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Role Swap AU

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In a Role Swap Plot, characters experience an Alternate Reality Episode in which they briefly switch roles with someone else, or travel to an Alternate Universe where their roles are different from that of their home universe.

But what if the roles aren't switched during the story? What if they were switched from the start, and this new reality is completely treated as the norm? Then you have this trope.


Also known as "Role Reversal", a Role Swap AU is a common What If? fanfic premise in which two or more characters switch roles and/or alignments with each other, with the subsequent story exploring how plot events alter, diverge, or stay the same because of this swap.

Compare Film Fic, a similar Fanfiction premise where a familiar story is retold using characters from a different fandom.

Fanwork Examples (sorted by source material):

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Code Geass fanfic Code Geass: Reverse switches the roles of the Lamperogue siblings, with Nunnally becoming the protector for her younger, blind, and crippled brother Lelouch. Other swaps include between Suzaku and Kallen (with Suzaku being the half-Japanese freedom fighter and Kallen being a pure-Britannian soldier) and between Cornelia and Euphemia by their age and viceroy position.
  • A Digimon Adventure 02 fanfic of the same name switches the role of Ken and a Gender Flip Daisuke, with Ken leading the Digidestined with the DigiEgg of Courage, while Daisuke is the Digimon Emperor.
  • Fairy Tail fanfic Alternate Tail Series uses this as the main premise, with the primary team consisting of Gajeel (switching with Natsu), Lyon (Gray), Mirajane (Erza), Levy (Lucy), and Pantherlily (Happy).
  • Fate Series:
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
    • Grand Arcanum is a Patchwork Fic between the anime and manga continuities with a few roleswaps. For example, Hohenheim died during the brothers' childhood instead of Trisha.
    • light up all the years and watch them burn switches the roles of Trisha Elric and von Hohenheim, with Trisha becoming the Royal Alchemist's daughter Varsha made immortal by the Dwarf-in-the-Flask during his plot, while Hohenheim is a regular Amestrian named Theodore Elric living in Resembol. Interestingly, Ed and Al are aware of their Xerxesian heritage since they are young, with both of them having the true names Esmail and Anil.
    • In Threads of Time, the Elric brothers' situations are reversed; Al lost an arm and a leg, while Ed lost his whole body.
  • The Kill la Kill fanfic Maim de Maim features an AU where Satsuki is the rebellious student investigating her father's death and Ryuko is the Student Council President at Honnouji Academy.
  • The My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! fanfic My Next Life as a Light Mage switches the lives of Maria Campbell with the Original Katarina Claes. In the case of commoner Katarina Campbell, the discrimination and rumors springing from her Light Mage led to her experimenting with her power, eventually using it to manipulate the body functions of those that treated her and her mother ill.
  • Naruto:
    • Dead Garden has Sakura as the vessel for the Nine Tails instead of Naruto. Sakura sees her already low-confidence taking a hit as a result of learning this; meanwhile Naruto stays the same personality-wise, but ends up becoming a medical ninja to assist his mother.
    • Alternate Hosting is a drabble series similar to the above example, with each chapter exploring how the other members of the Rookie Nine handle being the host of the Nine Tails.
  • The Sarazanmai fics A Maze of Briars and Harmonization swap the roles and ages of each sibling pairs, making Chikai, Otone, and Haruka middle schoolers and the new kappa trio.
  • The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fanfiction Tengen Toppa Gurren Solvernia switches the roles of Nia and Simon, with Nia being the young orphan who follows Kamina to the surface with her Gunman Solvernia, while Simon is the discarded son of Lordgenome.
  • Reversal of Fate is a Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- fanfic where Sakura and Syaoran's role in the story are swapped, with Syaoran being the one who lost his memory, and Sakura going on a quest to retrieve them.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Reverse tales: Jasmine has Aladdin as the Prince and Jasmine as the street rat. In addition, Abu and Rajah swap roles, Cassim is now Sultan, and Jafar is replaced with an Original Character named Jaara.
  • How Far Do These Roots Go Down? is set in a version of Encanto where the Madrigals' gifts go to different members of the family. Isabela gets Bruno's gift, Bruno gets Antonio's gift, Dolores and Julieta swap gifts, and so on.
  • "Embers" is a one-shot Frozen (2013) fic where Hans is the one born with powers, while Elsa is the visiting royal who manages to prompt him to reveal his magic. She even paraphrases one of his lines from the film ("don't be the monster they fear you are"), albeit in a much tamer context.
  • The How to Train Your Dragon fanfic Dragon Souls features Astrid as the one who was taken away by dragons at the age of three, while Valka remains on Berk. The events of the story are an alternate telling of the second film, with Astrid being a Feral Child due to being raised by dragons. As an aside, Word of God states Hiccup's sister took Astrid's place for the events of the first movie.
  • The Punk of Podunk is a Zootopia fanfic where Nick Wilde is the rookie cop, while Judy Hopps is the troubled delinquent he butts head with on his first major duty. The plot of the fic has almost nothing to do with the actual canon story line, however, as it took place 6 years before the canon timeline, and takes place in a completely different precinct.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs has several, including "What if Tom ended up leading the Animorphs?" (while Jake is a Controller), "What if Jake was stuck in morph?" (instead of Tobias), "What if Marco was the one split in half in #32?" (instead of Rachel), "What if James, not David, became the seventh Animorph?" (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), "What if Elfangor and Loren raised Tobias?" (in which Mertil and Gafinilan give the Animorphs their powers and then die instead of Elfangor), "What if Tobias and Rachel lived in NYC post-war?" (in which Jake killed Tom and then died instead of Rachel), and "What if Peter and Naomi got married?" (instead of Peter and Nora).
  • The Sacred and the Profane is a Good Omens fic in which Crowley is an Angel and Aziraphale is a demon.
  • Harry Potter:

