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Uncanny Family Resemblance

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Family members tend to look like each other. Normally, this follows bloodline — you tend to look a lot more like your parents than you do your second cousin, for example. Generally, only identical twins can pass for each other, and even then visual differences arise from developmental influences.

Media, on the other hand, are a little loose with the rules. Especially when it gives the chance to put an actor into a totally new role, or reuse a character design. You see the reused version in animation from both the East and West because it is pretty easy to just slap a wig on the guy and call him a new person.

While the Identical Grandson can marginally argue that it is not unknown for direct descendants to bear uncanny resemblance to a forebear, the idea gets very shaky for other relations. When a show tries to pass off a male actor in drag as their visiting aunt, or when somehow a character resembles the man who adopted their great-great-grandfather, it gets flat out weird and hence is usually played up for comedic value. There is a bit of a sub-genre of films that rely on this gag. Eddie Murphy has done a number of them.

A Sub-Trope of Strong Family Resemblance, which concerns the immediate family (usually parent and child). See also Acting for Two and You ALL Look Familiar, which is more of an Enforced Trope.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bakuman。: Moritaka Mashiro looks very similar to a younger version of his uncle Nobuhiro. However, since the face of his father Masahiro is never revealed, it is possible that the two brothers look very similar to begin with.
  • Bleach: Ichigo's striking resemblance to Kaien Shiba is noted by Rukia, Ukitake, and Byakuya—who points out that it's ridiculous to get sentimental over because the two are not related. Byakuya is wrong. Ichigo's father, Isshin Shiba, was Kaien's uncle, so Ichigo and Kaien are first cousins.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Kagaya and Muzan are said to look identical each other, in spite of being born over 1000 years apart from each other.
  • Dog Days: With the exception of her human ears, Couvert is the spitting image of her ancestor princess Clarifier despite the two of them not being directly related (in fact, Clarifier died without ever having any children). Couvert is actually the descendant of Clarifier's younger brother Valerio.
  • An odd case in Doki Doki Pretty Cure. The princess Marie-Ange split her heart in two, which became Aguri and Regina, respectively, and her body became Ai-chan who looks like a baby version of her. Aguri and Regina have nearly identical hair, especially when Aguri's bangs are down, just with different hair colors. Regina and Ai-chan have blue eyes like Marie-Angu, but Regina's eyes can turn red and Aguri is the one with red eyes.
  • There are several Doraemon shorts set in the future, featuring the children of Nobita, Suneo and Gian who looks exactly like their current selves. One story even had Nobita, checking upon his future family via the Time TV, seeing future!Shizuka with a boy that looks exactly like Nobita's current rival, Dekisugi, causing Nobita to become upset at the prospect that Shizuka could've left him at some point and married his rival (before The Reveal later on - future!Dekisugi and his wife is on a business trip to Mars, and future!Shizuka is only babysitting for them).
  • Dragon Ball: At the end of Dragon Ball GT, we see descendants of Bulma, Goku and Vegeta, all of whom look exactly like them.
  • Eyeshield 21:
    • It's revealed that Gaou has a little brother and little sister. Gaou's sister looks like a normal elementary-school girl, but Gaou's brother looks just like a miniature version of him, right down to the muscles and the mane of Anime Hair.
    • In one of the gag strips from the 100th chapter "Yonkoma Half-time Show", Atsushi Munakata, the handsome bodybuilder captain of the Amino Cyborgs, introduces his parents to his team-mate Aoyanagi. They have the exact same shiny, dashing face and muscular build as their son, but Aoyanagi is most concerned with the fact that they were total strangers at one point.
  • Fairy Tail: Recent chapters reveal that Lucy's distant ancestor, Anna, also looks a lot like Lucy and Lucy's mother, except for a different hairstyle.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Spain and Portugal have this, to the point that Seychelles cannot tell them apart when she needs to deliver a message. Though their relationship is ambiguous, they're confirmed to have the same ancestor. Brothers America and Canada are apparently this too, as several times other nations mistake Canada for America (but never the other way around) and take out their grievances with America on him, much to his dismay.
  • Maria Watches Over Us: Yuki and Yumi look like genderswaps of each other. Due to the fact they're the same age fans commonly mistake them for Half-Identical Twins but they're not. Yumi and Yuki were only born in the same year.
  • Naruto:
    • Barring the hairstyles, members of the Hyuga Clan look identical. And no, it is not only because they possess the Byakugan. Hinata's similarity to Hanabi and Neji is excusable, since Hanabi is her sister and Neji is her cousin (and one coming from an uncle who is her father's identical twin, so they are even more related than normal cousins are), but the same cannot be said of her maids and guards having the same facial features as hers. It seems that the Hyuga practice some sort of endogamy, which would not be surprising, since they are an old aristocratic clan.
    • The Uchiha are much like the Hyuga by having similar-looking members, and just like them it can be assumed that they practice clan endogamy. Izuna and Sasuke, in particular, are basically one person with different hairstyles, despite being generations apart and having no indication of a direct genealogical link.
