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Expendable Clone

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"If I die, I can be replaced."
Rei Ayanami, Neon Genesis Evangelion

The tendency of characters to treat clones and identical Doppelgangers as expendable, often to the point of killing them casually because they can be replaced with reserves, or, in cases where there is an "original", it is the only one that counts.

Occasionally, both clone and original will have a deep seated loathing akin to There Can Be Only One. May be justified if the clones are naturally Empty Shells or soulless and psychotic. This trope also appears when clones are used as part of a Clone Army.


Compare Dream Apocalypse and What Measure Is a Mook?. See also Uniqueness Value and What Measure Is a Non-Human?. Related to Ambiguous Clone Ending, Cloning Gambit, Tomato in the Mirror, Evil Knockoff, Screw Yourself, and Teleporter Accident. Expendable Alternate Universe is when alternate realities similar to your own are given this treatment.

Fridge Logic may reveal, however, that given how impossible chemically assembling a single amoeba would be, anyone willing to devote the astronomical funds and resources needed to create clones using ordinary science would consider them anything but expendable. Contrast Clones Are People, Too. Please add all aversions/inversions there.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Vandread, this is revealed to be the underlying reason for the creation and maintenance of the sex-segregated planets of Meger and Talark where children are Designer Babies artificially engineered through mixed-cloning of the original colonists — majority of whom still remain secretly secured in cryo-stasis — as the colony leaders were unwilling to sacrifice any natural-born children to the organ-harvest fleets of Earth.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • A very powerful young woman named Mikoto Misaka is cloned 20,000 times, so that the clones can be killed in an experiment to increase Accelerator's power. She's mildly put off by discovering the existence of the clones, but she goes berserk when she learns they're being killed off en masse for an experiment. The poor girl then breaks down when said clones dispassionately claim that they are simply "180 000 yen note  lab animals".
    • The very first clone, Full-Tuning/Dolly, is this even more than the others. She was never designed to take part in the experiments; she was just a prototype they used to test the cloning tech to make sure that the rest of the clones would survive long enough to be of use. Even further, Dolly and Full-Tuning are actually two separate clones, made at the same time. Dolly was the experimental clone, while Full-Tuning was the control, kept safe inside her cloning tube while Dolly was tested. Once Dolly died, her memories were downloaded into Full-Tuning as a backup.
    • This is made even worse with the revelation that the Accelerator experiment was always intended to be scrapped. The real plan was to distribute 10,000 Mikoto clones around the world, then take advantage of their Hive Mind in order to create a combined supercomputer and belief generator. That is, 20,000 clones were produced so that they could kill half of them as a smokescreen, then get the survivors into position under the excuse of medical treatment. It's next to no wonder that Mikoto ultimately develops one HELL of a Big Sister Instinct towards the clones that still live.
  • Inverted in Franken Fran: Fran generally considers both the original and the clones equally expendable as long as there is at least one copy of the person left (though she will try to keep all involved alive).
  • Found in Afterschool Charisma. Rockswell thinks 'redundant' clones are unnecessary. After his suicide attempt, Mozart becomes bitter when he realizes this. Shiro and Mr. Kuroe disagree.
  • Lyrical Nanoha usually follows the Clones Are People, Too route, but Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has an inversion of this in Doctor Jail Scaglietti. He considers even himself to be expendable as long as one of the Jail clones that he had implanted in the wombs of the Numbers gets away.
  • Played straight in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei has several dozen clones ready to swap her out if she dies or decides to not play along with her superiors' scheme. All three of her superiors who know about it (Gendo, Fuyutsuki, Ritsuko) treat her like a tool and she lets them because she knows her replaceability too and considers resistance useless. Note that other characters do not necessarily share this assessment, though.
  • Puella Magi Kazumi Magica has Nico during her combat with Kazumi against the Soujus.
  • In one of the later arcs of Kaze no Stigma, a girl who is supposed to be sacrificed to an evil spirit in order to prevent it from destroying half of Japan is cloned. The 'copy' would basically be used in her stead, so that she can survive, and is routinely dehumanized as an 'It' despite clearly being her own person. Fortunately for her, the one time she decides to run away to experience the world before she's sacrificed, she meets a polite and somewhat awkward boy around her age by chance, whose older brother wields devastating magical powers while possessing an extreme aversion to the very concept of 'sacrifice'.
  • Naruto:
    • Zetsu and his various clones view themselves as completely expendable if it furthers the objectives of their creator. The only time the clones show any actual anger over the fate of one of their own is when they suspect Sasuke killed the original white Zetsu. It gets worse when it's revealed that humans eventually turn into White Zetsu after the Infinite Tsukuyomi completely drains them of their personalities and defining features.
    • Shin from Naruto Gaiden treats his clones as disposable combat shields and expendable replacement organ vessels.
  • In Date A Live, Kurumi Tokisaki's time powers give her an endless army of temporal doubles. She doesn't care if they die and sometimes kills them herself for showing weakness.
  • Seraph of the End: According to Noya in chapter 85, the First Progenitor Sika Madu had created dozens of clones of Yuu and he wouldn't notice if one or two were destroyed. This was seen when, hundreds of years ago, Noya killed a kid version of Yuu for discovering his, Ashera's, and Krul's secret meeting and his surprise that there was an "adult" version of Yuu in the present day.

