->''"As is the case with comic continuity, Magneto supposedly died, but then it turns out that he just faked his death by impersonating a new character, and it was all some plan to Take Over the World and engage in hypocritical acts before he's killed again, but then it turns out it's not really him and-the-character-he-made-up-was-actually-a-real-person-who's-still-alive-so-Magneto-was-actually-some-guy-impersonating-another-guy-impersonating-Magneto."''
-->-- '''Linkara''', ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall''

A new character appears on the scene, usually with a noticeable air of mystery surrounding him or her. Eventually, the mask (literal or metaphorical) is removed, and the stranger turns out to be a disguise created by an established character for some purpose.

But -- by this point, the creator(s) have had to devote a significant amount of creative effort detailing the false guise; it has a name and an image, and from a legal standpoint represents a potential trademark. It'd be a ''waste'' to just throw it ''away''.

So, naturally, another heretofore unknown character pops up to become the "real" bearer of that identity. Sometimes this is simply an opportunist taking up the unused mantle; sometimes, it involves a {{Retcon}} establishing the guise as a preexisting character.

Named for the TV series ''Series/RemingtonSteele'', whose premise had P.I. Laura Holt concoct a fictitious male employer to head her detective agency and thus appease chauvinist expectations of potential customers -- only for an anonymous rogue to hijack the identity (and thus the agency) himself.

See also InventedIndividual and FakeRealTurn. Result of the same motivation as the LegacyCharacter. Contrast with DeadPersonImpersonation.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'', protagonist Sena Kobayakawa is forced to play football disguised as the titular player, who allegedly played football at a prep school for Notre Dame. In the arc for the Poseidons team during the Fall Tournament, he learns that there actually ''was'' a Japanese player at Notre Dame's prep school only known as "Eyeshield 21" -- and that he's one of the other athletes in the tournament.\\
It was revealed eventually that Hayato Akaba of the Bando Spiders was Eyeshield 21... but ''not'' the player Kakei had faced, who turned out to be Yamato Takeru of the Teikoku Alexanders. In the final chapter, [[spoiler: it's revealed that eventually Sena himself becomes the real Eyeshield 21 at Notre Dame prep for a time.]]
* In ''Manga/IkkiTousen Great Guardians''... [[spoiler:The "Saji Genpou" we know is actually Ouin Shishi (Wang Yun); the big bad of ''Great Guardians'' is the Fighter with the real magatama of Zuo Ci, a LittleMissBadass young woman who is the ''true'' Saji Genpou as well as the local DarkMagicalGirl, ''and'' the "other" Saji might be in love with her or at least care sincerely for her.]]
* ''Manga/MobileSuitGundamTheOrigin'', an alternate retelling of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', introduces a real Char Aznable, who befriended IdenticalStranger Casval Deikun shortly before both enrolled in the Zeon military. [[spoiler:Casval then sets Char up, switching their ID papers and having Char take a shuttle he knows is rigged to explode in an assassination attempt. Following this, Casval assumes Char's identity and the rest is history.]]\\
The novel ''Gundam Unicorn'' briefly toyed with the notion that [[spoiler:Full Frontal, the story's CharClone, was in fact the '''real''' Char, who survived the shuttle bomb all those decades ago.]]
** According to the spinoff manga ''MSV-R: The Return of Johnny Ridden'', this was also the case for [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Quattro Bajeena]]. The real Quattro Bajeena was a crewmember on a Federation ship destroyed in the One Year War. Because military regulations required [[NeverFoundTheBody physical remains to be recovered]] for a soldier to be officially declared dead, the majority of those killed in space battles were listed as MIA rather than KIA. As a result of this, some corrupt Federation bureaucrats began selling off the identity papers of soldiers who were still technically alive but almost certainly never coming back and Char was one of their customers.
* ''Anime/GallForce'' featured a girl named Catty, [[spoiler: who turned out to be one of a series of androids. Another Catty appears in the sequel, and in the third story, the original Catty the androids were based off of appears.]]
