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Same Character, But Different

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Oh, this is that sitcom about the lawyer and his bum roommate, right?note 

A form of Characterization Marches On in which a character in a long running series gets Put on a Bus. Years later, the writers bring the character back, except... he isn't the same person anymore. He behaves differently, has different skills or interests — he's become a completely different person.

Writers could justify it by saying that character development took place offscreen, but it seems a little as if the writers have basically written a new character and slapped his traits onto someone who already existed in canon to make the introduction easier.

The inversion of Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Era-Specific Personality can overlap. See also Not as You Know Them and The Other Darrin. Compare Adaptation Personality Change, when the two versions of the same character are in different continuities, and You Don't Look Like You, which has more to do with dramatic physical changes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan. Throughout the first half of the series, he's a Hot-Blooded Leeroy Jenkins with a scary amount of passion for exterminating the Titan race that is driving humanity to extinction and who took his home and mother from him. He undergoes a very big change in the last half of the series, becoming more cold, cunning and above all else ruthless. His dress and look also radically change, wearing much more civilian clothes rather than his military garb. It actually started right before the four-year Time Skip, where he acts much more reserved and wistful. It's later revealed this is a result of him seeing his father's memories that, as the next inheritor of the Attack Titan, he in fact drove his father to take the Coordinate for the sake of his plan, and revealing to him just what he would, and did, become to protect his people.
  • Android 17 in Dragon Ball Super is a straight-laced, pragmatic, no-nonsense character in both personality and fighting style. He's also something of a Straight Man to the sillier characters, with a deadpan sense of humor. This is basically the complete opposite of how he was characterized in Dragon Ball Z, where he was the most carefree and lackadaisical of his trio, screwing around in his fights and annoying his sister with his constant showboating and playing around. He also liked to fight, while his Super incarnation doesn't dislike it, but derives no particular enjoyment from it either, seeing it as a means to an end (e.g. material gain, like that boat he wanted). Possibly justifed by the revelation that he got married and has children now (one biological and the other two adopted) during the decade or so he spent away from the heroes. As such, it's likely being a family man caused him to become more mature and grounded.
  • Obito Uchiha from Naruto, who Became Their Own Antithesis. Kakashi changed a lot from who he was as a child too, which proves tragically ironic — many of the traits Kakashi picked up as an adult and, more importantly, the philosophy he espouses come from his Not Quite Dead former comrade.

    Comic Books 
  • Superboy-Prime in DC Comics was introduced during Crisis on Infinite Earths as an Ascended Fanboy from the real world (or what was closest to it) who became Superboy during the Crisis. He finally went to a better place with the original Superman and Lois. He was brought back during Infinite Crisis where it was revealed his untreated PTSD from the deaths of all his loved ones and being gaslit by Toxic Friend Influence into thinking he helped save the wrong people after being forced to watch his former heroes wind up in darker, more cynical points in their lives. After snapping completely, he spent years as an embittered Physical God that embodied toxic internet comics culture before that problem became more widely known, until winding up being involved in yet another reboot where he finally had someone actually try talking to him, where he finally did a Heel–Face Turn.
  • This is a common reader complaint regarding several characters who were rewritten for the New 52 era. In particular, the older members of the JSA who had the most radical changes, such as being aged down significantly. Other readers argue that the core of most characters remains the same. There's certainly quite a bit of Broken Base for the entire DCU due to this.
    • Billy Batson is another example. Traditionally he begins his superhero career as a ten-year-old and is the living embodiment of Incorruptible Pure Pureness. The new version is fifteen and is supposed to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but initially came off as too much of a jerk for a lot of Billy's old fans to accept, though he did grow to be a nicer person once he finally found a family where he belonged.
    • Similar to Billy is Wally West, when he finally came back. Before the reboot, Wally was Barry Allen's nephew and sidekick, an Ascended Fanboy who loved the Flash before he gained his powers, a founding member of the Teen Titans, was mostly a decent guy save for being shamelessly flirty and snarky, and for several decades had succeeded Barry as the Flash and had been married with two kids. When he shows up in the new continuity, he's now a 12-year-old (even younger than he was when he was Kid Flash) half-black Jerkass who hates the Flash for putting his uncle in jail, is yet to bond with Barry and doesn't seem to like him much. In old continuity he was Dick Grayson's best friend and the same age as him and Roy Harper, but this version is about a decade younger than them.
      • Eventually subverted with DC Rebirth. As New 52-Wally wasn't accepted by fans, DC simply reintroduced the original version of Wally in DC Rebirth (down to making him Dick Grayson's best friend again), thus turning him into a Decomposite Character. He's now the cousin of the original Wally, who were both independently given their grandfather's name. This has led to the black Wally, who now generally goes by Wallace, or Ace for short, being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • X-Men: This is extremely common in series with large casts. X-Men in particular has a huge and revolving cast, leading to numerous characters change off panel. Usually, they either join some other team or seek higher education. For example, the character Karma. When we're first introduced to her, she is older than the rest of the New Mutants, and considerably more mature, conservative, and acts as a parental surrogate to her brother and sister. She eventually leaves when her siblings are kidnapped. Then cut to several years later when she meets X-Force in a desert rave, with dyed pink hair, body piercings, and revealing clothing. She would also later come out as a lesbian.
    • Likewise, many X-Men would display different or enhanced powers after an absence. Moonstar, for example gained the ability to display past events in the form of illusions. In the X-Treme X-Men series Mekanix, Karma was able to possess up to twenty people at a time, whereas previously she was only able to possess one or two. When Dazzler rejoined the X-Men in the "Eve of Destruction" storyline, she displayed the ability to create hard light images, previously she could only create bursts of light or lasers.
    • ...and then there's the Siege Perilous. Psylocke, Dazzler, Colossus, Rogue, Havok, and Master Mold go in, and in some cases very different people came out the other side: Russian Gentle Giant farmboy Colossus (temporarily) becomes a popular American artist named Peter Nicholas, and English telepath Psylocke becomes a statuesque Japanese ninja. It also somehow created Bastion, a bizarre Fusion Dance of Master Mold and Nimrod, two obviously robotic characters who, when combined, look like a human. While Nimrod was able to holographically disguise itself as a human, for Bastion this is somehow its actual physical form.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Norman Osborn was seemingly killed during a fight with Spider-Man in 1973, leading to his son Harry Osborn taking up the mantle. Norman, revealed to have a Healing Factor that let him survive impalement, returned in the 1990's, having orchestrated The Clone Saga, and has since become a Big Bad within the Marvel Universe in general. Prior to his "death", Osborn was an absentee father and Corrupt Corporate Executive, but had something of a split personality that wanted to make a name for himself in New York's underworld by dressing in a bizarre costume, but following his return he became a Magnificent Bastard sociopath with the Goblin persona now seemingly being merged with the original Norman.
      • This also goes for Harry Osborn, who came back with a very different personality from his previous one after One More Day (namely that he's not insane and evil anymore). The Amazing Spider-Man (2018) would eventually retcon that this Harry is actually a clone, and the original Harry is still dead.
    • Compare Black Tarantula's appearances in Spider-Man (late Dark Age) with those in Ed Brubaker's Daredevil (Modern Age). You will be surprised how much he changed, without any reason. And, what's the most scary, it was good for him.
  • Terra of the Teen Titans, when she seemed to be resurrected as Terra II. Terra was originally The Mole and a Psycho for Hire who infamously died due to her own anger, but the second version was an all-around good guy and a straight superhero. It was later revealed and clarified, however, that the second Terra was actually an alien from an underground society modified into looking like the original, at the cost of her losing her memory of her true identity.
    • Eventually that explanation was undone to say that she really was Terra, brought back from the dead with her memories and old personality rebooted. Though they went back and on this for a while until the whole thing was rendered moot when Terra II was unceremoniously killed off to make room from a third, completely unrelated Terra as Power Girl's sidekick.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon, previously a wise-cracking gunslinging raccoon who was otherwise jovial and friendly, during Bendis' run on the title he's turned into a near-sociopath who enjoys yelling "Blam! Murdered you!" at everyone he kills, declares he isn't a raccoon, and suddenly developed a massive hatred for Earth, despite previously having stated he loves Earth, and our awful TV shows, not to mention his friendship with several humans, including Peter Quill and Corsair.
