final Fantasy Adventure games. They were actually entirely different series (SaGa and Seiken Densetsu, respectively) that were renamed for American consumption (although to be fair, Adventure was subtitled Final Fantasy Gaiden Game.
  • The NES version of Ninja Gaiden was advertised as being based on the "No. 1 Arcade Smash Hit", despite the fact that it was not a port, but a parallel project developed at the same time. The two games barely resembled each other aside for their vaguely similar premises (a ninja travels to America to fight his enemies) and a very similar setting for the first stage.
    • The Xbox games are also completely different from the NES games, although they're stated to be prequels.
    • Ninja Gaiden Shadow was a modified Game Boy port of Natsume's NES game Shadow of the Ninja.
  • Ultima IX is so far removed from the other games in the series, that most fans consider it to be non-canonical.
  • Quake II and its sequels have nothing to do with Quake I whatsoever, apart from all being first person shooters. "Quake II" was originally just the game's working title, until id Software found themselves unable to find a different name they could use that wasn't already trademarked. IV is a direct sequel to II, at least.
    • There's also Enemy Territory Quake Wars, which is a prequel to II. Furthermore, that game is a gameplay sequel to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, despite taking place in the Strogg arc initiated by II.
    • Quake III Arena and its Expansion Pack, Quake III: Team Arena, fit this trope as well. Despite having similar weapons and some of the first two Quake's characters (and the Doomguy), the most story connection you get is an All There in the Manual quip that the greatest warriors in the world have been teleported to an "Arena" to do battle for the amusement of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien. Likewise, while the first two placed a large amount of focus on their single-player campaigns, Quake 3 went all-out multiplayer. All of this is by-and-large because it was made as a competitor for Unreal Tournament.
  • The Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance games are Baldurs Gate, and indeed Forgotten Realms games, in name only. They're really Diablo with the serial numbers filed off.
  • After Infocom, the undisputed master of Interactive Fiction text adventures in the 1980s, went under, Activision released a CD-ROM graphic adventure called Return to Zork, which had very little resemblance to the original Zork games outside the title. All the references to characters, items, and places from the original Zork universe sound painfully forced, as if the makers of the game Did Not Do the Research and just randomly took names and used them to fill in blanks in dialogue.
    • Activision went on to release another two Zork games, Nemesis and Grand Inquisitor, both of which were much better than Return to Zork, were properly researched and (with a few exceptions) tied in nicely to the old games. Activision even promoted Grand Inquisitor by releasing a freeware Interactive Fiction Zork game, The Undiscovered Underground, written by one of the original creators of Zork.
  • The 2007 |Shadowrun.
  • King's Quest Mask of Eternity, whose only connection to the previous installments is being ostensibly set in the same location, and a couple of cameos.
    • However, there is still a Shout-Out in Silver Lining, with more to be expected. (If the player tries to have King Graham grab something he can't reach, the narrator says, "Tis Beyond his REACH!" in a way similar to Connor in Mask of Eternity).
  • Phantasy Star Online is Phantasy Star In Name Only, for most critical points and purposes, not in the slightest connected to the Algol star system, setting for or at least critical element every previous game (including even basically disconnected side games). Then again, Dark Force being dead for good in the last game kind of sealed that plot line - and the obvious way out was already explored to its end one game previous. Phantasy Star Universe, in turn, is both Phantasy Star Online In Name and Some Mechanics Only, and Phantasy Star In Name Only, with a muchly new setting.
    • Though it was originally intended for Phantasy Star Online to be connected to the original series. The derelict starship that makes up the Ruins level was supposed to be the remains of the Alisa 3, the ship from Phantasy Star III. This idea was dropped in development.
      • Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe are in fact in the same universe, with characters and locations in the former appearing as virtual reality records in the latter.
  • While some Dragon Quest games are actually direct sequels or prequels (The first three) as well as being related by other games (Monsters has Kiefer from VII star), most are pretty much In Name Only. Sans a few passing references or plot devices (Zenithia). VII and above go even further from any form of semblance to the previous games, unless you count the legacy bosses and DLC of Dragon Quest IX to count.
