"Was he the real Aoi or just a clone?" Clones have often gotten the short end of the stick
"He was a man."
in Sci Fi
. When they're not soulless abominations
or evil dopplegangers
, they tend to be seen as just back-up copies of the original and nothing more.
Except when this
trope kicks in. After all, Nature creates genetic copies of people all the time. They're called identical twins; and as people in Real Life
can easily tell you; they are very much individuals.
This trope is when a Clone is permitted to be their own person and live their own life, essentially becoming a character independent from the original. They may grapple with Cloning Blues
now and then, or they may recognize that their personality is sufficiently unique for them to think of themselves as— well, themselves. This is more difficult if they started life with the copied memories of the original. Often, they become a recurring or supporting character. If the original is dead, it's likely the clone takes over the original's role.
Of interesting note is that, due to the nature of the brain, even if the clone was meant to be a backup copy, it still is a completely separate being, both in body and consciousness.
Expect the Zombie Advocate
to make their case. See also Androids Are People, Too
Contrast Expendable Clone
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- Superboy (Conner Kent) in the comics and the animated series Young Justice.
- In the comics he turns out to be cloned from Superman and Lex Luthor, so he's not an exact copy of anyone. The animated Superboy is a clone of only Superman, playing this trope straight.
- Actually, it's revealed in the episode "Agendas" that the animated Superboy is a hybrid clone of Superman and Lex Luthor like in the comics.
- Young Justice Superboy was created to replace Superman if he died or kill him if he turned evil (at least, according to the people of dubious ethics at Cadmus who grew him in the first place) and doesn't have his memories, but the teen really looks up to him at first, which makes Superman's rejection of "parental responsibilities" a big disappointment.
- Bizarro. He even has his own planet.
- This was the reason for the Black Zero terrorist attacks in Kryton's past. The group were railing against Kryptonian society's edict of using clones as "spare parts", arguing this very trope.
- In PS238, Tyler is eventually cloned: The clone is an Empty Shell, however, with a remote control in place of a brain to let the original control it. The clone eventually, through some odd set of coincidences, gains a mind and sentience of its own, takes on the name "Toby", is legally accepted into the original's family as his brother, and becomes a character in his own right. Furthermore, Toby is revealed to have superpowers — something Tyler still hasn't got (and probably never will), leading to a brief stint of Tyler becoming afraid that his parents will accept Toby as their "real son" and disown Tyler (which turns out to be completely unfounded).
- Metamorpho's clone Shift tries to live his own life as a member of the Outsiders, with the original Metamorpho's blessing. But when his android girlfriend gets corrupted by pre-existing evil programming, betrays the team, and dies, Shift says he can't bear to live any more and begs Metaporpho to reabsorb him, which he reluctantly does.
- The Vision is a mental clone of Wonder Man (even though, in practice, the two have never actually behaved very much alike), and his entire character arc has revolved around his attempts to live his own life. His lot in life has varied a lot over the years Depending on the Writer. Some writers give him a fair shake, but others seem to just inexplicably hate the poor guy.
- At the end of the Spider Man Clone Saga, Peter and Ben have pretty well reconciled themselves to their situation and decided to consider each other brothers. Then Ben melts.
- Peter's other clone, Kaine, seems to have taken this route, becoming an Anti-Hero.
- In the Ultimate Marvel Clone Saga makes Spider-Woman an Opposite-Sex Clone of Spider-Man, with all his memories. She is treated as her own character in and out of universe, though with perhaps not enough attention paid to the fact that from her point of view, life was normal (well, Peter normal) for 17 years and then one morning she was, well, a she, and someone else owned her life. C'mon, it can be acknowledged without fully taking the "you stole my life, you must die" route! Then again, if you lived Peter Parker's life and were given a new one, you just might take it too.