    Live-Action TV 
  • 13 Reasons Why: The Tapes Of Clay Jensen. As the title implies, it's a role reversal of Clay Jensen and Hannah Baker's respective roles in 13 Reasons Why. Stations of the Canon included Hannah receiving the tapes, Clay's suicide, and a character who's entrusted to the tapes. Most of the tape subjects are the same, but there is more divergence in Clay's reasons compared to Hannah's canon reasons, even if they share most of the same people. The tape subjects are Justin, Jessica, Alex, Tyler, Tony, Marcus, Zach, and Bryce. And Hannah's not even a reason at all. The changes also lead to Hannah and Clay having an explicitly sexual relationship at times, and this results in Hannah getting pregnant by Clay.
  • Vigilantes' Dawn is an Arrowverse Fanfic where Oliver took his girlfriend Laurel onto the Queen's Gambit instead of Laurel's sister Sara. This leads to a number of changes, including Oliver/Laurel being the Official Couple (with no hopes of Olicity ever happening), Laurel being able to reunite with Oliver before he returned to Starling City and Sara becoming a detective during the five years they were gone. While the story itself starts off with Stations of the Canon, eventually the smaller changes begin building up to larger changes, leading to increasingly different outcomes for canon events.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Last of the Time Lords has the Tenth Doctor sacrifice himself in his final story to save the Master (who does not get sent back to Gallifrey) and thus dies for real, making the Master the one who ends up experiencing the events of Series 5. On a smaller note, Amy is erased by the cracks in the universe and ends up as an Auton Roman centurion instead of Rory.
    • In the The Roleswap-Doctor Chronicles series, each incarnation of the Doctor swaps roles and actors with their most famous companion.
  • How Could You Forget? is a True Blood fanfic where in season 4, the witches erase Bill Compton's memories instead of Eric Northman's. This means that not only do Bill and Eric end up swapping roles for the duration of season 4, but we also see this role swap extend down to their respective progenies, Jessica and Pam, since the progeny is still the one who agrees to help Sookie cover up the amnesiac vampire, but is eventually pressured by threats into revealing the truth to the non-amnesiac one of the two.

