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Transplanted Character Fic
aka: Cookie Cutter Fic

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"Odd. I didn't think we sporked stories from Fiction Press. I mean, this must be from Fiction Press if it's an original story, and it must be an original story, because it has nothing in common with any existing fandom I've heard or seen. Weird coincidence how two of the characters have names from the Harry Potter series."
beacon80, pottersues

This is an Alternate Universe Fic in which the setting and premise of the original are changed completely, and so only the characters are the same. Sometimes it can lead to an effect like an original fic with the characters from another story pasted in. In extreme cases, even the characters don't feel much like counterparts of the originals aside from their names. In fact, sometimes this may be done deliberately: an original story tends to get a lot less views than a fanfic for a popular series, so why not just change your characters' names to increase the readership a tenfold?


Not necessarily a Genre Shift. It can result in a comedy suddenly set in a Sci-Fi setting, or an action series having its character shoved into a high school drama. Superpowered or nonhuman characters may be Brought Down to Normal or unpowered characters may be given new powers.

Though often a source of derision, it's not necessarily bad or good. It can be freeing to focus solely on the character dynamics, which are often some of the meatiest parts of a work, without needing to worry about mucking with worldbuilding, elaborate What If? scenarios, or The Stations of the Canon. It can also be a creative endeavor in its own right, allowing the author to do their own worldbuilding on a large scale, or enable interesting scenarios that would be completely impossible in canon. That said, it can be a little strange to behold fandoms where the majority of works are these.


Compare to Dolled-Up Installment which can have similar results (canon characters seeming out of place in a story) for different reasons. Fanfic authors often want to write about their favorite characters doing something else, where installments may be forced to add/change characters to sell an existing story.

See also Fusion Fic, Film Fic, Period Fic. Often the result of a Universal-Adaptor Cast. Adaptational Mundanity is one of the most common forms of this. For the inverse (different characters, same setting and premise), see Elsewhere Fic.



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    Fan Works 
  • Avamorphs features the main characters of Avatar: The Last Airbendernote  in the Animorphs universe. It's technically a High School A.U. as well, since bending doesn't exist and they seem to live in a generic American town (albeit where everyone has Avatar-world names). Pretty much every character from Animorphs is replaced by an Avatar character, including the alien ones (Zuko, Azula, and Ozai are Yeerks, Iroh takes the place of Elfangor, and Lu Ten is Ax).
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs includes a few that transplant the Animorphs into the settings of other works:
  • From the same author, A Princess, a Treehugger, and a Space Cadet Walk Into a Library is a High School A.U. of the Animorphs in the place of The Breakfast Club characters.
  • The grammatically-broken (and now lost) Warhammer 40000 Trouble, when the author suddenly turns To Love-Ru's Unlucky Everydude Chick Magnet into a scheming Magnificent Bastard who's also Properly Paranoid, then adds Warhammer 40,000 just to cement his point. The catch? Considering how the harem story started... Deconstruction ensues. Oh, and his Bromantic Foil is a hardcore fan of W40K.
  • Harry Potter:
    • One example is the Lust Over Pendle series of Harry Potter fanfiction by A.J. Hall, a series of suspense/mystery novels using Draco and Neville as a couple solving mysteries, effectively turning them into The Hardy Boys. Magic is hardly mentioned at all, everyone constantly interacts with Muggles and one climax features a "magical" nuclear device that doesn't seem very magical at all. In other words, if you changed the name and dropped what little premise of magic actually included in the story, you'd have a pretty good original novel. With the premise sticking halfway to it, readers keep on forgetting that this is supposed to be a Harry Potter fanfiction even with the names used.
    • A lot of Harry Potter fanfiction goes even further, keeping the characters' names but changing their personalities and setting it in the Muggle world. Either that or a generic fantasy/medieval world with no mention of Hogwarts or wizards (Hermione is a water nymph who loves Prince Draco!).
    • And then there's My Immortal, which actually does replace the wizarding subjects with Muggle subjects as well as change most of the characters' names. And as for the characters who get to keep their canon names, they're still almost never spelled correctly.