    • Tsunade's deceased brother, Nawaki looks so much like a palette swapped Naruto (he has brown hair and eyes, while Naruto has blond hair and blue eyes), it cannot be a coincidence. Tsunade notes that what makes Naruto especially relatable to her is because of his resemblance to her brother. Later chapters reveal that it is indeed not a coincidence; Tsunade's grandmother was an Uzumaki, which means that Tsunade, and by extension Nawaki, is related to Naruto.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy and Ace look remarkably alike and even have the same mannerisms (though Ace is politer) despite being adoptive brothers. Though it is implied that they are related distantly due to both having the "D" initial in their names. Luffy's appearance is also similar to that of his grandfather Garp, who is basically an older, brawny version of Luffy with graying hair and a beard. Luffy's and Garp's similarities become more apparent thanks to drawings of a younger Garp and an older Luffy.
    • Most male D.s are shown to share quite a few physical characteristics despite not being directly related. The youngest in particular (Luffy, Ace, and Law) have the same unruly dark hair, dark eyes, lean musculature, and are rarely seen without their iconic hats atop their heads.
      • Then there's the eerily similar personality traits that all D.s share, regardless of gender or race (charismatic, destructive, loyal to their beliefs, not afraid of death, disregard for authority, laugh in the face of danger, etc.), that lead many fans to believe that those with the "Will of D." are really all members of a single clan that was scattered centuries ago. The only confirmed clues to their origins so far are that they are the natural-born enemies of the World Government and that their existence is strongly tied to the Void Century. The fact that even those with the D. name themselves haven't the slightest clue of the meaning behind the initial makes the mystery surrounding the "Will of D." even greater.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • All of the Nurse Joys (bar one whom the protagonists meet in the Orange Islands who is more athletic and has a tan) and Officer Jennys are identical to each other. The only way you can distinguish them is by the symbol on their hats. The Black & White series introduced the Don Georges, who are likewise best identified by the trim on their clothes.
    • Bit character Professor Westwood ("The Evolution Solution") is the fifth of his name. We are shown portraits of Professors Westwood I through IV, who all look identical to him. For no apparent reason other than Rule of Funny, Westwood V's own portrait depicts him much skinnier and holding a rose stem in his mouth.
  • Reborn! (2004): There's an example that gets into the flat out weird category (and isn't played for laughs). Xanxus, who isn't actually supposed to be blood related to the Ninth is almost a clone of the Second Vongola Boss. Lampshaded by other characters here. As they say, his temperament, abilities, and even looks are the same. Makes you wonder if he really isn't the Ninth's love child...
  • ×××HOLiC: Watanuki greatly resembles his distant ancestor Clow Reed. He's the only one in his family that does.
    • A similar case occurs with Doumeki. Unlike Watanuki however, at least three generations (spaced two generations apart, along the male line) of his family are virtually identical, each with very feminine given names: Haruka, Shizuka, and Sayaka are only distinguished only by subtle differences in personality.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: Quicksilver and his nephew, Speed.
  • Batman:
    • The series has a weird variant of this: Bruce and his three oldest sons, Dick, Jason and Tim, all have black hair and blue eyes...except that all three are adopted, and it's not like Bruce sought them out for these traits. It's ironic that Damian, his biological son, looks the least like him, since he has green eyes and (Depending on the Artist) a darker skin tone. Batman (Grant Morrison) made this a little less weird by saying that Jason's hair is naturally red, but most later writers ignore that.
    • Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Batman lore are identical cousins.
  • Captain America: Sharon Carter, erstwhile girlfriend to Captain America, strongly resembles her aunt (World War II resistance fighter and Cap's wartime girlfriend) Peggy, though the two were originally written as sisters before being retconned into being niece/aunt.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Most adult members of the Duck and McDuck families are basically Donald Duck with accessories (beards, hairdos, bows etc.). The same can be observed when you compare Huey, Dewey and Louie with all other Duck and McDuck kids.
  • Goofy has a huge extended family. Just about every single family member, male and female, looks almost exactly like him, only with one or two minor visual details to set them apart.
  • Spider-Man: Inverted: Peter Parker and his clone Ben Reilly pretended to be cousins with an uncanny resemblance; Ben also dyed his hair blond. Peter's wife Mary Jane came up with the explanation for their resemblance, specifically referring to The Patty Duke Show.
  • Superman: There was a mini-series in the 90s called The Kents, which examined the lives of the ancestors of the Kent family. One story showed how one of Jonathan Kent's ancestors, Nathaniel Kent, was a pioneer who was largely responsible for turning the state of Kansas into the breadbasket it is today. A fine story, but the artist bizarrely chose to make Nathaniel Kent be a dead ringer for Superman, even though Superman has no blood relation to the Kent family (or any human being) whatsoever. Being, you know, an alien and all. Partially justified as the frame for this story is Clark reading the Kent family's memoirs, so it could all be in his mind — and then later stories (mostly involving time travel) established Nathaniel really did look like that. More justifiably, Nathaniel's father Silas looks a lot like Pa Kent with a moustache.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Jimmy Hudson, and not to Logan (though, yes, he does also look like his old man sometimes). 616!Magneto can see an eerie amount of Magda in him, and finds it unsettling.
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 2: During "The Contest," one of Artemis's fellow Bana reveals that Diana is a dead ringer for her long-deceased aunt Antiope, though how she knew what Antiope looked like is unknown, given that Antiope died well over a thousand years ago and the Bana have regular human lifespans.
