This is very common in Tokusatsu shows. Because most heroes and villains have transformed forms that either have face-obscuring helmets or are People in Rubber Suits, characters can easily show up without the actor being on the set. In this way, it's easy for past characters to make appearances.
Brazilian actor Domingos Montagner accidentally drowned before finishing his last soap opera. To bypass his absence, the producers shot all scenes that would have featured Montagner from the point of view of his character, implying he was still there.
In "The Girl in Question" a blonde stand-in was used as Buffy and only the back of her head was in the shot. The season 8 Buffy comics revealed that this wasn't Buffy at all, but one of several Slayers sent to various spots around the world to impersonate her so the real Buffy wouldn't constantly be under enemy fire. The fact that a decoy was sent with this particular old foe of Angel and Spike was Andrew's idea of a joke.
However, there was a very painful-to-watch dream sequence in "Soul Purpose" where Spike was supposed to be having sex with Buffy. It was actually a blonde stand-in with her face away from the camera and some of Sarah Michelle Gellar's lines from a previous Buffy episode ("The Prom") looped in.
Arrested Development does this when guest stars aren't available for a small role in a later episode. For example, Marky Bark has no lines and is mostly obscured when he's briefly seen in Season 5 driving a car, as Chris Diamantopoulos was not available.
For its 100th episode, Arrow attempted to bring back all of its former cast members, but Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlyn) and Manu Bennett (Deathstroke) were both unavailable. Because of this, Tommy only appeared as a ghost via CGI while a stand-in actor played Deathstroke in full costume, with him notably being silent for all of his screentime. John Diggle also fights a Ghost who is presumably meant to be his evil brother Andy Diggle, who also remains unvoiced.
When Gary Holton died mid-way through recording the second series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, some on-the-hoof rewrites enabled the series to go ahead with his character featured throughout, although the extant footage of him was spread noticeably thinly.
Babylon 5: The movie "In the Beginning" flashes back to the Earth-Minbari War. Earlier episodes had established the role Jeffrey Sinclair, the show's original lead, had in the end of the war. However, budget limitations prevented them from flying in Michael O'Hare to shoot new footage. Sinclair's role was limited to previously-recorded flashbacks and extended with long shots featuring a stand-in.
Babylon Berlin: In-Universe. When actress Betty Winter is killed during production of her movie, and the death is determined to be murder, and the insurance company says the policy is voided for murder, the producers have to continue production with a Fake Shemp in the role. There's a scene where a producer goes down a line of Betty Winter lookalikes, and angrily rejects the man in drag.
Also, they didn't have enough money for fight choreography that week.
The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica had numerous body doubles for Cylons that did not need the actual actor on set.
The direct-to-DVD movie The Plan did this with Number 3/D'Anna (played by Lucy Lawless) by splicing in stock footage for her single scene. She didn't even have any dialogue.
Kara Thrace and Gaius Baltar both play much bigger (speaking) parts in the movie, but neither Katee Sackoff nor James Callis was involved in making it. Both appear via stock footage and audio.
Blake's 7. In "Stardrive", the protagonists rescue a female scientist and flee her captors in a small all-terrain buggy. For some reason the scientist chooses to wear a ridiculously huge Black Cloak to hide that 'she' is actually the driver of the buggy.
The Charmed episode "Cat House" was a variation on the Clip Show - featuring Paige and Phoebe going back in time and getting superimposed over clips from previous episodes. As Shannen Doherty had denied producers the chance to use her image after she left the show, only two clips of Prue were used. The first was a shot of her from behind riding on a motorcycle (which was played by a stuntwoman and therefore not technically Shannen) and the second was when Prue had been turned into a (female) dog.
The French Mini SeriesColette, une femme libre was struck by tragedy in the summer of 2003 with the death of Marie Trintignant, who had filmed about 80 per cent of her intended scenes. A body double replaced her in some shots.
The producers of Community couldn't get Malcolm-Jamal Warner back as Shirley's husband for the episode "Heroic Origins", so they used a stand-in who had no lines and was only seen from behind. The episode did the same for Pierce since Chevy Chase had quit the show, and actually Lampshaded it.
In Season 6, there was an instance of a fake Flashback to one of the earlier seasons. Donald Glover had left the show during Season 5, so Troy's "appearance" consisted of an arm waving at Abed from off-screen. This was at least Played for Laughs.
The episode "Intro to Recycled Cinema" does this in-universe: due to Chang having a sudden spike in popularity from a silly commercial bit, the group decides to make a film starring him to play off his popularity. Problem: Chang is out of town for a few weeks. Solution: use archival footage from an old movie Abed was working on. Problem: The archival footage is about thirty seconds long and consists of Chang sitting at a desk, answering a phone, and having a brief conversation with an unheard person. Solution: Write the film entirely around that footage. The resulting film, Chief Starr and the Raiders of the Galaxy, uses just about every trick in the book — for instance, Chang's character is always sitting behind something (a table in a bar or a spaceship control panel), and he's either shown using a communication device that looks like a phone or a laser gun that looks like a phone. Characters tend to exposit things at him, then give him an open-ended question that can use something Chang said as an answer. Footage of Chang questioning his character's motivation is re-edited to be about Chang's character having an existential crisis. And, of course, whenever he's seen from behind the back, it's Dean Pelton wearing a wig.
