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Luke, I Am Your Father

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Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Darth Vader: No. I am your father.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (full quote here)

A parent-child relationship between two characters who were previously thought unrelated is revealed, usually with generous dollops of melodrama—blood is, after all, Thicker Than Water. Beloved of soap operas, made famous by the Star Wars films (from which the trope takes its name, though as you can see, it isn't an exact quote).

Whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing for whoever is being given the reveal mainly depends on who is giving the reveal in question. Sometimes an ally, a Mentor or a non-romantic Mysterious Protector will turn out to be the parent of the person being given the reveal, but other times, the reveal of who a character's parent is will be cause for serious anguish, such as someone who just gave his or her life for him, someone who could have been a Love Interest, or worst of all, a villain (maybe even the Big Bad) as in the most infamous Star Wars example.

In cases when villain and hero turn out to be parent and child, count on at least one scene where the hero worries that they will eventually end up like the parent.

Sometimes it's a bogus revelation, and at the end of the episode or plotline the Reset Button is pressed to restore the previous relationship — or lack of one.

Though the trope itself is too fundamental to become Discredited, any permutation of the actual line ("No, X. I am your father.") nowadays will be met with a groan and a "Not again!" from the audience. Also a popular insane fan theory.

Compare with Mysterious Parent, or Family Relationship Switcheroo where the characters were thought to be related, but are not parent and child. Frequently, it's a father-son relationship revealed this way.

This trope was already being mocked back in 1790 by Jane Austen in Love and Freindship (with four grandfather-grandchildren relationships revealed in under a page).

This is a specific variety of The Reveal. The flip-side is Luke, You Are My Father. Compare Long-Lost Relative, Luke, I Might Be Your Father, Everyone Is Related. Contrast with I Am Not Your Father and Mistaken for Related. Sub-Trope of Connected All Along. Frequently occurs alongside Archnemesis Dad.

The subversion is Refused Reunion where the character, after being discovered and confronted by their offspring, denies parentage.

Here is a compilation with a lot of examples of this trope.

Not to be confused with My Real Daddy, which is when fans reject the interpretation of the work by who is technically the original creator, in favor of someone else's superior interpretation. Also not to be confused with True Ancestor, a term for a powerful first-generation vampire or demon.

As this is a Plot Twist, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot: Parodied. Jason is wearing his Darth Vader helmet to see Star Wars: Episode III, but gets stuck in his helmet. His father helps him get free, commenting that he had that problem with his Vader helmet when he was Jason's age.
    Jason: Wait, you're saying that you were a Star Wars fan long before I was?
    Dad: Search your feelings, you know this to be true.
  • Mafalda: Parodied. Remember, the protagonists are all little children.
    Susanita: Felipe, did you get me something for Mother's Day?
    Felipe: Why should I get you something for Mother's Day?
    Susanita: Well, I don't know how to say this... You have to get me something for Mother's Day because...
    (cue melodrama) I AM YOUR MOTHER!
    Susanita: (disheveled and bruised) I don't understand, it works in the soaps!

    Fairy Tales 
  • Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "The Turnip Princess": The main character's father went missing several years ago before the beginning of the story. During one journey, the prince happens upon a talking bear who used to be a man. Once the spell has been broken and his real form has been restored, the "bear" reveals he is the prince's missing father.

  • My Beloved Mother: Sinbell eventually found out the resident doctor, who serves as a Mysterious Protector to him for most of the story, is actually his father, and had actually tried having Sinbell aborted years ago (and still regrets his actions).

  • In the song "The Mayor of Candor Lied", the narrator is in love with the mayor's daughter, but the mayor won't hear of it. In the end we learn why:
    As I look into his leering aged wrinkled mirror of my own face
    He laughs and sneers and says — Of course dear son —
    Where do you think you came from in the first place?

