Created By: Jordan on June 28, 2011 Last Edited By: hamza678 on March 7, 2016
Troped

Secret Identity Vocal Shift

When a character is in costume, their speech (i.e. tone of voice, accent, etc.) markedly changes

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Trope
Up for Grabs. Think this is distinct from the more appearance-oriented Clark Kenting (also thought it would be good to have something to cover the non-evil instances of Evil Sounds Deep). This is an effective way to maintain a Secret Identity and it can also suggest a case of Secret Identity if you consider that the person's two identities have totally different voices and mannerisms.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Film
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy
    • The deepening of Bruce Wayne's voice when he puts on the Batman costume is taken Up to Eleven- he sounds like he's gargling with gravel. Oddly, he still does this even when he's talking to people as Batman who know his secret identity.
    • He takes this to another level in Batman Begins where he has his normal Bruce Wayne voice, a raspy voice for talking to allies as Batman, and the gravel-gargling voice he uses when trying to scare the crap out of bad guys.
  • In Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan plays with this a bit - speaking in his dramatic superhero voice when trying to impress Carol Ferris as Green Lantern, but she soon sees through this.
    Carol: I've seen you NAKED! Did you think I wouldn't recognize you because you covered up your cheekbones?!
  • Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious in Star Wars. Palpatine loses the "normal" voice entirely after Mace Windu's attack, when he becomes Emperor.
  • In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in the scenes where Bond is impersonating an expert on heraldry George Lazenby is dubbed by the actor who played the real expert.

Live-Action TV Radio
  • The Ur-Example is probably the 1940s Radio Drama The Adventures of Superman, in which voice actor Bud Collyer shifted his speech down an octave each time he switched from Clark Kent to the costumed hero. (This carried over to his later work in Superman cartoons, as previously mentioned.)
Video Games
  • Ratchet & Clank
    • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, the Thief sounds like a digitally distorted man while wearing their costume, but she has a regular-sounding female voice once the costume is off.
    • In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, at one point, Ratchet pretends to be Dr. Nefarious in order to use the laser in his space station to destroy his fleet of ships. This disguise, of course, comes with that character's voice.
Web Comics Western Animation
  • In DuckTales, Fenton Crackshell is a nebbishy accountant with a voice to match, but when he puts on the Gizmo Duck costume, he becomes The Cape and starts talking in stock hero speak.
  • While less drastic than in the Nolan films, in Batman: The Animated Series, Batman has a lower voice than Bruce Wayne.
  • The Spectacular Spiderman
    • Quentin Beck who is a fairly mild-mannered guy talks in a hammy faux-British accent when being Mysterio.
    • The Green Goblin has a personality so different from his civilian identity that it is appropriately represented by giving the two separate voice actors. Interestingly, this version of the Goblin isn't crazy (Well, technically. He's probably a psychopath, but he doesn't have multiple personality disorder).
  • Just like the original Batman, in Batman Beyond Terry's voice also changes in when he's in the bat-suit, though it's explained to be something the suit actually does somehow to help disguise his identity.
Unlike BTAS, The New Batman Adventures and following DCAU entries avert this, with Batman and Bruce Wayne having the same voice.
Community Feedback Replies: 51
  • June 28, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
  • June 28, 2011
    kentdyson88
    In the Fleischer Superman cartoons as well the Filmation cartoon in the 60's Bud Collyer gives Superman a deeper lower voice while Clark Kent is very soft spoken.
  • June 28, 2011
    JonnyB
  • June 28, 2011
    fluffything
    Not sure if it counts, but, Dr. Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show was able to perfectly mimic Brad's and/or Janet's voices when disguised as them in order to seduce them.
  • June 29, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Superman and Superman II. When he's playing Clark Kent, Superman raises the pitch of his voice slightly and also tends to talk in a goofy or bland manner. This helps to convince others that Clark and Superman are two different people.
  • June 29, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Smallville Green Arrow did this with the help of a voice modulator. So did Clark, but only when he was on the phone with Lois.
  • June 29, 2011
    PaulA
    Does this include cases where the character changes his/her voice so much it's actually done by a different actor? Because I can think of a few of those.
  • June 29, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    I we including cases where the alter ego causes a physical transformation of the body, or is an entirely new identity in and of itself? I'm thinking of Dark in DN Angel.
  • June 29, 2011
    tmarcl
    • Also in Smallville, Hawkman changes his voice to a more gravely tone than his alter ego has.