Rather interesting example in Coupling: The actor who played Jeff had left the show by the last season, but was "brought back" in one episode in a dream Steve has. In this case, Steve imagines that Jeff had a sex change, and "Jeff" is played by an actress who adopts the original actor's mannerisms.
Between the grueling schedule, plot contrivances, and various illnesses and mishaps, William Hartnell was frequently doubled for:
One of the program's first location shoots, during "The Reign of Terror", involved Brian Proudfoot doubling for Hartnell for footage of the Doctor walking through the countryside on the way to Paris. This prevented Hartnell being pulled out of rehearsals for the previous story, "The Sensorites". (Later, such conflicts could not be avoided, causing both Hartnell and his successor Patrick Troughton to complain.) Proudfoot went to the effort of learning Harrtnell's walk and mannerisms, which Hartnell was not flattered by.
Hartnell was injured by a spaceship gangway during the making of "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". Episode 4 has a stand-in fall over on his behalf; the Doctor remains unconscious for that episode, with his plot functions given to the guest star.
"The Chase" has an episode where the Doctor has to fight a robot double of himself constructed by the Daleks. This was done by having William Hartnell face off against actor Edmund Warwick (who had previously doubled for Hartnell when he was injured filming "The Dalek Invasion of Earth") and keeping Warwick's back to the camera. Unfortunately, having both of them in the same shot makes it obvious that Warwick was several inches taller than Hartnell.
In "The Tenth Planet" the "Doctor passes out at the start of an episode for no clearly explained reason" plot device gets one last outing at the start of Episode 3. William Hartnell collapsed with bronchitis and had to take a week off. As a result, Hartnell's regular body double Gordon Craig plays the Doctor for Episode 3, and the lines originally written for the Doctor were given to Ben, Polly and Barclay. (Craig also doubles for Hartnell in the "exterior" scenes in episode 1 as the TARDIS crew are arrested and taken into the base.) Because Episode 4 is missing from the archive apart from the final moments, this means that the last fully surviving Hartnell episode doesn't actually have Hartnell in it.
In two different stories, the Second Doctor is unconscious for a whole episode, only seen from the back, so that Patrick Troughton could have a week off.
Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor, refused to join the anniversary special "The Five Doctors", with the other then-living actors to play the role up to that point and an Other Darrin. His appearances were faked using stock footage from the unfinished story "Shada". A well-known and very convincing publicity shot for the story (which can be seen on the episode's page) did feature Baker in the form of a frighteningly lifelike wax dummy.
Baker ran into trouble early in his career as well. In "The Sontaran Experiment" two-parter, the Fourth Doctor struggles in a fight with a Sontaran, all from behind. This is because Tom himself had hurt his neck and was in a neckbrace, so his stunt double had to do the fight, with Tom Baker providing voice over grunts.
In the 1996 TV movie, the Master (played by Gordon Tipple) was briefly seen on Skaro prior to his execution. The cage obscured most of his face. Originally, Tipple's Master provided the opening voiceover narration but his lines were replaced by Paul McGann's Doctor in the final cut. As a result, Word of God appears to have no problem with fan assumptions that this incarnation is actually intended to be the Anthony Ainley incarnation of the Master. Or that it may as well be him.
Spoofed in The Doctor Who Fun Book, which proposed a fortieth anniversary special in which the Fourth Doctor and Adric (both known for massive Creator Backlash) were both played by literal cardboard cut-outs.
"The End of Time": Barack Obama appears via an actor whose face is always either covered or hidden by the camera angle and some stock audio from a news broadcast.
"The Name of the Doctor" has the whole gamut of previous incarnations of the Doctor appear using a combination of stand-ins and stock footage.
Notably, Christopher Eccleston pointedly refused to reprise his role, so a lot of lines obviously intended for him were given to David Tennant (whose Doctor had got over the worst of Eccleston's Byronic Hero and Snark Knight traits and evolved into a more cosmetically heroic Broken Ace) and John Hurt, and he otherwise appears only as a bit of stock footage. Also, Hurt's regeneration into Eccleston cuts to a different scene right as the face morphing effects would occur.
The row of Doctors at the end was made by shooting a bunch of body doubles in bad wigs and using CGI to paste the faces on. Due to the limited image quality of 1960s and 70s photography, it only looks goodif you don't peer at it too closely.◊ A similar method was used to bring back the Third Doctor, Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith for one of the 50th Anniversary trailers aimed at netting classic fans.
"The Time of the Doctor": At the very end, the dying Eleventh Doctor hallucinates a visit from a young Amy Pond just before he regenerates. Due to Caitlin Blackwood (the original actress who played the child version of Amy) having aged out of the role by that point, the part was recast, with the new actress having her face obscured and being uncredited to keep people from noticing.
"Death in Heaven": Jeremiah Krage played a Cyber-converted version of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, giving the character a literal and proverbial parting salute three years after the death of Nicholas Courtney. Clad in a full-body Cyberman suit, Krage had to convey the character solely through stance and gesture.
