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When a work becomes popular, it is likely to get adapted to another medium, often by people of a completely different mind than the original author. Sometimes the adaptation stays true to the source, at least enough to please the author. But sometimes, the adaptation makes the author cry, and cry very vocally against it.

A few authors will have enough pull to limit the distribution of the adaptation, or disallow further derivative works based on it. But in most cases, the creator signed away the rights long ago, and can do little more about it than write Strongly Worded Letters and perhaps strive for more creative control in the future.

This trope is limited to works that were adapted while the creator of the original was still alive. We might like to think of some posthumous adaptations that the authors were rolling in their graves, but we'll never know what they really think. It's also worth nothing that several examples here, while disliked by the creator, were very well received by critics and audiences...so this does not automatically mean the result of the adaptation was terrible.

A variant of Creator Backlash. See also Canon Dis Continuity. Contrast Creator Preferred Adaptation.

Examples of Disowned Adaptation include:


Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Bruce Timm implied in an interview for Justice League: Gods and Monsters that he isn't a fan of Harley Quinn's New 52 redesign and those derived from it, hence Harley's death at the hands of Man-Bat in the tie-in miniseries Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles being a Take That to New 52 Harley.
  • The Malibu Comics adaptation of Street Fighter was cancelled after three issues because, according to a statement at the end of the third issue, Capcom themselves didn't like it. The comics made several controversial changes, the most notorious of which was having Ken Masters get killed and scalped by Sagat and Balrog in the second issue.

Film

  • Similar to the Jerry Lewis and Don Mancini examples below, Roger Corman disowned the Death Race remake and its sequels, which is why he (like Mancini and Lewis) pulled the Reboot Discontinuity trope and made a sequel to the original movie.
  • Don Mancini, the major creative force behind Child's Play, disowned the 2019 remake, which is why the upcoming TV series will pull the Reboot Discontinuity trope.
  • Any adaptation of anything ever written by Alan Moore - EVER.
    • V for Vendetta: Moore specifically requested that his name be removed from the production after Joel Silver (the film's producer) lied about Moore's enthusiasm for the shooting script. This, and the rather poor quality of previous adaptations of From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, prompted his (in retrospect, possibly hasty) decision to have his name removed from any and all adaptations of works he has no ownership of, and his pseudo-royalties distributed amongst the relevant artists. Hence, he has received no money from the filmmakers behind V for Vendetta, Constantine, or the Watchmen movie.
    • Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen once said that the best-case scenario of ever getting Moore to watch his movie was that there might come one odd day where Moore accidentally puts the DVD into his player and turns it off after a second. Moore replied to this by saying Snyder was giving the movie too much credit, and also with "I'm never going to watch this fucking thing".
  • Michael Ende requested that the movie adaptation of The Neverending Story be killed before release or, failing that, not be associated with his name in any way. They did neither.
  • Stephen King didn't hate the movie The Lawnmower Man, but sued to get his name off of it because it was largely an In Name Only adaptation.
    • He also had problems with The Shining, feeling that his novel's important themes, such as the disintegration of the family and the dangers of alcoholism, were ignored. He was also opposed to the casting of Jack Nicholson (In fact, he hated it so much that he later produced his own version for television!).
  • Roald Dahl allegedly hated the film version of The Witches so much that he stood outside cinemas with a megaphone telling people not to watch (although he was pleased with the casting of Angelica Huston as the head witch).
  • Elizabeth Knox cried for days after watching the film adaptation of The Vintner's Luck. In a bad way.
  • J. D. Salinger's short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" was adapted to a film called My Foolish Heart in 1949. The film had little resemblance to the original, and Salinger hated it so much, that he never again allowed his work to be filmed.
  • Clive Barker has made this Twitter post regarding Hellraiser Revelations:

Clive Barker: "Hello, my friends. I want to put on record that the flick out there using the word Hellraiser IS NO FUCKIN' CHILD OF MINE! I have NOTHING to do with the fuckin' thing. If they claim its from the mind of Clive Barker, it’s a lie. It's not even from my butt-hole."

