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Kim Possible: Drakken had an ancestor there too?

Ron Stoppable: Okay, you know what, this is just getting ludicrous![1]
—"Rewriting History", Kim Possible

A character's descendant or ancestor is physically identical (or would be, except for small cosmetic changes) to the character himself, and often has the same name. A subsection of Uncanny Family Resemblance. Of course, he might just be his own ancestor.

This is normally the result of budget considerations when casting Time Travel stories, the consequence of having a long-term contract for a star when a show permanently jumps generations for some reason, or an excuse to do an Elseworld story with essentially the same character in a different setting.

If the character and descendant are one and the same, then that's My Grandson, Myself.

Despite the name, the trope is limited to neither males nor grandchildren.

This trope gets somewhat disturbing if you over-think it. Having one's grandparents look exactly like their grandchild and said grandchild's mate has pseudo-incestuous imagery.

Usually an Averted Trope by this point. Compare with Visions of Another Self. When it's the life story that's identical, the character is a member of Generation Xerox.

Generally the result of one of three things: A) It's simply cheaper to have an actor play their own ancestor than try to get a new actor to play them, B) Executives assume people are too dim to recognize that someone is a character's ancestor and thus a precursor to that character if you don't find some way to constantly remind them, or C) Both.

This can very well be Truth in Television, as some genetic phenotypes can skip generations.

Examples of Identical Grandson include:

Anime and Manga

  • Joseph Joestar, in his youth, looks almost exactly like his grandfather Jonathon Joestar. However, their personalities couldn't be more different, as is noted in the series.
  • Son Goten of Dragonball Z is a particularly egregious example. He's the second child of Goku, & looks 'exactly' like him. Of course, this in turn makes him looks like Bardock. It might be a Saiyan thing, since Vegeta said that "all Saiyans look similar". Of note is the fact that Vegeta looks nearly identical to his own father, sans beard. Dragon Ball GT takes it to a ridiculous level, with the future descendants of both Goku & Vegeta looking like exact copies of their great-great-etc. ancestors. Even though they'd be mostly human, and it was already established with Vegeta's son and daughter that human-Saiyan hybrids need not look Saiyan-like at all. Then again, his daughter looks pretty much exactly like her human mother.
  • In .hack//tasogare no udewa densetsu, Mireille looks suspiciously similar to Mistral. This is justified, though; the story takes place on the internet and she's using her (revealed to be) mother's account.
    • In any case it's established that player characters in the .hack franchise are all based on off-the-peg character types. There's a scene in .hack//SIGN where Subaru sees someone she thinks is Tsukasa, but is actually a different character with only a few variations of hair color and facial markings. This is also lampshaded in .hack//Unison, where Black Rose and Mimiru have an argument as to who chose the character design first, and Tsukasa meets a younger player with the same basic design. And let's not forget that .hack//Legend of the Twilight [Bracelet] begins with Shugo and Rena winning the right to use characters based on Kite and Black Rose (although the series uses chibi versions of the characters).
  • If you subscribe to the theory that Mai-Otome is set in the future of Mai-HiME, then this would apply, surname changes aside.
  • Every male member of Captain Harlock's family line is named "Phantom F. Harlock," has the same facial features, build and hairstyle, pilots some kind of aircraft, and frequently has an identical scar on his cheek. This has been shown to extend at least back to the World War I era (from a main series set in the far future). His short, squat sidekick Ooyama also has identical ancestors, although they don't crop up quite as often.
  • Count D of Pet Shop of Horrors looks exactly like his grandfather... and his father... and his sister... Well, they're not human anyway.
