"Talk about being your own worst enemy."
— Lara Croft
in Tomb Raider (after sending a mutant copy of herself into a lava pit)
Doppelgänger, with an umlaut and a majuscule, is the German word for a ghostly double of a living person or more commonly simply a word for someone looking exactly like someone else, i.e. an impostor or double. It means "double (walker)", in the original. It is often said that one who sees their own Doppelgänger will die soon. In fiction, this is usually because they kill you themselves and take your place
Traditionally, Doppelgängers have strange, supernatural origins, unlike twins which usually have more natural explanations. A Mirror Universe
, alien intervention, and magic are all possible sources of a Doppelgänger. For purposes of clarity, this index includes both mundane and supernatural impersonators of a character.
For twins related by blood, see Twin Tropes
. See also Disguise Tropes
. If a good character has an evil Doppelgänger, the Doppelgänger is an Evil Twin
Specific types of Doppelgängers include:
- Actually a Doombot — When the person is revealed to be a robotic duplicate.
- Ambiguous Clone Ending — Did the original kill the clone, or is the clone the survivor?
- Becoming the Mask — What happens to many doppelgangers.
- Body Double
- Counterpart Combat Coordination — fight your doppelgangers.
- Creepy Child — often come in twos, or more.
- Distaff Counterpart: Very similar to the original character, just the opposite gender. Often a rival or villain.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest — That Love Interest that just died? They have a duplicate in the real world that wants to shack up with you.
- Emergency Impersonation — An impersonator tries to fill in for someone else and Hilarity Ensues.
- Expendable Clone — The tendency to see these doubles as highly expendable, if not abominations to be killed.
- Gendered Outfit — When an Opposite-Sex Clone, Distaff Counterpart, or Gender Bender wears an opposite-gender version of an established outfit.
- Glamour Failure — Not all doppelgangers can hide their tells.
- I Say What I Say — Doppelgangers speaking in unison.
- Identity Impersonator — A ploy heroes use to throw off people are snooping their Secret Identity.
- Impostor Exposing Test — A test to identify an alien or supernatural impostor.
- Imposter Forgot One Detail — An impersonator fails to to be convincing.
- Kill and Replace
- Mangled Catch Phrase — One person imitates another but screws up the first person's Catch Phrase.
- Me's a Crowd — when someone tries to clone themselves to do their chores.
- Mirror Match — When a character fights themselves (or a reasonably close match) in a video game.
- Mirror Morality Machine — A character is made into their moral opposite thanks to Phlebotinum.
- Mirror Universe — Home to many morality opposite versions of a cast.
- Mistaken for an Imposter
- Opening a Can of Clones — A story with clones, especially when used to revive dead characters or undo plot, makes the events lose punch.
- Other Me Annoys Me
- Prince and Pauper — Two people switch lives.
- The Psycho Rangers — An entire team of doppelgangers to the Five-Man Band.
- Screw Yourself — Yes, there is Power Perversion Potential to be had here (also Rule 34).
- Spot the Imposter — When the friends of the impersonated have to figure out who the spy is.
- Teleporter Accident — One surefire way to create a duplicate, evil or otherwise.
- Treacherous Spirit Chase — A malign entity poses as a dead loved one to lead the hero into peril
- Twinmaker — A clone is made to replace a dead original.
- Villains Blend in Better — Most villainous doppelgangers easily impersonate their target.
- You Are Who You Eat — A non-human shapeshifts into the form of the person they've eaten.