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Deus ex Machina at its finest.

"Yeah, he's dead, but don't worry. They've got a spare."

When a beloved character is killed and the writers are serious about it, their only option for the sequel is to bring them back as their hitherto-unseen identical twin sibling. When exaggerated the replacement is presented as essentially the same person. When portrayed more realistically they may look the same but apart from a few similarities are clearly different individuals.

Sometimes the trope is inverted, with the protagonist of the story being the backup called to a new place to take up the task of their deceased sibling. In these stories, the protagonist finds themself exploring the life their kin left behind and trying to fit in or maintain their own identity.

In the case of the former, don't try this in Real Life. In fact this should probably go on the Evil Overlord List, because that's not how genetics works. Real identical twins can of course be as different in personality as any other siblings: they just LOOK the same. While they might share some similar preferences (there's a great story told in a lot of parenting books about twin boys that loved cinnamon) or even say similar things: they are two completely different people. One could be straight, and the other gay: one could be a killer, and the other a committed pacifist. They could even eerily manifest personality traits of two very different ancestors leading them to become nemeses. This also applies to clones. Genetics are just a part of the foundation of who we are: you can build two completely different houses on the same foundation.

Genetically identical to Twin Switch and Cloning Gambit, and the logical extreme of Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Not to be confused with Making Use of the Twin, which is when an actor's real life twin is used during a production. Compare Actually a Doombot, Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest and Opening a Can of Clones. Contrast Angsty Surviving Twin and Replacement Goldfish. May be paired with Hidden Backup Prince.

As discussed above, this trope can also be used in sci-fi settings with a clone, an identical alternate self of a character from an Alternate Universe or a near-past twin/future self from the past/future.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dystopia kills off Lyon, which drives an even bigger wedge into the family than there was before. A year after his death, his parents reveal that they cloned Lyon when he was a baby because of his health issues, wanting a perfect match in case of medical necessity. The clone gets moved into the family, though he quickly establishes that he's not Lyon and won't pretend to be him, intent on having everyone treat him as his own person called Gabriel.
  • In series two of Black Butler, Abberline's twin appeared to take on the role his brother had in the first series. Despite the fact that Fred said in the first series he had no siblings. Probably done because when Fred was killed off in the first anime (but not in the manga) they expected to only have one season, only to later get a second.
  • When Buronson and Hara were commissioned to continue Fist of the North Star after they killed off Kenshiro's main rival Raoh, they introduced Raoh's previously-unseen/unmentioned older brother Kaioh as the main antagonist during the Kingdom of Shura story arc. Kaioh looks exactly like Raoh, only with a full body armor, a Darth Vader-like helmet that conceals most of his face, a more demonic looking horse, and a cross-shaped scar on his face. In the anime, Kaioh was also given purple hair to contrast with Raoh's black hair (in the manga, they were both blond-haired).
  • Due to viewing people as nothing more than the sums of their respective genes, the eugenically-designed society in Geneshaft has this view of all identical twins. Mika is viewed as odd for thinking her dead best friend's twin sister is a different person.
  • GoLion: Takashi Shirogane (Sven) was killed in the sixth episode (but merely "wounded" in Voltron), but when the audience demanded he be brought back, they did it in Japan by introducing his identical twin brother. (Since he wasn't actually dead in Voltron, they just called him Sven and said he'd finally recovered.)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Presea was replaced by her twin sister Sierra thanks to Schrödinger's Cast—Presea only died in the anime adaptation, and the plot of Part II needed her. For extra points, Sierra is forced to pretend that she is Presea thanks to a lie Clef concocted about Emeraude resurrecting her with her last wish.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Neil Dylandy a.k.a Lockon Stratos was killed by the end of the series but came back for the second season as his twin brother Lyle Dylandy a.k.a Lockon Stratos II. In this case the twin's existence was revealed in a brief scene early in the series, and later on it veers into Deconstructed Trope. The first thing Lyle made sure to tell his teammates in Celestial Being is he's not his older twin Neil's Replacement Goldfish, even preferring to put on a facade of a jerk rather than leading Feldt on, since she was in love with his deceased brother. He also prefers to use a "Desperado"-style of gun fighting to contrast Neil's sniping method, although he also uses it frequently. Basically, both twins are Lockon Stratos, but they are at the same time their very own persons with different views on life, love, and revenge.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Saga was very popular but unfortunately was killed. Luckily he was the Gemini Saint and had a brother, Kanon, who was just as eager to take over the world by impersonating someone he is not so he can earn forgiveness for his past sins.
    • It later becomes a staple in Saint Seiya spin-offs. Saga and Kanon themselves becomes Fountain of Expies. But the winner, that is the most accurate described as this trope is Saint Seiya Omega's Gemini Integra, since she just appeared as nothing but to replace Paradox and is a pure person at heart, not much backstory revealed.
  • A minor cannon fodder Sekirei, Mitsuha, had a twin that showed up much later in Mitsuki. Only difference is that she uses a wire instead of a whip and looks like anime Mitsuha instead of manga Mitsuha. The latter is likely going to be just as much fodder as her twin, though.
  • Similarly to the Voltron example, the fighter pilot Saburo Kato in Space Battleship Yamato was killed in the second season and replaced with an identical twin — and Star Blazers averted the whole issue by censoring the death of "Pete Conroy."