  • Yotsuya from Maison Ikkoku looks exactly like his grandfather, causing a bit of confusion when his likeness appears to show up in old photos, adding to the mystery who the heck he is and what he does.
  • While it is taking place in an alternate universe, the one-shot Sailor Moon manga, Parallel Sailor Moon, stars a bunch of daughters of the Guardian Senshi who not only look exactly like their parents, they even have the same names as them. The only apparent exceptions -- Usagi's daughters Chibiusa and Kousagi -- are simply obscure to English readers. "Usagi" means "rabbit", and "Kousagi" means "small rabbit"; "Chibiusa" is just a nickname meaning "little Usa(gi)" -- she's really named for her mother, just like all the other Senshi's daughters.
  • Utawarerumono: While on her deathbed, Tusukuru says this to her granddaughter, Eruru.
  • Baccano's Huey Laforet appears to have the strongest genes ever, as his traits of being a gold-eyed, dark-haired, pale-skinned pretty boy extend even as far as his great-great-grandson Charon.
    • Another one of the immortals (namely Szilard) has an identical many-greats grandson whom we meet in 2001.
  • Fist of the Blue Sky, Tetsuo Hara's prequel to Fist of the North Star, centers around Kenshiro's uncle and Ryuken's older half-brother Kenshiro Kasumi, who is pretty much Kenshiro if he lived in Pre-WWII Asia and was a heavy smoker. Of course the manga exactly hasn't established how they're related yet, since the Kenshiro from North Star was supposedly adopted...
  • In the Princess Knight sequel Twin Knight, Sapphire's daughter Violetta looks exactly like her... and also has to cross-dress, wear identical clothes, and learn escrima.
  • Being the past selves of the main character's in the main series the Saiyuki Gaiden guys fit this, although Minekura orriginally wanted to make them look completely different to their future incarnations.
  • It's a minor plot point in Bunny Drop that Daikichi looks exactly like his grandfather Souichi did at age thirty. Among other things, this causes Rin (Souichi's illegitimate daughter) to get attached to him almost immediately.
  • Rikuo in Nurarihyon no Mago is almost completely identical to how his grandfather used to look. And his father. Must be some strong genes in that family.
  • In an episode of Ranma ½ in a time travel episode it is revealed that in her younger years Colonge resembled her great granddaughter Shampoo.
  • All of the founders of the Vongola family in Katekyo Hitman Reborn bear close resemblance to the tenth generation Guardians, including weapons used at one point.
    • Only Tsuna and Giotto are confirmed to have a biological relationship though.
    • Vongola Secondo and Xanxus look similar in appearance as well, though Xanxus is not the Ninth's son and was actually adopted.
  • In Natsume Yuujinchou, it's a major plot point that Takashi Natsume is all but identical to his late grandmother, Reiko: many of his issues are caused by the fact that ayakashi, not very conscious of human sex differences or the passage of time, regularly assume they're the same person and take up whatever grudges they had on Reiko up with him.
  • Every male of the Doumeki family in XxxHolic looks exactly the same, for at least five generations.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward's great-grandchildren look exactly like younger versions of him, Al, and Winry. Other characters have identical grandchildren of them, with a slight twist since they're technically alternate versions of them.
  • Laxus from Fairytail looks like a younger Makarov.
  • Somewhat Played for Laughs in the side story of the 20th volume of Dorabase (Baseball spin-off of Doraemon), where the 23rd century versions of the characters are exactly the same, except for some very minor differences such as name and a few physical traits. Also, they suck at baseball until the main characters come to help them. Obviously justified since 60% of the cast are robots, but still pretty outrageous because they are about 100 year old apart from production year.
    • Also, in the end it is very much implied that this trope will go on until the next (24th) century. This means that the main teams would still exist for the next 200 years or so.