  • X-Men:
    • Cable and his Age of Apocalypse counterpart Nate Grey look different at first glance... but only because of their different ages: teenage Cable is repeatedly shown to look exactly like Nate, skunk stripe and all, while in a possible future, an older Nate is shown to resemble Cable so much that an elderly Sunfire confused the two. Additionally, when Nate picked up one of Cable's guns, he noted that it felt like it was made for him. This would make more sense if they actually were direct counterparts. However, Cable was the son of Scott Summers and Maddie Pryor, while Nate was the genetically engineered son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, from whom Maddie was cloned. At a stretch, you could say that Sinister engineered Maddie to produce a child to certain specifications, and his Age of Apocalypse counterpart cut out the middle-man when creating Nate, but even so.
    • Their sister, meanwhile, Rachel Summers looks startlingly like a younger version of their mother, Jean Grey. Given that time travel shenanigans means that there are about ten years between them at most, the main differences other than Rachel's famous Hound tattoos is that Jean tends to have longer hair and a slightly fuller figure (though she's sometimes also depicted with darker red hair), and Rachel is sometimes drawn with blue eyes like her father.
  • Zippy the Pinhead, his wife Zerbina, kids, Evil Twin Lippy, and other members of his extended family are all microcephalics who wear muumuus.

    Fan Works 
  • A common Fanfic trope in crossovers is to have a two different characters in different continuities played by the same actors "turn out" to be related to each other. There is one where James Bond (Sean Connery version) is the illegitimate son of Henry Jones Jr., and thus the grandson of Henry Jones Sr.... who was played by Connery.
    • There is also one case used with MacGyver (of MacGyver (1985)) and Colonel Jack O'Neill (of Stargate SG-1), both played by Richard Dean Anderson. They're cousins here, suggesting, of course, that both are descended from dime novelist Ernest Pratt.
  • Child of the Storm plays on a couple of these.
    • One is the fairly common fanfic trope that Lily Potter and Jean Grey, both Significant Green Eyed Redheads, are related - in this case, first cousins once removed (Jean is Harry's second cousin and a couple of years older than him as is her twin sister, Maddie Pryor). Initially, they're believed to be dead-ringers of each other, to Lucius Malfoy's shock, but this is later revealed to mostly be the hair and eyes (which, to be fair, are extremely unusual - the particularly eye colour is practically unique to the family).
    • Harry and Clark look scarily alike, to the point where eyes aside, it's noted that they could pass for twins in the first book. Even after Harry starts to look a little more like his mother, they can easily pass for brothers or very close cousins (it's helped that they act like it, too). This is explained as Thor's 'mortal form' (i.e. appearance when he was incarnated as James Potter) being explicitly modelled after the typical 'look' of the House of El by Odin, as a tribute to his foster-brother, Kal-El I. The actual blood relationship, if there is one, is watered down to the point of homeopathy.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Kaitō Kokoro: Two of Kiku's and Feliciano's children pretty much inherit their hair colors and hairstyles.
    "...Sure." The elder sibling took two of them, emerald hues filling with wonder as he took in their sleeping forms. "They're...beautiful." Jade depths turned, glancing upon a boy who had locks styled like the father's, eyes revealing to be the same limpid brown of the mother's as they opened. "So this one's name is Nihon, right?" Those same jade depths switched to the second bundle, the other another boy who had brunet hair like his mother's and the same piercing ebon orbs as his father's. "And this one's name is Ren, right?"
  • Tangled Up In Blues: Due to a "magical condition", foals in one generation in Taffy's family happen to be identical. It's a humorous justification for the abundance of duplicate background ponies in the original My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Also used to justify Blues' name (canonically, it's "Noteworthy", according to the toys); Noteworthy is merely somepony who happens to look just like him.
  • The Frozen (2013) fanfic Frozen Wight has a few instances where Anna, Elsa, and/or Kristoff come across relatives of Oaken's (Oaken being the guy who runs the trading post and sauna where Anna first meets Kristoff in the movie). They look and sound (read, funny Scandinavian accent) exactly like him.
    • In another fic of the movie, What About Witch Queen?, Hans closely resembles two of his brothers, albeit in different aspects. Hans and Michael have the same character (Evil Prince, power-hungry, cold, adept at Xanatos Speed Chess), while Hans and Ferdinand look absurdly similar, even though they share few if any personality traits.
  • One snippet shows that the Joys and Jennys are all identical while themselves believing there's only a slight family resemblance because hundreds of years ago, a pair of newly discovered Ditto took the form of a pair of women and slept with one of the scientists researching them. As a result, the women of both lines look identical to most people.
  • A crucial plot point in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is the appearance of many characters who tend to share the following traits: dark hair, red eyes, Z-shaped marks on the cheeks like those of Ash, above-average height and in the girls' case, very large breasts. The implication is that all of these were fathered by the same man.
  • In the House fanfic "Incarceration" Wilson's schizophrenic brother Danny (who was never shown in the series) looks exactly like Wilson. Wilson even says people think they're twins.