    • There's a fic called Swan Princess. It's a word-for-word transcript of the film The Swan Princess with the names changed. Harry is in the place of Prince Derek and Draco is in the place of Princess Odette, meaning the story takes place in a world where marriages are arranged for same-sex children with the apparent assumption both will be gay when they grow up. (No matter that half the point of an arranged marriage is to produce children, not that the obvious obstacle there is necessarily an issue in fanfic.) Lucius Malfoy and Lily Potter are completely out of character, acting chummy with their lines stolen from King William and Queen Uberta. Despite still being male, Draco is referred to as a "princess" ("Then, happily a son was born... a princess. And he was given the name Draco." [sic])
    • A few NoPixel streamers on Twitch occasionally transplant their characters from Los Santos to Hogwarts via a Harry Potter version of Garry's Mod. It's very surreal to see Gangbangers like Alabaster Slim or Dexx acting like their Hogwarts houses are street gangs.
      Dexx: My issue is, we Grove Slytherin Families, and I don't be fuckin' with the Ravenclaw, 'aight? I don't. So if I see you on the block, you goin' around that spiral staircase, you gon' pay me 20 Galleon every time you see my ass, 'aight? And if you don't, it's gon' be on sight every time.
  • A vast, vast majority of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing fanfiction consists of taking the Gundam Pilots and plopping them into a completely different setting just to facilitate them getting hot and heavy with each other. The number of fics actually dealing with the plot and events of the series, let alone set in the After Colony universe, is a definite minority. Die for Our Ship and Wimpification take care of most of the rest of the canon.
  • How I Became Yours, full stop. The fact that the writer tries to pass off the Disney-esque setting as the one from the show just makes it more jarring.
  • Twilight fanfiction often suffers from this, with writers sticking Twilight names into stories about everything from a Hollywood movie set to the Titanic. Most of these stories also take place in a world where vampires do not exist, oddly enough. Indeed, it's become almost commonplace for authors of well-reviewed all-human fics to pull their stories and remove the vestigial Twilight references in hopes of publishing the stories as original fiction. To put this in context, of the top twenty Twilight fanfics on Fanfiction Dot Net, nineteen involve no vampires.
  • The Simpsons has plenty of Transplanted Character Fic. Examples include Our Stay With Sideshow (which made the Simpsons kids WW2 evacuees), Maid in Springfield (which aged some of the kid characters up and made them the staff of a New York hotel) and Dystopia (which was set in a Bad Future).
  • Family Guy also has several, generally with American Dad! and The Cleveland Show mixed in too. One notorious one removed the character's familial ties, got rid of Brian and Stewie, and made the characters high school students.
  • This trope is particularly popular in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom, and comes in several flavors to boot. Even in the fandom's earliest days it was popular to plop the cast into strange settings, like Earth. Then Human in Equestria fics started appearing and were for a brief time loved by the fandom, until they became excuses for Mary Sue-esque self inserts. To rectify this issue, many authors starting using various characters from other media instead, going over to exclusively writing crossovers with the Human in Equestria theme. In a strange version of this trope, the main characters from Friendship is Magic' might not play an incredibly important role in these stories if they play one at all, with our transplanted protagonists only dealing with living in a magical world of ponies. Instead the crossover character will bunk down with an original character created specifically for the fic, or a minor character from the show, so it becomes a My Little Pony fic without any major My Little Pony characters. Today most readers don't read Human in Equestria fics unless they are crossovers, are obviously wacky Crack Fic, or star a war hero or an astronaut as the human.
  • Not even The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is immune.
  • Many BIONICLE comedy fanfics feature the characters going to high school or opening a resturant/hotel together.
  • A lot of Redwall fic is original furry fiction put on the fanfic sites to get more reviews. Soulless Shell is a prime example, with the only connection to the Redwall universe being that rats and the other vermin are the evil races. Main character Leif has the ability to shoot laser beams, teleport and turn into a demon, while no magical powers exist in the Redwall universe.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Blood of Beauty is a Paranormal Romance fanfic, in which the only things related to Sonic are the characters (in their appearances and personalities, as their backstories are changed). It takes place in 1880s America and focuses on Shadow the Hedgehog, a vampire hedgehog living in a vampire village deep in a cavern. He then falls in love with Blaze the Cat, a wealthy mortal living in the outside world.