    Comic Books 
  • M.O.D.O.K. creates clones of himself in order to generate a steady supply of backup organs.
  • Zigzagged with Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man. His mutant power is creating duplicates of himself, which become more independent the longer they are separate. In one series of X-Factor, in which Madrox is the lead character, the duplicates embody aspects of Jamie's personality at random. Jamie usually regards the duplicates as extensions of himself, but occasionally as independent people depending on circumstances. The duplicates themselves, however, are all over the map on how they think of him, themselves and each other.
  • Kurt Busiek's Avengers: Vision becomes angry and resentful after Wonder Man's resurrection because Vision's mind is based on that of Simon. Jazz, literature, chess... everything he likes comes from him. He could dismiss it and be his own person while Simon was dead, but now that he's alive, he feels like expendable.
  • Supergirl:
    • The Supergirl from Krypton: Darkseid replicates Doomsday and creates dozens of clones. They are sensibly weaker than the original and -relatively- easily killable, and their only purpose is keeping the heroes distracted while Darkseid kidnaps Kara -Supergirl-. Batman has no trouble killing them because "they are not alive".
    • In her second solo book Supergirl fights a clone of life-drainer super-villain Parasite, endowed to transmit any powers he stole to the real Parasite to trick Superman. After fighting Supergirl his cells fall apart and his body dissolves.
    • Averted in a classic story with a depowered Supergirl clone who only wants to live a normal life, and original Linda promises to help her.
    • Bizarro created the the whole Bizarro race by making copies of himself which resembled Earth people. In Bizarrogirl, though, he admits he considers most of Bizarros expendable because he can just make more of them again, and possibly the only Bizarro he cares for is his "cousin" Bizarro Supergirl.
      Supergirl: Cough up that Bizarro Luthor right now, monster... or else I'll cut him out of you.
      Bizarro: There am no need for surgery, Supergirl. We will just make another Lex like I made him the first time.
    • In The Killers Of Krypton, Harry Hokum creates an army of Supergirl clones whom he considers completely replaceable and who he couldn't care less about when they die.
  • Spider-Man's enemy the Foreigner did a variation of this (that combined the Trope with We Have Reserves) before the Clone Saga with his super-agents, and the project was picked up by Justin Hammer after he took over the Foreigner's organization. The villain would pay mercenaries to undergo enhancements that gave them super-powers, not mentioning that these treatments made them so utterly loyal that they'd activate a self-destruct mechanism in their armor if they were in danger of failure or capture by authorities. If that happened to one of them, his memories and personality would be downloaded into the next volunteer to receive the treatment, replacing previous ones. Thus, the next one would know any information learned by his predecessor, including every past failure and death. (The idea was to help them avoid whatever mistakes had led to them.)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • By the 1970s, two Legionnaires had been Killed Off for Real. The Legion created clones of them, knowing that the clones lasted 48 hours and then exploded, in order to test whether they have the same bravery as the originals. The Legion seemed to think there was nothing wrong with creating sentient beings who die after 48 hours and think they're their old teammates, as long as they're clones.
    • In The Great Darkness Saga, Darkseid creates clones of powerful beings -such like his son Orion- to carry out his will while he remains weakened. He calls them Servants of Darkness or "mockeries", which should indicate how much he cares for them.
  • In Alejandro Jodorowsky's Megalex, The police clones are terminated after living for four hundred days, the limit enforced by explosive control tabs implanted at the base of their skulls. This is done to prevent them being infected by dissidents. The clones are filed into a large room like a group show, made to strip, disinfected to allow more efficient recycling, and then their control tabs are detonated. The allusions to concentration camps are obvious. One of the protagonists, Ram, is an escaped police clone.
  • X-Men:
    • In The Brood Saga, the Professor Xavier was infected by a Brood egg, and the Starjammers' medic cloned a new mindless body in which to transfer his mind.
    • Cyclops' former wife Madelyne Pryor was revealed as a clone of Jean Grey in an apparent attempt to exploit this trope. It was later revealed that her creator Mr. Sinister has made more Madelynes.
    • Said super villain also has a team called the Marauders. Being an Evilutionary Biologist in a comic book world, he naturally keeps their DNA ready to print out new ones in case one dies. Pretty much every member has had multiple deaths. An interesting case is Vertigo: she's originally a Savage Land Mutate, and the Mutates are Anti Villains and even Anti Heroes these days. Meanwhile, the Marauders are Ax-Crazy mass killers. When Vertigo is found among the Savage Land Mutates, she's not so bad even if you can't be 100% sure you'll still be on the same side by the end. When Vertigo is found among the Marauders, run. It's not been stated outright, but apparently there are permanently two of her, each a mainstay of her team. Also, there's Prism. His power is to redirect energy, making a hero's energy blasts (or even ambient light) his weapon. But his body is made of glass, or something that looks like it and is just as fragile. He is shattered in every encounter. No one is sure if he is capable of Pulling Himself Together or if Sinister is having to make a new Prism over and over and over and over and...
    • Jonathan Hickman's X-Men turns a good chunk of the book's cast into these, and most of them seem bizarrely fine with it.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., the girls are able to create copies of themselves called Astral Drops. At first, they're pretty mindless, only obeying what the girls tell them to do. However, when they start gaining sentience and run off, the girls attempt to drag them back before convincing the Oracle to let them live their lives in peace, realizing that they're alive as they were. It happens in the cartoon version, too, but there, Nerissa only gives Will's sentience and she ends up performing a Heroic Sacrifice when Nerissa tries to kill the real Will.
  • The Transformers (IDW): Sunstreaker is captured and decapitated, with his body being used as the template for an army of clones and copies of his skills and memories are streamed into the heads of evil human Headmasters, resulting in hundreds of almost-identical copies of him. Unfortunately for them, the two groups of Autobots most eager to put a stop to this mess are the Dinobots and the Monsterbots, who kill off the clones en masse without regards for the fact that there are humans in the clones or that the brain-link means they're slaughtering a fellow Autobot over and over. Admittedly, Sunstreaker was apparently not too popular with the other Autobots, so this may also fall under a very odd form of Asshole Victim.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin intentionally creates a duplicate to do tasks that he doesn't want to do, like clean his room. Predictably, the duplicate doesn't want to do them either, and runs off to misbehave, knowing the original will get all the blame. A few clones later, it turns out Calvin really doesn't get along with himself, and ends up turning them all into worms (but, as Calvin knows, this makes them happy, because now they're gross). Later, Calvin creates a good duplicate of himself that doesn't mind doing his chores, but ends up driving Calvin crazy anyway by trying to be nice to Suzie. Calvin and his good copy get so mad at each other that they get into a fight, since fighting is bad, the good duplicate self-destructs in a Logic Bomb. Hobbes comments on the irony that even Calvin's good version is prone to doing bad.
    • Later still, Calvin meets "duplicates" of himself through time travel, and of course gets into a fight with those past and future selves as well, because none of them want to do a creative writing homework assignment, but each of them has "good" excuses for not being the one to do it. Meanwhile Hobbes gets along perfectly well with his past version, and they actually work together to complete the homework themselves by basically writing a story about how foolish Calvin's time-travel scheme is.
  • Deconstructed in the Doctor Who Magazine story "Blood and Ice", in which the Twelfth Doctor and Clara encounter a previously unseen Clara splinter, for the first time since Clara created them in the TV episode "The Name of the Doctor". Clara is suddenly hit with the realisation that she could have created a large number of young women solely that they would die for the Doctor. Things are resolved when the splinter survives the events of the story, proving that not all of them had to sacrifice their lives.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: After Yui was brought back, Shinji and Rayana told her about Rei and how Gendo had treated her clone as an useful tool rather a daughter. Yui was very pissed off about it.
  • Advice and Trust: Subverted. At the beginning Rei saw herself as expendable and replaceable since she was a clone. When she told Asuka she would die if she was ordered to, her fellow pilot was horrified. However Rei befriends Shinji and Asuka and as her bond with them gets stronger, she stops thinking of herself as dispensable.
  • The Child of Love:
    • Gendo was not worried about Rei interfering with his plans because he treated her as an expendable tool who would follow his orders to the letter and would never rebel. He was wrong. Very, very wrong.
    • Ironically Rei's clone status is treated as something good in the sequel. NERV's new leadership is more decent than Gendo, but when Rei II dies as fighting Armisael, they are relieved because she can be brought back since she has several dozens of spare bodies.
  • Children of an Elder God: Gendo treated Rei as this despite of she being closer to an Humanoid Abomination. Later she sacrifices herself to save her friends and protect humankind, arguing that she must be the one makes the sacrifice because she is not a normal human being.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Double subversion. After returning to the past Rei no longer thinks she is expendable... however, since the other Rei clones are effectively soulless shells, she is not overly concerned about dying since she has many spare bodies.
  • HERZ: Gendo treated Rei in the past as an expendable tool. His attitude came back to bite him when she turned against him because Shinji treated her as an human being.
  • Higher Learning: Double subverted. After a while and thanks to her new teacher's teachings, Rei stops seeing herself as expendable. However, because she did not want to die, she replaced herself with other Rei clone during a battle. Rei III accepted to sacrifice herself so that Rei II kept living.
  • Last Child of Krypton: When Shinji was too late to fight Sachiel, Gendo ordered Rei to sortie despite of being badly wounded. In the rewrite she died fighting Sachiel, and Gendo nonchalantly got another clone ready.
  • Once More with Feeling: Since she was a little child, Gendo taught Rei that she was replaceable. Shinji worked hard to disabuse her of it, arguing that, even if another Rei showed up, that new Rei would not be exactly and fully identical to the old one. He succeeded, but Rei pretended that she still saw herself as a mere, expendable clone so that Gendo did not replace her.
    This is what had been to be Rei Ayanami.
    You were a clone, a disposable thing created to fulfill a single purpose by Commander Ikari.
    There was no question about this. Despite his somewhat impulsive actions to save her from the disaster when Unit Zero had been activated for the first time, he had not hesitated in ordering her to 'do it again' while crippled and in great pain when the Third Angel had shown up. No matter what affection he may or may not have for her, it was clear that ultimately she was replaceable.
  • The One I Love Is...: Rei regarded herself as a mere clone and she thought her life was worthless. Shinji and later Asuka worked hard to convince her otherwise.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Rei saw herself as nothing but Yui Ikari's clone tailored to unleash the end of mankind. All of it changed when she became Wonder Girl. Later she used what she had learnt to cheer a depressed Asuka that she was not useless or expendable, and ''she had extraordinary powers made her special.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Atlas and later Jakobs treats their clones in this manner. They are given high-tech equipment, but they are mostly cannon fodder, especially against the Flood. The Prime Clone, Athena, is an inversion of this trope—everyone considers her valuable for their own reasons (the heroes because, well... and the villains due to her ability to be copied quickly without error).
  • The Racket-Rotter Chronicles: The Builder has their store of "Julians". While they don't like the Julians dying suddenly, they're grown simply for them to mess around with or eat.
  • Subverted with Rei in Thousand Shinji. Both she and her "caretakers" Gendo and Ritsuko treat her spare bodies as extra bodies. However, her soul had trouble travelling between bodies, and it drove her temporarily crazy.
  • Played straight in The Second Try. No one -but Shinji, Misato or Asuka- cared about Rei's clones, not even Rei. She insisted that her spare bodies were soulless constructs and then she destroyed them.
  • Subverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide. After having been used to the idea she could be replaced if she died, Rei spends much time contemplating her own mortality after her Body Backup Drive was put out of commission by Ritsuko, meaning that she is effectively Out of Continues. She has also come to realize that she actually is a quite different person from her predecessor, despite looking like her and having her memory.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/StarCraft crossover The Koprulu Sector has varying levels of this, mainly in the Imperial Dominion, the faction responsible for the clones in the first place. Many of the non cloned citizens treat the clones as second class citizens and tend to separate themselves from the clone population, some even creeped out about possibly meeting "themselves" in another city, even the government tends to not have much love for them, originally created merely to boost their empires population numbers. The other factions seem more accepting of them, particularly the Kel-Morian combine and the new Kala. One of the protagonists in the story, the Kel-Morian pegasus Rainbow Dash, even has a clone as an adopted "Sister", who she named Jet Stream, that she rescued from slavery by her former employer. Jet Stream herself laments on her being a clone, which angers Rainbow Dash due to her seeing Jet Stream as an equal.
  • Like in most Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfics, Rei considers herself repleacable in Neon Metathesis Evangelion. Like in many of them others try to dissuade her from that - Shinji very early in the fic already, in this case. However, Rei sacrifices herself against Bardiel, and is resurrected in a new clone body. Her clone bodies actually are expendable that way.
  • A bit in play in Too Many Ashes. As an explanation for Ash's tendency to never age, it is revealed that 'Ash' is one of hundreds of clones Oak sent out to do Pokedex research, with a cloned Pikachu, fake memories and C.G.I histories, and Team Rocket, who are hinted to just get blasted off and bother a different clone every day. However it enters a bit of this trope by having lost a few of them: while several of them have simply ended up with lives ranging from being a Laramine Clanmember to being a Pokemon Connoisseur, several of them have had such situations as drowning on the S.S Anne and being trapped in the Distortion World. Professor Oak is not too bothered by this, or the confusion of the Ash Ketchums discovering they are all identical clones.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: The story A Bushel of Carrots uses the Mirror Pool, and goes out of its way to stress that the clones created by the pool are not really "alive" in a meaningful sense (and the spellwork that makes the pool is broken anyhow).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The main plot of Parts: The Clonus Horror revolves around this trope. The possible Fridge Logic of this trope's take on it was discussed during the Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation.
    Servo: So what happens if your clone is a hard drinking, hard living clone?
    Crow: "Sorry, we need your liver to keep your clone alive!"
  • In The Prestige: One of the magicians constantly clones himself and kills one of them in order to perform a magic trick night after night. However, because they are perfect clones, he has no way of knowing whether the machine teleports him but leaves a copy behind, or if it creates a copy a distance away. He never knows whether the trick kills the clone, or if he kills himself and the clone carries on.
    • Either way, the original one is dead. The first time he used the machine, the one who stays behind kills the one who teleports. All other times, the one who stays behind is killed.
  • It's played straight and subverted in The 6th Day with Schwarzenegger's character(s). Arnie's clone lives in the end, albeit he had to move to another city and basically give up his family. Played straight by the Big Bad, who regrets his cavalier treatment of cloning when his clone, created because he is dying, does not even wait until he's dead before he grabs the clothes so that he can go after Arnie. Some characters consider their death not a big deal, providing a clone of them (with uploaded copy of their memory) will be made. Basically they treat such a clone as not a copy, but a continuation of themselves.
    • Of course, at least one of these clones is none to happy about the situation, as even with the backups of his memories, dying is still incredibly unpleasant.
  • Sent up in The Gamers: Dorkness Rising when the Spoony Bard uses the nigh infinite resurrections the DM granted him out of sheer pity to tank a powerful demon… And even provide a fellow party member cover behind the resulting mountain of his own corpses!
  • Never Let Me Go: In the film (as well as the original book), the main characters are clones created by the government to serve as medical organ donors for "real" people. As children they meet at a boarding school at which they spend their time creating artwork, a project designed to prove whether or not clones have souls.
  • In Duncan Jones's Moon it turns out that lunar mining technician Sam Bell is unknowingly a clone of the original with a limited lifespan, destined to be replaced with another clone when his assignment is finished - i.e., when he's killed off. His company has been doing this for years in order to save on labor costs; it's implied that the original Sam was OK with the idea. The jig is finally up when one of the clones awakens prematurely, and the two Sams figure out a way to publicize the truth.
  • The premise of The Island. The clones are grown to harvest replacement organs for the rich and famous with the promise of "The Island" as a "reward" for good behaviour.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis: Data dies. However, since B-4 and he shared memories, it's strongly implied Data will 'resurrect' through B4. Expanded Universe material, such as the prequel comic to the 11th movie, outright states it to be the case.
  • Attack of the Clones:
    • It's never addressed directly, but the deaths of the clones are never treated with much importance or gravitas.
    • The Kaminoans treat the clones like a crop. The leader casually mentions that if the Republic wants more, "it will take time to grow them."
  • Played for Black Comedy in The Spirit where the Big Bad has a Redshirt Army of cloned expendable henchman. Eventually he has to be told to stop bumping them off as they don't have time to clone new ones.
  • Gemini Man: Despite pretending otherwise to Junior, Clay clearly views him along with clones in general as just being tools used instead of regular people who needn't be cared about. He even wants to replace all US soldiers with clones modified so as not to feel fear or pain, because no one need care about them.