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, the Smith-Rhodes family are a colonial clan founded by an emigré from the Sto Plains, Sir Cecil Smith-Rhodes, who emigrated to Howondaland at the tail-end of the Ankh-Morporkian empire. Among other things Sir Cecil carved out a new colony, which with superb retiring modesty he named Smith-Rhodesia after himself. His sons, or the ones who survived after the War of Independence, founded families. Possibly unconsciously, the two sons selected red-haired wives, thus concentrating the dominant family gene for red hair and freckles. Rimwards Howondaland now has a founding family whose members share a lot of characteristics and are immediately recognisable in a crowd. In the current generation, it has its first Witch (red haired and freckled) who is in contact with technically deceased family members who act as her Spirit Guides. She is struck by the way her deceased great-aunt and grandmothers all look very definitely related, and how alike they are to variants on a theme of her mother.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Bolt and his father Blaze look alike, to the point where they could be mistaken for each other. Described in "The Seven" and "The Cameo."
  • In the Law & Order: UK story Dreadlock Holiday, Alesha meets Matt's sister and describes her as a female version of him, outright calling the resemblance "scary".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: While they don't look too similar because of all the makeup, the same actor plays two characters who are revealed as long-lost brothers in the third movie. It's Mike Myers as Austin and Dr. Evil.
  • Back to the Future: Michael J. Fox played not only hero Marty McFly, but Marty's two future children (Marty Jr. and Marlene), and his great-great-grandfather Seamus from Ireland. He also posed as Marty's great-grandfather William in a photograph. And Lea Thompson played both his mother Lorraine and his paternal great-great-grandmother Maggie. The producers have since joked that McFly men are just genetically predisposed to be attracted to women who look like Lea Thompson. Biff Tannen, his great-grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, and grandson from the 2015 part of the second, Griff Tannen, are all played by Thomas F. Wilson. This is exaggerated in the animated series, where every time they visit has an identical ancestor or descendant of Biff, always voiced by Wilson.
  • Cat Ballou: Lee Marvin plays both Kid Shelleen and his evil brother Tim Strawn.
  • Coffee and Cigarettes: Cate Blanchett plays herself and her cousin Shelly in a segment called Cousins.
  • Played for comedy in The Family Jewels (1965) in which Jerry Lewis plays a total of eight characters, six brothers, one chauffeur, and one faux uncle who is played by Jerry Lewis playing the chauffeur playing a long lost seventh uncle.
  • Forrest Gump:
    • Forrest and the ancestor he's named after are both played by Tom Hanks.
    • Lt. Dan and four of his ancestors who had died in various wars are all portrayed by Gary Sinise.
    • Bubba's mother and two of her ancestors are all played by Marlena Smalls.
  • Jim Dale as Eli, Wild Billy, AND Jasper Bloodshy in Hot Lead and Cold Feet.
  • Adam Sandler plays both Jack and his twin sister Jill in Jack and Jill.
  • One of the greatest and most successful examples of this trope is the black-and-white comedy film Kind Hearts and Coronets; Alec Guiness plays all 8 members of the D'Ascoyne family. The film also includes another less dramatic example: Dennis Price, who plays the protagonist, also plays the protagonist's father in a couple of flashbacks.
  • Kissin' Cousins: Elvis Presley plays Clashing Cousins Josh and Jodie. The differences are that Josh has Elvis' trademark black hair, while Jodie is a blonde, and Jodie speaks with a backwoods drawl. They perform the title song together.
  • In the Abbott and Costello film Little Giants, Bud Abbott plays the head of a vacuum cleaner company and his much nicer cousin and head of a branch office, who explains the resemblance with a photo of their grandmother (Abbott in drag).
  • In the sex comedy Live Nude Shakespeare, the same actress plays two identical sisters, one a sophisticated socialite, the other a backwoods bumpkin.
  • In the 1954 UK film Mad About Men Glynis Johns portrays both the free-spirited mermaid (returning from Miranda (1948)) and stuffy schoolteacher Caroline. The characters shared a great-grandfather.
  • Madea: Tyler Perry dresses in drag to play Madea, Madea's brother (not in drag but with a lot of makeup and a wig) and another character (no makeup), who is usually related to Madea.
  • A variation appears in The Mouse That Roared. In the opening sequence, we're introduced to the Grand Duchess, Prime Minister, and Tully Bascombe, all played by Peter Sellers. The narration explains that these disparate residents of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick look like each other because they are all descendants of the country's founder, who was literally the father of his country (the statue we see of him is clearly a likeness of Sellers).
  • The Eddie Murphy remake of The Nutty Professor (1996), where Murphy plays every member of the title character's family. Though at least in this case he's wearing fat suits to disguise pretty much all his features for the different roles. This aspect of the movie has become the default parody for cheesy comedians who specialise in broad humour. In 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan is the star of The Chunks, and Tropic Thunder features a fake trailer for The Fatties 2, starring Jack Black's character.
  • Tia and Tamera Mowry as Sydney Donovan and Sydney's grandmother de-aged to seventeen in the Disney Channel movie Seventeen Again.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Look closely at the Queen, and then look at Aurora. You'll notice that they share the same facial structure, and the same hairstyle (though Aurora has a slightly brighter hair color than her mom).
  • Plausibility is stretched in Smilin' Through (1932) in which Norma Shearer plays both Moonyean Clare and her niece Kathleen.
  • Strange Brew briefly does this half-way through the movie. Dave Thomas didn't just play Doug, but his father (with Mel Blanc dubbing over his voice), and Rick Moranis didn't just play Bob, but his mother (with a woman dubbing over his voice)!