* Probably two of the most [[WhamEpisode Wham-tastic]] examples of this trope: [[spoiler: Madara Uchiha]] and [[spoiler:Obito Uchiha]] in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''. In an interesting twist, it's the former's very ''entrance'' that immediately reveals the previously supposed [[spoiler: Madara]] as a fake.
* An unusual version of this happens in ''Manga/OnePiece'' as it involved someone's appearance rather than a name, which was wrong by mistake: When Sanji got a wanted poster, they didn't have a picture so they used a sketch. This sketch [[FacialCompositeFailure barely looked like Sanji]], but looked almost ''exactly'' like another guy named Duval. This lead to numerous bounty hunters coming after Duval until he started wearing a mask, then [[MisplacedRetribution he came after Sanji for revenge.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/XMen''
** In the 1960s, ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} adopted the identity of "Erik the Red" to infiltrate a villain's confidence. In the 1970s, a new Erik the Red appeared, this time an alien agent named Davan Shakari with no connection to the original plot and no particular reason to use the identity (or for that matter, any reason to not use his real name; it's not like he had a civilian life on Earth to conceal). Cyclops actually expressed his confusion at this, pointing out that "Erik the Red" was simply his own disguise.\\
In the 90s, another storyline saw the return of the Erik the Red identity, who was even {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in the text as being someone else we knew in disguise. Later, it turned out that he was ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, who has at times gone by the alias of "Erik Lehnsherr".
** In 2001, writer Creator/GrantMorrison added a character named Xorn to the X-Men, a Chinese dissident sealed behind a skull-like metal mask to contain his powers. In 2003, Xorn [[TheReveal unmasked himself]] as a disguise for Magneto. But [[ExecutiveMeddling the editors]] didn't like the idea of Magneto (and Xorn, technically) being KilledOffForReal at the end of the arc (nor did they care much for the way Magneto's character was portrayed despite Morrison's rationalizations), and asked incoming writer Chuck Austen to handle the situation. Under Austen's changes, it was now the '''real''' Xorn who had pretended to be Magneto, who had pretended to be his identically masked twin brother, also named Xorn, who joined the team.\\
''That'' Xorn has since turned up: turns out he was just misguided, and has since decided the world needs the real Magneto again, repowering him after his depowerment in ''ComicBook/HouseOfM''. Some fans are angry, others are just confused.
* During the "Identity Crisis" storyline, Franchise/SpiderMan adopted ''four'' separate disguises (Dusk, Hornet, Prodigy, and Ricochet) to operate while framed for murder.[[note]]This was actually quite a clever move on Spidey's part; he realized that if he went off the radar and a new costumed hero immediately showed up with similar abilities and body build, people would be suspicious. But if ''four'' such people showed up, it didn't matter if his enemies suspected one of them was a disguised Spider-Man because who could possibly suspect ''all of them''? And it gave him plenty of margin for error, since if one identity was blown he still had others to fall back on. To further the trickery, two of the fake identities (Dusk and Ricochet) were ''supervillains''.[[/note]] After the storyline's resolution, a [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] hero who had nothing to do with Spidey obtained the abandoned costumes and gave them to four new characters, who he trained to form the short-lived ''ComicBook/{{Slingers}}''.
* Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica: An apparent sorcerer named Bloodwynd joined the Justice League in the early 1990s. Eventually this turned out to be the ComicBook/MartianManhunter, forced to ''impersonate'' the real Bloodwynd, who was trapped inside the magic gem the Manhunter had been wearing during the impersonation. This sometimes got really screwed up when Martian Manhunter [[CoversAlwaysLie appeared on the cover]] at the same time...