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Shahnameh: Rostam's son is raised without meeting his father for years. The young Sohrab decides to become a hero and gathers up a force. Rostam is the Persian equivalent of Hercules and is meanwhile ordered to subdue the marauding enemies. In the final battle, the father and son engage each other in battle, as no one else is a match for either of them. Although Rostam notices similarities between himself and his enemy, it is not until it is too late when he discovers that he has killed his own son.
  • Irish Mythology: Cuchulainn accidentally kills his son, thinking he is an intruder, only to find out that his son is the victim when it's too late.
  • Oedipus the King: Oedypus, finding out that the woman he married is his biological mother, and that guy he killed years ago on the road was his biological father. Oh, and then he had to tell his daughters "I am your brother." Ouch. He puts out his eyes after that.
  • In the Hildebrandslied, Hildebrand tries to tell Hadubrand that he is his father by offering him the gold arm-rings he received as a gift from the Lord of the Huns. Hadubrand does not buy it, and the two clash swords. Some versions of the story end with Hildebrand killing Hadubrand, while a later version ends with the two reconciling when Hadubrand (in the later version named Aldebrand) reveals that his mother is Uté.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the late 1990s, after The Undertaker's brother, Kane, came to the WWF, it was revealed that Kane's biological father was Paul Bearer, the Undertaker's manager until 1996. The story was Bearer worked in the funeral home run by Taker's parents (Bearer was a licensed mortician/funeral director in real life) and the mother made a pass at him, resulting in a one-night stand ... and Kane 9 months later.
  • The 2005 feud between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Jr. included an angle where Rey's real-life son Dominik Mysterio was revealed to be the (kayfabe) biological son of Guerrero.
    Guerrero: I'M YOUR PAPI!
  • WWE did a story line in 2007 where it was revealed that Vince had fathered a child out of wedlock years ago, and his illegitimate offspring was a member of the current WWE roster. In the end, the child was revealed to be Hornswoggle.note 
    • Originally, it was planned for Mr. Kennedy to be Vince's long-lost son, which was supposed to lead into a main event push. Then Kennedy got busted by the Wellness Policy, so Creative more-or-less scrapped the idea entirely by making it into a comedy angle.
  • During the 2016 Road To Best In The World Dalton Castle was reminiscing about meeting Bobby Fish's children, to which Fish dropped the bombshell that he was Castle's father...he was lying.

  • Spoofed in Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music when, after a series-long Running Gag about Mitch's rivalry with fellow musical satirist Richard Stillgoe, the final episode features him as a special guest, and a showdown between the two performers.
    Stillgoe: Punt and Dennis never told you what happened to your father.
    Benn: You're not my father!
    Stillgoe: No, of course I'm not. Whatever gave you that idea?
  • The Star Wars example is spoofed at the end of Bleak Expectations's fourth season finale, when Big Bad Mr. Benevolent says this to Pip Bin, claiming "your father liked to delegate. A lot." He then follows up by doing the We Can Rule Together offer, which Pip actually takes. When The Creator takes Pip to task, he explains that Mr. Benevolent is and is not Pip's father. Everyone has alternative pasts. Something to do with String Theory apparently. Worth noting The Creator is a particularly ditzy god, by His own admission.


    Stand-up Comedy 
  • Gad Elmaleh parodied this in a stand-up show. His mother, he said, used to tell him that "your father is no Rothschild", i.e. "he's no millionaire, we can't waste money." He then says that he later met Rothschild, only to scream at him: "I know! You're not my father!"
  • There's an old joke about a boy who figures out that he can get adults to give him stuff simply by saying a sly "I know the truth..." and leaving it at that, allowing their minds to jump to "What could he know?" and pay him off without confirming what it is he "knows". Then he tries this on the milkman, who, rather than paying him off, drops down in tears of joy and exclaims "SON!" as he hugs him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Invoked in Exalted, where the Sidereal Exalted have a power, Brother and Sister Revelation, which allows them to invent any sort of blood relationship between two characters and make it metaphysically true.

  • Finale ends with Amy revealing that she is Sam's mother.
  • Happens with the Baker and the Mysterious Man in Into the Woods.
  • In the opera Lucrezia Borgia, the title character turns out to be the mother of the protagonist, the young noble Gennaro, by a previous relationship.
  • The Marriage of Figaro has an instance of this that's similar to the one from The Italian above: Marcellina is about to force Figaro to marry her in lieu of paying off a debt, when a casual comment he drops about a birthmark reveals that she's his mother. They embrace and make up, leading instantly to a classic Not What It Looks Like scenario...
    • Something similar happens in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as the Centurion was intending to marry Hero's love interest. Turns out in the ending that not only was the blind man that Pseudolus attempted to distract by having him run across the hills of Rome seven times was his father, but the Centurion and the love interest were actually siblings (they were kidnapped and separated while they were very young, and it was presumably at a time that they simply had no way of remembering due to not knowing this until after he told them). This was more than enough to allow the Centurion to allow Hero to marry the love interest.
  • In Molière's The Miser (1668) Anselme, the man who Harpagon wants his daughter to marry, ends up being the father of her lover Valère as well as Mariane, the love interest of both Harpagon and his son.
  • Almost in Pokémon Live!. Giovanni used to date Ash's mom, and in the first draft of the show, The Reveal would be made that Giovanni was Ash's dad.
  • Urinetown milks the revelation that Penny Pennywise is Hope Cladwell's mother for all that it's worth.
  • Wicked has the Wizard realize that he's Elphaba's father. Elphaba herself never learns the connection — probably all for the better.
  • At the end of Head over Heels, Pythio, the nonbinary oracle, is revealed as Mopsa's ostracized mother.

