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Two Aliases, One Character

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There are, supposedly, two characters. Maybe one is never seen, or is only mentioned in passing, or whose face is never seen, or it's a book and the author ain't much for descriptions. These two never meet, are never in the same scene, and/or never interact with the same characters. Eventually it's revealed that they're actually the same person. Note that, contrary to what the trope name suggests, they do not actually need two aliases (i.e. pseudonyms) for this trope to apply - but either the characters in-universe or the reader/viewer (or both) need to believe them to be separate people, until The Reveal.

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This trope also applies to Multiple Personalities, so long as characters/audience are unaware that they physically share the same body. It is possible to use this as Character Development if the character assume(s/d) a new alias unbeknownest to other characters, especially if the previous alias and persona are considered dead or status unknown. It is also used to reveal that a character is Evil All Along, especially if one of the aliases is a Hidden Villain.

This is often a source of Wild Mass Guessing, with fans trying to argue that two different characters are really the same person, usually with no given reason why this person would have another identity.

Usually involves Secret Identity, though sometimes it's only a surprise to the audience that the characters are the same. Compare Invented Individual, where someone makes up a new identity without pretending to be them (though less personal examples can blur the line between the two). Contrast Collective Identity, which is Two Characters, One Alias.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Goji and Abullah in both the original Astro Boy and Naoki Urasawa's retelling Pluto. (In the former, just a disguise; in the latter, an alternate personality.)
  • In Baccano!'s Drugs and the Dominoes, Claire Stanfield not only has the reputation as the world's most violent and dangerous assassin, but is also the greatest challenger to that claim, Felix Walken. Gustavo then makes the mistake of hiring the latter to kill the former (along with his stepbrothers, the Gandors) and violent hilarity ensues.
    • Also, despite the fact that immortals have magically-enforced difficulty with aliases, Lebreau Fermet Viralesque is usually only known by one part of his real name per identity.
  • Bakugan:
    • Masquerade/Alice. This is a shock even to her.
    • In "Mectanium Surge", Wiseman, a brawler that the Noneds had aligned with was at first thought to be Gunz, a brawler Dan had fought with prior to the attack of the evil nomad mectagon. It's eventually revealed that he is actually Cortagon, the leader of the mectagon, who had used Gunz's form as a disguise.
  • L in Death Note isn't just one of the top 3 detectives in the world, he's all of them under separate aliases.
    • Also, early in the series the audience never sees Light's father around the house, being told that he's working. Turns out it's the police chief that's already been around a few chapters.
    • Later example: After L's death at his hands, Light assumes control of the Kira Taskforce and presents himself to police around the world under the name "L" while still maintaining his identity as Kira.
    • In Another Note, Mello estimates the number of aliases L goes by to be somewhere in the three-digit range.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Future Zamasu's ally and Goku's Evil Counterpart, Goku Black, turns out to be an alternate version of Zamasu who switched bodies with Goku.
  • Fairy Tail is rather fond of this, with some characters pulling off two aliases via magical projections of themselves:
    • Councilman Siegrain, initially believed to be the Good Twin of the terrorist Jellal, is later revealed to be Jellal's double created to manipulate the council in a ploy to gather enough magic energy to revive Zeref.
    • Alexei, a mysterious armored man first seen leading Raven Tail's elite team in the Grand Magic Games, is actually Raven Tail's master Ivan, who places a holographic projection of himself in the rafters while he privately interrogates his son Laxus in person since guild masters are forbidden from taking part in the tournament.
    • Mato, the pumpkin mask-wearing mascot of the Grand Magic Games, is later revealed to be the King of Fiore himself, Toma E. Fiore. The first indicator of this is when Mato is absent on the second day of the Games, which is the only day the king happens to show up.
    • Zeref's ultimate Etherious demon is called "E.N.D." While this name is an alias by itself, it is short for Etherious Natsu Dragneel, revealing the true identity behind E.N.D.
    • Emperor Spriggan, the initially unseen ruler of the Alvarez Empire, is believed by everyone who knows his name to be the next in a long line of Arc Villain before the final battle with Zeref and Acnologia. A short while later, he makes his appearance and it turns out it actually is Zeref himself, signaling the climax of the series.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (manga and Brotherhood anime):
    • Pride, the most powerful of the Homunculi, turns out to have a public identity the Elric brothers are familiar with: Selim Bradley, the "son" of Fuhrer King Bradley/Wrath.
