Decomposite Character

In adapting a work, one sometimes finds there are too many characters to fit on the screen, and some roles can be conveniently squeezed into a single character. Thus the Sidekick, Plucky Comic Relief, and Love Interest might all be the same person. This is the Composite Character.

More rarely, a creator might choose to break a character apart and spread it over several different characters. In this way, you might end up with several characters who are composites of their previous role with a bit of the decomposed character's role. Alternatively, you could simply end up with two characters, each of whom has parts of the old.

This isn't Literal Split Personality. That's when one character is split into two within the show itself.


This is an example. That is also that example.

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     Anime 
  • The game Kimikiss featured a main protagonist named Kouichi Aihara; this was split into two distinct protagonists for the anime: Kouichi Sanada (he gained his appearance) and Kazuki Aihara (he gained his soccer skills).
  • In Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Berg Katse was revealed to be a mutant who could switch genders at will. His female form appeared unmasked as the Dark Action Girl long before The Reveal. In both edited dubs, Battle of the Planets and G-Force: Guardians of Space, that female form either identified herself as a sister or a "loyal follower". BOTP adapted her into at least four separate characters (Zoltar's sister "Mala", a spy named "S-9", another spy named "Hannah", and a reporter named "Ms. Ostric"), due to the writers not knowing they were all intended to be the same person.
    • BOTP also had the habit of taking some Galactor commanders that had more than one episode appearance and adapting them into two separate characters, due to the episodes being translated out-of-order.
  • In adaptations of Tenchi Muyo! not written by the original author, Mihoshi was given a Galactic Police partner named Kiyone Makibi. When the OVA series was given a sequel in 2005, elements of her character were split among two new ones, Tenchi's fiance Noike Kamiki Jurai, and Mihoshi's sister-in-law, Mashisu Makibi.
  • In Speed Racer, the characters of Skull Duggery and Zoomer Slick were actually the same person in the original Japanese show (Mach Go Go Go): an early rival of Go Mifune named Genzo Sakai who only appeared for a few episodes.
  • In Free, Rei's prototype Kaede was this. According to this interview, when creating the anime, Kouji Ouji, the original light novel's author, wanted an original character to interact with the cast during their time in high school. His appreciation for beauty (as well as his being on the track team and general lack of swimming knowlege) went to Rei, while his easygoing attitude went over to Nagisa. His physical appearance, it would seem, went to Seijuurou (and his sibling Momotaro, as of Eternal Summer). Other characters who inherited his atmosphere include Nitori and Sasabe.

