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Divergent Character Evolution

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Not just a Palette Swap anymore.

Named after the biological phenomenon known as Divergent Evolution, where two closely related species develop wildly different traits over time. Here it means an act of Character Development wherein a character who was extremely similar to another character is given his or her own identity.

This is extremely common in video games, where characters who were originally identical to the lead (usually to allow for two-player play, or just because the lead is popular) are often given their own special abilities and personality quirks in later games. It can also happen in crossovers when two characters that were very similar in their own series are allowed to interact with each other.

Related to Derivative Differentiation. See also Cast Speciation, Not So Similar, Replacement Flat Character, Mirror Character. Compare Characterization Marches On. For in-universe examples, see Duplicate Divergence and Twin Desynch.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yakko from Akazukin Cha Cha started as Chacha's Dark Action Girl counterpart in her first appearance. After that she switches from magic to alchemy.
  • Assassination Classroom: Muramatsu and Yoshida were simply just Terasaka's two lackeys, but they weren't as quirky as Terasaka. They later gain distinctive individual traits and interests; Muramatsu is a Supreme Chef and becomes more snarky, while Yoshida's interests for vehicles eventually leads to him crafting some of those. Similarly, Hazama who was also hanging a lot with the delinquent trio also has become more distinct and her interests for dark literature and dark writing is often used for some jokes.
  • In Astro Boy, Astro usually has black "hair" just like the boy he's modeled after (Tobio). In the 2003 anime, Tobio has brown hair to differentiate them more. This change also helps establish Astro more as a failed Replacement Goldfish.
  • Played straight and also zig-zagged in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Sechs, Elf, and Zwölf start as clones of Alita in the Tuned arc of the first series, but by the time they are reunited at the start of Last Order, Elf and Zwölf have switched to more waifish bodies and Sechs has gone feral. Sechs's divergence continues when she switches to a male body, while Elf and Zwölf's similarity to Alita actually increases over time.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z: Nappa and Vegeta were both bloodthirsty space pirates that worked under Frieza and wanted to use the Dragon Balls to gain immortality. While the former was killed in the first saga, the latter eventually became an Anti-Hero, started a family, and discarded the chance at immortality in favor of becoming Goku's rival.
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • Kale, the Universe 6 Saiyan, was created due to Broly's popularity. The first time she turned Super Saiyan, she behaved like a gender-swapped Broly of Movie 10. However, this side of her slowly changed so that her berserker transformation was treated more like a Hulk-like Superpowered Evil Side blinded by rage, instead of Broly's Ax-Crazy Blood Knight personality. By the end of the series, she managed to control such power and become distinct enough in terms of moveset and character relationship compared to her inspiration.
      • No. 17 and No. 18 didn't have very distinct movesets, and such, video games would often give them some moves of the other. It isn't until the Tournament of Power where their movesets starts to differentiate from each other, as No. 17's Barrier becomes his Signature Move and has different variations of it, whereas his older twin never uses a Barrier in the entire series since her introduction in the Cell Saga. In fact, No. 18's movesets is rather generic for the series' standard.
  • Elfen Lied: The manga gives us Mariko's four successful clones that were created by Dr. Nousou, named Alicia, Barbara, Cynthia and Diana. They all share the same personality, either with or without the Mind-Control Device. However, despite being essentially the same character, each of the four clones have distinct roles in the narrative. Diana serves as an early Sacrificial Lamb to demonstrate how far their Tyke Bomb treat goes, but she later returns as a Chekhov's Gunman and the Hope Spot for Arakawa. Alicia and Barbara display their heroic Undying Loyalty to Nousou by trying to save his life even when he orders them to abandon him, resulting in Alicia getting killed by Lucy. Cynthia, who got cut in half by Lucy earlier in the raid, manages to land a sneak attack on her before Lucy can kill Barbara, but half-dead Cynthia is discovered by Dr. Kurama and dies in his arms, which brings back his trauma of losing Mariko again. At the hospital, having become curious of Alicia's and Barbara's love for him, he removes Barbara's Mind-Control Device from her head, which results in her killing him for his past sins. Barbara would then go out of her way to fight Nana and be confronted by Kurama, with the result of the conflict ending Kurama's journey of coming in terms with Mariko's death.
  • In Eyeshield 21 Jumonji, Kuroki, and Togano started out as stereotypical delinquents. This didn't last, with Togano becoming an aspiring artist, Jumonji outed as a smart guy hanging out with the wrong crowd, and Kuroki remaning a typical, but friendlier, thug. Despite all being linemen, they also began to be differentiated by their abilities, with Kuroki being the fastest, Togano the strongest and Jumonji the smartest and most technically skilled.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Maria Ross and Denny Brosh. In their first appearance, they're mainly comic relief and thus rather similar in personality. Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) delegates this role to Brosh and makes Ross more serious; it also develops her into something of a surrogate mother figure for Edward. The manga followed suit to an extent, throwing Ross into the serious portions of the plot and leaving Brosh on the sidelines.
  • Gunslinger Girl Teatrino does this to Angelica and Claes in terms of design. In the manga and original anime they both have long, blueish-black hair and blue eyes. Teatrino changed Angelica's design so that she has brown hair and green eyes.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Migi and Dali, being about scheming twins, initially had them start out as pretty similar (and intentionally so since they're pretending to be one person). However, as time goes on they become very distinct from each other; Migi was more emotional, a bit dumb and often seemed to rely on Dali to come up with plans (but had a knack for impersonating his foster mother), while Dali tries to position himself as the older brother but has a hot temper and a Big Brother Instinct when Migi is pushed too far.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 featured a replacement twin who at first appears a lot like his murdered twin older brother. This lasts about three episodes when he starts to get pissed by it and shows some people he is very different. In the end, they are not 'that' different... they have similar core personalities, but simply handle life differently starting from there. Remarked when the surviving twin kills the Blood Knight who murdered his entire family, and who his brother died trying to get revenge against - yet doesn't do it out of revenge, but because the other rejected the Last-Second Chance he gave him. Well, that and the guy was about to shoot him.
    • However, outside of piloting the same Gundam set, they had slightly different inclinations. Neal was pretty much "The Sniper" of the team and would only resort to full frontal combat in dire situations. On the other hand, Lyle was more well rounded and while he was a skilled sniper as well, he usually would eschew the rifle in the favor of his handguns. You can see this better when the third gundam, which is tailored closer to his own abilities puts more emphasis on multi-targeting over outright sniping.
  • And then there's Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, where the titular Astray Frames start out as palette swaps of each other until they end up in the hands of three different pilots: hot-blooded mechanic Lowe gives his Red Frame a silly loadout of melee weapons such as katanas and a makeshift Shining Finger, cool mercenary Gai outfits the Blue Frame with a large arsenal of guns and artillery, and Big Bad Rondo customizes the Gold Frame using parts scavenged from the recently destroyed Blitz Gundam, granting it stealth and pilebunkers.
  • Sakura and Ino from Naruto were originally both depicted as rather mean Sasuke fangirls. By the end of the Forest of Death, Sakura took a huge leap in terms of character development. She became nicer, her feelings for Sasuke were developing into actual love, and she received an Important Haircut. After Ino and Sakura rekindled their friendship, Ino began behaving nicer too and eventually stopped crushing on Sasuke. By Shippuden Ino was more fashionable and upbeat than Sakura, while Sakura became more tomboyish and fought with her fists more. In-series, Sakura and Ino actually were more individual pre-series but became more bratty and similar after they learned they both liked Sasuke.
  • The twins, Homare and Misao in Okane ga Nai. There is no way to distinguish them from one another by appearance, but over the course of the series Homare is shown to be much more emotional, and eventually he realizes he is wildly in love with Ayase.
  • The Matsuno brothers of Osomatsu-kun started out as generally similar-acting sextuplets. By the sequel series Osomatsu-san, they've all grown personalities and appearances to set themselves apart: Osomatsu becomes a bullheaded young man with an "act first, think later" mentality, Karamatsu tries acting cool to impress girls, Choromatsu finds fault with the gang's actions even if he indulges in them himself, Ichimatsu became apathetic and lazy, Jyuushimatsu is a ball of energy, and Todomatsu became a manipulative Social Climber. For sake of the audience, they were also made Color-Coded Characters.
  • The twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin from Ouran High School Host Club start out as Single-Minded Twins, but start to show differences in their personalities once they realize that Haruhi can tell them apart. Kaoru becomes the more mature of the two, but is overly self sacrificing. By the time the mini arc is over, they're beginning to force themselves to grow apart by dying their hair and nearly drop the twincest act, but decide that is too much.
  • The Nakano sisters of The Quintessential Quintuplets. As children they were so alike it was but impossible to tell them apart, but by the present time they've all diverged in personality and appearance:
  • Repeatedly happened to Minako/Sailor Venus from Sailor Moon, who Usagi was originally an expy of. In the original manga, the main difference is Venus' superhero persona is much more capable and composed. Other adaptations played with these extremes. Her live-action self was made almost completely serious and sober, while The '90s animated counterpart is an outright Fruit Loop.
  • The Big Five in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Initially they're an Omniscient Council of Vagueness, with the collective goal of taking over KaibaCorp for unspecified, but undoubtedly sinister intentions. In the "Virtual Nightmare" arc, they're all given separate personalities, and objectives, and while they all share the goal of defeating Kaiba and escaping into the real world, their reasons for hating him are fleshed out, with them gaining separate backstories and motivations. Big Bad Oshita/Ganzley and Amoral Attorney Ooka/Johnson are just greedy while the latter is also a cheating coward, the rather pitiable Otaki/Crump is furious at Kaiba for mocking his penguin obsession, Ota/Nezbitt's angry about his work being disposed of and his lab destroyed, and Daimon/Leichter's The Resenter par excellence and believes that he should have inherited the company.
  • This has become one of the most attractive traits of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise's series. Each series contains a Cast of Expies of characters from a or multiple previous series, only for their differences to become a apparent through Character Development as their series goes on. Some of the more prominent examples:
    • Manjoume of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX starts out as the hero's Seto Kaiba, but unlike Kaiba, he eventually overcomes his arrogance, obsession with defeating the hero, and antipathy to friendship and is able to progress much farther as a duelist and a person at every opportunity where Kaiba explicitly refused to change.
    • Another GX Kaiba expy, Kaiser Ryo, starts out heroic if aloof, but his need to be the best eventually drives him to full-blown villainy — the opposite of Kaiba's arc and much more extreme.
    • Yu Gi Oh 5Ds character Sherry takes after GX character Edo Phoenix, but whereas Edo was an Anti-Hero whose quest for his father's killer led him to become more heroic over time, Sherry starts off as a hero whose quest for her parents' killer eventually drives her to a temporary Face–Heel Turn.

