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Remote Body

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Spider-Man/Peter Parker: Anyway, Mr. Stark, you didn't have to come all the way out here. I had that, I was fine.
Tony Stark/Iron Man: Oh, I'm not... here.
[Iron Man's visor opens to reveal an empty helmet, as the camera cuts to Tony controlling his armor from the other side of the world]
Tony: Thank God this place has Wi-Fi, or you would be toast right now.

A character has one or more bodies that can be operated remotely. Likely with equal or greater performance than if said character was physically present. Distinct from Fighting a Shadow in that the character is not an Eldritch Abomination with only a small piece sticking out in our time and space, but a person (human, alien, whatever) that operates a separate device or number of devices. Although, this distinction can get a little messy if, for example, a Brain in a Jar or a digitized mind was given remote control of one or more machine bodies.

Perhaps they are robots, cloned cyborgs, hard light, zombies, whatever. For story purposes what matters most is whether or not Your Mind Makes It Real, to what degree they are synchronized, and if the connection can be sabotaged.

Compare and contrast: Actually a Doombot, Astral Projection, Body Surf, Decoy Getaway, Demonic Possession, Enemy Without, "Freaky Friday" Flip, Hive Drone, Little Green Man in a Can, Mobile-Suit Human, Myself, My Avatar, People Puppets, Powered Armor, Robot Me, Self-Duplication, and Soul Jar. Puppet Fighter is when this becomes a gameplay mechanic.


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  • An early-1970s PSA about physical fitness warned of a future where "automation and machines" have done-away with human bodies. During the commercial, the human head in a box is dependent on his robot. When he wants to leave, he keeps calling out to the robot body, which has wandered off, stranding the person. Used as a reminder to keep a physical fitness routine.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Battle Angel Alita, Desty Nova cures his son's split personality by building a remotely controlled robot body to channel the other mind. Sechs, Alita's brother has a tinier and Super-Deformed body known as an Interactive Interface, where his brain chip is actually stored, controlling his main body from afar. It saved his life after he lost against Zekka and his main body was destroyed in an antimatter explosion.
  • In Bleach, Guile Hero and Gadgeteer Genius Urahara reveals he has a Gigai (an artificial body that spiritual beings can use to interact with the real world) that he can control remotely.
  • In Buso Renkin, one of the power's of Captain Baravo's Silver skin is that he can move it and use it as a second body (which he often does while wearing another one with his second kakugane). However, it can't be too remote, as he has to have line-of-sight to the action to make it work.
  • Mitori Kousaku in A Certain Scientific Railgun can control liquid metal from a distance. While she can shape it into any form, she finds it easiest to control when it's the same size and shape as her own body. The remote body can hear but lacks a sense of sight (which she gets around by attaching a camera to it).
  • Ghost in the Shell:
    • In Ghost in the Shell 1.5 and 2, Motoko Aramaki (one of the Major/Puppet Master hybrid's copies) almost exclusively operates through remote bodies stashed all over the planet, while her real body is safe in a private submarine. She sometimes hijacks other people's bodies too.
    • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Major Kusanagi (and presumably other characters) can remotely control robot bodies. At the end of the first season, she uses this ability to avoid being killed.
  • This is Nagato's primary ability in Naruto. He has six bodies that he can control from a pretty long distance that do all the fighting for him under the alias "Pain," as he is himself too physically weak to fight. He also tries to hide his existence as best he can, controlling the bodies while he conceals himself far away.
  • Donquixote Doflamingo in One Piece can generate puppet clones of himself to fight other people without having to move from his palace. He also uses this technique in close proximity to himself to confuse opponents on which one is real and which one is fake. Gekko Moriah can do this too to an extent, combining it with Fighting a Shadow in that the shadow can manifest itself as a full physical copy of himself with all of his fighting skill and powers. Capone Bege, as part of the powers that make him a living, walking castle, can control a replica of himself inside his own body, to speak with his soldiers and prisoners face-to-face while his actual body acts normally.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it's revealed that becoming a Magical Girl means having your soul removed and placed inside a gem, which becomes your real body. Your original becomes this, little more than a corpse that you can sense through and remotely control from a distance of up to 100 meters.
  • In Toriko, the GT Robos are robotic remote bodies people use to do business in places too dangerous for them. They are first seen being used as weapons by the antagonistic Gourmet Corp, but they also have non-martial applications. One chef uses a GT Robo to run her restaurant since it's located in the Black Lake, a place that is too dangerous for regular humans.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, this is how Marik duels Yugi during the Battle City tournament, by possessing a mime without a mind of his own and using him as a proxy. Said mime also has Slifer the Sky Dragon in his deck.