    • Pretty much applies to all the Guardians of the Galaxy under Bendis. Except the ones who were Put on a Bus.
  • Wonder Woman cast members who weren't exiled from continuity in the New 52 were entirely unrecognizable, even Wondy was a far cry from her old self, though her own book which at least tried to reconcile the core of the character as an All-Loving Hero with her new persona. All these changes were undone by the soft reboot of Rebirth which declared the characters were fake and Diana's memory had been altered:
    • Zeus was formerly a misogynistic serial rapist who tried to rape Diana and liked to claim giving her powers and life was his idea (and she should be grateful to him for it and his attempt to rape her) when it was carefully done without his knowledge or consent. Now he's her father, and most of his children are now fond of him and missing him while every single one of his children, even the ones who normally can't stand each other, had allied themselves to usurp him from the throne in the previous continuity.
    • Athena is an anthropomorphic owl now? Also she's going out of her way to try to get her father back on the throne when she was the one who led that coalition of his kids in usurping him in the last continuity.
    • Hermes was an upbeat almost perpetually happy fellow who didn't seem to put much stock in the concept of clothes and loved humanity. The new Hermes is a dour distrusting fellow who dresses in layers and despairs of humanity.
    • Ares is now Diana's old mentor and by far the most relatable of the Olympians. He's normally in the running for being her arch-enemy, even when they're theoretically on the same side he used to always find ways to belittle her.
    • Artemis was asexual, reserved and sharp, jumping to action when her Amazons were in danger but otherwise friendly enough, with lithe muscles, sharp cheekbones and a square chin. NuArte is a curvy fight loving nutcase with no regard for collateral damage who revels in the chance to murder an infant and has an incestuous crush on her brother.
    • Dionysus used to be a lackadaisical observer to the chaos his family wrought, often lounging in the background with a smirk and a glass of wine. NuDio Is a sadistic childlike creature with little understanding of human concepts of morality who cuts up and cooks living people and turns people into pigs only to be shocked when it horrifies the woman he's trying to befriend.
    • The Amazons have always been a culture of peace and love, meant to lead by example to the rest of the world by showing them what an idealized human society could be, even if there is some hesitation to trust men again since the last time they did they were drugged and forced to become sex slaves. The NuAmazons are a misandrist society of serial rapists who murder their own children if they happen to be born male. (This is the change that had the fans up in arms).
  • Pyro, when introduced in Ultimate X-Men, had Adaptational Heroism and was a decent and good guy. But when he was used in The Ultimates 3, he was a villain that even proposed to rape Valkery, with no explanation for the change.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, the main villain of the film is the Evil Masked Figure, whose true identity is revealed to be Dr. Jonathan Jacobo, a past foe of Mystery, Inc. who originally menaced them as the Pterodactyl Ghost. The Pterodactyl Ghost originated as an antagonist in The Scooby-Doo Show episode "Hang in There, Scooby-Doo", but other than Johnny sharing his first name and disguise, there are many discrepancies between the two characters, the most notable ones being their motivations (Johnny used his disguise as part of a music piracy scheme, while Dr. Jonathan Jacobo used his disguise to rob banks) and their careers (Johnny drove a catering truck, while Dr. Jonathan Jacobo was a scientist).
  • Luke Skywalker from The Last Jedi is a pretty notable example, to the point that even Mark Hamill at one point said he thought of the Luke in the film as a completely separate character from the one he played in the Original Trilogy. When we last saw Luke he was an idealistic, All-Loving Hero who refused to give up on turning his evil father back to the Light Side, never turned his back on his friends, and was ready to train a new generation of Jedi Knights. When we see him again in the film he's isolated himself from the galaxy and his friends when they needed him most, disillusioned with the legacy of the late Jedi Order. Whether these changes were justified or not is a major source of Broken Base among fans.
  • William Hurt portrays Thaddeus Ross in the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Captain America: Civil War, a role he first played 8 years before in The Incredible Hulk (2008) set in the same continuity. However, the character changed a lot as he goes from a General of the U.S. Army to Secretary Of The United States and he seems to be over his personal venedetta against the Hulk and instead now acts as a government member who highly dislikes superheroes in general (despite he wanted to 'create'' Super Soldiers in his first appearance. However, the changes are mostly justified considering a lot of years also past in-universe and Ross even hints in the movie that his perspective has changed thanks to experiencing health issues.

  • Sweet Valley High and its spin-offs did this several times with characters who would be introduced in one series but drastically changed in another. Examples:
    • Amy Sutton is introduced in Sweet Valley Twins as Elizabeth's best friend who is very similar to her in personality and interests, but is later brought back for Sweet Valley High where, after moving away for a while, she has become a gossipy, fashion-obsessed Alpha Bitch and popular cheerleader who bears almost no resemblance to her former self. A good example of the contrast is a Twins book where Amy fights to be accepted onto the school cheerleading squad, against opposition from the popular Unicorns. By the time of Sweet Valley High however, Amy is a prominent member of the squad and openly bullies girls that she doesn't think are pretty or popular enough to join.
    • Enid Rollins went through this no fewer than three times. In Sweet Valley High she is Elizabeth's studious, strait-laced best friend. By the time of Sweet Valley University she had become a shallow, hard-partying sorority girl who had changed her name to Alexandra, in a makeover very similar to Amy's (there was some mention of Enid/Alex wanting to ditch her unpopular image after high school, but all such character development takes place off the page.) By Sweet Valley Confidential, Enid has reverted to her birth name, is a famous gynecologist (although she WASN'T studying medicine at SVU!) and fanatically right-wing. All three versions of the character bear little resemblance to each other. Enid even has a fourth incarnation off the page where it's mentioned in one of the Sweet Valley High books that before moving to Sweet Valley she was a juvenile delinquent with a drug addiction and a criminal record - all of which would be extremely uncharacteristic for the Enid presented in that series.
    • Winston Egbert is a loveable nerd in most of the books but by Sweet Valley Confidential has become an arrogant, cynical, bullying misogynist after becoming a millionaire in the computer industry. There are a few throwaway lines about how his wealth changed him but none of it is shown to the reader.
  • Animorphs:
    • Villain Taylor is introduced with her human and Yeerk personalities largely blended together; the real Taylor had been a voluntary Controller, and the Yeerk had been totally enraptured by her new identity. When she reappears ten books later, this mental instability is pretty much absent to make her more of a Manipulative Bitch, and human!Taylor tries to warn Tobias not to listen to her.
    • Inverted, time-wise, with Vice-Principal Chapman. In the main books, he became a Controller to protect his daughter, and generally seems to be a decent guy stuck in a terrible situation. In the prequel book The Andalite Chronicles, a teenager named Hedrick Chapman winds up selling out the Earth to the Yeerks and then apparently dies; someone identical is later seen on Earth, but seems to have no memory of going into space. There's enough of a disconnect between the characterizations that some suggest that Hedrick did die in space and the other Chapman appearances are his brother or something.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • The Bernice Summerfield novels feature a brief appearance by Chris Cwej, the Wide-Eyed Idealist who was the Doctor's companion alongside Benny in the Doctor Who New Adventures. Only now he's a cynical and bitter Time Lord agent who has had his memory altered and believes he was kidnapped by "the evil renegade". Then he regenerates (the Time Lords having given him that ability), so he doesn't even look like the original Chris any more. The Faction Paradox books take it further, with a whole army of "Cwejen": Cwej-Primes are the original tall, blond version, Cwej-Plus are the post-regeneration fat and balding variety, and Cwej-Magnus are bio-armored shock troops. One FP novel involves a Cwej-Prime allying with the Nazis to hunt down renegade Time Lor— ahem, members of the Great Houses.
