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Significant Double Casting

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Jonathan Hyde as Alan's greatest childhood and adulthood fears.

Frequently in fiction, and especially in theatre, the same actor will play multiple roles. Sometimes this will just be for the sake of convenience, and not meaningful to the plot; after all, say it's the theatre — if an actor is going to show up at the theatre every night to perform, you might as well take as much advantage of his or her skills as possible. However, sometimes there are reasons for the same actor playing two parts that are symbolic or have some subliminal impact in the story. Hence, Significant Double Casting.

The main distinction between this and the Acting for Two tropes is that almost all of the Acting for Two tropes operate on the assumption that the two (or more) characters look identical. Here, the point is merely that the two (or more) roles are intended to be played by the same person for some effect. So, in a way, this trope is a subtrope of Acting for Two, and a supertrope of some of the tropes listed on that page.

Compare Identical Grandson, Identical Stranger. Contrast Cast as a Mask, where two different actors are cast to conceal the fact that they're playing the same character.


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  • In Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu, Captain Garis and Daiya's father are both voiced by Toru Okawa, highlighting the captain's role as a father figure to Daiya.
  • The first Fullmetal Alchemist anime had both the Elrics' mother and Sloth being voiced by the same actress; Sloth ends up being the Homunculus created when the brothers tried to use human transmutation to bring their mother back to life.
  • In Slayers Evolution-R, the man who hires Lina to protect him from the assassin Zuuma has the same actor, hinting what his "long business trips" really are.
  • Ryoko's voice actress, Miyuki Sawashiro, also does the Big Bad, Finé, in Senki Zesshou Symphogear.
  • Two cases of this in Fairy Tail, both concerning characters' Edolas counterparts stuck on Earth. When they revealed the cast for the first 12 episodes, Funimation didn't even bother hiding the first example. Admittedly, the second example is screwed up by mistake, but the revelation happened in the manga after recording for the first season of the dub had finished.
  • Gundam
  • In Noir, Mireille and her late mother Odette are both voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi,note  which serves to underline the fact that they look almost exactly alike, which actually is a plot point.
  • The Witch Queen in Ojamajo Doremi never has her voice actress revealed in the credits until she reveals her identity near the end of the series. It's Yuka Imai, who plays Yuki-sensei.
  • Mekakucity Actors provides a three-way version of this, as Mamoru Miyano voices not only Konoha, but Haruka and the Wide-Open Eyes Snake (in snake form). It is revealed in Episode 6 that Haruka is Konoha before he died and came back without memories and his appearance altered to resemble Haruka's online avatar. The fact that he also voices the Snake foreshadows who the Snake's final host body in the final episode will be.
  • In Afro Samurai and its spin-off game, Afro and Ninja Ninja are both voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, and it is eventually revealed that the latter is a figment of the former's imagination.
  • In Lyrical Nanoha, Subaru and Nove are both voiced by Chiwa Saito. It turns out later on that they are genetically sisters since Nove was a modified clone of Quint just like Subaru and Ginga. Averted with the third character she voices in the series, Quattro.
  • In Kemono Friends, the only two human characters, Kaban and Mirai, are both played by Aya Uchida. The final episode reveals that Kaban is actually a human Friend, born from one of Mirai's hairs coming into contact with Sandstar.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02 both Oikawa and BelialVamdemon are voiced by the same actor in the Japanese and both Spanish dubs. Vamdemon has possessed Oikawa.

