Transplanted Character Fic
"Odd. I didn't think we sporked stories from Fiction Press. I mean, this must be from Fiction Press if it's an original story, and it must be an original story, because it has nothing in common with any existing fandom I've heard or seen. Weird coincidence how two of the characters have names from the Harry Potter series."
It's very tempting to some newer writers to create an original story, insert known characters into it, and pass it off as some kind of Alternate Universe Fic. Most of the premise is dropped, and if the characters still act in a familiar way, all we have is their names to prove who they are.
When not seen as outright gutting, this is a different and often less accepted beast than Genre Shift, resulting in a comedy suddenly set in a Sci Fi setting, or an action series having its character shoved into a high school drama. The latter is pretty common, especially in Shipping Fanfic, and almost universally bad. Also a way writers get the Non-Action Guy together with the Action Girl. Those pesky powers and confidence that comes with them interfere.
Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]
- Writer Mark Millar has been accused of doing this with Marvel Civil War given the Alternate Character Interpretation of several of the characters involved (Iron Man as fascistic, Captain America as being morally wrong, etc).
- It was a common occurrence in American comics to alter comic scripts (and sometimes already drawn stories!) made for one series to another one when needed; one example was a John Carter of Mars story converted into a Star Wars fill-in issue by Marvel Comics.
- Similarly, some of the Conan stories written by Roy Thomas for Marvel Comics were adaptations of novels by Gardner Fox about his barbarian hero, Kothar. Change a few proper nouns, and presto!
- This goes back to the Golden Age, actually. There is evidence that some stories were hastily rewritten to accommodate various in-house situations (at least one very late Golden Age Green Lantern story has him so OOC that it must have originally been a Batman story, and at least two All-Star adventures were rewritten with cast changes).
- The Grammatically-broken (and lost) Warhammer 40000 Trouble, when the author suddenly turns your Unlucky Everydude Chick Magnet into a scheming Magnificent Bastard that is also Properly Paranoid, then adding Warhammer 40,000 just to cement his point. The catch? Considering how The Harem story started...Deconstruction ensues. Oh, and his Bromantic Foil is a Hardcore fan of W40K, Genre Shift to a whole level...
- One example is the Lust Over Pendle series of Harry Potter fanfiction by A.J. Hall, a series of suspense/mystery novels using Draco and Neville as a couple solving mysteries, effectively turning them into the Hardy Boys. Magic is hardly mentioned at all, everyone constantly interacts with Muggles and one climax features a "magical" nuclear device that doesn't seem very magical at all. In other words, if you changed the name and dropped what little premise of magic actually included in the story, you'd have a pretty good original novel. With the premise sticking halfway to it, readers keep on forgetting that this is supposed to be a Harry Potter fanfiction even with the names used.
- A lot of Harry Potter fanfiction goes even further, keeping the characters' names, changing their personalities and setting it in the Muggle world. Either that or a generic fantasy/medieval world with no mention of Hogwarts or wizards (Hermione is a water nymph who loves Prince Draco!).
- In one fic, Harry wasn't just extremely OOC, but also got a complete makeover and a new name. All canon magic was soon forgotten in favour of spells invented by the author (which didn't really fit into the canon world). The only other canon character in thet fic was Draco Malfoy, who had also been given a new name and appearance.
- And then there's My Immortal, which actually does replace the wizarding subjects with Muggle subjects as well as change most of the characters' names. And as for the characters who get to keep their canon names, they're still almost never spelled correctly.
- The Last War has an aside in which Harry laments having ever discovered the wizarding world. Even though he'd never have met the love of his life if he hadn't. It also features Hermione suffering for years under Ron's physical, emotional and psychological abuse while he drinks and sleeps around. Apparently Hermione forgot she has godlike magical powers.
- There's a fic called Swan Princess. It's a word-for-word transcript of the film The Swan Princess with the names changed. Harry is in the place of Prince Derek and Draco is in the place of Princess Odette, meaning the story takes place in a world where marriages are arranged for same-sex children with the apparent assumption both will be gay when they grow up. Lucius Malfoy and Lily Potter are completely out of character, acting chummy with their lines stolen from King William and Queen Uberta. Despite still being male, Draco is referred to as a "princess" ("Then, happily a son was born... a princess. And he was given the name Draco." [sic])
- A vast, vast majority of Gundam Wing fanfiction consists of taking the Gundam Pilots and plopping them into a completely different setting just to facilitate them getting hot and heavy with each other. The number of fics actually dealing with the plot and events of the series, let alone set in the After Colony universe, is a definite minority. Die for Our Ship and Wimpification take care of most of the rest of the canon.
- How I Became Yours, full stop. The fact that the writer tries to pass off the Disney-esque setting as the one from the show just makes it more jarring.