    Comic Books 
  • When Alpha Flight first appeared in the pages of X-Men, the twins Northstar and Aurora first appeared as Half-Identical Twins with identical mutant powers (super speed, flight, and generating blinding light when they touch), matching costumes, and being stereotypical Snooty Quebecois. But when Alpha Flight spun off into its own series, this trope came into play. Northstar had long disapproved of Aurora's relationship with teammate Sasquatch, and when things came to a head, she ended their informal partnership and had Sasquatch, a geneticist, alter her powers to be distinct from her brother's to where she can generate light on her own, at the cost of her speed being slightly slower. She also designed a new costume for herself. Even though they eventually healed their rift, they remained distinct and even developed further, with Aurora being defined by her Split Personality and tumultuous romances, while Northstar came out as gay (the first mainstream superhero to do so) and has closer ties with the X-Men.
  • In the early 2000s Archie Comics tried to censor reprint issues containing Cheryl Blossom, who was a controversial character due to being very fanservicey even compared to Veronica. They created Ginger Lopez and replaced Cheryl with her. Eventually they stopped this practice but made Ginger into an individual character. This involved smoothing out her design a little bit, so her earliest appearances have a more angular look similar to Cheryl.
  • Batgirl: Inverted. Before 2011, the 'canon' Batgirls were quite distinct. Barbara Gordon was at-the-time written as a woman in her 20s, a librarian by-day who was quite intelligent and took crime-fighting as seriously as Batman did, before retiring. Cassandra Cain was a taciturn, dyslexic One-Man Army who took saving lives more seriously than Batman due to her traumatic childhood. Stephanie Brown was a Fun Personified Genki Girl who had been fighting crime since she was 15 under other aliases before being given the costume. Essentially, they fell into the same archetypes the Robins did, with Barbara as the brains, Cass as the muscle, and Steph as the heart. After The New 52 though, Cass and Steph were Put on a Bus while Barbara was cured of her paralysis and returned to being the sole Batgirl, and her Batgirl (2011) adventures had her become Denser and Wackier, with a personality similar to Stephanie (by coincidence; her writer at the time, Brendan Fletcher, claims to have never actually read Steph's book and just believed Batgirl-as-a-concept should be Fun Personified regardless of who wears the cowl), and it was treated as if Barbara had always been this way.
  • Batman: During the 60's, Batman's major enemies were giggling, haughty robbers with different gimmicks. In modern times, they've gone in very different directions: the Joker is a terrifying homicidal lunatic, the Penguin is a crafty businessman and black marketer, Catwoman became a morally-ambiguous antihero, Two-Face is a tormented gangster with a split personality, Poison Ivy is a seductive ecoterrorist, Mister Freeze is a brilliant and stoic mad scientist, etc. The Riddler has struggled a bit, at various times being a cybercriminal, a drug dealer, a private eye, or just a resentful guy trying to lash out at his former employers.
  • Daredevil started out in 1964 as a slight variation on Marvel Comics' then-recent breakout character Spider-Man: a bespectacled everyman New Yorker who lived a double life as an acrobatic red-suited superhero, was motivated by the death of a father figure (in this case, his actual father), and spent a lot of time swinging between buildings. His distinctions were that he was blind, worked as a lawyer (instead of a newspaper photographer), was from Manhattan (instead of Queens), and had a devil gimmick (instead of a spider), but they were otherwise noticeably similar. Frank Miller's seminal run in the 1980s is generally credited with bringing Matt Murdock out of Peter Parker's shadow; he established Daredevil as a hard-bitten crimefighter with strong Film Noir influences, cemented the merciless mob boss "The Kingpin" as his Arch-Enemy, and made his tragic love affair with Elektra a lynchpin of his story.note  With the introduction of Daredevil's mentor Stick, he also retroactively established him as a highly skilled martial artist with years of training—contrasting Peter Parker, who was a science nerd who mostly taught himself to fight.
  • In the 1980's DC introduced Deathstroke, a Badass Normal mercenary who frequently fought the Teen Titans. A few years later Marvel would introduce Deadpool, essentially an expy of Deathstroke with a slightly different costume. However, while Deathstroke has remained pretty much the same over the years, Deadpool has transformed into a fourth wall breaking cloudcuckoolander with powerful healing abilities.
  • Disney:
    • The 1940s José Carioca comics made in the US introduced José's neighbors, a black bird named Nestor and a white bird named João, who were drawn similarly and often appeared as Those Two Guys who were seen either helping José in his schemes for blending into the high society or mocking him for his wannabe aristocratic lifestyle. After José's comic strip ended its run in 1944, the characters became considerably different.
      • Nestor was brought back by the Brazilian comics in 1967 as José's closest friend, and has since become one of the most proeminent characters in the locally made stories. Over the years, he also went through considerable Art Evolution, which gave him a shorter round beak, different clothes and a new "hairstyle", with very distinctive round feathers in his head.
      • João, on the other hand, was mostly forgotten for decades, appearing only in a handful of Brazilian stories before making a comeback in the Dutch comics. However, since those stories are made in the style of the old US comics, his appearance and personality remained unchanged.
  • Elongated Man was originally conceptualized as a Captain Ersatz of Plastic Man... except for the fact that DC Comics had acquired the latter's rights. Realizing the inherent problems of having two different stretchy superheroes, DC began playing up Elongated Man's detective skills and Plastic Man's zaniness.
  • When Green Arrow started out, he was Batman, except with a Robin Hood costume and all his gadgets had arrows stuck to them instead of looking like bats. Rich playboy persona, underground cave, goofy themed car, red-clad teen sidekick, he had it all. Later books evolved him to be fairly different from Batman, highlighting Oliver Queen's "playboy" part over the "rich" part. He eventually branched into politics of all things, becoming a famously loud-spoken far-left activist, something fairly unheard of among superheroes at the time.
  • Green Lantern Guy Gardner started out somewhat more generic when he was first introduced as the other guy the ring could have gone to but was developed into a Jerkass when he became a regular (and then a Jerk with a Heart of Gold). Johns went to even further lengths to distinguish the various Lanterns, when he brought back Hal Jordan and the Corps by showing how the personalities of the Lanterns affected how they used (or didn't use) their rings and what sort of constructs they built. Case in point, Green Lantern: Rebirth goes into detail about the way Rayner, Gardner, Stewart, Jordan, and Kilowog use their rings. Stewart, being an architect, has constructs that look like a blueprint, with every individual detail within them planned out. Rayner, being an artist, often uses a construct pencil to "draw" other constructs, and the eraser construct to change details about them. Gardner's ring is literally leaking green light at all times, because "his willpower can't wait to escape". Jordan likes to go for a combination of brute force and precision, hence boxing gloves, missiles, etc. Kilowog's is the only ring among the regularly appearing characters that makes a sound, and it sounds like a cannon.
  • In Justice League of America, all of the characters originally came from self-contained comic books, and they all played the role of The Hero to their own supporting casts. After they united to form the Justice League, their personalities became more diversified so that they could play off of each other more effectively. Superman became more friendly and idealistic, Batman became more cold and stoic, Wonder Woman became more proud and regal, Green Lantern became more cocky and adventurous, and The Flash became more plucky and fun-loving.
  • Justice Society of America started out as a precursor to the more well-known Justice League of America. Like the League, the Society was an alliance of DC Comics superheroes who joined together to fight evildoers too strong for just one of them. But once the Society was revived after the Justice League became a major hit, the writers had to find a new core concept for the team so that they wouldn't be too similar. They went through several different schticks over the years; first they were an alternate universe version of the Justice League, then an aging group of semi-retired superheroes, then a group of senior citizen superheroes, and then—most successfully—a multigenerational family of superheroes who united to train the next generation of heroes. In the first issue of Geoff Johns' 2007 run, Batman explicitly lays out the differences between the two of them:
    "The Justice League is a strike force. The Justice Society is a family."
  • Alan Moore's seminal Miracleman run does this for most of the characters from Mick Anglo's original Marvelman. Since Marvelman was conceived as a British answer to Captain Marvel after it was temporarily cancelled due to legal issues, most of the main characters were (unsurprisingly) blatant clones of characters from Captain Marvel; Marvelman was Captain Marvel, Kid Marvelman was Captain Marvel Jr., Nastyman was Black Adam, Guntag Borghelm was Shazam, and so on. But since Moore's run is a complete reimagining set decades after the original, it allows most of the characters to evolve beyond their roots. Hence: Michael Moran is (unlike Billy Batson) a jaded and cynical middle-aged man who transforms into a younger and more virile version of himself, Miracleman's loyal kid sidekick Kid Marvelman is a terrifyingly psychotic adult supervillain, and it's ultimately revealed that Guntag Borghelm never even existed—because Miracleman actually got his powers from a secret government project that designed him as a living weapon (giving him a drastically different origin story from Captain Marvel).
  • Moon Knight was initially pretty much a stand-in for DC's Batman, a comparison helped by the fact he was created by a writer who was known to be massive Batman fanboy. Both were Terror Hero Badass Normal characters with a rich playboy persona, with the biggest difference being Moon Knight had a whole deal with werewolves and his backstory involved being a marine blessed by an Egyptian god, and he took the secret identity concept a step further by having three secret identities (a rich playboy movie producer/businessman, a working class taxi driver, and his real identity of a retired Private Military Contractor and ex-marine). As time went on, the character's Terror Hero aspect has became even more pronounced than Batman's, with him depicted as a barely-contained Sociopathic Hero prone to excessive violence who was a toxic influence on all his friends, his 'blessed by Egyptian moon god' became Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane with a serious possibility that it was all in his head, and the alternate secret identities became legitimate split personalities. Now, Moon Knight is best known for his repeated struggles with mental illness, with occasional forays into the supernatural. Also his teen sidekick became a cyborg zombie serial killer, and his 'Alfred' became a paraplegic man and also came out of the closet.
  • Quicksilver and Hawkeye were arguably created as Marvel's equivalents of The Flash and Green Arrow ("If they were villains!"), but grew to be quite distinctive in their own rights. After they both underwent a Heel Face Turns and joined the Avengers, they became antiheroic superheroes with fully fleshed-out histories and character dynamics; Hawkeye's characterization was largely defined by his checkered past and his tumultuous relationship with Black Widow, and Quicksilver's characterization was largely defined by his arrogance and his troubled relationship with his father Magneto.
  • Robin:
    • The second Robin, Jason Todd, was originally a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Dick Grayson who was also an orphaned acrobat, differing only in hair color and style. When the universe was revamped with Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jason was turned into a troubled juvenile delinquent.
    • The first three Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake) tend to have their differences emphasized when together. Dick is the heart, Jason is the muscle, Tim is the brains. After Damian Wayne's introduction, he tends to be the Bratty Half-Pint Tagalong Kid.
  • Shazam! started out in the 1940s as "Captain Marvel", a hugely popular superhero who was inspired by and similar to Superman—to the point that National Comics (predecessor to DC Comics) sued his publisher for copyright infringement and got his series cancelled, largely because they were angry that it was outselling Superman.note  DC Comics eventually bought the rights to him, and he became a character in the DC Universe who inhabited the same continuity as Superman.note  The two characters took on their own identities after that, where Captain Marvel's stories tended to emphasize his magical origins (since he got his superpowers from a wizard), while Superman's stories emphasized his sci-fi origins (since he was born on another planet). Captain Marvel also became noticeably more innocent and optimistic (since he was a child in an adult's body), while the adult Superman became more wise and mature with age.
  • In Sonic the Comic, Amy looks less "Sonic but pink" than her initial design from Sonic CD thanks to one lil' change: her quills. Until the final arc gave her the modern bob quillstyle, Amy wore her quills upwards instead of backward like Sonic's.
  • When Supergirl was first introduced in 1958, she wasn't appreciably different from Superman apart from her age and gender—and even her age didn't set her apart from Superman that much, since she debuted when Superboy (following the adventures of a teenage Clark Kent) was already a popular long-running comic book. To make her more unique, most modern interpretations of the character strongly emphasize the Child of Two Worlds aspect of her backstory: unlike her cousin Kal-El (who was sent to Earth as an infant, and has effectively no memories of the planet Krypton), Kara Zor-El grew up on Krypton and wasn't sent to Earth until she was a teenager—meaning that her Kryptonian heritage is a deeply ingrained part of her identity, and she actually has to struggle to adjust to human culture.
  • This occurred to the original comic book Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who, after starting out as flat characters, eventually began developing individual traits. The earliest issues were in black and white, but the colored issues had all their bandannas colored red. The 1987 cartoon differentiated them further by focusing each Turtle's characterization on a single trait ("Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, Raphael is cool but rude, Michelangelo is a party dude!"), while the color coding of their bandannas happened about the same time as the comics. All subsequent adaptations have taken their cues from that.
  • Transformers: Skywarp and Thundercracker spent a lot of time as just characters meant to fill space and be pallet swaps for Starscream. Their bios only giving them character. The IDW comics start with them just being two minions, Thundercracker slightly smarter. In The Transformers: All Hail Megatron they divide up, Thundercracker abandoning the cause, and Skywarp being more solidly devoted to it. Come The Transformers (IDW), Thundercracker has pulled a Heel–Face Turn and helps the Autobots, while Skywarp tries to prove his worth as the Big Bad of Bumblebee's mini-series.
  • In the first few issues of X-Men, most of the core characters were clear expies of characters from the more-popular Fantastic Four. Professor X was a fatherly scientist like Mister Fantastic, the Beast was a tough-talking brute like the Thing, Marvel Girl was an innocent young ingenue with levitation abilities like Invisible Girl, Iceman was the cocky young Plucky Comic Relief like the Human Torch (but with ice powers instead of fire powers), and Magneto was a megalomaniac super-villain with a distinctive metal helmet like Doctor Doom. But as the series gradually became more popular, most of the characters gradually developed their own unique roles and personalities: Professor X became more of a Mentor Archetype and a political activist, while his surrogate son Cyclops came into his own as the team leader; the Beast became a Badass Bookworm who uses flowery speech, even as his appearance became more bestial note ; Marvel Girl became a powerful telepath, and started going by her real name "Jean Grey"; and Magneto became a tormented Well-Intentioned Extremist who eventually redeemed himself and became an antihero. As a whole, the X-Men also became established as Mutant freedom fighters hated by most of the public—strongly contrasting the Four, who were beloved celebrities.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Over the Hedge comic, Verne used to be a lot more like RJ; you could usually swap their dialog with neither one seeming out of character. Then the cartoonists decided they needed more conflict. Today, Verne has so little in common with RJ that we wonder why Verne doesn't leave. (He does sometimes, but never for long.)