  • A Commander Korshal of the Galyari appears in the Big Finish Bernice Summerfield audio drama The Bone of Contention and the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama Dreamtime, voiced in both by Steffan Rhodri. The fomer is set in the 27th centuty, the latter thousands of years in the future. According to Ahistory, Word of God from Simon A. Forward, who wrote both stories, is that the Galyari aren't that long-lived, but do pass their names on.

Comic Books

  • The Kents, in which 19th century Smallville's Sheriff Nathaniel Kent looks exactly like Superman, despite Clark being adopted... and from another planet and species.
    • Subverted in Superman: Red Son in which Lex Luthor is revealed to the readers to be the ancestor of Superman. This makes the fact that Lex Luthor is married to and has a child with Lois Lane strange, especially since that mean that Lois is Superman's ancestor
  • In The DCU, Booster Gold's ancestor, Daniel Carter, has not only the same last name, but appears nearly identical, despite them being over four hundred years of Carter generations apart. He even manages to have a nearly identical personality, despite all odds.
    • Booster also encounters a First World War soldier who turns out to be Cyrus Lord, an ancestor of ex-JLI manager/sometime supervillain Maxwell Lord. Booster fails to appreciate this at first only because several weeks' beard growth and a bloody great bandage round his head disguise the fact that Cyrus is the spitting image of Max.
  • In the classic Carl Barks story "Voodoo Hoodoo," the entire conflict comes from the fact that Uncle Scrooge looked exactly like Donald Duck when he was younger. However, this was an early story, and Barks later began drawing young Scrooge differently. Years later, when Don Rosa created his epic The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, this was handwaved as a disguise.
    • Also Gyro Gearloose looks like his grandfather Ratchet.
  • In the X-Men comics, Jean Grey has an identical 17th century ancestor, Lady Grey, who was a member of the Hellfire Club. Most of the other ancestors of major characters involved with the club are also identical.
    • When Magik and Mirage accidentally visit Ancient Egypt (in the 11th century BC, three millennia before their time), they meet Storm's ancestor, whom they immediately mistake for her descendant.
      • Which is confusing because Storm's maternal family is from Kenya.
        • According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Storm's maternal family is a line of sorceresses/priestesses descended from a primeval goddess-entity called "the Bright Lady" who is implied to be an incarnation of Gaea the Earth-Goddess. This line is marked by white hair, blue eyes, and bizarre supernatural talents. So in fact, all of Storm's ancestors look alike, and this is justified as a supernatural trait.
  • Patoruzu's father, Patoruzek I, looks just like him.
  • 'Gold Digger has an ancient barbarian ancestor of Gina Diggers who looks a lot like her, including circular tattoos around the eyes that look like Gina's big glasses.
  • Obelix's family tree, as seen in Asterix and the Class Act consists entirely of "big-boned", red-moustached warriors. The modern day Obelisc'h, whom the authors meet, even wears a blue-and-white striped jersey, reflecting his ancestor's stripey trousers.
    • In Asterix and the Golden Sickle, Obelix has a cousin (given, likely a quite distant one) who is tiny, almost down to Asterix size, and appears rather frail. He still has the characteristic red hair, though.
    • In Asterix and the Actress we are introduced to the pair's parents, with each father looking exactly like his son except for some wrinkles and white hair and the clothes. Their cloth patterns and colors (and in Obelix' case, his trademark braids) come from their respective mothers, on the other hand.
  • Nicely averted in Preacher (Comic Book) during the two Vietnam stories about Jesse's father John. Steve Dillon manages to give John a strong resemblance to Jesse while still making him look like a distinct character. (The difficulty in doing this may be one reason this trope is so prevalent.)
    • Particularly nicely averted given that Steve Dillon is known for drawing faces that basically all look alike.
  • In an early, pre Cerebus Syndrome issue of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic is sent back in time to prehistoric Mobius, where he meets prehistoric versions of himself and the Freedom Fighters.
  • In Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories, Cobweb and her sidekick Clarice are descended from priestesses who discovered the secret of parthenogenesis, so they're genetically identical to their ancestors.
  • In at least one Legion of Super-Heroes issue, the descendants of modern-day Lex Luthor and Mr. Mxyzptlk are found. They not only look identical and have the same abilities as their ancestors, but are discriminated against by society because of what their ancestors did. Keep in mind that the Legion and the stories surrounding it take place a thousand years in the future.
  • Captain Haddock's 17th-century ancestor Sir Francis Haddock (in the original: Francois, chevalier de Hadoque) looked exactly like him, except for the longer hair appropriate for the period. And he of course had a similar penchant for drinking and swearing.
  • In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman's mother Hyppolyta resembled her enough that she could disguise herself as her daughter pretty easily. This idea was abandoned in the Silver Age, when Hyppolyta suddenly started getting colored as a blonde.
  • In the miniseries Captain America: Hail Hydra!, we see the history of Hydra from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day. The head of their immortality research is almost always a bald, bug-eyed man with a permenant Slasher Smile. Word of God is that this is the family line of Dr Geist (the present day version).