* In UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks, Franchise/{{Superman}} and ComicBook/JimmyOlsen occasionally adventured inside the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor where Superman's powers didn't function, and adopted the Batman-and-Robin-inspired identities of Nightwing and Flamebird. They were later replaced by Kandorian scientist Van-Zee (Superman's IdenticalStranger) and his lab assistant Ak-Var. Then Nightwing became Dick Grayson's post-Robin identity; Flamebird has also been used by established characters ComicBook/PostCrisis (including, ironically enough, Betty Kane, who in the original continuity was the overly feminine Batgirl who fought crime with ''cosmetics''). And now all of the Kandorians have been set loose. ''[[ComicBook/Supergirl2005 There was also a brief period]]'' when ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} and ComicBook/PowerGirl assumed the identities of Flamebird and Nightwing while operating inside Kandor.
* The character of "ComicBook/WonderGirl" originally appeared as the teenaged incarnation of Franchise/WonderWoman (just as the original Superboy was the youthful identity of Franchise/{{Superman}}). When the Comicbook/TeenTitans were created in the 1960s, Wonder Girl was added to the team...but the Titans were contemporaries of the Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica, [[SeriesContinuityError and by extension of Wonder Woman]]. Thus the real Wonder Girl was explained four years later to be Donna Troy, an orphan rescued by Wonder Woman and raised among the Amazons. (This explanation would be subjected to repeated [[{{Retcon}} further revisions]] due to Franchise/TheDCU's constant reboots and retoolings, with [[ContinuitySnarl the result being that Donna has an impossibly convoluted history even for a comic book character]].)
* The blue lightning-themed costume worn by Superman during his "Electric Superman" phase was passed on to a ''woman'', who adopted the name "Strange Visitor".
* ComicBook/SquadronSupreme started as JLA supervillain Expies, but later it was retconned that they're evil duplicates of alternate universe heroes.
* In SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}}, Deadpool himself is convinced he's Wade Wilson (he isn't), and though Agent X claims to be the real deal, doubt has been cast on the assertion. It isn't helped that T-Ray ''also'' claims to be the real Wade Wilson.\\
For a while who the real Wade is varied DependingOnTheWriter, now it's just Who the Hell Knows. (Both 'Pool and T-Ray are kind of nuts, so you really can't take either of them at their word)
* "Ronin" seems to be the current go-to identity at the moment for ''Comicbook/TheAvengers''. It was first used by Echo (though original plans meant for it to be Daredevil), and then ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}} used it. And when a "Ronin" shows up in ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'' (an AlternateUniverse), it turns out to be ComicBook/MoonKnight.
* Speaking of ComicBook/UltimateMarvel, the Ultimate version of Black Panther turns out to be Captain America, covering for the real Panther.
* Shortly after the Watergate scandal and resignation of [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon President Richard Nixon]], Steve Rogers abandoned the identity of ComicBook/CaptainAmerica and adopted the new identity of Nomad, the man without a country. After a few months, Rogers returned to fighting crime as ComicBook/CaptainAmerica. Years later, Jack Monroe (aka ComicBook/{{Bucky|Barnes}}), formerly the {{sidekick}} of the Captain America of the 1950's, took up the mantle of Nomad. Played with in a later storyline, when the U.S. government attempts to assert control over Captain America. Steve Rogers allows them to take the name, costume and shield away from him rather than become a government lapdog, only to don a {{Palette Swap}}ped costume and fight crime as "The Captain". When Rogers eventually reclaims the Captain America identity, the individual the government had placed as Captain America was given the "Captain" uniform, but was re-dubbed "The U.S. Agent".
* Franchise/SpiderMan introduced a new heroine called Jackpot, who is probably best known so far for maybe possibly potentially being Mary Jane Watson. It wasn't, but no sooner did we find that out than the girl was killed. This girl is intended to be the "Uncle Ben" for the original Jackpot, who came up with the identity but passed it off to someone else as she didn't want the [[ComesGreatResponsibility Great Responsibility]]. The "original" Jackpot (Sara Ehret) then receives an epic chewing out by Spidey for her RefusalOfTheCall resulting in an innocent's death which prompts her to take the identity for real...and shortly afterwards a villain learns her true identity (by utter coincidence) and sends a thug to kill her husband in front of their daughter, forcing both to go into hiding under false identities. Man, Spidey's rotten luck really is contagious, huh?