    • Subverted by Van Hohenheim and Father. Considering that they look exactly alike and that Hohenheim is secretive, morally ambiguous, and much longer-lived than any normal human, it's reasonable to assume that they're the same person. Turns out that Father is a doppelganger who took on Hohenheim's appearance due to some shared history and Applied Phlebotinum. Not only that, the two fill the roles of Big Good and Big Bad, respectively.
  • In K, Shiro is actually Adolf K. Weismann, the Silver King, in the body of an Ordinary High-School Student.
  • In Kill la Kill, Ryuko's father Isshin Matoi is revealed to be an alias for Satsuki's father Soichiro Kiryuin, which means that Ryuko and Satsuki are actually sisters.
  • In My Hero Academia: Hero Killer Stain appears in the Prequel as a killer vigilante calling himself Stendhal.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, this serves as The Reveal of the series finale. Eto Yoshimura, Sen Takatsuki, and the mysterious One-Eyed Owl are the same person.
  • As revealed in the final season of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Bakura, the evil spirit of the Millennium Ring that Yugi and his friends had run across several times is actually Zorc the Dark One, the demonic beast that attacked ancient Egypt.

    Comic Books 
  • This is a key point in American Born Chinese. Jin Wang and Danny are the same person, even though their stories are told in parallel. The aliases are used to emphasize the (cultural) differences in the character as he struggles to define his identity.
  • In an early issue of Justice League Year One, each of the five superheroes makes an acquaintance in their civilian identities - Perez the coast guard stands up for Aquaman in a bar, Lora Denton investigates Hal Jordan's test flight for the FAA, Officer Sherman looks in on Diana Lance's flower shop, Detective Jackson starts working with forensics officer Barry Allen, and supercop John Jones is approached by reporter Cal Redmond and creepy fellow detective Vince Logan. It turns out all of these except the last two are J'onn J'onzz using his shapeshifting to spy on the others. It doesn't go down well.
  • Moon Knight: Lovable cabbie Jake Lockley and debonair millionaire Steven Grant are in actuality both aliases for the believed-dead mercenary Marc Spector. Oh, and he's also the vigilante Moon Knight.
  • The Shadow is actually Lamont Cranston, Rich Idiot with No Day Job. Except he's not. The real Lamont is secretly on an extended vacation so that Kent Allard, the actual Shadow, can enjoy posing as him while doing vigilante work.
  • Shadowhawk, where the actual identity of the hero was kept secret from the reader for a full year of the comic's run.
  • Star Wars Legends: Legacy brings us Morrigan Corde and Nyna Callixte. It's unclear which one came first, or if they're aliases of a third identity.
  • The entire team of Thunderbolts in their first run.
  • In Watchmen, Rorschach is revealed to be the guy with the 'The End is Nigh' sign.
  • This was the original plan for the X-Men character Xorn by creator Grant Morrison; after a long time serving on the team, Xorn unmasked and turned out to be Magneto. Ultimately subverted by Executive Meddling when Xorn was retconned as an original character who believed himself to be Magneto.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Mystery of Mamo gives Mamo the alias of Howard Lockewood. He needs the alias because nobody gave out birth certificates 10,000 years ago.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, King Candy, the ruler of the Sugar Rush arcade racing game, is revealed in the climax to be Turbo, the hero of an older generation racing game who was notorious among his fellow video game characters for hacking a newer game out of jealousy, which ended up breaking both in the process. It is revealed that he survived the event and did the same thing to Sugar Rush, only with a bit more subtlety.
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    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Batman Begins, Bruce meets Ducard who acts as a spokesperson for the legendary Ra's al Ghul. It turns out that the Ra's al Ghul that Bruce had met was more likely to be a decoy while Ducard is the actual Ra's al Ghul.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The British Government official known as "M" who brought the League together turns out to also be The Phantom, their opponent. And then it's revealed that his real identity is Professor James Moriarty.
  • Kananga/Mr. Big in Live and Let Die.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, there are several references to Scott's band wanting to attract the attention of G-man, an influential producer. Ramona also makes some off-hand references to her previous boyfriend Gideon. These two both refer to Gideon Graves, who is the Big Bad.