  • Graham Dury underwent a full-fledged Creator Breakdown after the release of the widely loathed Fat Slags movie, which he called "crap from start to end".
  • Stanislaw Lem disliked both film versions of his science fiction novel Solaris, stating that they focus on the human characters too much, and miss the actual theme of his novel, which is the impossibility of comprehending a truly alien intelligence.
  • Ayn Rand hated the 1949 movie version of The Fountainhead, even though the screenplay was written by her and barely altered. She refused to let any of her other novels be filmed unless they let her pick the director and edit the film herself.
  • One of the most extreme examples of this trope is Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat, based on Robert Crumb's work. Crumb hated the film so much he killed the character off and refused to use him ever again. He also wasn't too fond of the biography movie, Crumb.
  • At a convention appearance, animator Don Bluth made it very clear that he absolutely hates all of the direct-to-video sequels to his films.[1] His thoughts on them were blunt:

Hate them! Hate them! Those were mechanically produced, they're not making me feel anything, the music is messy, the drawings don't work, the story isn't going anywhere and at the end of it, I just lost time. - Don Bluth

  • Jerry Lewis was supportive of Eddie Murphy's 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor... until he saw how much Toilet Humor there was....which is why he pulled the Reboot Discontinuity card and made an animated sequel to the original 60s version.
  • Peter Chung, the creator of Aeon Flux, has spoken at length about his extreme unhappiness with the live-action film version.
  • Alan Martin, the original writer of the Tank Girl comics, was so unhappy with the film version that he wrote "Tank Girl is dead" in the introduction to the Tank Girl 3 trade paperback, and didn't write the character again for around ten years.
  • Gerry Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds, has gone on record as saying that Team America: World Police was closer to the spirit of the show than Jonathan Frakes' 2004 film adaptation was. Given that he wasn't particularly fond of Team America (mainly due to its raunchy humor, which meant that he couldn't watch it with his grandkids), that's saying something.
  • Joss Whedon and the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, which is why the TV show follows the movie's original script rather than the movie as filmed. When showing Merrick in a flashback, he went out of his way to make Merrick look and sound nothing like Donald Sutherland.
  • The Animated Adaptation of The King and I by Rankin/Bass Productions was so despised by critics and the Rodgers-Hammerstein estate alike that the latter stated there would be no more animated films based on their plays.
  • The 2015 Fantastic Four movie was completely shunned by Marvel Comics, who did everything to disassociate themselves from the film including not mentioning it on their official website. Bear in mind that they listed all other movie adaptations made by other companies, including the infamous Howard the Duck. It's really telling that Stan Lee, the team's co-creator, declined to make his obligatory cameo in the film, not out of health or scheduling issues, and instead appeared in Tim Miller's Deadpool movie. It also has yet to be assigned an official reality number in the Marvel Multiverse, something that even the unreleased 1994 The Fantastic Four movie and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark received, and The Punisher #12 had Ink Suit Actors of the film's cast get violently killed off in an explosion.[2]
  • Akira Toriyama was not pleased with Dragon Ball Evolution, as it was bordering on an In Name Only adaptation. His comments at the time of the film's release can be read as polite disappointment, asking fans to view it as a "separate dimension" of the franchise, but by the time of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods (which he was spurred to work on in part because of his dissatisfaction with Evolution), he was much more openly negative. The movie was further disowned when Ben Ramsey, the movie's own screenwriter, expressed his disdain for the finished script in this video. Ramsey, intending to stay fairly faithful to the series while also having Evolution do its own thing, had much of his original ideas nixed and executive meddled away by the producers.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko seem to share their fanbase's distaste for M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation The Last Airbender, having said in interviews that it distorted their vision of Avatar and have even warned people, including members of the original cast, not to watch it.
  • When creating Ashley Kafka for Spider-Man, J.M. DeMatteis based and named her after a close friend of his, Frayda Kafka. As you can imagine, the real-life Kafka was not happy with the character being Gender Flipped and turned into a Josef Mengele-esque Mad Scientist for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, nor, for that matter, is she happy with Dan Slott killing her off in Superior Spider-Man.
  • George Lucas once famously said of the much reviled Star Wars Holiday Special, "If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that special and smash it."
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic holds a reputation as one of the worst horror sequels ever made, an opinion that is shared by, among (many, many) others, William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin, the respective writer and director of The Exorcist (Blatty having written both the original novel and the screenplay for the movie). Blatty said that he was the first person in his theater to start laughing at the film, while Friedkin compared it to witnessing a traffic accident and recounted a story of Warner Bros. executives being chased from the theater by angry moviegoers within ten minutes. Blatty, in fact, went so far as to write Legion, an official sequel to The Exorcist, specifically because of what a disservice to his work he felt had been done by The Heretic, despite having never originally intended to write a sequel. Legion would later be adapted as The Exorcist III: Legion, which took only the first film as canon and which Blatty personally wrote and directed.
  • Scott Spencer hated both film adaptations of Endless Love. For clarity's sake, the novel is about a Stalker with a Crush, and the extremes he goes to in order to be with the object of his obsession. Both films went for a straightforward romance.
  • Many people who worked on other incarnations of the Transformers franchise have expressed distaste for the live-action films:
  • Pamela Lyndon Travers hated the Disney film adaptation of her ''[[Mary Poppins]]'' books. When a stage musical was made in the '90s, Travers made the condition that no one from the film production were to be involved with the making of the musical.