    Video Games 
  • In Iris Hawthorne: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright was killed by Dalia Hawthorne to obtain the poison-holding pendant, framing her sister Iris for her crime. After being found innocent, Iris chose to study law and became a defense lawyer, taking the place of protagonist for the series. Meanwhile, Mia Fey is the one who is poisoned by Dahlia, while Diego Armando becomes the mentor for rookie attorney Iris and is killed during her second case.
  • Danganronpa: There are several stories that swap around killers, victims, survivors and even entire casts.
    • and back to despair again switches the cast of Danganronpa 1 and 2, but doesn't go with a direct character-to-character switch. Nekomaru Nidai is the protagonist of the Killing School Life, Mondo Oowada is the protagonist of the Killing School Trip, Aoi Asahina was the Future Foundation spy, Hiyoko takes Mukuro's place as the disguised imposter and Peko Pekoyama is the original Mastermind.
    • Similarly, Danganronpa Class Swap also switches the position between Class 78 and 77. Here, Mahiru is the protagonist of the Killing School Life and Mukuro the protagonist of the Killing School Trip with Chiaki Nanami as the mastermind and the Ultimate Imposter naturally taking Mukuro's place as the disguised imposter.
    • Based on the above is Danganronpa Class Switch which swaps all three casts around, with Rantaro as the protagonist of the Killing School Life, Leon as the protagonist of the Killing School Trip, Kaito as the Mastermind behind the Killing Games and Tsumugi standing in for Mukuro as the missing, disguised student.
    • Another swap AU of the casts of the first two games can be found in GameBawesome's Alternative Class Despair series, with Chiaki serving as protagonist of the Killing School Life. Notably, unlike the previously-mentioned examples, Junko is still the mastermind here, she just chose to brainwash her classmates in Class 78 into Despair rather than her upperclassmen in Class 77.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony fanfic I'd Trade My Life For Yours has Shuichi taking the fall for Rantaro's death in place of Kaede, leaving the guilt-ridden pianist as the protagonist for the rest of story.
    • Danganronpa: Parallel Island, part of a larger story called Danganronpa The PARALLEL, follows a similar example to the first three, switching the casts between the two games with a twist. In here, Class 78 is forced to participate in the Killing School Trip. In addition to the initial class switch, four characters from Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School have been included as participants, consisting of Koichi Kizakura, Kyosuke Munakata, Ruruka Ando, and Ryota Mitarai.
      • Unusually for this kind of role swap fic, aside from Usami/Monomi, Chiaki is the only character besides Izuru occasionally popping in via monologues from the second cast to stay, serving as the protagonist alongside Mukuro.
  • The Devil Survivor fanfic series "Following the shepherd" features an AU that swaps most of the major characters' roles - but most significantly, Abel is the one granted eternal life and memory instead of his brother, while Cain is the one to inherit the potential to become King of Bel.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • Verdant Flower, Crimson Wind has Edelgard take Dimitri's role as the Sole Survivor of the Adrestian Imperial Family being massacred while in a foreign land (now the Tragedy of Brigid instead of Duscur, which means Petra takes Dedue's role as Edelgard's closest confidant). Meanwhile, Claude takes Edelgard's canon role as the ruler being backed by Those Who Slither In The Dark, now going by the alias "The Storm Caller" rather than Edelgard's "Flame Emperor" title with Hilda taking Hubert's role as The Dragon.
    • An Eagle Among Lions largely takes place in a timeline where Edelgard has only one Crest and all of her siblings are alive, and the tragedies that befell her in her world were instead inflicted upon Dimitri in addition to the Tragedy of Duscur. Dimitri takes on Edelgard's role as the Flame Emperor equivalent, calling himself "The Hurricane King", and Mercedes, of all people, is his loyal Death Knight, on account of her half-brother Emile dying as a victim of the aforementioned Tragedy. In addition, Thales has taken on the form of Felix's father Rodrigue instead of Edelgard's uncle Volkhard von Arundel, and Kronya uses Felix's brother Glenn as her disguise instead of that of Monica von Ochs (who shows up much later in a minor role as one of Emperor Burkhart's consorts).
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: It's common in fanworks for Glamrock Freddy to swap roles with one of the enemy animatronics, usually Roxanne Wolf or Montgomery Gator. Security Breach: Roxy's Racing Champ is one such example.