    • In the Past Doctor Adventures novel Instruments of Darkness, the villainous "John Doe" who is using Department C19 resources to allow psychic aliens access to Earth in order to get revenge on the Doctor is strongly hinted to be Jeremy Fitzoliver, Sarah Jane's geeky but well-meaning photographer from the Third Doctor Radio Dramas.
  • Artemis Fowl sort of inverts this in The Time Paradox, which involves Time Travel and is mostly set a few years before the first book. Trying to connect some of the characters to their first appearances can be difficult. For example, the whole plot hinges on how past!Artemis wiped out an endangered species; even though he was a Villain Protagonist in the first book, his environmentalism was already being used to show that he wasn't so bad. Likewise, Opal Koboi is already trying to Take Over the World, several years before their apparent first attempt in a previous book.
  • Messenger: Matty has matured significantly since his appearance in Gathering Blue. Several characters, including himself, make references as to how much he's changed in-between. Justified since the former takes place six years after the latter, and Matty spent that time living in a place where he is nurtured and supported in a way he never had before, which has clearly had a profound impact on him.
  • In the Agent Pendergast novel White Fire which takes place after a notable Time Skip compared to previous books, recurring character Corrie Swanson has dropped her gothic appearance as well as the more rebellious nature she had as a teen. This is due to the line of work she's trying to get into, as she notes that it's hard to take someone getting into law enforcement seriously when they have dyed purple hair and piercings.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Calypso is introduced in The Battle of the Labyrinth as a sweet and gentle Nice Girl. Come the Sequel Series The Heroes of Olympus, she returns in The House of Hades, and notably Took a Level in Jerkass, acting quite cranky towards Leo. When Leo (who heard of her from Percy) expresses confusion about this, she explains that by this point she has gotten fed up with being trapped on an isolated island for centuries and constantly getting rejected by every man who comes there. The fact she initially doesn't think very highly of Leo's appearance and personality in comparison to Percy and her previous visitors probably also factors into her lashing out more.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Done as one of the main plot points regarding Tony Almeida on 24 during its penultimate season, who's transformed into a goateed crook in a leather jacket looking to take down the government and anyone else involved. Then it gets double subverted: first Jack discovers that Tony is actually working undercover with them in order to bring them down from within because he still refuses to let any innocent lives get taken. Then over halfway through the season it's revealed that that's all an act too and Tony is attempting to avenge the murder of his wife regardless of who gets killed in the crossfire.
  • This was said about Jeanne Reed on Adam-12 when considering the difference between her early appearance and her re-appearance (played by a different actress) in the two-part series finale. Aside from some style changes, her attitude about Jim's job was totally different and she wanted him to quit.
  • Colin and Christie from Seasons 5 and 31 of The Amazing Race are the returnee team with the longest gap between their seasons, 15 years in fact. note  When they did the show the first time they were both in their mid-twenties and had only been together for a year. Colin was extremely hot-headed, including almost getting arrested over $100 and giving the show its most iconic line, "My ox is broken, this is bullshit!" Christie was a bit of a Satellite Love Interest to him that only did one of the roadblocks. He and Christie constantly bickered and their relationship was pretty volatile all around, though they both claim it was played up for drama a good bit. Come Season 31, they both meditate and do yoga every day. Colin was calm, cool, and collected. He even hugged other racers and locals wherever he went. He didn't even freak out when he got hit in the head with a nail. Christie was much more of an equal partner this go-round, both in the tasks and the narrative. They were still really competitive (and ended up winning) but they were a lot better as a team and didn't let the stress get to them. Colin even said that last time they were too worried about winning each leg that they burnt themselves out towards the end but this time they were a lot more cognizant about pacing themselves.
  • Josh in Big Little Lies, although between Season 1 and 2. In the Season 1 finale, it turns out that Josh bullied, physically abused, and even tried to strangle Amabella and bullied his twin brother Max as as a result of being a witness to his father Perry physically abusing his mom Celeste. However, come Season 2, Josh and Max are portrayed as essentially the same person, Max shows no fear towards Josh, Josh shows no violent impulses, and Josh is actually well-liked and protected within the group, with Renata even letting him be alone with Amabella with no mention of the past abuse.
  • Amy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She first appeared in "The Witch," where she was a shy girl whose sudden turn to Alpha Bitchdom came from her Wicked Witch mom stealing her body. Later the real Amy is revealed to also have magical powers, but the worst thing we see her do with them is cheat on a school assignment. Then she's Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a rat for a few seasons, and when she's back she becomes significantly nastier and eventually villainous, with a reveal that she was already associating with creepy warlock Rack and his Addictive Magic offscreen before she turned into a rat. To be fair, we only saw Amy once per season before the rat incident, and her only witch role model was not a healthy one.
  • Stephen Reid on Series/Coronation Street. First mentioned as Audrey Roberts illegitimate son and Gail's half-brother as far back as 1988, began appearing as a recurring character from 1996 to 1997, and then for one month in December 2007. During these stints Stephen appeared as an ordinary and friendly successful man who took an interest in his family. The character would be frequently mentioned off-screen during his absences, with his family often going to see him and his niece Sarah even working for him from 2008 to 2015. But when Stephen returned as a regular in 2022 he became the show's main villain, where he attempted to steal from his mother and screw other residents around. He then turned into the show's new serial killer, bumping off three people during his stint. This is very unlike the Stephen that appeared before, who had no hint of a darker side.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Intended as one-shot villains and brought back due to popular demand, the Daleks in the first Dalek serial, "The Daleks", are much more technologically inferior than the Dalek Earth invasion force from the next Dalek serial, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", which the Doctor says took place a million years earlier. In addition to this, they have entirely different personalities, physical appearances, motivations, weaknesses, battle tactics, military hierarchy and culture; are a lot more of a physical threat rather than their borderline The Grotesque characterisation before; and begin to show much more of the shrieking authoritarianism that they would later become famous for (when in "The Daleks" they just spoke in a funny way). The Invasion Daleks are much better and more threatening, though, and it was these versions of them that became the standard used in future Dalek stories.
    • Varga plants show up in "Mission to the Unknown" and "The Daleks' Master Plan" (the first story being a direct prequel to the latter), in which they are The Virus — they walk around on their roots, stab people with three-inch thorns and anyone hit with their toxin slowly transforms into one, losing their mind in the process. They eventually show up almost fifty years later in the Doctor Who adventure game "City of the Daleks", as much smaller Man Eating Plants with pointedly immobile roots that rhythmically shoot out tentacles to grab food.
    • The Macra first show up as hyperintelligent, spacefaring crab monsters with hypnotic powers in "The Macra Terror", and return 40 years later in "Gridlock" as much bigger crab monsters that are no longer sapient and have no psychic powers. The Doctor claims that they've devolved into dumb animals over billions of years. The non-sapient Macra show up in an Eleventh Doctor Gamebook as well.
    • The Great Intelligence has Blue-and-Orange Morality in "The Abominable Snowmen", no human emotions, and explicitly states in "The Web of Fear" that it has no need for or understanding of revenge. When it reappeared after 44 years in "The Name of the Doctor", it gains a new backstory as an imaginary childhood friend come to life and is obsessed with getting revenge on the Doctor. The Yeti are also absent, replaced with literal snowmen in "The Snowmen".
    • The Master:
      • The villain went through many changes in the classic era, from a manipulative gentlemanly villain in Roger Delgado's time, to a walking corpse as the Burned Master, to a flamboyantly evil comic book villain as Anthony Ainley to a more desperate, savage animalistic character with Eric Roberts' portrayal. Nevertheless all of these different incarnations followed the same core personality. All of the Masters in the Classic era were motivated by a desire for power, a hatred of the Doctor (although he occasionally regarded the Doctor as a Worthy Opponent, and on one occasion offered to share ultimate power with him), and from the burned Master on; a desire to prolong his own life. (The Delgado Master, though not needing to prolong his life, was still written as a coward willing to sacrifice billions to save himself.) They all used the same tactics of manipulation, hypnosis, placing themselves in positions of authority etc.