  • In the 1950s St. Trinian's movies, Alastair Sim played both the school's headmistress, Miss Fritton, and her disreputable brother (and clearly modelled in drag for the portrait of their mother). Rupert Everett did the same in the 2007 reboot.
  • The View Askewniverse: After playing Dante Hicks in Clerks, Brian O'Halloran also played characters with the surname Hicks in Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma. It's not explicitly stated that they're related, though, so the Continuity Nod might just be a way to Hand Wave the uncanny resemblance. Word of God says they're cousins.
  • In the movie adaptation of Fred Vargas' novel Wash This Blood Clean From My Hands, both Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his younger brother Raphaël are played by Jean-Hugues Anglade, which is especially noticeable in the scenes where they talk together as they have the same voice.This is perfectly intentional, as Retancourt makes use of the resemblance between the two in order to help Jean-Baptiste escape from the Canadian cops.

  • In the fifth book in L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, Anne's House of Dreams, a woman who hates her husband is left caring for him for years after he suffers brain damage. Later he has an operation and recovers his memory—and turns out not to be her husband at all, but her husband's cousin. The book explains that the cousins were double cousins, and one set of parents (either their mothers or fathers) were actually identical twins. The cousins looked very much alike, but were easy to tell apart if they were seen together. The wife had never met the cousin, however, and had only heard her husband mention him once. The book also admits that he had changed a lot after his accident and didn't look much like either he or his cousin once did.
  • In Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, gentle, mild-mannered Frank Randall and his vicious, sadistic 6-times great-grandfather Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall look so much alike that Frank's wife Claire initially mistakes Black Jack for her husband. This is even more uncanny when later it is revealed Black Jack is not actually Frank's direct ancestor, but his 6-times great-uncle, since he had married his deceased brother's pregnant sweetheart in order to prevent the baby from growing up as an illegitimate child.
    • Black Jack and his brother, Alex Randall, also look very much alike, so much so that Claire mistakes Alex for Black Jack when she first meets him.
  • In The Prisoner of Zenda, one of the kings of Ruritania has an affair with an English noblewoman, who bears his child. Several generations later, one of that child's descendants bears an uncanny resemblance to the current King of Ruritania, leading to an Emergency Impersonation. In the 1979 comic film version with Peter Sellers, he plays King Rudolf IV in the opening sequence; once that character dies, he plays both Rudolf V and Syd, the working-class chap who bears the uncanny resemblance. It is implied that Syd was the result of an affair Rudolf IV had.
  • In The Secret History, narrator Richard Papen is in love with Camilla, one half of a fraternal pair of twins. She and her twin, Charles, look virtually identical... and when Richard finds out they're a little too close, he's titillated by the thought. Eww.
  • The post-finale Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels reveal that Gul Macet, played by Marc Alaimo in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is a cousin of Alaimo's Deep Space Nine character Gul Dukat. Apparently, the two did not get along, and another character even speculates that the reason Macet has a beard (something otherwise practically unheard of amongst Cardassians) is that he was trying to lessen the resemblance.
  • Discworld:
    • In Mort, Princess Keli closely resembles her great-great-grandfather, despite being a pampered princess rather than a yurt-dwelling horse barbarian.
    • In The Last Hero, Paul Kidby's painting of High Priest Hughnon Ridcully is basically Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully with a better-trimmed beard and a bishop's hat. Possibly justified, as their mannerisms and attitudes are so clearly parallel that there's a good chance they really are identical twins.
  • In Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth, John Taylor resembles his older male relatives, so much so that John's late father, resurrected to meet his grown son for the first time, points out John's resemblance to his father.
  • Hive Mind (2016): One of the other members of Hive Genex's delegation looks like Adversary Aura's identical twin, due to being a member of the same bloodline, part of Hive Genex's Super Breeding Program.
  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, the late Sir Charles' wayward brother is said to have resembled a family portrait of Lord Hugo, a distant ancestor, to an uncanny degree. Could be considered a Chekhov's Gun, as the brother's secret son is the villain of the story, and both shared Lord Hugo's inclination toward evil.
  • In the Honor Harrington books, Michael Oversteegen greatly resembles his relative, the infamous Baron High Ridge. Oversteegen is, however, otherwise the complete opposite of his relative, being a man of integrity, honor, bravery, and general all-around badassitude who has zero patience for either High Ridge or his various other idiotic relatives who somehow wound up in positions of power in the High Ridge government.
    • Meanwhile, Albrecht Detweiler is stated to bear an uncanny resemblance to all of his sons. Of course, in this case, the reason is because they are all his clones. Just as he was a clone of his father.
  • Emmanuel from Malevil describes his Uncle Samuel, noting that in doing so he also describes himself.
  • In the Ghosts of Fear Street book Horror Hotel Part 1, the protagonist discovers that he looks almost identical to a distant relative who's been dead for years. This is bad news, because it turns out that relative was a murderer and his victim's ghost is out for revenge.