* ''ComicBook/{{Thunderbolts}}'': In the original version, Baron Zemo was disguised as "Citizen V", a LegacyCharacter for an obscure patriotic hero who fought alongside LaResistance during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. After the betrayed TheCommissionerGordon character Dallas Riordan assumes the identity, and much other [[HilarityEnsues Hilarity Ensuing]], a disembodied Zemo finds himself [[GrandTheftMe in possession]] of the body of a ''real'' descendant of the original Citizen V.
* '' ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'': Fiona Fox was originally introduced as a robot created by [[BigBad Dr. Robotnik]] to seduce Tails and ultimately roboticize him, but ended up being destroyed. A few years later, we find out that the robot was based on the real Fiona, who had been Robotnik's prisoner. The real Fiona became a recurring character, and ultimately, recurring villain, as she ended up pulling a FaceHeelTurn to be [[EvilTwin Scourge's]] girlfriend.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''
** Inversion: one of the hinted identities for the villain Hush was Batman's dead sidekick Jason Todd, the second Robin. While this turned out to not be the case, the writers at DC Comics decided to bring back Jason Todd for real in a later story arc.
** One arc explained how Batman had appropriated the identity of dead criminal 'Matches' Malone as cover for infiltrating the underworld. However, it turns out the real 'Matches' is not dead and he comes back, wanting to know who has been impersonating him.
** [[Comicbook/{{Batgirl}} Cassandra]] [[Comicbook/{{Batgirl2000}} Cain]] might have been created simply to have someone wearing the costume of the new Batgirl introduced in the BatFamilyCrossover ''ComicBook/BatmanNoMansLand''. That new Batgirl was introduced near the beginning of the story, while Cassandra was introduced several months later. After her two-part introduction, Cassandra's next appearance was in an issue that revealed the new Batgirl's identity as existing character ComicBook/{{Huntress}}. In that issue Huntress was then forced to abandon the costume, which was promptly given to the just-introduced Cassandra. (There may or may not be an AbortedArc involved).
* A double example from the Creator/{{Wildstorm}} universe, the android [[ComicBook/WildCATS Spartan/Yon Kohl/John Colt]] [[RetCon turned out to be]] imprinted with the mind of the original Yon Kohl/John Colt, who had died in the sixties. Later, it was revealed that Colt was NotQuiteDead and had created the identity of Kaizen Gamorra, an [[FaceHeelTurn insane dictator]]. After he was killed again (by the same guy, in the same way, but this time he's [[DeathIsCheap definitely, totally, for real dead. Probably.]]) Then we discover that there was a real Kaizen Gamorra who's not happy that Colt imprisoned him and stole his identity.
* The Invincible Man from Marvel Comics. The first person in the costume was the Super Skrull. Not only was he in a full costume, but he was pretending to be Dr. Franklin Storm, father to Susan and Johnny Storm of the ComicBook/FantasticFour. The Skrulls kidnapped Franklin and pretended he had gone mad and given himself super powers while in prison. Reed Richards saw through the deception when he noticed Invincible Man's powers were similar to their own. The second person was Reed himself, who was kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming the Invincible Man to help kidnap the rest of the Fantastic Four. Ultimately, this was a plan created by Doctor Doom. Reed's version used technology from the Psycho-Man to play with people's emotions and create hallucinations. The third Invincible Man was Doom himself. Prior to the Secret Wars, he lost his body during the battle between ComicBook/SilverSurfer and Terrax and was forced to body-swap with a random pedestrian before he died, created a makeshift costume and weapons, and attacked the Latverian embassy. Doom's ultimate plan was to get to his resources, including his spare suit of armor, and recreate his body. The story arc ended with Doom getting his body back and leaving the innocent man's body once his mind was transferred by the Beyonder, whom he accidentally called to the scene (due to temporal paradoxes the Doom who fought in the Secret Wars was Doom from THAT point in time, with no knowledge of the Secret Wars).