  • There's one Star Wars fanfic that involves a girl from Earth (in which Star Wars does exist) finding out that she's actually a Jedi after her parents die in a car crash, so she's taken to Coruscant to be trained as a Jedi. She befriends Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and later takes them to Earth where Anakin finds out that he will become Darth Vader by looking at the box for the Revenge of the Sith Xbox game. The author later revealed that it was actually an original story that she was writing and attempting to get published about a school for magic.
  • Pokémon:
    • A disturbing number of Pokémon shipping fics include absolutely no Pokemon, even in passing mention, background, or setting. Note that this completely undermines the entire point and title of the franchise.
    • The Pokémon fanfic author StaraptorEmpoleon is infamous for taking this trope to its logical extreme: it's not uncommon for her to change everything about the Pokémon characters, often up to and including their names, to the point that it often seems like the only thing they have that's connected to their canon selves is their star pokemon (if that)!
  • A similar effect is omnipresent to a certain degree in the Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Bakugan fandoms.
  • Popular series Kingdom Hearts gets this very often. Most of the stories on's front page for it will usually be nothing about the game at all, with practically every character being in an Alternate Universe setting, acting little to nothing like themselves... and gay.
  • Gears And Springs by superstarultra, a Haruhi Suzumiya AU fic in a setting without any supernatural elements or anything to connect it to the source material aside from the character names. Basically, the fic is about a human Yuki who builds a sentient, robotic Ryoko that kills all of Yuki's friends in horrible ways, and Yuki herself is Driven to Suicide.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • In the Hetalia Axis Powers fandom, the fics that fall into this trope the most frequently are...not the human AU ones, the majority of which actually at least try to keep the characters IC and their relationships reminiscent of their canon ones, even in High School A.U. (which was actually originated by the author himself!). No, the fics that most often invoke this trope are the ones that do keep the "characters are Anthropomorphic Personifications of nations" premise...but completely rewrite the characters' personalities (often for the worse) for the sake of "historical accuracy" (i.e. "fitting the fanwriters' own ideas about history, even if they directly contradict established APH canon" or even "using 'history' as an excuse to make a character Die for Our Ship or become Ron the Death Eater"), to the point where the characters are essentially national Anthropomorphic Personifications that were created by someone other than the series' author.
    • The most prominent examples of this are the Dark Fics All He Ever Wanted and The Chosen End. It isn't even subjective opinion; the authors themselves have admitted that their fics' characterizations don't match up with the canon ones. In AHEW's case, one of the authors later admitted that they began writing the fic when they didn't have a good grasp on the Hetalia characters and that their characterization of Prussia in particular turned out to not match up with Hetalia canon at all. In TCE's case, the author went on record saying that she wrote the characters differently from canon and even once outright said that she would hate England solely because he was in love with America (and hence a threat to Russia/America, the fic's main pairing) if she wasn't able to pair him out of the way with France...and even with that modifier, you can still sense her dislike of England at various parts of the fic.
    • Although, some human AU fics do qualify as victims of this trope. Birdie and the Beast, a Prussia/Canada Beauty and the Beast Film Fic, is basically a transcript of the movie with the names swapped and changed details, along with the changing of Denmark to be Gaston.
    • Keep in mind also that Tropes Are Not Bad as well in that there are also a good deal of fics out there (whether the human or personified AU kind) which manage to pull this off fairly well at least. Grey Skies Over London for instance keeps America and England's personalities intact while building over them as the Alternate History surrounding them changes even further.
  • While The Return is very well written and interesting, it has almost nothing whatsoever to do with its ostensible sources, Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon. The Ranma elements suffer from changed setting and skillset, and all the characters' personalities being utterly destroyed and transformed into something other in-story, while the Sailor Moon characters come out with personalities and abilities more or less intact, but story tone so dark as to make it almost unrecognizable.