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU: Inverted with Crimson Fox; the D'Aramis twins, Constance and Vivian, faked the death of Constance. They would take turns, one of them acting as Vivian, running their multi-million dollar perfume company (the character was intended to be sort of a French Batman) while the other would fight crime as the Crimson Fox. It was then played straight when Vivian was actually killed in action, and possibly again when Constance was killed in action, though the new Fox, claiming to be the heiress to the D'Aramis fortune, hasn't been identified beyond that.
  • Lucky Luke: In their first appearance , the Daltons were competent villains who ended up shot dead by Lucky Luke (and their first names were those of the historical Daltons). Since the characters proved to be very popular, the writer, Goscinny, found a way to bring them back: in The Dalton Cousins, he introduced the reader to the cousin of the earlier Daltons, who are also a group of four identical brothers except for their heights. At first, they are hilarious harmless Big Bad Wannabes, who are desperate to live up to their “famous cousins' reputation”. By the end of the book, they had grown into effective desperados (although they're still stupid and comedic). They turned out to be even more popular than the original Daltons and eventually became recurring villains in the series. Amusingly, they're so much more famous than the first version of the characters nowadays that a lot of people in France don't know about the first Daltons, and believe that 'Joe, Jack, William and Averell' were really the first names of the historical Daltons.
  • Sin City: Goldie dies in the opening, after having sex with Marv, at the hands of a mysterious killer. Her twin sister Wendy isn't introduced until later when she wants to avenge her sister, and even becomes a surrogate love interest for Marv by the end.
  • Spider-Man: Minor villain the Ox from the Enforcers got replaced by his never-before-seen twin brother after dying.
  • Superman:
    • In Starfire's Revenge, the titular villain kills her minion Derek to make sure he cannot reveal her plans, and then she calls his twin brother Rodney to help her kill Supergirl.
    • The Death of Lightning Lad: When the titular character dies, his twin sister Ayla poses as him to try to replace him. Once she is found out, Ayla joins the Legion of Super-Heroes officially as Lightning Lass.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: The main character died early on the strip's run, run over by some deer in their car. Dogbert and his garbageman then cloned him from his trash.
  • In Dick Tracy, after cute-but-evil villain Hot Rize died in her debut story arc, her never-before-seen identical twin Blaze Rize showed up looking revenge on the crook who killed her sister, and has become a recurring character since then.

    Fan Works 
  • Out Of The Ashes: Played with. Clone Hilda was never meant to replace the original, only sow confusion and allow the original greater freedom of opportunity. However, by the end, she's more or less fully stepped into the role of her predecessor, who is naturally deceased.
  • Played with in crossover Tales of the Otherverse. After Supergirl gets killed in action, Mister Fantastic and Doctor Strange are given her late clone's body so Supergirl's soul can be rehoused. However, her clone wasn't created for the purpose of replacing her, and Supergirl's soul would not have taken up the offer to be brought back if her duplicate had been alive.