* ''ComicBook/{{Diabolik}}'' has Walter Dorian. In the first stories Walter Dorian is an alias used by the titular VillainProtagonist as a SecretIdentity, abandoned after Ginko arrested Diabolik and exposed his true face. Years later, reasoning that when he first arrived in Clerville Diabolik didn't have the means to create a convincing fake identity yet, the authors created a ''real'' Walter Dorian, an IdenticalStranger of Diabolik whose identity was stolen by the title character after nearly killing him in another country (Dorian was left for dead and was imprisoned as a spy by soldiers who were about to rebel).

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Remember Ash's "Ashley" disguise in the [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Pokémon anime]]? Well, in ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'', Ash meets a waitress who looks a lot like his old disguise, except older, and even has the same name. [[spoiler: And given what the plot has hinted so far, they might be half-siblings.]]


* In ''Irma La Douce'' Nestor Patou impersonates a QuintessentialBritishGentleman and is ultimately jailed for murdering his alter-ego. He's unexpectedly freed at the end when a real person who looks and acts exactly like his fake identity shows up.
* Editing created an example of this in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** As originally written, [[Film/IronMan3 Aldrich Killian's plan]] involved {{False Flag Attack}}s, implicating the independent terrorist organization [[Film/IronMan The Ten Rings]] in several bombings around the world, and casting out of work actor Trevor Slattery as their leader, a historical LegacyCharacter called the Mandarin. However, much of this material was cut from the movie, leading a viewer to safely assume that Killian's declaration that he was the real Mandarin "all along" meant he was indeed TheManBehindTheMan going back to the first Iron Man film. WordOfGod declared otherwise, leading to...
** ''Film/AllHailTheKing'', which sets the record straight: The Mandarin is a [[LegacyCharacter historical legacy]], he's {{real|AfterAll}}, [[OhCrap and active,]] and, well:
--->'''Jackson:''' There's somebody who wants to meet you.\\
'''Trevor:''' Do I know him?\\
'''Jackson:''' No, but you took his name and now he wants it back.

* In an example that's like ''Remington Steele'' the series, rather than strictly this trope, Marco Denevi's noirish novel ''Rosaura at 10 O'Clock'' concerns a young man whose neighbors get on his case about not having a girlfriend, so [[GirlfriendInCanada he tells them he's having a secret affair]] with a married woman named "Rosaura", and he sends himself perfumed letters. Therefore, he's shocked when one day his landlady tells him, "Rosaura was here this morning asking for you".
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': Mad-Eye Moody, the [[HighTurnoverRate Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher]] in Harry's [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire fourth year]], turns out to be an impostor who's been keeping the real Moody alive in his own BagOfHolding. Early into [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix book five]], Harry finds himself in the strange position of meeting someone he thought he'd known for a year for the first time.
* Daniel Pinkwater’s ''Young Adult Novel'' contains a variant: the Wild Dada Ducks, a group of schoolboys, amuse themselves by writing chapters from an imaginary novel called “Kevin Shapiro, Boy Orphan” (which contains many examples of DeathByNewberyMedal). When they find out their school has a real Kevin Shapiro, they embark on a new project — to make him the most popular kid in school. Shapiro isn’t too happy with their helpful meddling, and concocts plans of his own…
* ''LightNovel/TheUnexploredSummonBloodSign'' has an example similar to Mad-Eye Moody from ''Literature/HarryPotter''. Aoi Meinokawa is the GirlOfTheWeek in the seventh volume. Kyousuke seeks her help in summoning an entity capable of permanently killing his nemesis, [[EldritchAbomination the White Queen]]. It turns out that the White Queen had actually taken the place of Aoi from the beginning, and (similar to Moody) deliberately helped out Kyousuke to further her own plans. This is a somewhat unusual example, because Aoi is an ArtificialHuman originally designed to resemble the White Queen, so no disguise was necessary - the White Queen only had to get the real one out of the way and copy her behavior. [[spoiler:But it turns out that Kyousuke had actually figured out the deception before the Queen revealed herself, and was merely playing along]]. At the end of the volume, the real Aoi is found alive, having been dismembered and dumped in a lake.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine,'' it turns out that the Klingons were being manipulated into fighting TheFederation by a shapeshifter, and so our heroes go undercover to expose the Klingon leader Gowron... only it's not Gowron, it's Gowron's right hand man, Martok. The producers so liked J. G. Hertzler's performance of Martok that they soon had the ''real'' Martok be discovered at a Dominion prison and eventually rescued, becoming a major {{Recurrer}}, eventually becoming the new leader of the Klingon Empire.