  • Fallout Brotherhood of Steel is Fallout In Name Only. Interplay took a clone of their Dark Alliance console action games and slapped on the name of their ground-breaking series of open-world RPGs.
  • As noted by the IGN reviewer, the plot of Far Cry 2 is not connected to that of Far Cry, although he also notes that this does not detract from its merits.
    • The Expanded Universe novels try to Retcon this by introducing a character that supposedly served as a mentor to both the protagonist and Jack Carver. Riiiiiight.
    • The developers themselves have discussed this in interviews. Apparently, rather than intending the game as a sequel in plot, they intended it as a sequel in style, expanding upon and improving the mechanics of the original game. One wonders whether this will turn into the Final Fantasy of shooters.
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude and Box Office Bust are mostly a separate series from the Al Lowe series, apart from being set in the same world. The Larry here is different (though related to the previous one), the gameplay is completely different, and the connections to the Al Lowe games feel sort of tacked on.
  • An ongoing fandom debate revolves around whether Silent Hill 4: The Room is such a sequel, as it was originally intended as a separate title. On the one hand, Team Silent did make the game; it was turned into a Silent Hill project early in development, and there's no denying the similar concepts and atmosphere. On the other hand, most of the in-depth story connections to the rest of the series were only added later via an official Konami website, in Japanese, making their canonical value debatable.
    • Silent Hill Downpour is getting this treatment by the fans as well, due mostly to the fact that composer Akira Yamaoka is not working on the game. Rumors of a Wide Open Sandbox level design doesn't help, when one thinks of the claustrophobic atmosphere of earlier games.
    • However, none of this holds a candle to the comic book adaptation. As Linkara put it, all it shares is the name of the town and a monster list.
  • The EA FPS GoldenEye: Rogue Agent was seen by many as a weak attempt to capitalize on the much revered Golden Eye 1997 007 for the Nintendo 64: the only connection to the movie/game is the presence of Xenia Onatopp and the "Uplink" multiplayer level. The only justification for the name "GoldenEye" is that you play as a rogue MI6 agent that gets his eye shot out and is given a golden prosthetic replacement by Francisco Scaramanga. The rest of the game involves you being a pawn in a war between Auric Goldfinger and Dr. No and fighting a bunch of iconic James Bond villains in a pretty generic FPS. The only appearance by Bond lasts 10 seconds and is revealed to be a simulation.
  • Total Annihilation Kingdoms was nothing like Total Annihilation at all. Different universe, different playstyles... everything except the graphics engine was completely different.
  • Is Rayman even in the Raving Rabbids games?
    • Some people believe he's the one shooting the rabbids.
    • Michel Ancel took note of that fact when making Rabbids Go Home, an adventure game for once, Rayman-less.
  • Alundra 2 has nothing to do with the original.
  • Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight was a futuristic platform game for the NES that really didn't have much to do with the original Street Fighter other than its title. The localization team attempted to establish a connection by claiming that the main character Kevin, a cyborg policeman, was actually Ken from the first Street Fighter 25 years in the future.
  • Contra Force for the NES is a localization of an unreleased-in-Japan Famicom game titled Arc Hound. The game has nothing to do with the rest of the Contra series, being set in present times with human enemies instead of aliens. The American localization of Contra III for the SNES did try to make a connection by establishing in the manual that the first stage of the game was actually Neo City, the setting of Contra Force.
  • The Game Boy Advance version of The Revenge of Shinobi has absolutely nothing to do with the original Sega Genesis game and is pretty much a generic Ninja game with Shinobi on the title.
  • Shining Force Neo and Shining Force EXA for the PS2 don't have anything in common gameplay-wise with previous Shining Force games; they're Action RPGs. Although the Shining series consists of installments with varying gameplay styles (as pointed out in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360), it typically gives different names to games with different gameplay styles (as was the case with Shining Force, a strategy RPG, having a different name than the first Shining game, Shining in the Darkness, which was a dungeon crawler), which makes it odd that these installments were named similarly to strategy RPGs in the series.