    Comic Books 
  • In Alpha Flight, Gadgeteer Genius Cripple Roger Bochs has a robot called Box that he controls with a neural interface helmet.
  • In Astro City, the Death-Walker robots are controlled by human operators from a remote location.
  • The Fantastic Four villain called the Mad Thinker was able to operate out of prison in this way for years. One wonders if he ever wanted to taste some real food, though.
  • Robot from Invincible is actually a genius whose deformities mean he can't live outside of a jar. He remotely operates a drone which becomes part of a superhero team. He eventually uses the genetic material of one of his late teammates, Rex Splode, to clone himself a new body.
  • Iron Man: Tony can remote-control his suits at a distance, even using a remote-controlled armor while he is crippled. While off in space during his stint with the Guardians of the Galaxy, he can still perform heroics on Earth by way of another remote-controlled armor.
  • Marvel 2099: Ethan Shields, who is sort of the 2099 equivalent of Iron Man under the name Galahad, operates entirely like this, because he suffers immunodeficiency and can't leave his protective force field.
  • PS238: When Tyler was infected with an alien virus and put in stasis, Victor von Fogg cloned him and replaced most of the clone's brain with a remote-control device linked to Tyler's virtual interface in order to cover this up. However, unknown to von Fogg, a temporal duplicate of Tyler was simultaneously conscious in the Castle Beyond Space and Time. The resultant feedback loop meant that the clone developed independent consciousness, while a meddling angel and demon gave him superpowers; he's now known as "Toby".
  • Star Wars:
    • In Dark Empire, Luke Skywalker could create a remote body and even use the Force with it, though apparently, it could only go so far from him. This power is never used again by anyone, and his sister refers to it as a Sith trick.
    • Similarly, in Star Wars (Marvel 1977), the Wheel's Master Computer (named Master-Com) is able to use multiple robot bodies as avatars and switch between them at need, such as when the Master-Com deliberately provokes some stormtroopers into destroying his current robot body (the computer is allowed to resist violence) instead of simply ordering the computer to shut down (the computer would have had to obey the order). He simply switches to a new robot body.
  • The Surrogates portrays a society where practically everyone save for a small religious group uses remotely controlled androids called "surrogates". As a result, murder is practically unknown.
  • NoMan of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents can transfer his consciousness into and out of several (disposable, if necessary) android bodies because of a Emergency Transformation.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Byrna Brilyant, the Snowman, can remotely pilot her "Snowman" Powered Armor and the several dozen identical robots/extra "Blue Snowmen" suits she's created.
  • X-Men: Multiple Man was presumed this before Jamie Madrox got any Character Development. Depending on the Writer and plot, his dupes may function as Remote Bodies, or he may have to explain why any of them may operate independent of his will.
  • In one Zot! story, cyborg supervillain Dekko seems to accidentally kill himself while foolishly playing with Zot's raygun. Zot doesn't buy it for a second — he knew that gun was out of juice. He theorizes that Dekko used a remote-controlled robot to fake his death for some reason, and is proven right when they meet again later on.