  • Timothy Zahn kickstarted the old Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends) with no knowledge of the cloning system that would be used years later in Attack of the Clones, so his clones are grown quickly in "Spaarti cylinders" and can be programmed with the original's memories (though the quality of the memory transfer is said to be somewhat variable, accounting for any personality differences that might crop up between the clone and the original). Some other EU authors took this idea up and had various high-ranking Imperials have possession of their own personal cylinders. The most notable one is Ysanne Isard, who would send out her clone, who believed herself to be the original, to do jobs she could entrust to no one else. When the job was done, she would have the clone killed and prepare another, updating her memories. When a clone survives, she goes so far as to arrange an Enemy Mine with her worst enemy, revealing that she isn't dead, to take her down. This doesn't work out quite as well as Isard intended; the missing clone is killed, but her enemies figure out exactly how she's planning to double-cross them.
    • In Galaxy of Fear: Clones there is a facility that can somehow grow clones in hours, and some even believe they're the originals. Most are evil, deliberately warped by a literal Darth Vader Clone, but a sparse few are terrified and pitiable. Tash Arranda is not as affected by death as she once was, but is even less shaken than usual when her own clones are killed as she watches.
  • In Playing With Fire, Valkyrie lets Skulduggery shoot her mirror doppleganger to trick the Torment, who wants her dead. Slightly subverted in that she has been explicitly assured that her reflection cannot have a real mind of its own, it is compared to Skulduggery tearing up a photograph of her - even so, she still feels horribly guilty over the plan.
    • Also, the reflection need only be returned to a mirror to revive it.
  • In the short story Identity Theft, people can opt to have their minds transferred into robot bodies. One character is copied twice (so that another character can secretly interrogate the extra one). Despite the fact that he's also technically a copy, the legal copy is horrified at the thought of an extra him running around. To keep him from demanding that the illegal copy be destroyed, the hero helps the extra copy assume a new identity.
  • The hero of John Varley's The Golden Globe — an unknowing clone — gets away with killing his own "father" on a technicality due to an obsolete anti-cloning law that prohibited two people from sharing identical DNA. Fortunately for him the law didn't actually specify which clone had to be killed.
  • First played straight, then inverted in Good Night, Mr. James by Clifford Simak. The original sends the clone on what's probably a suicide mission, with the intent of killing it anyway if it completes the mission. The clone figures it out and attempts a Kill and Replace.
  • Another Kill and Replace inversion is "The Far Side of the Bell-Shaped Curve" by Robert Silverberg. Let's just say the title doesn't indicate which far side of the curve the main character's on.
  • The entire plot of Destination: Oblivion, a pre-Dune novel by Frank Herbert. All of the main characters are expendable clones, basically a living simulation to iron out all the kinks in the mission before sending out "Real" people. They're not meant to survive. This isn't a spoiler: the audience finds this out at the very beginning of the book. The characters take a lot longer. That goes throughout the Wor Ship series; clones will be sent on the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs, and if there's ever a shortage in supplies or necessities, clones will be the first to suffer.
  • The Dune series itself had Gholas, clones grown with all the original's abilities but no memories (at least at first). In God-Emperor of Dune, Leto II has had a series of Duncan-clones (one at a time) serve as advisor/companion the entire time he's been ruling (several thousand years). It's gotten to the point where he knows Duncan so well he can basically read his mind. He takes great delight anytime one of them actually deviates from his expectations or the behavior of the previous Duncans.
  • In Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief the Sobornost Founders have uploaded their minds to millions of artificial bodies. These collectives are called copyclans, and their members synchronize their memories and brainpower whenever they are together, allowing them to be everywhere in their massive empire at once. It doesn't matter if a few die, since there's always backups. Although their interests don't always coincide, and some of the Founders are said to be in war against themselves. If fact, in the Sobornost Collective everyone is an Expendable Clone; only the Founder Primes are an exception. Also, the main protagonist, Jean le Flambeur has millions of copies of himself trapped forever in the Dilemma Prison, but he's just happy that he was the one that got away.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga is all over the place on this trope. Betans think that Clones Are People, Too, but one of the big industries on Jackson's Whole is to clone a rich person and surgically transfer the brain of the original into the clone, which restores the client to his/her late teens/early twenties at the cost of the life of the clone (Assuming the surgery is successful). One of Mark's main goals in life is to shut that industry down.
  • This trope is part of why copying your brain upload into more than one body at a time is illegal in some polities in Glasshouse. A feared army in the backstory uses this trope to good effect so much so that it's eventually revealed that most of their troops consisted of copies of the book's protagonist. Additionally, Sanni uses this as an apparent Thanatos Gambit during the book's climax.
  • Heroics: Alice Cage views her own clones as this. She apparently made them for the sole purpose of performing horrific human experiments on them. The only reason the two featured in the novel are even still alive is because one of them was serving as a sort of Dragon and the other was apparently being used as some sort of sociological or psychological study, as she doesn't know she's a clone despite the fact that all of the others were self-aware.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis: Penny's plan to extricate herself from her Bad Penny persona is to construct a robotic duplicate, copy her consciousness into it, and then set it up to be defeated. She doesn't really think through what will happen to the duplicate afterwards...
  • In The Ghost Brigades, the Big Bad is a traitorous human scientist, who fakes his death by creating a clone of himself and then killing him. The truth is only discovered during the autopsy, when someone notices that the dead body's bones are in too good a condition, especially since the "deceased" is known to have broken a few bones throughout his life, which means there should have been traces of that. He also backs up his consciousness on a computer. Desperate for answers, someone suggests creating another clone of the traitor and having the consciousness downloaded into it (it would be pointless to do it with a non-matching brain, as the neural pathways would be all wrong). An almost-clone (an enhanced special forces soldier) is created and is given the name Jared Dirac. However, he has no memory of the original. He eventually recovers some of the memories and manages to track down the traitor. The traitor himself treats Dirac as this trope, deciding to transfer his current consciousness into Dirac in order to infiltrate the Colonial Defense Force and spread his virus. However, Dirac manages to set up a Thanatos Gambit that results in the traitor dying minutes after the transfer is complete (Dirac's mind is erased in the process).
  • Project Tau: Played with. Clones (known as Projects) are treated as livestock by humans and the legal system in general. While the novel implies that their treatment by their owners leaves a lot to be desired, the sheer cost involved in the creation and training of a single Project makes them far too valuable to be considered expendable.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Sontarans are an entire "species" of clones (stemming from the original General Sontar). Their military power is based on two factors: first, every foot soldier has the tactical and strategic mastery of their race's greatest warrior, and second, We Have So Many Reserves It's Ridiculous.
    • In The Invisible Enemy, the Fourth Doctor and Leela create "quick-clones" of themselves that can go on a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot inside the Doctor's body and fight a monster. The quick-clones have lifespans measured in hours, and the Doctor isn't terribly bothered about it.
    • Subverted in the two-parter The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People, in which a group of 'Gangers' are animated by a solar tsunami. The gangers insist they are just as real as the originals, sharing all their memories and personalities. But at the end, Ganger!Doctor and another Ganger sacrifice themselves to save their real counterparts. It seems that a Gangers life is expendable unless the original is killed. For the originals who die during the episodes, their hangers survive and live out their lives. Most Gangers encountered aren't people however, the technology is supposed to just function as a completely controlled remote avatar of the original person and falls apart if the connection is lost, not a clone at all. The episode reveals that Amy had unknowingly been piloting one for some time, and her real body is elsewhere.
    • Less averted in The Girl Who Waited, where Rory must choose between rescuing the Amy he knows and loves and an Amy who, due to timey-wimey-ness, has been waiting thirty-six years for him, and has become strange and bitter as a result. While Rory genuinely wants to save both of them, when the time comes the Doctor slams the TARDIS door on older!Amy without hesitation, leading to her erasure from existence. He doesn't seem to regret the decision very much. To be fair even Old!Amy seems to agree it's the right thing to do.
    • In Time Heist, Karabraxos uses clones of herself as secretaries and such, since she won't rely on anyone else. This doesn't stop her from killing them for failure.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • It ain't a Tomato in the Mirror trope without an Outer Limits episode devoted to it.
    • The Revival series episode "Replica" subverted the trope; when a bioengineer's wife emerges from a coma that was incorrectly thought to be terminal she states that the clone (who has her memories) created prior to her awakening needs to be "disposed of". She quickly notes that she does not mean termination: she is instead suggesting erasing the clone's memories and leaving her in a far away city where she can hopefully start a new life (in the end, the clone ends up with a clone of the bioengineer himself and Everybody Lives).