    Web Animation 
  • In the third Lazer Collection video, we find out that the detective hero is the son of Doctor Octagonapus.
  • In Proxicide's Mortal Kombat Vs Street Fighter, it is revealed at the very end that Akuma and Ryu are father and son. This deviates from Street Fighter canon a bit — in canon, Gouki is Gouken's younger brother and Ryu's adoptive uncle.
  • The Most In The Graveyard toon on Homestar Runner reveals that Coach Z's aunt is Bubs's uncle, which makes them sixth fourth second fifth cousins thrice removed, according to Bubs.
  • Broken Saints: More like I Am Her Father''. Big Bad Lear Dunham tells the other heroes that he is Shandala's biological father in his Just Between You and Me.
  • In FTL: Kestrel Adventures General "Blackbird" Sandoval is Jose and Ricardo's mother.
  • Ultra Fast Pony uses this as a punchline. It comes out of nowhere and doesn't get followed up on until the next season.
    Twilight: Spike, I don't want you hanging around with Rarity any more.
    Spike: You're not my mom.
    Twilight: What are you talking about? Of course I am.
    Spike: Really?
    Twilight: Yes, Spike, it is true.
    For those unfamiliar with the characters, Twilight is a pony and Spike is a dragon. Later events suggest that Twilight is just delusional about the relationship, and that it's part of a very odd My Beloved Smother complex.
  • Parodied in X-Ray & Vav when it looks like X-Ray is about to be killed by the Corpirate and he laments that he's about to die a virgin and without knowing who his father is.
    Corpirate: What if I told ye... I be ye father?
    X-Ray: (instantly brightening) Really? Papa?
    Corpirate: Of course not ye fool!
  • Dreamscape: In the flashback in "The Mystery of Melinda", Betty never knew the titular witch was her sister. She was intentionally kept in the dark about her sister, because if she found out, that would break Melinda's seal.
  • Parodied in The Begun of Tigtone, where the Ghost Wizard declares dramatically that he is NOT Tigtone's father... But if he were, it would be a terrible shock.

  • Demonseed Redux: Galadrel tells Chica that he is his father. Chica even lampshades the Trope Namer in disbeleif.
  • Girl Genius: At the end of the first major arc, Agatha escapes from Baron Wulfenbach with the newfound knowledge that she is the daughter of famous adventurer Bill Heterodyne.
    • In the next arc, she finds out that her mother Lucrezia was almost certainly the infamous menace known as the Other... shortly before getting a copy of said progenitor's persona uploaded into her mind.
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, the Baron's son, may also be the son of a woman from the lost city of Skifander. This may or may not be related to reports that a princess of Skifander is in Baron Wulfenbach's domains and, according to the Baron, wants Gil dead. Said princess may be the Baron's daughter and thus Gil's sister (probably twins).
  • Earthsong: Willow learns that She's is Earthsong's "Eve" - the first example and eventual mother of the native race of Earthsong's planet.
  • Ozy and Millie: Millie eventually learns that the dread pirate Locke is her father, even though Merlin Sickness makes him look like he's about her age.
  • A variation in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, when Bob first tells Molly that he considers her to be his daughter, even though they are not related.
    • Still later, Jean reveals that because Molly shares some of her DNA, Jean is her mommy, "just a little bit."
  • Revolver Ocelot tells this to Psycho Mantis at one point in The Last Days of Foxhound. Mantis, having killed his father at the age of eight, states that he isn't. Ocelot concedes the point since the only reason he said it was to rip up in Mantis' old wounds.
  • In Drowtales, Ariel understandably starts to become wary of this trope after one time too many.
    • First Jer'Kol tells her he is her father, but it turns out he is really an assassin sent to kill her!
    • Ariel's revelation to the identity of her actual father, Zhor, apparently occurred off-screen but seems to have been taken much better.
    • Mel is really Ariel's mother, a fact that she has trouble accepting thanks to the aforementioned Jer'kol, and in the same line Kalki is really Mel's daughter.
  • Questionable Content references it in this strip.
  • In Looking for Group, when Richard is in the demonic court on the Plane of Suck, he is asked why he travels with Cale. He responds with a mumbled "He's my mother." This gets a "What?" reaction from everyone in the room, including Richard. Probably just a joke, though. But they said that about the rabbit, too, so...
    • Played straight in page 674 where Captain Tah'vraay reveals this to Benny to get her to break the magical block that keeps her from using healing spells.
  • Subverted in the Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures side-comic Abel's Story, in which Abel grows up believing Cid Rewanz is his father, when in fact Cid was killed and replaced with the Incubus Aniz years before Abel was born.
  • Darths & Droids: Repeatedly.
  • In The Order of the Stick:
  • The Mulberry story "Mul/Kerry/Bush" included a scene where George W. Bush tried to escape Mulberry's experiment by claiming he was her father. Since Mulberry has Invisible Parents, she nearly believed him, until Taffy pointed out that her last name isn't "Bush."
  • A variation in The Whiteboard: Jinx's friend Kasi turned out to have been Howie's stepdaughter. Both of them knew, but it was certainly unexpected for the readers.
  • In PepsiaPhobia, Philia reveals that she is Phobia's daughter from the future.
  • In Scandinavia and the World, colonies and independent micro-nations are portrayed as the children of the countries that "own" them.
  • Being the offspring of Satan and Lilith is quite a shock to Lazarus in Underling.
  • In The Silver Eye, Enel had been denying that Velvare Bamidele was his father for years. Finally, after years of silence on the matter, Velvare admitted that he is his son after all.
  • In the furry adult comic, Tina's Story, Tina is told that the man she thought was her stepfather was actually her biological father. Tina's mother was underage when she became pregnant, so they made up about her being raped by a human to cover it up. Stan (the dad) confessed to Tina because she was getting married to a human, and he didn't want to take the chance that Georgette's grudge against humans (over the years she'd taken to heart that humans had hurt her) would taint her marriage. This turns out to be fortunate timing, since Tina not long after after gave birth to triplets, one of whom looked just like Stan.
  • Being a Star Wars parody, of course Blue Milk Special covered this:
    Vader: Yep. I got it on with your mom. You know it to be true.
  • In one issue of Oglaf, a wizard who's fighting a Cthulhu-like monster has used all his spells to no effect and tell his companion that his last spell will allow him to travel back in time and seduce the monster's mother, so that he can invoke this trope and cause the monster to have a Luke Skywalker-esque breakdown. When the companion questions why he can't just lie and say he's the father, the wizard claims that won't work since everyone instinctively know who their parents are. When the warrior is skeptical, the wizard proves it by saying he is the warrior's father, causing him to have a breakdown.
  • A more subdued and non-dramatic version in Dragon Sanctuary. When Dean is told of his bloodline he's able to put together that Merno is his uncle, and the two agree that it's nice to be able to talk about their relation more openly now.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Adrian Raven is revealed to be Diane's biological father.