    • Shining Soul is also pretty much Shining In Name Only.
  • Westwood's Dune II RTS game had very little to do with the book, movie, or the first game. The later remake Dune 2000 and sequel Emperor: Battle For Dune tried a bit harder, but it still doesn't change the fact that Dune II is an RTS, and a completely different genre from the original Dune game.
  • Star Raiders II (Atari Corp's 1986 sequel to the pioneering 1979 original) started life as a never-released Licensed Game based on 1984 movie The Last Starfighter. When the license fell through, the game was renamed into a Star Raiders sequel instead, to generally positive reviews (though it was felt to be more "arcadey", less strategic and less intense than the original).
  • The modern "Atari" is itself an example, being essentially a trading name for what is—or was—Infogrames (who acquired rights to the name and some IP in the early 2000s). It has little connection with the original Atari Inc., creators of the VCS console, arcade games, and home computers. It's open to question when the "true" Atari died- following the 1983 video game crash, its arcade and computer divisions were sold separately as legally new companies to new owners (Atari Games and Atari Corp), but with some continuity of business and products. However, both are now defunct; Atari Games was later renamed by Midway who then shut down their entire arcade division. Atari Corp basically threw in the towel after the failure of the Jaguar console and their merger of convenience with hard drive manufacturer, JTS, in the mid-90s; their name and IP were sold off separately and later ended up in Infogrames hands.
  • Jaleco's Astyanax for the NES has little to do with the arcade game of the same name. There are some similarities in gameplay, but the levels and story are completely different. The arcade version stars a Barbarian Hero, while the NES version is about an Ordinary High School Student sent to a Magical Land.
  • LA Rush, intended to be a Spiritual Successor to San Francisco Rush. Also Cruisn for the Wii, although it was basically The Fast and the Furious with the Serial Numbers Filed Off, which used the original Cruisn' series engine.
  • Die Hard Arcade, being a dolled-up version of Dynamite Deka / Dynamite Cop, has nothing to do with the movies, other than the protagonist being an Expy of Bruce Willis. The sequel kept its original name.
  • Winback II: Project Poseidon. It killed the franchise.
  • Descent: Freespace has nothing to do with the Descent series except the name. The sequel dropped the act and is simply called Free Space 2.
    • The game was originally going to be called just Freespace, but there was already a drive-compression product with the same name that could've caused trademark issues. In Europe it was called Conflict: Freespace instead.
  • Mobile Light Force 1 and 2 are Macekres of two unrelated Shoot'Em Up games; Gunbird and Castle Shikigami, respectively.
  • The arcade version of Ikari III: The Rescue is an overhead beat-em-up instead of a shoot-em-up like the original games. It still had Ralf and Clark in it.
  • Daryl Gates' Police Quest: Open Season and Police Quest: SWAT (later just SWAT). SWAT 4 also has absolutely nothing to do with the Police Quest series despite the name of the protagonist being Sonny Bonds.
  • The sequel to Rockstar's Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption, has no connection to its predecessor other than the Western setting, the title, the two main character's scars, and a single game mechanic. This is a rare positive example, as Revolver was a half-completed game Rockstar bought from Capcom and was a level based arcade shooter, while Redemption was wildly successful both financially and critically, being considered one of the best video games of 2010.
    • Naturally, quite a few characters from the first game do get name-dropped, and eventually turned up as skins for multiplayer.
  • Driver: Parallel Lines, which ended up being just another generic Grand Theft Auto clone.
  • Castlevania Judgment. If not for the characters' names and the music, you probably couldn't tell that this game has anything to do with Castlevania.
  • The Turok comics were about a Native American (the title character) who finds a Lost World valley of dinosaurs. The video games made "Turok" the title of a lineage of warriors fighting to keep the Omniverse from collapsing in an alien land. Some characters have the same name as characters in the comics, and there are bio-mechanical dinosaurs.