  • Star Trek: Several people (both in-universe and in fandom) believe the transporter works this way - the original is killed and a duplicate who thinks it's the original is created somewhere else. The technical manuals explain that this is not the case, as the transporter works on a quantum level rather than a molecular one, and people who believe this in story are dismissed as having an irrational fear of transport. This explanation also avoids the issue of why antagonistic races don't simply duplicate their foot soldiers via transporter to make a disposable army. Thomas Riker proves it is a possibility though, although not a high one, since it involved a series of improbable circumstances that would, probably, be difficult to replicate.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Up The Long Ladder" introduced a colony which, having too few members for a stable gene pool, resorted to reproduction purely through cloning. Their genetic samples deteriorating, they secretly take new ones from Riker and Pulaski. When they find out, both find the unawakened clone bodies and kill them outright. According to writer Melinda Snodgrass, it was intended as a pro-choice aesop - but it wasn't very well-received.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • There's a man who murdered his clone to frame Odo for his murder. He is arrested in the end, Odo saying that killing one's own clone is still murder - a rarity of a clone being valued as a life form of its own in Trek.
    • A later episode has Miles O'Brien zapping himself several hours into the future. He subsequently dies, and then the future O'Brien goes back in his place. The slightly-in-the-future O'Brien was about to die anyway due to the station blowing up, so sending him back keeps the main cast alive and intact.
    • The Vorta of the Dominion also receive this treatment, with each clone being activated when the current one dies. Weyoun, in particular, is shown to die several times throughout the series, each time with different levels of embarrassment. (One of them, Weyoun Six, attempts to defect from the Dominion — he gets a Clones Are People, Too plot.)
  • Star Trek: Voyager plays with this one in "Tuvix," wherein the named hybrid makes an overwrought speech about how splitting him back into Tuvok and Neelix will be murder. Much of episode was about the moral dilemma of killing one to save the other two, and even the Doctor refused to perform the procedure, due to the Hippocratic Oath. Janeway had to do it herself, and left in a guilty mood. A lot of fans never forgave her.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise has the episode Similitude, which a 'Mimetic Simulant' of Tucker, named Sim, is made and harvested for parts in order to save Trip. He doesn't take it all that well at first, but comes around in the end, as even if he left, he'd die within days, due to the simulants having a lifespan of 15 days. And in their defense... they initially expected him to survive the experience (albeit, only for a short time, due to the aforementioned short lifespan), and needed the injured Trip's skills in a big hurry. Sim having Trip's memories was also a distinct surprise.) The true dilemma really comes when it's revealed that there is an experimental process that may extend Sim's life - which Archer reluctantly decides not to use, as the chances of it working are low, and by the time they were sure if it would work, Tucker would have died.
  • An episode of Friday the 13th: The Series had a guy using a cursed artifact to create duplicates of himself and send them to kill people while he himself was on live TV (perfect alibi). He'd destroy the duplicates after. One dup' who knew what was coming decided to kill the original and thereby become a real boy, but forgot he'd been shot earlier. He bled to death immediately after becoming real.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place (yes a Disney show) where it's implied in an episode that Alex does this to her own magic copy.
  • An episode of Earth: Final Conflict had Liam split in two using a side-effect of quantum teleportation, although Street notes that the duplicate will be erased out of existence at some point in the future. For the rest of the episode, the duplicate assumes the role of Liam, while the original is in an induced coma to fool Sandoval and Zo'or. The duplicate is treated no differently than the original, but chooses to sacrifice himself in the end to save Renée. Sandoval is a little confused, as he heard Liam's voice on the com before the explosion, but chalks it up to mistaken identity. The duplicate is not mentioned after that.
  • Seen several times in the Stargate-verse. Once with Teal'c when he shot his Alternate Universe Doppelgänger, saying that theirs was "the only reality of consequence.". Inverted with an alternate universe SG-1, who try to steal "our" universe's ZPM in order to save their reality. Also inverted with alternate Woolsey in "Vegas", who doesn't care that their failure to find a Wraith threatens other Earths. Additionally, Ba'al does this with his own clones at the end. Slightly subverted with the clone of Jack O'Neill, though his two other doubles weren't so lucky.
  • An episode of Sliders has the protagonists land In a World... where human cloning is real, and clones are grown for spare parts. When the real Quinn is grabbed because the locals think he's a clone of this world's Quinn (who is in need of new eyes), his friends break into the cloning building and rescue him. Except they really took the clone, who was kept in a vegetative state. Then the clone starts developing a personality of his own. In the end, this world's Quinn chooses to remain blind rather than take the eyes of his clone. Acting For Three.
  • There was an episode ("Twin Streaks") of the short-lived The Flash (1990) TV show involving a clone of the Flash created by crooked scientists of the week named Pollux. Pollux sacrifices his life to protect the "real" Flash, and although the characters are not indifferent to his death, they clearly don't find it as serious as if a "real" person had died.
  • This plot was cannibalized to make the Lois & Clark episode "Vat Man." (It was one of several Flash episodes to receive this treatment.)
  • Total Recall 2070: A doctor who appears to be involved with an assassination plot is hauled in by the detective protagonists, but after the doctor's attorney gets him released the doctor himself gets assassinated almost immediately. It later transpires that the target was actually a clone of the real doctor, and the clone's sorry fate is quickly forgotten.
  • The Flash (2014): This is how Zoom treats his time remnants. One of them is Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth 2, whom he has to convince to allow himself to be murdered to further Zoom's goals. The other time, Zoom creates a remnant (by traveling back in time a split second) to get Barry to kill him in anger, thus becoming a monster like Zoom. When Barry hesitates, Zoom kills his remnant himself. At the end of the episode, Barry creates a time remnant using the same trick and battles Zoom, while the remnant performs a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Zoom's Doomsday Device. To their credit, everyone treats Barry's remnant as a real person and a hero, not as a disposable copy. Unfortunately, also played straight with Future!Barry's time remnant, the only remnant to survive the failed attempt at saving Iris from Savitar. The original Barry and all the others treat the surviving remnant like crap, not seeing him as a real person, forgetting that Iris's death has hurt him just as badly as the original Barry. Eventually, the pain is too much, and he decides that the only way to be rid of it is to become a god - Savitar.
  • On an episode of Yes, Dear, Jimmy pitches a movie idea similar to that episode of Sliders up there: It's The Future, and everybody has their own clone whose only function is to be a perfectly-matching organ donor for the person they were cloned from. The plot involves the protagonist, a surgeon whose wife needs a heart transplant, falling in love with his wife's clone and having to choose which one lives and which one dies.
  • In Dark Matter Transfer Transit makes a clone in a different star system with a three-day lifespan. If they make it back to "recycling" their memories are transmitted back to the original, if not the original just wakes up.
  • Averted in Blake's 7. In "Weapon", the psychotic Space Commander Travis encounters a clone Blake and is unable to resist killing him. The Clonemasters regard this as a serious breach of ethics and Servalan has to promise them that Travis will be punished. He isn't of course, as Servalan and Travis don't care much about killing anyone. In fact Travis accuses Servalan of using him to test the effectiveness of the clone.
  • Played for black comedy in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Tom Servo acquires more than 500 clones of himself over the series. In Diabolik, Servo prepares for his return to Earth by killing all the clones himself. Then in Reptilicus, Crow clones Tom Servo again, then kills all those clones as soon as he's done with them. The remaining Servo states that he isn't actually the original; nobody cares.
  • Played with in the Farscape episode Eat Me. The characters who have themselves "twinned"note  and then one copy is killed insist on this for their own sanity. They then try very hard not to think about it when both John Crichtons end up staying with the crew and both clearly have equal claim to be real (they end up acting more like brothers than anything). When one of the Crichton does end up dying several episodes later they mourn him like any other crew member.
  • Altered Carbon takes place in a future with Brain Uploading, and rich people have clones stashed in various cities that they can be needlecast into. It's destroying a person's stack (where their personality and memories are encoded) that's regarded as real death; destroying their 'sleeve' is only organic property damage. Also double-sleeving (copying yourself into more than one body) is illegal. When Kovacs clones himself as a gambit for The Caper to infiltrate the Big Bad's fortress, the United Nations declares afterwards that by law only one personality can go on living, so they both play Rock–Paper–Scissors to decide who gets to live. However after Detective Ortega shoots several clones of the Big Bad (who keeps uploading into a new body each time to attack her), the Big Bad demands blood retribution for this act and has The Dragon massacre Ortega's family. Though this may be because the Big Bad regards ordinary people as expendable, having lived for so long.
  • In FTL Newsfeed clones are officially considered not people. although there is a burgeoning clone rights movement.
  • The Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 finale has the future Legends treat themselves this way. They've come back in time to change history; if they succeed, the timeline they're from will never exist, and they'll all disappear along with it. Therefore, it doesn't matter how many of them die completing the mission, so long as their past selves survive.