     Comic Books 
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate X-Men:
      • Despite Wolverine suspeting otherwise, neither James or Heather Hudson were Vindicator, but rather it was John Wraith.
      • William Stryker becomes two characters in the Ultimate X-Men. William Sr. is an anti-mutant military leader, as in the second X-Men film, while William Jr. is the religious extremist from the original comics. However, Stryker's both this trope and Composite Character, as William Jr. later becomes Ultimate Universe Master Mold; gigantic Sentinel.
      • Angel is split into two character, with his "Archangel" identity going to Derek Morgan.
      • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, there are three separate versions of The Vision:
      • A Gynoid created by ancient aliens to warn of the coming of Gah Lak Tus.
      • An experimental robot built by Hank Pym dubbed "Vision 2".
      • An African-American man named Robert Mitchell who was turned into a cyborg by Nick Fury.
      • Ultimate Spider-Man:
      • Miles Warren is mentioned in an earlier issue of Ultimate Spider-Man as Harry's hypnotherapist and is later seen dating Aunt May, but he's not the creator of clone of Spider-Man in this. As with William Stryker, Jr., this also lapses into Composite Character, as that role is taken by Doctor Octopus.
      • Doctor Strange is Stephen Strange, Jr., the son of the original Doctor Strange and Clea.
      • Ben Reilly is an African-American man, instead of a clone of Peter Parker. Again, this also lapses into Composite Character as the Ultimate version of Spider-Woman takes that role, becoming an Opposite-Sex Clone of Peter.
      • Tinkerer gets this treatment with Elijah Stern taking the Tinkerer identity and Phineas Mason (the Tinkerer in the classic Marvel Universe) later appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual # 2.
      • Scorpion got split into two characters, with his costume and tail going to a clone of Peter and the second Scorpion being a Mexican crime lord, who is in effect a Race Lifted Mac Gargan with a similar name (Maximus Gargan).
    • The Ultimates: In addition to the Vision:
      • Emil Blonksy isn't the Abomination, but is an unpowered soldier, with Chang Lam, a Chinese scientist, acting as the Abomination instead instead.
      • The Incredible Hulk is split into into two characters, with Bruce Banner being the original Hulk and Tyrone Cash serving as an analogue of Banner's Mr. Fixit persona.
  • Nick Fury, due to the popularity of being portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has now been split into two characters in the comics. The classic Nick Fury (who is a white male), and the black and bald Nick Fury, Jr., who is the original's son.
  • Spyke from X-Men: Evolution has yet to gain official Canon Immigrant status, but did inspire two separate characters. The Spike from X-Force got Spyke's powers and a variation of his Codename, while David Munroe from Black Panther got his status as Storm's nephew and the middle name "Evan" (Spyke's name was Evan Daniels).
  • Geldoff from Ultimate Spider-Man has gotten the reverse treatment in the mainstream Marvel Universe. The first was a member of the Initiative known as Proton, who died during Secret Invasion, while Inhumanity has since introduced a teen boy named Geldhoff as one of the new Inhumans.
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "King Smurf", the title character gives Harmony Smurf a drum to become the official messenger of the Smurf Village as Drummer Smurf. Later appearances of Drummer Smurf are assumed to be Harmony Smurf temporarily taking the role again to give important information. However, Harmony Smurf and Drummer Smurf briefly appear together in "The Finance Smurf" thus becoming separate characters from then on.
  • In most versions of Sonic the Hedgehog Super Sonic is just a transformation of Sonic's but in Sonic the Comic Super Sonic is a separate character and Sonic's Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Doctor Robotnik and Doctor Eggman are two different characters. Eggman started off as Robotnik's robotic duplicate, but replaced him once Archie decided to have Robotnik Killed Off for Real and wanted to introduce a more game-accurate version of the character.
  • The X-Men member Maggott appeared as two separate characters in the Ultimate Marvel universe; one as a murdered teenager, and the other as a young child who was living in the sewers of New York after the rise of the Sentinels.
  • Icemaiden originally debuted in the Super Friends comic book, with her real name given as Sigrid Nansen. When the character was made canon years later, Justice League International established that her real name was in fact Tora Olafsdotter, and she eventually changed her superhero Codename to Ice. Subsequent writers revealed that Sigrid and Tora were two different characters, and that Sigrid had simply given the Icemaiden name to Tora after resigning from the Global Guardians.
  • Larry Hama once pitched to Marvel a book about Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. fighting against HYDRA, now lead by Captain America enemy, Baron Zemo. Pitch was rejected, but later Hama would recycle it as his G.I.Joe comics. You can see that many elements of Zemo were split between Hama's versions of Baron Destro and Cobra Commander.
  • Transformers:
    • In the Transformers Generation 1 cartoon and comics, Galvatron was a future version of Megatron that was reformatted by Unicron. In the ongoing IDW continuity, Galvatron is an ancient Transformer who left Cybertron long before the miner from Tarn named Megatron began his uprising. As of the Dawn of the Autobots storyline, Megatron has renounced the Decepticon movement he founded and become The Atoner, while Galvatron has taken the opportunity to take command of those Decepticons still loyal to the cause.
    • In the original cartoon and comic, Bumblebee was critically injured and received an upgrade while being rebuilt, becoming Goldbug and joining the Throttlebots. In the IDW franchise, Goldbug is a Throttlebot unrelated to Bumblebee, with both existing contemporaneously (circa the events of All Hail Megatron). So far, though, Goldbug has appeared only once, in Spotlight: Metroplex.
    • Buster Witwicky was the young human who befriended the Autobots in the original comics. Spike Witwicky was the young human who befriended the Autobots in the cartoon. While the cartoon went though a Time Skip Twenty Minutes into the Future, giving Spike a family of his own, the comics remained contemporary to The Eighties, and introduced Spike as Buster's older brother who'd gone away to college before the start of the comic.
  • The New 52 does this to Cyborg-Superman, as it's not Hank Henshaw, who's shown to still be fully human. However, it lapses with Composite Character, as Cyborg-Superman turned out to Superman's uncle and Supergirl's father, Zor-El.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Simpsons AU The Fourth Simpson Child, Lisa's role in the series is split with the author's OC Samantha (her older sister and the titular character). This was done so the two could serve as Foils of each other. Both are quite intelligent young girls, but Lisa lets that go to her head, making her an arrogant Jerk Ass, whilst Samantha is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is genuinely kind to everyone she meets.
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Clumsy and Dimwitty appear as separate characters, whereas in the comic books Dimwitty and Clumsy are assumed to be one and the same.
    • Tracker and Tapper had characteristics from the adult Nat Smurf divvied up between the two of them since Nat Smurf in the series did not appear as anything but a Smurfling from Smurfling Island.
  • In Avatar: The Last Alicorn, the roles of Jet, Mai and Katara are all split up, sometimes even among the same character.
    • Prince Blueblood represents Jet pre-season 2 in being antagonistic to team avatar despite sharing similar goals at first. However, he then takes on the role of Mai, in being the "prince zuko" of the fic's Love Interest.
    • "Flowerbloom" represents Mai's combat skills, and being one of the Azula's best friends.
    • Suri takes on Jet's obsessive pursuit of water benders when in Ba Sing Se.
    • Rainbow Dash has Katara's combat prowess and fierce temper.
    • Fluttershy meanwhile has Katara's healing abilities, and motherly personality.
  • In Tangled In Time, Tetra and Shiek were disguises of Zelda, in story they are now three separate characters and are each other's siblings.