  • No matter what timeline Marty McFly went to in the Back to The Future trilogy, his ancestors/descendants all resembled him or his mother (except for his father in the first movie). The same goes for his nemesis, Biff Tannen. In the animated series based on the films, wherever Doc and his family travel in time, they find identical and similarly named ancestors to Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer (who, ironically, does not look identical to herself, having been recast after the first film), including the age of dinosaurs.
    • It's worth noting that, according to Jeffrey Weissman (George in Parts II and III), the role of great-grandfather Seamus McFly was originally written for Crispin Glover. In the Telltale game, Marty's grandfather Artie McFly does end up looking and sounding like Crispin Glover.
  • Sonny Chiba as various generations of "Hattori Hanzô" in Hattori Hanzô: Kage no Gundan on Japanese TV, and in the film Kill Bill, Vol. 1.
  • In Bicentennial Man, Embeth Davitz plays both the adult Amanda Martin (aka "Little Miss") and her granddaughter, Portia Charney. The movie's storyline covers 200 years, as suggested by the title.
  • In Return to Halloweentown, Sara Paxton plays both Marnie Piper and an ancestor, Splendora Cromwell.
  • In CSA: Confederate States of America, Larry Peterson plays several generations of affluent Confederate heroes.
  • Lampshaded in A Cock And Bull Story, an adaptation of the novel Tristram Shandy. Steve Coogan, who plays Shandy in the film-within-a-film, breaks the fourth wall in his role as narrator to explain that a particular scene is a flashback to his childhood in which he'll be playing the role of his own father.
  • In Hellraiser Bloodline, the maker of the Lament Configuration and two of his descendants are played by the same actor. They're at least four generations apart each.
  • Sunshine does a triple whammy, with three generations of sons from a Hungarian family each being played by Ralph Fiennes with varying amounts of facial hair.
  • Partial example: In 2007's Beowulf, both Beowulf and his son, Wyrm, are played by the mighty Ray Winstone. Although they both look pretty different.
    • Well, to be fair his son did have gold skin and lacked the facial hair of his daddy. Otherwise, his physique is pretty much exactly what Beowulf's was like when he was younger (y'know, when he isn't all scaly and firebreathing).
  • Chiquititas: Rincon de Luz is a prequel to the TV series, showing the creation of the Rincon de Luz orphanage in the 19th century. All the ancestors of the main characters are played by the actors who played their descendants in the TV Series.
  • In Alien 3, Lance Henriksen plays the designer of the Bishop android (although some theories consider him an android instead of a human). In Alien vs. Predator, set more than 150 years earlier, he plays Charles Bishop Weyland, the co-founder of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and possible ancestor of the designer.
  • In Just Visiting, Christina Applegate plays both Jean Reno's fiancee and her present-day descendant.
    • The same is true in the original French film (with the same lead actors) Les Visiteurs.
    • This also serves to prove to him that he will find a way to get back to his own time and prevent his fiancee's/her father's death (depending on the version).
  • In Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, the 19th century ancestor of Burt Gummer is played by Michael Gross, the same actor who plays Burt.
  • According to Word of God, Matthayus in The Scorpion King is not the Scorpion King of The Mummy Returns. Instead, the evil Scorpion King is Matthayus's identical descendant, both being played by The Rock. Originally, it was supposed to be him, but the creators felt that the ending of The Scorpion King was too hopeful to explain Matthayus suddenly turning evil.
  • In Stargate: Continuum, Cameron Mitchell winds up interacting with his suspiciously familiar-looking grandfather. To the makeup department's credit, at least the grandfather was wearing some latex appliances so the two characters didn't look identical.
    • Not only do they interact, the photo in Mitchell's locker in the new reality shows that the two were good friends. Wonder how many people commented that they look like brothers.
  • The title character of the silent film Don Q: Son of Zorro was played by Douglas Fairbanks Sr., who had previously starred in the silent film The Mark of Zorro.
  • In the musical film Cover Girl, Rita Hayworth plays her character's grandmother in a flashback.
  • Catherine and her daughter Cathy from the Wuthering Heights film look absolutely identical. Which is weird, because they don't in the book.
  • The ancestor that Forrest Gump was named after (KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest) is also played by Tom Hanks; Lieutenant Dan's ancestors are all played by Gary Sinise.
    • Same goes for all of Bubba's maternal ancestors from the mid-19th century to his mother. However, it's likely that all of the scenes these ancestors appear in show just how Forrest imagines them, not how they really looked like.
  • Dracula A.D. 1972 has this going on with the Van Helsings, both played by Peter Cushing.
  • Eddie Murphy typically plays all the members of his characters' families, though they always have quite differentiated costume elements.
  • Knowing has Lucinda in the opening scenes (set in 1959) and Abby, her granddaughter from fifty years later, played by the same actress.
  • Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning follows the 19th century ancestors of the two main characters from the other films in the series. As per this trope, they're played by the same actresses as their present day counterparts.
  • Letters to Juliet ends with a Lorenzo looking identical to the one remembered so must be that one's grandfather.
  • Jason tries to get away with this in Mystery Team, hoping a fake mustache will convince the principal that he's his father.
  • That Lady in Ermine, Countess Angelina and her ancestor, Francesca.
  • The third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie features April O'Neil traveling back to samurai times and finding a fellow prisoner who is apparently Casey Jones' ancestor. A rat then comes along who is presumably Splinter's ancestor.