    Web Original 
  • In "AVGN vs NC", the Nostalgia Critic tries pulling this on the Nerd. It fails.
    NC: Wait! Wait! Would you let your brother die?
    AVGN: Brother? You're my brother?
    NC: Uh, yes! I am your brother!
    AVGN: Well then, surely you know the name of our mother.
    NC: Well of course I know the name of our mother! Eliza... be... (Nerd points Super Scope at Critic) Oh, blame a guy for trying!
  • Brennus: In one of the side arcs, a retired supervillain-turned war hero returns from decades at war, to find he has not one, but two daughters he never new about. One became a super hero, and the other a villain. And their apparently Arch Enemies. Then he reveals that his father, their grandfather, is The Dark, the world's preeminent supervillain. And he reveals this to all three of them in one dinner.
  • In the Legion of Net.Heroes title Dvandom Force, .Sig Lad is revealed to have been the son of Mr. Thingy and the !Visible Woman of the Net.tastic Nine, who was dosed with an unstable form of the Super-Molder Serum, and who managed to escape the Retcon Limbo where the rest of the Nine had been sent through the Dvandom Dial.... No, seriously.
  • Parodied, once again, in College Saga. The Darth Vader Expy Diculous tries to pull this on the hero, only to have two of the party members inform him that "*We* are your parents!". Perhaps the reason the hero doesn't fall for it is that he was already revealed to be the son of Willie Wonka. The final twist is Diculous is their daughter.
  • Seen in the Whateley Universe with Carmilla (Sara Waite). Not only does her father turn out to be the very demon a bunch of occultist wannabes are trying to sacrifice her to, but the first time she faces down the infamous archvillain known as the Necromancer she finds out that he in turn is her uncle!!
  • Inverted in Battle for Milkquarious. Near the end, it is revealed that the villain is White Gold's son.
  • Sockb4by: Doug Jones, to Ronnie Cordova.
  • In Red vs. Blue, the trope is played with in season 1. Sarge, after being shot in the head, talks to Church as a ghost. Sarge laments that he never got to tell Grif the he was his son. The following conversation is something along the lines of:
    Church: That orange guy is your son?
    Sarge: Nope. I just wanted to screw with him one last time.
    • The Freelancer Saga (season 9-10) combines this with The Reveal — the characters involved already know of the connection, but the audience is kept completely in the dark until the very last episode.
    • Season 14 has a humorous example of this in the crossover with DEATH BATTLE! when it turns out that Sarge is Boomstick's long-lost father.
  • Rule 72. Darth Vader is Everyones father. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • The Gungan Council has Darth Apparatus doing this to both Ryori Holloway and Delilah Nepenthe.
  • Appears to be parodied in the original audio story True Blues Retold when the Corn Man throws out the classic line to Frank. It turns out, though, that the villain was deliberately using the famous movie line as an attempt to distract Frank, who was at that moment threatening him with a pipe. It worked, since Frank, a simple farm boy, had never seen The Empire Strikes Back.
  • In the sixth episode of Critters: A New Binge, the Crite President reveals to Christopher that he is his father when the latter finds out that he is half-human and half-Crite.
  • In the fifth season of the webseries Noob, we learn that game master Judge Dead and hacker Tenshirock are actually father and son. A flashback reveals that Tenshirock pulled this twice, the first being when he joined his son's favourite MMO and climbed to the top of the ranking to impress him. (He did not impress him.) note 
    Tenshirock: Théodore, you've really got to stop screaming every time I say that.
  • At the end of Chapter 50 of The New Narnia, Charlie sees Tommy's mother and, after some mental calculous, reveals that he might be Tommy and Katlynn's father.