     Film — Animated 
  • Disney decomposed Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame into two characters. In the book, Archdeacon Claude Frollo is a tragic Anti-Villain. In the Disney film, the Archdeacon is a sympathetic character while Frollo is a separate character and outright evil. Disney's Frollo is also a Composite Character: of the original Frollo and Frollo's brother, who was the outright evil one.
    • Actually, Frollo's brother being outright evil comes from early film adaptations. In the book, Frollo's brother was a reckless scoundrel who wasted his brother's money on alcohol, but never did anything truly evil.
  • The short film 9 had 5 as the old, wise, one-eyed mentor of the title character. Its feature length adaptation gave much of 5's original personality and role to 2 (a Posthumous Flat Character in the short), while 5 kept his one-eyed appearance and was relegated to 2's pupil.
  • In Astro Boy, Dr. Tenma's Face-Heel Turn actions from the series was given to president Stone in the film.

     Film — Live Action 
  • Apollo 13 composited a whole team of astronauts and engineers working to figure out how to power up the command module again into Ken Mattingly and a couple of other guys. Inversely, the team of engineers who figured how to make the Command Module's air filters fit the (incompatible) slots of the Lunar Module were a decomposition of a single engineer who devised the solution while driving to work.
  • The 2005 version of King Kong. The original movie had the character Jack Driscoll; he was the love interest, the ship's first mate, and a swashbuckling square-jawed he-man. In the remake, these three character traits were given to three separate characters: Jack Driscoll, Mr. Hayes, and Bruce Baxter, respectively.
  • In an early draft of Muppet Treasure Island there wasn't a human actor for Jim Hawkins (the protagonist of the original novel). Instead, the role was split into separate characters, Jim and Hawkins, played by Gonzo and Rizzo.
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Jacob Marley is split into the brothers Jacob and Robert Marley to accommodate being played by Those Two Guys, Statler and Waldorf.
  • In The Wolverine, Silver Samurai is split into two separate characters. Harada (Samurai's civilian ID in the comics) is depicted as a ninja and Mariko's former lover, while the ACTUAL Silver Samurai is Mariko's grandfather, Ichirō, who uses a silver suit of samurai-themed powered armor.
  • This is basically the reason Soundwave wasn't in the first Transformers movie. His role was originally going to be tracking down the Witwicky glasses through the use of deployers like Frenzy and Ravage. But there came a moment when he would change his al-mode from a helicopter to a humvee, as per Transformers tradition of Size Shifting. When Michael Bay came on board he made a verdict of no size changing for the robots, insisting they fit inside their vehicles. So to fit the story together they had to split up the role among different characters, with the reduced screentime they chose to leave him out rather than do it sub-par. The helicopter Blackout was the closest approximation (with extreme loyalty to Megatron and a dislike of Starscream) and the cop car Barricade filling part of his role.
  • In the 1960 film 13 Ghosts, the character Elaine is a medium, the dead uncle's female assistant, and the housekeeper. The 2001 remake Thir13en Ghosts has the 3 separate characters of a (male) medium, the uncle's female assistant, and the housekeeper.
  • In both the novel and the movie Thunderball, SPECTRE hires a pilot to steal a pair of nuclear warheads. However, the movie changes their agent from Giuseppe Petacchi, a single pilot from World War II who is willing to sell out for a high enough price, and splits him into François Derval, NATO pilot, and the thoroughly-evil Angelo, a SPECTRE agent trained to kill him and take his place.
  • Iron Man 3 somehow manages to do both this and Composite Character. The Mandarin is decomposed into Trevor Slattery, an actor playing the part of an evil terrorist mastermind, and Aldrich Killian, the Big Bad who hired him who at the end proclaims himself the real Mandarin; the first Iron Man also had the Ten Rings, which are also an allusion to the Mandarin. Yet, Aldrich Killian is also a one-shot character from the comics (the co-creator of Extremis, the super serum that drives the plot) and here is a composite of himself, The Mandarin, as stated, and the AIM Scientist Supreme- although admittedly that's more of a job title than one character, it's still not one who has anything at all to do with the comic book Killian.
    • The short film All Hail The King later confirms that there is also a real Mandarin out there, making that three separate characters calling themselves the Mandarin at some point or another.
  • Following the lead of the 70's TV show (see below) the Thor movie makes Thor and his alter-ego Donald Blake two separate characters, though Blake is The Ghost and is just a Mythology Gag with Thor briefly using his name as an alias.
  • In another of the numerous Robin Hood examples, Disney's The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men has Scarlet, Scathlocke, and Stutley as separate characters, despite the first two definitely being, and the third probably being, variations on the same character's name in the legends.
  • According to Word of God, each of Darth Sidious' primary lieutenants in the Star Wars prequel trilogy is meant to foreshadow some aspect of Darth Vader's personality before Anakin finally becomes Darth Vader at the conclusion of the trilogy. Darth Maul is an unquestioningly loyal Sith warrior who serves Sidious as an enforcer and assassin, Count Dooku is a fallen Jedi Knight who serves the Separatists as a political and military leader, and General Grievous is a grotesque human-machine hybrid who requires cybernetic implants to survive and eventually gets set on fire.
  • In the original stage version of A Man for All Seasons, a character called the Common Man acts as a Greek Chorus and plays several different roles, including Thomas More's servant Matthew and More's executioner. In the film, all of those roles are now separate characters, with some of the Common Man's more critical comments going to Matthew.
  • Ant-Man makes Hank Pym a retired superhero who used to be Ant-Man back in the 60's. Yellowjacket, the costumed identity Pym later adopted in The Avengers, is used by Darren Cross (a completely separate character in the comics). This makes Cross both a Decomposite Character and a Composite Character.
  • Similarly to the some of the other Marvel Comics adaptation examples, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does this to Norman Osborn, with his role as the original Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy's killer taken by his son, Harry (who took up the mantle after his father in the comics).
  • In the film The Ghost Breakers, Bob Hope plays a cowardly funny guy with the same first and last name who gets the girl. In The Remake, "Scared Stiff", Jerry Lewis plays a cowardly funny guy with the same first and last name, and Dean Martin gets the girl.
  • In the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) movie the traditional Shredder roles are split between Oroku Saki (the traditional Shredder), and his pupil, Eric Sacks. Sacks leads the Foot Clan openly and is the mastermind of the plans, while Saki largely functions as a bruiser who keeps threats like the Turtles at bay. This is largely due to the fact that the film originally intended Eric Sacks to actually be The Shredder, with reshoots and edits used to insert Saki back into the story after the Internet Backdraft the film received over making the Shredder into a white guy.
  • From Disney's Maleficent: The title character remains mostly intact throughout the film; however, during the final battle, she retains her humanoid form, and her iconic dragon form is instead given to her raven/servant, Diaval (who Maleficent has a tendency to transform into various creatures throughout the film, such as a human).
  • Captain America (1990) had Lt. Colonel Louis, a charming, friendly handsome, moustached Southerner who was Cap's superior and possibly friend. Captain America: The First Avenger has Colonel Philips, a charismatic Southerner who is Cap's superior, and Howard Stark, a charming, moustachoed, handsome pal of Steve's. Whether this was deliberate is something else entirely.
  • In Annie (2014), the closest thing we get to Rooster Hannigan is both Guy and Annie's unnamed fake father. Guy is the one who plots to send Annie away with phony parents for his own gain, and "Easy Street" is now sung by him and Hannigan. The latter is the one who poses as Annie's father (alongside her "mother"), and nearly succeeds in kidnapping her, as Rooster and Lily did.
  • Mortdecai is based on several of the Charlie Mortdecai novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli, with the plot being sort of a composite of the first novel, Don't Point That Thing With Me as well as the unfinished final novel The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery. In the first book, Mortdecai meets Johanna Krampf, the nymphomaniac wife of a wealthy American businessman, and is married to her in later installments. Johanna is characterized as pretending to be a Brainless Beauty, and beneath the surface having ruthless and cunning traits. In the movie, Mortdecai is married to Johanna, who is cunning, but a rather different character, belonging to British high society. There is also a separate character, Georgina Krampf, the nymphomaniac daughter of a wealthy American businessman, who gets book! Johanna's Brainless Beauty facade and hidden untrustworthiness.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Some character traits are transferred from Rupert Greaves, the chief training officer, to Sir Giles, head of the secret service, forming Merlin and Arthur, respectively.
    • Mark Hamill is combined with James Arnold to become... James Arnold as played by Mark Hamill. Much of James Arnold remains in the form of a new character, Richmond Valentine.

