Created By: Hero_Gal_2347 on January 14, 2014 Last Edited By: Hero_Gal_2347 on January 23, 2014
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Mistaken For Own Murderer

A transformed/disguised hero is mistaken for having killed himself

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Maybe Bob is undercover to avoid a Frame-Up. Maybe he touched the wrong artifact and became a Baleful Polymorph. The point is, he's looking different, often monstrous. Then Alice and Charlie catch him with his personal effects. Uh oh. Bob has just been Mistaken for Own Murderer.

A subtrope of Mistaken Identity. See also Guilt by Coincidence. Contrast Tomato in the Mirror and Kill and Replace.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • Iron Man used to be known for body guarding Tony Stark. On an occasion where he couldn't take off the suit, Stark's disappearance made people suspect Iron Man.
  • In "The Monster From Krypton", red Kryptonite transforms Superman into a dragon-like creature called a drang. When he holds his cape to communicate the change, Jimmy Olsen thinks the monster killed him and alerts Supergirl and the army.
  • In Swamp Thing, government agent Matthew Cable, encountering the title character for the first time, believes that he's Alec Holland's murderer. Eventually the Swamp Thing manages to convince him that he is Holland or so he and everyone assumes prior to the Alan Moore Retcon.

Film - Animated
  • In Brave, Fergus stumbles on Elinor's torn dress and then on her bear-self attacking Merida. He nearly kills her before he discovers who she is.
  • In Brother Bear, Kenai and his brother Denahi are tracking down the bear who killed their oldest brother Sitka. Kenai corners the bear and kills it, but the spirits turn him into a bear directly afterwards. When Denahi arrives on the scene, he sees Bear!Kenai and thinks it is the bear that killed Sitka, surmising that it killed Kenai too. He spends the rest of the movie tracking down Kenai to kill him for...killing Kenai
  • Invoked by Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove. She tells the guards that Pacha and Kuzco (who has been turned into a llama) murdered the emperor (Kuzco).
    Kuzco: No, wait I'm the emperor! It's me Kuzco!... They're not listening!
  • In Shrek, Donkey thinks an ogre ate Fiona after he finds one in her room. She calms him down enough to tell him that it's her curse.

Film - Live-Action

Literature
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Man With The Twisted Lip", the titular man is actually the gentleman he was accused of murdering in disguise. A rare example where he was not trying to prove his identity. He didn't want to shame his family with the revelation that he'd been begging as an occupation.
  • When Eustace from Voyage of the Dawn Treader wanders away and is involuntarily transformed into a dragon, his companions frantically search the island for the missing boy. On first sighting Eustace as a dragon, they initially assume he's the monster that ate Eustace, although he's able to prove his identity with body language.

Live-Action TV
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "A New Man" Giles has been tranformed into a Fyral demon which is thought by the gang to have killed Giles.
    Buffy: (stabbing Demon!Giles) This is for Giles!
    Giles: For me?
  • The Incredible Hulk is suspected in the death of David Banner, because no one knows Banner's secret.

Theatre
  • A non-murderous variant occurs in Dario Fo's play Trumpets and Raspberries, in which an industry mogul is under arrest for his own kidnap after a case of Mistaken Identity followed by restorative Magic Plastic Surgery.

Western Animation
  • On Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Buzz and Mira are exposed to Zurg's latest evil concoction that transforms and fuses them into a single amorphous blob creature unable to talk. When Booster and XR find the blob next to Buzz and Mira's empty uniforms they assume it ate them.
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Hard Knocks", Susan tells Reed that the Hulk killed Bruce. Reed renders Banner unconscious, undoing the transformation and revealing the Hulk's Secret Identity.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob and Patrick fall in love with one of Sandy's pets, a caterpillar named Wormy. When Wormy transforms into a butterfly overnight, they, having never seen such a thing, assume it's a monster that ate Wormy... and they were next!
  • In one episode of Visionaries, Leoric gets Mode Locked as a lion, and his fellow Spectral Knights who know he shapeshifts into a lion assume this other lion killed him.
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • January 14, 2014
    randomsurfer
    the Hulk is wanted for one murder and one suspeted murder, both of which he didn't commit but only one of which is himself. Banner's girlfriend died in the same lab explosion which allegedly killed Banner. Her body was found but his was never recovered.