  • DisneymlpZeldalover's Kingdom Hearts (Roleswap AU) series of fics has Kairi as the Keyblade wielder, Riku as the Prince of Heart, and Sora as the one who ends up falling into darkness. Meanwhile, Minnie ends up leaving Disney Castle to deal with the Heartless problem instead of Mickey; Daisy, Clarabelle Cow, and Tinker Bell replace Donald, Goofy, and Jimminy as Kairi's companions; Hades and Maleficent switch ranks among the Disney villains; Yuffie becomes the member of the Final Fantasy VII party who is separated from the others and fights Kairi in Olympus Colosseum instead of Cloud; Roxas becomes the one to manipulate Kairi's memories inside Castle Oblivion instead of Namine; Horace Horsecollar becomes the member of Disney Town who betrays them instead of Pete; Larxene replaces Axel as the one who betrays Organization XIII in search of Namine; Xion and Riku Replica have switched their roles; and it's implied that Xemnas is now formed from Ventus' Nobody instead of Terra's.
  • Lore of The Stars is a Kirby story, where canon villains Magolor, Marx, Taranza, and Galacta Knight are the heroes of Dreamland, while Kirby, King Dedede and Meta Knight become the villains who are later redeemed. In addition, it's implied that Susie and Ribbon have swapped as well.
  • Len'en: Oranja Glad's Len'en Swap AU series is a collection of different stories focusing on an Alternate Universe where the characters swap roles in a similar vein to Underswap (listed below); an example being Suzumi swapping with Kurohebi, although Kurohebi is still an Artificial Human, to which while the characters are swapped, many important things about their canon backstories stay the same for this AU. However, it has a new spin on things, as it goes into Darker and Edgier territory when it comes to certain characters' aforementioned backstories (notably, Yabusame goes from a Cloudcuckoolander to a Shrinking Violet and Broken Bird because Kurohebi kills her mother, and many other disturbing things happen such as Tsurubami attempting suicide before this AU's version of Evanescence Existence takes place, which eventually leads Tenkai to spirit away the outside world humans to Mugenri like Tsurubami does in canon, although it's only Yabusame, Tsubakura, and Suzumi who get spirited away, as it's implied the Shitodos got to Mugenri earlier).
  • Persona
    • Overall Series: Beyond The Mirror is a fanfic that uses this for a part of the story's basis. The overall concept for this story is that the swap occurs between the Personas and their Users with the three protagonists being the humanized selves of Orpheus, Izanagi, and Arsène as a result of this swap.
    • Persona 4: Wanted It To Be A Game is a story where the canonical killer Tohru Adachi is the leader of the Investigation Team while the canonical protagonist (here given the name Seito Souzen) is the serial killer terrorizing the town.
    • Persona 5
      • Persona 5 Adult Confidant AU is a Persona 5 webcomic and and character concepts involving swapping around the ages of the core cast and adult confidants, having the largely passive supporting cast into the protagonists of the story.
      • Both Queen's Checkmate and Queen of Hearts revolve around the similar concept of Makoto Niijima becoming the Wild Card and leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts rather than Akira/Ren.
  • Later, Traitor is a Psychonauts fanfic where Raz's sister, Frazie, is given the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp pamphlet instead of him, setting her up to take his role as the hero of the story.
  • The Legend of Cynder Series is a series of The Legend of Spyro fanfics where Cynder was raised by dragonflies, while Spyro was raised as Malefor's pawn.
  • lines i can't erase. is a Resident Evil fanfic reversing Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy's roles from the remake of 2 onward, having Ada as the Action Survivor protagonist and Leon as the manipulative spy.
  • The Undertale AU "Underswap" takes this a step further by having nearly the entire cast swapped with someone who's close to them. Amid the swapping:
    • Chara is the main character, and Frisk is the one who fell down before them.
    • Temmie is now the main antagonist, while Flowey has a village made for him.
    • Asgore is the caretaker of the Ruins, while Toriel is now the ruler of the underground.
    • Mettaton is now the ghost in the Ruins, while Napstablook is the robot entertainer.
    • Sans is now the one who tries working hard, and Papyrus is the slacker.
    • The restaurant in Snowdin is now owned by Muffet, with Grillby running a bake sale in Hotland.
    • Alphys is now the Captain of the Royal Guard, while Undyne is now the Royal Scientist.
    • Asriel is now the one who admires the Royal Guard, while Temmie's true form is now Monster Kid.
    • Gaster is the only exception to the swapping, as his role remains largely the same.