     Literature 
  • Oscar Wilde said about ''The Picture of Dorian Gray' that the artist, Basil is who he actually is; Lord Henry is who the world sees him as; and Dorian is who he would like to be. So, it is this effect via Author Avatar.
  • In The History of Middle-earth, this process is apparent in the development of what became The Silmarillion.
    • In the Lost Tales Finrod Felagund and his nasty, treacherous cousin Celegorm were originally the same elf. He'd sworn an oath to seize the Silmaril jewels from anyone who found them, by any means necessary, then swore an oath to aid the family of Barahir in anything they wanted, then met Beren who wanted help getting a Silmaril for King Thingol. The conflict of interest was so bad it split him apart into two characters!
    • Finrod was also the father of Galadriel and her brothers; this is why, at the beginning of Fellowship Of The Ring, Gildor refers to himself as part of the "house of Finrod," and this name is used in the appendices as well. Later on, Tolkien merged Finrod with his son Inglor, and renamed the father of the house to Finarfin.
    • Finwë Nolemë, the original king of the Noldoli (Noldor), was Turgon's father but not Fëanor's, and led the Noldoli at the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. When Tolkien merged Finwë Nolemë with Fëanor's father Bruithwir who died in Valinor, he then split the Composite Character into Finwë, his son Fingolfin, and his grandson Fingon — hence why their names are so similar.
    • In The Lost Road Elendil has one son, Herendil. In The Lord of the Rings Herendil has been split into two sons, Isildur and Anárion; Herendil resembles Isildur more, with a fiery and somewhat rebellious spirit and a fascination with Sur (Sauron).
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe New Series Adventures novel The Resurrection Casket is Treasure Island Recycled In Space. There's a character called Jimm, who has all the characteristics of Jim Hawkins, but most of the key plot points go to Rose Tyler.
  • In the Robin Hood ballads, the character Much the Miller's Son is occasionally called Midge instead. In The Gallows in the Greenwood, they become two separate characters: Much, one of the more important outlaws, and his younger brother Midge who turns out to be a girl wearing men's clothing for safety and convenience; the outlaws all know, but the POV character who meets her takes a while to catch on.
  • The Covenant Of Primus, set in the Transformers Aligned Universe, takes a page from IDW Publishing's Transformers'' comics and has Galvatron as a separate entity from Megatron. In fact, this Galvatron was active before Megatron was.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Sun Jian has two wives, the older Lady Wu (mother of Sun Ce, Sun Quan, and several other children) and her fictional younger sister who is nicknamed as "Wu Guotai" (mother of Sun Lang and Princess Sun a.k.a. Sun Shangxiang). Historically, Lady Wu has no sister and Sun Shangxiang is Lady Wu's biological daughter while Sun Lang's mother's identity is unknown.