      • The John Simm Master, while having the same motivations and tactics, was given a totally different, more sympathetic origin story. His relationship with the Doctor was completely retooled too. The Doctor was shown to try and redeem the Simm Master (while there were shades of this in the Third Doctor era, with the Doctor reminiscing about their schooldays together, and being quick to take an Enemy Mine position against a greater threat, the Fourth viewed him as the "quintessence of evil"). Author Russell T Davies also added sexual tension between the Doctor and the Master that was never present before. (Word of god from the character's creators Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts as well as his portrayers, Anthony Ainley and Roger Delgado, always stated that the two were warring brothers in the Classic era — although the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novelist David McIntee, who wrote several books featuring the Delgado Master, has said he wrote them as "bitter exes".)
      • By the time of the female Master, written by Steven Moffat, much more focus is given to aspects of the Master's personality that were downplayed in earlier portrayals. Missy is possibly outright in love with the Doctor (stating that her hearts are maintained by him), and at the very least her primary motivation is "I want my pal back". Has no real desire for power or to dominate (she even gives up a near indestructible Cyber army in her first story, stating she doesn't need it; rather handing them over into the Doctor in hopes that he would use them and prove that, as she'd been saying, they're not that different.) Her cowardice is not made a major point, nor is her manipulative nature, although she does show elements of this. She also never demonstrates any hypnotic ability. Even in terms of outer personality whilst the Classic era Masters were mostly more calm and affably evil, Missy is an outright psychopath. All of these changes made Missy the most controversial incarnation of the character, though there were many who appreciated Michelle Gomez's performance.
      • The Sacha Dhawan incarnation is something of a reaction to Missy (and especially her Heel–Face Turn), but is even more of a ranting psychopath, and a full-blown Omnicidal Maniac, who isn't interested in power or control, but just in making everything burn and seeing the Doctor suffer. In addition to a greater degree of sadism than past incarnations, he also has a self-destructive streak, rather than being desperate to extend his life, expressing disappointment when it looks like one of his plans might fail to kill anyone including himself.
    • The Third Doctor story "The Mutants" features a race of buglike aliens called Mutts, which are an unintelligent interstitial form of the Human Alien Solonians, all of whom eventually Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence when the Doctor speeds up their metamorphosis. In "The Brain of Morbius", the Doctor comes across the murdered body of a Mutt, and explains to Sarah that Mutts are a spacefaring, insectoid race widespread throughout the same galaxy in which Karn and Gallifrey are located. The word 'Mutt' was a pretty serious racial slur in the original story, and the Doctor shouldn't even consider Mutts a species at all! The original intention had been to recycle the Mutt costume for a generic insectoid alien, but Robert Holmes decided it should actually be a Mutt to add some continuity, bungling the reference. (The novelisation of the story, by Terrance Dicks, who had edited the original serial "The Mutants", changes the Mutt to an alien named Kriz.)
    • In "Terror of the Zygons", the Zygon technology only allowed them to double humans if the humans were captured and kept in specialised tanks for the duration of the transformation, and the doubling was only a relatively small part of their plot (which mostly focused on their cyborg technology and the use of the Skarasen). In "The Day of the Doctor", they don't appear to have this restriction and simply have doubling as their Hat, directly confronting the UNIT members they're shapeshifted into — they also have the ability to double memories and feelings, which they couldn't do originally. Their next appearance "The Zygon Invasion"/"The Zygon Inversion" explains that their abilities have evolved over time, and in this story they can now impersonate a potential victim's loved ones by reading their thoughts and copying what they find there, and continue to hold the form of a human even after the original has died. This story also reveals that they still use captivity pods in case the person they're impersonating needs to be pumped for information later.
    • The Brigadier also suffers from this in "Mawdryn Undead", appearing in a story that was originally intended for science teacher Ian (who'd been absent from the show for decades). The solution? Remove all references to Ian, and make the Brigadier a maths teacher.
    • Famously used with Glitz, who was written into "Dragonfire" at the last moment to replace a new character and gained a level in Jerkass in the process. Although given that his first episode saw him planning to shoot the Doctor in the back simply because he might get in his way, it was practically a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Clare Bates, in EastEnders. She was a regular character in the show as a young teenager back in the 1990s. She was sweet, a doting daughter, and all-round girl scout. Actress Gemma Bissix found fame in a brief stint on Hollyoaks playing a scheming bitch, so the EastEnders writers decided to bring her back as a similar character. Now, 15 years might have passed in between for Clare to turn evil, but it was still a bit disappointing that the writers had to basically turn her previous exit storyline, a happy ending, into a sad one.
  • In Gossip Girl there are a few:
    • Carter Baizen first appears as a renegade and not wealthy character with criminal connections, and Chuck and Nate reminisce on his past as a privileged Manhattanite like themselves before disowning his family. A few episodes later, however, he has supposedly reconciled with his family and is again part of the Upper East Side elite.
    • The first few times Chuck's Uncle Jack Bass appears, he's an evil and villainous Manipulative Bastard and his actions include attempting to rape Lily and causing the implosion of Chuck and Blaire's relationship. When he next appears, he apologizes, blaming his behavior on cocaine, and from them on becomes a helpful, if slimy, ally for Chuck and the gang.
    • the scandalous and cruel Georgina Sparks comes back from disciplinary camp a Jesus-loving Purity Sue.
  • Hollyoaks introduced Sonny Valentine as an angry teenager who was involved in petty crime, though not really a "bad" person at heart. When his actor was fired, Sonny was written out by having him leave to move in with a random aunt. Seven years later, he was re-introduced with a new actor who looked nothing like the original, and with a new personality: a brooding but charming Cowboy Cop, similar to his brother Calvin. It was later revealed that Sonny had been scheming to murder the McQueen family (since Theresa McQueen had killed Calvin) and take Calvin's widow and daughter for himself - also out of character in contrast to the previous Sonny, who hadn't been too bright and preferred to solve his problems with a fist fight.
  • Paul Robinette, of Law & Order, got hit with this. Being the main prosecutor's Number Two for Season's 1-3, and also black, he would occasionally offer insight into racially charged cases. Sometimes he'd take flak from the defense for "siding against his race", sometimes he'd object to how a case was being handled, but his "blackness" wasn't his defining trait. He came back in Season 6 as a defense attorney with Malcolm Xerox leanings, with everyone surprised by the change. At the end of the episode, he tells McCoy that once where he was asked if he was a lawyer who happened to be black, or vice-versa. Paul admits that he thought he was the former, but wasn't.
  • Detective (and later Sargeant) John Munch of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a justified example. When he originated on Homicide: Life on the Street, while he was still a cynical and snarky Conspiracy Theorist, he was a more sociable person who co-owned a bar with Detectives Bayliss and Lewis, looked up to his older partner, Bolander, had a younger brother he saw regularly and was engaged to one of his barmaids. By the time he came to New York, he was a divorced loner who only got along with his partner, Fin, was almost defined solely by his aforementioned theories and was now an implied only child (as the makers of Homicide own the rights to the character, several defining characteristics from the old show had to be abandoned once he joined the newer one. This also explains why even as the third-billed star of the series, he was nonetheless absent from about 1/3 of the SVU episodes when he was still a regular character).
  • On Lost Claire skipped a season and went from a cute, sweet Morality Pet (acting as Mama Bear whenever her child was threatened) to an Axe-Crazy Survivalist, having Go Mad from the Isolation and some off-screen torture. This was all part of her planned character arc however.
  • Merlin Morgana begins as an idealist Well-Intentioned Extremist driven to villainy to make things fair. After going missing for a year and living with Morgause, she returns as an Axe-Crazy psychopath obsessed with taking the throne to satisfy her own ego, and never thinks to improve things in Camelot once she has taken it over. It's quite jarring for her friends and family when they fully comprehend what she's become.