- Every Spidey must deal with it eventually! Spider Girl gets one too, and while they teased her possibly going evil, she hasn't. She is, however, an Anti-Hero and something of a wild card. After a decent run, "April Parker" does die for her 'sister' May in the Grand Finale.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series never treated clones as anything but real people, making the death of Tomato in the Mirror Mary Jane one of the saddest moments ever. Also, the cross-dimensional team of Spider-Men in the two-part finale included a Ben Reilly whose nemesis was his world's Peter Parker. They'd been through something like the Clone Saga, but neither we nor they ever learned who the original was.
- The X-Men had Madelyne Pryor, the clone of Jean Grey, who unfortunately became evil due to psycho-emotional baggage involving this trope: she was created by Evilutionary Biologist Mr. Sinister to replace Jean Grey in order to continue the propagation of the Summers-Grey mixed bloodline), and was callously abandoned by her husband, Scott Summers, when Jean returned from the dead. There's also Joseph, the Raise Him Right This Time clone of Well-Intentioned Extremist Magneto, who was secretly created as part of an Evil Plan to Take Over the World by a former Fangirl of Magneto (and who was thought by everyone to be a de-aged and amnesiac Magneto* until the original was revealed to be alive), who made a Heroic Sacrifice Saving the World the world from Magneto.
- Namorita of the New Warriors is the clone of Namora, Sub-Mariner's seldom-seen cousin, a Distaff Counterpart who failed to catch on. Namorita is a much more of a major character, appearing continually whereas Namora sometimes goes decades without having her existence acknowledged. Until recently anyway. Namorita has died and now Namora appears more frequently. Namora couldn't have children, so she had her science folks implant her with an embryo made from herself. The plot has always treated her like more of a daughter, though her clone status has been discovered and caused trouble at times.
- Gold Digger has two examples:
- Brianna as a composite clone of Gina and Britanny who was produced in a lab accident. She was quickly adopted into the family, and although she suffered a (perfectly understandable) lengthy identity crisis, she is now very much her own person.
- The genie Madrid, an old enemy of Gina's, once shapeshifted into Gina's form and got stuck that way. Unable to change back, she found Gina's copied personality slowly encroaching on her own. Later, after another scheme failed spectacularly, she suffered a terrible Villainous Breakdown and her evil half effectively lost the will to live, so the duplicate Gina personality (with Madrid's memories) has been dominant ever since. After some initial misgivings, Gina has decided she can trust her, and the two have become friends.
- This trope is the whole point of Heart Breakers by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. Most of the cast are clones of Theresa Sorenson, who died midway through the series. The two main characters, Delta and Queenie, have radically different personalities. They live in a world where clones have to struggle for legal rights.
- The Pony POV Series, has Fluttercruel, who was the being Discord created when he couldn't break Fluttershy and considers herself Fluttershy's clone, even though the two are Sharing a Body. Despite looking identical to Fluttershy except for darker fur and lacking a Cutie Mark (though she eventually earns a different Cutie Mark), she has a completely different personality (the audio adaptation's illustrations added Cute Little Fangs and slightly Hellish Pupils as well). Despite this, she personally believes she's just a copy and has an identity crisis due to that fact. However, Fluttershy believes Fluttercruel is no less a pony than herself, and both refer to Fluttershy as her mother. Fluttercruel eventually comes to accept it and it's revealed she has her own soul separate from Fluttershy's. It's also stated there's a possibility that Fluttershy is the clone created by Twilight's memory spell and Fluttercruel is simply the original Mind Raped so completely that she's changed completely, or that the real Fluttershy was killed by Discord and both are clones. Despite this, neither really cares, as they're still separate beings altogether.
- 3 Slytherin Marauders has the young Tom Riddle preserved in the Horcrux diary as one of the main characters and he grows to become a very different person from his other self.
- Most clones in the Vorkosigan Saga world, where a clone is considered to be the child or sibling of person whose DNA it was made from, or the child of the person who commissioned the clone, depending on the planet and its laws. Mark Vorkosigan (Miles's clone) is an example of this, as he is considered Miles's brother and is treated as a completely different person. Clones as expendable property still exist on the lawless Jackson's Whole, though.