    Films — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Most of the named characters in The Wizard of Oz appear in Kansas at the beginning or end, and have similar roles in both worlds: the Wicked Witch/Mrs. Gulch as the antagonist, Professor Marvel/The Wizard as the charlatan who gets Dorothy into trouble, and three farmhands/traveling companions as moral support for Dorothy.
  • This is also used in Return to Oz and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Considering that it wasn't a part of the books, this just shows how lasting an impact the 1939 film had.
  • In Jumanji, Jonathan Hyde plays both Sam Parrish (Alan's father) and Van Pelt (the Great White Hunter who likes Hunting the Most Dangerous Game). This highlights Alan's fear of both characters.
  • The Tim Burton film Big Fish features Helena Bonham-Carter as both a woman who once knew the main character and a witch who terrorised him as a child. This is even lampshaded.
    Will: But logically, you can't be the witch, because she was old when he was young.
    Jenny: It makes sense if you think like your father.
  • In MirrorMask, Helena's mother and father (Joanne Campbell and Rob Brydon) are also the Queen and Prime Minister of her dream world.
  • In Time Bandits, Sean Connery plays both Kevin's surrogate father figure Agamemnon as well as the fireman who rescues him in the end. Kevin reacts to the similarity. This helps raise a number of questions for the film's Gainax Ending.
  • In the film Nadja, the title character is Dracula's daughter, being pursued in the present day by a descendant of Professor Van Helsing. Dracula himself, being dead, appears only in flashbacks, once as Stock Footage of Bela Lugosi, but otherwise as a dim faceless figure who is played by the same actor as plays Van Helsing.
  • In Beauty and the Beast (1946), Jean Marais plays both the Beast and Belle's Prince Charming Wannabe suitor Avenant which helps emphasize them switching roles at the end of the film with Avenant becoming beastly and the Beast becoming human again. It also hints at the ending not quite being as happy as it appears on the surface — the director Cocteau was quoted as saying that the Beast's transformation back into a prince was intended to be disappointing to Belle because it was "condemning her to a humdrum marriage and a future that I summed up in that last sentence of all fairy tales: 'And they had many children.'", and the Beast's human form looking exactly like that of Avenant, her handsome but selfish suitor, helps imply that he might not be great to Belle either now that he no longer has to act humble and kind to her to break his curse.
  • Peter Pan: Both Mr. Darling, the stern authority figure that tries to spoil the children's fun, and Captain Hook, the main antagonist also out to ruin the children's fun (by killing them), are played by the same actor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Flash (2014), Tobin Bell voices Dr. Alchemy as well as Savitar. This is because Savitar is using the Philosopher's Stone to take control of Julian Albert's mind and force him to take the role of Doctor Alchemy. Also in Arrowverse, Katie Cassidy plays two Evil Doppelgangers of Laurel Lance: Black Siren of Earth 2 and Siren X of Earth-X. Both wear the same leather outfit and are metahumans with the ability to produce a destructive scream (although Siren X also has echolocation).


  • In the original radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Bill Wallis plays both Prosser (the man in charge of demolishing Arthur's house to make way for a new road) and Jeltz (the alien in charge of demolishing Arthur's planet to make way for a new hyperspace route).

  • In the Alternate Show Interpretation of Assassins that was produced on Broadway, the Balladeer "becomes" Lee Harvey Oswald. Neil Patrick Harris plays both characters.
  • Peter Pan: Both Mr. Darling, the stern authority figure that tries to spoil the children's fun, and Captain Hook, the main antagonist also out to ruin the children's fun (by killing them), are usually played by the same actor. (Although apparently to begin with J.M. Barrie wanted Captain Hook to be played by the same actress as Mrs. Darling!)
  • Angels in America:
    • When Prior goes into Heaven at the end of the play, each of the other seven actors in the show plays a member of the Council of Angels. When Prior wakes up afterwards in his hospital bed, he goes The Wizard of Oz on Belize, Emily, and Hannah ("And You Were There!").
    • Even in the HBO Mini Series—where some of the more outlandish uses of Significant Double Casting are ditched—Jeffrey Wright (Belize), Emma Thompson (Emily), Meryl Streep (Hannah), and Ben Shenkman (Louis) all still double as featured angels, and all four of them still appear in the scene after Prior wakes up.
  • Equus: The Young Horseman responsible for Alan's first riding experience also plays his favorite horse Nugget. This represents Alan's confusion at his attraction to horses and repulsion towards sex.
  • The Narrator in Blood Brothers plays several bit parts as well, all of which he plays for a reason. For example, he plays a bus attendant who breaks from reality briefly to impart ominous words to Mrs. Johnstone, before stepping back into character.
  • In Witness for the Prosecution, two roles are always double-cast for reasons that would be a huge spoiler.
  • In Into the Woods, the roles that are usually double-cast are thematically similar:
    • The Big Bad Wolf and Cinderella's Prince are unable to control their appetites, whether in regards to eating or in regards to sex.
    • The Narrator and The Mysterious Man insist on commenting on the action without becoming involved.
    • On the other hand, Cinderella's Mother and Granny would like to be more proactive, but are each unable to, for separate reasons. The Giant is also often voiced by this actress, but that's less for thematic reasons and more because she's one of the few cast members not onstage during those scenes.
  • In Reefer Madness, one character who plays the Moral Guardian narrator also shows up in a number of other roles in the musical, including as Satan tempting the protagonists into using drugs. The implication, confirmed at the end, is basically that he is also an evil tempter in the Moral Guardian role.
  • Hamilton has several double cast roles between the two acts. Jefferson and Lafayette, Mulligan and Madison, Peggy and Maria, and Laurens and Phillip. Of these Jefferson and Madison are significant as they share actors with Hamilton's friends Mulligan and Lafayette from the first act to show how he's entered a more antagonistic period of his life, friends replaced with enemies.
    • In fact, all are significant in that they make the ending of the first song, "Alexander Hamilton", work: Lafayette/Mulligan and Jefferson/Madison both fought with him (in both senses of the phrase - alongside and against), Laurens and Phillip both died for him (Laurens defending emancipation, a passion both men shared, and Philip defending his father's honor), and Peggy and Maria Reynolds both loved him (Peggy as a sister-in-law, and Maria as a way to help her husband blackmail Hamilton, although it's unclear if Maria had actual feelings for Hamilton or not).
  • Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has Prince Andrey and his cruel, decrepit father played by the same actor to emphasize that the two are much alike. Most characters in the show believe that Andrey's fiancee Natasha is ruining her life by running away with another man, but the casting implies that she's actually dodging a bullet.
  • In The Tales of Hoffmann, some productions have Hoffmann's three lost loves, Olympia, Antonia, and Giulietta, played by the same soprano, and sometimes have her also play the current object of his affections, Stella. It's also common to have the same baritone play the villains of each story, Coppélius, Dr. Miracle, Dapertutto, and Councillor Lindorf, so that Hoffman is continually falling for aspects of the same woman and that he is continually being thwarted by the same man.