  • Paul Robinson was one of the main characters in the golden age of Australian soap opera Neighbours back in the 80s. Then, he was greedy and ambitious, though he usually managed to do the right thing in the end. Cut to 20 years later, and a new batch of writers think that the show needs a villain. Well, who better than the soap's original bad boy Paul? Unfortunately, the new writers misremembered how bad Paul had been - his first act upon returning was to burn down the Lassiters hotel complex, murdering a minor character who got in his way. His evil behaviour continued for a while until the writers relented and wrote in a storyline where he had a brain tumour which had affected his personality. It didn't stick however and he was soon back to blackmailing, stealing, sabotaging building sites and generally wrecking lives, although he wasn't quite as bad as when he first came back.
  • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder brought back the original Sixth Ranger, Tommy Oliver, as the mentor to the new team. While his personality wasn't too far off from his original portrayal, we're supposed to accept that in the six or seven years since we last saw him he got a doctorate in paleontology (degree takes 8-11 years to actually get) and worked on some secret dinosaur-related research, and that he's now a high school teacher. Now we would probably accept it without question if it was Tommy's teammate Billy, an established TV Genius, that did that, but when Tommy's excuse in the original series for arriving late to fights was being forgetful...
    • It was lampshaded when Tommy's old teammate Adam came by a few seasons later and mused on how "it's really hard to imagine him as a teacher."
  • Dominique from the French Canadian family TV program Radio Enfer got hit with this hard. When first introduced, she was a friendly girl from the country fascinated with the supernatural. She got along very well with all the gang despite working for the radio's "rival", the student newspaper. She disappeared for half a season for a student exchange in Paris, and returned completely transformed, now obsessed with psychology (or mental torture, as she now seemed to derive a great deal of pleasure at everyone else's misery, which she often helped caused). After that, she was never treated as anything else than an annoyance (which is ironic, because by then, the radio and newspaper had merged and even the main antagonist of the first two seasons had been let into the core friends group).
  • When the character of Kristine Kochanski is brought back after a long absence from Red Dwarf, she is not only played by a different actress but the characterization is significantly different, and she now speaks with an English rather than Scottish accent. She did hail from an alternate universe, getting stuck in our world in that episode. (Now, that doesn't explain that flashbacks to our world's Kochanski would, after this, have her resembling the new one...)
  • In Scrubs Danni Sullivan was introduced as a love interest for J.D. and during her initial appearances she was a fun, likable, sensitive girl whose only real flaw was that she wanted a serious relationship while J.D. was still interested in Elliot. After breaking up with J.D. she left the show only to return sometime later as a chain smoking, self absorbed, airhead party girl. The show Handwaved her totally different personality as being a result of her trying to be what she thought J.D. wanted in a girl.
  • Combined with Generation Xerox in Still Open All Hours: Granville, the shy well-meaning nephew of conniving skinflint Arkwright has, thirty years later, become almost identical to his late uncle.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • Jake Kane is the Corrupt Corporate Executive behind Kane Software and a suspect in his daughter Lilly's death. However, Season 1 demonstrates that he's actually a loving father who is grieving deeply for his daughter and whose suspicious behavior is because he thinks his son Duncan killed Lilly. After not appearing in Season 2, he returns in Season 3 as a megalomaniacal cult leader who is trying to recruit Wallace.
    • Richard "Big Dick" Casablancas is an abusive parent who turned his two sons against each other and bullied his younger son (Beaver/Cassidy) which at least played a part in Beaver turning to mass murder. When he came back partway through Season 3, though, he'd genuinely seen the error of his ways, was remorseful, seemed horrified, and looked to make amends with his other son Dick. However, in the revival Season 4, he was even more corrupt and remorseless, and even nearly got his surviving son killed. It was an accident, but it still didn't stop him on executing his plan.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Happens all the time in WWE, when a wrestler will return after several months - or even years - as a face when they previously were a heel, or vice versa, just to keep them fresh or quickly get him back in a title hunt. Double- (if not triple-) subverted once by Tatanka, who returned to WWE after about a decade as the same old "Native American Warrior", stuck to the face gimmick for over a year, then abruptly turned heel and transformed himself into a Sting-like "vengeful spirit" in black-and-white corpse paint - then was unceremoniously released from WWE just three weeks later.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer: Durthu the Wood Elf Treeman started out in the late '90s as a wise, kindly, fatherly figure among the Treemen, who nevertheless hated the Dwarfs who were cutting down and burning his forest home. He stopped being available as a special character as of the release of the 6th edition of the game in 2000, but was mentioned once or twice — with his original personality more or less the same — in the 2005 6th edition Wood Elf army book (indeed, he was seen as something of a moderating influence on the more warlike of his kin). Fast forward to the 2014 8th edition Wood Elf book: Durthu is a fanatical spirit of hatred, death, and vengeance. Thanks to a run in with the fire and axes of the Dwarfs, he is now a charred ruin of a treeman, obsessed with destroying the enemies of the forest at all costs.

  • Sylvanian Families have this happen to the sets when a set is phased out of production and is then revived several years later. Marketing staff change and the new staff are likely not eager to pore through archived documentation left by their predecessors. This resulted in complete personality changes, completely changed backstory, inconsistent names, and in the most extreme cases, even changes in color tone and design, resulting in a set that is In Name Only or worse, is nothing like when the set was originally produced. Examples include the Walnut Squirrel family (originally called the Furbanks outside of Japan at one point before the International name was synchronized with Japan while the US name was changed to Hazelnut instead) and the Striped Cat family (originally called the Macavity family outside of Japan at one point. Again, the International name was synchronized with Japan while the US name was changed to the Sandy Cat family).

    Video Games 
  • Touhou Project has sort of a weird example. There was an unofficial Continuity Reboot between the fifth and the sixth games (there's some evidence the early games are still in continuity, but even more that they're not, and Word of God isn't helping). So, four characters from before the reboot have shown up in later games. They vary from sharing only the name and a few bits of character designnote  to just having a noticeably different personalitynote . Later on, ZUN began subverting popular fanon personalities given to various characters by making them the complete opposite in both dialogue and Expanded Universe — for example, Nitori goes from a supposedly shy genius inventor to a racist, grouchy, violent scam artist.
  • The 3rd Birthday's Aya Brea is much more unstable, submissive, and frightened than Aya was in Parasite Eve, to the point of seeming helpless no matter how badass you are in the gameplay. This is because she's actually Eve; Aya herself is actually a total badass in a later cutscene.
  • Pictured above is Phoenix Wright from the Ace Attorney series, a promising lawyer and a really caring person in the first trilogy. And then came Apollo Justice, 7 years later, where Phoenix was now a scruffy-looking man who played poker at the basement of a bar and has a 15-year-old adopted daughter. Although when you get to play as him, you learn that he's still the same guy on the inside and we learn what happened: He got disbarred as a lawyer when he was set up and tricked into presenting forged evidence, costing him his career. As for Trucy Wright, she was the daughter of a man that Phoenix was representing and who disappeared when she was 8. Afterward, Phoenix adopted her as his own daughter and took on odd jobs, such as playing poker, to support her. Turns out these are connected; the man who tricked Phoenix into using forged evidence was the original defending lawyer of Trucy's biological father, who dropped him when he saw him play poker. Or rather, gauged him as a ruthless man and thus dishonest. Given how he ruined Phoenix's career out of his pride being slighted, he was not wrong. Then it came full circle, with Phoenix resuming the role of protagonist in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, returning to being a lawyer after getting his name cleared. For the most part, he kept the mature, mentor personality, but his inner monologues reveal that sometimes he can be as clueless as his rookie partners (which could be chalked up to being out of the field for seven years). Trucy meanwhile becomes Phoenix's new assistant and she's quite capable in her own right.
  • Frank West from the original Dead Rising had a mostly serious, grounded personality. Come Dead Rising 4, Frank returns after not having been seen canonically since Case West, a stand-alone expansion to the second game. The most obvious change right out the bat is a new voice actor and a different face while looking notably younger and in-shape than his last appearance (where he was an out-of-shape middle-aged man) even though he's supposed to be even older at this point. Personality-wise, he's now much sillier and immature, cracking jokes at every opportune (and inopportune) moment and generally seems to have lost a lot of their moral integrity as a result. Even Case West Frank had completely noble intentions, while the plot of Dead Rising 4 is mostly centered around his glory hound nature. This has been a contentious change, to say the least.
