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Expy / Live-Action Films
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NOTE: An actor "playing the same character over and over" is often a comedian playing themselves, or simply someone with a lack of range. Either way, think long and hard about whether they truly qualify for this trope before adding them.

  • The main characters in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension are all Expies of Doc Savage and his boys. Likewise, Buckaroo's unseen nemesis, Hanoi Xan, is an Expy of another pulp literary character, Fu Manchu.
  • Despite the use of many other characters from the comics, the Batman movies also have Expys for some characters:
    • Tim Burton didn't want to use Harvey Bullock in Batman (1989) , so he created the overweight, gruff, corrupt Lt. Eckhardt.
    • In The Dark Knight, you have Officers Stephens and Ramirez, who are Expys for Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya, with the exception being that Ramirez is actually a traitor. Stephens on the other hand is Bullock right down to the toothpick-chewing but his name was probably changed so the film wouldn't have two characters named Harvey. (It's rumored that Ramirez was supposed to be Montoya, but was changed to an original character because of the revelation that she was actually a crooked cop.)
  • Abigail Whistler from Blade: Trinity was created as a stand-in for Rachel van Helsing from the comic book The Tomb of Dracula.
  • With Terry Gilliam directing and Michael Palin in a supporting role, Brazil featured expies of the rest of Monty Python, all seen here:
  • Missy of Bring It On is introduced wearing a fake tattoo before pulling off superhuman athletic prowess. Now given who plays her does this remind you of anyone? No one? Maybe a couple of shout outs with her in it might give a's Faith.
  • Bushwhacked was originally conceived as a spinoff from the first two Home Alone movies, centering around a now-reformed Marv. They ultimately changed the character's name to Max, but kept his characterization and his backstory as a bungling ex-criminal, and cast the same actor, Daniel Stern.
  • The Filipino superhero Captain Barbell is quite similar to Captain Marvel, except that he has no lightning power and that his wimpy alter ego has to lift a barbell over his head to transform.
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  • George Sanders' The Falcon was a expy of George Sanders' The Saint. Leslie Chatheris even brought suit against RKO over the issue.
  • General Hager from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was originally supposed to be Nick Fury, but this had to be changed at the last minute due to rights issues (Fox owns film rights to the FF, while Marvel Studios has rights to Fury). It's especially obvious since one of Hager's conversations with Mr. Fantastic is taken almost word-for-word from a conversation between Mr. Fantastic and Nick Fury in Ultimate Extinction.
  • The character of Han, played by Sung Kang, in the Fast and Furious films is the same Han (also played by Kang) in the indie film Better Luck Tomorrow.
  • The Fifth Element:
    • Korben Dallas is pretty much an expy of Harry Canyon from Heavy Metal.
    • Chris Tucker's character Ruby Rhod is also an expy of Prince.
  • The Fly II tells the tale of the Spin-Offspring of the lovers from The Fly (1986). As such, its protagonists, Martin Brundle and Beth Logan, are very obvious expies of Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife respectively, mainly distinguished from their forbears by being in their early 20s rather than 30s due to an Audience Shift towards teens. Martin is just as brilliant and socially awkward as his doomed father was, while Beth is snarky but devoted (and bears a passing resemblance to Veronica physically). Their romantic relationship is similarly intertwined with Martin figuring out how to make his father's telepods functional again, and once he begins mutating, there are a lot of verbal and visual callbacks to similar scenes between Seth and Veronica in the first film ("Help me. Please, help me." is the most obvious). Beth even gets a scene where she tells off Stathis, the third corner of the first film's Love Triangle. The big difference between the two couples is that the youngsters get a happy ending.
  • The Mutos from Godzilla, presumably of the Meganulon and Meganula from Rodan and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Some speculate Destoroyah as another possible inspiration. They also bear a striking resemblence to the monster from Cloverfield. Gareth Edwards states he was inspired by the Bugs from Starship Troopers and the Xenomorphs from ALIEN. The male Muto has often been mistaken for Rodan itself. Some also compare it to the Heisei version of the Gyaos. Its face looks a lot like Orga. Femuto's face closely resembles Burtannus from the Dark Horse Godzilla series. There's some Gigan there, too. Note the red Cylon eyes and the hook-like appendages.
  • Heavy Duty from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is an expy of Roadblock.
    • Sgt. Stone seems to be a replacement for professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter. Oddly, he's not the first Expy of him, with Beachhead having also filled the role. He also aligns with multiple "Lt. Stone" characters in Joe cartoons and comics.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
    • In the 1968 Spaghetti Western Ace High, Cacopoulos is obviously an Expy of Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez, both played by Eli Wallach, both wearing silver rings on their left hands, and both carrying their guns the same way. Cacopoulos is more mellow, more playful and slightly smarter, but he's still goofy and overzealous.
    • Max Lozoya from Don't Turn the Other Cheek is a more blatant take on the character; again slightly smarter, but still rather shady and aggressive, again played by the same actor. He has a few differing quirks, for example he can't swim and Hates Being Touched on the posterior. He tones down nearly to Caco's level in the last half of the film, however, when he finds that his sister and nephew are killed.
