Follow TV Tropes


Replacement Goldfish / Live-Action Films
aka: Film

Go To

  • In Vertigo, Scottie molds the brunette Judy into the image of the elegant blond Madeleine after the latter woman breaks his heart by committing suicide. Cruelly ironic once learned that Judy really is the "Madeleine" he'd known — she impersonated the real Madeleine as part of Elster's plan to cover up his murder of his wife.
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence:
    • The android child David is adopted as a replacement for Henry and Monica's comatose son. The problems really begin when the "real" son wakes up.
    • Advertisement:
    • Android David was also created in the image of Professor Hobby's dead son David. Although he does act rather fatherly towards his prototype creation when they meet, it's not shown whether he adopted a David android himself.
  • Although unable to build a Ridiculously Human Robot, the computer programmer from WarGames did name the military's nuke-controlling AI "Joshua" after his dead child.
  • In North one of the title character's several adoptive families almost immediately start trying to shape him into the image of their dead son. Extra creepy because this appears to merely be a pleasant bonus to their stated goal of having the biggest of everything in Texas - son included.
  • Ripley and Newt's relationship had overtones of this in Aliens (Ripley had a daughter, who died while she was in cryosleep - but that scene was cut). The scene appeared in the first TV showing of the film, and is on the DVD release, as part of the regular narrative, not as a "deleted scene" bonus. It's also worth noting that Ripley was in cryosleep for an unplanned 50 years, during which her daughter grew up, grew old, and died a natural death. She didn't die as a child. But that makes Ripley's loss more profound, because she missed out on an entire long life, while her daughter never knew what happened to her.
  • Advertisement:
  • Violet and the Creepy Child in Ultraviolet.
  • In an attempt to replace their stillborn daughter, Kate and John Coleman adopted a mysteriously intelligent nine year old Russian Orphan called Esther into their family.... Big mistake.
  • The Francis Ford Coppola version of the story of Dracula had the title character attracted to Mina because of her resemblance to his lost wife Elizabeta, who killed herself (and in the church's view, damned herself) because of a false report of his death spread by his enemies, which led to Dracula renouncing God and becoming a vampire.
  • In the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis, Mad Scientist Rotwang builds a Ridiculously Human Robot to replace Hel (named for the Norse goddess Hel), the woman he loved, but who married someone else and then died in childbirth. On the most literal level, she's Rotwang's replacement goldfish, but on some level, she also serves that function for most of the major characters. (In addition, she becomes Maria's Evil Twin — or, more precisely, her evil Doppelgänger.)
  • Advertisement:
  • At the end of Face/Off, Sean Archer adopts Castor Troy's son to fill the void left by his murdered son.
  • In Eve and the Fire Horse, a little Chinese-Canadian girl is told that the souls of the dead sometimes return as goldfish. She asks for (and gets) one, literally to take the place of her grandmother who has just died.
  • The 6th Day is made of this trope. "Re-pet" is a company that will clone your dead dog/cat/fish and give it the memories of the deceased. While cloning humans is illegal, the bad guys get reborn this way. Subverted with a scientist's wife. It's brought up, but the woman specifically asks her husband not to bring her back. An extra twist is that she's dying from a genetic disease the Evil Company gave her in the first place.
  • A double example occurs in Interview with the Vampire (and in the book as well). Claudia wants to make Madeline a vampire to replace Louis who she fears will leave her for Armand. Madeline is fully willing to become a vampire so Claudia (who can never die) can replace her deceased daughter. It's almost a triple example. Claudia either can't grow, or is growing very slowly. She asks for Louis to make Madeline a vampire so she can do what Claudia cannot, since she is physically a child.
  • James Bond sees all of his various Love Interests as replacement Tracies, the one he actually married (or perhaps, as replacement Vespers, the first one he actually fell in love with).
    • The World Is Not Enough: If Bond weren't actively trying to stop Elektra King's Evil Plan, she would've used him as her consort to replace the dying and impotent Renard.
      Elektra: If only you had kept away. We might have met again in a few years and become lovers once more.
    • The World Is Not Enough with Denise Richards as Christmas Jones. She gets introduced a bit before the first Bond girl is revealed to have pulled a Face–Heel Turn just so Bond has someone to kiss before the end credits.
    • Aki with Kissy (whose name isn't even mentioned in the film) in You Only Live Twice. In fact, the movie's screenwriter Roald Dahl (yes, he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) alleges that the producers gave him a formula mandating this when he first signed on.
    • In fact, so far as the films have any continuity at all, every Bond Girl is this after Tracey. Bond's constant womanising becomes rather tragic when you realise it only really ramped up after the woman he really and truly loved was murdered.
  • One of the big reveals at the end of Ne te retourne pas ("Don't Look Back") involves this. The real Jeanne died in a car accident when she was a child, and her mother raised Rosa Maria to take her place.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer, wanting to ensure the work of his new engineer Ivan Vanko runs smoothly, buys him a new cockatoo and tries to pass it off as the original, flown in all the way from Russia. Vanko instantly recognizes it as a fake, and calls him on it - but it's shown later that he likes the new bird and has kept it anyway.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson are mutual Replacement Goldfish to each other, as both men had previously lost their closest right-hand ally in combat. Sam's fallen wingman even bore a strong physical resemblance to Steve.
    • In Captain America: Civil War Sharon Carter is this to Steve Rogers after Peggy Carter dies.
    • As it turns out in Thor: Ragnarok, Loki is one to Odin, who took Loki in as an infant after banishing his eldest biological child, Hela. It is no coincidence that under Glamour with his black hair, pale skin, blue eyes and lithe build Loki looks like her male version. Having him repeat Hela's (and Odin's own) worst mistakes was not Odin's intent though.