     Live Action TV 
  • The Power Rangers franchise provide many examples:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The normal version of Zyuranger's Dora Franke became the Frankenstein monster, while his second and third forms Zombie Franke and Satan Franke became two different forms of the same character, Mutitus.
    • Zeo: Prince Buldont of Ohranger, who later grew into an older form, Kaiser Buldont, became the brothers Prince Sproket (younger) and Prince Gasket (older).
    • The conversion of Gingaman to Lost Galaxy. The Big Bad Captain Zahab was split off into Scorpius and his more direct counterpart, Captain Mutiny.
    • Borderline example Furio: He has the costume of Dr. Hinelar's final form, but Sanbash's role in the story. Sanbash's costume, not available at the time, was later used for a new character named Villamax.
    • Borderline example comes in Trakeena: She fills in the role of Shelinda, but also has traits of Illies (her successful plot against Treacheron, using many of the monsters Illies used). Her accidental One-Winged Angel form in the next season's Crossover Special was originally the Infernal Dark Hell Beast summoned by Gil. Illies, meanwhile, would later appear as Hexuba.
    • In the conversion of GoGoFive to Lightspeed Rescue, Dr. Mondo Tatsumi (Team Dad, creator of the team's technology) was split into Captain Mitchell and Dr. Fairweather.
    • Twice when converting Timeranger to Time Force. The costume of Big Bad Don Dolnero was used for comic relief character Gluto, and the Big Bad with some of Dolnero's role was original-design Ransik. Meanwhile, the Rangers' commanding officer Captain Ryuya was split into Captain Logan and, more directly, Alex.
    • Ninja Storm's Motodrone: he's based off the adult form of Manmaruba, while Eyezak, a Monster of the Week he used, is actually Manmaruba's One-Winged Angel form.
    • Dino Thunder: Due to Trent turning good far sooner than Mikoto did, Abare Killer's remaining stint as a bad guy was fulfilled by a White Ranger clone.
    • Jungle Fury: Long, the ultimate Big Bad of Gekiranger, was split into Dai Shi (inheriting his Big Bad status and One-Winged Angel form) and General Scorch (inheriting his Phantom Beast form and Treacherous Advisor status). Da Shi possesses Jarod so in a way Long's Power Ranger counterpart is also Jarod who is also Rio's counterpart.
  • Beetleborgs
  • In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, we have Kit as Dragon Knight (aka Ryuki, main Rider Shinji's shiny suit in the original Kamen Rider Ryuki version) until his disloyal alternate self takes over after his Disney Death. After his return, Kit becomes Onyx (aka Ryuga, evil alternate Shinji's shiny suit.) However, we first saw Onyx in a dream of Kit's involving him taking Xaviax's lure. This means Dragon Knight is a composite of Ryuki and Ryuga, but Onyx is splitting Ryuga into two guys. So this is a composite and decomposed character.
  • Since Kotaro Minami is the only Kamen Rider to star in two different shows (Kamen Rider Black and Kamen Rider Black RX), team-ups and anniversary specials usually split him into two separate characters. For instance, Kamen Rider Decade used a Timey-Wimey Ball to have Kotaro team up with a Mirror Universe version of himself who never adopted the Black RX identity, allowing both Riders to appear simultaneously.
  • On Arrow:
    • The comic character of Deathstroke, an Anti-Villain with occasional touches of Anti-Hero, has been decomposed into two characters in the island flashbacks. His name, Slade Wilson, and better fighting ability go to an Anti-Hero mentor to Oliver. His mask and villainous nature, with slightly lesser fighting prowess goes to Billy Wintergreen, Slade's butler in the comics and here his former partner. In Season Two, Slade eventually takes on traits of the latter, however, and becomes closer to the comic self.
    • Green Arrow's Evil Counterpart Merlyn becomes Tommy Merlyn and his father Malcolm Merlyn. Tommy initially served as a Red Herring before his dad was revealed as the Dark Archer.
    • Similarly, from the start, Oliver's Love Interest was Dinah Laurel Lance, the civilian identity of Black Canary, here depicted without her powers or vigilante identity (and going by her middle name). In Season 2, however, they're introducing Black Canary as a separate character, with Laurel planned to take the identity later, as with above. This actually makes her a double Decomposite; in the comics, Canary was a Legacy Character, with her mother being the original; her mother has appeared on the show as a non-vigilante (as far as we know), so this new Canary is basically both the original Dinah Drake Canary decomposited, and Dinah Lance decomposited...composited back together.
    • In a less-convoluted case, Thea Dearden Queen is Oliver's sister, based on his two adopted wards in the comics and sidekicks, Roy and Mia. And then, Roy is introduced and appears set to join Oliver's crusade. Roy and Thea also start dating.
  • The Flash (2014) splits the Weather Wizard into two characters. The first is Clyde Mardon, and the second is his younger brother Mark, who becomes the new Weather Wizard after Clyde is shot and killed in the pilot episode.
  • In the Made-for-TV Movie The Incredible Hulk Returns The Mighty Thor appears; but instead of Don Blake turning into Thor, Blake and Thor are separate characters. Blake calls upon Odin while holding Thor's warhammer and Thor magically appears. Presumably in the spinoff series that never happened, One's a doctor, one's a Norse God. Together, They Fight Crime.
  • A French Made-for-TV Movie distant adaptation of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot's Christmas split the illegitimate son killer into two characters and introduced one early, to keep a bit of mystery for those who had read the original material.
  • When the creators of Smallville made the hugely controversial decision to kill off Jimmy Olsen in the Season 8 finale, they performed a last second Retcon that established that "Jimmy" had actually been named Henry James Olsen, and that the real Jimmy (the one who would later grow up to be a Daily Planet employee and Superman's pal) was actually his little brother.