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Wheiner attempts to blackmail Walsh by threatening to reveal that Shane is Walsh's biological son. Shane never discovers this fact.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", it is revealed that Avatar Roku, Aang's spiritual predecessor, was the great-grandfather of Prince Zuko on his mother's side, making Aang Zuko's great-grandfather in spirit, if not in body. Did we mention that Mark Hamill voices Zuko's father? Cue run-in-the-family memes.
  • Parodied on The Brak Show episode "All That I Desire You", itself a complete send-up of soap operas; Dad is revealed to be living a double life as billionaire oil baron Drake Gainway, and is father to Zorak, Clarence, and his secret third wife Cynthia - in addition to Brak and the Gainway children.
    • And just for extra craziness, when The Brak Show was "hosting" [adult swim]'s New Year's Night, it was revealed that Thunderclese's father was none other than Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a completely different show.
  • Evil Emperor Zurg pulled this during a climactic fight scene with the title character in an episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Quite possibly to give a Shout-Out to Toy Story 2 (Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is a Show Within a Show that got turned into a show. It gets a little headscratch-ey, but the above mention is canon because of this show, which is the derivative work and... yeah, just yeah.) On the other hand, Zurg was implied to have been fooling around, as he then strikes a stunned Buzz and states "Psyche! Made ya look!"
  • Castlevania: Nocturne: Does this twice in the fifth episode "The Natural Order." First is Maria finding out that the Abbot, who she's already furious at for allying with the vampires and making night creatures, is her father. And at the end of the episode, Richter learns that the old man who just killed a vampire with the Belmont Whip is Juste Belmont, his maternal grandfather.
  • In Chaotic, the card game revealed something more of a "I am also your founder" with Kiru, the greatest Overworld hero (even got a beautiful city named after him)and the ancestor to Chaor, currently one of the Overworld's greatest enemies.
  • Code Lyoko: It is revealed just before the Season 2 finale that Franz Hopper, creator of Lyoko, is actually Aelita's father. This also reveals that she is human, and not an A.I. as everyone originally thought.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Numbuh 1 learns in The Movie that the series' Big Bad Father is his uncle (and by extension, that the movie's Big Bad Grandfather is his grandfather). Inverted in the same movie with the Delightful Children, for whom it is revealed aren't actually Father's children but former KND operatives whom he kidnapped and Brainwashed.
    • Also, kind of inverted in that Numbuh Zero, who we haven't seen before, is Nigel's dad, who we have.
    • The comic story "Operation: H.I.S.T.O.R.I.E." reveals the Toiletnator is Numbuh 4's long-lost uncle, though Wally initially thinks he's his dad because the Toiletnator and Numbuh 4's dad are identical when the former is out of costume.
  • Parodied in Dexter's Laboratory when Dexter's dad was making a big deal over not being allowed to get Mom's muffins.:
    Dad: Dexter, son, could you come here for a moment? I'd like to have a word with you.
    Dexter: And just what do you want?
    Dad: (coming out of the shadows) Dexter, I... am your father.
    Dexter: (gasp) That is not possible! Oh, wait, no, you're right.
    And Also:
    Dad: Join me, Dexter. Join the muffin side!
  • Parodied in The Fairly OddParents! in a "copyright-infringing dream sequence":
    Timmy: Hey! You cut off my hand! I've only got two of those!
    Darth Vader-like: Don't worry, you get a new one. A really cool robot one!
    Timmy: How do you know all this?
    Darth Vader-like: Because, Timmy, I am your father. (removes mask to reveal himself as Cosmo)
    Cosmo: Your godfather!
    • A brilliant Continuity Nod to the quote starting the Fairy Odd Parents section here.
  • Parodied in Freakazoid!, in the episode "The Wrath of Guitierrez". During the climax of the episode, Guitierrez is knocked off a platform and hangs dangling over an abyss, and cries for Freakazoid to pull him up.
    Guitierrez: Freakazoid, help me! Would you let your father fall?
    Freakazoid: My father? You're my father?!
    Guitierrez: (glances confused at camera) O-oh yes. I am your father!
    Freakazoid: (goes to help him, stops) W-who was my mother?
    Guitierrez: Uhh... Faye Dunaway?
    Freakazoid: (crosses arms) No she's not...
    Guitierrez: Kaye Ballard?
    Freakazoid: Kaye—nooo.
    Guitierrez: Would you believe Sandy Duncan?
  • Happens in the Futurama DVD movie Bender's Game, the parties being Farnsworth and Igner, the stupidest of Mom's three sons.
    • And an... odd version later: Hermes was the one that approved Bender in the production line (even though he shouldn't have been), making him, in a bizarre sense, Bender's father.
    • This
    Leela: They killed my parents! (Leela is with two cloaked figures when Fry appears)
    Fry: Close (pulls down the hoods to reveal they're both purple-haired cyclopes)
    Leela: They... are my parents.
  • Gargoyles had a unique example of this. Since the eponymous creatures in the main cast are part of an egg-laying species whose members are raised collectively by their home clans (and, thus, do not have any concept of individual parenthood), the show's creator eventually had to directly reveal which characters were the biological offspring of which, as it's never actually stated in-universe for many of them. Specifically, Hudson is Broadway's father, and Othello/Coldstone is Gabriel's father.