    • Thor and its sequel featured Jane Foster as the female lead and primary love interest. Due to several factors (including some Creator Backlash from Natalie Portman), Thor: Ragnarok introduced Valkyrie as a replacement. As a strong-willed female Asgardian, it can also be argued that she serves as a replacement for Sif, to an extent.
  • In The White Ribbon, when Piepsi the songbird dies, the Pastor's youngest offers the bird he has nursed to health to replace him. Because his father seemed so sad.
  • In Underworld, Viktor turns Selene into a vampire because she was the spitting image of his daughter. Who he had killed hundreds of years before.
  • In Meet the Parents, Greg Focker wanted to be the one to find his girlfriend's family's cat that had been lost (and was going to be the ring bearer in a wedding) to impress his girlfriend's father. He managed to find a cat that was the same color except without the tip orange of the tail, which Greg spray painted. Obviously, Greg was found out.
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, Magneto essentially replaces Mystique (who lost her powers while trying to protect him) with Callisto.
  • In Sliver, protagonist Carly is this to her two potential love interests, given her eerie resemblance to the woman who was murdered in the film's opening and whom they both lusted after. Particularly frightening as one of them is most certainly the killer in question.
  • In Gandhi, Gandhi counsels a Hindu who has murdered a Muslim child after his own child was killed by Muslims. Gandhi tells the Hindu that his penance is to find a child whose own parents were killed and raise him as his own, but the child must be a Muslim child and raised as a Muslim.
  • In 10 Cloverfield Lane, is is implied that Howard never got over the loss of his daughter who was taken away by his ex-wife. So he kidnapped a young woman and held her against her will as a replacement daughter. And he started doing the same thing again with the heroine Michelle.
  • In Voice from the Stone, Klaus sees Nurse Verena as an acceptable substitute for his late wife and even allows her to dress in her clothing when he sees the resemblance between the two.
  • Penny Serenade: For the happy ending, after Roger and Julia's 6-year-old adopted daughter Trina dies of an illnesss. Roger has announced that he is leaving, unable to bear anything that reminds him of Trina. Roger and Julie are about to go their separate ways when Miss Oliver calls, telling them that she's gotten a new baby, reminiscent of the blue-eyed blond they asked for years ago. Roger and Julie reconcile at this, telling Miss Oliver that they'll be right over.
  • The Devil's Advocate: Implied. After Kevin's wife Mary Ann has been Driven to Suicide and Milton offers Christabella as a replacement, she's adopted the same curly hairstyle as Mary Ann (whereas she had straight hair before this scene).
  • Silent Tongue is about a rancher who attempts to buy a Native American woman as a replacement for her dead sister.
  • Alita: Battle Angel: Dr. Dyson Ido may claim that he didn't repair and foster Alita as a replacement for his dead daughter, but nobody is fooled, especially not Chiren (his former mate, and said daughter's mother). The facts that he reused a cyborg body that was conceived for his daughter, and even gave the same name to the amnesiac, further hammer the point. Even Alita realizes this, leading to a You're Not My Father moment when she's fed up with his over-protectiveness. In the end, Ido does come to understand that Alita is her own person and nowhere close to a fragile child, and he starts providing help in some of her dangerous endeavors, even though he still disapproves.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: Maisie is revealed to be clone of Lockwood's deceased daughter, who he has raised as a granddaughter. He obviously cares for her deeply but still misses the original as well.
  • At the end of Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet, when the hero has to leave his love interest Kvetuska behind, a doppelgänger of him suddenly appears out of nowhere, except he's blond. Kvetuska quickly changes one dashing man for another.
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension begins with this situation. Buckaroo's lover had already died at the hands of some supervillain and her twin sister, Separated at Birth, appears for the sake of the story.
  • In BeerFest during a series of events Landfill is killed, he is eventually replaced by his brother who happens to look exactly like him (he even asks to be called Landfill in honor of his departed brother) and his widow ends up marrying him and subsequently forgets about the original. She replaces Landfill's photo on her nightstand with his twin's... as the twin is doing her from behind.
  • In the 1984 film of A Christmas Carol (1984), the man Belle ended up marrying after leaving Scrooge looks just like his past self, possibly played by the same actor.
  • Subverted at the end of Date With An Angel; Jim is stunned when he meets a nurse who is a dead ringer for the angel he's been caring for the entire movie — and then she reveals that she is the angel, she's now on indefinite leave to be with him and has left her wings at home. (And has traded in her bird call speech for inexplicably French-accented English.)
  • Implied to happen in (500) Days of Summer. After the main character is unable to make a romantic relationship work with a woman named Summer, he happens across an interesting woman named Autumn and starts talking to her.
  • In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Larry sadly leaves Amelia Earhart behind at the Smithsonian (sans magical artifact, so she'll never come to life again) and promptly meets an identical modern girl in New York.
  • Happens in the 2000 remake of Bedazzled, starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. In the end Elliot (Fraser) wishes his beloved just to be happy, and is gently dumped by her when she mentions she already has a boyfriend. Going home, he meets his new neighbor, which happens to be the same actress with different hair. He even hangs a lampshade on this by asking her if she has a sister. In this case, he also barely knew the original love interest as a person, admiring and obsessing over her from afar.
  • The movie Susie Q ends with Zach finding a girl who may possibly be the reincarnation of Susie. This is despite the fact that Susie was sent back from Heaven only a few days before.
  • Fast Five has it mutually with the relationship between Dom and Elena. Elena is Dom's replacement for Letty, and Dom is Elena's replacement for her husband who was killed in action. However, when Letty is revealed to be alive, Elena lets Dom go.

Alternative Title(s): Film


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: