Created By: Lumpenprole on February 21, 2012 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on February 28, 2014

Looks Just Like Their Ancestor

When a modern person looks like- or IS- someone in an old painting

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  • When someone today looks exactly like someone in an old painting (or as time marches on, an old photograph) who lived centuries ago, there can be four reasons:
    • They are a direct descendent of the person portrayed, showing that blood will tell.
    • They might be the reincarnation of the person in the portrait, with the reincarnation extending to physical appearence.
    • They are an immortal who in fact is the person in the portrait, and if they don't want this known have to pass themselves off as their own descendent.
    • They are, or shortly will be, a time traveler who will end up having their portrait painted in the past.

For example, on Dark Shadows when Barnabus Collins returned he looked exactly like the prominently displayed portrait of his "ancestor".

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • February 21, 2012
    wesnprogamat
    Films Back To The Future has this written all over it.
  • February 21, 2012
    arromdee
  • February 21, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ This.
  • February 21, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Arromdee: Please write it out as a complete sentence (i.e: "This sounds like Identical Grandson"); just saying Trope Name is rather opaque to newbies and we want to discourage that.
  • February 21, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Possibly this should be a supertrope of the four reasons, with Identical Grandson for reason #1?

  • February 21, 2012
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
  • February 21, 2012
    chicagomel
    Forever Knight did this with a backstory where Nick was a photographer during the US Civil War. At least one shot of him in the old pic shows up. I think the guest star of the week notices it.
  • February 21, 2012
    lvthn13
    HP Lovecraft novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward features this as a very significant plot point.
  • February 21, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • October 26, 2012
    morenohijazo
    What do you think about Lumpenprole's comment?
  • October 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I'd say this is a more specific version of Identical Grandson, Generation Xerox, or My Grandson Myself
  • October 26, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Yep, this is Identical Grandson.
  • October 26, 2012
    dvorak
    I vote Supertrope.
  • October 27, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    An example that wasn't Identical Grandson (but was an example of the fourth reason for the trope given in the draft above):

    Live-Action TV

    Star Trek Deep Space Nine: in the episode "Past Tense", Benjamin Sisko's image ends up appearing in the history books as 21st-Century activist and revolutionary Gabriel Bell... because he, while time-travelling to that period, ended up taking his place to preserve a timeline he'd unintentionally disrupted with the accidental death of the real Bell.
  • October 27, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    The proposed title "Looks Just Like Their Ancestor" would imply Identical Grandson however, whereas what I sense is the intended scope of the proposed trope, would be someone who looks identical to some other figure from way back in the past, ancestor or not. Can't think of a snappy title that would reflect this, however--but that's probably what you want to aim for.
  • October 27, 2012
    zarpaulus
    All the causes listed:

    1. Identical Grandson
    2. Reincarnation
    3. My Grandson Myself
    4. Only one we don't have a trope for.
  • October 27, 2012
    StarSword
    Which would imply this is a Super Trope to those three.
  • October 27, 2012
    Elyandarin
    How about "The Very Picture of The Past" as a title?
  • October 27, 2012
    tardigrade
    In the film 12 Monkeys, James Cole -- a man from the post-apocalyptic future -- turns up in a WW 1 photograph, on account of his time travels.
  • October 27, 2012
    tardigrade
    In Kubrik's "The Shining", the film ends with a shot of a 1920s photograph showing Jack Torrance -- exactly as he appears decades later, at the time the film is set. The reason for this anomaly is not explained.
  • February 27, 2014
    Chabal2
    The Hound Of The Baskervilles uses it as a plot point. Holmes sees a painting of Hugo, the black sheep of the Baskerville family, who fled to South America and died there. He recognizes it as the exact same face of the Baskerville's neighbor Stapleton, and deduces that he must be behind the attacks, killing off the legitimate heirs so he can claim the ineritance.
  • February 27, 2014
    MorganWick
    Because of the intended scope of the trope, this is not actually a supertrope to any of the "subtropes", only a possible subtrope to all of them. (The fourth would probably be a variant of a Stable Time Loop.)
  • February 28, 2014
    cathstuart
    Surely adding this as any kind of trope is watering things down. Identical Grandson is the trope.
  • February 28, 2014
    DAN004

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=yqg6s03hlenmzq5468ryvrfu