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer: In "A New Man" Giles has been tranformed into a Fyral demon which is thought by the gang to have killed Giles.
    Buffy: (stabbing Demon!Giles) This is for Giles!
    Giles: For me?
  • January 14, 2014
    Koveras
    Contrast Kill And Replace, where the murderer's intention is to be mistaken for the victim.
  • January 14, 2014
    robinjohnson
  • January 14, 2014
    TonyG
    On Sponge Bob Square Pants, SpongeBob and Patrick fall in love with one of Sandy's pets, a caterpillar named Wormy. When Wormy transforms into a butterfly overnight, they, having never seen such a thing, assume it's a monster that ate Wormy... and they were next!
  • January 14, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 15, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Not to be confused with Mistaken For Murderer.

    What do you guys think? Does that merit a new title to avoid confusion?
  • January 17, 2014
    MorganWick
  • January 17, 2014
    SharleeD
    • When Eustace from Voyage of the Dawn Treader wanders away and is involuntarily transformed into a dragon, his companions frantically search the island for the missing boy. On first sighting Eustace as a dragon, they initially assume he's the monster that ate Eustace, although he's able to prove his identity with body language.
  • January 18, 2014
    darthcaliber
    On Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command, Buzz and Mira are exposed to Zurg's latest evil concoction that transforms and fuzes them into a single amorphous blob creature unable to talk. When Booster and XR find the blob next to Buzz and Mira's empty uniforms they assume it ate them.

  • January 18, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    ^^ Does that cover have copyright on it? I think that would prohibit using it.
  • January 18, 2014
    MorganWick
    We have plenty of other Silver Age covers as images. My main concern was the quality of the version I linked to.
  • January 18, 2014
    darthcaliber
    Would it count if someone lies in order to intentionally invoke this? examples:

    The Emperors New Groove: Izma summons guards and tells them that Pacha and Kuzco (who's currently turned into a llama) "murdered the emperor".
    Kuzco: No, wait I'm the emperor! It's me Kuzco!... They're not listening!

    and of course

    The Empire Strikes Back: Luke believes Vader killed his father because Obi-Wan told him so. He's wrong.
  • January 19, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ That'd be a subversion, but it counts
  • January 19, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    ^^^^^^^ That might work. It looks pretty clear to me.

    Does anyone know how to fix the quote size dissimilarity in the Buffy example?
  • January 19, 2014
    MorganWick
    ^My quality concern had to do with the stripe pattern you can see on the cover if you look carefully (the blank yellow wall is where it's most obvious). Here's another version.
  • January 19, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    I think the second is better.
  • January 21, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Have you read the comic to make sure it fits?
  • January 21, 2014
    AliceMacher
    • In Swamp Thing, government agent Matthew Cable, encountering the title character for the first time, believes that he's Alec Holland's murderer. Eventually the Swamp Thing manages to convince him that he is Holland or so he and everyone assumes prior to the Alan Moore Retcon.
  • January 21, 2014
    MorganWick
  • January 21, 2014
    TheTitan99
    Hmm... I hope I'm wording this well enough so people not familiar with the show would be able to actually understand it.

    • When the Doctor regenerates into a new body in Doctor Who, Rose thinks that he's actually been replaced by a shapeshifting alien.
  • January 22, 2014
    Snicka
    The Emperors New Groove is listed under "Film" while Shrek and Brave are listed under "Western Animation", while technically all three are animated films.
  • January 22, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced the examples + created a Film - Animated section for the above mentioned films.
  • January 22, 2014
    DaibhidC
    Western Animation
    • In one episode of Visionaries, Leoric gets Mode Locked as a lion, and his fellow Spectral Knights who know he shapeshifts into a lion assume this other lion killed him.
  • January 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    ^^^ Replaced in what way? Did she consider it an aggressive move?

    Okay, stupid question. Could you give a few more details? It just seems different from the others.

  • January 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Can any of you guys suggest ways to get this a few more hats?
  • January 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Thanks to whoever added that last one.
  • January 22, 2014
    somerandomdude
    In Brother Bear, Kenai and his brother Denahi are tracking down the bear who killed their oldest brother Sitka. Kenai corners the bear and kills it, but the spirits turn him into a bear directly afterwards. When Denahi arrives on the scene, he sees Bear!Kenai and thinks it is the bear that killed Sitka, surmising that it killed Kenai too. He spends the rest of the movie tracking down Kenai to kill him for...killing Kenai.
  • January 23, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Awesome! Thank you guys for your help.
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