  • Happens in the CBC Radio program Canadia 2056. When the crew of the Canadia find a Negative Space Wedgie that leads to another universe, they meet themselves, who save them from being destroyed by said "anomaly", and send one of them over to help repair the damage. The Canadia's Captain and Max Anderson repay the Alternate Canadia by stealing their engines (theirs were destroyed escaping the anomaly), kidnapping the Alternate's Skip Conners so they could steal her body (so they could put their Skip's brain in it) and causing the American Warship accompanying them to destroy the alternate Canadia. They also accidentally kidnap one of the Alternate Canadia's Crew. The reason? The Alternate Crew must have been evil, because the Main Crew were not.
  • The Lintillas and the Allitnils in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The "Clone" spell. In early editions it created a magical duplicate of a living creature. If both the clone and the original existed at the same time, "the original person and the clone will each desire to do away with the other, for such an alter-ego is unbearable to both." This had exceptionally amusing results in the Forgotten Realms when unknown forces released all twenty or so of the archmage Manshoon's backup clones from stasis, resulting in the "Manshoon Wars". Later editions dealt with the issues by making the clone effectively a dead body until the original dies.
    • They also include the "Simulacrum" spell that creates a duplicate (that can't learn or grow and is under perfect command to its creator) that could be used as an expendable distraction, impersonator and other uses. Due to being a spellcaster under your full control, if the creator has the "circle magic" class features it can burn all of its spell slots to boost the circle leader's casting to an insane level.
  • Changeling: The Lost features the fetch, a clone made by the Gentry that abducted you out of stray detritus and animated by a piece of your soul. Once you break out of Faerie, you come back and find this thing living your life. The various changeling Courts are somewhat split on how to respond to fetches, but the general inclination seems to be, "Kill the impostor." Thing is, it's still something that acts human and, up until your return, thought it was you entirely. It could be a pawn of the Gentry... or it could be an innocent bystander. What you want to do with it is entirely your choice...
  • In Paranoia every character starts with six expendable clones. The Computer recognises the need to have backups in case of accidental loss or erasure. Six is generally insufficient to survive a session.
    • Depending on GM interpretation, the non-player clones are either stored in People Jars until needed, or actually holding down productive (if less nerve-wrackingly exciting) jobs in Alpha Complex society, which means they can get up to all sorts of things out there. One scenario had the clones actually accompany the players en masse (they were going into space). Having five times as many NPCs as PCs hanging around messing with everything they can find is bad enough, but when they realize they can become prestigious Troubleshooters through Klingon Promotion...
  • In Eclipse Phase the player characters are often treated as expendable to the point of having orbital strikes called down on their position by Firewall, because they have backups.
  • Traveller, FASA supplement Action Aboard: Adventures on the King Richard. One of the crew members is Rachel 327. She is the only survivor of a 500 woman commando team who were all clones of their commander. Because she is a clone, she is considered expendable by her fellow King Richard crew members.
  • In Car Wars, people with enough wealth can purchase clones of themselves with semi-regular brain taping. In the event of the original or an older clone getting killed, the latest clone can take their place with little issue.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Drukhari keep their numbers high by using vast amounts of clones known as Vatborn, while naturally-born Drukhari are rarer (due to Aeldari gestation being more complicated and the ever-present danger of Slaanesh eating the souls of all involved) and called Trueborn, who look down on Vatborn (of course, Drukhari look down on everybody and consider their own advancement more important than the well-being of others).