  • Used in a Japanese martial arts movie. A man is killed off by thugs for being the heir to some rich guy, but unbeknownst to the killers he had a Separated at Birth twin brother. This brother has grown up to be a badass martial artist and won't go down as easy as his brother did.
  • After Ralph Dickson is executed for murder that he didn't commit in Invisible Ghost, his twin brother comes to the Kessler household to investigate the truth behind the matter.
  • In Avatar the main character Jake Sully, a Marine, goes to Pandora as a replacement for his scientist twin who was killed by a mugger. It specifically mentions that it was lucky he had a twin because the Avatars required genetic matching since they were a hybrid of the human's and alien DNA.
  • The main plot of Bad Company (2002) revolves around this - Chris Rock plays (briefly) a CIA agent who's killed early on and then his twin brother recruited by the CIA to pretend to be the original.
  • Played for laughs in Beerfest. After a German spy murders Phil "Landfill" Krundle, his identical twin brother Gil shows up at his funeral. Phil's surprisingly attractive widow falls in love with him, Gil takes his place on the team, and asks everyone to call him Landfill. Not only that, it turns out that Phil told Gil everything about everyone already, and they went so far to lampshade the fact it was like Phil hadn't died in the first place.
  • A Better Tomorrow: Mark Gor was killed near the end, but thanks to Mark being insanely popular, Chow Yun-fat returned as Mark's twin brother Ken Gor in A Better Tomorrow 2.
  • City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold has Duke, played by Jack Palance the same actor who did Curly, his twin brother who died in the first film. That no one mentioned before was handwaved with them not being on speaking terms.
  • In Dumb and Dumber To: Travis Lippincott, the boyfriend and accomplice of Adele, gets ran over by a train in a rather anti-climatic way, then is introduced his twin brother (played by the same actor Rob Riggle) who essentially fills the same role, even becoming the new lover of Adele.
  • Inverted in Glass Onion. The real Andi was Dead All Along. Her twin sister Helen (played the same actress, Janelle Monáe) has only been successful at impersonating her because the Disruptors forgot Helen existed.
  • James Spader's character is killed halfway through Jack's Back and Spader shows up in the next scene as the twin brother who goes on to solve the case, catch the bad guy, and (probably) get the girl.
  • Parodied in the sequel to The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, with the character of Peter Fleming, the heretofore unknown twin brother of the late villain Roger Fleming. There's also Jungle Brad, brother of the late Ranger Brad. When it's remarked upon that both twins were named "Brad', Jungle Brad explains that their last names were different.
  • The Olsen twins comedy New York Minute: Jane (Ashley) isn't there to make her speech while Roxy (Mary-Kate) is there with Jane's notebook. So she tries to do Jane's speech for her (and fails miserably). Luckily, Jane shows up anyway.
  • Jean Claude Van Damme did exactly the same Badass Twin play in one of his action films, Maximum Risk.
  • Monster a-Go Go uses this. Since the movie was made from an unfinished attempt several years prior (called Terror at Halfday), the second half of Monster A Go-Go was mostly filmed with different actors entirely- the originals having moved on in the intervening years. The actor playing Dr. Logan was still available, but had changed his appearance radically in the meantime. The director decided to cast him as the brother of Dr. Logan (the original Dr. Logan having been killed off earlier in the film), conveniently allowing him to have a "new" character who had the exact same name and role as the original.
  • The Old Dark House (1963): Immediately after Casper's murder, Tom meets his identical twin brother Jasper, who is also quite similar to Casper in personality.
  • in The Prestige, Alfred Borden's teleporting performance is possible thanks to his having a twin brother, who went so far as to cut his fingers off to make himself indistinguishable from Alfred. He also allows himself be taken to the gallows in the climax, knowing that Alfred will avenge him. Note that Alfred Borden is the shared name of the twins, who are actually Albert and Frederick Borden.
  • Quentin Tarantino intended to direct a spin off Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction focusing on the Vega brothers. The brothers couldn't appear in a sequel due to both dying in their movies and Michael Madsen and John Travolta were getting too old to play younger versions of the characters in a prequel. Madsen claimed Tarantino suggested they play the Vega Brothers' twins, Tarantino later suggested they'd be older brothers.
  • Preemptive example (as in, the twin is introduced before the character death): Data and B-4 in Star Trek: Nemesis. Data even uploads a complete copy of his memories into B-4.
  • Time Chasers (Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode) features a time-travel-created duplicate of the hero, and is the source of the page quote.
  • In The Stinger for X-Men: The Last Stand, Charles Xavier is revealed to have transferred his consciousness to another body to survive his physical death. According to Word of God, the recipient was a brain-dead identical twin who was as such since Xavier first used his powers. Confirmed in The Wolverine when he shows up to meet Logan at the airport much to the latter's surprise. This, however, might now be subverted as the new Alternate Timeline from X-Men: Days of Future Past may have cosmically erased all or most of the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.