    Eastern Animation 

    Fan Works 
  • Ninten and Ness from Mother look near identical. To distinguish Ninten from his more popular expy Ness, fans redesign Ninten in fan art. Fans almost always draw Ninten wearing a handkerchief around his neck (something taken from the live action commercial for Earthbound Beginnings). Some differentiate him even more from Ness by changing the colors of his shirt (usually to red, white, and blue instead of its canon blue and yellow, which also comes from the commercial).
  • Adeleine and Ado from Kirby. Officially, it's currently ambigious whether they are the same character or not, but evidence from prior to the release of Kirby 64 makes it seem fairly clear that Adeleine was at the very least originally meant to be Ado herself. Most notably, the design used for Ado in manga adaptions looks almost exactly like Adeleine's eventual look. But these days, fans who consider them to be different characters distinguish them via the different traits their sport in Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64 respectively.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron: The Lions mostly match up with their Voltron: Legendary Defender selves, but with some differences due to the new ones added into the roster.
  • In Troll Cops, there are several characters who essentially have the same origin but diverge over time.
    • Dave Strider has abused Time Travel to create a whole mafia of paradox clones of himself, leaving the eldest clone in charge while he fights crime as the costumed vigilante Crowbro. Most of these clones have very short life expectancies due to their nature as paradoxes, and as a result are significantly more paranoid than Alpha Dave. The eldest clone serving as The Don, however, has somehow survived for several years in his role, but his belief that as a paradox clone his days are numbered has led to him being significantly more open with his emotions than The Stoic Alpha Dave. Alpha Dave doesn't take kindly to the divergence, however, and ultimately their differences lead to a violent falling-out.
    • When she was a rookie officer, Aradia Megido was brutally attacked by the Mindfang Pirates, ending up in a coma. When all the signs pointed to her not waking up, Dr. Horuss Zahhak Jr. did an experimental procedure to copy her soul into a robot shell, which apparently proved successful despite her now being largely an Emotionless Girl. Unbeknownst to everybody, her body was then swiped by Tavros, who nursed her back to health and convinced her to turn her back on the city that turned its back on her. Live!Aradia is now The Baroness and The Dragon to Mr. Pupa, while Aradiabot is still a faithful officer in the APD. In a twist, though, Aradiabot seems to no longer be emotionless now that her living counterpart has awakened, although it's subtle enough that only Equius has noticed so far. Only time will tell how that will pan out.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, both Misty and Iris were Tsunderes whose goal was To Be a Master of a specific Pokémon type (Water and Dragon respectively). In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, while Misty still keeps those aspects, Iris's Wild Child traits from canon are given more focus, and her long-term goal is to become stronger to save her adoptive family of Dragon-type Pokémon from Hunter J.
  • In Pokémon Crossing, most villagers of the same personality act the same way aside from a few aesthetic differences. Here, several villagers get distinct personalities from each other:
    • Cranky: Apollo is a distinguished gentleman who looks out for the Hoenn region, while Frank is a chain-smoking rebel who kept to himself after a tragedy. Static is an overworked engineer and only close to his wife, while Butch is a reliable father who has several friends throughout his hometown of Petalburg City.
    • Lazy: Beau is beaten into submission by his boss Dobie, while Filbert is unwilling to commit crimes and is uneasy around his boss Judy. Benedict is more passionate and hotheaded, while Bob is a stoner who owns a hippie store.
  • 5 Years Later has a number of alien species given distinct traits to diverge them from similarly-powered aliens more.
    • In series, Saiyans are descendants of Kryptonians whose colony was abandoned and eventually resettled on planet Vegeta and evolved on the planet. The evolution seems to have cost them some of the super abilities a Kryptonian can have (such as super breath and laser vision) in exchange for learning how to use ki for energy blasts and transform into a Golden Super Mode.
    • Eatle's design for the events of Five Years Later depicts him with wings and the ability to fly, giving him further divergence from Upchuck.
    • Fasttrack is listed as having enhanced smell and hearing to distinguish him a bit from fellow speed aliens.
    • Ditto possesses a telepathic ability to communicate among his duplicates that Echo Echo is noted in Beyond to explicitely not possess.
    • Toepick's species evolved from Eye Guy's Optocoid species when stranded on a planet with twelve times gravity and mutatgenic Corrodium which squashed the cartilige forms down into dumpier appearanced and limited the species eye's to their faces while gaining paralyzing gas and light powers.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Galeem and Dharkon were largely interchangeable Generic Doomsday Villains whose biggest difference was their opposite motifs. Incorrect Smash Bros Quotes differentiates them through their opposite personalities—Galeem is a deeply neurotic Deadpan Snarker and Only Sane Man (albeit not without issues of his own) while Dharkon is an energetic, somewhat childish Keet who lacks any sort of impulse control, common sense, or brain cells.
  • In Animorphs canon, Tom and his second Yeerk never appeared apart once the latter was introduced. In What Tomorrow Brings, the real Tom is one of the narrators, while Feriss 512 makes multiple appearances in his previous human host.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Chloé and Lila fill similar roles: they're both Alpha Bitches who love to torment Marinette, have crushes on Adrien, and eventually team up with the Big Bad. In Scarlet Lady, while Chloé remains the same, Lila ends up undergoing Character Development and becoming a nicer person in order to distinguish her from the other girl.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Cinderella series: In the original, Drizella and Anastasia are nearly indistinguishable, in terms of personality, except that Drizella tends to take the lead. The sequels develop this, making Drizella truly mean-spirited, but Anastasia a doormat who's been overpowered by her mother and sister all her life, and who eventually undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and full-on redemption.
  • In The Little Mermaid (1989) Ariel's sisters had more-or-less the same face and no known personalities. Future adaptations, such as the The Little Mermaid (1992) cartoon, licensed comics, and The Little Mermaid III prequel film, give them more varying designs and more individualized personalities.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rare inverted example; In Cruel Intentions, both Kathryn and Sebastian were attractive, intelligent young people who pride themselves on their ability to bed any member of the opposite sex they choose. The two main differences between them are their sex organs and the expectations society has of them due to said organs. In the prequel Cruel Intentions 2, Sebastian is kind and considerate, and Kathryn is cold, calculating, and uses sex as a weapon; and frequently destroys other peoples lives for her own amusement or revenge. Both try to convert the other to their way of thinking, but Sebastian is broken by Kathryn and ends up becoming a male version of her.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban gives Crabbe and Goyle some defining quirks and characteristics. Crabbe becomes the group's Butt-Monkey who Malfoy constantly abuses, while Goyle becomes Malfoy’s right hand man. Crabbe was also given a few running gags, such as getting injured in his ass, supporting Harry (much to Draco’s annoyance) and letting his emotions get the better off him (also to Draco’s annoyance). Goyle meanwhile is portrayed as quiet, smug, meaner and having a very short temper. He also tries to punch his way out of most situations (such as hitting a firework or trying to punch the spider on Draco’s face).
  • The Prestige is a very impressive and interesting example as you don't even realize there is a duo until the end of the movie. Christian Bale is actually playing two characters, identical twins who regularly take turns playing the role of Alfred Borden. If you rewatch the movie with that in mind, you'll slowly discover that, far from being The Dividual they initially appear as, the twins have very different personalities that develop in distinct ways over the course of the film. The one who gets framed for murder by Angier is very passionate and hot-tempered, is obsessed with upholding the Stage Magician craft, was in love with the stagehand Olivia, hates Angier deeply, and was probably the one who started the whole mess by tying the knot that causes Angier's wife to drown in a performance gone wrong. The one who walks off into the sunset at the end is a much more laidback Nice Guy who loved and married Sarah (and is the father of her child), regularly tries to defuse tensions with Angier, and quickly realizes that the feud is going way too far, but he is also an Extreme Doormat who fails to stand up to his brother until far too late.
  • Leon from The Professional came to be when Luc Besson noticed Jean Reno's character in La Femme Nikita, Victor the Cleaner (also a Consummate Professional implacable hitman), was kind of wasted as a One-Scene Wonder, and so decided to make a movie centered around an Expy of him, played by the same actor. But along the project León and Victor ended up diverging, so while they're both extremely skilled hitmen, Victor is a lot more mature and cold while León is more child-like and humane. Besson describes Léon as "Victor's more humane and principled American cousin".
  • The Star Wars sequels feature an odd zig-zagging case of this. In The Force Awakens, most of the main characters are implicitly framed as foils for the main cast of the Original Trilogy: Rey is a Force-sensitive orphan from a backwater desert planet (like Luke Skywalker), Poe Dameron is a cocky and rebellious ace pilot (like Han Solo), Kylo Ren is a tormented fallen Jedi dressed in black armor (like Darth Vader), and Supreme Leader Snoke is an elderly master of the Dark Side (like Emperor Palpatine). But in The Last Jedi, as most of the characters undergo Character Development, it gradually becomes clear that they aren't nearly as similar to their counterparts in the Original Trilogy as they initially seemed: Rey is revealed to be the child of two impoverished junk traders who sold her into slavery; Poe is forced to grow into a responsible leader after his rebellious attitude gets him into trouble; Kylo is revealed to be a delusional Well-Intentioned Extremist who considers himself Above Good and Evil, and he seemingly gives up his last chance at redemption; and Snoke turns out to be much less powerful and important than he initially seemed, ultimately being betrayed and killed by Kylo. But in The Rise of Skywalker, many of those changes are significantly dialed back, and the main characters are retroactively revealed to be (if anything) even more similar to their counterparts in the Original Trilogy than they initially seemed: Rey turns out to be the secret descendant of a Sith Lord (just like Luke); Poe turns out to be a reformed spice smuggler (just like Han); Kylo ends up as Emperor Palpatine's apprentice, and ultimately redeems himself before dying (just like Vader); and Snoke is revealed to be a literal clone created by Emperor Palpatine to do his bidding.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), the individual turtles are much more visually diverse than in any past incarnation. It goes beyond color coding their masks and weapons, to major clothing differences and physical stature.
    • Raphael is incredibly muscular compared to the other three. On top of that, his mask is a bandana fashioned like a do-rag, and he's covered in training bandages. He also has a character scarred onto his right shoulder.
    • Leonardo sports shoulder guards and other samurai style armor garments. He's also the most "average" build of the four.
    • Donatello is decked from head to shell in various gadgets, including goggles mounted on his forehead and stereotypically taped Nerd Glasses. He's also the tallest and thinnest of the brothers.
    • Michelangelo has a puka shell necklace, sneakers, and a hoodie around his waist. Even when he's serious, his general facial composition still makes him look dopey. He's also the shortest and roundest turtle.
  • The Transformers Film Series would make some alterations to characters who were originally Palette Swaps. The toyline, on the other hand, was prone to repaints that maintained that tradition before an official version was introduced.
    • Ironhide and Ratchet were originally mini-vans colored red for Ironhide and white ambulance-styled for Ratchet. The movies have Ironhide as a black pickup truck and Ratchet was a green search and rescue-styled H-1 Hummer.
    • Arcee, Chromia and Elita-1 were very similar in design as the requisite Fem Bots, while the movie has them all as motorcycles they are individualized with different unicycle-themed robot modes and weapons.
    • Bumblebee and Cliffjumper are the most traditional palette swaps in the franchise, while the toyline always had a Cliffjumper redeco from a Bumblebee toy the Bumblebee film has him appear solely styled after Bumblebee's Cybertronian form but never takes on an Earth form.
    • Frenzy and Rumble were cassette minions of Soundwave and Those Two Guys to the point the fandom had an in-joke of FIBRIR "Frenzy is blue, Rumble is red" as a moniker to remember which was which, and alternatively FIRRIB because it wasn't consistent between toys and media. In the first film Frenzy appears as his own character entirely who transforms into a boombox and vaguely connected to Barricade rather than Soundwave.