    Fan Works 
  • In FREAKIN GENSOKYO, Kaguya is given a remote-controlled Master Chief-style robot avatar so she can fight a Lunarian scouting party without being seen in person.
  • In The Ronless Factor, Drakken's new plan for taking over the world involves creating synthodrone copies of key people he has captured and replaced. The synthodrones can be controlled by the mind of the original via an elaborate transmission network, but Drakken can program the synthodrones to obey his commands. At one point he almost kills an injured Shego using the synthodrone copy of Kim's mother, and even tries to use Anne to kill Kim. Later on, although the synthodrone Will Du has been fitted with a device to block Drakken's remote commands, Drakken is able to order Will's body to attack his own Global Justice team during the final battle, even while Will's mind remains active and allows him to talk while he's fighting.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Meta-Coolers in Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler. They're all extensions of the planet-sized spaceship that saved what was left of Cooler's body (a little less than half his head).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Asylum (1972 Horror), Dr. Byron's goal is to project his consciousness into a miniature robot modeled after himself, thus bringing it to life under his mental control. He succeeds in this, but unfortunately for him, the link between him and the miniature goes both ways.
  • Avatar: Protagonist Jake Sully spends most of the movie as the controller of an Avatar, a synthetic Na'vi body, since the air of the Na'vi's planet Pandora is toxic for humans.
    • By the time of Avatar: The Way of Water, only Norm is seen using an Avatar. Jake's mind has been transferred permanently into his Avatar body by Eywa making him a Na'vi, Dr. Grace Augustine has passed and the Recombinants (including Colonel Quaritch) are autonomous Avatar clones of dead human marines.
  • Futureworld has an early example, when the protagonists control two boxing androids in an arcade game.
  • Gamer: The hero spends most of the movie being controlled like a video game Space Marine then at the end puppeteers the Big Bad, kind of.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: This incarnation of Mechagodzilla is controlled by Ren Serizawa via Electronic Telepathy which harnesses the psionic capabilities of Ghidorah's remains, enabling Ren to manipulate the Mecha like an extension of himself whilst his real body enters a trance in the meantime. At least, that's how it works until Ghidorah's subconsciousness sabotages the connection and takes control of the Mecha for itself.
  • Hardcore Henry: Jimmy has a multitude of bodies he can switch between, to accommodate the fact that he himself is wheelchair-bound.
  • Iron Man 3: Due to some new gadgets, Tony can remotely operate some of his suits.
  • Real Steel: Atom's shadow function allows it to mimic Charlie's boxing to a exacting degree.
  • In The Rise of Skywalker, Supreme Leader Snoke turns out to be one for the real Big Bad, Emperor Palpatine, who's mobility is limited due to being resurrected in a semi-zombie-like state.
  • Surrogates: The titular surrogates are robots that are remotely piloted by users in their homes, and have become ubiquitous in society, replacing human interaction entirely. The Prophet also turns out to be this for Lionel Canter.

  • The Culture: Culture Minds control avatar bodies to interact with the people they watch over.
  • In The Dresden Files, demons use these to manifest in the regular world. Sufficiently strong beings also can make and use those if they want, as the Summer Lady Aurora demonstrated.
  • In Hurog, Oreg, who is castle Hurog is this, in a way. He can feel damage done to the castle, and see into every single room. The body with which the protagonist interacts seems to be made of flesh and blood, but is immortal unless killed by Oreg's owner (ownership is determined by a ring that is passed on in the Hurog family). It is mentioned that killing Oreg would also damage the castle, which is why previous owners had Oreg punished by someone else, in order to not kill him. Oreg's body can be away either from the castle or from his owner, but not from both. Being forced into it makes him extremely uncomfortable, longer distances cause him pain, maybe because it causes the remote control to not function properly anymore; it is never explained in detail.
  • In Imperial Radch, Radch's AIs have hundred, is not thousands of "corpse soldiers", which are basically lobotomized humans that AIs can hop in and control — usually, they do so with many at once.
  • Aristide, the protagonist of Implied Spaces, makes use of this trope just like every other being in his verse.
  • In Incandescence, Rakesh and Parantham use remote bodies that resemble jelly babies to explore hostile environments. These bodies can be as large or small as necessary, can adjust their senses to perceive different kinds of stimuli, and can use ion thrusters to get around.
  • A few of the steammen from the Jackelian Series are able to project their consciousness into non-sentient drones called "mu-bodies", using them as everything from handymen to expendable combatants.
  • This is the entire premise of Kiln People. One can make duplicate bodies out of a special clay, and send them off to do things.
  • New Kashubia Series: The hero spends most of the second book as the controller for a telepresence human-ish robot.
  • While most Living Dungeon stories have either a Core or an Avatar, in "No Need for a Core?"?, dungeons have both. Typically they start with only the core and develop the avatar later. This mostly acts as a remote body with extra processing until the avatar can be enhanced to leave the dungeon's territory, at which point it is autonomous but with a spiritual link back to the core, where the soul resides. This means that the death of an invested avatar is impermanent, with all memories being returned to the core which can rebuild the avatar with time and effort.
  • Rebuild World:
  • Robot Series:
    • "The Bicentennial Man": After Andrew requests that his robot body be upgraded to a more human-like body, US Robots starts to manufacture robots with their positronic brains separate from their robot bodies, similar to the DV series from "Catch That Rabbit". Sir considers this a sign of reactionary backtracking as they try to avoid getting more robots that want their bodies replaced.
    • "Catch That Rabbit": The DV series model is of a central robot with six additional robots networked to function as subsidiary systems. While each "finger" is capable of independent thought, they are networked together under the central command, following Dave's orders.
  • Sacrid's Pod by Adam-Troy Castro: The main character, who is in a prison run by A.I.s, can interact with the outside world via robot probes, receiving sensory input as if she was really there. The probes can be made to appear as she wishes and, to outsiders, are indistinguishable from real lifeforms.
  • The title character of The Ship Who Searched puts a lot of money into building herself a remote body because she's a spaceship and wants to have legs.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, Potimas never leaves the safety of his hidden base beneath the Elf Village. Instead, he remotely pilots magitech clones of his body whenever a matter requires his personal attention.
  • Waldo is about the inventor of remote manipulation devices, mostly hands and arms of various sizes but Waldo also uses complete bodies sometimes. It's become a real-life term for remotes, too.
  • Whateley Universe: The "communications android" being controlled by someone in Loose Cannons Chapter 2.
  • In Worm, one of the parahumans living in Brockton Bay is Parian, who power allows her to animate cloth golems. She uses this to get jobs doing promotions for local businesses until the town is attacked by Leviathan and she volunteers to help defend it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: In the episode "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification", Sheldon decides to stay in his room for the rest of his life in order to live long enough to witness The Singularity, so he rigs a "virtual presence device" to take his place on the outside world. It's basically a video screen on a mobile stand with one of his shirts draped on it. He insists that the others behave as if the device were him, which no one does.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "I, Robot, You, Jane", a demon creates a mechanical robot self he operates via the internet. Eventually, he gets stuck in that body.
  • An episode of Crusade has Galen generate a sort of remote hologram of himself to discover who has been kidnapping and vivisecting crewmembers who got seperated from the others while on the planet.
  • This is the premise of the Doctor Who episode "The Rebel Flesh". At least, until a storm hits and what are supposed to be remote-operated bodies develop an independent consciousness...
  • Played with in Mystery Science Theater 3000 with the Observers. They claim that their bodies are operated remotely (as their brains are located in bowls), but if their brains are more than a few feet away from their bodies they become completely helpless.
  • In Robot Combat League contestants from many walks of life are given a chance to win a boxing match consisting of 8 plus foot tall Motion Capture Mechas.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Occasionally used in Eclipse Phase, though full Brain Uploading is just as common.
  • Exalted gives us the Alchemicals, whose bodies become too small for them as their Essence score increases and must make the leap to first Colossi and then Metropoli/Patropoli. As there are times when they need to interact with the populace, however, they have access to Charms that allow them to produce a human-sized version of themselves.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones has both cybernetic and biotech versions. The biological version is a bit more dangerous, though, as they're somewhat smart, and maybe a little vindictive.
  • Riggers in Shadowrun can "jump" into drones or modified vehicles and take direct control. If the proxy is destroyed before the rigger can jump out, he suffers painful biofeedback called dumpshock.
  • This is a central component of Transhuman Space. People, especially AIs, rent (rarely purchase) cybershells designed for their environment or the job they're doing at the moment.