"Heaven Sent": Except for one brief sequence, a body double portrays Clara Oswald, who is only seen from the back.
When Genie Francis left General Hospital, her character Laura Spencer was put into a catatonic state after killing her beloved stepfather. Whenever Laura's friends and family went to visit her, the producers used a body double sitting down in a chair and framed each shot over the body double's shoulder so the audience would see the person talking to Laura but would never cut to Laura herself (which worked because Laura couldn't talk back anyway).
This was played with when Genie Francis made two brief returns in 2006 and 2008. It was also done in 1998, in which Laura was offscreen taking care of her mentally ill mother as well as hiding from the evil Cassadines (in Real Life, Genie Francis was taking an extended maternity leave). The few scenes of people visiting Laura again had her being seen only from behind, though this time her non-response was inexplicable.
In her first return, the shot was framed as it always was when Laura would make an 'appearance', but then cut to a shot of Genie Francis as she spoke signalling that Laura had awoken from her catatonic state. Then once Laura had relapsed (and Genie Francis had finished her guest stint) the producers went back to using the same methods they used before.
In Genie Francis' second return, Laura began having conversations with her daughter Lulu (who was locked up in the same mental hospital) in scenes where Genie Francis actually played the role, but it was left ambiguous as to whether Laura had awoken or was just a figment of her daughter's imagination since none of the other characters were aware that Laura had seemingly recovered. Once Lulu had been convinced that she'd imagined her conversations with her mother, the Fake Shemp returned and it seemed to many viewers that Genie Francis' second stint was already over. That is until Lulu was threatened by another character whilst visiting the supposedly Fake Shemp version of Laura and Laura (the real version, played by Genie Francis) rose out of her chair to protect her daughter. This time Laura stayed lucid and was sent off to Paris to 'fully recover', and has not returned since then.
Kit Harington broke his foot around the time Season 3 was filming. Doubles had to be used for distance shots and scenes where Jon Snow was standing. However, he did not have a double for the intimate scenes with Ygritte.
Lena Headey was pregnant during Season 5. This wouldn't normally be a problem...except her character has to do a walk of shame completely naked in the finale. Rebecca Van Cleave did the nudity on set, with Lena Headey's face CGI'd on top in post production.
In the Soviet Sci-FiCult ClassicGuest from the Future, Alisa shows off her abilities to the class by describing London in perfect English with Received Pronunciation. The problem is Natalia Guseva could not speak English with RP. So the director had Natalia Guseva mouth the words, but dubbed in lines spoken by the daughter of a British diplomat stationed in Moscow. Noticeably, after Alisa speaks for a second, the camera cuts to a shot of the class.
On Hemlock Grove Christina, the vargulfBig Bad, is buried alive at the end of Season 1. The character returned briefly in season 2 but actress Freya Tingley did not. Consequently, Christina spends the duration of her appearance in wolf form. The only glimpses of her human form are the arms of a body double that begin to transform as Christina claws her way out of the grave, and a corpse that is shown mauled beyond recognition after she is slain again.
Home and Away was left with a rather awkward situation when Vinnie Patterson was sent to jail, leaving his wife and son still on the show. With Vinnie's jail sentence going to end at some point, actor Ryan Kwanten unlikely to return to the show and Ada Nicodemou, who played wife Leah, not leaving any time soon, the decision was taken to kill Vinnie off screen. Then, they revealed he was Just Hiding but still couldn't get hold of the actor and had already set Leah up with a new love interest, so Vinnie returned disguised in a large bear costume to spend one last day with his family and leave them a farewell note. (Then, after all that trouble...they killed him off screen again.)
A voice-only example appears in an episode: Tim's niece Claire is played by a child, but when she runs up to her room to throw a tantrum, her offstage yelling is provided by Kath Soucie.
A very strange example from "Slip Sleddin' Away": in the last scene (at 6'30), Mark is sitting on the couch, his head obscured by a cap and a magazine he's holding. A blooper from the end credits confirms that it isn't Taran Noah Smith. Why this was done when there was no reason to have Mark in the scene at all is a mystery.
Home Movie: The Princess Bride was recreated entirely remotely with actors stuck in quarantine in March 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Any time a scene calls for two actors not in actual physical proximity to be in the same shot, the actors would use someone they were sheltering in place with, such as a child or other family member, sometimes even of the canine variety. The substitutes, of course, are pretty much never someone who looks convincingly like either the original character or like the other actor playing them for this scene, and most instances do not make any real attempt to make the substitute look anything like the original, but that's part of the fun. Taika Waititi decided to go all-in and use a particularly unique version of this during his turn as Westley- he roped in two unidentified people and had them each hold up (really well-done) portraits of Inigo and Fezzik from the original film drawn on cardboard with Sharpie.
In the Norwegian version of The Julekalender the farmer's dog is played by the same animal that appeared in the original Danish version even though it had gone to the happy hunting grounds in the meantime. All the shots of the dog are footage from the original series, and a scene where one of the characters talks to the dog is actually an elaborate composite shot.
Same footage and a similar composite-shot technique were used in The Joulukalenteri, which is the Finnish version of the show.