  • Gravity Falls has a downplayed variant. You know the author of the Journals? The ones that Dipper's been obsessing over all summer, and trying desperately to figure out who wrote them? Turns out he's Grunkle Stan's twin brother, and therefore Dipper's great uncle. Of course, Dipper's thrilled about this, since the Author's his hero, so instead of a Big "NO!", it's more of a squeal of joy.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "Teela's Quest", the titular character finds out that she's the daughter of the Sorceress. Her mommy gave her Easy Amnesia, though, since Teela was NOT supposed to find out. This would've been true in the 2002 remake, but without the amnesia, had the show continued. Oh, we would've also learned that Fisto was Teela's biological father. For some reason, a couple of episodes seemed to hint that it was Duncan a.k.a. Man-At-Arms (who happens to be Fisto's brother and Teela's adoptive father) instead.
    • Some time after the end of the original animated series, the minicomic The Search for Keldor dropped hints that Skeletor is really King Randor's long-lost brother Keldor, making him Adam/He-Man's uncle. In the 2002 remake, Skeletor was originally named Keldor, but there is no indication that he is related to Randor.
      • While never stated in the show, the writers have since revealed that Keldor was intended to be Randor's half-brother. Same father, different mothers.
  • Parodied in Johnny Bravo.
    Darth Vader knock-off: I did not destroy your second cousin. I am your second cousin!
    Johnny: Nooooooooooooooo!!!
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • In the episode "The Once and Future Thing", it's revealed that Warhawk, assumed to be the Legacy Character of Hawkman, is (or will be) in fact the son of Hawkgirl and Green Lantern John Stewart.
    • "Epilogue", the Fully Absorbed Finale of Batman Beyond, reveals that Bruce Wayne was Terry McGinnis' genetic father. Warren McGinnis' reproductive DNA had been overwritten with Bruce's as part of Amanda Waller's Batman Beyond project.
    • Hades also tries to do this with Wonder Woman, with a twist that he had to resort to a technicality when WW pointed out her origin story doesn't allow her to have a father (she was sculpted of clay and made flesh by the breath of her mother, Hippolyta, instead of born). Hades claimed he helped Hippolyta sculpt her. Shayera suggests Diana use her lasso of truth to get the real story out of him, but Diana decides she just doesn't care if he's telling the truth or not — she already has a real family.
  • In Loulou de Montmartre, the Man with the Silver Cane, is revealed as Count de Lagny, Loulou's father. He survived the fall that supposedly killed him and killed the real Man with the Silver Cane, then took the man's identity so he could keep an eye on Baron de Boriobert and hopefully find his wife and daughter before the Baron could get to them.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In the episode “The Collector”, the main antagonist of the series, Hawk Moth (called Shadow Moth in the fourth season and Monarch in the fifth), is revealed to be Gabriel Agreste, the father of Adrien Agreste (the eponymous Cat Noir). In the episodes “Cat Blanc” and “Ephemeral”, this truth is revealed to Adrien. In the latter, Gabriel tells Adrien, who is transformed into the villain Ephemeral shortly afterward, “Ephemeral, I am your father, Shadow Moth.” In both instances, time was rewound and the incident was reversed.
    • In “The Final Day”, the final episode of the fifth season, this reveal never occurs. Gabriel sacrifices himself as the price for an unknown wish (see Ambiguous Ending) without ever knowing the true identity of Cat Noir. His dying wish to Adrien’s girlfriend Marinette is that Adrien never knows about his own villainous identity, which Marinette honors, thus making this a Subverted Trope.
    • This reveal does occur in Miraculous: Ladybug & Cat Noir, The Movie, which is set in an alternative universe to the main series. In the climax of the film, Hawk Moth and Cat Noir simultaneously discover each other’s true identities. Unlike in the main series, this incident directly leads to Gabriel’s redemption.
  • Moral Orel: The episode "Dumb" shows that Nurse Bendy is Joe's mother. Joe bonds with her much better than he ever did with his aging, senile father or his Promotion to Parent sister, and Nurse Bendy's finally able to throw away the teddy bears she was using as a surrogate family.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: This makes up the bulk of the plot of the episode "Big Reveal". Carol casually reveals to K.O. that Laserblast was his father. Later on, Professor Venomous reveals to K.O. that he was Laserblast, and thus is K.O.'s father, in a scene referencing the Trope Namer - complete with Big "NO!", which Carol hears, prompting her to rush in and discover that her ex is both still alive and now a villain.
  • Parodied in Phineas and Ferb, in the episode "The Chronicles of Meap". The pair mistake an alien villain (named Mitch) is the eponymous Meap's father, due to miscommunication. Later, after having discovered this, Mitch quite explicitly tells Meap "Just so we're clear on this, I am not your father!"
  • A variation was used in the Pale Kids episode of Recess. Lawson hated the Pale Kids because of something that happened to Tiny Sedwick, a kid who had to go to the Pale Kids because he broke his foot while playing Pickle. When telling the leader upfront, the Pale Kids laughed, with Lawson reacting with confusion as to what they think is so funny about his reason, before the leader tells Lawson that he is Tiny Sedwick (or at least was).
  • The final episode of The Replacements reveals that Conrad Fleem is Todd and Riley's uncle.
  • Robot Chicken recreates and elaborates the scene (with Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, too!):
    Vader: No, Luke...I am your father.
    Luke: That's not true! That's impossible!!!
    Vader: And Princess Leia is your sister!
    Luke: That's not true! That's...improbable!
    Vader: And the Empire will be defeated by Ewoks!
    Luke: That's... highly unlikely.
    Vader: And as a child I built C-3PO!
    Luke: ...enh?
    (Cut to some indeterminate time later. Vader is relaxing having a coffee while Luke is learning against the pylon smoking a cigarette.)
    Vader: ...and the Force? Well, that's just microscopic bacteria in your bloodstream called midichlorians...
    Luke: (snuffs cigarette, walking off) Look, if you're not gonna take this seriously, I'm out.
    • Earlier, they parodied it with George W. Bush and his daughter Jenna as Vader and Luke respectively.