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'': The "Stefan" character started out as a chemically-induced, temporary transformation of [[ExtravertedNerd Urkel]]. Eventually, Steve was cloned, and the clone decided to permanently become Stefan. This one was a case of RealLifeWritesThePlot, as Jaleel White had become so fed up with the Urkel character that he wanted a chance to play someone more normal, and this was his chance to do so. Reportedly one of White's favorite roles to play was the BruceLeeClone, who was neither Steve or Stefan and in many ways was more ridiculous than both of them could ever be.
* On ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', Elliot gets tired of "Dr. Eliot Reid" being presumed to be a man, so she pretends to be "his" nurse in order to quiet down a sexist patient. When he becomes skeptical, she gets the Janitor to fill in as "Dr. Reid".
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'': Brisco's go-to alias when going undercover amongst ne'er-do-wells is Kansas Wiley Stafford. Then in one episode the real Kansas Wiley Stafford comes to town, calling out the man who is claiming to be him.
* ''Series/{{Motive}}'': In "Fallen", the VictimOfTheWeek is a graffiti artist who claims to be a famous anonymous street artist known as 'Contagion', so he can sell out and make money out of Contagion's name and fame. For much of the investigation, the detectives are working on the assumption that the victim was Contagion, until one of the suspects turns out to be the real Contagion.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Luann}}'': A plotline culminated in the revelation that the Gunther she'd been talking to for several weeks was actually her longtime crush Aaron Hill in an elaborate costume, trying to make some kind of point.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'': The nameless protagonist has the option to tell almost everyone he meets that his name is "Adahn". Since the game is set in the [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve belief-shaped Outer Planes]], if he does this enough, a "real" Adahn will appear.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' turned out to be AllJustADream, but the enemies in it later turned up in non-dream ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' games.
* Used in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'', with the first Lleviathan being [[spoiler: Johanna's dead father affected by a Fygg. The real one makes an appearance in the PlayableEpilogue, but only if you accept Johanna's quest after defeating the BigBad.]]
* ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheCuriousVillage'': [[spoiler: Don Paolo disguises himself as the well-known [[InspectorLestrade Inspector Chelmey.]]]] The real [[spoiler: Chelmey]] turns up in the second game.
* In the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' franchise, we have the name and identity of [[spoiler:Ansem]], which is initially used by [[spoiler:Xehanort]]. Unusually for the trope, the ''real'' [[spoiler:Ansem]] is practically '''nothing''' like the fake one, in terms of looks, personality, motivations, or moral alignment (the imposter only interacted with those who had never met the real deal).
* In the Imperial Agent's prologue in ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', the Agent adopts the cover identity of a pirate known as the Red Blade, with your contact telling you that the real thing is far away. At the end, just as you're leaving, the real deal comes to Hutta and you're forced to kill him to avoid blowing your cover.
* In the first ''VideoGame/SilentHill1'', [[spoiler: Lisa Garland]] is revealed to have been DeadAllAlong in a plot twist, the [[spoiler: Lisa]] we meet is [[spoiler: [[{{Tulpa}} a manifestation of Alessa's memories of her]]]]. We get to meet the real [[spoiler: Lisa]] for the first time in the prequel ''VideoGame/SilentHillOrigins''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', a mysterious new criminal named [[AwesomeMcCoolName Red X]] appears and seeks to partner with the Titans' enemy Slade. He turns out to be an alias of [[spoiler:Robin]], used in a ploy to [[spoiler:investigate and/or capture Slade]]. In later episodes, the Red X costume is stolen by an unknown thief, essentially identical to the persona being portrayed by [[spoiler:Robin]]. [[RiddleForTheAges It's never revealed who stole the Red X suit]], although WordOfGod is that [[StrangerBehindTheMask he was not any previously-introduced character]].