    Video Games 
  • In Tales of the Abyss, a couple of the voice actors play more than one character for plot-important reasons - in each case, at least one of the characters they play is a replica. Therefore, in both the Japanese and English versions of the game, Luke and Asch have the same voice actor, and Ion, Sync, and Florian all share the same voice actress.
    • Tales of Xillia 2 also does this for characters and their counterparts from alternate realities. This is done to greatest effect with one of the heroes and the Disc-One Final Boss, with main character Ludger taking on his evil counterpart in Victor. In fact, the main reason Ludger is a Silent Protagonist is to hide this twist.
    • Tales of Symphonia uses the same voice actress for Tabatha, as well as Martel Yggdrassil. While it's not overly withheld from the player that the former is an android, it takes a bit longer to reveal she is a failed attempt at creating a vessel for the latter. So while the two are not identical, they clearly share more than just a color scheme. This culminates in Martel reincarnating as a Summon Spirit by manifesting through Tabatha in the ending.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World also does this with Emil Castagnier/Ratatosk and Aster Laker. While this can be credited to Ratatosk taking on Aster's physical form (and Emil's identity) after killing him, we are shown via flashback that they shared a voice even beforehand.
  • In Never7, Haruka's VA is replaced with question marks. This is to disguise the fact that she is the clone of another character, and is played by the same actress.
  • In Ever17, Takeshi and the Kid have the same voice actor, though they are not voiced on their routes and can only be heard on the opposite route. This is to conceal the fact that the "Takeshi" and "Kid" that we see are actually the same person, and not the real characters played as on their routes. Oddly enough, this is also subverted, as the real Takeshi and the second Kid also have the same voice actor, but there is no real reason for all three characters having the same voice actor in-universe: just a coincidence. To top it off, Blick Winkel is also voiced by the same actor in Drama CD.
  • In Persona 2, Jun Kurosu and the Joker share voice actors because the Joker is Jun's villainous alter-ego, borne from the false memories implanted in his mind by the Big Bad of his childhood playmate, Maya Amano, burning to death during an arson.
    • In Persona 3, the protagonist, Ryoji,and Pharos all share the same voice actor in both the Japanese and English dubs. This is because Ryoji is Death, who had been sealed inside the protagonist's subconscious for the past ten years and had picked up some of his humanity, and because Pharos is Ryoji before he is entirely reformed as Death.
    • Subverted in Persona 4: Only in the English version of the game do the protagonist and Adachi share a voice actor. This is likely because the directors wanted to give Johnny Yong Bosch more work to do. But while the two characters seem totally unrelated at first, it soon comes to light that they are polar opposites of one another in Izanami's game—Adachi's Persona is even a corrupted version of Izanagi.
      • The funny side of this is that when the two confront each other, it's just one actor talking to himself.
  • In Portal 2, GLaDOS and Caroline are both voiced by Ellen McLain. This started out being just for convenience, since they had a "Cave's assistant" character who was originally male and named Greg, but decided they didn't want to hire another voice actor for so few lines. But then it gave the developers the idea of having Caroline be the woman who became GLaDOS via Brain Uploading.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Sora is voiced by Miyu Irino in the Japanese version and Haley Joel Osment in English, while his Nobody Roxas is voiced by Kouki Uchiyama/Jesse McCartney. When Birth By Sleep came out, new hero Ven looked like Roxas and shared his voice actor, while masked antagonist Vanitas had Sora's voice actor. The game revealed that Vanitas looks like Sora under his mask, as he's Ven's Enemy Without and his extraction damaged Ven's heart, forcing him to bond with Sora's to survive and the bond caused Vanitas to shapeshift into a dark version of Sora. As for Ven-Roxas, at the end of the game Ven's half-destroyed heart merges with Sora's, and years later according to Word of God, when Roxas was birthed from Sora he got the remnants of Ven's heart, which is why he looks like Ven.