  • An Uncanny Semi-Family Resemblence: The ancient Greek story Aethiopica, King Hydaspes and Queen Persinna of Ethiopia cast out their infant daughter Chariclea because she is white. After many adventures, it is revealed that she is, in fact, the perfect image of a picture of Andromeda that her mother had looked at while she conceived, and so Chariclea really is their daughter with "maternal impression" explaining her looks.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster, Honoria Glossop's cousin Heloise Pringle not only looks exactly like her but has the same exact personality, to the point where Bertie is severely creeped out.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, he and his uncle resemble each other strongly.
    The likeness settled any doubt. It was Freckles over again, only older and well dressed.
  • In The Woman in White, Laura and Anne, who resemble each other strongly, turn out to be half-sisters.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker, Tinker and Oilcan look more like siblings than cousins.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jenny was always described as Tom's miniature, though their jokes about changing places were only jokes. Even after seven years in the Land of Faerie, Jack can see Tom's resemblance.
  • In Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, a five-year-old Celia is clearly Hector Bowen's child.
  • In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Simeon Lee's son Harry resembles him to a degree that confuses the family butler when he returns, although his other sons take after their mother (a Posthumous Character). Both of Lee's illegitimate sons also resemble him, throwing the butler into even further confusion and providing Poirot with the vital clue.
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet deals with a family lineage through something like 800 years, and at times characters are said to resemble their ancestors from centuries past. Most notably, Madoc is a positive bearer of Occult Blue Eyes and somehow passes them on to his psychic descendants even if they're 99% Native American.
  • In the Lensman series, Virgil Samms has a pair of cousins (who are themselves identical twins) who are the sons of his father's twin brother and his mother's twin sister. They're explicitly stated to be not quite "identical cousins", but they're close enough to allow Samms to go undercover impersonating one of them (who in turn impersonates Samms himself so that he's not suspiciously absent).
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Arwen looks very similar to her father Elrond, and both of them closely resemble Elrond's great-grandmother Luthien. In this case, though, Luthien was essentially half-angel, so Superpowerful Genetics may be at play.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Peanuts Linus and his little brother Rerun look almost exactly the same. The only way they can be told apart is height, hair (Rerun's is a bit flatter) or outfit (Linus wears red and black stripes while Rerun wears overalls).
  • Popeye looks nearly identical to his father, Poopdeck Pappy. The main differences between the two being that Pappy tends to be more unkempt and has a scraggly white beard (although he's been known to shave it off to mess with Olive from time to time), and they both look like Granny, Pappy's mother. What's funny is that Granny and Pappy will deny any resemblance.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street
    • Elmo has various cousins who've appeared on occasion, who are all based on the Elmo puppet with different accessories.
    • Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster also have some identical relatives. Though in this case, it may have to do more with their species rather than bloodline.
    • Da Niao on Zhima Jie (Chinese version) is Big Bird's identical cousin. Other characters in international productions have been identical to American characters or said to be their relatives, but not both at the same time.
    • Until an episode of The Furchester Hotel introduced Cookie Monster's British cousin Biscuit Monster, who looks like Cookie in a bowler hat.
  • Similarly Emily "Ma" Bear in The Muppet Show, A Muppet Family Christmas, and (as Mrs Fozziewig) The Muppet Christmas Carol is identical to her son Fozzie except for a dress, grey hair, and glasses.
    • In an early episode, an unnamed cousin of Fozzie's was in the theater audience. He was virtually identical except he wore a bowler.
    • In the Star Wars episode of the show, Mark Hamill appears as both Luke Skywalker and himself; it's stated they are cousins.

  • Older Than Steam: Viola passing for her twin ''brother'' Sebastian in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
  • There have been productions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in which the same person who plays Johanna also plays her mother Lucy in the flashbacks.
  • In The Rocky Horror Show, which inspired The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Eddie and Dr. Scott are (traditionally) played by the same actor.
  • In Book-It Repertory Theatre's play of Sense and Sensibility, (non-twin) brothers Edward and Robert Ferrars were played by the same actor.
  • In the play I Hate William Shakespeare!, the skit based on Hamlet contains these lines (along with a suggestion that the characters in question be played by the same actor):
    Hamlet: Ophelia! You're not dead!
    Laertes: It is I, Laertes, son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia, so I can see where you would make that mistake.
  • The Mrs. Hawking play series: Nathaniel to his uncle the Colonel. They are supposed to look very strongly alike, and in part IV: Gilded Cages, when both characters appear at roughly the same age at two different points in the timeline, they are designed to be played by the same actor.

    Video Games 
  • In what is part this trope and part Strong Family Resemblance, in Back to the Future: The Game, Marty runs into his grandfather, Artie McFly, who looks and sounds just like George McFly (both being based on Crispin Glover's performance in the film). Artie's father, William, is once again played by Michael J. Fox, who had previously portrayed him in a photo shown in the third film (even though Marty himself is actually voiced by AJ LoCascio). This leads one to believe that if the pattern continues, since Marty's son will end up looking like Michael J. Fox, his grandson and great-grandson will look like Crispin Glover, and so on. Also, Kid Tannen is basically just Biff with a moustache and zoot suit.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist is crisscrossed with examples. Miku is the granddaughter of Zet, and so Zet is able to recognize a little of his old lover Koi in her. Miku, for her part, is able to see the resemblance to her father in his features. Upon his defeat, Zet can see the ancient Latour hero Romes in Zophy, suggesting that his distant Latour heritage and his ability come from Romes himself.