    Video Games 
  • Expendable. It's right in the title: you control vat-grown soldier clones with no emotion or interest but the thrill of the battle against the alien conquerors.
  • A scene during the finale of Planescape: Torment, when the protagonist's personality is shattered and has to convince the "other hims" to merge back with him so that he can continue his quest. One is particularly persistent about making you merge with him.
    • The Paranoid Incarnation, who was Exactly What It Says on the Tin, came to the conclusion that future incarnations (who were merely new personalities assumed through Amnesiac Dissonance) were actually evil spirits looking to steal his body. He therefore spent an inordinate amount of time laying traps for people who matched his physical description, which he would know to avoid but the future incarnations wouldn't. This in turn is a plot-point and also helps convince him to merge by speaking in a language only he and the player speak (if the correct quest for this is done) thus showing him the player is someone to trust because he and TPI are the same person.
  • Deconstructed in Tales of the Abyss. Luke, upon finding out he is a replica of the REAL Luke fon Fabre (now called Asch), begins to view his life as expendable because of his sub-human status. His friends however, don't accept such perspectives because they feel he is human based on the time and memories they share together.
    • Also inverted in that the original feels he's the expendable one, due to the clone having lived his life for so long.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (known simply as Fire Emblem in the west) features this to almost Tear Jerker effect in the form of Nergal's Morphs.
    Limstella: [upon dying] I am not human. This body and mind are constructs. Yes, as is this sorrow.
  • The clones of P.B. Winterbottom in The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom which are only there to get him his pie. They disappear once they're done.
  • The entire point behind the Replica in FEAR is that they're cloned soldiers of Paxton Fettel who can be quickly grown, trained, and deployed at a substantially reduced cost when compared with normal Private Military Contractors, and their training, conditioning, and psionic control turns them into fearless, highly disciplined and unswervingly loyal troops. This gets turned on its head when the psychic commander who controls the Replica goes bonkers and turns them against the corporation that created them. In the rare case that a Replica begins to become independent enough to question their orders or act against orders, they are immediately killed.
  • EVE Online subverts (Averts?) this, as clones are a way to cheat death, but each one is equally valuable, and forgetting to keep them updated results in losing knowledge you've learned, requiring you to spend time re-learning it. Compounded by the fact that EVE trains skills in real time.
  • Played with in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Big Bad Caulder/Stolos has created multiple clone offspring of himself, and seems to view them all as ultimately expendable. Isabella/Catleia is one of them, or to be specific she is the "backup" of one of his children who got killed in one of Caulder/Stolos' experiments. We later learn that Caulder/Stolos himself is, in fact, one of many identical clones the original Caulder/Stolos made of himself: The clones decided There Can Be Only One and killed each other, and the last surviving clone then killed the original.
  • Chrono Trigger pulls this off pretty well, with the option to have one from the start of the game. It ends up being necessary to switch the real Crono with the clone later on in order to avoid disaster.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Darth Vader makes an army of Starkiller clones and has them Zerg Rush Starkiller note . Starkiller kills his "brothers" in self-defense, tormented by the decision but reasoning that he has no choice. Darth Vader says, "Look around you. You are expendable!"
  • The Mesmer in Guild Wars 2, which specializes in generating illusionary clones, has "shatter" skills, i.e. skills that sacrifice all of his/her clones to inflict damage and/or debuffs.
  • In Street Fighter M. Bison has an army of clones in storage so that when he dies he can simply inhabit a new body and continue.
  • A line of dialogue from Doctor Neo Cortex in Crash Tag Team Racing reveals that he has an "organ donor clone" that he plans on getting a new kidney from.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light's Advanced Edition adds a clonebay to the list of systems your ship can have. It replaces the standard Medbay, and trades off healing your crew for cloning new copies of them when they die. Where it was once a devastating loss for your main boarder to permanently die, it's now a minor inconvenience that results in a few seconds of their being dead and a minor penalty to their skills, before they can jump right back into battle. However, this only works if the clonebay is operational and powered at the time of the crew member's death, and continues to be so until the cloning process is complete, otherwise that crew member is once again dead for good...that is, unless you bought the clone storage enhancement, which keeps your crew safe even if the clonebay goes down. Some flavour text added in Captain's Edition lampshades the fact that it takes a very specific personality type to consent to this.
  • Shepard's clone, the main enemy in the Mass Effect 3 DLC Citadel, is the main enemy in said DLC for being treated like this. When Project Lazarus proved successful, the Illusive Man had no reason to keep the clones he created of Shepard (to use for excess parts as Shepard came back to life) and ordered them destroyed. One escaped.
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, Jack's Doppelganger can summon up holographic decoys to attack his enemies which quickly revive if destroyed. His "Greater Good" skill tree focuses on exploiting their expendable nature by giving him buffs the more they die and letting them take the brunt of damage for him.
  • Due to being defective, Battleborn's Whiskey Foxtrot and the clone batch he came from were treated as such by their superiors according to one of his lore challenges. As an early galahadrim clone batch that came out wrong, they were be discarded. However as that was being done, Whiskey Foxtrot proved to be a specimen hard to destroy. He was quite wily and despite the best efforts of his superiors, was able to evade murder containment by even their best men. While his degree of evasiveness would normally be quite desirable among UPR recruits, his superiors deemed him unsuitable for joint operations and he was reassigned to the UPR dining facilities at least until they could figure out what to do with him. He would later desert this post and join the Rogues for the crap he was put through.
  • In the backstory for Akatsuki Blitzkampf, Murakumo cloned himself twice and used to clones to gain footholds in powerful organizations like a Shanghai-based Triad and the Japanese Army. When the first clone started developing independent goals and tried to rebel against his master, an assassin ( Marilyn Sue) was sent to eliminate him.
  • In Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality, you play as one of these: a "Morty clone". Be expected to be killed by Rick, because you'll get killed a lot!