During the filming of Episode 10 of the original series, star Hiroshi Fujioka shattered his legs when a motorcycle stunt went awry. They wrote around their star's injury by dubbing Rokuro Naya's voice (Gorō Naya's brother, sounds nothing like Fujioka) over outtakes of him out of suit and a stuntman in costume for new footagenote On a related factoid, before his accident, Fujioka did all his stunts in and out of suit; his injury is why most Tokusatsu heroes since then are portrayed by stuntmen in costume when transformed.. This lasted for four episodes before they just decided to create and bring out Kamen Rider 2 under the excuse Fujioka's character went to fight international branches of the main villains.
In the remake film Kamen Rider: The First, there's a cameo by original series villain Dr. Shinigami. But with actor Hideyo Amamoto having died in 2003, they ended up using archive footage from the series and voice actor Eiji Maruyama to fill in the void. The character only appears on monitors, so this wasn't that noticeable or distracting like some other examples.
In the TV special Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider, Ultraman and Kamen Rider 1 are only shown transformed/in suit respectively and voiced by archived sounds.
Fujioka was going to appear in the movie, but there was a miscommunication and they had to recast the part. In the next big reunion movie, OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Rider, Fujioka, Takeshi Sasaki and Hiroshi Miyauchi came back to voice their characters, although they did not appear out of suit. And like in the Super Sentai example above, Miyauchi had to do two voices, as Kamen Rider V3 and Zubat. However, everyone else wasn't important to the story so they were, as in All Riders Vs. Dai-Shocker, always suited (with the exception of Kamen Rider Double's lead actors, and that was only because of the convenience of Double's Direct to Video movies being filmed at the same time as Let's Go Kamen Riders) and their grunts during their fight scene were given by the same VAs who provided their voices in Vs. Dai-Shocker. Same goes for bad guys, though many do get their original actors, such as General Shadow. On that note, Kikaider is voiced in the film by Tomokazu Seki, his voice actor in the 2000 Kikaider anime series.
In Movie War Megamax, the original seven Riders are voiced by their VAs from previous films when possible. It seems the torch for those roles is officially passed, except for super-special occasions.
Movie War Ultimatum, has one of the rare examples of maskless Shemps in Kamen Rider. Kamen Riders OOO, Birth, W and Accel make a surprise appearance during the final battle in order to assist Wizard, Fourze, Meteor, and Nadeshiko. The problem is, only Shu Watanabe (OOO) returned to reprise his role. Surprisingly though, rather than only appearing transformed, the movie featured uncredited suit actors dressed as the past Riders for one scene, where they're shown from their backs or in close ups that don't show their faces.
In the grand finale of Kamen Rider Wizard, all of the lead Heisei-era Kamen Riders "returned" for an epic Crisis Crossover team-up. The only actor who they could get to reprise his role was Masahiro Inoue (Kamen Rider Decade), so the rest of the Riders were conveniently left in their masks for the entirety of the story. Den-O isn't Shemped either, since Momotaros is already a man in a costume with his voice supplied by actor Toshihiko Seki.
Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders had rare case with Gaku Sano (Kouta Kazuraba/Kamen Rider Gaim) wasn't able to return for this movie, Kouta spends 99% of his appearance as Gaimnote He appears out of suit in the end credits, but it's simply an unidentified actor filmed from behind and from a distance while wearing his "Man of the Beginning" costume; for bonus points Mai also gets this treatment in this scene and all his dialog is recycled audio from other appearances (Sano still gets credited for this).
Kamen Rider Zi-O had an unusual case of this from the Kamen Rider Fourze arc: both Souta Fukushi (Gentaro Kisaragi/Fourze) and Ryo Yoshizawa (Ryusei Sakuta/Meteor) were eager to reprise their roles, but when the time came they were in the middle of filming Bleach and couldn't make it to the Zi-O set. In order to salvage the story arc, it was rewritten to add Kamen Rider Faiznote Whose stars Kento Handa (Takumi Inui/Faiz) and Kohei Murakami (Masato Kusaka/Kaixa) were both available to cameo and Gentaro ended up getting Shemped, both as Fourze and in the more traditional "substitute in actor's costume, filmed from behind" sense. The unusual part comes from the fact that Fukushi was able to record voice-overs, so at the very least the Shemp has the right voice.
Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER has the 20 Heisei Riders show up during the final battle to help save the day, but only the ones from Zi-O, Build, and Den-O appear out of suit. The others are played by recycled audio clips...except that since Agito, Ryuki, Decade, and Ghost's actors were on hand (since they were appearing in Zi-O proper) to record brand-new vocals. Zi-O's summer movie Over Quartzer also uses canned recordings, except this time it's all canned audio.
In the last episode of Land of the Lost in which he's seen, Rick Marshall is played by an extra in a curly black wig and seen only from behind.
After George Dzundza left Law & Order at the end of the first season, a body double (wearing a trenchcoat and hat, standing in a heavy rain with his back to the camera) was used during the opening of Season 2 for when Max Greevey is gunned down in his driveway. Despite this, the scene worked as it was framed by Mike Logan talking on the phone to Greevey's wife Marie, who was watching Max from their kitchen window. When the gunman starts shooting, the scene jump cuts to Marie screaming, then to Logan back at the precinct shouting "Marie!" into the phone.
