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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]]"

Short for "exported character", an expy 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 and name -- may change, but there's no doubt that they are almost one and the same. Often seen 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 [[KilledOffForReal 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.

Keep in mind that [[TropesAreNotBad not all expies are lazy half-assed rip-offs]]. Some characters such as YogiBear and MickeyMouse are obvious clones of [[TheHoneymooners Art Carney]] and FelixTheCat respectively but they are some of the most acclaimed cartoon characters of all time because they are generally likable and unique.

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, he's 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. 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.

Compare to BleachedUnderpants, AlternateCompanyEquivalent, NamesTheSame, RomanAClef, CounterpartComparison, SimilarSquad, SameStoryDifferentNames, SuspiciouslySimilarSong, DistaffCounterpart, SurprisinglySimilarStories, EvilCounterpart. [[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.

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!!Examples belong in subpages:

* Expy/AnimeAndManga
* Expy/ComicBooks
* Expy/FanFic
* Expy/{{Film}}
* Expy/{{Literature}}
* Expy/LiveActionTV
* Expy/{{Manhwa}}
* Expy/NewspaperComics
* Expy/{{Pinball}}
* Expy/ProfessionalWrestling
* Expy/ReligionAndMythology
* Expy/TabletopGames
* Expy/{{Theatre}}
* Expy/VideoGames
* Expy/{{Webcomics}}
* Expy/WebOriginal
* Expy/WesternAnimation

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