  • In The Secret of My Success, business-savvy executive Carlton Whitfield is actually lowly mailroom worker Brantley Foster. This double-life isn't concealed from the viewing audience, but only one person in the movie (Brantley's co-worker) learns of it before the climax, and even then, only by accident.
  • Star Wars does this quite a bit, although by now most of them are well known:
    • Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight who fell to great evil by becoming a Sith Lord.
    • Chancellor Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious, if you watch the movies in chronological rather than production order.
    • In The Phantom Menace, it's revealed that Queen Amidala and her handmaiden Padmé are actually one and the same, the Queen having swapped places with a lookalike handmaiden for her protection. The fact that Natalie Portman (Padmé) and Keira Knightley (decoy Sabe) look quite similar and that the Queen is always wearing rather elaborate make-up and clothing helps to keep up the charade; apparently, their own parents had difficulty telling them apart on set when they were in full costume.
    • Count Dooku and Darth Tyranus are revealed to be the same person, though most viewers had already guessed this.
    • In A New Hope, Luke wonders if Obi-Wan Kenobi, the man mentioned in Princess Leia's emergency message, is a relation to 'Old Ben Kenobi', a local hermit. He is soon informed by Old Ben that he himself is Obi-Wan.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke meets a weird little green hermit on Dagobah who says he can take him to Jedi Master Yoda. He soon realises that the hermit actually is Yoda himself, who had been giving him a Secret Test of Character.
    • Done quite subtly in Solo. Vos, the head of the Crimson Dawn syndicate, offhandedly mentions that he himself answers to someone even higher up the chain of command. In the end, that someone is revealed to be Maul, the former Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious. This is particularly surprising for audiences who weren't familiar with The Clone Wars or Rebels, as Maul was apparently killed off much earlier in the franchise The Phantom Menace, to be exact, which was released eighteen years before Solo.
  • In TRON Legacy: Castor, Zuse's gatekeeper, actually is Zuse.
  • Keyser Soze/Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects.

    Literature 
  • Mr. World and Low-Key Lyesmith are both aliases of the god Loki in American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
  • In Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, the mysterious unseen leader of the villains turns out to be a seemingly sympathetic character. It's also done slightly differently in Digital Fortress. Dan Brown seems to love this trope.
  • In Agatha Christie's works:
    • Murder on the Orient Express, Mrs. Hubbard is actually Linda Arden, Daisy Armstrong's grandmother.
    • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Mabelle Sainsbury Seale is actually Mrs. Albert Chapman, who herself is really Alistair Blunt's first wife, Gerda, who's been posing as his cousin! This is convoluted even by Christie standards.
  • In CS Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy, Gerald Terrant passes himself off as a servant to the Hunter, but is actually the Hunter himself.
  • The Cosmere:
    • In Warbreaker, it turns out that the infamous Kalad the Usurper, who nearly started a world war; and the revered Peacegiver, who ended it; were really the same person, who had become The Atoner, even though history thinks this was two different people. That person has many names, and is currently known as Vasher, and their "real" name (or at least the name they were given when they Returned) was Warbreaker the Peaceful.
      • To add to this, in The Stornlight Archive, Vasher turns up in book 2, Words of Radiance going by Vanthel/Zahel, and Vivenna turns up in book 3, Oathbringer, as Highmarshal Azure. Vasher is more easily identifiable before the reveal, as he uses colour-related idioms, while Vivenna isn't unmasked until she's seen in Shadesmar.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by the Shard Bavadin/Autonomy. There are entire pantheons of which every member is her.
  • In The Dagger and the Coin, it is revealed at the end of the first novel and heavily hinted at throughout that the renegade Spider Priest of the prologue is one in the same with the affable actor Master Kit.
  • The Dalemark Quartet: In the fourth book, The Crown of Dalemark, Maewen, who is from the future, knows that the first King of Dalemark after the interregnum was Amil I "the Great". At the climax of the book, it's revealed that Mitt, introduced in book 2, Drowned Ammet, becomes Amil, taking it as his regnal name.
  • In The Dark Tower, Marten and Walter are both aliases for King's meta-villain Randall Flagg.
  • From Danganronpa Zero, Ryoko Otonashi is Big Bad Junko Enoshima after getting amnesia.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, the Mysterious Watcher Witness and Mysterious Benefactor Aphrodite turn out to be one and the same mysterious Genius Loci.
  • Discworld: For most of Thief of Time, even Lobsang and Jeremy themselves don't realize they're the same person. This one is more confusing than most, because they're the same person but have separate bodies (it's complicated).
  • In Dragaera Kiera the Thief is also Sethra Lavode. In this case, the two characters share some common friends, but The Reveal is totally a shock because they seemingly have little in common, although once the reveal is made, clues in earlier books become noticeable.
  • Fight Club: Tyler and the narrator. In fact, at one point, the narrator even wonders if Tyler and Marla are the same person, invoking this trope.
  • There's a number of examples of this in The First Law and its semi-sequels:
    • Early in the The First Law trilogy, dashing soldier turned disfigured Torture Technician Inquisitor Glokta has his Big Fun former friend and comrade Salems Rews shipped to a penal colony in the North for defrauding the Crown. In the story line set in the North, one character who appears is the hideously burned convict and ex-soldier Pike. There's no real hint that Rews and Pike are the same person, and it is therefore a shocking twist when Pike/Rews pulls No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me on Glokta at the very end of the trilogy.
    • In Best Served Cold, the antiheroine Monza is nursed back to health after her attempted murder by a somewhat creepy man calling himself the Bone Thief. Also appearing in the novel is the seasoned Professional Killer Shenkt. What makes the reveal that the two men are the same person a bit of twist is that the Bone Thief was established as an ally of Monza and Shenkt at least ostensibly accepted a commission to kill her.
    • In Red Country, although the real names of the characters are never said, the reader is to understand that The So-Called Coward Lamb is The Dreaded Logen Ninefingers/The Bloody Nine and The Mayor is former Merchant Princess Carlot dan Eider.
    • The magus Bayaz has ruled the Union behind the scenes for centuries, something which he accomplished through multiple instances of this. Bayaz is bald as have been the lead advisers to various kings and Bayaz claims apparently truthfully that all of those bald men were actually just him. Among other things, he was Bialoveld, known for being The Good Chancellor and producing Machiavellian political writings, as well as the arch-reactionary Zoller who founded the Inquisition and enforced the law through torture and repression. Additionally, Bayaz controls the powerful bank Valint and Balk and is both Valint and Balk.
  • Of the Foundation series:
    • Chetter Hummin/Eto Demerzel/R. Daneel Olivaw.
    • Preem Palver, farmer/First Speaker of the Foundation. If you know Latin you could figure it out.
    • For that matter, in the second half of Foundation and Empire Magnifico Giganticus, who claims to be the Mule's escaped jester, is actually the Mule. The fact that nearly every description the reader gets of the Mule comes from Magnifico (it's explicitly pointed out that Magnifico is so clearly terrified of the Mule that his descriptions are probably grossly exaggerated) helps obscure this.
    • The first Foundation one is also a pun: Cheeter Hummin — he's not really human, he's an android.
  • In Gates of Ivory, Gates of Horn, by Tom McGrath, Cary and his nemesis/brother are different sides of the same person.
  • In The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, the lost Good Queen Mallow is now the semi-villain Marquess.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Harry comes across a diary belonging to Tom Marvolo Riddle, a prefect in Hogwarts' past. It is later revealed that Tom Riddle is Lord Voldemort's birth name.
  • The Last of the Venitars takes this to the extreme. Tobias, James and the Beast are all revealed to be the same person, albeit in different time periods. Francis is also revealed to be "the old man".
  • Aragorn as Strider/Thorongil/whatever name he uses for adventuring and Aragorn as Elessar the Isildur's Heir in The Lord of the Rings. There's no surprise for the reader, but in-universe not many people know they are the same person. Barliman Butterbur particularly is very surprised when he learns that the King who Returned and Strider the strange vagabond he knew are one and the same.
  • Scylla/ Henry Levy in Marathon Man. The novel makes a big secret out of it.
  • Sylvia Daisy, the cruel governess and Mrs Pouncer, the wicked witch in The Midnight Folk by John Masefield.