  • Princess Pride from Mega Man Battle Network is an extreme example. When she made her debut in the second game, she was a remorseless terrorist who nearly led several people to their deaths. Come the fifth game, she joins the heroes in the battle against Nebula and is by far one of the nicest characters in the team. This may be attributed to her portrayal in the anime adaptation, where she was a Nice Girl from the start.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Cody Travers of Final Fight was originally portrayed as a motivated and heroic figure, out to save his girlfriend Jessica from the Mad Gear Gang. Later on Capcom brought him back as part of the cast of Street Fighter Alpha 3 but much to the surprise of players, he returned as an escaped convict, complete with prison clothes and handcuffs on his wrists, though his taunt reveals he can take them off at any time if he wished. (Conversely, Guy, Rolento, and Sodom were mostly unchanged from their Final Fight appearances.) Capcom explained that his battle with the Mad Gear Gang had given birth to an addiction to fighting and he was thrown in prison for his constant brawling. Later, in Super Street Fighter IV, he escapes prison again to look for some excitement (with all evidence suggesting he can bust out of jail any time he wants unquestioned) and tells Guy in his ending that prison is where he belongs. Further on, in Final Fight: Streetwise, he falls even further due to a bum knee and juicing on a radical drug in order to stay competitive, though he tries to coach his brother due to the potential Cody sees in Kyle, was said to have deliberately taken the fall for a different crime Guy had committed (Guy also on the receiving end of this trope in Streetwise to a lesser extent), and later regains the full use of his legs thanks to said drug.
    • It should be noted, however, that Guy feels, deep down, Cody remains a hero and is willing to fight him to make a point of it and convince Cody to join him in the battle against injustice (hence their Rival Battles in Alpha 3 and SSFIV). Cody himself says he can't idly sit by while evil — like Bison and Seth — is at large (again affirmed by his Street Fighter appearances, particularly his Alpha 3 ending), and depending on the continuity, Cody may have even been falsely accused and jailed for Poison's crimes. Street Fighter V shows Guy's faith in Cody isn't unwarranted, as Cody cleans up his act, gets exonerated of his crimes by Haggar, and goes on to become Metro City's next mayor... though Cody insists he's not hero material.
    • Charlie, previously presumed dead in the Street Fighter Alpha series, returns in Street Fighter V. He is now covered in unsettling, wrong-colored skin grafts held together by giant staples, has a Power Crystal stuck into the middle of his forehead, and his physical transformation seems to have induced a personality transformation as well with Charlie issuing cold threats of lethal violence if you are unfortunate enough to be his opponent. His moveset is also different, replete with Flash Step teleports and the ability to call upon a dark green energy of sorts. The story mode explains that he was revived by Illuminati agents and is given a task to kill Bison and stop the Shadaloo group, and he's told that while he's given enhanced powers, his revival won't last long, so he's pretty dead-set on his mission. It's also revealed that his ending in Alpha 2, where Charlie was betrayed by his own Air Force members (implied to be Shadaloo's mole troops) and thrown out of his aircraft, was his canonical death as opposed to the previously-thought-to-be-canon Heroic Sacrifice in Alpha 3, which made Charlie bitter and untrusting.
  • Invoked in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Lloyd returns but acts completely out of character because that Lloyd is an impostor.
  • A central theme of the World End Economica visual novel trilogy by Isuna Hasekura is the changes made to the setting and characters in the Time Skips between each of the instalments. In each episode, the characters look and act noticeably different and more mature. This is especially notable in Haru, the protagonist, who goes from an overambitious and bratty teenager to an almost emotionless adult after Barton's betrayal leaves Haru two million mools in debt, and everybody he worked so hard to protect homeless, permanently shattering Haru's dream at the end of episode.01.
  • Harvest Moon: Back to Nature plays with this. Most of the residents of Mineral Town are recycled characters from Harvest Moon 64, but despite the same name and character designs, they often have completely different personalities, job descriptions, and even relationships with the other villagers.
  • Isaac and Garrett, heroes from Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age are completely different in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, which takes place 20 years later. Isaac was originally portrayed as a bit reckless, but had a clear goal in mind and knew what to do while Garrett was the hot headed idiot. Cut ahead 20 years later, Isaac has become totally aloof, cryptic, and has no problem of sending his son, Matthew, and his friend, Faris, on a dangerous quest to save Garrett's son, Tyrell and then tasking all three kids with finding a way to repairing the Soar Wing. Garrett calls Isaac out for being completely irresponsible by letting the kids go out on their own on such a dangerous journey while Isaac says it will do them good since they would learn from experience like he had done when he first started on his quest years prior. In short, Isaac goes from leader to vague and irresponsible while Garrett changes from irresponsible to responsible and sensible.
  • Capcom vs.:
    • Jill Valentine manages to do this in a non-storyline way in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In Marvel vs. Capcom 2 she was still wearing her S.T.A.R.S. uniform and was able to do things like a flaming dash and summon zombies, birds, and a Tyrant for her Hyper Combo. Come MvC3, where she came in as Downloadable Content, she was modeled after her appearance in Resident Evil 5, where she was under Wesker's control. As a result she fought like an acrobatic assassin, using things like sommersault kicks and attacking with her Skorpion submachine gun. The two Marvel vs. Capcom iterations of Jill are completely different from each other with zero overlap, essentially making them two distinct characters in the same series of games.
    • Though less dramatically, Frank West in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 are not the same character. He still behaves the same way and his moves still fit the Dead Rising setting he's from but the actual attacks are different, MvC3 introduced an unusual Magikarp Power gameplay mechanic to him and he has to approach the fight differently from TvC.
    • Even though he was the Final Boss of Marvel Super Heroes, Thanos is also playable in said game. However, he retained his game-breaking normal attacks even as a playable character. He had six Hyper Combos, representing his usage of each of the six Infinity Gems. He was toned down considerably in MvC2, where his normals weren't given such high priority and he only had access to four Hyper Combos, missing the ones where he uses the Time and Mind Gems. Making his return to the series in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Thanos's moveset was given quite an overhaul. He has several new normals, special moves, and most importantly, Hyper Combos note .
  • The Spyro the Dragon series underwent a soft Continuity Reboot for Spyro: A Hero's Tail, with many characters remaining from the Insomniac-era games, but altered heavily, alongside new characters; however, only one other game, Spyro: Shadow Legacy, was released in that continuity before Sierra decided to start fresh- in came The Legend of Spyro, which eventually got replaced by the not as Spyro-centric Skylanders.
  • Noob Saibot of the Mortal Kombat franchise went through a curious change after his first appearance in II. In that game, he was a pure black palette swap of Scorpion, replete with his spear special move. Come the third game, despite the game having ninjas in the form of Sub-Zero and the cyborg trio of Sektor, Cyrax and Smoke, Noob was made into a pure black palette swap of Kano, and with no special moves. When Scorpion and Reptile were re-introduced in the Ultimate update of 3, Noob was altered into his traditional pure black ninja form, and the later Trilogy version made him the shadow attack-based character we know today.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Frank Jaeger goes from being a charismatic and conflicted Evil Counterpart to Snake to being a ghost-like Cyber Ninja Death Seeker with a Combat Sadomasochist theme, although this is justified with Came Back Wrong, with the other characters disturbed and horrified by the change. Also, flashes of his original personality emerge from time to time, particularly through his "Deepthroat" storyline and towards the end. A similar change happens to Raiden, who goes from being a This Loser Is You gamer caricature who is still quite bright and hopeful, into a deeply depressed ninja who inherits Frank's Death Seeker personality and fixation on Snake - a move to boost Raiden's popularity that went over quite well. Like with Frank, Snake in particular is shown to be horrified by what has happened to his friend, and tries to talk him back to his older personality.