    Web Animation 
  • The RWBY fics Blackened Bluebird and Holding the World On Their Shoulders both explore a world where May Marigold became Salem's agent, Winter Schnee became a Happy Huntress, and Cinder Rhodes became Ironwood's best soldier. In Blackened Bluebird, May Marigold was put on a team of bullies who eventually caused her to attempt suicide, which she survived and was picked up by Salem and trained to be her spy and potential Maiden. In Holding the World, May, Cinder and Winter were all on the same team (along with Marrow Amin), with Salem targetting May as a potential asset and Ironwood grooming Cinder for the position as his Number Two.

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck:
    • A common AU is "bloodswap," where the blood colors of the trolls are swapped so they have different societal roles as per the Fantastic Caste System. There's even a blog dedicated to giving advice on accurately making bloodswap AUs.
    • A similar concept is "kidswap," where the upbringings for the kids are swapped, either putting them under different guardians or swapping the roles of the guardians as well. In these fics, the kids will swap surnames to indicate their new upbringing, such as Dave Strider and John Egbert swapping to become Dave Egbert and John Strider.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia:
    • Sasha and the Frogs is an Amphibia fanfic in which Sasha ends up with the Planters (who curb her Manipulative Bitch tendencies and make her more humble), while Anne ends up at Toad Tower (where she's shaped into an vindictive warrior by Grime).
    • A Theory of Butterflies and Other Insects also sticks Sasha in Wartwood with the Planters. However, it's Marcy who gets taken to Toad Tower, while Anne finds herself in Newtopia instead.
    • Trade Us for the World has Marcy open the music box alone two weeks after they first picked it up... and one week after her family moved to Connecticut. She lands in Wartwood, Anne near Toad Tower, and Sasha in Newtopia.
  • Legend of Katara is an Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic where Aang is freed over a decade earlier from the iceberg and soon dying from the aftereffects of being frozen for years. Katara ends up becoming the next Avatar in the cycle, with Aang serving as her spirit guide and airbending teacher.
  • Dark Mirror is a Ben 10 fanfic that involves most of the characters outside of Ben, Gwen, and Max having their moral alignments switched. The most notable examples being The Plumbers, who are depicted as oppressive Knight Templars, and Vilgax, who is the Big Good and shares the role of Ben's mentor with Max.
  • Parallel Paths is a Danny Phantom fanfic in which Sam ends up getting caught in the Ghost Portal accident instead of Danny and thus becoming the half-ghost superhero as a result.
  • There are several Gravity Falls Fan Verses in which characters switch roles with each other. The most prominent examples are the Reverse Falls AU, where Pacifica and Gideon are now the protagonists while Dipper and Mabel take up a Composite Character of Gideon and Pacifica's canon characterizations; the Relativity Falls AU, in which the parents and children of Gravity Falls swap ages with Ford and Stan now taking Dipper and Mabel's roles; and the Gravity Rises AU where Stan gets trapped in the portal instead of Ford, Dipper and Mabel swap personalities, and Pacifica and Gideon end up swapping roles.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • The Adventures Of Panthera Noire: Instead of Adrien getting the Black Cat Miraculous, Master Fu gives it to Juleka instead, leading to her becoming the titular Panthera Noire.
    • Brotherhood of Secrets swaps the characters involved in "Gang of Secrets", so that instead of Marinette's female friends getting akumatized after she shuts them out, Adrien's male friends get akumatized after he shuts them out.
    • Cheshire (Miraculous Ladybug): Marinette finds the Black Cat Miraculous in a mud ball, and later Adrien receives the Ladybug Miraculous from Master Fu.
    • Crimson Beetle And Chartreux Noire sees Master Fu encounter Kim and Alix instead of Marinette and Adrien, leading to them becoming the heroes Crimson Beetle and Chartreux Noire.
    • Fortune Favors the Brave has Master Fu encounter Nino and Alya instead of Marinette and Adrien, selecting them to be the new heroes Red Beatle and Chartroux instead.
    • Lady Luck (Miraculous Ladybug) has Chloé choosen for the Ladybug Miraculous by Tikki and Master Fu. Later in the series, Marinette is picked to the use the Fox Miraculous, while Sabrina recieves the Bee Miraculous.
    • The Lament Series has this as a natural component of anyone making a Miraculous-fueled, reality-warping Wish: somebody has to become the villain, and heroes must rise to oppose them. It's compared to a play, where making a Wish shuffles the casting around.