    • Then you had the 2008 Turok game, which was this to both the comics and the video game franchise to date. Instead of being a chosen warrior, Turok was a Space Marine of Native American origin. Instead of a lost world, it was an alien planet that just happened to have dinosaurs on it. Instead of protecting it from an evil overlord or Eldritch Abomination, he was protecting it from his CO, who'd pulled a serious Colonel Kurtz.
  • Paper Mario is an RPG that turned everyone's favorite plumber (and everyone else) 2D while the world (mostly) stayed 3D. Super Paper Mario is a platformer (with RPG elements) that kept everyone's favorite plumber 2D, but also made the world 2D (but gave him the ability to switch to 3D for a short time). It's not a bad game, but most people don't consider it a Paper Mario game.
    • Actually they do consider it a Paper Mario game, however in the same way 'Digital Devil Saga' is related to 'Megami Tensei' as a whole or how 'Torneko's Mystery Dungeon' relates to 'Dragon Quest'. In other words, they're angry how the fanbase is treating Super Paper Mario as a sequel rather than a spin-off.
  • Space Invaders Infinity Gene for the iPhone is a game that has little to do with Space Invaders beyond a brief segment of the original Space Invaders and some returning enemies. Instead, it's a shooter that gradually "evolves" as you play it, going in gameplay style from a classic arcade shooter of the '70s or '80s to a modern danmaku shooter with multiple "characters", kill chains, and a special scoring method (in this case, called "Nagoya Attack", which triggers when you pass through an enemy's shot during a short window just after firing when it won't kill you). The resulting game was so cool, fun, and original that few people complained.
  • A rare positive example (also being a Licensed Game) is the Def Jam Series, which has very little to do with hip-hop aside from the music and is instead a wrestling/fighting game hybrid, of which the first two were fantastic. Def Jam Rapstar is going to be a more traditional hip-hop rapping game, which provides a rare example of a traditional medium fitting for the source material actually being LESS accepted.
  • Soldier of Fortune: Payback was outsourced to Cauldron, an East European budget title developer, and thus the gameplay and story have nothing in common with the first two games, other than the PC's organization being named The Shop.
  • Still Life 2 had large expectations following it, primarily due to its predecessor leaving the killer's identity unrevealed at the end. When the sequel finally came out, it barely resembled the original in any form. The cliffhanger was resolved in a couple brief flashback sequences that revealed the most obvious suspect as the killer. The remainder of the game, aside from its protagonist, had absolutely nothing to do with the original storyline.
  • Monster Rancher Evo was a drastic departure from the Monster Rancher formula. It completely changed the training formula—instead of training stats one week at a time, you give your monsters "stat potential," which you can only turn into real stats via a rhythm mini-game. Tournaments were all but gone in favor of an RPG plot, with dungeons full of Random Encounters. While the old monsters were still in the game, one of the new species introduced—the Maya—was even quite stylistically different from other MR monsters, not quite fitting in.
  • The only thing the Suikoden series has in common with Sui Hu Zuan is the fact that both have the protagonist gathering 108 heroes to oppose the government. Otherwise, they have completely different characters, a completely different plot, and are set in completely different universes. This isn't a bad thing by any means, but Suikoden is no more valid a name than, say, The Rune of Eternal Awesomeness.
    • Recent entries including Tierkreis and Centennial Tapesty (still doesn't have an official English name) have become this trope, given their setting in completely different worlds from I-V, although they do retain the 108 characters and some game mechanisms.
  • Little known The New Adventures of the Time Machine from Cryo Interactive is said to be based on The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, but the only thing it has in common with the book is a scientist from Victorian London who invents a stationary time machine and travels to the 8000th century (although the year was changed from 802701 to the round 800000), plus his servant is also named Mrs. Watchett. But once he gets there, Wells' plot is completely abandoned and instead of struggle between the Eloi and the Morlocks we have strange Hourglass City whose citizens randomly switch their age between childhood, adulthood and elderhood every time mysterious Wave Of Time comes from god Khronos. The funny thing is that some ten years ago Polish edition included copy of Wells' original novel, even though it wouldn't make much difference if it was "Treasure Island" or "Uncle Tom's Cabin" instead.