    • Vamp keeps a similar aesthetic and powers between his appearances, but in 4 he has a markedly different personality, going from being brooding and somewhat sympathetic, to being a horrifically violent Death Seeker with no explanation. All the water-themed and magic-themed powers he had in his first appearance (the ones inherited from Chinaman) are dropped.
  • The Nameless Hero in the Gothic franchise. In the trilogy created by Piranha Bytes, he's known as a roguish hero with a snarky sense of humor and not really caring about authority. However, "Forsaken Gods" made by a completely different studio changed his character completely. He became overly patriotic, authoritarian and absolutely loves giving pompous speeches. That goes to the point he agrees to kill a bunch of people just because they refused to go to war.
  • Anders from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is almost a completely different character from his future appearance in Dragon Age II. In Awakening, he is a rather carefree apostate on the run from the Circle who is a pretty big womanizer. In II, while still an apostate mage, he is now rather moody and serious, as well as being gay (if Hawke is a man, bisexual if Hawke is a woman) without showing any interest in any women (besides a female Hawke). This can at least partially be chalked up to the fact that he fused with Justice, a spirit from the Fade stuck in the physical world, which undoubtedly altered his personality (and continues to do so as the story progresses), but even with that he barely resembles the character he was in his first appearance.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: The personalities of most existing gang members from I have been changed, some more than others. Only Jack Marston and Dutch van der Linde are more or less exactly like described in I.
    • The first game and its All in the Manual material paint John Marston as being the only rational one in the gang, disliked by both Javier Escuella and Bill Williamson, and who noticed Dutch's declining mental state first. Not only is John more or less liked by almost everyone, John's rationality was given to Arthur Morgan. John was also said to have been a "romantic" and have an eloquent way of speaking, very much a stark contrast to his depiction in II.
    • Javier is described as a creep disliked by Abigail Roberts who "had a lot of passion, but no love" for the outlaw lifestyle, and who was a False Friend to John. Here he's a Dashing Hispanic who genuinely sees John as a brother, respects Abigail, and whose main flaw is his Undying Loyalty to Dutch. Even as the gang starts falling apart, Javier doesn't go "crazy" like John described in I, he just becomes a total asshole.
    • Bill is The Friend Nobody Likes instead of the crazy and greedy maniac described in I; however, this change is somewhat explained In-Universe by his mental issues. He was described as having a "fatherly" relationship with Dutch and a "brotherly" relationship with John and was jealous that Abigail picked John over him, none of which is shown or indicated in "II". Also, his Ambiguously Gay traits contradicts the claim that he loved and slept with Abigail, as well as his Rape, Pillage, and Burn aspects from I.
    • In general, it seems like Bill and Javier's negative traits that were implied in I were given to Micah Bell, likely to make those two more sympathetic. Meanwhile, Bill's original background and some of John's implied character traits were given to Arthur.
    • Abigail is repeatedly said to have been the gang bicycle, which is not shown here. However, this is also somewhat justified as she is implied to have been a prostitute before Jack was born. Still, the way things happen in II would be unlikely to leave the impression that Abigail was "passed around" and was "any man's wife".
    • Even Uncle seems different. He's meek and grumpy in I, but very outgoing and cheerful in II. While this could initially be chalked up to him becoming more cynical in the twelve years after the gang, basically his only family, had fallen apart, that doesn't really work when taking into account that he still has the same lively personality in the epilogue (1907) which is only a few years away from the events of I (1911). Really, the only similarities he has with his characterization in the first game is that he's an old drunkard that dislikes working. There's also no indication in I that he was a part of the Van der Linde gang.
  • Saints Row IV: In Saints Row: The Third, Cyrus Temple was a Hero Antagonist, but was militant extremist with little regard for human life, and the Well Intentioned Goal of driving out gang activity in Steelport. IV, we get four different takes on Cyrus, in both the the real world and Zinyak's simulations.
    • There's the real Cyrus, who lost his more redeeming qualities, in favour of being a self-rigorous megalomaniac. When STAG is disbanded, their False Flag Operation exposed and the Saints hailed as heroes against STAG, out of spite, Cyrus joins a terror cell, leading a plot to launch a nuclear attack and recreate America in his own image.
    • There's the first virtual simulation of Cryus, created in Kenzie’s nightmare simulation. This Cyrus is a facist leader of 50's, spouting extreme conservative values and is Kinzie's controlling husband.
    • There's the second virtual recreation in the simulated Steelport, that resembles his counterpart in The Third, but has the same megalomania as the real Cyrus, and the conservative and controlling nature of his first recreation. It's expressly stated this recreation of him is based off of Kinzie's memory of the man and her newfound hatred for him.
    • And finally, there's the third recreation of Cyrus as an unlockable homie. He's a lot closer to his counterpart in The Third, but a lot more personable and even showing a softer side. He's apologetic to Shaundi regarding her treatment in STAG's captivity, and briefly mentions having a niece who was a fan of Veteran Child, asking the latter for an autograph for her.
  • You Don't Know Jack: Nate Shapiro is a smooth-talking Game Show Host in the '90s CD-ROM games. When he returns 20 years later in Full Stream, he's a slightly-unhinged Conspiracy Theorist hosting a radio show called "Truth Talk 23/7".
  • No More Heroes III reintroduces plenty of characters from past games as undergone having plenty of Character Development, but by far the most drastic departure in characterization in Henry Cooldown, Travis Touchdown's twin brother. In previous games, Henry — by his own recognition — is the "cool, handsome foil" who's played as suave and classy, even during a fight, but in III... oh boy... he's become a completely Ax-Crazy, almost demonic berserker, having spent the interim between No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and III suffering an explosively traumatic revelation regarding his and Travis' Serial Killer father after watching the movie Thor (yes, really). Not only did he receive an almost unrecognizable new look, his fighting style lost any elegance and since became violent and destructively unhinged, and he explicitly wants to kill Travis.
  • Guilty Gear: Going from Guilty Gear Xrd to -STRIVE-, Faust somehow went from being a jovial, wacky and eccentric doctor to having a downright creepy, horrifying personality on top of somehow looking more malformed, without quite going back to his original Dr. Baldhead personality from the first game. There was initially zero explanation for his dramatic change, and all series director Daisuke Ishiwatari had to say about it was a big shrug. Another Story finally shows how this sudden change of characterization happened, that being Faust's soul left his body after overexertion from trying to save Delilah, leaving his body animated purely by his will to help people as a doctor.
  • The 7th Saga has seven playable apprentices. One of them is controlled by the player. One is recruited as the player's ally (maybe). One of them hired Pison to stop you (maybe). One of them snaps, so they murder a king and steal the king's rune. One found a rune, only to be defeated by the player (or, perhaps, join the player). On rare occasions, one may betray and attack the player when they find a rune. The rest either temporarily joined the player or did nothing of note. But again, all seven apprentices are playable; five of them can fill any role, while the other two can't snap or betray you but can fill any other role. This means Same Character, But Different applies to every playable character.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, this occurs in-universe whenever a Blade's Driver dies, as, when this happens, the Blade in question returns to their Core Crystal, and, upon resonance with a new Driver from there, they retain none of their previous life's memories. One such example is when Vandham dies, and his sole Blade returns to its Core Crystal. Rex then resonates with it anew, and it introduces itself as though meeting for the first time. Of course, like many other Blades in its position, it expresses an interest in learning more about what its old Driver was like. While Blades generally retain their personalities between resonations, it's not unheard of for certain ones to vary depending on the nature of their current Driver, such as the Knight Errant Perceval having been a ruthless murderer under his previous Driver.

    Web Animation 
  • Eddsworld originally featured four main characters based on the real life creators of the show. Edd, Tom, Matt and Tord. Since the latter didn't exactly get along with Tom, he eventually decided to leave the team, his character was also removed from the cast. In Eddsworld Legacy, made as a tribute to Edd Gould after his death, Tord is brought back in the final episode, but this time as an antagonist, revealing that his friendship was a lie. This idea was quite controversial as Tord is based on a real person and this vilification of his character was deemed insensitive for some.