  • In the Dune saga, where Miles Teg is noted for his resemblance to his millenia-dead ancestor Duke Leto Atreides I. The character himself has noted that he has found looking at portraits of Leto I to be like looking into a mirror. Being a servant of the Bene Gesserit, Miles' resemblance was deliberately bred in.
  • In the Harry Potter saga, where Harry is noted for his resemblance to his father but with his mother's eyes. Later subverted when we get a detailed picture of what James Potter actually looked like at Harry's age; the resemblance is strong enough that they could be mistaken for one another at a distance or from behind, but stood side by side it would be fairly obvious which was which even without the eye-colour difference.
    • Albus Potter turns out to be the spitting image of Harry, green eyes and all.
  • Justified Trope via Applied Phlebotinum: In H.P. Lovecraft's short story "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," the eponymous character notices his uncanny resemblance to the portraits of his sorcerous ancestor, Joseph Curwen, who apparently made a pact that ensured one of his descendants would look like him, inherit his knowledge, and be compelled to attempt to resurrect him. Shorty after Curwen has been resurrected by Ward, the sorcerer kills the young man, and proceeds to masquerade as him.
  • In The Doom of the Darnaways, one of G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown stories, Chesterton subverts the trope: Father Brown concludes that the painting of the ancestor was a fraud, being a painting of the heir so that he would appear to have such a resemblance to the ancestor.
  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Jack Stapleton looks exactly like his ancestor, Hugo Baskerville, except without "the broad plumed hat, the curling love-locks, [and}the white lace collar."
  • In the Discworld book Faust Eric, by Terry Pratchett, Rincewind (and his demonology hacker companion) travels back to a fantasy counterpart of the Trojan War, where he meets a brave sensibly devious adventurer named Lavaeolus. He does not realize the relationship until later, but notes that Lavaeolus looks very handsome. It is implied that Lav is an ancestor of Rincewind's (and in Dog Latin it is revealed that Lavaeolus means "rinser of winds").
    • Unfortunately, the illustrations don't reflect this.
  • Lampshaded in the third Pendragon book. A young minor character that Bobby Pendragon and friends meet in 1937 is still alive in the present. In order to explain why they haven't aged at all, Bobby's friend Gunny tells him that they're the grandsons of the people he met in 1937.
  • In Welkin Weasels, Sylver's descendants all bear his lightning-bolt birthmark. Mawk and Scirf's descendants Maudlin and Scruff apparently fall under this trope as well, as Monty is able to instantly guess exactly which members of the outlaw band were their ancestors.
  • In the Liaden Universe, when Miri Robertson goes to the home of her long lost family, a portrait of her grandmother Miri Tiazan reveals that she's a dead ringer for the original.
  • The Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel The Eleventh Tiger teases the idea that Ian Chesterton has crossed his own timestream as the amnesiac Major Chesterton, before revealing the Major is actually Ian's Identical Great-Great-Grandfather.
    • And in the Eighth Doctor Adventures book The Taint, Fitz's great-grandfather's Obliviously Evil twin is recognizably similar to Fitz himself: same long nose, straggly hair, and thin face and build. Fitz keeps finding him "infuriatingly familiar", quite possibly because he's looking at an older (but not that much, for some reason) version of the same face he shaves (or not) every morning. Also, unsettlingly, he has moments of acting like a Psychopathic Manchild version of Fitz.
  • Justified in the Coldfire trilogy: after selling his soul for undead immortality, the Hunter dropped in on his family every so often, killing all of them except the one who looked most like him. (Vanity being one of his defining character traits.) Fast-forward nine hundred years or and you have descendants who still look exactly like him. Possibly helped along by the fact that the ambient wild magic is more than capable of warping genetics.
  • Indigo mistakes Veness for Fenran at first glance. And then falls for him on his own virtues. Meaning, of course, that he dies.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "Kings of the Night", Bran Mak Morn looks so much like his ancestor Brule that Kull takes him for him. Despite a few intervening millenia.
  • Subverted in Everything Is Illuminated, in which every time the statue of the ancestor needs a touch-up, it is made to look like the current male heir.
  • The protagonist in The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans realizes that there will be problems when he starts not dying, so he writes a will, heads off for adventure, "dies," and returns as the "relative named in the will."
  • Gregory McDonald's Carioca, Fletch plays with this by having the protagonist in Brazil, where he uncannily resembles a light-skinned Brazilian who was murdered decades before. All except Fletch believe he is the reincarnation, including the murderer, who of course tries again. Fletch even dreams of characters of Brazilian mythology he had not known about.
  • Apparently, Hope Cahill is nearly identical to her ancestor, Madeleine Cahill- who lived several hundred years before Hope.
  • The Ashkevron family in the Heralds of Valdemar series. A character even comments that "The Ashkevron family look tends to breed true, and when it doesn't the poor thing generally runs off to Haven." On one occasion a young woman of that family shows up at the capital and identifies an aunt she had never even met with "You must be Savil, you have the nose."
  • Used as the basis of Robert Sheckley's story "Double Indemnity": a man time-travels to the past to find his ancestor, since said ancestor looks almost exactly like him, which would allow him to pose as the man's time-travel mishap-born clone (for sake of an insurance scam). Apparently, the man's criteria for choosing the right ancestor was simply "someone who would not be missed", and the only reason he rejects several candidates is because they happen to have acquired differences (missing an arm, covered with pox)--implying that every single of his ancestors is identical.
  • Speculated about in Gilded Latten Bones, when a suspect's sketch is recognized to be identical to a man forty years dead. Subverted, as it turns out to be the original man, who'd been Faking the Dead and using age-reversal magic.
  • In "The Heroes of Olympus" Leo is the sitting image of his grandfather Sammy, Hazel Levesque's best friend and crush in the 1940s
  • In the Warrior Cats series, in the Super Edition Firestar's Quest, Firestar realizes that Tigerstar and Spottedleaf are distantly descended from SkyClan when in a dream he sees the kits of an ancient SkyClan leader that look identical to them.
  • In one of the appendices of Lord of the Rings, it's mentioned that the Longbeard dwarves will sometimes produce an heir who resembles their original ancestor Durin so much that they not only name him Durin, but believe that he is literally the same Durin, returned to them. Up to Durin VII are recorded as Kings of Durin's Folk, it's unclear if this practice is maintained outside of the direct line of succession.
  • In The Last Stand of the New York Institute Stephen Herondale is said to closely resemble his great-great-great- grandfather Edmund Herondale.