  • Similarly, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a great story, but Ranma's been drastically changed by having almost literally been through hell, and the 'parallel' universe that the Sailor Moon characters are from is a dark Urban Fantasy complete with gods, mages, vampires, werewolves, and airships, with only lingering archetypal resemblances to the source material.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The Altimate Rewrite is not so much an attempt at passing an original story off as a fanfic as it is the writer's attempt to improve on the original by making extensive changes to just about every element of the game's setting, characters, and plot. The result is, in any case, very far removed from its source material.
  • Inuyasha fandom has produced a lot of High School A.U. stories in which the non-human, half-human, and spiritually gifted human characters that frequently have somewhat greusome fights to the death with various forces become perfectly ordinary high school students with the typical concerns and problems of such students.
  • Homestuck:
    • The Homestuck fandom has spun off all sorts of bizarre AUs with little resemblance to the original other than the names and descriptions of characters. High school, noir, asylum, cop drama, you name it. A particularly bizarre example would be Homestuck high, which turns rapidly from a High School A.U. into a mishmash of battling demons and terrible porn.
    • One popular fanfic pitted John as a Humongous Mecha pilot against the rude alien child soldier Karkat in a setting inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion; another popular AU used by many different authors makes the trolls into a cute pet race owned by the humans.
  • The entire 'uberfic' movement within the Xena fandom quite often (but not always) even did away with the names of the canon characters, and simply wrote original fiction with characters who archetypally resembled Xena and Gabrielle. Many of these stories did go on to be published as small-press fiction. If you encounter a lesbian romance that features a strong dark-haired woman with a painful past and an innocent blonde who believes in helping others and has had an unsatisfying relationship with an ex-or-dead husband, you've probably found an Uber.
  • Overwhelmingly common in Cardcaptor Sakura fanfiction. Many fic summaries boil down to "Sakura is X, Syaoran is Y, Z happens, will love result?". Several authors have admitted to not reading or watching more than an episode of the canon, basing their fics primarily on other fics.
  • NoHoper which throws Light Yagami into the The House of Night universe.
  • Quite a few The Lion King "crossovers" are like this. The author simply takes the characters from another show or movie and have them run through the Lion King plot. In fact, many (if not all) Disney fanmake fics are like this.
  • A Happy Dream zigzags this. The core premise of the original series (magical girls and witches) aren't real... but they are the subject of a ton of Mythology Gags, culminating in a circus resembling Walpurgisnacht and staffed by humanized versions of the witches. The characters also go back and forth in terms of characterization; Homura in particular seems to be something of an unusual synthesis of her two personalities in the original.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Touhou doujin. An example: a doujin that takes place in normal world, the main character is Youmu, and she is doing some errand for her landlady(?) Yuyuko. In doing so, she meets a lot of Touhou characters doing normal things that normal people do. For example, Eirin is running a drug store. The doujin would have made a very poignant philosophical discourse about the impermanent nature of everything. (In Japanese, they call this mono no aware.) It should be noted that this is almost a majority of Touhou doujinshi.
    • This doesn't just apply to text and manga-based fanfiction, either. There is at least one game where Reimu is a spy in a Cyber Punk-themed outside world, without magic, and acts similar to Solid Snake and other characters from Metal Gear.
  • Sailor Moon fandom triggered rants about the frequency of the UsaMamo AU Romance, transplanting the characters into cookie-cutter romance novel situations.
  • Origin Story is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Power Girl crossover, and yet it takes place in the Marvel Universe.
  • Maleficent fanfics are often transplanted character fics. As the film is a fairytale, this works better than with most other settings; fairytales being more about the interactions between characters than about the setting. Stefan does something horrible to Maleficent? No problem, as the original incident was meant to be a rape metaphor anyway. Maleficent saves Diaval, which causes him to become her servant? Just make him jobless and broke, so she can give him a job. And so on. The only plot element that gets dropped in the transplantation is usually the curse, as that doesn't really work in the real world. However, there are exceptions; Your Servant, Mistress includes the curse as some angry words spoken by a deeply hurt woman - it remains to be seen whether there'll be a placebo effect or self-fulfilling prophecy. And of course there are also fics that transplant the characters into a different magical universe.