Live Action TV

  • The author of the manga Hagane No Onna was very displeased by the live action adaptation of her manga. Specifically the depiction of teachers, handicapped children and the children's guardians in the second episode of the live-action series. She asked for her name to be taken off the credits as a result.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin loathed the Sci-Fi Channel's Earthsea Trilogy mini-series.
  • A Newsweek interviewer asked Madeleine L'Engle about the ABC made-for-TV adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and got the following response:

L'Engle: I've glimpsed it."
Newsweek: And did it meet expectations?"
L'Engle: "Oh, yes. I expected it to be bad, and it is."

Theatre

  • George Bernard Shaw hated The Chocolate Soldier, adapted from his play Arms and the Man, so much that no other musical adaptations of his plays appeared in his lifetime. The film version of The Chocolate Soldier, an adaptation In Name Only, was barred from using anything from Shaw's play.

Video Games

To be honest, I'm not very happy. The original story is complete as it is, so it's outrageous to add or modify the images and script. However, games are a different media so I think it's fine. The thing I hate most about the games are that even though they use the name (Gundam SEED Destiny), the contents are totally no good... There are many people who think that way, and there are many staff members who work really hard on making (these games), so I don't object. However, spare me from the people who come and go "Director, you're happy too aren't you?" - Mitsuo Fukuda

I really don’t like saying this, but (the NES version) really wasn't up to my standards. The care that I put in the original (MSX2 game) wasn't there. [The NES version] was a more difficult game. In the very beginning, when you go from the entrance into the fortress, for example, there are dogs there. In the NES version, the dogs just come after you and you get killed. It was too difficult to get into the fortress. The fun stealth element was not there, and the actual Metal Gear, the robot, doesn't appear in the game. - Hideo Kojima

  • Henk Rogers, co-founder of The Tetris Company, regrets lending the Tetris name to Tetris Attack, which was actually a modified U.S. version of the Super Famicom puzzle game Panel De Pon. He doesn't disapprove of the game itself so much as he felt that publishing it under the Tetris name didn't allow it to stand under its own merits. Localizations of later versions dropped the "Tetris" name completely and were released under the title of Puzzle League instead.