    Theme Parks 
  • In Universal Studios' Horror Make-Up Show, the robotic werewolf has his movements controlled remotely via a special vest and helmet that the volunteer wears. Whatever movements the volunteer makes, the werewolf will duplicate it exactly.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Terror Drones were (and possibly still are) remote-piloted by controllers (one of which spent a liiiiittle too much time driving one as he was then caught attacking subway passengers with a cattle prod).
  • This is the premise of Cortex Command, in which humans, being brains in jars, operate robotic or Meat Puppet bodies.
  • In Evolve, the robot addressed as Bucket is a remote-controlled drone. His actual mind is stored within the ship.
  • The Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues has the Player Character become this trope for most of the DLC. The Courier's brain is surgically removed (along with their heart and spine) and replaced with a remote receiver. The trouble is, the geniuses of the Think Tank then immediately lose track of said organs; the Courier's main motivation in the DLC's main questline is to locate and retrieve the missing pieces.
  • Final Fantasy VII:
    • Cait Sith was really a high ranking member of Shinra operating a false body apparently operating another false body. Very Celtic.
    • The Sephiroth you encounter throughout the game is not the actual Sephiroth, but a copy made using JENOVA. The real Sephiroth is frozen in a lifestream crystal, controlling this copy mentally.
  • Iron Helix: The player character never actually steps one foot onboard the ship that the game takes place on, instead they send a zoological probe that can be remote-piloted. The reasons being that a biological weapon was released onboard the ship, and the ship's automated security drone is in a "kill-on-sight" mood.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Mass Effect 3, EDI gains control over a Cerberus-built robotic body. She's still physically located within the Normandy and any damage to the body will have no effect on her, but she can control it as long as it's within range of the Normandy's communications array, which can reach anywhere in the galaxy.
  • Warframe: The titular Warframes themselves are actually remote bodies controlled by the player character (known as the Tenno or Operator) using the Somatic Link and a process known as Transference. The Tenno themselves are actually held in cryosleep and control the Warframes from within a dreamlike state known as "The Second Dream"; players can awaken from the Second Dream by completing the quest of the same name.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Big spoilers here, you've been warned. An early-game reveal is the fact that not only is the player character operating a robot body, so is everyone else in New Los Angeles. The robot bodies, called "mimeosomes", were intended to be long-lasting vessels/puppets for the humans' minds just in case the search for a new habitable planet took longer than a lifetime. They near-perfectly mimic all human bodily functions (including eating and sleeping), which explains how the player character never realized something was up. The actual minds are stored in the Lifehold, which is why BLADE is so focused on finding it.
  • Xenosaga has a couple of these too, particularly Doctus and Wilhem. Doctus employs multiple android replicas of herself that are all tied into her consciousness (she's also hinted to be a cyborg herself) so she can be multiple places at once and operate in public without leaving her secret base. Series Big Bad Wilhelm, meanwhile, has a giant mecha named Joshua; unlike the other mechs in the series, Joshua is actually an extension of Wilhelm's physical body.

    Web Animation 
  • Played with in gen:LOCK with Holons, the series' signature Humongous Mecha. Rather than being piloted from an internal cockpit, Holons are operated via a cyberbrain, letting the pilot effectively become the mech. However, this isn't remote control as such; while undergoing gen:LOCK, the pilot's consciousness is entirely contained within the cyberbrain, not their original body. While any damage to the chassis can be repaired, enough damage to the cyberbrain would mean the death of the pilot.

  • In Girl Genius, one Mad Scientist keeps a supply of robotic doubles and operates them remotely.
  • In the "Railway Children" arc of Skin Horse, it is revealed that Violet Bee is a gynoid body being remotely operated by a male human.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, this is revealed to be the true nature of Oasis and Kusari's supposed "immortality". They are actually artificially intelligent supercomputers that are controlling human clone bodies from a distance. Oasis can only control one at a time, but Kusari can control multiple at once.
  • Moire Dziva in Umlaut House 2 prefers to meet people using dragon like "marionettes".

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In the episode "Ex Mach Tina", Tina is incapacitated by a sprained ankle and takes part in an experimental program where she continues to attend classes remotely via a robot. The robot gets accidentally put in the broom closet, where Jimmy Jr. is hiding, and the two end up bonding, so Tina decides to continue to see Jimmy through the robot because she's too awkward to meet him in person. Also, Gene and Louise play with the robot after hours and mess with the night janitor.
  • Love, Death & Robots: In "Sonnie's Edge", bioengineered monsters are remotely piloted by humans with cranial devices in underground fights. In Sonnie's case, her human body is the drone, and her beast is her "real" body containing her brain.
  • NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core: Ish controls a robot called the Sub.
  • Lord Boxman's robots in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes are basically all using remote bodies (with the apparent exceptions of Jethro and maybe Ernesto). Their bodies are mass-produced and their minds just jump to a new one whenever the body they're using is destroyed. This is partly why Boxman is so casual about mistreating them or sending them on suicide missions. The bots themselves are just as happy to abuse this, such as an occasion where Darrell blew up one of his bodies because he thought it was funny. This also technically means that the heroes are always just Fighting a Shadow.
  • Transformers:
    • The Optimus Prime clone in the episode "A Prime Problem" from The Transformers, which Megatron controls and speak through.
    • Nemesis Prime from Transformers: Prime is a remote-controlled robot created by the human villain group MECH.