- This is the whole point of the Star Wars Republic Commando Series by Karen Traviss.
- Earlier, it was a subplot in the Hand Of Thrawn duology. A group of Imperial agents are all clones of Baron Soontir Fel, ace pilot, but they simply want to live out a normal life as farmers.
- The House Of The Scorpion is big on this trope, although most characters in it aren't. It helps that the main character himself is a clone, with a noticeably different personality from his creator.
- This is taken Up to Eleven in Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief: the Founder copyclans rule over most of the inner Solar System. Anyone who isn't a Founder copy is a second class citizen at best, and a sentient missile guidance system at worst.
- Cloning is commonplace in Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome, and clones have all the same rights as normal people. In fact, highly-skilled people are often cloned multiple times in order to preserve their genetics. Clones often take the name of the original but add a middle name that consists of "C" (for "clone") and an ordinal number. For example, Peter C-forty-fourth Valk is the 44th clone of Peter Valk. While not outright mentioned, it can be assumed that the problems of Clone Degeneration have been solved, given that the main theme of the novel is that Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke. This doesn't stop some people from hating clones.
- In Courtship Rite, most clans are busy with their super breeding programs, and don't bother with cloning, since identical genes are, by definition, not improved genes. The Liethe are the exception. Every Liethe secretly has a number of clone-sisters of varying ages, and no outsider ever learns the true identity of a Liethe. The outside world only meets fake personas which can be played by different clone-sisters in turn. The clones are very much different individuals with different skills. Some members of a clone group like the se-Tufi are always trained as assassins; the se-Tufi Who Walks In Humility is one such.
Live Action TV
- In Parasite Eve 2, Aya Brea finds out that an evil cult has made a clone of her in order to take advantage of her powers. After rescuing the girl, she adopts her as a daughter/sister.
- This is a major plot point in the Metal Gear series, especially in Metal Gear Solid 4. At the very end Big Boss himself tells Snake that he respects him as a soldier, and it's sure that Snake would've make very different decisions if placed in the same situations as him. This neatly summarizes the whole Aesop of the series: Your genes don't determine who you are. Your actions do.
- In Tales Of The Abyss, this trope is a major part of the character arc of Luke once he realizes and accepts he's a replica of Asch. Eventually, this leads up to the climax where it's implied Luke either gave his own life to resurrect Asch, Asch did vice versa, or in some other way the two fused. The Stinger is tight-lipped as to which one can be seen at the end.
- Final Fantasy IX has the Genomes, a group of people from another world that have virtually no personality or unique traits and they all act very similar to each other. After their homeworld gets destroyed, Zidane decides to take the Genomes with the party and leave them in the Black Mage Village for shelter since he's a Genome too and they are like siblings to him in a sense. The people in the village are the Black Mages, who are constructs/androids that are similar to the Genomes, but have slightly more personality to them. The Genomes and the Black Mages quickly, if awkwardly, get along and learn the many aspects of life itself.
- Ellen, Elliot's Opposite-Sex Clone in El Goonish Shive, is quickly accepted by Elliot and his family and now lives as Elliot's twin sister. Due to her brief case of Cloning Blues, she has also developed a distinct personality from the original.
- Molly the Peanut Butter Monster in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has two clones with very different personalities who are both off living their own lives: megalomaniacal woobie Galatea (or "Golly") and the mountain-sized giantess, Djaliana ("Djali" or "Jolly").
- In Bomango by Rob Ten Pas, Gogo can reproduce by budding, having sprouted Didi out of her side (which she did on a caprice because she was bored one day). Didi is as sweet, gentle, and intellectual as Gogo is loud, brash, and dangerous. It's notable that, since they split, Didi's physique has become noticeably more slender than Gogo's muscular frame, because Gogo gets a lot more exercise. Didi also has no navel. Strong hints have been dropped that Gogo has other clones running around, and that they are not nice people at all. The names Gogo and Didi, btw, are a Shout Out to "Waiting For Godot."