  • June 29, 2011
    Koveras
    Unlike BTAS, The New Batman Adventures and following DCAU entries avert this, with Batman and Bruce Wayne having the same voice.

  • June 29, 2011
    jcdietz03
    You should put in the description the related trope - that thing where the voice doesn't change but everyone can't figure out who it is anyway.
  • October 23, 2011
    NESBoy
    In the Batman television series, Bruce Wayne was put into a situation involving him Holding Both Sides Of The Conversation. Since he's on a phoneline, it's just a simple matter of switching between his Batman voice and his Bruce voice.
  • October 24, 2011
    X2X
    Compare/constrast Power Makes Your Voice Deep.
  • October 24, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    • Gohan in Dragon Ball Z tries to do this when he's posing as The Great Saiyaman, but he often forgets or flubs up.
  • October 24, 2011
    Gatchaman432
  • October 24, 2011
    Koveras
    In Watchmen, Rorschach and his civil identity speak very differently, both in the original comics (depicted using different fonts for his speech bubbles) and in the movie.
  • October 24, 2011
    LuxExterior
    For Film:

    • Big Daddy in Kick-Ass does a very convincing impression of Adam West whenever in costume.
  • October 24, 2011
    TrustBen
    Michael Keaton also deepened his voice in the movies where he played Batman. Not so Adam West in the campy Batman TV series.
  • October 24, 2011
    AFP
  • October 24, 2011
    AFP
  • January 4, 2012
    Sailor11sedna
    South Park: A scene in the episode Mysterion Rises makes it perfectly clear that [spoiler]Kenny[/spoiler] is doing this as Mysterion. [spoiler]Although, technically speaking, it's his normal voice that's different every time.[/spoiler]

    The Cowl Growl as heard from Batman in the The Dark Knight and Rorshach in Watchmen has been imitated so often recently that it may be trope-worthy. (My friend insists that a real-life Cowl Wannabe is doing this in Illinois.)
  • January 4, 2012
    randomsurfer
    .
  • January 7, 2012
    PaulA
    ^^ spoiler markup starts with "[[spoiler:" and ends with "]]".
  • January 8, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    Just like the original Batman, in Batman Beyond Terry's voice also changes in when he's in the bat-suit, though it's explained to be something the suit actually does somehow to help disguise his identity.
  • January 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    In The Lone Gunmen, the main characters plus Jimmy and Yvette frequently make use of Latex Perfection, supplemented by voice-changing devices. In one episode, Jimmy disguises himself as AD Skinner and is played for about twenty minutes by Mitch Pileggi.
  • January 8, 2012
    surgoshan
    In Batman The Animated Series, they considered hiring two actors, one for Batman and one for Bruce Wayne. Fortunately they re-auditioned Kevin Conroy.
  • January 10, 2012
    X2X
    "also thought it would be good to have something to cover the non-evil instances of Evil Sounds Deep"

