Difference Between Spin-Off and Reboot (With Table)

Spin-off and a reboot are two distinct terms which are used to distinguish the genre of films and series.

Spin-Off vs Reboot

The main difference between a spin-off and reboot is that a spin-off is related to the original version in some way or the other whereas a reboot version doesn’t have any connection with the older version of the series.

The literal meaning of the term spin-off is ‘a by-product or incidental result of a larger project.’ A similar explanation for this term can be given in terms of media too. A spin-off in media refers to a type of series where a character from the original series develops his/her own series.

It is a kind of series which runs parallel to the original series. It is like a sequel which runs side by side of the original version. The character is initially not a protagonist. He/she performs a supporting or side role in the original series but becomes the lead character in the spin-off series. So it is more or less a type of by-product of the original series.

The term reboot if considered in the literal sense is a computing term which means restarting a computer system. A similar type of explanation can be offered for this term in terms of media also. Reboot means restarting an established series from the beginning. It doesn’t continue with its original characters, plotlines or backstory.

It aims at recreating the story and its characters to give the old series a fresh start. It is a way of rebranding an old series. Only the core elements of the original version are retained in the reboot version and rest all are cut out.

Making a reboot series is a way of gaining more viewership as people who are unfamiliar with the original version also can watch the reboot one.


Comparison Table Between Spin-Off and Reboot (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of comparison




The characters who had a supporting or side role become the protagonist.

The characters are recreated and do not bear resemblance to the original characters.


The storyline may or may not be completely connected with the original version.

The plotline of the original version and reboot version does not bear any similarity.

Where it can be seen

Spin-offs usually occur in series.

A reboot can be seen in comics, movies, TV and video games.

Other names

It can be considered a sequel.

It can be considered similar to a remake.

Why this occurs

When an actor playing a lead role in the original version decides to opt-out of the show. When the creators of the original version wish to highlight a separate perspective.

When a story which has been running for a long time becomes dull and stagnant and fails to attract the viewers.


The characters played by Lynda Bellingham and Julia Sawalha is a UK TV series called “Second Thoughts” was later seen in the series “Faith in the Future”.

An example of a reboot film is The Amazing Spider-Man (2012 film).


What is Spin-Off?

A spin-off can be considered as a by-product of an established series. It happens when a character of the original series (other than the protagonist) gets to develop his/her own series in which he/she plays the lead role and the story revolves around this character.

This usually happens when the makers want to bring in light a different perspective from the eyes of the character which wasn’t given much attention in the original series. In this way, the original version gets interpreted in a different way from the eyes of a different person.

may not like the spin-off version. Sometimes the viewers are attached to the original version and they don’t want to accept any changes or any new version in that story.

Spin-off version mostly runs parallel to the original version. That is why it is also called a sequel.


What is Reboot?

Imagine you have been watching 12 seasons of a particular series and then after some time the makers decide to start again with season 1 with a different storyline and different characters.

When such a thing happens to a series, comic, movie or a video game then it is known as a reboot. It is a kind of restarting the old series once again but with a different background and plotline.

In the reboot version, all the unnecessary elements are deleted and only core ones are included. Reboot version is made when the old story becomes stale and boring and fails to attract the audience. Reboot version is a good way of exploring an old story with a new theme.

Main Differences Between Spin-Off and Reboot

  1. While spin-off is an enhanced version of the original series, a reboot is a new version which is based on the original series.
  2. While the spin-off has the same characters, the reboot version has new and recreated characters.
  3. While spin-off runs parallel to the original version, a reboot is a new version of the old story.
  4. Spin-off adds a new perspective to the original version whereas reboot adds newness to the old version.
  5. The spin-off is usually seen in a series, but reboot can be seen in comic books, television serials, movies and even in video games.



Spin-off and reboot are different in their own ways from each other. But they both perform a common function of bringing into light something new based on the older version of the series.

They have different characteristics and features but they do a job of highlighting the unseen aspects of something older. Spin-off and reboot both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

It is equally possible for the viewers to like or dislike a change in the old series. Sometimes it happens that the old thing is best when it remains untouched. But sometimes, the unthinkable parts enhances the old version in a better way.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=IvK4CwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Spin-Off+and+Reboot&ots=r6o71h4FZq&sig=a_EUKed6zuv0Q6iWu4eirSKx6vY
  2. https://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/abs/10.3828/extr.2017.10