  • In the Discworld novels, the faculty of Unseen University are intitally portrayed as fairly interchangable, even in the Ridcully years when they start being consistent from book to book: a bunch of old men prone to arguing about minutae. While none of them ever stop being this, the most frequently mentioned members gradually start showing further quirks: the Bursar slowly descends into madness due to having to work with Ridcully; the Dean of Pentangles is fat even by wizard standards, the most rebellious, and most prone to being affected by whatever weirdness is happening this time; the Senior Wrangler is not entirely sure about his wizardly vow of celibacy and the one who at least explains to Ponder Stibbons why he thinks everything the younger wizard says should be dismissed out of hand, and so on.
  • Originally, The Hardy Boys were fairly interchangeable from each other. Right around the time the series switched publishers in the 1970s, however, they decided to split the characters apart, making Frank much more bookish, shy, and logical, and Joe more athletic, boisterous, and impulsive.
  • Harry Potter:
    • For most of the series, Draco's friends Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle are his interchangeable minions but in the last book, Crabbe turns out to be more ruthless than Draco when he defies him and actively tries to kill Harry.
    • Fred and George are an identical pair of trouble makers (and are twins to boot). In the final book, George gets an ear blown off by dark magic, making it easy to tell them apart. And then, of course, Fred dies.
      • Although, if you look closely at the scenes they're in (the clearest of which is Goblet of Fire, where we see them arguing about whether or not to blackmail Ludo Bagman), it's clear that Fred tends to take the lead, and is the more aggressive and has the shortest fuse of the two. After the series George marries Fred's ex-girlfriend Angelina.
    • Parvati and Lavender are two girls who spend their time together and don't have any defined personality traits to distinguish them. But in the sixth book, Lavender becomes Ron's clingy, dramatic girlfriend. Parvati meanwhile shows embarrassment at her best friend's Sickeningly Sweethearts behaviour.
  • In The Hunger Games Katniss' prep team starts off as basically one character. But through Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Octavia is more emotionally unstable, and Venia is slightly more level headed than the other two.
  • Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella Baratheon of A Song of Ice and Fire start out as Those Two Guys but the latter is revealed to be Wise Beyond Their Years when she is shipped off to Dorne.
  • Inverted in St Clare's, where the twin protagonists, Pat and Isabel, start off as distinct individuals—with Pat being the more rebellious and outgoing of the two. As the books went on, Pat matures and becomes as responsible as her sister is. It gets to the point where, when both twins become candidates for the school's Head Girl, the teachers decide that they are both too similar to pick one from, and they end up giving the position to both Sullivans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In early episodes of 30 Rock, Grizz and Dot Com were pretty much just a pair of dim-witted bulkheads who follow Tracy around. Now Grizz is an emotional soul and Dot Com is a well-spoken Smart Guy. Their initial lack of characterization can be put down to no one ever paying attention to them, which remains a Running Gag.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agents Fitz and Simmons were originally treated as near-identical quirky British lab techs. In fact, in the series premiere they were first referred to as "Fitz-Simmons" and it was only later clarified to the audience that they are in fact two separate people. Their only major differences at first were gender, place of birth, and specialty, with Leo Fitz being a male Scottish engineer and Dr. Jemma Simmons a female English biochemist. Over the course of the first season, more differences crop up; Fitz is a Cowardly Lion with a crush on Simmons he can’t bring himself to tell her about, while Simmons is a bit of a Nightmare Fetishist but a horrible liar. The second season has split them up and put them in different situations several times, and by the time they admit their love and become a couple in the third season, they have both adequately evolved into separate characters.
  • The Cylons of Battlestar Galactica started out mass-produced, with each model line sharing an identical personality. By the end of the series, the models most sympathetic to humans, especially the Sixes and Eights, had diverged to having unique identities (and even names for the Sixes). Meanwhile the antagonistic models such as the Cavils (Ones), Dorals (Fives), and Simons (Fours) remained monolithic and identical.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Amy was introduced as a Distaff Counterpart to Sheldon, more or less exactly like him in every way. As the show progressed Amy began to spend time with Penny, became her "bestie", and began to open up socially, revealing a lonely and troubled childhood responsible for how she is, and developing normal desires for attention and romance from Sheldon that eventually lead to him declaring them an Official Couple.
  • In the first three seasons of Boy Meets World, best friends Cory and Shawn were both originally depicted as class clowns and academic slackers who barely skated by in school. Starting in the fourth season, both characters started to develop their own identities. Cory became an archetype for the white, middle-class, suburban All-American "good boy" who has a steady relationship with his high school sweetheart, generally obeys and honors his parents, has a deep friendship with his best friend, and does fairly decently in school. Shawn, on the other hand, became synonymous with the disturbed, troubled soul who grew up in a broken home and had a lot of social and emotional baggage. Shawn's slacker persona was maintained throughout the high school episodes. However, starting in Season 6, when the characters were all in college, Shawn's knack for writing and his love of English literature and poetry was revealed and established. While neither he nor Cory were on Topanga's academic level by any means, their school performance was drastically better compared to the first two or three seasons.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: At the show’s start, Scully and Hitchcock were pretty much The Dividual, indistinguishable from one another except in appearance. Over time, they were given more and more characterization to differentiate them; Scully is smarter and nicer, but in bad shape health-wise and often has poor self-esteem, while Hitchcock is more mean and perverted, but also more physically capable and confident.
  • Famously inverted in Community with Troy and Abed. At the start of the show, Abed was a socially awkward geek (heavily implied to be on the autism spectrum) who relied on pop culture to understand the world around him, while Troy was a snarky and charismatic jock with a ditzy streak. But after their Odd Friendship was established, the two of them became considerably more similar in both personality and interests, gradually evolving into a pair of equally quirky and geeky best friends. While they didn't quite become identical (Abed retained his schtick of calling out pop culture clichés, and Troy remained the more socially adept of the duo), many episodes revolved around how inseparable they were.
  • In Farscape, main character John Crichton was split into two identical beings (not cloned- the original Crichton was transformed into two Crichtons, each with an equal claim to being the "real" John Crichton), who were distinguished only by the colour of their shirts. The crew split up into two groups on two different ship, each one taking a Crichton with them. The groups were separate for almost a whole season, and the two Crichtons lived different lives and developed different personalities, and one of them died. This was symbolised by them playing an endless game of rock-paper-scissors when they were first split, and constantly tying, but when the crew reunited, they played one last round (the survivor against a recording of the dead one), and finally broke the tie.
  • Brittany and Santana on Glee start out as Quinn's interchangeable minions (Brittany in particular had next to no lines and was basically a prop), with the occasional throwaway line about them secretly having sex. Over the course of the series however, the two gained distinctive personalities of their own: Brittany a Brainless Beauty but a Lovable Alpha Bitch, openly bisexual, and one of the two best dancers in the Glee club; and Santana became one of the best singers in the group, as well as a Spicy Latina and Lipstick Lesbian whose gayngst was perhaps the most beloved storyline of the third season. And their relationship went from a minor running gag to being fully explored. After Finn's death, they became the show's Beta Couple behind Kurt and Blaine.
  • When Laverne & Shirley were introduced on Happy Days, they were both tough-talking blue-collar women with no real difference in personality. When the characters got their own Spin-Off, the writers made Laverne a tomboy and Shirley a "girly girl."
  • The Magicians: Margo was originally nothing more than Elliot's bitchy sidekick who was so unimportant in the first season, she's Put on a Bus for several episodes. Her character grows in prominence from the second season onwards, and she goes on to become a strong member of the team in her own right. Not only does she gain a long-term love interest in Josh, but the Margo-centric episode "All That Shiny Armor" is considered by many to be one of the best in the entire series, and in the final scene of the final episode, she is the last character shown before it cuts to black.
  • Starting late in the first season of Maverick, episodes started to alternate between focusing on series mainstay Bret Maverick (played by James Garner) and his brother, Bart (played by Jack Kelly). Although Bret and Bart were written identically (writers were told to always write for Garner, and the producers would later just select which character would lead due to scheduling), the actors' portrayals quickly established Bret as the fun-loving, wisecracking brother, and Bart as the more serious-minded of the two. The same process happened to a later Maverick as well, as Roger Moore played Beau Maverick as a refined gentleman, at odds with the other two brothers' portrayals, despite the character, again, being written exactly the same. As for the final Maverick brother (Robert Colbert as Brent Maverick), he only appeared in two episodes, and thus never really found a personality of his own.
  • Lindsay and Marly from The New Adventures of Old Christine were originally identical snooty blondes. As the series progessed, Marly became the evident assertive leader, and Lindsay started to reveal her heart of gold.
  • At the beginning of The O.C., Summer and Holly were distingushable only by hair color, both being vapid, self-absorbed party girls who happened to be friends of Marissa. Summer grew more likeable, became a main character and hooked up with Seth. Holly had an affair with Marissa's boyfriend and was quickly Put on a Bus after the cheating was revealed. This is actually Lampshaded by the show in the "The Chrismukk-huh?" where see an alternate universe where Summer continued to be friends with Holly rather than going through Character Development. It is not a pretty picture.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 14 finalist Daya Betty comes from the same drag family as Season 12's Crystal Methyd. They're not the first pair of queens on the show to share a lineage (far from it, in fact), but Daya was criticized in the early episodes of the season for having a very similar makeup style and offbeat aesthetic as her sister. But as the season went on, Daya started showcasing her own punk-inspired looks whereas Crystal is more whimsical, making it clear that Daya isn't "Crystal 2.0."
  • On Stargate Atlantis, the Wraith started off being interchangeable, down to all the male ones being played by James Lafazanos and all the female ones being played by Andee Frizzell. The only exceptions were when more than one Wraith was on-screen at a time. Eventually, Friendly Enemy "Todd" (Christopher Heyerdahl) and Jerkass Woobie "Michael" (Connor Trinneer) came out of the literally nameless mass.
  • The Wire: Herc and Carver start the show as partners and comic relief, who are also known for being hotheaded cops that relish in doing things "the Western District way". Towards the end of season 3, Carver is given a talking to by Major Colvin, and subsequently matures into a much better cop who is more focused on the community than in chasing statistics-based arrests, while Herc doesn't mature and eventually finds himself kicked off the force for political reasons.
  • The Worst Witch:
    • Fenella and Griselda are Those Two Guys. In the first few episodes, Griselda seems to be more snarky while Fenella is more caring. This difference is dropped quickly, and both become Cool Big Sises to the first years.
    • Ruby and Jadu were the Token Minority characters in the Five-Man Band without too much to distinguish them. As the show went on, Ruby's love of modern conveniences was expanded on to make her something of a Gadgeteer Genius. Jadu doesn't get the same development, but does show herself to be a great motivational speaker more than once.