- In Melonpool, Ralph's opposite-personality nice clone Ralphie has been a series regular since his introduction many years ago. Ralph also (until recently) had an evil clone named Fauntleroy.
- Averted when Roberta was cloned, as the machine had been fixed by then, so the two were completely indistinguishable (much to their own frustration). They were eventually fused back together.
- Homestuck gives us Davesprite, a biological combination of an alternate Dave from the future and a game sprite (and a crow). At first the characters, most notably John, treat him just as an alternate version of Dave, but as time goes on he grows to have more of his own say in the plot and ultimately separates from Dave to travel with John and Jade on the ship. In that time, the three grow close enough that after a year, John has just started calling him 'Dave'.
- Schlock Mercenary: Kevyn's time-clone is fully established as a separate person, the company even going on a rescue mission to retrieve him in one arc.
- The central premise behind the sci-fi noir web series Aidan 5. People are cloned to make expendable copies, but their clones are in fact people too.
- In Danny Phantom, Danny treats his Opposite-Sex Clone Danielle (or Dani for short) as a family member of sorts, since she was the only clone that wasn't mindless, and she does a Heel Face Turn when she realizes Vlad, her "father", only viewed her as a tool, and helps Danny escape. In her second appearance, not only is she saved from her instability and kept from from melting into nothing, Danny was willing to WILLINGLY become the prisoner of a GHOST HUNTER to save her, though said hunter decides to let him go instead.
- In the pilot of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, despite the fact that the clones were created as Expendable Clones, Yoda takes this attitude, telling the clones with him, "Smaller in number are we, but larger in mind."
- Other episodes have looked into this as well - Captain Rex and Commander Cody are treated as unique characters with different personalities, one deserter has a life outside the war, yet another betrayed the Republic out of resentment towards the clones' status, and so on.
- One time saw Rex telling off General Krell about treating his men as expendable and that not only did he have a duty to follow orders, but also to see them through.
- "The Hidden Enemy": The Mole is a clone who realized the Clone Army was slavery.
- In ReBoot the copy of Enzo is encouraged to be a different person than the original Enzo. Given what happened to the original, this is a good idea.
- Bob's friends (including the copy of Enzo) attempt to cheer him up by citing this trope when he's led to believe that he's a copy of another Bob that shows up in Mainframe. Subverted when they find out that the other Bob is actually a trojan horse with stolen bits of Bob's code.
- In Gargoyles, Thailog is a clone of Goliath, and is treated as Goliath's son, rather than a copy. Unfortunately he was programmed with the personality of Xanatos, and was raised by Sevarius (which pretty well eliminated any positive aspects of Xanatos' personality from Thailog), and ended up becoming a villain.
- In Adventure Time, Lemongrab's clone was specifically made to be a friend (or boyfriend) to the original Lemongrab. He and Lemongrab get along exceedingly well and clearly love each other. (They even start a family together. However, they do still bicker every once in a while.) Other people treat the second Lemongrab in the same manner that they treat the original. Princess Bubblegum treats both of them like her two annoying children- with clear impatience, but compassion.
- In Gravity Falls, Dipper at one point clones himself in order to enact a plan to get close to Wendy. Him and the clones are quite friendly towards each other, even Paper Jam Dipper, and Dipper gets quite upset when Tyrone is killed.
- Red Arrow of Young Justice, who even after finding out he's a clone eventually goes on to get married and have a kid. The original (when he finally turns up) has no problem with the clon, but is furious that his mentor failed to notice the switch.
- Superboy counts here too, who while still incorporating elements of Superman, Lex Luthor, and his initial Cloning Blues, has gone on to develop his own personality and live his own life.