  • Project Sylpheed has nothing in common with the previous Silpheed games, other than having the same developers.
  • The Super NES game version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has nothing to do with the film itself, as it was originally intended to be a video game adaptation of the show's second season. While the Genesis version does remain true to the actual plot of the movie, the only things the SNES version has in common with the movie (aside from the Rangers themselves) is Ivan Ooze as the final boss and a Cameo by the Ninja Megafalconzord in the ending. That's it. The enemies are still Putties and a few monsters from the second season of the TV series (along with robot enemies made up for the game), and the Rangers fight their way through none of the same places they had been to in the movie.
  • Fighting Force 2 has almost nothing to do with the original. The first game was a pure 3D Beat'Em Up starring four characters and set in a contemporary setting. The sequel had a Cyberpunk setting, was a 3D action/adventure platformer with very basic brawling elements, and featured only one character from the first game (Hawk Manson), who did not act or even (after the CGI intro) look like his first game self.
  • Kung-Fu Master was released in Japan as a licensed game based on the Jackie Chan film Wheels on Meals, which was titled Spartan X over there. It has nothing to do with the movie, aside for the names of the hero and heroines (Thomas and Sylvia).
  • Tetris Attack has nothing to do with Tetris. It is a localization of a Super Famicom puzzle game called Panel de Pon. Later versions of the game were localized under the Puzzle League name.
  • Depending on how their stories and mechanics are handled, fan games can often fall into this.
  • The Turn-Based Strategy game Puyo Wars has no resemblance in gameplay or cast of characters to Puyo Puyo.
  • Outrun 2019 was originally supposed to be released under the name of Junker's High, which in turn was a remade version of a canceled SegaCD game called Cyber Road. The Outrun name was added to the released version with no other modifications made.
  • Mario Golf: Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance. A unique and fun little game, but the "Mario Golf" in the title (not to mention the cover of the game) is about all that was carried over to remind you of what you're playing. You spend very little, if any time with Mario and his colorful crew. It's a Golf game with RPG Elements where you take the role of an amateur golfer working your way up the ranks.
    • This applies to any of the portable Mario sports games, aside from (possibly) the 3DS Mario Tennis.
  • Invoked by the developer of the original Operation Flashpoint when Codemasters announced Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and billed it as the sequel. The original's developer protested that all Codemasters had won from their legal falling-out years before was the name, whereas the developer had kept both the engine (and implicitly gameplay-style rights) and the exclusive right to develop sequels to the original.
  • ToME 2 (Tales/Troubles of Middle Earth) and ToME 4 (Tales of Maj'Eyal) have hardly anything in common besides both being fantasy roguelikes. A small number of things like the standard fantasy races exist in both in some form but play very differently and and have different histories and cultures. (ToME 3 was closer to ToME 2 but never got out of alpha.)


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Over time, Concession changed drastically due to the Plot Tumor of Joel's revenge plot (and college life) to the point where the Concession stand in the title was merely where some of the cast worked, not the actual focus of the comic.
  • Platypus Comix's longest-running series, Scrambled Eggs, received inspiration from a juvenile fiction novel titled Hello, My Name is Scrambled Eggs, but the cartoonist says the only similarities the current comic and the novel have are some characters' names and the use of "No kidding!" as a Catch Phrase.
  • Parodied with The Way of the Metagamer 2: In Name Only - a Fictional Document sequel to The Way of the Metagamer, starring The Detective and The Watson.
  • Invoked in Dresden Codak "Dark Science" arc: Ronnie Awning made adaptations of famous works without reading them. Which allowed his sponsor to use the authors turning in their graves for energy generation.
  • Nerd Rage illustrates:

Mr. David O. Russell... Congratulations on acquiring the rights to the Uncharted movie!
I just wanted to let you know that I, too, have acquired the rights to adapt something. Your film "I Heart Huckabees". I have this vision --


Web Sites[edit | hide]

  • KidsWB.com, supposedly the relaunched version of the programming block from which it got its name, is more like a website for pre-1997 Cartoon Network.