- Pretty much any fic with Fire Emblem's Marth turns him into a Possession Sue due to the Fangirl author not playing Shadow Dragon or even doing any research.
- Roy and Ike suffer from this as well, but it's not as bad.
- Twilight fanfiction often suffers from this, with writers sticking Twilight names into stories about everything from a Hollywood movie set to the Titanic. Most of these stories also take place in a world where vampires do not exist, oddly enough.
- Indeed, it's become almost commonplace for authors of well-reviewed all-human fics to pull their stories in hopes of publishing them as original fiction. Very few of them seem to see anything wrong with doing this.
- Not even The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is immune.
- Many Bionicle comedy fanfics feature the characters going to high school or opening a resturant/hotel together.
- A lot of Redwall fic is original furry fiction put on the fanfic sites to get more reviews. soulless shell is a prime example, with the only connection to the Redwall universe being that rats and the other vermin are the evil races. Main character Leif has the ability to shoot laser beams, teleport and turn into a demon, while no magical powers exist in the Redwall universe.
- There's one Star Wars fanfic that involves a girl from Earth (in which Star Wars does exist) finding out that she's actually a Jedi after her parents die in a car crash, so she's taken to Coruscant to be trained as a Jedi. She befriends Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and later takes them to Earth where Anakin finds out that he will become Darth Vader by looking at the box for the Revenge of the Sith Xbox game. The author later revealed that it was actually an original story that she was writing and attempting to get published about a school for magic.
- A disturbing number of Pokémon shipping fics include absolutely no Pokemon, even in passing mention, background, or setting. Note that this completely undermines the entire point and title of the franchise.
- Popular series Kingdom Hearts gets this very often. Most of the stories on Fanfiction.net's front page for it will usually be nothing about the game at all, with practically every character being in an Alternate Universe setting, acting little to nothing like themselves...and gay.
- Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad is Gears And Springs by superstarultra, a Suzumiya Haruhi AU fic in a setting without any supernatural elements or anything to connect it to the source material aside from the character names. Basically, the fic is about a human Yuki who builds a sentient, robotic Ryoko that kills all of Yuki's friends in horrible ways, and Yuki herself is Driven to Suicide.
- There's at least one fanfic out there that replaces the entire cast of Ai Yori Aoshi with Naruto characters.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia fandom, the fics that fall into this trope the most frequently are...not the human AU ones, the majority of which actually at least try to keep the characters IC and their relationships reminiscent of their canon ones, even in High School AU (which was actually originated by the author himself!). No, the fics that most often invoke this trope are the ones that do keep the "characters are Anthropomorphic Personifications of nations" premise...but completely rewrite the characters' personalities (often for the worse) for the sake of "historical accuracy" (i.e. "fitting the fanwriters' own ideas about history, even if they directly contradict established APH canon" or even "using 'history' as an excuse to make a character Die for Our Ship or become Ron the Death Eater"), to the point where the characters are essentially national Anthropomorphic Personifications that were created by someone other than the series' author.
- The most prominent examples of this are the Dark Fics All He Ever Wanted and The Chosen End. It isn't even subjective opinion; the authors themselves have admitted that their fics' characterizations don't match up with the canon ones. In AHEW's case, one of the authors later admitted that they began writing the fic when they didn't have a good grasp on the Hetalia characters and that their characterization of Prussia in particular turned out to not match up with Hetalia canon at all. In TCE's case, the author went on record saying that she wrote the characters differently from canon and even once outright said that she would hate England solely because he was in love with America (and hence a threat to Russia/America, the fic's main pairing) if she wasn't able to pair him out of the way with France...and even with that modifier, you can still sense her dislike of England at various parts of the fic.
- There are several AU Toy Story fics that depict the toys as humans. Quite a few of them feature these characters as high school students.
- While The Return is very well written and interesting, it has almost nothing whatsoever to do with its ostensible sources, Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon. The Ranma elements suffer from changed setting and skillset, and all the characters' personalities being utterly destroyed and transformed into something other in-story, while the Sailor Moon characters come out with personalities and abilities more or less intact, but story tone so dark as to make it almost unrecognizable.
- Similarly, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a great story, but Ranma's been drastically changed by having almost literally been through hell, and the 'parallel' universe that the Sailor Moon characters are from is a dark Urban Fantasy complete with gods, mages, vampires, werewolves, and airships, with only lingering archetypal resemblances to the source material.
- Final Fantasy VIII: The Altimate Rewrite is not so much an attempt at passing an original story off as a fanfic as it is the writer's attempt to improve on the original by making extensive changes to just about every element of the game's setting, characters, and plot. The result is, in any case, very far removed from its source material.
- The Homestuck fandom has spun off all sorts of bizarre AUs with little resemblance to the original other than the names and descriptions of characters. High school, noir, asylum, cop drama, you name it.
