Created By: Kayube on March 19, 2011 Last Edited By: Kayube on October 3, 2011

Substitute Self

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Someone needs to go on an adventure or otherwise leave their usual routine behind. However, whether it be because of a Secret Identity, the Masquerade, or whatever, nobody involved in that person's normal life can know that they're gone. Thus, the Substitute Self is needed: a robot double, a hologram, or just someone else in disguise to take a character's place.

Related to Identity Impersonator, which is a temporary form of this done specifically to protect the Secret Identity by having the substitute and the main character seen together. Sleeping Dummy is a version of this for sleeping, which can be much less intricate because it doesn't have to act like the person.

  • This was inspired by reading about some examples of this happening in Animorphs, but specifics are needed.
  • The second The Santa Clause includes a robot Santa to replace the regular Santa- the robot then turns evil.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • March 19, 2011
    In Who Censored Roger Rabbit? toons have "doppelgangers," which they can spontaneously generate, to use basically as stunt doubles. They die after a few minutes or hours, depending on how durable the parent toon makes them. The Roger we meet in the book is actually a very well made doppelganger which lasts 72 hours.
  • March 19, 2011
    Superman's got a bunch of robotic duplicates that can sub for him, depending on the situation and continuity. (This was a big thing during the Silver Age.)
  • March 20, 2011
    Comic Books

    • The Last Starfighter. When Centauri takes Alex Rogan to the Starfighter base he leaves a Beta Unit (android) that assumes Alex's form and takes his place.
  • March 20, 2011
  • March 20, 2011
    • During the "Putting It Together" sequence from Sunday In The Park With George, George summons cardboard cutouts of himself to stand in with the various people he needs to smooze, so that he can voice his actual thoughts.
  • March 20, 2011
    • In Agent Cody Banks, when Cody has to sneak out to rescue his girlfriend from the Big Bad's Evil Lair, he has his younger brother cover for him by pretending to be him sleeping in, and playing pre-recorded messages when his mom comes to check up on him.
  • March 20, 2011
    In Generator Rex, Bobo has a robot replica to stand in for him when he needs to go AWOL. Rex is disturbed by the fact that the robot acts too nice and reprograms him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • March 20, 2011
    Phule: Willard Phule has a robotic duplicate of himself built.
  • July 12, 2011
    Compare Actually A Doombot.

    • In Card Captor Sakura all of the Clow Cards have a personality of their own. Sakura used the Mirror card to create a duplicate of herself so she could go adventuring. Interestingly, her brother could see the Mirror card wasn't his sister, and cared for her anyway.
  • July 12, 2011
    Naruto once used a shadow doppelganger to trick Yamato into thinking he was lying in bed when he was already miles away.
  • July 13, 2011
    • The Simpsons:
      • In one episode Homer sneaked out of work by creating a double which consisted of a scarecrow type thing with his clothes on, and a recording of Homer singing a Mondegreened version of "She Works Hard for the Money." The dummy ws promoted to a corner office, then caught fire.
      • In another episode Lisa encountered Bart in the hall at school; in shop class he had built a fake Bart to take his place in his classroom. This becomes a Chekhovs Gun when he builds a fake Lisa for a school assembly.
  • July 13, 2011
    Anime and Manga
    • In DN Angel, Wiz has the power to take the for of the main character Daisuke Niwa, which is sometimes used to to cover for Daisuke when he has taken the form of his Alter Ego, the Phantom Thief Dark.
  • July 13, 2011
    In the Turn Back The Pendulum arc of Bleach, Sosuke Aizen uses his zanpakuto's illusion ability on an underling to make him appear just like him. Combined with training that underling to walk and act and talk just like him, it makes for a perfect substitute that fools all the soul reaper captains. In the meantime, Aizen commits all sorts of evil.
  • July 13, 2011
    • Spongebob Squarepants:
      • Spongebob does this in the Chaperone episode. The Spongebob that Pearl went to the prom with was actually a dummy.
  • July 13, 2011
    In Diane Duane's Young Wizards books, one of the first things Dairine does with wizardry is make a copy of herself to stay home so her parents won't worry while she goes off teleporting around the galaxy.
  • July 13, 2011
    Also in Bleach, this was the original intended purpose of Kon the Mod Soul. He has since been disallowed from this, except in extreme emergencies, because he would use it to perverted ends. Other Mod Souls, without real personalities, have since been introduced to do the job.
  • July 13, 2011
    Soap: Burt gets abducted by aliens, but the aliens don't want his family to know that he's been abducted so they send down an alien that has been Plebitoniumally changed to look like Burt. Who then proceeds to have lots of sex with Burt's wife, and possibly knock her up with a Half Human Hybrid.
  • July 13, 2011
    to elaborate on the Animorphs example, they had some allies that were androids with hologram projectors that used their holograms to impersonate the kids when the kids were on missions for days straight.
  • July 28, 2011
    In The Year of the Griffin, Lukin makes one to hide from his father.
  • July 28, 2011
    • In an episode of iCarly, Carly and her friends aren't allowed to an event that they really want to attend. Through their website, they hire some people who look like them at a glance and use recordings of their voices to trick Spencer into thinking that they're home.
  • October 3, 2011
    So do you think this might be launchable? It looks like there are a lot of examples...
  • October 3, 2011
    • In the Batman TV series one time Alfred dressed up in the Batman costume to cover for Bruce Wayne, who was missing. He used a voice modulator to imitate Batman's voice and stood far away - claiming he had a cold and didn't want to spread it.
    • In an infamous issue of Action Comics Superman told JFK his Secret Identity, and had him dress up and pretend to be him. This was in an issue that hit stands just about the same time JFK was assassinated.
    • Superman and Batman have dressed up as each other a time or two in order to "prove" that the other wasn't their secret identity.
    • Lois And Clark: Ma Kent whipped up a Superman hologram to appear at the same time as Clark Kent.
    • At the end of The Death Of Superman storyline, Supergirl (who could shapeshift) pretended to be Superman and "rescued" Clark Kent from where he had been buried in rubble.
    • The Prince And The Pauper - this is why the Prince wants the Pauper to switch identities with him. See also Prince And Pauper.