Live Action TV

  • The archetypal identical grandson appeared on the 1960s sitcom The Second Hundred Years, where Monte Markham played both a 33-year-old man named Ken Carpenter and his grandfather Luke, who had improbably been pulled out of Suspended Animation after 67 years in a glacial crevasse into which he'd fallen while prospecting at the age of (ta-dum) 33. The joke was first, that effectively 33-year-old Luke had a 67-year-old son, Ken's father; and second, that while Luke and Ken looked identical, they had completely different personalities, Ken being uptight and Luke loose and colorful.
  • In one of the Time Travel episodes of Lois and Clark, a recurring villain called Tempus attempts to travel back in time to Smallville when Kal-El's rocket lands in order to kill him as a baby, but first overshoots by about a century, and ends up in the Wild West, where the town marshal and the saloon keeper are identical to Jonathan and Martha Kent, and are explicitly stated to be the Kent family's ancestors
    • There was also a similar episode that dealt with reincarnation, therefore several characters in the past are identical to people Lois and Clark have met in the present, but these characters are not blood relatives, but look the same as they are past incarnations of the present characters, e.g. one of Lois' previous incarnations has the Kents' previous incarnations as biological parents
  • Played for laughs in the Blackadder shows. Most of the main characters are played by the same actors (e.g. Rowan Atkinson as the various generations of Edmund Blackadder). Their roles in each series are the same (Baldrick is always Blackadder's servant, George is always an Upperclass Twit, and so on), but their personalities vary.
    • Lampshaded in the finale of the third series, when Blackadder and MacAdder are both played by Rowan Atkinson. Several characters note this. They also make it plain that they are played by the same actor, as they keep just missing each other.
  • MacGyver 's identical ancestor (played, of course, by Richard Dean Anderson) in one of the last episodes of that series.
  • The Power Rangers franchise has been very fond of this one. The episode "Wild West Rangers" showed that five of the main characters (and at least one minor character) had identical ancestors in The Wild West (despite the implication that several of the characters were first-generation Americans). "The Return of the Green Ranger" featured two identical ancestors and an Evil Twin in the colonial period (of the same town).
    • Condsidering the amount of magic that was thrown around in the first 3 seasons (as well as the cause of them traveling back), it could literally be said that A Wizard Did It.
    • During the ninth season, Jason Faunt played both red ranger Wes Collins and Alex, who was both his descendant and his professional predecessor a thousand years in the future.
    • The Time Force analogy dovetails nicely with its Super Sentai original version.
    • Gosei Sentai Dairanger plays the more literal version of this trope in its final episode.
  • The original three sisters in Charmed trace their ancestry back to their past lives -- their great-grandmother and her two cousins. Piper's boyfriend Dan and future husband Leo also have past lives in that period, Dan's being the sisters' great-grandfather. Charmed explains the resemblance as "souls recognizing each other" implying that they may in fact have actually looked very different. (No such explanation was provided when the sisters time-traveled to the 1970s and happened to meet the father of one of the show's recurring characters, who was identical to his future adult son except for the obligatory Funny Afro.) Later in the series, the fourth sister Paige discovered she had a medieval past life and possible ancestor.
    • Subverted when Leo attends a Battle of Guadacanal reunion as an Identical Grandson, when, of course, he really wasn't.
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was built entirely around this trope, as David Carradine played Kwai Chang Caine, contemporary-era Identical Grandson of Kwai Chang Caine, the hero of Carradine's mid-'70s Western series, Kung Fu. In one Time Travel arc, they trade places for a while when the past Caine is hurt such that only modern medicine can help him.
  • The German series Der Clown featured a self-parodic Time Travel Episode where the hero meets his helicopter pilot's ancestor, and ends up with the series trademark highway chase scene in a Bamboo Technology helicopter.
  • Occurred at least six times in different incarnations of Star Trek.
    • In the movie Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country Colonel Worf, grandfather of Lieutenant Worf in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is played by Michael Dorn with a different forehead design.