    • There were also two separate, completely unrelated versions of Professor Hamilton from the comics. The first was a middle-aged African-American scientist, while the second was a young, Ambiguously Brown guy who joined the cast in the later seasons.
  • Tin Man
    • There are two characters who correspond to the Great and Powerful Oz in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Mystic Man is the humbug wizard and former ruler of the Central City, and DG's father Ahamo is the guy with the hot air balloon and former co-ruler of the Outer Zone.
    • Likewise, there are two characters who fill the role of the Wicked Witch. There's Azkadellia, a psychopathic sorceress who pursues the heroes in search of a magical Macguffin, and the original Wicked Witch, a withered old woman with a soul of pure evil.
    • Although it turns out that Azkadellia is actually possessed by the spirit of the original Wicked Witch. The real Azkadellia is kind and pure of heart.
  • In The Hollow Crown, the Duke of Aumerle in Richard II and the Duke of York in Henry V are based on the same historical character, but are portrayed on screen as quite different people.
  • Once Upon a Time is more known for its composite characters, however it decomposites Peter Pan into three characters: Rumpelstiltskin cut off Hook's hand and doubles as the crocodile, his son Baelfire wound up in Kensington Gardens and befriended the Darling family, and his father Malcolm became the actual Peter Pan.
    • In season 4, an interesting case happens: it features Elsa from Frozen, who was based on the titular character from the novel The Snow Queen. However, the Snow Queen of the novel also appears, as Elsa's aunt.
  • In Spartacus War of the Damned, the historical German Rebel Leader Castus was divided into two characters; Agron, who took most of his characterizations sans name, and Castus, an In Name Only character who is instead the Sixth Ranger to Spartacus' La Résistance. Ultimately, the latter suffered his namesake's fate (albeit a little early), while the former was Spared by the Adaptation.
  • The Walking Dead
    • Due to debuting much later than his comic counterpart, the role of Tyreese in the first two seasons was distributed to three different characters, namely; T-Dog (his Captain Ersatz), Shane (for his role as The Lancer and the Love Triangle gone bad storyline) and Daryl (for his relationship with Carol and later The Lancer after Shane's death). It's also worth noting that Hershel Greene suffered his death in the comics instead of him.
    • Speaking of which, a lot of Dale's characteristics as Team Dad and serving as a voice of reason to Rick were instead given to Hershel due to Dale dying much earlier in the show than he did in the comic. Once Hershel himself finally dies (timely, this time), Bob picks up the remaining slack and suffers Dale's supposed fate and death.
    • Due to being In Name Only characters, Allen and his son Ben's Character Development are respectively given to Ryan Samuels and his daughter Lizzie.
    • Dr. Stevens from the comics was split into Dr. Stevens, a Gender Flipped In Name Only character, and Milton Mamet, his more direct counterpart.
    • Much like Dale above, Andrea dies, but unlike him, her comic counterpart is currently alive and well. Because of this, her characterizations were distributed to several characters; Carol becomes the group's resident Badass sniper and Lady of War, Sasha picks up her character arc in Season 5 (the Fear the Hunters arc where Dale was supposed to die), and her best friend Michonne picks up her role as Rick's female Lancer and confidant, and potentially his Second Love.
    • Alice doesn't have a direct counterpart in the TV series. Instead, her traits were distributed to both Andrea (as the wry Woodbury Elite Mook) and Milton (as the one who's interested in studying walkers), making her a Decomposite and Composite Character.
    • The three Marauders in the comics became seven in the show. Since all of them were Named by the Adaptation, it's hard to determine if they really underwent this trope or the additional four are Canon Foreigners.
  • Though Game of Thrones usually goes the Composite Character route, it has a few examples of this.
    • Xaro Xhoan Daxos seems to have been split between the series Xaro, who was also given a Race Lift and became an Adaptational Badass, and The Spice King, a TV-exclusive character who has the book Xaro's appearance and Ambiguously Gay mannerisms.
    • Likewise, Reek from the books has his traits split between Ramsay Snow, his secret identity in the books after the real one was killed, known simply as "the boy" prior to The Reveal and Dagmer, an Ironborn who acts as Theon's Number Two when they invade Winterfell who eventually betrays him.
  • Robin of Sherwood accounts for the diverse/contradictory characterizations of Robin Hood through a combination of this trope and Suspiciously Similar Substitute. The initial Robin on the show, Robin of Loxley, covers the "oppressed Saxons fighting against the Normans"/traditional English myth part of the story, and after this death, he is replaced by Robert of Huntington, who fits the characterization of Robin Hood as a nobleman of Norman ancestry who sympathizes with and defends the poor.
  • The Wire: The Real Life Avon Barksdale's life of crime was so long and eventful that the writers had trouble fitting it all in. As such, many of the traits and acts perpetrated during his years as a juvenile offender were transferred to Bodie instead.
  • Agent Carter does this with some of the Howling Commandos as a result of making use of Suspiciously Similar Substitute characters. In Captain America: The First Avenger, one of the featured Commandos is James Montgomery Falsworth, who in the comics is the costumed hero Union Jack. The film version of Falsworth is heavily based on the comicbook Howling Commando member Percival "Pinky" Pinkerton, and is thus a Composite Character of the two. In Agent Carter, since Falsworth's actor was unavailable, Pinky Pinkerton fills his role (which oddly makes him a Composite Character of himself). In the same episode, the Commandos speculate on a nickname to give Peggy, and propose "Miss Union Jack".