  • In Les Misérables, Jean Valjean is also known as Monsieur Madeleine, Ultime Fauchelevent, and Monsieur Leblanc which are both twists in-universe and out (although more so the former). Also, the Jondrettes later in the novel are revealed to be the Thenardiers.
  • In The Pale Assassin, Le Scalpel is actually Guy Dechamps.
  • Gen is actually the Queen's Thief, Eugenides, revealed at the end of The Thief, the first book in The Queen's Thief series.
  • Ravenloft: In Vampire of the Mists, Katya and Trina are revealed at the end to be the same person.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, you know from as soon as he introduces himself that Harkat Mulds is a creature resurrected from a dead soul. What you don't know until book 10 is that the person he was when he was alive is Kurda Smahlt, a vampire who featured prominently in the series before that point, and whose life overlaps with Harkat's presence in the story. Time travel was involved.
  • In Sard Harker by John Masefield, Harker stumbles on a plot by a criminal named Hirsch to abduct and ritually murder a woman named Margarita Kingsborough. He spends most of the novel a few steps behind the villains, and doesn't meet either Hirsch or Miss Kingsborough properly until nearly the end—and both of them turn out to be examples of this trope.
    • Part of Harker's backstory is that many years ago he met and fell in love with a woman called Juanita de la Torre, only to be parted from her in circumstances such that he was unable to find her again—until he meets Margarita Kingsborough near the end of the novel, and immediately recognizes her. This is foreshadowed heavily from the outset and the eventual reveal is not so much "Señorita de la Torre and Miss Kingsborough are the same person" as "This is how it's possible that Señorita de la Torre and Miss Kingsborough are the same person".
    • Father Garsinton, an apparently friendly character Harker meets near the beginning of the book before stumbling on the kidnapping plot, turns out to have been Hirsch in disguise.
    • Also, when recounting the backstory of Harker's friend Don Miguel, mention is made of a man named Rafael who was involved in the death of Don Miguel's fiancée and escaped retribution afterward; the first time that Rafael's surname or Hirsch's given name is mentioned is when it is revealed that Rafael Hirsch is both of them.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • In the first book, after being forced into retirement by Joffrey, Ser Barristan Selmy pledges to serve the rightful ruler and vanishes. A decent part of the next two books features various people vying for the throne wondering where the hell he went, until late in the third book he unmasks himself...on the other side of the world, where he's serving Daenerys Targaryen and has been for some time, under the name Arstan Whitebeard.
    • In the fourth book, Samwell Tarly briefly meets a girl called Cat. The reader knows all along that Cat is really Arya Stark, and that she is the sister of Samwell's friend Jon Snow, but he is oblivious to this.
    • Theon Greyjoy is knocked out at the end of Book 2, and then is missing for the next two books. Then in Book 5, a dirty, weak, and slightly insane character called Reek is introduced. Gradually, hints are made, until it is finally made clear that Reek is what is left of Theon after a year of physical and mental torture.
  • Cleverly used in the Star Trek Novel Verse book Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles, where a single character is secretly both a member of the Orallian religious underground and a Central Command officer. Both roles use his real name, with the twist that the narration for one role is on a First-Name Basis, and the other on Last-Name Basis. Thus, The Reveal is as simple as him saying his full name, Thrax Sa'kat.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Originally, it was a big twist to discover at the end that Jekyll and Hyde were the same person.
  • Tortall Universe: In The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, book 3 of Song of the Lioness, a mysterious rogue named Claw turns up in Corus as part of an attempt to become the Rogue himself, overthrowing the current Rogue, George. George gets suspicious that Claw may have been noble-born, and brings Baron Myles in to see Claw secretly. Myles agrees with George's suspicions, and sets one of his agents to investigate. The investigation reveals that Claw is Ralon of Malven, the bully page who troubled Alanna during her early years in knight training, before she managed to definitively beat him in a fight and caused him to quit training. He was unrecognizable due to facial disfigurements caused when the maid of a girl he tried to rape threw acid in his face.
  • The Westing Game: the entire point of the game is that one man has set up three identities named for points of the compass, and the winner is the first person to realize this and look for a fourth.
  • Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought: A justifiably partial example occurs in The Children of the Sky. What's left of Steel is disguised as Screwfloss using fake dyed pelt-markings, but when one of his members is killed, he loses some cognitive capacity, which causes him to be lax in keeping the disguise maintained.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the second season of Chuck, the main focus for the protagonist is to find two people: Orion, the creator of the Intersect project whom no one he's spoken to has seen or heard from, and his estranged father, Stephen Bartowski. Naturally, Stephen is Orion.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Captain Jack Harkness and the Face of Boe, two vastly different characters that appeared in vastly different stories, are implied to be this by a line of dialogue in "Last of the Time Lords".
    • A number of characters introduced around the same time in series 6 (Amy's baby, the girl in the astronaut suit, Amy's childhood friend Mels) turned out to be River Song at different ages.
  • From the Kamen Rider franchise...
    • Kamen Rider Fourze: The series' Big Bad, initially just called "The Red-Eyed Man", turns out to be Amanogawa High School's chairman Mitsuaki Gamou, former astronaut and implied by a Flashback at the start of the series to be the killer of Kengo Utahoshi's father. One of his Dragons is the incredibly powerful and ruthless Virgo Zodiarts, whose main job is making Gamou's enemies disappear...permanently. Kamen Rider Meteor has his supervisor Tachibana, who tracks Zodiarts from the satellite M-BUS that gives Ryusei the power to transform into Meteor. Later on we meet Dr. Kuniteru Emoto, a friend of Dr. Utahoshi's who is nervous and clumsy but very smart and willing to help Kengo. The big reveal: Emoto is Virgo, Tachibana, and Dr. Utahoshi's killer. They were friends once, but he grew jealous and betrayed his friend — and he's capable of generating the "red eyes" like Gamou. Over time he began to feel remorse for his actions and tried to redeem himself by helping the Kamen Riders as Tachibana in the hopes of stopping Gamou.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard: From the start of the series we have the "White Wizard", the enigmatic Rider-like mentor who appeared to Haruto after he survived the Sabbat, giving him the Transformation Trinket and training he needed to become Wizard. Partway through the series, a mysterious man shows up at the antiques shop and commissions "Pops" Wajima to craft him a magic ring; Haruto's contacts in the government identify the man as Sou Fueki, a physicist and college professor. While Fueki being the White Wizard is obvious enough, the real reveal is that he's also Wiseman, the Big Bad who's been commanding the Phantoms, and is really playing both sides to achieve his ultimate goal, resurrecting his deceased daughter. Post-series it was revealed that the White Wizard's official name is "Kamen Rider Wiseman", which was kept hidden for obvious reasons.
    • Played strangely in Kamen Rider Ghost - the ghostly Sage who assists the heroes is obviously played by the same actor as the villains' Minister Edith, but they're so different in personality and goals that it's unclear whether this is at play or there's some other reason for their resemblance (further confused by implications that one or both characters can create Artificial Ghosts). Then the heroes start meeting with Edith, and he doesn't seem to recognise them or know who the Sage is. The truth is revealed anticlimactically when at one of their meetings, Edith forgets to change out of his Sage outfit.
    • Kamen Rider Build does this legitimately with Blood Stalk, the mysterious and eccentric enemy commander who's present from the start of the series. Fairly early on it's revealed that he's actually Soichi Isurugi, the mysterious and eccentric coffee shop owner who's been helping Build from the very beginning. Later on, it's revealed that "Stalk" is actually an alien entity named Evolt that was possessing Isurugi and trying to reclaim his original power so he can destroy Earth.
  • Life On Mars: The Morton Brothers/Vic Tyler.
  • LOST:
    • The Man in Black, Fake Locke, Fake Christian, and the Smoke Monster are all one and the same being.
    • Locke's father also turns out to be "Sawyer", the con artist behind Sawyer's tragic childhood.
  • A very minor example in universe occurs in The Newsroom, Both Will Macavoy and Charlie Skinner have sources that told them about war crime committed by the US government, while the story was pretty much a go at that point Will's source cinches the deal and galvanizes the crew. Since the story is told via flashback the audience is instantly aware that they share the same source, but none of the characters realize that till it's much too late.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Tin Man had a mild example when the party went to find "The Seeker" in the realm of the unwanted, who could guide them to Ahamo, one of the Queen's helpers. Well, yes, they are the same fellow... and that same fellow's third alias was the Queen's consort (and DG & Azkedellia's father).