Legion: In some sequences when David's multiple personalities manifest into a group of Davids, most of the crowd is portrayed by extras with the same outfit and hair as David, with their faces obscured.
A subversion happens in the first episode of season six of Lost. Several scenes featuring Charlie were shot so as to hide his face, making some people watching think that this trope was going on however, eventually the camera focused on his face after all.
Played straight with Walt during his flashback appearance in "Meet Kevin Johnson".
Lucifer (2016): Michael, makes a single appearance in season six where he's shown from behind so the audience doesn't see his face. A particularly strange version as Michael was played by Tom Ellis who also plays Lucifer, meaning there shouldn't have been any issue with the actor being unavailable.
MADtv did a Stuart sketch after Mo Collins, who played Stuart's mom, left the show. Her character was sleeping on the couch with her face not shown.
The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal both voices and performs the masked title character, except for scenes in which his scheduling conflicts or physical limitations require either Brendan Wayne, Lateef Crowder, or Barry Lowin to don the armor instead, then have Pascal dub over him in post-production. Season 1 relied especially hard on this trope, as production occurred during a particularly busy time in Pascal's career; his obligations to the 2019 Broadway production of King Learnote in which he played Edmund opposite Glenda Jackson's King Lear even required Lucasfilm to shoot the entirety of Chapter 4: "Sanctuary" without him.
Magnificent Century: Due to Meryem Uzerli's sudden departure from the cast, her character Hürrem Sultan had to be temporarily Put on a Bus in a plot where she was kidnapped by someone who wanted to get even with Sultan Suleyman. A scene showing Hürrem's whereabouts showed a redhead woman sleeping with her face hidden and as a proof of her being alive, someone brings her food. After Bali Bey rescues her and sends her to the palace, her face is barely shown.
In the mid-80's, actor Stacy Keach was arrested for drug possession while starring in Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer on CBS. As the show was in the middle of production, the producers brought in a body double to stand in for Keach, and famed impersonator Rich Little to do the dialogue in voiceover.
Kelly Lynch played Brady's mother Deborah in Mr. Mercedes, but left after the first season due to her character being killed off. When a scene in season 2 called for an illusion of Deborah to appear in Brady's Mental World, she was played by a silent body double and mostly shot from behind. The one time she was seen from the front, her face was covered by the clown mask Brady wore during the massacre in the first episode.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 doubled up their cast's roles often enough that they had to do this occasionally when the doubled characters appeared together on-screen.
Roman gentleman Callipygeas' final appearance consisted of only an arm and a voice, not because Kevin Murphy was unavailable, but because he had to also play the character of Bobo in the scene in a completely different costume, and in the show's typical fashion the scene was done in one long take.
In episode 613 ("Kitten with a Whip") Crow (puppeteered by Trace Beaulieu) visits Deep 13, and is silently menaced by Dr. Forrester's hand, actually belonging to a stand-in wearing the lab coat so Trace Beaulieu could puppeteer. An outtake from the episode feature's Trace's head accidentally popping into frame next to his own stand-in; Trace acknowledges the flub and says "Hi, I'm not in this."
Crow also joins the crowd in Deep 13 for Thanksgiving dinner during a Turkey-Day special. With Trace onscreen as Forrester, Crow was puppeteered by someone else and his voice dubbed in later.
During a "Little Gold Statue" special Bobo and Observer appeared in the theater at the same time as the puppets they performed, so others did the puppeteering.
On multiple occasions the 'bots would Fake Shempthemselves as multiple copies of them appeared on-screen together, such as time-traveling Crow meeting his past self, or Servo's penchant for randomly cloning himself. And the beauty of using puppets for this sort of gag becomes apparent.
In The Movie, Gypsy was being puppeteered by Patrick Brantseg so Jim Mallon could concentrate on directing. Brantseg was successful enough at the job, and Mallon tired enough of juggling the role with his other duties, that Brantseg was eventually given the role in the series proper, now with voice duties and official credit.
In the non-canon YouTube special Neighbours vs. Zombies, one of the few zombies not played by the original actor appears to be Dione Bliss (she's credited as "Blond Zombie", but she shows up at No. 30 Ramsay Street in a wedding dress like the one Dee was in when she and Jarrod had their car accident eleven years earlier). The special's vagueness about her identity proved somewhat fortunate as later seasons of the actual series saw the original actor Madeleine West return, first as an Identical Stranger con artist named Andrea posing as Dee, and then again as the actual Dee, for real this time.
Passions did this to Timmy after Josh Ryan Evans died, as Timmy was so intricately linked to the show's stories that it made no sense to Brother Chuck him. Bizarrely, despite Timmy's final actual appearances in the show being after he became a real boy, he would be represented instead by the gloves used when the character was an animated doll.
When Bea Benaderet became too ill to continue her role as Kate Bradley on Petticoat Junction, the character's absence was initially explained by an extended trip. In the episode in which daughter Betty Jo gives birth, Ms. Benaderet's voice is heard as a voice-over when Betty Jo reads a letter from her mother. For the climactic hospital scene, the returning "Kate" is played by a body double, silent and seen only from behind.