  • The Naruto fanfic Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox has none of the mystical jutsu, summoning magic, tailed beasts, and other ninja elements of the canon series, instead putting the characters in a (mostly) High School A.U. where the only elements that are truly outlandish are the rampage by the Nine Terrors in the backstory, the secret-agent aspects that appear midway through the story, and the fighting against a criminal syndicate by the teenage protagonists, not to mention the artificial intelligence the Terrors were scientifically imbued with.
  • Web Animation commonly does this as a joke and/or a sort of animation test; both on YouTube and Newgrounds, taking the audio from a scene in a movie or TV show and animating it with characters from a video game is rather popular. For one example: "Robot Hell" from the Futurama episode "Hell is Other Robots", redone on YouTube using the Team Fortress 2 mercs.
  • Red is an interesting case which takes the characters (roughly) from Naruto, the start of the plot outline and Marcus Zusak's uniquely idiosyncratic writing style from The Book Thief, smashes them together into a more or less original setting that is neither one nor the other, and heads off in a original direction. Sakura stands in for Liesel, Naruto for Rudy, Sasuke for Max and so on, Konoha is not a village of ninjas but a country resembling WWII-era Germany, and Germans and Jews are replaced by 'Leaves' and 'Reds'. The result is certainly unique.
  • RWBY:
    • Vale's Underground had a comment on the fic saying that it could just be made into an original story rather than a RWBY fic. The writer agreed on this being the case. It takes place in a real-world setting and changes a lot. While many of the characters retain similar characterization to the canon counterparts, this could easily be considered an original story using RWBY characters.
    • RWBY AU: Birds is set in a medieval setting where the Schnee's are royalty. Blake is a knight who is made into Weiss' bodyguard. While Faunus still exist, there's no sign of semblances or other RWBY trademarks.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Around 10% of Steven Universe fanfics on Archive of our Own are tagged as "human AUs", removing the entire Gem plotline and turning the relevant characters human. Lapis Lazuli/Peridot fics are particularly common, and usually retool them as either college students or low-wage workers dealing with prior trauma on one end and an unresolved crush on the other. These stories often have trouble explaining why half the cast has gem names - after all, someone being coincidentally named Pearl or Jasper or Rose checks out, not so much Holly Blue Agate or Rutile.
    • Eyes on Me is a series of fanfics that mainly revolve around Ruby and Sapphire and their family. The series itself diverges greatly from the actual show, such as when Peridot hangs out with the Crystal Gems much earlier than in canon or when Sapphire is related to the Diamonds through her father (who happens to be a son of White Diamond).
    • Last Call is a humanized oneshot loosely inspired by the events of the series. Jasper and Lapis are exes and their relationship was abusive, but if the names were altered then it wouldn't even register as a Steven Universe fic.
    • No One Said Life Was Gonna Be Fair has virtually nothing in common with its original setting. It takes loose inspiration reinterpreting the series into human terms. Lapis and Jasper's unhealthy fusion turns into a toxic relationship (with Malachite as their daughter) and Pink being Jasper's Diamond is changed to her being her superior in the army.
  • There exists a Game Mod of Final Fantasy IV that turns Cecil and Rosa into Celes and Terra from Final Fantasy VI, among other changes - a literal character transplant. The dialogue and story are about 90% identical aside from this. Somehow, it ends up being surprisingly dead-on as a Terra/Celes story.
  • This is more-or-less the point behind "Non/Disney" crossover fanvids. Take characters from various animated films, have them meet, and usually pair them up. Sometimes the setting of one of the works will stay the same and usually the names are intact, but even that's subject to change. Take this video where Jane and John Smith have twin daughters named Alice and Alissa. Jane and Alissa are killed in a storm, but Alissa's ghost keeps on haunting her sister even after death.
  • gold star, ash sky places characters from Haikyuu!! into a setting and plot that can be described as "How to Train Your Dragon IN FEUDAL JAPAN!"