  • John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was initially a clone of the man he was replacing, Hillel Slovak. It's especially evident in live performances from the Mother's Milk period, where he nails the old funk-punk songs perfectly (he had been an RHCP fan since the first album and learnt all their songs). However, he had melodic traits which developed over time. Rick Rubin encouraged the band to utilise them, paying off when Frusciante wrote the ballad "Under The Bridge", the band's biggest hit ever. During a period of time away from the band, in which he was addicted to heroin and cocaine, he created some extremely odd, dark and trippy solo music, which was mostly acoustic and not performed with a band. Some of this style, though raw, laid the blueprint for RHCP's own musical evolution into an alternative rock band, notably the ballad "Femininity". When Frusciante returned to the band, he fed some of this dark and melodic playing style into the album Californication, notably in such tracks as "Otherside". Frusciante's next album "To Record Only Water For Ten Days" featured synth textures and drum machine, and an entirely melodic collection of songs. It went over well with the band and producer Rick Rubin, and the style of next album By The Way evolved directly from "To Record Only Water"'s atmospheric qualities, and the full band style of By The Way fed back into John's solo album "Shadows Collide With People". Frusciante, however, kept experimenting over the years, surprising fans with his Letur-Lefr EP and subsequent releases, which were electronic based and didn't feature as much guitar or vocals, to the point where his current style is considerably distinct to the style he created with RHCP that is still their trademark. Unsurprisingly, he has no interest in returning to the band, something which a lot of fans fail to accept.
    • His replacement (and previous solo collaborator), Josh Klinghoffer, seems to be going in the opposite direction - when he started, he was trying to emulate John's melodic style, but over time, he has shown such a knowledge of RHCP's funk back catalogue that fans hope he will steer them back into that direction.
  • Missy Elliott's early rap style was essentially a female version of her production partner Timbaland, as they both had a very similar low-key, talky, digitized rap voice. Initially the only thing that set Missy apart was that she sang more often. But her third album, 2001's Miss E...So Addictive, saw her develop her own distinctive rap style that was louder and more exuberant, which she has been using ever since.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In Egyptian Mythology, Sekhmet and Bastet seem to have both started out as lion-headed war goddesses. Over time, Bastet was depicted more as a housecat and a protector of the home rather than the nation, and added some associations with fertility, pregnancy and childbirth.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Many people who debut as a Tag Team start very similar to each other but break apart and start developing their own personalities and move sets, see Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy, Sting and Ultimate Warrior, and Edge and Christian. Usually doesn't happen in the case of identical twins, though.
  • Inverted in the case of twins Dave and highly prolific referee Earl Hebner. Dave Hebner was the assigned official for an explosive 1988 rematch of the legendary Hulk Hogan vs. André the Giant title match from the previous year's WrestleMania III. But unbeknownst to Hogan, André's manager Ted DiBiase had bribed an unknown to get plastic surgery to look like Hebner (in the unknown's role was Earl Hebner. Earl and Dave are identical twins, so this was easy to pull off). In Dave's place in the ring (while Dave was locked in a closet backstage), Earl played the Evil Twin, counting a clearly invalid pinfall against Hogan. Although the twin referee angle was thoroughly explored in WWF Magazine, it was very quickly dropped though due to Dave suffering an injury. Earl would later become a normal "good guy" referee like his brother.
  • MsChif and Delirious were initially both ruthlessly violent screamers. Delirious was the more active of the two in Gateway Championship Wrestling, so this wasn't much issue at first, but as MsChif's winning streak continued to increase and her ring time with it, Delirious instead became an Affably Evil Unintelligible hyperactive Motor Mouth while MsChif became more of an ambitious schemer and rabble rouser. Delirious's change in personality could be explained by him changing his mask from white to green, as he also wore red masks when acting much more vindictive while on the path of revenge in Ring of Honor and black masks when the thrall of Jimmy Jacobs caused him to turn on his friends in The Age Of The Fall. All the same, when he was forced to wear white while Brain Washed for UltraMantis Black's Order Of The Neo Solar Temple and again by Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes in Chikara, Delirious indeed did go back to something resembling his old personality but never did go back to screaming.
  • When Angel Williams and ODB first met in IWA Mid-South, the two were very close in size and body type, even closer in wrestling style. As the years went on both got implants but Angel became skinnier and accordingly a lot more methodical and vicious while ODB became wilder and rougher to the point the cross body catch was about the only thing they had in common by the time they were helping to found TNA's knockouts division.
  • The Bella Twins's initial act was as a pair of identical sisters who looked, wrestled and acted the same (so they could pull off a Twin Switch). As of 2013, Nikki had gotten breast implants and started powerlifting to give herself Amazonian Beauty in contrast to Brie's waifier frame. Total Divas established Brie as a level-headed, hard-drinking Granola Girl, and Nikki as a passionate lover of high fashion and expensive gifts. Ring-wise, Nikki came to wrestle a more power-based offence and Brie opted for more aerial moves.
  • Bullet Club and The Kingdom were coincidentally similar in that the were both heel power stables who frequently did homages to older acts(nWo and DX for the former, CM Punk and Hardy Boyz for the latter). However, before the Club made it to ROH, they lost Prince Devitt and replaced him with AJ Styles, a wrestler the fans had all but given up on seeing in ROH again. After his successful IWGP Heavyweight Title Defense at War Of The Worlds, Styles would be attacked without provocation by Kingdom leader Adam Cole, who incidentally was the one member most unlike anyone in Bullet Club at the time, and be saved by Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Thunder Liger, giving Styles strong association with established baby faces and allowing the rest of the Club to collectively Heel–Face Turn in ROH as they went on to support Styles as he sought retribution against Cole and inevitably ran into the rest of The Kingdom.
  • The Beautiful Fierce Females were a Terrible Trio of vain Alpha Bitches with no traits to distinguish them. Summer Rae eventually morphed into an air-headed bimbo who could only get fluke wins. Charlotte was the first of the group to make a Heel–Face Turn into Good is Not Nice - acknowledging many of her challengers as Worthy Opponents. Sasha Banks meanwhile became far more ruthless and sadistic, while also adopting a rhinestone-loving ghetto girl persona.
  • Early in his career, Sting wrestled in a tag team as "Flash" Borden alongside Jim Hellwig (who would later become better-known as "The Ultimate Warrior"), and his look and persona were very similar to his: bleached blond hair, flamboyant personality, clean-cut All-American attitude, and colorful face paint. The two would ultimately go their separate ways in 1987 after Hellwig was signed to WWF as the Ultimate Warrior, while Sting went to Jim Crockett Promotions (later renamed WCW). By the early 1990s, Sting gradually adopted a more distinct look and ring presence, growing out his naturally black hair and wearing darker colors, and displaying a more low-key personality. But during his iconic feud with Hulk Hogan and the New World Order in 1996, he drastically overhauled his entire persona by adopting a gothic alter ego inspired by The Crow—complete with ghost-white face paint, all-black clothing (including a trench coat), and an eerily silent and stoic demeanor. His new look and attitude proved to be so popular with fans that they've endured to this day.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, gnomes were characterized as slightly shorter dwarfs with larger noses, shorter tempers, and even more of a Dying Race. After being left out of the next two editions, they made a surprise return in the 4th edition; they are now slightly different looking, albeit often mistaken for a beardless dwarf or a skinny halfling, prefer swamps to hills, and have become a Mage Species with a natural affinity for Ulgu, the Wind of Shadows that empowers illusonists and nethermancers. Their greatest enemy are no longer the orcs and goblins, but rather the the Witch Hunters of the human Empire. They also got Promoted to Playable in the process.
  • Jaya Ballard was a character that showed up in the flavor text of Magic: The Gathering cards whenever they wanted someone they could attribute a quote to that had to do with Playing with Fire. She eventually got a card and appeared in the story proper, where she was depicted as a Hot-Blooded Fiery Redhead. She went away, but eventually was replaced by Chandra Nalaar, who also has all of those properties. Eventually, we find out that she actually went to the school of pyromancy Jaya started, and she comes back as a Cool Old Lady mentor figure for Chandra. To differentiate them, Chandra fights by making as much fire as she possibly can, while Jaya uses smaller, more precise fire blasts - when a spell is attributed to one of them when they both appear, Chandra's usually do more damage, which Jaya's are usually cheaper and can hit multiple targets.