      • A Star Trek Expanded Universe novel specifically states the Worf was named after his grandfather, who was killed onboard a transport that collided with a Cardassian freighter (the sheer improbability of two ships accidentally colliding in orbit indicates sabotage). So yes, Worf's grandfather didn't die a warrior's death but was merely collateral damage.
    • The movie Star Trek Generations includes a portrait of one of Jean-Luc Picard's ancestors, who fought at Trafalgar. He looks exactly like Patrick Stewart.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "11:59," Captain Janeway's 20th century ancestor Shannon O'Donnell, later Shannon Janeway, is played by Kate Mulgrew. What's hilarious is that Seven of Nine is puzzled by Janeway's interest in O'Donnell's life, pointing out that after so many generations Janeway only has a fraction of her DNA. Hah!
      • Even more hilarious since humans share something like 99% of the same DNA, which means that Janeway's "fraction" of O'Donnell's DNA is much bigger than 7 seems to think.
    • A three-part story in Star Trek: Enterprise featured Dr Arik Soong, played by Brent Spiner, who had played Dr Noonien Soong (and all the androids Noonien modelled on himself, including Commander Data as well as Data's Evil Twin Lore and undeveloped twin B4.) in Star Trek: The Next Generation. This has lead to some Fanwanky theories about Arik Soong actually being the same person as Noonien Soong, thanks to a rejuvenating planet Arik was in the neighborhood of once.
      • The source of said fankwankery seems to be a throwaway line by Arik Soong at the end of his three-episode arc, about giving up on genetic engineering (which in his time is illegal) in favor of creating androids. The writers no doubt intended for the implication to be that he would be unable to complete the designs in his own lifetime, and that his descendant later finished his work.
    • The Enterprise story "Carbon Creek" features T'Pol's great-grandmother T'Mir, also played by Jolene Blalock. T'Mir's story is told by T'Pol and may or may not be true, but as to whether T'Pol really had a great-grandmother named T'Mir who really did look like T'Pol... well, that's another story.
      • The episode ends with T'Pol taking out a purse from a box, which looks identical to the one her great-grandmother supposedly had on Earth. Oh, and Vulcan women don't generally carry purses.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation -- An alternate timeline Tasha Yar and her half-Romulan daughter, Sela, are both played by Denise Crosby. Oddly enough, her sister Ishara Yar is not.
    • Also from the Next Generation episode "The Neutral Zone", a woman who was woken up from cryogenic stasis finds that she has a great-great-great-great-great-grandson... who looks identical to her husband.
  • In the Murder, She Wrote Made for TV Movie The Last Free Man, Angela Lansbury played both Jessica Fletcher and her Civil War ancestor, Sarah McCulloch.
  • A plot point in Jekyll is that Dr. Jackman looks identical to the real Dr. Jekyll (allegedly a real historical figure) and must, therefore, be related. Thankfully, it's justified somewhat by the fact that Jackman is a 'perfect throwback'.
  • Used repeatedly in Dark Shadows, where every generation of the Collins family looked exactly like every other generation of the Collins family. This extended to non-Collins characters as well, even to the point of people unrelated to the Collins family being Collins family members in past incarnations, while Collinses appear as unrelated past people. This also applied to alternate timelines and past alternate timelines. The practice was continued when the show was remade in The Nineties.
  • The Hayes Cooper stories in Walker, Texas Ranger (some of the counterparts aren't even directly related), Justified Trope by the fact that the stories come from a diary, while the picture is just part of Cordell Walker's imagination.
  • In First Of The Summer Wine, the teenage Clegg's father is played by Peter (Wallace) Sallis, who plays Clegg himself in Last of the Summer Wine.
  • A possible, though admittedly questionable, example comes in the form of a detective on Tim Minear's series Drive and Joss Whedon's series Firefly. On both series, there was a fugitive-pursuing character played by Richard Brooks. Both characters are named Jubal Early. This potentially counts as a case of identical ancestry, as Drive is set hundreds of years before Firefly, and because the shows are implied to take place in the same general 'verse. (A joke from a Drive script that didn't make it into production was that Amy Acker's character, Kathryn, had a cousin from Texas.)
    • This is more likely due to the fact that Nathan Fillion starred on both shows, and is a descendant of the real-life Jubal Early, a general of the Confederacy who fled to Canada after the American Civil War.