    Jenna: That's not true! That's impossible! My real father would let me go clubbing as late as I want! [flips Dubya off]
  • In an episode of Rugrats, Angelica says to Tommy "I am your cousin!" Followed by Tommy's Big "NO!" reaction.
  • Samurai Jack reveals in its penultimate episode that the Daughters of Aku, including Ashi, are literally his children, born of the High Priestess consuming some of his essence years ago. This enables him to take control of her and use her to fight Jack against her will.
  • A big Reveal at the conclusion of the first season of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, where we learn that Brad Chiles and Judy Reeves, two of the members of the original Mystery Incorporated, are Fred's real parents. Mayor Jones actually took Fred away from them when he was a baby.
  • In Skull Island (2023), a mysterious woman named Irene is leading a group of Private Military Contractors to capture Annie off the Isle of Giant Horrors and bring her back to the United States alive. Cap guesses the reason in episode 5, and Irene eventually tells Annie the reason why: she's Annie's long-lost mother who wants to get her daughter back. Annie is shocked to learn this, because she can barely recall having a mother at all from the first six years of her life before she was shipwrecked on a monster island neighboring Skull Island.
  • From South Park episode 201: Eric Cartman, Scott Tenorman's father is also YOUR father!
  • In the third season of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Miss Heinous is revealed to actually be Meteora Butterfly, the half-monster half-Mewman daughter of Eclipsa Butterfly.
  • Steven Universe: Occurs when Rose Quartz is revealed to be the identity assumed by Pink Diamond when she faked her own death, thus making Steven the son of Pink Diamond.
  • Parodied in Teamo Supremo when Skate Lad corners the CheapSkate.
    CheapSkate: You can't turn me in, Skate Lad.
    Skate Lad: Give me one good reason.
    CheapSkate: Well, um, because, uh... Skate Lad, I am your father.
    Skate Lad: Huh?! No you're not; my dad works down at the sporting goods store. I look just like him, loser!
  • Parodied in Teen Titans (2003). In the first episode of the fourth season, Control Freak enters a Star Wars-esque TV show, kicks the Darth Vader lookalike and approached the Luke lookalike with saying, "I am Count Rol Freakow, the twelfth-level space samurai that trained Baran Rang. And... I am your father!". Followed by the typical "NOOOOOOO!!!!"
    • Also played with when Starfire and Killer Moth each try to convince Silkie/Larva M319 to choose between them. Killer Moth's attempt: "Larva M319, I am your father. Join me and we can... go on a picnic or something." Silkie already knew this.
  • Said word for word, in Ultimate Spider-Man, when Spider-Man heard that Power Man's parents are working for Scorpio, Spidey's imagines Dr Doom saying this to Luke Cage.
  • Parodied in The Venture Brothers:
    Monarch: Hank, what if I told you that your mother was someone you've met before? And that your father was not your REAL father?
    Hank: What?
    Monarch: Hank! I am your real father!
    Hank: [utterly unconvinced] No, you're not!
    Monarch PSYCH! Oh man, I totally got you. You were all like, "Oh, daddy! You're my daddy!" You are so gullible, what's that like?
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: At the end of the Season 5 episode "Bloodlines", Krolia confesses to Keith that she is his long-lost mother. We don't actually see his reaction until the next season in the episode "Razor's Edge", which begins right where the last one ended. It's in that episode that we also find out through flashbacks how she met Keith's father.
  • Winx Club has Roxy finding out that Queen of the Earth Fairies, Morgana is her mother.
  • Such a moment happens in W.I.T.C.H. when Caleb finds out that Nerissa is his mother. This wasn't the case in the comics, where Caleb was a flower given a humanoid form.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Irwin eventually finds out that Dracula is his grandfather, something his father was also unaware of, because as a child he was raised by his mother alone after Dracula "left" them.
  • Tangled: The Series delivers a huge Wham Line in the form of this trope in "Destinies Collide"
    Eugene: (bears his neck) Well. What are you waiting for?
    King Edmund: I...I won't fight you. You...are my son.
  • Xiaolin Chronicles: After an Enemy Mine, Chase Young keeps his promise of helping Omi find his real family - it turns out it was Chase himself all along... a plot point which is forgotten after one episode.
  • In X-Men: Evolution (and also in the comics) Nightcrawler is lured out to a construction site with a mysterious note that promises that "everything will be explained". A hooded figure comes out of the shadows (actually, since it is early evening, there aren't many shadows to speak of, so they obviously added this in for dramatic effect) and, after making Nightcrawler squirm in confusion and anticipation for about thirty seconds, throws her hood off to reveal Mystique, Magneto's Evil Chancellor of sorts and says, "Kurt, I'm your mother." For bonus points, she does it a second time with Rogue (who was adopted, but still), though since it was in the middle of Rogue having a mental breakdown from all her absorbed personalities fighting in her head, it wasn't nearly as dramatic.
    • The original 90s cartoon also did this with Nightcrawler and Mystique, but with the added twist that Big Bad leader of the Friends of Humanity Grayden Creed, Jr. (who was already exposed in an earlier episode as being Sabertooth's son) was Mystique's son and Nightcrawler's half-brother (Just like in the comics).
      • X-Men scribe Chris Claremont originally intended Mystique to be Nightcrawler's father — she's apparently a really good shapeshifter — but Executive Meddling derailed those plans.
  • Yin Yang Yo! ended with the revelation that the twins' Mentor in Sour Armor Master Yo was actually their father, who suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia at the hands of his Spirit Advisors so he could train them without any parental bias. Considering that he's a panda while they're rabbits, Yin is understandably confused.