  • Napster is another example. The original Napster shut down in 2001, but it was resurrected in 2002 as a new name for the subscription music site by the same people that shut it down. As one article termed it, "It was as if a victorious Darth Vader had licensed the rights to rebrand the Empire as the Rebel Alliance."
  • TF-Media is a site called, "Transformation Media". However, the transformation you'll actually find on the site is limited to Transgender. (And even then, most people who go there think "female to male" transgender is "Pass the Brain Bleach" anyways, so it's really male to female) The users in the chatrooms are different, and have gotten much better about the transgender saturation, but the site is still predominantly Transgender transformations in between the one or two different types. Even the users are well aware of this and point out that it's really, "TG media".


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The King and I forms the basis of a Family Guy parody of this trope. By the time Peter gets finished rewriting the Rodgers and Hammerstein script, it's changed from a British tutor dealing with the king of Siam to a ninja robot in the future ("A.N.N.A.") battling a post-apocalyptic dictator. Initially furious at the changes, and at the audience's approval of them, Lois later admits that "anyone who could take The King and I and turn it into, well, that, has gotta be creative."
  • Parodied in The Simpsons, where Alan Moore is said to have had a run as the writer of Radioactive Man. During his tenure, he changed the title character, a cape with super-strength acquired from exposure to a nuclear explosion, into "a heroin-addicted jazz critic who's not radioactive". Bart didn't notice.
  • Sonic Underground: The only things from the Sonic the Hedgehog games are Sonic, Robotnik, and a few appearances by Knuckles.
    • Sonic Sat AM also fits the bill. Aside from Sonic, Robotnik, a few token appearances by Tails, the rings, and Buzzbombers, there wasn't much to tie it to the games.
  • Voltron fans back in the day felt this way when the Lion series ended and they first saw Vehicle Voltron. The reason for this is because it is actually a Dolled-Up Installment of a completely unrelated anime series.
  • The 1997 animated film Anastasia was supposedly "based on" the play by Marcel Maurette. Don Bluth turned it into a musical with Rasputin as an undead sorcerer with a talking bat sidekick, among other changes (the play had already been faithfully adapted to a 1956 film starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman).
  • Disney's The Jungle Book bears little resemblance to Kipling's original except for a few character names and the basic premise of a boy Raised by Wolves. Mowgli is changed from a Noble Savage to a Bratty Half-Pint, the monkeys don't die, Baloo goes from wise mentor to "shiftless jungle bum", and the originally benevolent Kaa becomes an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. An early draft that stuck closer to the tone of the books was rejected for being too dark. In the commentary from the Platinum Edition DVD is stated that Walt even warned his film crew to not read the original book.
  • The Jungle Book ain't got nothin' on The Fox and the Hound (film), though. How Walt Disney Studios managed to look at what reads like a fictionalized documentary about the life and times of a mongrel hunting dog and a human-reared wild fox who live through bear hunts, rabies epidemics, and the rise of suburbia among other things and thought it would make a wonderful talking animals musical about racism is a mystery for the ages.
  • Also, The Fox and the Hound (film) has nothing on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Compare the characters in the original story to the Disney version and see the difference. The story is far darker than anything Disney had attempted at the time, and had considerable changes. Look at the ending to the original story compared to the Disney version and you'll see the difference.
    • Considering that no movie adaptation has ever used the original ending....
    • In fact, the only adaptation of that story to use the original ending is the German stage musical.
  • Filmations Ghostbusters had nothing to do with the 1984 movie Ghostbusters, but was a followup to Filmation's 1975 live action TV series, The Ghost Busters, although it definitely intended to ride the coattails of the more familiar movie. The cartoon based on the movie is thus called The Real Ghostbusters.
  • The Secret of NIMH basically took the "super smart rats" premise and made an entirely different movie where Nicodemus becomes an Eccentric Mentor, and the deserter was a murderer. Despite this fact, many people see this as Don Bluth's best work.