    Web Comics 
  • In Two Guys and Guy, Frank has done this to Wayne in order to counteract his eternal Butt-Monkey status.
  • Inverted in Girl Genius. After Lucrezia gains the ability to upload her mind into multiple bodies, she doesn't mind dying as long as some copies remain elsewhere. She's willing to die as long as her "save data" (all the valuable knowledge that one of her learned) is copied over to the other clones, but she can still feel fear and chickens out of possession sometimes. Von Pinn calls her a coward because of this.
  • King Slately in Erfworld is actually heartened to see his magically created double go down fighting, because it shows a copy of him could fight bravely, even as we get a closeup of the mangled body. Then it turns into a Tomato in the Mirror, when his son points out doubles don't leave bodies. The fact that the King clone didn't even know he wasn't real points out the moral problems of using them as cannon fodder.
  • Subverted in El Goonish Shive: An Opposite-Sex Clone of Elliot is made, who has all of his memories up until that point. It's initially believed Ellen's doomed to vanish after a certain amount of time, which causes her to panic and briefly try to be an Evil Twin (with hilarious results). It's quickly discovered her existence is secure, and thanks to a few pulled strings, she is now living as Elliot's "twin sister". She has since become a character rather different from Elliot, and is completely accepted by everyone privy to the secret.
  • Gate-clones in Schlock Mercenary are treated as sentient individuals, and the lives of most sentient individuals are often treated pretty cavalierly if they aren't protagonists. They're definitely legally unique; the problem comes from the fact that gate-clones have all the memories of the original up to the cloning. For example, if a man kills someone, then gets gate-cloned, both clones are guilty of murder.
    • The trope is played dead straight by the F'Sherl-Ganni, who created the gate-clones; they made a practice of duplicating people, interrogating the duplicates, and then disposing of them. This practice killed about fifteen billion people every three hours and thirty-nine minutes, for hundreds of thousands of years. They murdered the equivalent of the entire galaxy's population several times over. Good thing they were just clones.
    • The Gavs are something of a special case. Given their sheer number (950 million to start with) a certain amount of attrition could be expected to random chance.
  • Subverted near the climax of the "There But For The Grace" story arc in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Jerry fires his gun at Molly and Galatea, and it looks as if one of them (presumably Galatea, the clone) has been killed. But it turns out in the next strip that they're both fine; he was aiming at another target.
  • "Debated" in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal here
  • In a The Parking Lot Is Full strip a rich man uses cloning technology to make endless copies of himself... Into hamburger. Self-cannibalism: The ultimate in decadence.
  • Grey Gerling, of Barfquestion fame, illustrated a story he wrote when he was ten. The protagonist, to escape from a monster he created, cloned himself and got the monster to attack the clone instead of himself. In the title of the page Grey mentions that he didn't see how morally wrong it was fourteen years ago.
  • Debated in Homestuck, as Vriska builds an army of ghosts, comprised mostly of dead-end doomed-timeline versions of her friends, on the basis that they're just copies.
    • Shown to be how the trolls managed to beat the black king in their session, using an army of doomed timeline Aradiabots to block his instakill voice long enough for them to take him down.
    • And Justified by the nature of Homestuck's temporal mechanics. Anyone from a doomed timeline is fated to eventually die, so there's no real point in trying to keep them alive. Additionally, Lord English, the guy the army was formed to oppose, was systematically destroying Dream Bubbles and the ghosts that inhabit them. It just became an issue of them dying fighting or not.
  • Played with on the April Fools special Penny Arcade Witchalok class, which has the following spell description:
    Create two duplicates of yourself, and place them in adjacent squares. Each duplicate is a real person with his or her own hopes and dreams. These duplicates die at the start of your next turn.
  • In Starslip, Quine has a Body Backup Drive, which leads him to take deadly risks, and to be treated by the other characters, especially Vanderbeam, as an expendable Redshirt.
  • In Flaky Pastry, Nitrine discovers how to create perfect duplicates of herself that have the ability to merge back together. She explicitly uses them as expendable clones, throwing them at her enemies to keep them busy while she escapes. Since they are perfect duplicates, as long as any one of them makes it out, Nitrine has survived.
  • Awkward Zombie: Played for black comedy in a Minish Cap comic, where Link creates a clone to help him with a task. The new clone spends several panels coming to grips with his status as a newly living being and enjoying the world around him... until he runs into a tree and shatters moments after his birth, at which point Ezlo casually tells Link to just make another clone.
  • The Petri Dish: Thaddeus Euphemism makes four clones of himself and all of them die in lab accidents.
  • White Rooms: Rits' clones regularly sacrifice their lives to protect the people in the white rooms, and at least once, to save Rits. He collects the dead clones' scarves in the Safe Room and shows visible signs of despair every time he gets to witness a clone dying.