    • Kingdom Hearts is rather fond of this trope. Kairi and Xion, who resembles a black haired Kairi, also share the same actresses Hayden Panettiere and Alyson Stoner in the English versions and Risa Uchida in Japanese. It's significant but not in the way it sounds: though it seems Xion is related to Kairi, she is really a Replica of Sora, made from his memories, who takes Kairi's appearance due to her being Sora's strongest memory
  • Blazblue has the VAs for Hakumen and Nu-13 replaced with question marks. It isn't until the True End that it's revealed that Jin and Hakumen share the same VA's by being the same person, and that Noel and Nu share VA's by being clones of the same person.
    • Easy-to-miss one: You may notice that some sites would list that Ada Clover/Nirvana talks, and has the same voice set as Litchi Faye-Ling, while Nirvana pretty much serves as The Voiceless most of the time. However, in one route in Carl's story in Calamity Trigger, he flashed back about a word Ada said, and she was voiced for that one line. How significant? As the story progressed, Carl slowly starts to form a good bond with Litchi and mostly sees her soul to be similar with Ada's.
  • In the Amnesia: The Dark Descent expansion Justine, both Justine and the nameless main character share an actor, which foreshadows that they're the same person.
  • In Xenoblade, Shulk and Zanza.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, both Liquid Snake and Master Miller are voiced by Cam Clarke in English and Banjo Ginga in Japanese, though with notably different voices. That's because throughout the entire game, the real Miller is dead. Liquid has been impersonating him the entire time to manipulate his brother into unknowingly activating Metal Gear REX for him.
    • Pulled again in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. When Raiden first meets Lt. J.G. Iroquois Plissken, the subtitles actually make sure to explicitly credit Plissken as being voiced by David Hayter in English and Akio Ohtsuka in Japanese, the same actors as protagonist Solid Snake. But making things confusing is that the Big Shell station Raiden and Plissken have infiltrated is said to be held hostage by someone calling themselves Solid Snake, and the real Snake should be dead either way. As it turns out, the "Solid Snake" that's been holding the Big Shell hostage is his brother Solidus, looking and sounding absolutely nothing like the the real Snake, who unsurprisingly has been in disguise as Plissken the whole time.
      • Although Solidus is also voiced by Akio Ohtsuka, but unlike Plissken has a completely different voice actor in English.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain continues this with Venom Snake/Big Boss and Ishmael from the prologue sharing an actor, an early hint that the latter is the real Big Boss, a fact concealed by his Bandaged Face.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Jim Ward voices both recurring character Captain Qwark as well as Abercrombie Fizzwidget, the Megacorp CEO. This explains how Qwark is able to successfully impersonate Fizzwidget for most of the game.
  • Fire Emblem Fates manages to pull this twice:
  • In Yandere Simulator, Yandere-chan shares a voice actress with her mother, and (male) Senpai has the same VA as Yandere-chan's father.
  • In the English dub of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Grant George voices both King Krichevskoy, Laharl's father and predecessor as Overlord, and Recurring Boss Vyers (A.K.A Mid-Boss). The implication (confirmed in an art book) is that Vyers is Krichevskoy brought Back from the Dead by Lamington.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sheik and Zelda's Voice Grunting are both done by the same actress, Jun Mizusawa, for It obvious reasons. This makes Sheik's few voiced grunts (like when she blinds Link with a Deku Nut) a form of foreshadowing as they're actually quite feminine if you manage to listen to the seconds-long clips.