  • In the prologue to the 3DS' built-in minigame Find Mii II, the player's Mii brings this up when their children, the prince and princess, are introduced - they are simply said Mii with different (and unlockable) hat pieces.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, textual implications suggest Echani genetic variation in terms of appearance is very small, with siblings all looking like identical twins and almost identical to their same-sex parent. It was all a cheap way of explaining why they used the same model for all of Atris's Handmaidens while still having them be siblings, despite having an explicit note the one that joins you looks different due to being their half-sibling and yet still looks the same. When the Exile inquires about this the Handmaiden is genuinely surprised that you've noticed, since outsiders typically don't. To Echani on the other hand, her illegitimacy is obvious.
  • In Paranoiac, it's mentioned that Miki not only looks incredibly like her dead aunt, Saeki, but their personalities are just as similar. Both are described to be nice girls, but mental illness runs in the family and both began to suffer from depression. Saeki's depression got worse, to the point of paranoia and eventually committing suicide, with Miki potentially going the same path, as shown in the Bad Ending.
  • In Suikoden V, Dragon Cavalry commander Rahal and his Cloud Cuckoolander sister Rania look virtually identical, to the point that they'd fall under Half-Identical Twins if not for Rania being a year older. Not immediately obvious for most of the game, due to Rahal wearing battle armor and Rania being in civilian dress, but when the plot calls for Rahal to dress as a woman the only visible difference from his sister is that she wears glasses and he doesn't. Apparently they have a history of exploiting this for pranks.
  • In an example that would make Nurse Joy proud, recurring Fire Emblem series character Anna is finally promoted to a playable character in Fire Emblem: Awakening... but she also runs the Outrealm Gate and appears as a traveling merchant in the same game. As it turns out, there are more than half a dozen "Annas", and they're all sisters. Since the Outrealm Gate is described as a portal to other worlds, this could also explain how she manages to show up in so many otherwise separate worlds across the series...
  • Tasty Planet: The two restaurant employees seen in the opening to the Parisian Cat's section of Tasty Planet Forever are cousins of the previous games' scientists, and look almost exactly the same as them.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Ace Attorney, brothers Kristoph and Klavier Gavin look almost exactly the same, down to the hairstyle. Their resemblance makes the first encounter between Apollo (who used to be mentored by Kristoph) and Klavier a bit awkward: Apollo can't help but stare, and Klavier... gets the wrong idea.
    Klavier: I must say I'm used to being inspected by the ladies... But this is the first time I've felt this way with a man.

  • Claire and Clinton in Questionable Content look so similar that they were initially mistaken for Half-Identical Twins, although Claire is actually several years older. They have the same face, freckles, hair and eye colour, and even similar glasses.
  • Daisy and her aunt Blue in Nicole and Derek: With her hair dyed blue, Daisy is a dead ringer for Blue, as she appeared in the previous comic, Namir Deiter. The resemblance is so strong that patrons of the bar (Blue owns, Daisy works there) often think she is Blue. One character assumed they were mother and daughter.
  • Used as a plot point in El Goonish Shive - the reason Diane and Susan look so similar to each other is that they're both descendants of Adrian Raven, a half-immortal. Susan is descended from a woman he'd been with in his actual Twenties, while Diane is his direct daughter. Susan's father apparently strongly resembled Raven as well.
  • Wayne and his cousin Lardo... er, Lars, in Two Guys and Guy, whose only visual difference is weight. Lars quickly develops a very different personality. We also learn that they don't see it, themselves.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Kell has an identical cousin, Sheila. They even manage to smell alike, which allows them to impersonate each other at will. It's been useful a few times, but can cause problems. On one occasion, Kell's husband Kevin was alarmed by the question of which one had been in bed with him the previous night (to his intense relief, it had been Kell). Sheila's partner, Frank, who works for Kell, finds it necessary to have both Sheila and Kell appearing in photos he displays at work to avoid certain mistaken impressions.
  • Precocious: Autumn's family look similar enough to one another that people joke about them reproducing by cloning. In one case she mistook her grandmother's 5th grade photo for her own.
  • Played with in Rhapsodies, where Kate may look very similar to her cousin Erika, you're generally only going to get the two of them mixed up in a dark nightclub.

    Web Original 
  • Every single foreign character in The Frollo Show. Whether they be Arabic, German, Russian, Mexican, or any other nationality, the only thing that distinguishes a foreign character from their main character cousin is the hat they wear.
  • Brownie looks an awful lot like her toddler cousin Angelica.
  • Inverted with the "celebrity vampire" meme, where pictures of Older Than They Look actors are compared to their younger selves and 19th-century photographs of similar-looking people to prove the actor is secretly immortal (Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage are popular choices).

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, Mako and Bolin meet their late father's relatives in Ba Sing Se. It'd be easier to count the cousins who don't have the same snub nose and heavy eyebrows that Bolin has.
  • Back to the Future: The Animated Series took this to ridiculous levels by having a Tannen in every timeline they go to, no matter what country. Exaggerated when they even encounter a T-rex Tannen in a timeline where the dinosaurs weren't wiped out.
  • In South Park, pretty much everyone in the extended Cartman family is overweight and has the same annoying tendencies (whining, eating too much, etc.) that he does. The only exceptions seem to be Cartman's mother and a young girl who resembles her.