    • Juan in A Fistful of Dynamite was written as an expansion on the character.
    • Tae-goo in The Good, the Bad, the Weird is another one.
    • Then there is the character's literary Expies: Apachito in A Coffin Full of Dollars, Bandera in Blood for a Dirty Dollar and Puchuco in The Million Dollar Bloodhunt.
    • Let's see: a mysterious, nameless gunslinger; a villain who is nominally working for someone else, but has his own agenda and is way more dangerous than his employer; and a ruthless but sympathetic Bandito. Now are we talking about The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West?
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, one Mogwai looks and acts very similarly to Stripe from Gremlins. The music sting, the way the camera zooms in and Gizmo's reaction all make it abundantly clear to everyone including Gizmo that, for all intents and purposes, Stripe has been reborn. (Technically, both characters are brothers, as they both popped out of Gizmo's back after he got wet, and the New Stripe has black and white fur rather than brown and white, and after he becomes a gremlin, he has a reptilian frill rather than a Mohawk. But still undeniably an expy of Stripe.)
  • The villains in each of the direct sequels to Highlander — Katana in Highlander II: The Quickening, and Kane in Highlander III: The Sorcerer — were pale imitations of the Kurgan, the memorable villain from the original. Kane even had the same deep, rough Dr. Claw voice as the Kurgan. Likewise, the villain from the TV series' pilot "The Gathering", Slan Quince, was also a Kurgan expy.
  • The Adventurer Archaeologist protagonists of Sky Pirates, King Solomon's Mines, and the remake of The Mummy (1999) are basically clones of Indiana Jones. That said, Jones himself is an amalgam of any number of characters from adventure movies and novels - including Allen Quatermain, the protagonist of the book upon which King Solomon's Mines was based.
  • Iron Man:
    • Raza from the first movie is an Arabic Expy of Wong-Chu from the comics.
    • Aldrich Killian from Iron Man 3 has almost nothing in common with his comic book counterpart, and has much more in common with Mallen, the Extremis-powered terrorist from Warren Ellis' Iron Man run. More significantly, he's an expy of the modern incarnation of the Mandarin; a suit-wearing criminal mastermind with dragon tattoos.
  • Thanks to their powers being too expensive to render on a TV budget, the Generation X TV movie replaced Husk and Chamber with two Suspiciously Similar Substitutes named Buff and Refrax.
  • William Gibson's recurring character Molly Millions was present in the original short story Johnny Mnemonic, but was replaced with a similar Action Girl named Jane in the film. The rumor is that this change was made because of some arguments about the film rights for Gibson's novel Neuromancer, in which Molly also appears.
  • John Wick's Ford Mustang from John Wick is nearly identical to "Eleanor," the Mustang from Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
  • Young Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas reminded The Little Rascals producer Hal Roach so much of the series' former star Allen "Farina" Hoskins that his character was modeled after Farina's. Right down to the pigtails, Viewer Gender Confusion, and being named after a breakfast cereal.
  • Man of Steel:
    • This film's General Zod is essentially Mustapha Mond taken to a Logical Extreme.
    • This films incarnation of Faora is closer to Ursa than the man-hating Faora from the comics. Recursive, as Ursa herself was a loose Expy of Faora.
    • A huge, non-verbal bruiser distinguished by his incredible strength and loyalty to Zod? Nam-Ek is this film's stand-in for Non.
    • Laurence Fishburne based his Perry White on Series/Minutes member Ed Bradley. Both even have a pierced ear.
    • Jenny was rumored to be a gender-flipped Jimmy Olsen, but the movie reveals her surname is "Jurwich" by the end (and high-resolution publicity shots showing her ID card will reveal this, too). Confusingly, a tie-in book does name her as "Jenny Olsen."
    • General Swanick is one for General Sam Lane (Lois' father), who has a prominent role in one of this film's sources, Superman: Secret Origin.
  • Sort of a type-casting example with Paul Bettany. He was in a biopic on Charles Darwin, and some reviews noted his previous role as Stephen Maturin in film Master and Commander who comes across as somewhat similar to Darwin in his time on the Beagle (intellectual naturalist on a ship, interacts with giant tortoises at one point).
  • David Lynch wrote Mulholland Dr. as a television pilot, and some believe a potential sequel to Twin Peaks. Lynch enthusiasts argue that the character of Betty/Diane in Mulholland Drive is an Expy of Audrey Horne on Twin Peaks.
  • The Professional: Léon is Victor from Nikita. Same actor, and they even share an euphemism for their job, "cleaner". Luc Besson has said that they're basically cousins. (In Victor's case it's not a euphemism: his job is cleaning up after killers, not killing like Léon.)
  • Winston Wolf, "the cleaner" from Pulp Fiction, is an Expy of the character played by Harvey Keitel in The Point of No Return — which was itself a remake of Nikita, thus tying all of these fellas together.
