I’m currently playing Dragonlance, and none of us took on the roles of the canonical / pregenerated characters directly as we make our shambolic way through events somewhat familiar from reading the first trilogy of novels decades ago.
We do, however, have a player who has read the books playing a Red High Sorcerer of suspect motivation, the defining shtick of one of the standout characters, and another who hasn’t read the books playing a half-elf would-be Solamnic Knight who started with the staff of healing and became a healer following the good gods - the defining shticks of all three characters on the cover of the first novel. His player stepped onto all of them quite by accident, and her character makes sense with each, but it’s still kind of odd.
I myself don’t really fit any of the main characters, and purposely ducked out of being a leader type. (If I fit any character’s defining shtick, it’s Han Solo.) This is a deliberate choice on my part, for one thing not wanting to deal with the magic system or any complicated classes, and for another not wanting to push the game down the rails the books ride on. I have picked up a relatively minor plot complication - a foe from the past being an ally, a reverse of the Kitiara problem - so I’m not totally out of place.
If you replaced the protagonists of an existing story rather than playing alongside them, how would you do it? Do you follow their style, think “what would I have done differently?” or try to keep knowledge of plot, setting and characters out of your head?