  • The plot of the Mills and Boon novel Wrong Twin, Right Man
  • AI Minds in The Culture are frequently backed up, especially in the case of warship Minds. Look to Windward has one recount about how he was restored from a backup only for the original to be found adrift in space later. They both then fought together for the remainder of the war until one of them (unknown as to which) was Killed Off for Real.
  • In Danganronpa Zero there are the Madarai Brothers and they're actual octuplets.
  • In The Power of Five series, there are two versions of the Five: one set lived ten thousand years ago, and one set in the present day. When one of them is killed, their counterpart is sent through time to replace them and defeat the Old Ones.
    • In the original battle against the Old Ones ten thousand years ago, Sapling is killed and replaced with his modern counterpart, Jamie.
    • In Oblivion, Matt and Scott both die in the present and have to be replaced by the old Matt and Flint.
  • Subversion in the Vorkosigan Saga, where Miles's clone-twin Mark refuses to replace him after his death, and purposely gains weight to lessen the resemblance. And Miles comes back to life before the end of the book anyway.
  • Serge A. Storms: Sharon from the first and fourth books and Rachael from Atomic Lobster turn out to be sisters and are portrayed almost exactly the same way. Both are six feet tall and have large breasts, long blonde curls, full lips, shapely legs, freckles, an addiction to cocaine, a job at a strip club, and Hair-Trigger Temper and Token Evil Teammate tendencies. Furthermore, there is a ten-year age gap between them, and Serge and Coleman meet them ten years apart, causing them to comment on the similarities between Sharon and Rachael long before their relationship is revealed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Common on daytime Soap Operas.
    • All My Children did so with Cindy/Karen and Frankie/Maggie.
    • General Hospital did it with Ryan/Kevin. Also with Benny/Bernie, and they perhaps are currently doing it with Emily/Rebecca.
  • The TV serial for Spy Smasher introduces the twin brother in the first episode. 12 episodes in the brother takes Spy Smashers place and falls off a building after being shot.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the team heads to the secret base Providence, run by Eric Koenig. In the very next episode, Eric is murdered by Ward and the team is forced to abandon the base while chasing the villains. At the very end of the Season 1 finale, they travel to another previously-unseen secret base, only to be greeted by the equally previously-unseen Billy Koenig who welcomes them to the base in a nearly-identical opening speech. Later episodes introduces two more Koenig brothers named Sam and Thurston, as well as one sister. The series hung a lampshade on it with characters openly wondering how many Koenig brothers there were, and Billy trolling Trip by implying he was a mass-produced android, in a Mythology Gag of the comic version of SHIELD who has a long history of using such androids, called LM Ds, as an explanation for characters coming back from the dead.
  • 'Allo 'Allo!:
    • Parodied when the Germans "shoot" and "kill" the main character, Rene. In order to keep up the ruse, he has to pretend to be his long-lost identical twin brother, also called Rene. He then has to re-marry his "widowed" wife, because his will left everything he owned to her. That led to some hilarious statements, i.e., "I've been his ex ever since he died."
    • Poor LeClerc, who was replaced by a supposed brother following the death of the original actor. The brother developed a case of The Other Darrin when that actor also died...
  • The Arrowverse has taken enormous advantage of The Multiverse to bring in Alternate Universe doppelgangers of characters who have died, but whose actors they love to keep around.
    • After Harrison Wells (or the man known as Harrison Wells) died at the end of The Flash (2014) Season 1, it's become a running gag that each season will feature (at a minimum) a new version of Wells from a parallel universe. While their personalities vary wildly, they do tend to all be some variation of The Smart Guy, and be very arrogant about that fact.
    • After Laurel Lance was killed in Arrow Season 4, The Flash Season 2 brought in an evil, superpowered doppelganger of Laurel as a Villain of the Week. This version of Laurel then became a regular on Arrow starting in Season 5.
    • Leonard Snart (a.k.a. Captain Cold) died near the end of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1. At first, Legends and The Flash satisfied their need to bring him back through time travel visits (though such encounters always had to end with Snart being dropped back into the past with no knowledge of his upcoming death). But during the Crisis on Earth-X crossover, a doppelganger of Snart from Earth-X was introduced, and made a few followup appearances on Flash and Legends. This Snart, however, is a far more traditionally heroic character than the villain-turned-reluctant-antihero we'd gotten to know.
    • While Amaya hasn't been officially killed off, she was last seen being returned to the year 1942, meaning she's most likely dead in the present day, and her place on the Legends has been taken by Charlie, a Shapeshifter who got stuck wearing Amaya's form, and has a wildly different personality (and accent).
  • In The Avengers (1960s) episode "The Superlative Seven", Wade is impaled by a spear and falls off a balcony during a fight with Steed. However, the twin shows up and fights with Mrs. Peel. The Reveal comes after Mrs. Peel dispatches of the second Wade (the first twin was buried under heavy brush after getting killed).
  • Happens a lot with the humanoid Cylons in Battlestar Galactica (2003), most notably Sharon "Boomer" Valerii and Sharon "Athena" Agathon, though Athena was introduced before Boomer's death and it was later shown that Boomer's death had been very brief.
