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->''"The one in back,'' \\
''The way he acts,'' \\
''Is he reminding you of anyone we know?'' \\
''Isn't he so'' \\
''Like certain people I could name?"''
-->-- '''Music/TheyMightBeGiants''', "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsDWl3xDMOU Certain People]]"

An expy (short "exported character") is a character from one series who is unambiguously and deliberately based on a character in another, older series. A few minor traits, such as age or hair color, may change, but there's no doubt that they are almost one and the same. They often turn up in different works by the same writer(s) or production team.

This can simply be the tendency of writers to prefer certain characterizations for important characters (or [[FollowTheLeader knowing which ones are most marketable/popular]]), or the influence of the design process. On the other hand, it may just be a [[WriterOnBoard bad attempt]] to try to revive a character who [[CreatorsPet the writer liked, but nobody else did]] and [[ShooOutTheNewGuy had to get rid of it]]. When by a different author, it may be a {{homage}} to the original creator and/or character. In the negative sense, an expy can be seen as just a bloated, gimmicky version of a perfectly serviceable past character. In a positive sense, it can refer to an "upgrade" of a two-dimensional or otherwise limited character to one more appreciably complex.

Remember that TropesAreNotBad; an expy can give an old character concept a new lease on life, take it in a different direction, adapt it to a new medium, or simply do something with it that's as good or better than the original. Iconic characters like YogiBear and MickeyMouse are obvious clones of [[Series/TheHoneymooners Art Carney]] and WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat respectively, but that hasn't stopped them from being among the most acclaimed cartoon characters of all time.

Theory: any CharactersAsDevice trope, if taken to the extreme, can result in the character appearing to be a mere expy of the {{Trope Codifier}}s for that trope. Especially if the character is [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] to the point of having few defining characteristics outside of the trope they represent. See FountainOfExpies.

Most often seen in animation and video games, where it's much easier to make a newer character resemble an older one. Occasionally happens when characters from different stories end up sharing voice actors, making or even forcing their personalities to look even more similar, which often leads to [[ActorAllusion jokes based on the voice actor's former role]].

When the character appears in the same show as the previous character, they're often a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute.

The [[CanonicalListOfSubtleTropeDistinctions key difference]] between this and CaptainErsatz is that an expy, while deliberately based on some other character, is still their own person, while CaptainErsatz is obviously the same character but with the SerialNumbersFiledOff. Please keep this distinction in mind before adding an example here. Also note that a fictional counterpart to a real-life person would ''not'' be an expy. When a character strongly resembles a real person, rather than a fictional character, that's NoCelebritiesWereHarmed. If the character is meant as an homage without being identical, it could be a ShoutOut instead. A quick glance around TVTropes will reveal just how often these mistakes are made on this very wiki.

'''Remember that an Expy ''must'' be a clearly deliberate reference on the part of the author'''; superficial or random coincidental similarities (even very striking ones) do not qualify, so if you aren't certain, they probably are not an Expy. Because many character archetypes and tropes that compose characters are universal, it is easy for readers to fall into thinking that a particular character in the same general archetype resembles someone from their favorite show or novel, especially when SmallReferencePools lead readers to overestimate the cultural impact of their favorite characters.

SpiritualSuccessor is a similar trope scaled up to an entire work, and thus as a result often features Expies of characters from the original work.

Compare to BleachedUnderpants, AlternateCompanyEquivalent, NamesTheSame, RomanAClef, CounterpartComparison, SimilarSquad, SameStoryDifferentNames, SuspiciouslySimilarSong, DistaffCounterpart, SurprisinglySimilarStories, EvilCounterpart, WholePlotReference. [[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] [[ExperiencePoints XP]], nor [[UsefulNotes/MicrosoftWindows XP]].

Contrast InNameOnly, TransplantedCharacterFic.

For specific characters that tend to inspire expies, see FountainOfExpies. For a series with numerous different expies in its cast, see CastOfExpies.

!!Examples Subpages:

* Expy/AnimeAndManga
* Expy/ComicBooks
* Expy/ComicStrips
* Expy/FanWorks
* [[Expy/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
* [[Expy/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* Expy/{{Literature}}
* Expy/LiveActionTV
* Expy/MythsAndReligion
* Expy/{{Pinballs}}
* Expy/ProWrestling
* Expy/TabletopGames
* Expy/{{Theatre}}
* Expy/VideoGames
* Expy/WebComics
* Expy/WebOriginal
* Expy/WesternAnimation


[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/BrokenSaints'' has two villainous blond [[SociopathicSoldier lieutenants]] named Charles and Bravado. Between the names and the haircuts, there is something [[Franchise/StreetFighter very, very familiar about them...]]
* Breeze Rider from ''WebAnimation/DusksDawn'' is this to Rainbow Dash, both being able to fly, cracking jokes and having a strong sense of adventure.
** He is also definitely trying to be a lot like Pinkie Pie by providing goofy (attempted) [[PluckyComicRelief comic relief]] at random times, like popping his head out of a cloud and impossible areas.
* ''WebAnimation/MysterySkullsAnimated'' features a cast that is a homage to ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' with their own twists.
* Lord Zet and Nekoneko of the flash series ''WebAnimation/SuperFreakinParodyRangers'' are deliberately obvious Expies of Zetto and Ruri from the creator's earlier work ''WebAnimation/{{TOME}}''.