    Western Animation 
  • Cleveland Jr. from Family Guy was portrayed as a little, energetic kid and then was almost never seen anymore for the longest time... until The Cleveland Show when he reappeared transformed into a fat, slow-witted Chris Griffin Expy. This is lampshaded in the episode A Rodent Like This when Junior points out to Rallo that he looks nothing like Cleveland and it is revealed that the real Cleveland Junior was killed and the current one is really a spy who replaced him in order to get to his next target. Naturally the episode has a Reset Button Ending.
  • Ben 10 has this as a source of for why every installment is a Contested Sequel, with most characters deemed by fans to have undergone personality shifts both major and minor between showrunners — those being Man of Action Studios and Alex Soto for the original, Dwayne McDuffie and Glen Murakami for Alien Force and Ultimate, Derrick J. Wyatt and Matt Youngberg for Omniverse, and Man of Action and John Fang for the 2016 reboot. How many of these personality changes made sense in the original continuity, and thus actually qualify for this trope, is YMMV, but the following are unanimously agreed upon:
    • In the original Ben 10 series, Zombozo was a horrifying emotion vampire who was also a great showman. In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, he's just The Joker with a couple of magician-based superpowers.
    • Kevin in the original series was an Enfant Terrible with extra terrible, being frighteningly murderous. In some ways he was more evil than even some season Big Bads: A Take Over the World type will kill you because you're in the way; Kevin will kill you just because he can. In Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, he's reintroduced as a criminal of the more "out to make a dishonest buck" type and quickly makes a Heel–Face Turn after falling in Love at First Sight (well, first sight in the new series) with Gwen. His powers have gone from energy absorption to the ability to transform into any material he touches. When his past was discussed, it was softened considerably - apparently, viewers were supposed to believe he'd always been the mostly harmless ne'er-do-well he'd been in the first ten minutes of Alien Force. It should tell you something when The Dreaded Big Bad Vilgax, once described as "Darth Vader without the sense of humor," turned out to actually care about his people and is a Universally Beloved Leader back home and it wasn't considered to be nearly the same level of derailment as Kevin's change. Some of his behavior can be attributed to the five-year Time Skip, but certain changes like his lack of sociopathy and rather abrupt Heel–Face Turn struck a sizable chunk of the fanbase as ham-fisted. It took until Ultimate Alien before any explanation was given for how Kevin became sane - it was still being demanded at that point because even after years of this new characterization, Saint Kevin was just too big a horse pill for fans to swallow. In all fairness the writers did have an explanation in mind they would have used in the third season of Alien Force, but thanks to Executive Meddling it was scrapped and they ended up having to incorporate it into the sequel series instead.
    • It's to the point that Ben and Gwen giving Kevin a chance needed every bit as much explaining away because it's just that unthinkable after what he'd been like. After a time travel episode that Original Series Ben wasn't supposed to remember once he'd returned to the past, Professor Paradox explained that he'd remember it very faintly, maybe just enough to consider the idea of Kevin becoming good when meeting him again. Omniverse took it farther, establishing that the gang had met the criminal-but-not-psychotic version of Kevin between the original series and AF/UA, though this serves as another Series Continuity Error on Omniverse's part since it was already established that Ben and Gwen hadn't seen Kevin since he was locked in the Null Void. Yes, it actually took years to make the new Kevin make sense, and more years to make Ben and Gwen entertaining the idea that Kevin could be in their midst and not kill them for fun make sense! That's how you know you've fallen into this trope big-time. note 
    • The character of Charmcaster is a particularly egregious case of this trope in action. In the original series, she was a play on the Dark Magical Girl trope, more willfully malevolent than most but not wholly devoid of better qualities either. Come Alien Force, she has become purely villainous and increasingly murderous. In Ultimate Alien, she suddenly becomes a darkly tragic Broken Bird who starts going through a Heel–Face Revolving Door. Then in Omniverse, an emotional breakdown has made her become a childish, Laughably Evil Cloud Cuckoolander, although toward the end she circles back toward being more like she was in the original series.
    • Hex from the original Ben 10 series was a ruthless villain and a major enemy of the Tennysons. His reappearances in Alien Force are similar, but Ultimate Alien emphasizes his care for his niece, Charmcaster. Then Omniverse came along and by the Hex appeared, he'd completely abandoned villainy and was content with his new job as a university professor. Not only that, but he became a lot friendlier. Even Gwen and the others are puzzled by this 180 in personality.
  • Total Drama
    • Ezekiel was introduced as a home-schooled loner who was always destined to be eliminated first and forgotten. Come World Tour, he stowes away on the plane and becomes malnourished and feral, pretty much turning into Gollum, where he'd spend the rest of his time terrorizing the cast with his Where's Waldo style cameos.
    • This was kind of done with Justin. In the first season proper, he was very Out of Focus—he only spoke in the first episode and got voted off around episode five. In the first season special, however, he talks a lot more and is presented as a rather crafty antagonist. Season two continued with this characterization and set him up as the new villain, only to forget about that arc and replace him with Courtney.
  • The Hyperion studio's Itsy Bitsy Spider (spun off from the short subject that played in theaters with the feature Bebe's Kids) series had a little Meganekko girl named Leslie as Itsy's friend. Leslie went from being sweet and introverted in the first season to kind of bitchy in the second.
  • In Adventure Time Xergiok the Goblin King was introduced as a tyrant whom Finn and Jake had to defeat. He reappears seasons later having been magically blinded, peacefully caring for a flock of giant birds. He goes through a Face–Heel Revolving Door, temporarily turning evil again.
  • Goofy and Pete had sons in various Classic Disney Shorts (some of the fatherhood-related The Everyman sketches for the former, and the Donald Duck cartoon "Bellboy Donald" for the latter). They had sons decades later in the Goof Troop series (and a few other sources in Goofy's case). Within this time:
    • Goofy Jr. gained ears, turned from a redhead with a pink nose to being colored the same way as his dad, became much more serious and also more of a Rounded Character (since Goofy Jr. was mainly a plot device), and got a name change to Max. There was a brief transition period in the comics, though.
    • Pete Jr. got smaller ears, got fatter, had his voice pitched up roughly two or three octaves (despite being older), and made a 180 degree personality change from being bratty, conniving, and sadistic to being a sweet and unassuming textbook Woobie. Oh, and he started going by "PJ" instead of "Junior."
  • The 2015 revival of the 2007 George of the Jungle series has had several changes made to the characters. George is a Top-Heavy Guy like 60s George, Ape has a British accent like 60s Ape, Magnolia and Ursula's names have been switched, Ursula (previously named Magnolia) is a feral wild woman, the scientist and the witch doctor are no longer the girls' dads, and the scientist is now a villain.
    • Ursula and Magnolia switching names might have been a reference to Magnolia being based on the 60s Ursula, with the new Ursula being a mostly original character, but the former Magnolia becoming a villain makes her seem even less like any character from the original.
  • Kiara as a cub hated the idea of becoming queen in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride but in the midquel The Lion Guard she's pleased with the idea and lords it over Kion. She was also shown to be a very poor hunter even as an adult in Simba's Pride, to the point where Kovu had to teach her how, but in The Lion Guard she seems to be a pro even as a cub.
  • Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls (1998) was a sensitive, Friend to All Living Things and was The Heart of the trio. In The Powerpuff Girls (2016) her cloudcuckoolander traits are exaggerated even compared to her post-flanderization characterization in the previous series. She's not portrayed nearly as sensitive as before and has an excitable personality. Her darker side is more obvious as well.
  • Kaeloo: This happens to Pretty in season 5. From her introduction until the end of season 4, Pretty was a self-centered, mean narcissist and an Alpha Bitch. In season 5, Pretty is revealed to have undergone offscreen Character Development and becomes a friendly, helpful, and caring person, with absolutely none of her previous character traits present.