    • Even so, following her "death", Boomer largely disappears from the show and only returns to show how fucked up she's gotten from her whole experience with some Moral Event Horizon breakers. They are different characters with different roles, but only rarely during the series do both characters have equal prominence. Once Boomer downloads away from the fleet, Athena largely steals her importance in the plot.
  • Played worryingly straight in BBV Productions' semi-official straight-to-video Doctor Who spin-off series P.R.O.B.E.. In the video "The Devil of Winterborne", the character of Barbara Taploe, played by Charmian May, is killed. When they came to do a sequel, "Ghosts of Winterborne", producer Bill Baggs convinced writer Mark Gatiss to make the new headmistress Margaret Wyndham her twin sister, so they could use the actress again. Gatiss has expressed his horror that her first line (inserted without his knowledge) is "No, I'm her twin sister" which point everyone carries on as if nothing happened.
  • Season 1 of Dark Angel had a one-shot character named Ben. The producers were so impressed by his performance (not surprising, since it was Dean Winchester), the following season introduced his identical twin, Alec, who became a major character. Rather well justified, since the characters are super soldiers manufactured on the genetic level, and the heroine actually met a younger clone of herself in the first season. Also not a straight example, since the two characters were quite different from each other, and Ben was definitely a source of angst for Alec despite not having met.
  • K-9 Mark III was introduced in the failed Doctor Who spinoff pilot K-9 and Company for earlier Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith. When Sarah Jane returned in the new Doctor Who series, that K-9 "died" and was replaced by a fourth K-9, who is a recurring character in the newer, more successful Sarah Jane series The Sarah Jane Adventures.
  • In Friends the Show Within a Show Days Of Our Lives did this with Joey's character Drake Ramoray, who was first killed then nearly resurrected as his twin, Stryker. Joey blows that chance, however. (Joey also pretends to be Ramoray's evil twin Hans, but not in the soap.)
  • Gotham did this with Jerome Valeska in the 4th season, introducing his twin brother Jeremiah, who would take his place for the rest of the series.
  • Parodied in the Hancock's Half Hour TV episode "The Bowmans". Hancock's radio soap character is killed off because of his bad acting, but it turns out the character was so popular the show's ratings will suffer without him. The producers suggest bringing him back as his twin. Hancock agrees, but only if he gets a pay rise, writes his own scripts, and gets rid of all the actors who criticized his performances by having their characters all fall down a disused mine shaft.
  • When Niki Sanders died in Heroes, she was replaced with her identical triplet, Tracy. There was a third triplet called Barbara that might have appeared if the series hadn't been cancelled.
  • In iZombie, Scott E. is a recurring character who dies in season 1. A few episodes after his death, the show introduced his twin brother Don E., who would later become the Big Bad's second-in-command, and a series regular, played by the same actor, of course.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has "Stephen Colbert's identical twin cousin from Philadelphia, Stephen Colbert", whose incredibly convoluted and contrived backstory is used to justify bringing back the Colbert character without actually using him. Since they didn't have much of an alternative, his backstory is a massive Ass Pull that's Played for Laughs. Blame the lawyers.
  • To the surprise of many, Peter Malboro, in season three of the French-Canadian show Le cœur a ses raisons, became the only character in the series to be unfortunate enough to get Killed Off for Real (well, except Doug Montgomery, whose death set the entire series in motion). But fear not, as he had a twin, Peter Malboro! The only difference is that he combed his hair the opposite way and a very slight difference in their first name's pronunciation. This Peter proceeds to fill the exact same role, and engages in a relationship with Peter 1's girlfriend. It is explained that the two Peters never appeared at the same time because they only had one set of clothes. When one was wearing it, the other had to stay home in underwear.
    Brett: "I still believe there is a scandalous excess of Peters."
  • In the parody soap opera, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Garth Gimble's wife kills him, and his identical twin brother Barth Gimble moves to Fernwood soon thereafter.
  • In between Maverick and The Rockford Files, James Garner had a show called Nichols, where he played a turn-of-the-century Western lawman. In the last episode of the first (and only) season, Nichols is murdered and Garner plays his Darker and Edgier (but more traditionally heroic) twin brother who solves the case. Had the series been renewed, the twin would have taken over his role.
  • In season 10 of Murdoch Mysteries, the recurring character of dilettante hobbyist and Upper-Class Twit Roger Newsome (Cyrus Lane) is killed off. The following season introduces his brother Rupert (Cyrus Lake with impressive facial hair). He is also introduced as involved in the Hobby of the Week (cricket), but unlike his brother's amiable foolishness, has a strong line in aristocratic outrage.
  • Once Upon a Time: An unusual version occurs in the backstory of David/Prince Charming who, as it turns out, isn't actually a prince at all. He's actually one of the twin sons of a poor shepherd; the family couldn't feed both sons, so Rumplestiltskin, per his modus operandi, arranged for one of the two to be adopted by a childless king. The royal twin - Prince James - was raised by the tyrannical king to be a selfish, amoral, and cruel Prince Charmless, only to get himself killed. Since the king had already set up an Arranged Marriage, he forced David to impersonate his dead twin... just in time to meet Snow White. It's not entirely clear how many Storybrooke residents know about this (or if they would care).