    Theatre 
  • In The Umbilical Brothers' live show Speedmouse, the Brothers frequently interact with Tina the Stage Manager, who is heard but never seen, and the Roadie, a voiceless stagehand in a clown costume. The denouement features the Brothers discovering that Tina and the Roadie are one and the same.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock has Atlas, who turns out to be Frank Fontaine—an unscrupulous mobster who sparked the Rapture civil war and has been manipulating the player character throughout the game. He's had numerous other aliases in the past as he tricked others into doing his bidding as well.
  • Two examples in BioShock Infinite: Robert and Rosalind Lutece turn out to be not twins, but different instances of the same person, who happened to be of the opposite gender in a different timeline. Also, the protagonist of the game, Booker DeWitt, and the Big Bad Father Comstock likewise turn out to be the same person from different timelines. To kill Comstock for good, Booker has to go back in time to before the two diverged and kill himself.
  • The new Raincoat Killer in Deadly Premonition is George Woodman.
  • Destiny: You’re informed fairly early that Dredgen Yor was an evil Guardian and that his true identity was concealed from the public. You don’t learn until much later that his true identity is one of the other Posthumous Characters you hear a lot about; Rezyl Azzir, the much-beloved Greater-Scope Paragon. The Vanguard covered up the fact that he became Dredgen out of fear of what it would do to morale.
  • Devil May Cry 3 reveals Arkham is Jester.
  • King Krichevskoy and Mid-Boss in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
  • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator throws a major curve-ball that has reverberations throughout the entire franchise: Mike Schmidt, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Fritz Smith, the unnamed night guard from the third game AND "Eggs Benedict" are all implied to be aliases of the same man- Michael Afton.
  • Parodied with Devdan and Danved in Fire Emblem Tellius. Despite doing absolutely nothing to chance his appearance, Danved still claims he's not Devdan. Played straight with The Black Knight and General Zelgius, and Sephiran and Lehran.
  • At the very end of Ghost Trick, it is revealed that Ray is an aged Missile from another timeline where everything went wrong.
  • The Origami Killer in Heavy Rain is Scott Shelby.
  • There are quite a few examples in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:
    • Comrade C, the leader of Imperial Liberation Front is actually none other than Crow Armbrust, the lazy playboy who's just recently joined your class.
    • Likewise, the host of Abend Time, Misty and the famous opera singer Vita Clotilde turn out to be one and the same. And not just that, she's also the second Anguis of Ouroboros!
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Agahnim is introduced as a wizard trying to release Ganon from the Dark World. Agahnim is later revealed to be an alter-ego of Ganon that can operate in the Light World (In the Japanese version, Ganon specifically refers to Agahnim as a bunshin, or split soul).
  • Manhunt 2 has Danny Lamb/Leo Kasper.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Shepard inquires about the location of their friend and ally Garrus Valkarian, only to be told that he disappeared a while ago. Not long after, they are sent to recruit an Omega vigilante called Archangel. Yup, one and the same.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, the enemy Generals love to pull this : Salishuan the Spy is Raizze Haimer ; Zeelbis the Bloody is Dolphan's High Priest ; and Wolfgario the Ravager is Dyunos Dolphan.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Penelope and the Black Baron.
  • Star Wars Legends: Perhaps the most famous (and most commonly spoiled) example in RPGs is probably the Player Character of Knights of the Old Republic, who turns out to have been the brainwashed and amnesiac Darth Revan — a former Big Bad, who was believed to have been killed by the Jedi in the backstory all along.
  • Smite: In the Mayan mythology, one of the Hero Twins Xbalanque (male) is an incarnation of the previous moon deity Awilix (female). In this game, both of them are present and can either fight side by side or each other.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, it is revealed that Raven, trusted member of your party and the guild Altosk, is actually Captain Schwann of the Imperial Knights.
  • The World Ends with You has the Composer being Joshua.
    • As well as the mysterious artist CAT being Hanekoma.
  • Xenogears: The mysterious guy in the red gear who calls himself Id turns out to be your main character Fei's alternate personality.