In the early second season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, actors Austin St. John, Thuy Trang, and Walter Emanuel Jones (who played Jason, Trini and Zack; the Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers) had salary disputes and refused to show up for ADR sessions. Their voices were recorded by other actors for several episodes. They were eventually fired, and their characters only appeared from a distance, from the back, in stock footage, or in full costume, until they were finally written out.
Although Barbara Goodson voiced her throughout her appearances, any new footage of Rita Repulsa had her at a distance or with her face obscured to hide the fact that it wasn't her original Japanese actress, Machiko Soga. Eventually, they had Rita use an anti-aging treatment so they could cast an American actress to play her.
Similar to Dino Thunder below, when the cast was in Australia filming Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, the crew shot the 3-Part episode "The Wedding" with stand ins in costume the whole time, with the reason given that the Rangers were trapped in a mansion and forced to stay in Ranger mode while they were trapped by Zedd's monsters, while their scene in the command center unhelmeted used stock footage, while the actors dubbed in their dialogue afterwards.
David Yost (Billy the Blue Ranger) walked off the show during Power Rangers Zeo. Yost later confirmed this was because he was fed up with crew harassment over his homosexuality. The problem was that he walked out before his character could be written out, thus redubbed stock footage of Billy was employed until the two-parter "Rangers of Two Worlds", which saw the character experiencing accelerated aging (allowing for a Time-Shifted Actor); at the end of the second part, he's rejunevated offscreen and Put on a Bus to the Alien Rangers' home planet, his departure shown via more redubbed stock footage.
In "Countdown to Destruction", we only get grunting during fight scenes out of the Alien Rangers, the Gold Ranger, the Phantom Ranger, and the Blue Senturion. What makes this really odd is outside the Alien Rangers, they all had voice actors dubbing their lines anyway, but still remained silent. The returning villains are very much themselves, though!
Speaking of the Alien Rangers, the episode "Forever Red" (part of Power Rangers Wild Force) had (almost) every past Red Ranger team up. Apparently, the actor for Aurico (the Red Alien Ranger) had quit acting and couldn't be found, so Aurico was shown only in morphed form and given little dialogue. This despite Aurico's heavyRubber-Forehead Alien-ness making him a character that very much lends himself to The Other Darrin.
Narrowly averted with Danny Slavin (Leo, the Red Galaxy Ranger). He initially refused to film the episode since he had quit acting (after refusing to do the ADR for a previous Reunion Show), but changed his mind, agreeing to do it as a personal favor to the producer, after principal filming was finished. Slavin had to be digitally inserted into the already-shot scenes. Despite arriving together, Aurico doesn't appear in the final scene; Leo does.
Speaking of Danny Slavin, he walked off production of the Lost Galaxy/Lightspeed Rescue crossover, when he learned that his screentime was being cut to focus on a little girl. As such, the episode relied on a body double, an ADR performer and footage from the Sentai equivalent to complete his scenes.
Thuy Trang was initially slated to reprise her role as Trini for the Power Rangers Turbo episode "Passing the Torch", with the other retired Rangers (Jason, Zack, Billy, Kimberly, Rocky, and Aisha) portrayed by body doubles. The whole idea was scrapped for unknown reasons.
In the Power Rangers Dino Thunder/Power Rangers S.P.D. crossover "Wormhole", Tommy Oliver was always shown morphed and voiced by the White Dino Ranger's actor. In a panel, Jason David Frank states that he was slightly ticked that they didn't ask him first if he was available, because he knew the fans would know right away that he wasn't actually in the suit.
Earlier, in Dino Thunder itself, Jason David Frank had commitments requiring him to return to the United States for a time (the show is shot in New Zealand), so Tommy was trapped in his Ranger armor a for part of the season, though the original actor did dub his voice. After that they trapped him in a block of amber for an episode and a half, and after THAT they freed him from the amber but rendered him conveniently invisible for several more episodes until Frank was finally available again.
Speaking of SPD, the entire character of Sam the Omega Ranger was a Fake Shemp. Disney didn't want to pay up for yet another regular actor, so it was made that some Negative Space Wedgie had turned his "civilian form" into a floating ball of light. It was so awkward that the writers involved him as little as possible, and might have written him out entirely if they didn't have to work around Stock Footage. And to add insult to injury, Human!Sam did show up in a one-scene cameo in the finale.
Subverted with Power Rangers Samurai's "team-up" with Power Rangers RPM while Scott/RPM Red only appeared morphed the whole time (the reasoning being he was unsure if the air in the Samurai Rangers' dimension was breathable), he was indeed voiced by his original actor Eka Darville, under a pseudonym to avoid losing his spot in the Screen Actors Guild. The rumor persisted for some time before Alex Heartman confirmed it at a Fan Convention. Ironically, Steven Skyler wasn't present for filming, and so Antonio was the one who actually got Shemped.
