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Human Alien Discovery

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Bob is a common person living with us, with a normal childhood and adolescence, a job and a family. But then something happens. A wild event appears and reveals Bob was a human alien all along. May or may not gain powers with the reveal, but something is sure: he never was from Earth. Bob could be raised as a normal child, but his origins are not from this planet.

This trope is about the discovery of a character he/she wasn't from this planet, maybe is a Human Alien who wasn't aware of its origins until grownup, or maybe a creature who Was Once a Man until the reveal that this is his original form instead of being mutated. Since Tropes Are Flexible, inversions are also allowed, in this case, a human alien who discovered he was a normal human all the time, or at least not an alien.

Sub-trope of Tomato in the Mirror, which is also about discovering that you're not what you think you are, and Changeling Fantasy, which is also about discovering that your birth parents aren't who they thought they were. Inversion of Human All Along, even when not always is an alien as here. Compare Not of This Earth, an object or substance that's discovered that's not from this planet. See also Beethoven Was an Alien Spy and Raised by Humans. Not to be confused with Changeling Tale, which in this case, the human Bob is replaced for an alien Bob at birth. See also Puberty Superpower, though this doesn't necessarily happen at puberty.

As The Reveal, this could contain unmarked spoilers. You Have Been Warned.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Son Goku from Dragon Ball was a boy with higher-than-normal strength and a strange monkey tail, but apart from that he always thought he was a human like all the people he knew. After he becomes an adult, he meets his older brother and learns that he's actually a "Saiyan", a race of warlike Human Aliens with monkey tails that was driven to near-extinction when their homeworld was destroyed.
  • Near the end of Rolling Girls, Chiaya finds out that she and her mother are actually aliens, which is why she sometimes turns into a small octopus-like creature.
  • Voltes V: This happens to Kenichi, Daijirou and Hiyoshi Go. For most of the series, they battle the forces of Planet Boazania, alien invaders that seek to add Earth to their growing list of conquered planets. In Episode 28, they find out that their missing father is actually from that very planet. He was born in the royal family, and aimed to abolish the Boazanian Fantastic Caste System and end slavery once he ascended to the throne, but his jealous cousin usurped him and had him Made a Slave. Regardless, their father still led several slave rebellions across Boazania, but eventually had to defect to Earth when it became too dangerous for him to stay there. After hearing this, Kenichi swears to never let his heritage get in the way of doing what's right, and proudly calls himself a Boazanian the same way he calls himself a human. In the series finale, the Go brothers help their father lead a successful rebellion against the Boazanian nobles, and he finally takes his place as the rightful Emperor of Boazania.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman
    • In general, the origins of Superman, as well most of his multiversal counterparts, have him growing up more or less unaware of his alien heritage until he's about a teenager. Usually, their powers were discovered before his origin story, but in the case of one of his counterparts (Superboy-Prime), the discovery came at the same time with the powers, activated during the First Crisis.
    • An inversion occurs in the Elseworld Superman: Last Son of Earth, in which the human baby Clark Kent crashes on the planet Krypton and was adopted by Jor-El and renamed as Kal-El, later becoming the Green Lantern of his planet and sector, and recovering his memories from the Earth.
    • At the beginning of Gotham City Garage, Kara Gordon believes she's a normal 20-something woman. Then James Gordon reveals he isn't her biological father and helps her escape from the domed city and to the wastelands, where she discovers she has strange powers. Eventually, Kara learns she's an alien from the planet Krypton.
  • Voodoo from Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm) was an exotic dancer saved by the Wild CATS who has the "gift" of knowing who was possessed by a Daemonite and who is not, also splitting the alien from the host. After joining the team and getting in a coma by a bullet, she and his friends discovered the truth: she was a descendant of Daemonites with Kherubin roots.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In Runaways, Karolina is the daughter of aliens from Majesdane, a fact that she only learns after finding out that they are murderers.
    • Played with in Secret Invasion. Although this is more a Changeling Tale for superheroes and villains having Skrull infiltrators as Manchurian Agents, various of them have suppressed their memories of being Skrulls and, even more, they do believe themselves to be human until the Arc Words are pronounced and they discover the truth (to their own horror).
    • Hulkling from Young Avengers was raised as a normal human boy, who discovers his shapeshifting and super strength powers, later learning that he's a child of two powerful warring alien races — the Kree and the Skrull — and is destined to unite them.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the 1992 movie The Distant Home, 12-year-old Sally first discovers that there's something wrong with her when she's in an accident and her injuries heal up almost immediately. Then at the hospital, the doctors find out that she has two sets of internal organs; two hearts, four lungs, etc. Turns out she's an alien princess.
  • Escape to Witch Mountain concerns two kids with Psychic Powers on a Quest for Identity. In the end, it turns out they're from another planet.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Seen for the first time in Thor with Loki. All his life he thought he was the son of Odin and brother of Thor, but during the movie discovered his real origins: he was a baby Frost Giant (a brutal race enemy of the Asgardians) adopted by Odin. This revelation becomes the Establishing Character Moment for him, making his definitive Face–Heel Turn.
    • Played With in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Peter Quill's mother is human and all his life thought his father was too. At the end of the movie, he survives handling one of the Infinity Stones (Power) with his bare hands, and a medical analysis afterward reveals it's because he's a Half-Human Hybrid. This launches the story of his next adventure looking for his father, who turns out to be a Celestial.
    • In Captain Marvel (2019), Carol initially believes she's a Kree named "Vers", and she doesn't have memories of her past except for occasional flashes, which may or may not be real. In the second act, she learns more about herself: she actually had a life on Earth, as a test pilot in the Air Force. This isn't a true inversion of the trope, however, because Carol did receive Kree blood to save her life and so isn't entirely human.
  • In Brightburn, a human-looking baby is rescued from a spaceship crash by a childless rural couple and begins to discover his superpowers when he is twelve. Sound familiar? Except in this case, he turns out evil.