      • Gabriel's Lament: While Emilie never falls into her coma, she's retconned into a Peafowl-wielding superheroine, and ends up fighting against the new Hawk Moth... and her son, who's been perma-akumatized into Chat Blanc.
      • Chloe's Lament: Chloe deliberately aims for this by wishing to switch places with Marinette, assuming that this will ensure SHE gets to be the Ladybug heroine while Marinette is just as despised as she was. As she learns the hard way, a role swap does not equal a personality swap — and neither of them end up as the new heroine Red Queen, as Fu has his fateful encounter with Sabrina instead.
    • Miraculous: Tales of Scarlet Beetle & Ikati Black: Instead of Gabriel getting the Butterfly and becoming the villainous Hawk Moth, Nathaniel gets it and becomes the Anti-Villain Monarch. Additionally, Kim and Max get the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculouses instead of Marinette and Adrien, and (as indicated by the tags) Marc will eventually get the Peacock Miraculous instead of Nathalie.
    • Scarlet Lady involves Alpha Bitch Chloe getting her hands on the Ladybug Miraculous, leading to her becoming a bratty Nominal Heroine while Marinette is left unaware of the box's existence. Furthermore, Marinette later becomes the superheroine Marigold using the Bee Miraculous, which Chloe used in canon.
      • Later in the series, Nino is given the Fox Miraculous to become Fox Trot and rescue his younger brother Christ from Sapotis, while Alya is given the Turtle Miraculous and becomes Koki Marina to stop her sister Nora when she is Akumatized.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In Ask Not the Sparrow, all of the Mane 6's roles are swapped with the other member of their race. Rainbow Dash prefers to stay on the ground while Fluttershy performs aerial stunts; Pinkie Pie lives on a farm in Ponyville while Applejack is a baker at Sugarcube Corner; and Rarity was Luna's student instead of Twilight being Celestia's student. The sequel, Love Bites, also shows that Queen Chrysalis was Twilight's babysitter instead of Princess Cadance.
    • Rainbooms and Royalty follows the premise that Princess Celestia chose to follow Rainbow Dash's Sonic Rainboom rather than Twilight Sparkle's magic surge during the event that resulted in all the Mane 6 getting their Cutie Marks, resulting in Rainbow becoming Celestia's student rather than Twilight.
    • The premise of RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse is that Princess Celestia turned evil 1,000 years ago instead of Princess Luna, and the Elements of Harmony are wielded by a different group of ponies.
    • In Runic Notation, Octavia wields the Element of Magic, while Twilight Sparkle is a cellist; and Vinyl Scratch is a fashion designer with the Element of Generosity while Rarity is a DJ.
  • The Owl House:
    • Ravenstead is an The Owl House fanfic where Amity is the human that arrives in the Boiling Isle after running away from home, while Luz is the cheerful witch native to the world. Meanwhile, Lilith is the wanted criminal that takes in Amity in place of her sister Eda.
    • In Witches Among Humans, the entire setting of the webcomic is established as a complete inversion of its parent series. While The Owl House is about a human that stumbles in a demon-infested Magical Land, Witches Among Humans is about a witch (Luz) that gets lost in the human world.
    • Tag Team AU plays with this trope. Luz, having ended up in the Demon Realm 7 years before she did in canon, is adopted by Belos, effectively swapping her role with Hunter's, even to the point of her becoming the Golden Guard. At the same time, Hunter is still the Golden Guard, and Luz is considered his sister and partner. He eventually goes to learn about humanity and wild magic from Eda (at Luz' request), effectively taking Luz' role in the original story.
  • Cat-Ra is a She-Ra and the Princesses of Power fanfic that has Catra finding the Sword of Protection and joining the Rebellion while Adora stays with the Horde.
  • Opal, Sapphire, Ruby, and STEVEN! is a Steven Universe fanfic where Opal (Pearl and Amethyst) is the Crystal Gem's permament fusion and leader in place of Garnet, while Ruby and Sapphire remain seperate Gems.
    • Later in the story, Peridot is the one to fuse with Lapis and gets imprisoned, while Jasper ends befriending Steven and becomes an Aloof Ally to the Crystal Gems.
  • Cast Swap is a Total Drama fanfic that has the casts of Pahkitew Island and Revenge of the Island swapping seasons, which causes both seasons, as well as All Stars to have vastly different elimination orders, winners and Character Development.