    Visual Novels 
  • In a couple of arcs of Higurashi: When They Cry, Shion combines this with Twin Switch and mindscrew. She imprisons her sister and becomes 'Mion' to the public eye, but continues to contact Keiichi as Shion.
    • Later on, it turns out that the local god and Big Bad Oyashiro-sama is the small and innocent Hanyuu Furude. The true Big Bad, the false Oyashiro, is later revealed at the end of that same arc to be local nurse Miyo Takano.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, it's heavily implied and later confirmed in the manga that Beatrice, Shannon and Kanon are all the same person; their true identity is Sayo Yasuda, who originally created them as "characters" that they pretend to be in order to cope with their low self-esteem and gender issues. However, in a twist on this trope, while these three characters are often shown interacting with one another to the viewer, the catch is that no one In-Universe ever sees them together outside of fantasy scenes (which are narrated by Beatrice, so you can't trust them).
    • It is also heavily implied that the true villains Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are Witch versions of Rika Furude and Miyo Takano (or Satoko Houjou). In Bern’s case, she’s make of all the Rikas that died in the original series.
  • Danganronpa:

    Web Comics 
  • In Unsounded, we learn the identity of the mastermind behind the First Silver operation, "Delicieu", midway through the first arc. It's not until five chapters later that we learn that name is an alias adopted by Cutter, a character we've already met. Later it gets more complicated when it turns out the original bearer of the name "Delicieu" was a different person, whom Cutter is essentially impersonating.

    Web Original 
  • Nan Quest purposefully plays with reader expectations through this. One of the antagonists introduced early on is a creature called the Pilgrim. During a later Time Travel segment, Nan meets a man called Lorenzo, who describes himself as a pilgrim. The obvious assumption is that they are the same person, but this is actually a Red Herring. The Pilgrim is actually Henry, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing who pretended to be the Love Interest.

    Western Animation 
  • Zuko/Blue Spirit from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Leads to a bit of hilarity in Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Ember Island Players" since the playwright didn't know the two characters were one and the same and had one attack the other.
  • In The New Batman Adventures episode "Judgment Day", "The Judge" is revealed to be Two-Face's new third personality.
  • In DuckTales (1987) episode "The Masked Mallard", there is the titular character of the episode gone rogue and a reporter named Lawrence Loudmouth bad mouthing him. It turns out he's the criminal.
  • The first episode of season 2 of Miraculous Ladybug reveals that Hawk Moth and Gabriel Agreste are one and the same.
  • In the sixth season of South Park, we meet Lu Kim, the Chinese owner of the Asian restaurant City Wok. Nine seasons later, one episode introduced Dr. Janus, who suffers a severe case of Multiple Personality Disorder. The same episode reveals that his strongest personality was none other than Lu Kim.
  • In season 2 of The Spectacular Spiderman, there's the Master Planner who is the Big Bad for a 4-episode story arc. He turns out to be Doctor Octopus, who's been pretending to be rehabilitated the entire time. He even explains the reason for this double-identity by stating that while Spiderman is looking for the Master Planner, he'll pay less attention to Doc Ock.
  • Steven Universe: In "A Single Pale Rose", it's revealed that Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond are the same person, in a rather complicated gambit of Running Both Sides that really didn't go as planned. In a similar vein, the Pearl from the Crystal Gems who loyally served Rose Quartz turns out to have been Pink Diamond's Pearl, and helped Pink Diamond fake her death.
  • There are two villains in the 2003 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Shredder and Ch'rell, the evil Utrom prisoner that caused the Utroms to crash land on Earth millennia ago. Guess what is the result?
  • Robin/Red X in Teen Titans—initially. Then someone else steals the Red X costume and never gets unmasked.
  • On Yogi's Space Race, the heroic Captain Good and the villainous Phantom Phink are one and the same, changing into one another at will, but nobody else in the race bothers to question why they are never seen in the same realm. Ditto for their animal sidekicks Clean Cat and Sinister Sludge.

    Real Life 
  • One of the famous Iga ninja is rumored to have done this to confuse his enemies, even going as far as having his subordinates pretend along with him. His alias was a competing ninja leader in the same area.
  • With a bit of trope stretching, the morning and the evening star. Who are both Venus.


Alternative Title(s): Two Names One Character

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