  • In The Lunar Chronicles, Linh Cinder discovers that she is actually a Lunar, an alien descended from human Moon colonists who developed mind-control powers.
  • InCryptid: Neither of these examples are aliens, but they are Ultraterrestrials (and Johrlac are originally from Another Dimension).
    • Johrlac, also known as "cuckoos" are left as Doorstop Babies with human families, and their natural Backstory Invader powers make their Muggle Foster Parents believe that the cuckoo was their own child all along. When they enter their first instar at puberty, their latent Ghost Memory "hatches", imbuing them with the Johrlac species' cultural memory, and the knowledge of what they are. This usually makes them (from the human point of view) temporarily Go Mad from the Revelation and murder their human family. When they resurface, they're fully aware of their own telepathic abilities, and their status as an ambush predator.
    • Umeko discovered she was a jorōgumo when she transformed at puberty without anyone to explain what she was going through, and eventually started killing and eating people.
  • In Unidentified Suburban Object, Chloe learns that rather than being born in South Korea, her parents were born on Tau Ceti Four and are among the last survivors of a race of Human Aliens. They fled to Earth, whose inhabitants are 99.999% genetically identical to themselves, after their planet was destroyed by a solar event.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
  • For most of Power Rangers Dino Fury, Amelia believes she's human and wants to find her missing parents. At the end of the first part of the finale, though, her supposed grandfather drops a huge bombshell: her parents were Rafkonians. She unintentionally reads his mind and sees his memories of her parents, which causes her antennae to come out.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Inverted in one episode where a boy was adopted by an alien as a toddler and assumes he's the same species, but he's actually a human.
    • The episode "True Q". A woman named Amanda Rogers comes aboard the Enterprise as a Starfleet intern to study with Doctor Crusher. During the course of the episode it's revealed that she's actually a Half-Human Hybrid, the product of a human being and a member of the ultra powerful Q Continuum.

  • Voyage to the Stars: In "Stewtopia" science officer Elsa Rankfort learns of the existence of a highly-advanced Human Alien species called "rankarts" and latches on to the idea that she is one of them, though it's left uncertain at the end of the episode. In the season 1 finale they get hold of a sample of rankart DNA which suggests she's a rankart/human hybrid.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A plot point in Conspiracy X: Metahumans (Grey/human hybrids) walk among us, not necessarily aware of their extraterrestrial lineage.

    Video Games 
  • ClayFighter: Blob is a clayfighter who can shapeshift in the form he wants, but at the beginning he thought he Was Once a Man mutated by the clay meteor in the circus. But later in his ending in the first game he discovered he was an alien all the time, and even that he came to the Earth along with the clay meteor.
  • Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh: Some ways into the game, Curtis Craig experiences strange phenomena and visions of a humanoid alien called the Hecatomb, while working for the pharmaceutical company WynTech. When Curtis sneaks into its basement level, it turns out that his boss Paul Warner was not only in league with actual aliens from Dimension X that create his drugs from live humans and other materials, but that Curtis is actually a clone made of slime and dead rats that the aliens made when Warner threw his original self into the portal, and that the Hecatomb is a mental projection of the original Curtis, who wants the life his clone lived for him.

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted in Futurama: Leela always thought that she was an alien who had been abandoned by her parents, but eventually discovers that she has always been a human, albeit a mutant. Her parents left her at an orphanage and made her look like an alien because mutants are horribly discriminated against and since she could pass for an alien, they wanted to give her a better life.
  • The Loud House: Subverted in the episode "Not a Loud". Lincoln finds out that his birth story is missing from his baby book, so he and his friend Clyde try to find out why. They ask Lincoln's four eldest sisters what happened and one of them, Luna, remembers seeing a lot of men in black suits and so the boys wonder if Lincoln is an alien and those guys were The Men in Black, especially because Lincoln has white hair. Eventually, it's revealed that Lincoln is actually human. The guys in black suits were just there because he was delivered by the First Lady.
  • In the season 3 premiere of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Adora is revealed to be a First One who was pulled through one of Hordak's portal experiments as a baby.
  • Wild C.A.T.s (1994) starts with Reno Pryce (a.k.a. Warblade) discovering that he isn't entirely human, but rather has Kherubin roots, being recruited by the Wild C.A.T.s in the first episode.