    Real Life 
  • Birds are the direct descendants of non-avian dinosaurs, essentially making them dinosaurs in everything but name.
  • French railroad worker Jean-Marie Loret claimed was the product of an affair between Adolf Hitler and his mother in 1917, when Hitler was a soldier in World War I. However, this claim is considered dubious by scholars for a variety of reasons.
  • The great Hawaiian king Kamehameha's biological father may well have been his rival, Kahekili.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's son with the cleaning lady. He didn't know Schwarzenegger was his dad until the press got hold of the story.
  • There are uncertain claims that O. J. Simpson may be Khloé Kardashian's father.
  • According to an interview in the '90s, Lee Harvey Oswald's youngest daughter, who was an infant at the time of the JFK assassination, grew up under a new name when her mother remarried shortly afterward and didn't know Oswald was her father until she discovered a box of old letters and newspaper clippings in the attic.
  • Jack Nicholson learned, via a reporter during promotion for Chinatown, that his dead sister was actually his mother, his dead mother was actually his grandmother, and a man he never met near his hometown was his father and very much alive. That was one crazy phone call. Details here.
  • Marcus Junius Brutus may have been the son of Julius Caesar, whom he eventually conspired to kill. His mother Servilia was a mistress of Caesar's, but it's more likely he was the son of her husband, Marcus Junius Brutus the Elder.
  • Tony Abbot then Australian Minister for health and future Prime Minister believed that he had fathered an illegitimate son. When he was 22 his then girlfriend, Kathy Donnelly became pregnant. The boy was adopted out and 27 years later contacted his mother who told him that Tony Abbot was his father (which she believed at the time). The man named Daniel O'Connor was an ABC sound recordist in the federal parliamentary press gallery and had been in the room with Abbot numerous times. However, another man contacted Ms. Donnelly saying he believed he was the father, which subsequent DNA tests confirmed.

Alternative Title(s): I Am Your Father, Familial Reveal


Austin and Dr. Evil

Dr. Evil spoofs Darth Vader and claims to be Austin's father, only to admits otherwise.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / LukeIAmYourFather

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