  • In Riverdale when Cliff Blossom dies at the end of the first season, his long lost twin brother, Claudius shows up at his will reading, causing Cliff's daughter Cheryl to faint.
  • Non-twin example. In Scrubs, they killed off Laverne in what they thought was going to be the last season. Since it turned out it wasn't, they introduced Shirley, played by the same actress, but with an opposite personality. Strangely, no one but JD notices they're identical (despite the Theme Naming).
  • At one point in the The Sopranos Tony orders a hit on a previously never seen member of the Family, Philly Parisi, and the show's creators liked the actor, Dan Grimaldi, so that they gave him a twin brother, Patsy Parisi, who would become a fairly important member of Tony's crew.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Carson Beckett is brought back as a preexisting but yet-unseen clone with all of Carson's memories up to the point of his creation (despite explicit promises by the writers that it would be the original Carson and not something like this). It's all good, though; Carson still comes back. Originally, they planned for the original to return, and the one who died to have turned out to be a clone. They eventually realized it wouldn't have been realistic for the villain to have created a convincing enough clone in the short time he had, so they switched it up.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A rather bizarre time-based variation occurs in "Visionary", where an accident results in Chief O'Brien repeatedly getting hurled forward several hours into the future before getting pulled back. He's able to prevent several deadly incidents, but each jump gives him a high dose of radiation. By the last jump, he has a device to control it, but the radiation kills him during an attack that would destroy the station. In order to prevent this, the future O'Brien takes the device and goes into the past.
  • Star Trek: Picard introduces Dahj, a biological android “daughter” of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Data. She’s promptly killed by Romulan agents. Picard’s failure to save her, as well as Data back in Star Trek: Nemesis and a planetful of Romulans (he’s had a rough few decades) means that saving her conveniently identical twin sister Soji (played by the same actress) becomes his driving motivation for the rest of the season.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Denise Crosby, after Tasha Yar was killed, was brought back in two stories as her half-Romulan daughter via Time Travel. Her very similar but non-identical sister was also the focus of an episode, and two different temporal anomalies brought the original Tasha back twice. One gets the impression that no one really wanted to let the character go.
    • It also very nearly happened with Will Riker, as he was set to be killed off in season six and replaced with his Transporter Malfunction-created double, Thomas Riker. Both lived, and it should be noted that according to the Technobabble of the accident, both Rikers have an equally valid claim to be the original. though Thomas did make an appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where he ended up joining the Maquis and got sent to a Cardassian labor camp.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In the episode "Deadlock," the entire ship is duplicated by a Negative Space Wedgie, in the process killing one ship's Harry Kim and then-newborn Naomi Wildman. By the end of the episode, the other Voyager is about to be destroyed, so the Harry and Naomi from that ship jump over to the one where their counterparts had died. Also, this would technically make the original Naomi the shortest-lived recurring character of any Star Trek series, as this episode begins with her being born! Of course much like Miles O'Brien above, being replaced by his own future self is never mentioned again. In both cases the alternates were created only a few minutes or hours before the switch. Harry does comment on how weird it feels to be on a completely new ship that is technically the same one he's always been on, though Janeway advises him that weirdness is part of the job in Starfleet.
    • In a later episode, Harry Kim replaces a version of himself again, but this time it's the wrong reality.
  • Laura Palmer is found dead in The Pilot of Twin Peaks, Shortly after her cousin arrives to stay some time and she is played by the same actress as Laura (but with raven hair instead of blond).
  • In V: The Series, Martin's brother Philip appeared several episodes after Martin was killed off, and more or less filled Martin's role. Given that the Visitors were alien reptiles disguised as humans, there was no actual reason for Philip to be Martin's twin brother, as opposed to just another Visitor wearing the same human mask as Martin. But he was anyway, just because.
  • A few years after the one-shot character Jimmy "the Geek" was killed off in an episode of The X-Files, the writers decided they wanted him for the recurring Sixth Ranger character in the spin-off series The Lone Gunmen. Not only had Jimmy been comprehensively killed off, there was also already a main character called Jimmy in the show. Enter Jimmy's identical twin brother Kimmy, who fortuitously shared his brother's genius with computers. Kimmy did have a somewhat different personality, coming across as more outgoing and snarky than his dead twin, although this may just have been a case of Adaptation Expansion. (Although their relationship was never brought up in-universe, Word of God quickly confirmed that Jimmy and Kimmy were indeed twins.)