  • On the topic of Dragon Rider stories with Sports Anime characters, A Warrior's Heart is an epic fantasy novel whose characters happen to share names and appearances with those of Free!.
  • Undertale's fandom is well-known for its massive quantity of AU varieties, and invariably some of them land headfirst into this. The most popular ones swap around core character personalities and relationships, change massive facets of the setting, or introduce huge elements that render the story almost unrecognizable. "Human AU", like a lot of the above, also pops up a fair bit.
  • The cast of Team Fortress 2 have shown up in countless Source Filmmaker animations. Sometimes, they're treated as a Universal-Adaptor Cast; other times, they seem to be portraying a completely new "character" with little in common with their original counterpart aside from sharing the same model.
  • This is also how so-called "non-standard" MSTings worknote : Take the setting of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Replace all characters (with the possible exception of Cambot who usually simply stays unmentioned) with a selection from your favorite story. And then expose your new Riffers to bad fanfic.
  • Soldier Wars is a Love Live! fic where the girls are adults and assassins.
  • My-HiME is a Magical Girl Warrior series set in modern day Japan. Theogony is a fanfic where Natsuki is the daughter of Hades and she falls for Shizuru, who is the goddess of charm, persuasion and seduction.
  • One We Must Be Killers story has this happen In-Universe. During the 65th Hunger Games, Brutus walks into a rec room and is surprised when the other victors give an amused cheer and refer to him as the man of the hour. His eyes then turn up to the TV screen where he watches a bald man whose supposed to be him (and has a bad fake District 2 accent as the romantic lead in a soap opera movie and realizes that it's supposed to be him in a completely made-up story by some Capitol filmmakers.
    Brutus: Fuck me!
    Haymitch: (Gleefully) She's trying. She's been flinging herself at you for forty minutes. Why won't you just return her love?
    Brutus: He doesn't even look like me... She looks half my age.
    Wiress: Half your age plus seven.
  • The fandom for the 2012 film adaptation of The Lorax might be one of the most wildly divergent cases in history: due to its fandom culture being heavily focused on the Once-ler, and having arisen mostly from various askblogs starring alternate-universe Once-lers or versions at different stages of the Once-ler's life, almost all stories involving the property focused exclusively on him, interacting exclusively with parallel versions of himself, typically in settings that bore no resemblance to the film's. The biggest splash of these was "Camp Weehawken", a summer-camp roleplay setting that starred exclusively Once-lers. After the fandom started shrinking, a lot of these characters simply rebranded as original characters, as the resemblance they had to even the Once-ler was essentially down to name.
  • The Supernatural fandom has a ton of human AUs that have no supernatural elements to them in spite of being written for a show that's literally named Supernatural. Many Sam/Dean AUs in particular also make them not related and having grown up separately to remove the incest squick factor of the pairing, even though this also completely removes their long shared history and intense codependence on one another that makes up the pairing's major appeal to many fans.

  • Alphaville is a science fiction film set at some point in the future, starring Lemmy Caution, a character from a series of 1950s detective films.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Some versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Parody.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Sub Rosa" was initially pitched by a freelance writer, later developed into a story credit by Jeri Taylor and a teleplay by Brannon Braga. Many felt the final product was basically the Anne Rice novel The Witching Hour - only with Doctor Crusher and a Techno Babble "ghost." Taylor denied Rice's novel as the inspiration, instead saying they were simply doing an homage to The Innocents movie and utilizing various gothic tropes.

    Web Original 
  • To Belong is a fanvid series that transplants various animated film characters into a universe where all humans have animorphism abilities. The characters used have little-to-nothing to do with their characters in their original films. For example, Pocahontas is a European noble and is the half-sister of John Rolfe and Cinderella's Prince Charming. The story revolves around a trio of poor siblings (Sinbad, Jim, and Anya) who meet Charming and help him for money, only to befriend him and get caught up in something far bigger than they expected. It's so little like the source that the creator is developing an original cartoon version by just creating new designs and changing everyone's names.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Cookie Cutter Fic


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