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This trope is defined at "A character who joins the cast as a replacement for a character who has left the show due to real-life distractions (contract negotiations, death, etc.) despite being integral to the plot or concept of the series."

In other words, the actor playing the character is no longer available, so instead of doing The Other Darrin they invent a new character with a new actor to take their place.

Given that fact, how come we are seeing characters in mediums where this can't happen?

So pretty much the entirety of Anime & Manga, Card Games, Comic Books, Literature, and all the other sections involving mediums that don't use actors are misuse, as are all the wicks for such shows.

Not to mention that the entirety of the PlayingWith.Suspiciously Similar Substitute page is inaccurate and gives bad examples that would be misuse, and the laconic also leaves out key parts of the definition and therefore promotes misuse.

So do we need to?

  1. Simply cleanup misuse
  2. Rename to better describe the trope and remove bad examples while implementing the new name
  3. Expand the definition to fit the inaccurate way that the trope is summed up in the Laconic and Playing With sections, which also matches the misuse, while creating a Trivia page that covers the current definition

edited 24th Dec '13 5:07:14 AM by Catbert

Incidentally, for a bit of trope history, this used to be Jonas Quinn, and was renamed after a quite a few discussion on the topic, including this discussion. See also this.

This is the oldest version I can find of the trope and this is the oldest version I can find of the page under its new name, and it is clear that the the intent is to cover characters that were replaced on TV shows because the actor was not available, not new characters in any context that have some similarities to previous characters.

Hate to say it, but I do think that it may need to be renamed again, as the generic name seems to be promoting misuse.

edited 24th Dec '13 5:36:12 AM by Catbert

 3 Septimus Heap, Tue, 24th Dec '13 5:47:42 AM from Madrid, Spain Relationship Status: Mu
Another Wizard boy
Yeah, take out the misused media. I don't think that it can be used outside of media that employ actors.

 4 the Adeptrogue, Tue, 24th Dec '13 6:01:08 AM Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Huh, I never realized this was supposed to be about characters being replaced because his/her actor left the show, since neither the name or examples alludes to that in the slightest. Given the amount of incorrect examples, I think it would be easier to redefine the trope into something more like its laconic, since that is what most of the examples conform to.

 5 Another Duck, Tue, 24th Dec '13 6:04:06 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Well, technically, animation employs voice actors, so they could count. If the voice actor gets replaced under those circumstances.
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Only if they replace the character because the voice actor isn't available, but with animation they are more likely to keep the same character with a new voice actor.

Examples like this suggest to me that a less restrictive definition may be in order:

  • Lucky Luke: In their first appearance The Daltons were actually shot dead by Lucky Luke! Since the characters proved to be very popular Morris brought them back, or rather their nephews, who looked and acted exactly the same and were also four brothers of differing height! So the Daltons we know today are actually copies of the original.

 8 nrjxll, Tue, 24th Dec '13 12:00:59 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I'd be inclined to just expand the definition.

The real issue, in my opinion, is that there's a bunch of examples where a character is obviously meant as a replacement for another character, but isn't really all that similar.

I think the fundamental idea is about characters being swapped out of important ensemble roles. As such it can apply to all forms of media that use characters, not just live action actors. Defining the trope according to outside circumstances doesn't really feel like what the trope is about.

A more problematic misuse is examples that are just noting similarities between characters and ignore that replacing roles have to be a part of it, the "substitute" part. I've seen a few examples that have a new character join with a completely different role and some time later another character leaves, because of the "new character leaving character" dynamic people claim they are this trope, ignoring the whole "similar personality, similar role" that this trope is about.

There is some flexibility, though. M*A*S*H replaced a lot of characters but they weren't satisfied with copy/paste personalities. Colonel Potter is no-nonsense compared to Colonel Blake, B.J. is a family man compared to Trapper's womanizing, Winchester is a skilled surgeon compared to Frank's unjustified ego. That doesn't mean they aren't replacing roles, cause the fact those comparisons can be made shows that they were replacements.

Another vote to just expand the definition. I think KJ has it right, that at its core this is just characters and roles.
 11 Another Duck, Tue, 24th Dec '13 4:29:51 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Gotta have to agree with that. TV Tropes is first and foremost about tropes as they appear in media, where creator intent and justifications are less important. Whatever happens to the actors is less important than what happens in the actual show.