    Power Makes Your Voice Deep, then? Possibly Badass Baritone as well? I'm not saying this is exactly the same thing, but it's a related idea.
  • January 11, 2012
    LarryD
    A Literature example, Miles Vorkosigan switches from a Barrayan to a Betan accent when he's in his role as Miles Nasmith.
  • January 11, 2012
    nman
    • In Community, when Abed dresses up as Batman, he does a vocal shift very similar to Christian Bale's Batman.
  • January 11, 2012
    SharleeD
    • The Ur Example is probably the 1940s Radio Drama The Adventures of Superman, in which voice actor Bud Collyer shifted his speech down an octave each time he switched from Clark Kent to the costumed hero. (This carried over to his later work in Superman cartoons, as previously mentioned.)
  • January 11, 2012
    LeeM
    • In On Her Majestys Secret Service, in the scenes where Bond is impersonating an expert on heraldry George Lazenby is dubbed by the actor who played the real expert.
    • Parodied by Buttercup/"Mange" in the Powerpuff Girls episode where they decide that they all need secret identities to be "real" superheroes.
  • January 14, 2012
    LancelotG
    • In Mew Mew Power, the English version of Tokyo Mew Mew, the Blue Knight is also voiced by the actor who voices Elliot. This is a Red Herring; if the dub had continued, the Blue Knight would have been eventually revealed as Zoey's boyfriend Mark.
  • January 14, 2012
    ryanasaurus0077
    Fan Fics
    • Yuki Nagato's voice becomes slightly higher-pitched and more commanding (and also shows more emotion) as Cure Extraterrestre in SOS Pretty Cure.
  • January 15, 2012
    MyTrainIsOff
    • in Hannan Montana Miley has two different tones of voice depending whether she's Hannah Montana or not
  • January 25, 2012
    TBeholder
    • Noah in El Goonish Shive when he goes all Dark And Mysterious.
      Bwuh? I mean... Bwuh?
  • January 25, 2012
    SharleeD
    • Not a superhero, but in Discworld, Susan Sto Helit often slips into TALKING IN CAPITALS when she's acting out the Duty as Death's granddaughter.
  • January 26, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Fairly Oddparents: Played with. Timmy doesn't bother changing his voice to be Cleft, because he's in a comic book he wished himself into. Charles Hampton Indigo does change his voice between his normal voice and his Crimson Chin voice, but he also has the giant chin and the red cowl on visibly while in his civilian identity.
  • March 4, 2016
    GitarooHero
    Arrow: When dressed as Green Arrow and talking to someone he knows personally, Oliver Queen uses a small handheld device that deepens the formant of his voice with the press of a button.
  • March 4, 2016
    DAN004
    Would artificially-caused voice distortions count? Like Iron Man's helmet making Stark's voice sounding robotic.
  • March 4, 2016
    PaulA
    In Batman Mask Of The Phantasm, the Phantasm's voice is made deeper and raspier by the helmet the Phantasm wears (to the point that it's actually provided by a different actor).
  • March 4, 2016
    Koveras
    Fixed the Code Geass ZCE in the write-up.
  • March 5, 2016
    Arivne
  • March 5, 2016
    DAN004
    Answer my question plz?
  • March 5, 2016
    Koveras
    ^ Just who, pray tell, do you expect the answer from? Have you perhaps not noticed that the OP has been absent for four years now? :-)
  • March 5, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ anyone.
  • March 5, 2016
    NateTheGreat
    I see three categories, does the trope cover all three?
    • The character consciously changes their voice while in uniform.
    • The uniform has a mechanical voice modulator in it for a more believable disguise.
    • The character's voice is naturally different when "powered up" since the transformation makes their body structure different which would extend to vocal cords.
  • March 5, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ 3 would be Power Makes Your Voice Deep, I think?
  • March 7, 2016
    MegaMarioMan
    • In Ratchet And Clank Going Commando, the Thief sounds like a digitally distorted man while wearing their costume, but she has a regular-sounding female voice once the costume is off.
    • In Ratchet And Clank Future A Crack In Time, at one point, Ratchet pretends to be Dr. Nefarious in order to use the laser in his space station to destroy his fleet of ships. This disguise, of course, comes with that character's voice.
  • March 7, 2016
    Prime32
    @Nate The Great: I'd say #3 usually doesn't count - they have to be disguising their voice on purpose, rather than it being a side effect of their powers. You could use #3 for an inversion though - e.g. a character transforms before making a phone call so that the person on the other end won't recognise their voice.
  • March 7, 2016
    rmctagg09
    Webcomics:

  • March 7, 2016
    StarSword
    Film:
    • In The Shadow, Lamont Cranston speaks with a tenor voice (i.e. his actor Alec Baldwin's normal speaking voice) in his civilian guise, but shifts to a deeper, more gravelly as the Shadow. It's unclear whether he's affecting the voice change naturally or using his Master Of Illusion powers as with the facial change in his disguise.
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