  • The opera Cosě Fan Tutte, by composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, focuses on two sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, who are seduced by two strangers who are actually each other's fiancés in disguise. In the first act, the two women have almost identical personalities and musical styles, and usually sing together. In the second act, as they begin to fall for their new suitors, their personalities begin to diverge, with Dorabella's music becoming more lighthearted and Fiordiligi's more serious and passionate.

    Web Animation 
  • Giggles and Petunia from Happy Tree Friends. They were originally just girly girls with no difference in personality. Giggles' personality stayed basically the same, although with her getting more generally associated with romance (being the girl most commonly paired up with male characters and having a Valentine's Day-themed Smoochie) and having a brief stint as an enviromentalist in one episode. Petunia, however, gained a more concrete character trait in the TV series in the form of a serious Neat Freak streak.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Donut and Caboose were originally just an identical pair of dumb rookies. But now, Donut is Ambiguously Gay with somewhat-below-average intelligence, and Caboose is a complete idiot who thinks electricity is invisible magic.
  • RWBY:
    • Yang's biological mother Raven was given this visually. When she cameos in volume 2, Raven looks like a palette swap of her daughter. Her updated design in volume 4 makes her look older and adds some design differences, such as the way their hair looks.
    • When depicted as a portrait in volume 4, Willow resembled an older version of her daughter Winter. Her appearance in volume 7 ditched the Prim and Proper Bun for a Motherly Side Plait, making the resemblance less extreme.
  • In Starship Goldfish the Robot Buddy Ghostworth gets killed and brought back from a backup copy creating New Ghostworth, initially New Ghostworth is angsty about it but thanks to a conversation with an automated kitchen he gets over it, meanwhile we find out the original, or Classic Ghostworth survived and turned out rather different.
  • In early issues of Teen Girl Squad, the girls were pretty much identical in personality, with their traits being mostly an Informed Attribute. Around the third issue, they became based on various teenage-girl cliches (Alpha Bitch, Go-Getter Girl, Cool Loser, and Hollywood Homely).
  • Your Favorite Martian: Benatar and Axel started off looking very similarly, with the same features, facial expressions, same hairdo (except Benatar's was blonde and had shorter hair) and the fact they were both just background characters. With the new art style, Axel retained the hairstyle, facial expression and background character status but his muscles grew larger, while Benatar turned into a more Pretty Boy type with softened features and also gained more prominence in the band.