     Mythology, Folklore and Religion 
  • This often happens in mythology, were there might be many different versions of and names for the same character depending on the version you are hearing. In the Finnish national epic Kalevala, based on a large number of collected legends and songs, the autor Elias Lönnroth chosed to make the villain Louhi into a distinct person from the character Loviatar, while old folk poems often used their names interchangeably.
  • It tended to happen when the pre-writing religions and mythologies in a region started to drift apart and the characters became quite different. For example, the Greek Ares and Roman Mars were seen as versions of each other even when both faiths were still active, but in the actual myths they have completely different personalities.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Not a "character" but an entire promotion had this done to it in the 2010s, when the NWA was running a revival of Championship Wrestling from Florida and WWE was running a revival of Florida Championship Wrestling, which were really two different but interchangeable names for the same company. Both relied on footage and wrestlers from that company, just to make it more obvious.

     Theater 
  • From the video production of Cats; on stage, the character of Gus is usually depicted as a young cat but becomes an older cat for his big number. This number usually segues into another number with the younger version, "Growltiger's Last Stand". The older version was played by Sir John Mills, who was far too old, and blind, to do the required singing and dancing. So, they split both versions into two characters, with the younger Gus now named Asparagus.

     Video Games 
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, a few characters could switch between different forms: Zelda could transform into her alter-ego Sheik, Samus could lose her armor and become Zero Suit Samus, and the Pokémon Trainer could switch between Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard. As of the fourth game, the devs made a concerted effort to drop these mechanics; and as a result Zelda, Sheik, Samus, and Zero Suit Samus are all separate characters and the Pokémon Trainer was replaced with just Charizard.
  • Some characters from Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars were decomposed into separate characters on League of Legends. Sniper, for example, had his increasing range passive transferred to Tristana, his ultimate skill transferred to Caitlyn, and his basic skill transferred to Miss Fortune.
  • In the original Tomb Raider continuity, Lara's tech support was provided by a wise-cracking African-American hacker named Zip. In the movies, the same basic role was filled by a white British guy named Bryce, who was more of a Deadpan Snarker and more of a stereotypically awkward geek than the self-assured Zip. Come Tomb Raider Legend, Zip got a makeover, but also a second-in-command named Alister, another white British techie with less overt social confidence, who seems to have been created to incorporate Bryce's qualities into the games while retaining Zip as a separate character.