Samurai did this for the Halloween Episode "Trickster Treat," which was made entirely with not only Samurai Sentai Shinkenger stock footage as per the course, but also recycled unmorphed footage from past Samurai episodes for maximum budget saving. In a particular example, they used Shinkenger footage of Mako/Shinken Pink (portrayed by Rin Takanashi) singing on a stage, exaggerating the lighting effects and blurring her face a little to pretend that it was Mia (otherwise portrayed by Erika Fong) standing there.
The second season of the anniversary installment, Power Rangers Megaforce, Power Rangers Super Megaforce, ends with a massive battle supposedly involving every Power Ranger ever. Considering that's over 100 characters they obviously couldn't bring everyone back, and they did manage to bring back 11 of the original actors for cameos (though a few of them didn't even get any lines). The rest of the Rangers are all played by full-suited stuntmen and given no dialogue. This is mostly notable because even two of the actors who had previously actually appeared during the season Alex Heartman (Jayden the Red Samurai Ranger) and Jason Smith (Casey the Red Jungle Fury Ranger) do not actually appear in the finale and are instead Shemped by stuntmen.
The director's cut version gives lines to many who didn't get them before, especially Karone.
In Power Rangers: Beast Morphers, Evox and his cohorts view clips of past villains to possibly resurrect for his own scheme. However, with four exceptions note Jason, Koragg, Leanbow and Gekkor, all of the characters in the clips, monster or human, have been redubbed with New Zealand actors. While it hasnt officially been explained why, the mostly likely explanation is rights issues with the music, combined with the difficulty in removing the music without damaging the voice tracks, and the impracticality of bringing all of the surviving pre-Disney actors over to re-record a few lines for a clip show.
Producers had to kill off a character between Seasons 3 and 4 due to the actor not wanting to move to Ireland to film. They got around this with a brief flashback of Sarah Page getting attacked by a predator in a car and calling out for help. Only the voice is heard briefly.
In-universe example in Season 3 when the team pieces together sound bites from an interview with Helen Cutter in order to transmit a fake message to one of her minions.
In Prison Break, season 3 episode "Call Waiting" features a phone call from Sara Tancredi. However, the actress who played Tancredi had left the series at the end of season 2note before returning for Season 4 — after her character had been killed off. A stand-in actress was used to portray her, only seen from behind, talking on a phone. Zigzagged in that the actual actress, Sarah Wayne Callies, agreed to phone in her lines.
Joking example in The Real Husbands of Hollywood. A gag in Season 1 involved Robin Thicke Hulking Out into Terry Crews when he got pissed off, so when it came time to write him out in Season 2 (as his music career had tied up his schedule), his final scene was shot with Terry in place of the real Robin.
In the Red Dwarf episode "Stasis Leak", Claire Grogan (Kochanski) was accidentally not booked for the studio shoot, so in her one scene her dialogue was removed and the assistant floor manager had to stand in for her, wearing a big hat that partially covered her face.
This was frequently done with Herne the Hunter, so that the elderly actor John Abineri did not have to spend too many days getting rained on in forests. Any shot where you can't actually see Abineri's face is probably an extra wearing his stag headdress, with studio-recorded dialogue dubbed over the top.
In the final episode of the second season, the new "hooded man" who rescues the outlaws after Robin of Loxley's death, and is explicitly shown in the first episode of the third season to have been Robert of Huntingdon was played by one of the stunt performers with his face hidden, as the character's permanent actor had not been cast.
In Season 10 Episode 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race Ru is replaced on the runway by a Fake Shemp in a mask, presumably having been ill during the filming of the early episodes of this series.
On the first episode of the final season of Sliders, the O'Connell brothers are (not) shown in this way. The stand-ins keep their heads down (which makes sense for the characters, as they're being shot at.) The one who is presumably meant to be Quinn yells "Go! Go!" in a voice that couldn't sound less like him.
Michael Rosenbaum left after the Season 7 finale, but the creators wanted Lex Luthor to briefly appear in two Season 8 episodes. They brought in Kevin Miller as a body double, then hid as much of his face as possible by revealing that the injuries Lex sustained in Season 7 had left him disfigured and in need of a life support mask, which also allowed Matt Adler to provide his deepened voice.
Likewise, "Prophecy" brought back Roulette and Vordigan as part of Toyman's Legion of Doom. For whatever reason, neither of the original actors (Steph Song and Steve Bacic, respectively) returned, so the characters were instead portrayed by uncredited stand-ins with obscured faces and no dialogue.
Nancy Marchand of The Sopranos died between seasons. Her final scene was in "Proshai Livushka", and was cobbled together using voice clips from previous scenes and a CGI head of her character (whose lighting does not match the rest of the scene) pasted onto a body double.
Several seasons later in "Calling All Cars", while Tony is in a coma and envisions standing before a house that is implied to be the gateway to the afterlife, there's a shot of an old woman at the door who turns away before we see her face based on her hairstyle and movements, this is almost universally interpreted as being Marchand's character (Tony's mother).
So Weird: Subverting the Estranged Soap Family, Fiona was given a cameo in a third season episode where her family celebrated Thanksgiving, but as Cara de Liza wasn't available, she is only seen as a stand-in some distance off.