  • Occurs with Akuma and Kari in the sprite comic AkumaTH. They both started out as literal Shotoclones, both using the same fighting style. They diverged fairly quickly however, with Akuma focusing on energy attacks and Kari focusing on punches and kicks. Kari did the most deviating, most notably with her signature Monsoon Kick, a hurricane kick that rotates vertically and moves horizontally, instead of the other way around.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Tedd and Elliot started out being alike in perversion but over time due to Characterization Marches On Elliot became more and more reserved. Eventually it got to the point where he actually failed at thinking perverted thoughts. Meanwhile, Tedd also underwent Character Development and became more of a Chivalrous Pervert but a pervert nonetheless.
    • Elliot and Ellen started out being almost exactly the same apart from their genders, but that is justified since Ellen is a Opposite-Sex Clone of Elliot and was "born" with a perfect copy of his memories and personality. However, her initial Cloning Blues and subsequent attempts to establish her own identity led to this trope. (Which is also illustrated in the same "failed at perversion" comic above.)
    • Rich and Larry were originally two guys of jerkish speech whose only distinguishing traits were that one was fat and the other was taller. Once they got some real focus, Larry was shown as less homophobic and more willing to listen when people tell him he's wrong, which results in him promising to try to act better in the future at the end of the arc. Rich, meanwhile, was shown to be something of a conspiracy theorist.
  • When Tabitha first appeared in Far Out There, she and Layla looked virtually identical. As time passed, Tabitha has gradually become much, MUCH taller and skinnier, while Layla has become neither.
  • In his very first appearance in The Order of the Stick, Nale was nearly identical to his twin brother Elan, even going so far as to multiclass to have the same powers as a bard. This was enforced; once Nale had his Face–Heel Turn, he dropped the facade to reveal the cunning mastermind beneath, and has been going further in that direction ever since while Elan becomes even more Genre Savvy in line with his bardic training. After Nale's death, Elan began to adopt more of his brother's traits; he was no longer restrained to being the "Good" Twin, and felt no guilt for letting their father fall hundreds of feet from an airship.
  • The earlier strips of PHD portrays the University professors as a group of sinister Hive Mind whose sole purpose of existence is cause misery to the students during Quals. They have since gained individual characterisation and personalities.
  • When the Secret Bakery first appears in Questionable Content, it's for the sake of a Similar Squad gag. As we see more of the characters this impression gets reduced. When Marten starts dating Padma, nobody comments on him dating Alternative Dora (the way they did when it turned out Angus used to get insulted by Renee), because by this point she's not except in appearance, and when they split up, the Bakery becomes Out of Focus until Renee returns as Brun's friend, and doesn't even look like Faye any more.
  • Happens to Nick and Shep in Schlock Mercenary. Originally, they were both idiots. Shep gradually got smarter, moving up to about average IQ; Nick...didn't.
    • Nick also didn't follow the fate of the other beef-chunk recruits either though, he's still with the company (Shep retired and Hob died).
    • There's 750 million of Gav's gate-clones. It was kind of fun until everyone used to them, but... Eventually they started "The Diversity Engineering Institute". After all, 750,000,000 borderline mad scientists will obviously do more and better if each have somewhat different perspective.
  • Rosalie and Marie from Sister Claire. Early in the comic, the two are basically the exact same character, down to being Identical Twins. As the story went on, the two branched off to be quite different. Roise developing a hot-headed temperment and bad habit of acting rashly and angrily. While Marie grew into the gentler, more empathic side of the two, with a hinted crush on Claire.
  • Azu and Rau from A Story Of Fire. They both begin as callous, murderous oni, but after recovering their human memories they follow completely opposite developments which puts them at odds in the finale.

    Web Original 
  • Linkara and Holokara in Atop the Fourth Wall. Holokara is a hologram programmed with all of Linkara's memories, whom he calls in when he leaves to find out why his magic stopped working, and starts off as basically identical to him. Then Linkara finds out that his magic stopped working because he was starting to become increasingly arrogant and self-centered and the magic gun feared he was becoming evil. This leads him to begin working on improving himself. While he's doing this, however, Holokara (who never had such an epiphany) heads further and further down the slippery slope, eventually threatening to brutally murder 90s Kid and Harvey if they get in the way of his reviews and developing a plan to bomb the Marvel offices if they don't Retcon all the ways they've screwed up his favorite heroes over the years. And this is what Linkara would have become had he not gone on his journey.
  • Dorm Life: Britney and Courtney started off as seemingly-interchangeable Alpha Bitches, although there were subtle clues from the beginning that Britney was much smarter than Courtney. Once Britney and Mike started bonding, Britney's Hidden Depths came more into play. Since an entire season of Dorm Life would be produced at one time, this was done intentionally.
  • The Happy Video Game Nerd: The Happy Nerd started out with the gimmick that he was the opposite of the Angry Nerd, and many of his early videos are shot-for-shot remakes of the Angry Nerd's videos, only with him extolling a good game instead of swearing at a bad one. Now, he does his own thing, although he still dresses like the Angry Nerd and drinks at the end of every review (which is actually something the Angry Nerd has generally stopped doing).
  • Ink City has a crack community called Labocabana, the events within being noncanon to the main game. This has resulted in certain characters developing very differently within Labocanon, such as Yakko and Dot. This has had direct effects on the main story, thanks to Labo!Dot crossing the Moral Event Horizon and her mun trying to prevent IC!Dot from making the same choice by showing her what happened through the Fourth Wall.
  • Alex Kralie and Jay both started off as somewhat awkward film students with spotty memory, shaky camera hands, and writer credits on Marble Hornets. Since then, Jay's become less of an Audience Surrogate and Alex has likewise diverged.
  • Knowledge Hub, a YouTube channel started by Tyler Franklin, originated as a clone of his brother Cody's channel Alternate History Hub, using the same avatars and format. The early videos were even originally narrated by Cody before Tyler decided to do it himself. In 2019, he dropped his brother's format entirely and veered off in a Denser and Wackier direction.
  • In Madness Combat, the protagonist Hank looked exactly like a normal Madness Combat character but became more different each time he died and resurrected by getting bandages and ninja-like clothes. The same applies to Sanford and Deimos, who we actually see get their unique appearences in real time in 5.5 and 6.5.
  • In Noob, Couette started out as Sparadrap's Distaff Counterpart before she started showing signs of being more self-centered than him (e.g. sometimes complaning about the state of her clothes in the middle of a battle) and knowing random pieces of in-game trivia. In the meantime, Sparadrap remained the franchise poster boy for Kindhearted Simpleton. The divergent evolution is at different stages depending on the media between Couette being a frequent no-show in the webseries, the novels covering short timespans with much bigger time skips between them and the comic storyline being less advanced than the two previous.
  • Zig-zagged by The Nostalgia Chick and The Nostalgia Critic. She started out being just a simple girl version of his basic traits - snarky manchild doing linear reviews – but then something changed. She got a three dimensional characterization of her own, as well as adopting more analysis-review Style, but the similarities ran much deeper (to name but a few; both have histories of abuse, bad inferiority superiority complexes, desperation for power and psychopathic child tendencies) as well as their differences turning ying-yang (overly dominant/worringly submissive, emotionally repressed/can't hide anything, hates kids but loves animals/hates animals but loves kids), much to her self-loathing denial and his clingy love.

    Real Life 
  • Some automobile models started out as trims:
    • Between 1992 and 2014, the Subaru Impreza WRX was a performance version of the Impreza. Since 2014, the Impreza name was dropped and the WRX shares less and less parts with the regular Impreza.
  • In online slang himbo has been originally created as a Distaff Counterpart to bimbo - a term for a woman with strongly emphasized, or outright exagerrated, physical traits associated with traditional femininity, low sexual inhibitions combined with strong libido and either not very bright or lacking interest in things beyond good looks and sex. However, himbo quickly became associated with a very specific type of character - a Nice Guy both handsome and muscular, ofter physically big and not very smart. It ended diffirentiating from bimbo so much to get its own Distaff Counterpart - fembo, an Amazonian Beauty with ditzy mind, but wholesome personality.

Alternative Title(s): Luigification