  • Chum Chum's cousin Muhc Muhc in Fanboy and Chum Chum.
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster, Daphne's Scottish cousin Shannon looks just like her, only with short hair and a tartan skirt, and is voiced by the same actress doing a Scottish accent.
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, the Neutrons have a family reunion where everyone looks like Hugh (except for one who's a caricature of creator John A. Davis).
  • Both Tom and Jerry have identical cousins; Jerry has the super-strong Muscles ("Jerry's Cousin"), while Tom has his cowardly (and mouse-phobic) cousin George ("Timid Tabby"). Naturally, mistaken identity gags abound in both cartoons.
  • The Loud House: You can clearly see that the Loud kids are all siblings, but Lincoln and Lucy take it to an extreme. Lincoln strongly resembles his grandfather Pop-Pop down to the white hair, while Lucy looks like an exact copy of her great-grandmother Harriet.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Gwen has an identical cousin, Sunny, though her true form is her Anodite form.
  • In one episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Shaggy is showing Scooby pictures of his relatives, and they all look exactly like Shaggy, right down to the goatee (even the girls)!
  • In the Donkey Kong Jr. episode "Double or Nothing" from Saturday Supercade, Bones' cousin Lucy Belle looks like a gender-swapped version of him. Junior is quick to point this out. Afterward, when Lucy Belle gets kidnapped so she won't attend the meeting for her uncle's will, Junior has Bones dress up as her to take her place.
  • There is a bizarre example in The Simpsons, as Milhouse and his parents all look the same. This led to some wild fan theories that Kirk and Luanne van Houten are actually siblings, although an eventual episode revealed them to be cousins.
  • In The Magic School Bus, Arnold's cousin Janet basically looks like a female version of him. She has the same hairstyle, also wears glasses, and sports a feminine version of his regular outfit.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: Yadina has a lot in common with her great-great grandmother. They both wear pink, both like turtles, both make bad jokes, and both like cheese and grape jelly sandwiches.

  • Although they were only cousins (their mothers were sisters), King George V of England and the Czar Nicolas II looked like twins. See for yourself. George has blue eyes, but that probably won't be much help.
    • For that matter, George's other cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II could probably pass as either of them after a shaving accident. However, Wilhelm was only distantly related to Czar Nicholasnote  and was the son of George's father's sister.
    • And George's grandson Prince Michael of Kent, who's still around today, has the same uncanny resemblance to the Tsar, to the extent that he's very popular among royalists in Russia. It helps that he grew the Russian-style beard to hide a scar, and that he's named after Nicholas II's younger brother.
  • In Big Finish Doctor Who's audio dramas, India Fisher plays Eighth (later Sixth) Doctor companion Charley Pollard. Fisher also voiced Charley's sister Cissy in the Gallifrey spin-off series.
  • Outside of their trademark costumes, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx bore an incredible resemblance to each other. They would even occasionally play each other's parts in their stage shows with no one the wiser. This is part of why the much-loved Mirror Routine was so successful; in the same outfit, Groucho and Harpo are practically identical.
    • This ended in a Moment of Awesome — on the game show I've Got a Secret, Harpo once appeared as the contestant, with his brother Groucho as one of the panelists. Nobody, Groucho included, could guess Harpo's secret. note 
    • Reportedly this exchange happened between a Marx Brothers fan and an out-of-makeup Groucho who just wanted a quiet lunch alone:
      Interrupting Fan: Are you Harpo Marx?
      Irritated Groucho: No, are you?
  • Actors Alan Hale (Senior) and Alan Hale (Junior). One played Little John in The Adventures of Robin Hood, the other is famed as the Skipper on Gilligan's Island. Without looking at the date of their films there is no way to tell them apart.
  • Back in The '90s, a running joke was that the public appearances of Michael Jackson were actually his sister LaToya Jackson.
  • Charity by William-Adolphe Bouguereau: It's not possible to tell which baby is Yeshua and which one is Yochanan, since he painted them to look identical, even though they are cousins and 6 months apart. In most other paintings of them, he not only makes the age difference apparent but has them wear different colored clothing and have different colored hair.
  • An old story goes that, when a Roman emperor was touring their conquered area in Jerusalem, his guards noticed a local man who bore a striking resemblance to the emperor. As a joke they brought them together. The emperor thought this was funny and asked the man, "Has your mother ever been to Rome?" The man replied, "No, but my father has."
    • The original version of this joke was supposedly told about Julius Caesar in Gaul (modern day France) seeing a man who looked very similar to himself before continuing in exactly the same way.
  • Half-brothers Napoleon III and Charles de Morny looked incredibly alike; slap some hair on top of Morny's bald head and you had a spitting image of the Emperor.
  • One Restoration poem is told from the point of view of a man who knows that his wife is flagrantly unfaithful. One day he asks her to explain why all the children look like him. She explains that she is very careful to be unfaithful to him only when she is already pregnant.
  • Once a Victorian lady had safely produced an heir and a spare, it was socially acceptable for her to engage in a discreet affair. As a consequence, one lady remembered being sent off for her Season with one piece of advice, "Never comment on a likeness" — for a third son or the like, who might easily not look like the older half-siblings. One lady was indeed furious that the wife of the man she had an affair with had a child that looked just like him.