    Tabletop Games 
  • The standard excuse for when your character dies and you can't be bothered to roll up a new one, or when a boss is thrashed instantaneously and the unimaginative DM still wants a fight.
  • In Paranoia you start off with five clones of your character. Since it's a world where everyone is out to get you (hence the name), you will need them.
  • An out-of-universe variation happened in Star Frontiers, where, following creator drama, one of the five playable races, the Sathar, was turned Always Chaotic Evil for the sake of having usual antagonists; the creators who had been removed from the project later reintroduced the original version as the S'sessu on the in-universe basis that they were probably abducted and left on a different world by aliens, and hence developed spacefaring civilisation independently of the main Sathar.

  • The Altos uses it as a quick gag where an audience member is gunned down backstage, and then immediately reintroduced as "their twin brother".

    Video Games 
  • In Keaton's ending in the original Aero Fighters, he gets lost in space from the final boss' last explosion, and you play the second run with his twin brother.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: In Chapter 1, Monokuma kills Ultimate Fashionista Junko Enoshima by launching several spears through her body. And then, in Chapter 5, the mysterious 16th student shows up as the victim. It turns out the real Junko Enoshima is working behind the scenes as the Mastermind; she pulled a Twin Switch with her twin sister Mukuro Ikusaba (the aforementioned 16th student) who disguised herself as her. Junko then killed her twin sister in Chapter 1, and used her body to fake the murder of Chapter 5 in order to frame Kyoko Kirgiri.
  • In the first Gears of War, Anthony Carmine gets shot, and dies. In the sequel, his brother Ben Carmine (who sounds exactly the same and is almost a clone in personality) shows up, makes himself at home as a Mauve Shirt, and then dies. In the third game, we meet their brother Clay Carmine, whose life or death was the subject of a viral marketing campaign. He survives and presumably lived a long, full life. The fourth brother, Dietrich Carmine, was a civilian who died long before any of his brothers did.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry at the end of Watanagashi-hen, it's clear that Shion and Mion's Twin Switch tactic was used for this purpose. The question is why and how, and you'll be wracking your brain for the answers until Meakashi-hen turns the problem on its head. Just to confuse things, the actual evidence towards a Backup Twin effect, one of the twins surviving long enough to kill Keiichi in the hospital, turned out to be 100% dying hallucination on Keiichi's part. In reality, both twins were dead by that point, but not in the order expected.
  • Subverted in Mass Effect. In the first game, depending on your choices, your squadmate Urdnot Wrex may end up dead. Since he plays an important role in the later two games, if he dies, his role is filled by his brother, Urdnot Wreav. What makes this a subversion is that the two are radically different - Wrex is far more intelligent and calmer than Wreav, which colors how the krogan fare in the second and third games; under Wrex, they can thrive, while under Wreav they go down the self-destructive path that Wrex so feared. The third game further subverts the idea as Wreav will appear regardless, though not as the Krogan Overlord.
  • In Mortal Kombat II, the original Sub-Zero was killed by Scorpion during the first game's tournament and is replaced by his younger brother, who adopted his identity. Noob Saibot, a character also introduced in II, would later be revealed to be the original Sub-Zero years later in Mortal Kombat: Deception. In Mortal Kombat 9, the story plays itself out again; in fact, this is a sign that Raiden's plans to alter the future are failing.
  • In Tales of Legendia we have Fenimore and her twin, Thrya. She does mention Thyra earlier on, but chances are you forgot about it, and thus makes Thyra's appearance later on in the Character Quests a surprise.
  • In Twisted Metal: Head-On, Miranda Watts, the new driver of Twister, enters the Twisted Metal tournament to search of her twin sister Amanda, who disappeared after the events of the previous tournament. In her ending, Calypso grants her wish when he splitting up the road, in which the now-aged Amanda emerges from the cracks, which freaks Miranda out.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines you meet Chunk, a cheerful Fat Idiot security guard, during a quest to infiltrate a gallery, he then returns later on in the game as a lobby guard in the LaCroix Building. But it is actually possible to kill Chunk in the first encounter, which will result in the lobby guard being his identical twin brother. However, in contrast to the happy-go-lucky and chatty Chunk, his brother never speaks a word to the player.