Canon Examples

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics has a What If? collection that feature several stories in which the characters' roles are switched around, although they end with things sort of getting back to the way they "should be" in the original universe.
    • One story has Betty and Veronica being romantically interested with Jughead, while Archie is his best friend whose presence they could barely tolerate. However, after the two had a Cooking Duel to win Jug's affections, he ends up choosing Gaston's (Veronica's chef) niece and Betty and Veronica immediately drops him in favour of Archie, after seeing him enjoy their cooking.
    • Another has Betty as the rich heiress (with Smithers being her servant) and Veronica as the normal girl. Later, Veronica's mother win the lottery, allowing the Lodges to be as rich as this universe's Betty. Veronica immediately starts behaving like her usual Spoiled Brat self.
  • The Spider-Gwen series stars a version of Gwen Stacy from an alternate Earth (Earth-65), where she was the one bitten by the radioactive spider. This leads her to becoming Spider-Woman, which later results in the death of her childhood friend Peter Parker, mirroring the events of The Night Gwen Stacy Died. Though originally operating in her own dimension (disregarding her tendency to dimension hop), from Ghost-Spider (2019) onwards she begins crimefighting just as much in the main Marvel universe.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • A minor case in And Then There Were None (2015): in the book, it's Vera who goes into hysterics after the fourth murder and Dr. Armstrong who slaps her so that she recovers. Here, it's the other way round.
  • ITV's adaptation of Poirot and Marple occasionally switches the roles and identities of the murderer with another (originally) innocent suspect.
    • In Cards on the Table, Anne Meredith is innocent of the supposed murder they committed in the books, with Rhoda Dawes being revealed as the culprit instead. This also switches their positions at the story's climax, where Rhoda attempts to drown Anne instead of the other way around. The innocent one is rescued by Major Despard, and the two eventually marry, while the guilty party drowns during their failed to attempt to kill the other.
    • In The Body in the Library, Adelaide Jefferson is the one having an affair with Josie and colluded with the latter to commit murder in hopes of securing Mr. Jefferson's inheritance, replacing Mark Gaskell's role in both aspects from the books.
    • In The Sittaford Mystery, the character swap between the killer from the books and the originally innocent character is accompanied by an exchange of their surnames. The journalist Charles Enderby becomes Charles Burnaby, the victim's vengeful Antagonistic Offspring who murders him, while the original murderer Major Burnaby becomes Major Enderby, the victim's trusted (and now genuine) friend.

  • This has occurred in numerous productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream:
    • The 2004 Greenwich Theatre production swapped the characters of Helena and Lysander, resulting in the four lovers forming ultimately forming two same-sex couples. This could be seen more as a Gender Flip than an actual character swap, however: numerous other productions have done the same thing but used the names Helenus and/or Lysandra rather than swapping their names.
    • In 2019, London's Bridge Theatre debuted a production which swapped the roles of Titania (played here by Gwendoline Christie) and Oberon, with her speaking his lines and vice versa, so that it is Titania who conspires with Puck to precure the love-in-idleness and enchants Oberon into falling in love with Bottom.
  • An Italian 2018 production of Bizet's opera Carmen changed the ending so that it is Carmen who kills Don Jose, not the other way round; this change was made as a response to the prominent global issue of violence against women.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: The Telltale Series presents a universe where Harley Quinn was the pre-established villain before she met John Doe (aka The Joker) and John was the weak willed mentally ill sap she manipulated into the criminal life style.
  • The premise of Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is essentially Dead Rising 2, but with Frank West from the first Dead Rising as the protagonist. Aside from Frank taking Chuck Greene's place as the player character, there's also Chuck taking Leon Bell's place as the motorcycle Psychopath and Stacey, Rebecca, and Sullivan shuffling roles, with Stacey taking Sullivan's place as The Mole, Rebecca taking Stacey's place as the damsel that Tyrone King kidnaps in Overtime mode, and Sullivan taking Rebecca's place as the sacrificial ally.

    Western Animation 
  • This serves as the premise of some episodes of Marvel Cinematic Universe's What If...? (2021) series.
    • Episode 1 has Peggy Carter take the Super Soldier serum in place of Steve Rogers, taking his mantle as Captain America, being called Captain Carter instead (and of course having the Union Jack instead of the US flag on the vibranium shield, since she's British).
    • In Episode 2, the Ravagers mistakenly kidnap T'Challa instead of Quill, and the Prince of Wakanda became Star-Lord.

Alternative Title(s): Role Reversal AU