Examples still need cleanup, though, as I've spotted a few that are attempts at averting the trope by having the characters be somewhat different. And a lot of ZCEs, which is an unusually bad idea here.
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 12 nrjxll, Tue, 24th Dec '13 5:49:52 PM Relationship Status: Not war
M*A*S*H replaced a lot of characters but they weren't satisfied with copy/paste personalities. Colonel Potter is no-nonsense compared to Colonel Blake, B.J. is a family man compared to Trapper's womanizing, Winchester is a skilled surgeon compared to Frank's unjustified ego. That doesn't mean they aren't replacing roles, cause the fact those comparisons can be made shows that they were replacements.

See, that's the kind of thing I'm inclined to say shouldn't belong. I feel like the trope is, at its essence, about replacing a character with a similar character.

 13 Another Duck, Tue, 24th Dec '13 6:20:06 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
For shows where characters have specific jobs, replacing them with other characters in the same jobs doesn't make them similar. There's nothing remarkable of having a doctor on a team, and when she somehow disappears adding another doctor character. The trope is when they pick up on the other things that replaced character also filled. Getting involved in the same plots (which isn't, in this case, taking care of others' wounds and illnesses). While going by the trope name is usually not the best idea, much like going by the laconic, this is someone who is suspiciously similar. More similar that you'd expect if the same thing happened in real life.
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 14 Septimus Heap, Wed, 25th Dec '13 1:39:50 AM from Madrid, Spain Relationship Status: Mu
Another Wizard boy
I think I am more convinced by @12's reasoning.

Dragon Writer
^^ Except perhaps for Video Games where Gameplay and Story Segregation are involved. For example, in Disc 3 you lose Shauna (your archer and White Mage, who has the White Dragon spirit making her the White Dragoon) but get Miranda. Miranda's story is different from Shauna's, but her gameplay abilities (archer, White Mage, and the White Dragon spirit chooses her to be the new White Dragoon) fill the exact same role in the battle team as Shauna's.

edited 25th Dec '13 9:21:59 AM by Stratadrake

 16 Another Duck, Wed, 25th Dec '13 11:12:56 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Is that a battle team formed through coincidence, or some kind of mandate?
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One of the best video game examples is Mass Effect 3. Since any or all of your squad can die in 2, they all have potential replacements in 3. There are differences between them, often very important differences (Wrex's replacement is his warmonger brother, with some nasty implications if you help him out), but they're still very obviously "Okay, Krogan Leader is dead, have Krogan Leader 2."

That's what I think the trope should allow. Does that make sense?
Dragon Writer
^^ Well, except for Dart you can swap team members in and out of your active party-of-three at pretty much any time. But the fact remains that when Shauna leaves the party, Miranda replaces her slot (and pretty much within the same scene, too) and Miranda's gameplay abilities are exactly the same as Shauna.

edited 25th Dec '13 9:31:28 PM by Stratadrake

With Mod Hat On
Clocking due to inactivity.
Merge those duplicates! Fix that factual error! Delete that shoehorned non-example! You have the power! Meta Four
So, are we all in agreement to expand the definition, or do we need a crowner?
 21 Larkmarn, Sun, 26th Jan '14 8:43:36 AM Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
I definitely say expand. Like Prfnoff said in 7, there's examples when writers get rid of a character then realize "Oh crap, we want him back/people liked him" and need them back. Hell, I think that's more inherently tropeable than the current definition.

I think the easiest thing to do would be to change the definition of the current page to match the use.

That being said, would anyone be interested in making a new page under the Trivia category to cover the current definition, as a subtrope of Real Life Writes the Plot?

edited 27th Jan '14 7:40:48 AM by Catbert

 23 Larkmarn, Tue, 4th Feb '14 7:18:03 PM Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Okay... so I just ran into Convenient Replacement Character, which seems to more or less be what Suspiciously Similar Substitute gets misused for.

Not sure how that'll change proceedings.

Looks new, with no YKTTW. It's just an improperly launched page; it can mostly be ignored. Though we could decide to cut it or redirect it here after the redefine.
 25 Larkmarn, Wed, 5th Feb '14 11:05:45 AM Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
It does date back to mid-2012, at least. But it's so light on wicks that I'd rather expand the definition of this (which across the wiki most certainly has more wicks as the same thing).

Total posts: 31
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