  • Ready to Rumble has three expies:
  • In Return to Oz, Dorothy's new companions are not quite so different from her first companions from her first visit in Oz. Billina = Toto, Tik-Tok = the Tin Man, Jack = the Scarecrow, and the Gump = the Cowardly Lion. It verges into Suspiciously Similar Substitute territory, since these characters were also in The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, which the movie was largely based on.
  • The fat, gravity manipulating deado from R.I.P.D. is similar to The Blob.
  • Rocky was based on a boxing match between then-champion Muhammad Ali and nobody Chuck "Bayonne Bleeder" Wepner. Apollo Creed is an Ali Expy, while Rocky himself is a parallel to Wepner. Mason Dixon, the champion at the time of Rocky Balboa is a loose analogue of Mike Tyson.
  • Like the Hager example, Jessica Priest from Spawn was created to replace Chapel, since it turned out his rights were tied to Rob Liefeld's Youngblood franchise.
  • Star Wars, a lot of the characters from the Prequel Trilogy are expies of characters from the Original Trilogy (Even if both characters are actually in the original trilogy):
    • Anakin Skywalker in episodes II and III is basically an expy of his own son, even though he was also The Dragon in episodes IV, V, VI and even the end of III.
      • Likewise, Padme' is clearly an expy of her daughter.
      • Cliegg Lars is a third example of this variant- he is clearly modeled after his son Owen in A New Hope.
    • Qui-Gon Jinn is The Mentor TO Obi-Wan Kenobi, and is an expy of his own apprentice basically.
    • In the prequel trilogy, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and General Grevious each serve as expies of Darth Vader in that they serve as the top enforcers of Darth Sidious. Word of God says the three were used in foreshadowing, each one being an element of Vader. Maul as The Dragon who enforces the emperor's will, Dooku as a fallen Jedi, and Grievous as a cyborg with breathing problems.
    • Snoke and Kylo Ren are this to the Emperor and Vader in the original trilogy. Kylo Ren is also a pretty close analogue of Jacen Solo / Darth Caedus from the Legends continuity.
    • Rey, Finn, and Poe are all expies of Luke Skywalker from the original A New Hope. Rey is the desert native who is destined for greatness, Finn is the everyman who is proficient with both a blaster and lightsaber, and Poe is the Ace Pilot who destroys the Empire's superweapon. Poe himself is also an expy of Han Solo, sharing much of Han's dry humor and roguish charm.
    • In The Force Awakens, the original heroes become expies of other characters from the original trilogy. Han, as the old mentor to Rey who has a paternal relationship with Kylo and is killed by him is Obi-Wan; Luke, the wise Jedi master in hiding on a distant world is Yoda; and Leia, as the leader of the regular armed resistance to the First Order, has become Mon Motha.
  • The Strangers with Candy film introduced Megawatti as an obvious expy for Orlando from the series because the actor who played him was too old to reprise the role.
  • In Super Mario Bros., Luigi is the brother who has a relationship with the princess, and Mario has a long-term girlfriend Daniella, who is an expy for Pauline, his original love interest in the games.
  • Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, not having any involvement from [adult swim], had many of the performers who appeared on Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! play roles similar to the TV show's, such as John C. Reilly's Manchild Taquito being based on the earlier Dr. Steve Brule.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; In Transformers 1, of course, they couldn't have a giant robot turn into outdated '80s technology so they had an expy of Soundwave by taking one of Soundwave's tapes (Frenzy) and turning him into a CD player. In Revenge of the Fallen, they turn Soundwave himself into a satellite, and he sends another one of his tapes, Ravage, to Earth to spy on the humans. The whole Expy thing becomes a bit Meta, because Ravage spews a bunch of little metal balls which come together and form another character who is an expy of Movie 1's Frenzy!
  • John Cusack's Hitman with a Heart in War, Inc. is an expy of his character in the earlier film Grosse Pointe Blank, and almost every other character in the new film has an equivalent in the previous one.
  • Del Preston from Wayne's World 2 is Danny from Withnail & I, and is even played by the same actor. This could be considered a Shout-Out.
  • Dr. Hoenneger from The Wolfman (2010) is possibly one of Dr. Mannering from the original film's sequel, a similar but far less sadistic character.
  • The gifted athlete Nanu (who just so happens to come from Africa) from The World's Greatest Athlete is an obvious Shout-Out to Tarzan.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
    • The future Sentinels bear more than a passing resemblance to The Destroyer from Thor, with their height, metallic exterior, Nigh-Invulnerability, and faces that open up to reveal a Death Ray.
    • Their grey coloration, lack of facial features apart from monochromatic eyes and adaptability also evoke the version of Amazo from Justice League Unlimited.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: In the comics, adamantium is a man-made metal that was created in a laboratory. The movie instead establishes that adamantium comes from a meteorite that crashed in a small African nation, where the locals worship it as a sacred treasure. That's pretty much exactly like vibranium, the Wakandan metal from the Black Panther and Captain America comics.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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