  • The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 cartoon pretty much took EVERYTHING from the original comics and flipped it on its head. Whilst the comics were aimed at those in their mid-late teens, the show was cheesy entertainment for kids. The personalities of the characters were changed quite a bit (Raphael was a jokester instead of an anger-laden badass) and the premise was made FAR more into Sci-Fi than anything seen in the comics (considering some of them included aliens and the main characters are mutant reptilians, that says something). Another thing to note is that in the comics, the 'Ninja' part of the title was actually relevant to what the Turtles' activities were (moved around at night, stayed out of sight of as many bystanders as possible and actually fighting other ninjas), whereas in the '80s cartoon they were known to the general public, had no problem walking around in daylight (albeit usually in disguise), and spent the majority of their time fighting robots.
    • Played with, like everything else, in Turtles Forever: the more comic-based 2003 Turtles had to keep the 1987 Turtles from running out in public.
  • Martin Mystery was drastically different from the Italian comics they were adapted from. For example, changing Martin's lover into his stepsister and making him like 20 years younger.
  • The Harry And The Dinosaurs books are about a boy called Harry who has a bucket of toy dinosaurs. The dinos don't have names, being referred to by their species names, and while they talk (only to Harry), the books are about Harry doing ordinary things, like going to the dentist or his first day of school. In the Animated Adaptation, Harry And His Bucket Full Of Dinosaurs the dinosaurs have names and the stories are mostly set in Dino-World, a Magical Land accessible through the bucket.
  • In the original comics, Achille Talon (known in English-speaking countries as Walter Melon) is a pseudo-intellectual bourgeois who works for a magazine and occasionally has wacky adventures. In the Animated Adaptation, he's a bumbling "hero for hire" who substitutes for various action hero expies.
  • The relative few who still remembered Magi Nation the TCG/video game did not like the Animated Adaptation.
  • Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, Iron Man Armored Adventures is a very good show, just so long as you ignore the fact that that kid and his friends are named for the cast of Iron Man by some coincidence (despite bearing no similarities to them... save the robot suit and Rogues Gallery, though often they have had their origins drastically rewritten) and enjoy the show for what it is.
  • DuckTales as a whole isn't this, but some of the episodes "adapted" from individual comic book stories take no more than the basic premise and invent an entirely new plot around it.
    • Stories taken from the comics also inevitably starred someone other than Donald Duck; Fenton Crackshell or Gyro Gearloose usually took on his role, and Donald scarcely appeared in the show at all. Part of the problem is that he's The Unintelligible in animated form, a problem that doesn't exist in his comics.
  • Tom and Jerry The Movie actually starts out pretty faithfully for a little while. When they start talking (although not unprecedented), they start singing about friendship. While they sometimes had loose alliances in the old shorts, they've never been "friends to the end". And then, the plot kind of drifts away from them and focuses on the orphan girl Robyn and they are reduced to sidekicks.
  • The main cast of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic all take the names and basic appearances of characters from previous generations of the franchise, but the resemblance pretty much ends there. Most are, at best, inspired by completely different characters that Hasbro was no longer able to use. The show itself is a radical shift in tone from its immediate predecessor (where most of the names came from), but that's happened every time the franchise got a reboot.
  • Young Justice has virtually nothing in common with the original 90's comic book of the same name, though showrunner Greg Weisman has said that it was never intended to be an adaptation of the series to begin with and that the title was essentially given to them by some Warner Bros execs. However the title does fit the central theme of the show, and there are some shout-outs and callbacks to the series' comic book namesake.
    • Originally, there was going to be a series closely based on the comic book, but it turned into Teen Titans, keeping the comedy of Young Justice while using the latter's characters. The new series essentially does the opposite, using Young Justice characters with serious stories more in line with the Titans comics.
  • The Veggie Tales take on The Grapes of Wrath. It's about a bunch of grapes who act like jerks.
    • That's Justified Trope, VeggieTales is known for its parodies of various Tv shows, movies, etc. And it was told by Larry The Cucumber, as well as lampshaded.

Bob: "Are you sure that's how the story goes?"
Larry: "Oh, yeah! :3"

  1. a good part of the premise to the second half of the book hinges on this