- The entire 'uberfic' movement within the Xena fandom quite often (but not always) even did away with the names of the canon characters, and simply wrote original fiction with characters who archetypally resembled Xena and Gabrielle. Many of these stories did go on to be published as small-press fiction. If you encounter a lesbian romance that features a strong dark-haired woman with a painful past and an innocent blonde who believes in helping others and has had an unsatisfying relationship with an ex-or-dead husband, you've probably found an Uber.
- The Pokémon fanfic author StaraptorEmpoleon is infamous for taking this trope to its logical extreme: it's not uncommon for her to change everything about the Pokémon characters often up to and including their names such that it often seems like the only thing they have that's connected to their canon selves is their star pokemon (if that)!
- Astral Journey: It's Complicated takes Spice Girls, Mariah Carey, Brandy Norwood, Jewel, and even Santa Claus into football (soccer) players, sports medicine, and even ESP.
- Ten by "Richard E" is allegedly a Ranma ½ fic, but the only things it has in common with Ranma are the names of the characters. And everything about them is radically different from who they are in the source -- for instance, direction-challenged, super-strong human tank Ryoga as a crippled, intellectual scientist. Huh?
- Rendezvous With Fate by iCe, also a Ranma ½ fic. Here Akane is the twenty-something widow of Ryoga; her mind/soul is sent back in time to Edo-period Japan, where she finds herself occupying the body of Kodachi, estranged wife of Ranma Saotome, a high-ranking warrior in the service of Happosai and twin brother of Nabiki... It's an extraordinary story, well-written and engrossing, but once again, the characters and settings are so vastly divorced from Ranma ½ canon that there is no real reason for it to be a Ranma fanfic.
- The nonnies in the failfandomanon anon meme have the acronym ATG, standing for "Any Two Guys", for slashfic where the characterization is so generic and so removed from how the canon characters act that it could literally be about any two guys. A thread that comes out with certain regularity is "Guess the ATG", where somebody posts a fragment of one such a fic and the other nonnies have to guess who the original characters were.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Arguably, Douglas Adams did this in reverse a couple of times. Life The Universe And Everything uses plot elements from an aborted Doctor Who movie script ("Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen"), while Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency reuses elements from the Doctor Who story "Shada", which was never completed due to industrial action, and steals even more elements from "City of Death", which was made and aired. If you know this, you can see how the characters correspond: Slartibartfast and Trillian carry out plot segments meant for the Doctor and Sarah Jane, while Dirk Gently features a "Regius Professor of Chronology" instead of a Time Lord, who shares the Doctorlike role with Dirk.
Television[edit | hide]
- Some versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Parody.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Sub Rosa was initially pitched by a freelance writer, later developed into a story credit by Jeri Taylor and a teleplay by Brannon Braga. Many felt the final product was basically the Anne Rice novel The Witching Hour - only with Doctor Crusher and a Techno Babble "ghost." Taylor denied Rice's novel as the inspiration, instead saying they were simply doing an homage to The Innocents movie and utilizing various gothic tropes.
- Much like "The Slaver Weapon" example below, the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Catspaw" was loosely based on the writer Robert Bloch's earlier unrelated short story "Broomstick Ride" (though with a different ending).
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Touhou doujin. An example: a doujin that takes place in normal world, the main character is Youmu, and she is doing some errand for her landlady(?) Yuyuko. In doing so, she meets a lot of Touhou characters doing normal things that normal people do. For example, Eirin is running a drug store. The doujin would have made a very poignant philosophical discourse about the impermanent nature of everything. (In Japanese, they call this mono no aware.)
- Larry Niven's Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Slaver Weapon" was actually another story of his, "The Soft Weapon", Trekified.
- Which, incidentally, makes his Kzin race—and all that implies—Star Trek canon. At least, if you consider TAS canon.
- Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late night "adult" programming block has a few shows wherein the entire premise is the as-blatant-as-possible application of this trope to the original source material, usually utterly forgettable and short-lived Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows from the Animation Age Ghetto:
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, using characters from the original Birdman now employed at a law firm taking on defendants/characters from more famous cartoons of the same time period. Puts new meaning to the phrase Lawyer-Friendly Cameo.
- Space Ghost Coast To Coast, using characters from the original Space Ghost for a late night talk show format to lampoon live-action guests.
- The Brak Show, using secondary characters from Space Ghost in a Dom Com format, only to, in turn, steer away from this into more random territory.
- Sealab 2021, using characters from the original SeaLab 2020 to...continue finding new depths of human stupidity in order to bring about their own demise.
- The Sonic Underground show was accused of this as it involved only Sonic, Robotnik and Knuckles as the original characters. Most background characters were more alienesque than animal, Sonic had a brother and sister who made up a rock band and was a prince, and the hook was that every episode the moral of the episode would be summed up in one song.