Subverted in the Stargate SG-1 episode "200", in which Richard Dean Anderson's character O'Neill is invisible for most of his guest appearance because the producers were afraid he wouldn't be available. However, they wanted the performance to be as realistic as possible, and so used a green-screen suit whenever the environs had to be manipulated. And, wanting it to be as realistic as possible, when Anderson turned out to be available, they had him play in the green suit. Basically, the Fake Shemp played by the original actor pretending not to be there.
Ra, the villain from the movie, appears in one episode, Moebius part 1. Since they couldn't get Jaye Davidson, who had retired from acting, to reprise the role, Ra's mask stays on the entire time. When we see him again in the alternate timeline in the Grand Finale movie, he's unmasked but is now another actor who doesn't look like Davidson, and who doesn't get more screentime than it takes to establish that he's there. However, SG-1 recast the overwhelming majority of characters who debuted in the movie (easier to list who did return; Kasuf and Skaara are still Erick Avari and Alexis Cruz), so it's not too surprising or jarring that Ra is one more Other Darrin case.
After filming nine episodes of the Super Sentai show Choudenshi Bioman, actress Yuki Yajima (Mika/Yellow Four) abruptly left the series for reasons unclear to this day (the two most common theories are either a falling out with the production company or she left after eloping with someone.) In Episode 10, her character is thus entirely played by a costumed stunt actor and promptly killed off. Even earlier than that, starting in Episode 7, her lines are dubbed over by an uncredited Mayumi Tanaka.
In J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai vs. Goranger, Momo Ranger (Peggy Matsuyama, who is played by Lisa Komaki) is the only Goranger who appears out of costume. Not even Ao Ranger appears untransformed, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that his alter-ego Akira Shinmei is played by Hiroshi Miyauchi, who appears in the movie as Sokichi Bamba (Big One), his character in JAKQ. Besides Ao and Momo, only Ki Ranger is voiced by his original actor (Baku Hatakeyama), while Aka's and Mido's voices were provided by a combination of previously recorded voice clips of the two and a new actor for Aka.
The series Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger had two incredibly rare examples of a Tokusatsu show doing the traditional methods of Fake Shemping rather than only showing the character transformed. After the Legendary War in the movie 199 Heroes, many members of different Super Sentai can be seen in the background, without receiving camera focus. They're all played by various suit actors wearing costumes based on the past heroes' civilian outfits, different from the ones who are the focus of the scene, who are played by their actors. In the tv show itself, the opening scene of Episode 31 of Gokaiger, which depicts Basco sucking the greater powers off a former Changeman member... said former member being portrayed by a stand-in in an Earth Defense Force uniform whose face is never seen.
In a related note, episode 28 of Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Shemps the entireToQger team for a scene where Gokaiger's Sixth Ranger Gai asks to borrow their powers, using replacement actors only filmed from behind. Of course, it helps that the ToQgers are all children who were only imagining themselves as teenagers.
Heavily spoofed in episode 11 of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger when Nobuo seems to be leaving the team. They use several different Fake Shemp techniques, including using Stock Footage, dubbing his voice over a stand-in, and using a composite shot, all done in Stylistic Suck fashion to make it obvious what's going on. And then in the next scene Nobuo's actor is back to interacting entirely normally with the rest of the cast.
The Tales from the Crypt episode "You, Murderer", which "starred" Humphrey Bogart and had a cameo by Alfred Hitchcock, is notable for being one of the first uses of CGI (along with some inventive camera tricks) to insert deceased actors into a live action work.
Team Knight Rider, "Legion of Doom": As we had all hoped, Michael Knight made a cameo in the series' final episode. As we had all feared, he was played by the back of some stand-in's head.
Thankfully (?), the pilot movie that launched the remake of the original gave us the real deal, with David Hasselhoff reprising his role.
For one bizarre The Tonight Show appearance, Steve Martin had the winner of a Steve Martin look-alike contest come out and start doing his (Steve's) act after a minute or so, the real Steve Martin hops out from behind the curtain all tied up and gagged, trying to tell the audience it's a fake.
The Series Finale of Two and a Half Men has an example that is destined to go down in history. The creators heavily teased the possibility that Charlie Sheen would return for the final episode, but when Charlie passed on the offer, they handled his "return" by briefly showing him from behind, and then having him killed by a falling piano.
The West Wing, "Tomorrow": As a matter of course, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has to show up for the presidential Inauguration. Apparently, Glenn Close, who had previously played Chief Justice Lang, wasn't available, as a lectern blocks our view of the Chief Justice's face during the oath of office.
In one episode of the Witchblade TV show, Sara is being haunted by someone who is kept mostly in the darkness. His face is shown pretty clearly in at least one shot, but at the last second some Special Effect Failure reveal that the ghost is John F. Kennedy, whose face was superimposed (badly) on the actor when he came into the light.
Averted in The X-Files episode "The Unnatural". Recurring character Arthur Dales was set to tell Mulder about the plot of the episode, but actor Darren McGavin was ill. Therefore, Mulder goes to Dales' apartment to find his brother living there... whose name is also Arthur. Perturbed, Mulder questions this. Apparently, they had a sister and a goldfish also named Arthur.