    Western Animation 
  • In Totally Spies!, Jennifer Hale voices both Sam and her Alpha Bitch counterpart, Mandy. Of course, Jennifer found herself voicing nearly half the female characters on this series, but the two members of Mandy's Beta Bitch posse are voiced by Sam and Clover's VAs respectively.
  • In Gargoyles, Kate Mulgrew plays a bit role as Fox's mother. Later she plays Titania, Queen of The Fair Folk. Coincidence? No. Turns out, they are the same person after all.
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan, the identity of the man behind G3 is all but explicitly stated—and one of the major giveaways is his voice actor. Both he and Lance's father were voiced by Richard McGonagle.
  • In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, both Philip Fry and Lars Fillmore are voiced by Billy West. They're actually the same person. Lars is an aged time-travel duplicate of Fry who was disfigured by injuries he sustained during the events of the movie. However, Lars' voice is heavily distorted, and Billy West voices many other characters in the show, including every one of Fry's male relatives (past, present, and future). So even if the viewer does realize it's the same voice actor, many don't see the significance of it until The Reveal.
  • In Motorcity, the KaneCo computer system is voiced by Kate Micucci, who also voices Julie. Chris Prynoski confirmed that Kane intentionally programmed his daughter's voice (albeit much deeper-sounding) into the system.
  • The Wander over Yonder episode "The Toddler" has Wander and Sylvia looking after a baby that was separated from his parents. Sylvia's angered insistence to everyone passing by that she and Wander aren't the baby's parents is made funnier by the fact that the baby's actual parents have the same voice actors as Wander and Sylvia.
  • Beware the Batman sees Deathstroke and Dane Lisslow voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. Dane turns out to be anagram of Slade Wilson, hence Dane is Deathstroke.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse sees both Ben Tennyson's son in the future, Kenny, and Spanner voiced by Scott Menville (replacing Tara Strong in the former role). This is because Kenny is Spanner. On the other hand, Menville also voices Jimmy Jones, the Red Herring for Spanner's identity.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Sweet N Sour" has a trio of baby animals known as the Fluffy Bunch using their cuteness to rob Townsville blind, and if the Powerpuff Girls try to arrest them, they get scolded by the town painted as animal haters. The Fluffy Bunch are voiced by Catherine Cavadini, Tara Strong, and Elizabeth Daily; the actresses for the Powerpuff Girls.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Whenever there are multiple instances of a Gem, they share a voice actor; all Pearls are voiced by Deedee Magno Hall, all Amethysts are voiced by Micheala Dietz, etc. The same applies to very similar kinds of gems, like Carnelian and Jasper (both Kimberly Brooks) or Sapphire and Padparadscha [a variety of sapphire] (both Erica Luttrell). This reaches truly impressive levels in "Hit The Diamond", where Charlyne Yi voices SIX different Rubies (seven if you count the Ruby fusion) and still makes them sound vocally unique.
    • Steven and his father's voice actors also voice Onion and his father. Partially this was so they didn't have to cast a new actor for characters that only speak gibberish, but it does emphasize how Onion and Steven play off each other.
    • When Steven goes into Rose's Room, it creates a tiny floating whale voiced by Susan Egan. Egan would later turn out to be the voice of Rose herself. Later, she also voices Pink Diamond, as she's Rose's real identity. This would have been a pretty obvious giveaway, so the show kept Pink Diamond's voice unheard until The Reveal.
    • Jungle Moon has Stevonnie and Priyanka Maeswharen play Pink and Yellow Diamond, respectively, in a dream that Stevonnie has. It serves triple duty- it draws parallels between the human characters (from Connie's memories) and the gems whose roles they're acting out, it means they don't have to go through the trouble of scheduling Patti LuPone for a flashback, and it protects the identity of Pink Diamond's real voice actress (as this was Pink's first appearance).
    • All of Steven's plant creatures are voiced by Zach Callison, Steven's VA.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Hawk Moth and Gabriel Agreste share a voice actor in at least six dubs. This is because Gabriel is Hawk Moth.
  • Used a few times in the Scooby-Doo franchise regarding Scooby Doo Hoaxes. For example, this is used in Pirates Ahoy! (Ron Perlman voices Captain Skunkbeard and Biff Wellington, and the rest of the pirate crew are the supporting cast), Camp Scare (Dee Bradley Baker voices the three monsters and one of the forest rangers), and so on. In Lego Scooby Doo Blowout Beach Bash , besides her usual role as Daphne, Grey DeLisle Griffin also voices the ghost pirate Bingo Belle and Laura Holdout . For the most part, this franchise has the perpetrator Cast as a Mask.
  • On Marvel's Spider-Man , the episode "Venom" has Ben Diskin voice both Venom and Flash Thompson. That's because the latter ends up being taken over by the former. Fortunately, it's only for this episode.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, three members of Sector V share voice actors with their family members. Numbuh 3/Kuki and her mother Genki are voiced by Lauren Tom, Numbuh 4/Wally and his baby brother Joey are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, and Numbuh 5/Abby, her older sister Cree, and their mother are voiced by Cree Summer.