Tetris Attack was a good game! But the game should have had its own life, its own name. - Henk Rogers

  • Tom Itagaki, director of the Xbox version of Ninja Gaiden, disowns the PS3 version (Ninja Gaiden Sigma) to the point that he will refuse to autograph any copy of the game handed to him. Tecmo later went on to develop a PS3 version of Ninja Gaiden II as well titled Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 after Itagaki left the company, despite the fact that Itagaki was adamant about keeping Ninja Gaiden II an Xbox 360-exclusive.

(Ninja Gaiden Sigma) was no good. - Tom Itagaki

I understand why fans who've never played the Saturn version would be interested in those features, but I really, really don't feel good about them. I couldn't put my name on that stuff and present it to Castlevania fans. - Koji Igarashi

  • Shinji Mikami intended Resident Evil 4 to be a Game Cube-exclusive and said he would commit harakiri if the game was ever ported to another platform. When Capcom decided to develop a Play Station 2 version against Mikami's wishes, he quit the company to form Platinum Games with fellow Capcom exile Hideki Kamiya.
  • South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have admitted that part of the reason why they're overseeing the development of the upcoming MMORPG based on the series, South Park: The Stick of Truth, is because they disliked the Acclaim-published games released during the show's early years.
  • Running With Scissors, makers of the Postal games, farmed out Postal III to Russian studio Akella. After seeing the "finished" product, they regretted the decision. They pulled the game from their store and refuse to acknowledge it as part of the series, referring to it as "Russian Postal" and "Akella's Postal spinoff".

Western Animation

  • The Animated Adaptation of Charlotte's Web made by Hanna-Barbera was despised by E.B. White, the author of the original book, because he said that "the story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I don't care much for jolly songs. The Blue Hill Fair, which I tried to report faithfully in the book, has become a Disney World, with 76 trombones. But that's what you get for getting embroiled in Hollywood." E.B. White's wife wrote a letter to Gene Deitch (who, ironically, is friends with E.B. White) in 1977 saying: "We have never ceased to regret that your version of Charlotte's Web never got made. The Hanna-Barbera version has never pleased either of us... a travesty..."
  • Pogo creator Walt Kelly despised Chuck Jones' The Special Pogo Birthday Special, mainly for mucking about with what Kelly wanted, and how "he took all the sharpness out of it and put in that sweet, saccharine stuff that Chuck Jones always THINKS is Disney, but isn't." Considering Kelly was a former Disney animator, he wasn't saying that lightly.
  • Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed is disappointed by the 1991 animated special based on one of his books, A Wish for Wings That Work (which itself is based on Bloom County), because of the overall results, despite being credited as writer and executive producer.
    • When asked about a copy of the special on VHS or DVD in a 2003 interview, Breathed replied that "Hopefully in the rubbish pail. We can do better than that and we will with an eventual Opus film.. but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I presume your family was on speed when they watched it. I would imagine it helps."
    • In a 2007 interview, Breathed claims that the reason he dislikes the special was simply "unspectacular ratings" and his humor "wasn't meant for television, even if it was done right." Another reason was his "lack of writing experience" and the director was way over his head. He also would have preferred Sterling Holloway to provide the voice for Opus.
  • It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown upset Charles Schulz by showing the Little Red-Haired Girl and giving her a name (Heather) as he had wanted her to remain The Ghost. He subsequently declared that the TV specials weren't canon and only the comic strip counted (not that that stopped him from continuing to help write the TV specials).
  • Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories books, does not care for the American animated series from the early 2000s, stating that he had a "negative experience" with it.
  • While Thomas the Tank Engine was originally supported by the Awdrys, they came to dislike the increased changes and gimmicky storylines that followed Season 2.

Notes

  1. With the sole exception of Bartok the Magnificent, which was the only sequel he worked on, and he even recommended watching it in his book The Art of Storyboard.
  2. Except for Michael B. Jordan, who would later go on to play the main antagonist in the 2018 Black Panther movie.
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