* A variation of this trope occurs in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}''. In the "City of Stone" arc, baddie Theatre/{{Macbeth}} has appropriated the legacy of The Hunter, an identity used by several characters roughly a thousand years ago as part of several vendettas (including several against him). Later on in the season, it is revealed that the original legacy had survived, and we meet a trio of "real" Hunters.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' short "[[HighSchoolAU School Time Shipping]]", [[ShipTease Haru]], [[WellIntentionedExtremist Jet]], and [[WellDoneSonGuy Zuko]] compete to see who will accompany [[FirstGirlWins Katara]] to the dance; who does she go with? [[spoiler: Zuko's SecretIdentity, the [[CoolMask Blue Spirit]]!]]
-->'''Zuko:''' [[DidntSeeThatComing I did not see that one coming]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' featured the character Shiv Katall, a bounty hunter hired by Zurg to hunt down defectors from his organization. Unknown to him, Katall was actually Buzz in disguise (and before him, Commander Nebula), who used the identity to aid the defectors. Unfortunately the ruse was inadvertently exposed by Buzz's team. Some time after this however, Shiv Katall mysteriously reappears, his identity taken by [[spoiler:[[MirrorUniverse Evil Buzz Lightyear]]]].
* A variation: The ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Not Without My Anus"--treated as an in-universe work of fiction--features a journalist/court prosecutor named Scott as a villain. Years later, in "It's Christmas in Canada" the kids meet a ''real'' Scott. This Scott was introduced with five words: "That's Scott. He's a ''dick''." A later episode sees the debut of a real Ugly Bob, who moved to America because Americans think all Canadians look alike.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** One of Bart's crank calls to Moe's involves asking for a "Hugh Jass". The difference is that this time Moe actually finds a guy named [[UnfortunateNames Hugh Jass]] in his tavern, which Bart does not anticipate. The guy turns out to be nice enough to let him off the hook however.
** In a similar gag, Homer tells Moe that [[IHaveThisFriend he has this friend]] named Joey Joe-Joe Jr. Shabadoo. Moe replies that that's the worst name ever, only for a man ''actually'' named Joey Joe-Joe Jr. Shabadoo to run out of the bar crying.
* Throughout ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill,'' [[ConspiracyTheorist Dale]] often uses the fake name "Rusty Shackleford," apparently the name of an old classmate who died when he was in the third grade. In an episode in the last few seasons, the real Rusty Shackleford confronts him. Turns out he just moved away.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' had Mr. Krabs attempt to get [=SpongeBob=] to give up the soda drink hat he sold him by claiming that it belonged to someone who is dead now, making up the name of [[OverlyLongName Smitty Werbenjeggermanjenson]]. Later, it turns out that there actually is a fish in Bikini Bottom Cemetery by that name and that the hat did belong to him prior to his death.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Dr. Venture's family "abduct" him, and while he's bound and blindfolded they adopt some false personae as his kidnappers. One of these is simply a talking toy bear named Ted (a parody of [[WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfTeddyRuxpin Teddy Ruxpin]]). In a later episode it's seen that Hank and Dermott have kept the Ted fiction going. Dr. Venture has now befriended Ted (although he's never seen him), and they take advantage of his long phone "conversations" to sneak out of the house. When Dr. Venture finds that he can't get Ted on the phone any more (because they just couldn't keep it up), he concludes that Ted is in trouble and goes looking for him. He takes Sgt. Hatred, who was in on the original abduction but doesn't piece together that this is the same Ted. When Hatred finally figures it out, he's about to confess to Dr. Venture that Ted doesn't exist, when the real Ted suddenly appears. It's actually the toy's voice actor, coincidentally just escaped from a mental institution where he had been since he cracked and became LostInCharacter. Unlike the classic form of this trope, Ted never reappears.