    Web Original 
  • Pan can create copies of himself and others in Thalia's Musings. The copies are explicitly stated to be like shadows or projections in nature, incapable of feeling. He creates a copy of Echo to help her fake her death in front of Hera.
  • In Doppelgänger Vincent accuses Victor as using him as this.
  • The central premise behind the sci-fi noir web series Aidan 5. People are cloned to make expendable copies, but their clones are in fact people too.
  • Lopez of Red vs. Blue has an army of spare robotic bodies so he can transfer his programming into a new one when destroyed. In a similar way Delta has several backup copies of himself in files.
  • In Worm Jack Slash treats the many clones of the Slaughterhouse Nine as eminently expendable, leaving them as roadblocks that would be slow pursuing heroes.

    Western Animation 
  • Used in Danny Phantom. No one, least of all Danny, seems particularly bothered when Danny destroys the less-human looking clones. Only the human-looking Danielle gains his sympathy. This is subverted, however, by the fact that Danny also doesn't seem to be bothered when he destroys the so-called "perfect clone" of himself, which would be, in theory, at least as "human" as his Opposite-Sex Clone Dani. Vlad himself only considered the "perfect clone" human, even rejecting the only person who probably loved him. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!.
    • Danny probably had no problem eliminating Vlad's prime clone because if it had been completed, it probably would've been his Evil Twin and after the trouble he had with Dark Danny, the last thing he probably wants is to deal with an evil version of himself.
    • Plus, Danny explains his sympathy for Dani in that unlike the previous clones he fought (Which he at the time had no idea were clones), she's not a mindless beast, but a person with thoughts and feelings.
  • In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, not only can you kill yourself in another time without messing up your life history, but there's actually a plot point that time duplicates are always doomed and will die in some random accident shortly after they are created. Note that "random" and "shortly" can extend up to "suicide" and "one thousand years later."
    • This feature of the Futurama verse shows up again in "The Late Phillip J. Fry." Fry, Bender, and the Professor travel so far into the future that the universe ends, a new Big Bang occurs, and a universe exactly identical to the one they left emerges. When they arrive in this new universe's "present day" their time machine accidentally lands on and kills their new universe equivalents. They don't seem at all upset about this.
      Leela: You're actually on time! That's so unlike you.
      Fry: That was the old Fry. He's dead now.
  • Men in Black: The Series plays this for comedy value with the Quick-Clones, which are explicitly expendable clones, meant for short-term uses, and even if they aren't killed, melt into goo after a certain amount of time. They don't seem to mind their short lifespan, though; in one episode, a group of them play basketball after their job was done, saying that their lifespan is too short to worry about much.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one of the Halloween specials, Homer buys a hammock that creates clones of him, except lacking belly buttons. Initially, he uses them to help him do chores around the house, but eventually, they get out of hand and he drives them to a field and abandons them, after shooting a few. In the end, all but one of the Homers go off a cliff after a giant donut and are killed. Marge and the remaining Homer are relaxing in bed when she discovers... he doesn't have a belly button!! Marge: "Then the real Homer was..." Clone Homer: "First over cliff."
    • The Ralph Wiggum clones in the Flash Forward episode "Holidays of Future Passed" are treated as expendable and not even the other Ralph clones seem to care if one dies.
  • An episode of Æon Flux has Aeon captured and her DNA used to make clones for Travis Goodchild. The initial clone escapes and trades places with the real Aeon. Inverted at the end of the episode, when the real Aeon is killed and the clone becomes the show's new protagonist. Note that in this case all the memories and personality were duplicated as well.
  • The Republic troopers from Star Wars: The Clone Wars are treated as pretty much expendable, and they know it. You can tell who is supposed to be a good guy and who is supposed to be a jerk based on who treats them as expendable and who tries to point out that Clones Are People, Too.
  • One episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had a future where Mandy was an Evil Overlord with the body of a giant worm, and she had an endless supply of Billy clones who kept getting killed due to his stupidity. After the latest one dies insulting one of her monsters, causing it to eat him, she just sighs and says, "I lose more Billys that way". The whole episode is a giant Shout-Out to God-Emperor of Dune.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Too Many Pinkie Pies", Ponyville is overrun with several dozen magic copies of Pinkie Pie. Twilight Sparkle finds a spell to banish the copies; though she hesitates to use it for fear of banishing the original, she has no qualms about using it on the clones.
  • Starscream of Transformers Animated treats his army of clones about as well as anyone else who falls under his command (poorly). However, in the episode "A Fistful of Energon," Starscream uses two of his clones as bombs that detonate when placed closely together, despite the two individuals having displayed sentience and self-preservation earlier in the episode. When that move fails he notes that he has plenty of replacements.
  • Starscream of Transformers: Prime stumbles upon the Harbinger, a derelict Deception warship with protoforms in its hold. He used a portion of himself to create four clones, who turns out are largely loyal to him and whom he considers far more expendable than the "original". Unfortunately, Starscream later learns that, because he had used his own genetic material in creating the clones, he suffers phantom pains whenever they're attacked.
    • Also unfortunately for him, one of the clones is brutally beaten to death by Bulkhead, while another two are gunned down by Megatron's fusion cannon (and the original Starscream somehow survives through all of this). He decides to off the last clone himself, as he needed the clone's T-Cog and because said clone was about to turn on him (and the clone didn't have the same "drawback").
  • The Party Starters service of Regular Show employs the clones of kidnapped extreme partiers as rentable hosts. Each one is set to explode after the rental expires.
  • There's a... variation in Adventure Time. Princess Bubblegum created the original candy people, and from that point on we're not sure how they reproduce, if they reproduce at all. It might be the same generation of artificially created characters still alive today, their clones, or their traditional offspring. Regardless, PB sees them as somewhat expendable. In one episode, she allows an ice cream sandwich man to sacrifice himself for their survival rather than Finn the Human, because she's able to clone a new James, but not a new Finn. In his next episode, James II has come to see himself as somewhat expendable, willing to risk his life over and over because each time PB thinks he's died, she clones him again and awards the clone a medal. While we don't know if any of the clones actually did die in their attempts at glory (there are multiples living in James's house), the way he constantly throws himself into danger leaves the possibility open.
  • In the first three seasons of The Venture Bros., Dr. Venture doesn't seem terribly concerned about his son's well-being on their dangerous adventures. It initially comes off as parental negligence, until we learn that the boys are just the latest in a series of clones who have died and in turn been replaced. He begins treating the boys differently when the government finds out and puts a stop to this.
  • In Squidbillies The entire police force of Dougal County is staffed by an unending cabbage patch of clones of the Sheriff. He is frequently killed or dismembered and replaced with another Sheriff.
  • Gems in Steven Universe are a coalition of several Clone Armies. The Gem Homeworld's leadership treats them all as various degrees of expendable, valuing each individual gem less the more of their type are around. Rubies, in particular, are common gems used as Red Shirts, and when a Ruby and a Sapphire (a much rarer gem) committed a crime, only the Ruby was told she'd be punished.
  • The Box More robots from OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes are mass-produced Mooks, and the ones sent by Boxman to attack the Plaza appear to be remote controlled from the servers at the factory, so when one is destroyed, another one comes off the assembly line and picks up where the previous one left off.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In Episode 134, Stumpy is granted a wish and gets a bunch of clones of himself. When he needs to get rid of then, he sends them through a Cool Gate into another dimension forever, and nobody cares.
    • In "Let's Play Hide 'n Hunt", Mr. Cat clones Kaeloo, Stumpy, and Quack Quack in the hopes of being able to kill the clones without losing the three of them for real.
  • Discussed in an episode of Archer: while being interrogated by the FBI, Krieger asks "is it murder if they were my own clones?". He later has to clarify that he genuinely doesn't know.

    Real Life 
  • This is one of the philosophical/moral quandaries behind the ethics of cloning, particularly the idea of "growing" full-body people for harvesting organs that are identical matches. This is an old-fashioned fear even today, since we already know that cloned organs can be grown in pigs or sheep instead of human bodies, and we aren't far from growing at least some organs in vitro, as well.
  • Aphids, tiny sap-sucking insects capable of parthenogenesis, form colonies in which small clone-daughters are pushed to the edge of the group, where most aphid-eating threats attack first. They're essentially created as easy meals for predators, to sate attackers' appetite so the core of the colony can stay safe.

Alternative Title(s): Clones Are Expendable


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