     Webcomics 
  • In Shortpacked!, Ultra Car was originally an Automated Automobile, but later became a Robot Girl. In Dumbing of Age, Ultra-Car (car form) is a comic book character and there's also Carla, an ordinary human who looks like SP!UC's humanoid chassis, has some aspects of her personality, and is a fan of the UC comics.

     Western Animation 
  • Young Justice gives us Roy Harper. The one we know turns out to be a clone of the original, who was abducted before the show even began. Eventually the original is recovered and the two wind up splitting elements of Roy from the comic: the clone keeps the name Red Arrow and has a relationship and child with Cheshire, while the original is more mentally traumatized, lost his arm and takes the name Arsenal.
  • In Transformers Animated, we're not quite sure what happened with Skywarp and Cyclonus. In Transformers Generation 1, Cyclonus may or may not be an upgraded Skywarp (blame error-prone animation for a confusing Transformation Sequence when multiple characters are upgraded at once.) The Animated version, however? Skywarp is one of several clones of Starscream, each with one trait of the original taken Up to Eleven. Skywarp represents his cowardice. As for Cyclonus, he's a brief (but cool) cameo, but All There in the Manual tells us that his "internal chronometer" is way off, he is seeking someone named Galvatron (that's Megatron's upgraded form in G1 and several other series), and he has some circuitry in common with Starscream, particularly his (now disabled) self-preservation instinct. This hints without saying that Cyclonus is from the future and used to be Skywarp.
    • In the G1 Transformers Galvatron is best remembered as being super Ax-Crazy. In Transformers Armada, when Megatron became Galvatron he retains much of his sanity, but his ax craziness handed over to Cyclonus who was already like that in his first appearance. Which is ironic since in G1 he was the sanest of the Decepticons.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: G3's Rainbow Dash was split between G4's version of Rainbow Dash who has her name and look and Rarity who has her fashion-conscious personality and accent (albeit an Atlantic accent instead of a wholly British Accent). The three are the trope image.
  • The Prince and the Pauper starring Mickey Mouse gives both Mickeys both personalities associated with the character. Pauper Mickey is the cheerful Nice Guy that Mickey is known as today, while the Prince is more like the mischievous and adventurous hero that he was known as in his earlier years.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, while Plucky is a counterpart to Daffy, Hamton to Porky, Dizzy to Taz, etc., Bugs Bunny has two successors: Buster and Babs Bunnynote , Babs features more of his "wacky" traits (as well as her ability to impersonate others) and Buster shares more of his Deadpan Snarker / Straight Man traits.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes:
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker briefly uses the Iron Spider identity before ditching the armor and returning to the classic Spider-Man ID. The Iron Spider armor and name end up in the hands of Amadeus Cho in Season 3.
  • In the original comic and videogame versions of Earthworm Jim, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head was an Evilutionary Biologist focused Mad Scientist and Bob the Killer Goldfish was a more generic would-be tyrant. In the cartoon version, the Professor loses his evilutionary schtick and is a generic Mad Scientist, whilst Bob gains a fairly heavy Hollywood Evolution motif (despite, ironically, talking like a bombastic fundamentalist Dixie preacher).
  • An in-universe example ended up being a major plot twist in The Boondocks episode "The Story of Catcher Freeman". Both Granddad and Ruckus tells wildly different, questionably accurate versions of the same story of a slave revolt involving Catcher Freeman/Catch-a-Freeman, a female slaved named Thelma, a slave master named Master Colonel, and a cowardly house slave named Tobias. After a few minutes on the internet, Huey finds Tobias and Catcher were actually the same person: a cowardly house slave who joined the revolt after he killed his master accidentally.
  • In addition to changing the events of happening on present-day Earth to a time-travel adventure that took place in its past, Beast Wars did this to Optimus Primal and Beast-era Megatron by making them legacy characters to their Generation 1 namesakes, as the toyline originally had them as not legacy characters, but as the G1 characters themselves with new forms.

     Meta 
  • TRON 2.0 and its spin off comic were thrown into Canon Discontinuity when TRON: Legacy was green-lit, but it appears the character of Jet Bradley was split between Sam Flynn (being a Spin-Offspring, the hacking ability, the arrest record and apparent apathy to Encom's trouble in the beginning) and Beck in the spinoff TRON: Uprising (a Hero with Bad Publicity who leads a revolt in the system and has a very troubled relationship with his father / mentor).