  • Invoked by Jim in Darths & Droids when Poe dies in a PIE fighter crash. After his backup character is killed offscreen before he can even join the party, Jim opts to introduce the party to Allan, Poe's twin brother. It seems Allan's existence was unknown even to Leia, making Poe's status as a First Order double-agent even more of an Ambiguous Situation.
  • In Heroes Of Lesser Earth, Martin's Elf Rogue Cohort "fleece" has an unlimited number of twin sisters, each named Fleece, and more in love with Martin than the last, who instantly replace the previous one if she's killed... because he wrote that on the back of her character sheet.
  • Used very literally in Story Minute. A woman becomes obsessed with backups after a hard drive crash and marries an identical twin.

    Web Original 
  • A variation in Chad Vader. Some time after Weird Jimmy is killed, the show introduces his twin brother Johnny, who is promptly possessed by Weird Jimmy's ghost, effectively bringing him back.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft has a variation. Cadence disappears in the episode she's introduced, or in actuality Twilight kills her for trying to marry her brother who she's in love with. Future episodes introduce her identical twin Cadance that essentially takes her place, as Cadence is a reoccurring character in the source.
  • In Scott The Woz, after the character Wendy's Employee is killed in "Memory Cards", his identical twin brother (named Target Employee) appears in "Speed Dating" and future episodes onwards to take over his role in Scott's friend group.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG:
    1436. In case of premature termination, the dungeon boss has an identical twin brother on standby.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: The show has done this a couple of times, each time pretending the original never died and never mentioning the event again, similar to the "Armin Tanzarian" thing, this was never brought up again.
    • In one episode, the Simpsons cat, Snowball II was hit by a car and died, leading Lisa to get several various cats who also died. At the episode's end, Lisa gets a cat who looks and acts just like Snowball II did, which she then gives the same name.
    • After Fat Tony dies, his cousin Fit Tony takes his place in Springfield's mafia. Then he gains some weight and becomes known as Fat Fit Tony, or Fat Tony for short.
  • In the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in a rare exception to Status Quo Is God, Baxter Stockman got permanently turned into a fly monster, and stayed that way for the rest of the series. The show did briefly try an Ass Pull, however, by introducing Baxter's still-human twin brother Barney Stockman. Perhaps thankfully, Barney only appeared once.
  • The death of Skyquake on Transformers: Prime eventually saw the coming of his twin, Dreadwing. However, the two have different color schemes, different voices, and slightly different personalities (the latter being somewhat more cunning and shrewd than the other). They retain their unifying trait of Undying Loyalty to Megatron, though, keeping this trope in effect.
  • Played for Laughs in Voltron: Legendary Defender episode "Monsters and Mana" (as a Mythology Gag to his GoLion counterpart; see above) which featured the characters playing a roleplaying game. Shiro's character was a paladin called Shiro with an elaborate backstory, and he really got into it. His response to Shiro being killed? Bring in Shiro's identical twin, Jiro the Paladin, who's here to avenge his brother.