  • The Goodies have identical ancestors in the episode "Alternative Roots," and identical descendants in the episodes "2001 and a Bit" and "The End."
  • In Smallville, a flashback episode featured Jonathan Kent's father, Clark's real father and Lana's aunt, all played by the same actors. (Lionel Luthor's father also appeared, but surprisingly wasn't played by John Glover.)
      • Although, semi-averted with a case of Ret-con when Jor-El comes to Smallville (in the 9th season) and he is acted by Julian Sands... who looks nothing like Tom Welling.... To the point of having different hair colors.
    • Also in Smallville, it's revealed in a flashback that Lana looks exactly like another one of her ancestors: the seventeen century witch Margaret Isobel Thoureax.
  • The Xena: Warrior Princess episode "The Xena Scrolls" deserves special mention for not only featuring Identical Great-whatever-Grandchildren of all the main characters in the 1930s, but going on to claim Joxer's descendent, "Jacques Ser", is actually the grandfather of actor Ted Raimi!
    • Gabrielle's daughter Hope looks identical to her. Is there a trope for evil identical daughter?
  • In Black Hole High, Principal Durst has an identical great-grandmother who was headmistress of the future Blake Holsey High at the time it opened. Big Bad Avenir, chairman of the school's board of directors claims to be the great-grandson of identical Avenir who financed the school's construction, though it's all but stated outright that Avenir, being a time traveler, is actually the same man.
  • The Brady Bunch: In one episode, Florence Henderson and Robert Reed did dual roles as Mike and Carol, plus Mike's stodgy grandfather and Carol's hip grandmother.
    • In a borderline case, Florence Henderson had a Cameo as Carol's mother in The Movie.
    • Another borderline case: Jan once found a picture of her great-aunt when the great-aunt was Jan's age, and it looked just like Jan (Eve Plumb in the Identical Great-Niece role). Jan wanted to meet the great-aunt to see what she (Jan) would look like when she grew up. The great-aunt was played by Imogene Cocoa. Jan was somewhat less than plussed.
  • Doctor Who companion Victoria Waterfield was said to be almost identical to her mother, although we only ever see a painting of her mother.
    • Jessica Hynes played Joan Redfern in "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood" and her great-granddaughter Verity Newman in The End of Time.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Small Worlds," Jack presents himself to Estelle as his own son and grandson to hide the fact he doesn't age.
  • Lyle Waggoner as "Steve Trevor" (1940s) and his son "Steve Trevor" (1970s) in Wonder Woman. After disappearing from Patriarch World after World War II ended, Diana meets Steve Trevor Jr. at the first episode of the Second Season, "The Return of Wonder Woman", a Setting Update in 1977. She first is very confused by thinking he hasn’t aged, but given she is an immortal amazon warrior, Queen Hippolyta explains her the concept of "sons".
  • Andromeda (a.k.a. "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda"). Steve Bacic plays the Nietzschean Gaheris Rhade and his identical-looking direct descendant, Telemachus Rhade, who lives 300 years later. This is addressed in the series itself; partically justified in that the Nietzscheans as a race are descendants of humans from Earth, but their founder introduced the ideology of using eugenics (planned breeding) and genetic manipulation to create the "perfect ubermensch" (hence the name). They call it "Genetic Reincarnation", and a particular plot revolve around the genetic reincarnation of the progenitor of their race.
    • This trope is actually lampshaded when Telemachus first appears, as Dylan and Tyr discuss how incredibly unlikely this is. Tyr notes that the Nietzcheans have stripped out a lot of specific genes from their pool in order to improve things, increasing the odds, which, Dylan points out, are still "in the trillions".
      • Further increasing the odds is the fact that the Nietzscheans are descended from a group of about 3000 and bred so quickly they make up 8% of the total human population of the three galaxies, which is in the trillions.
    • The reincarnation of the progenitor Drago Museveni does show up at one point and is, in fact, Tyr's son.
  • Appeared on The X-Files when the actor who played the young CSM in a flashback episode was later cast as Agent Spender, CSM's son.
  • The Movie of Kamen Rider Hibiki has this trope with the three main Riders and the main character, Asumu Adachi. They also work in an Identical Stranger, as the Sengoku-era Touki looks just like the modern Zanki, which the modern characters lampshade.
  • The finale of Kamen Rider Kiva showed Wataru's son Masao, played by Kohei Takeda (the same actor as Wataru's father Otoya).
  • Vinnie Terranova's dad in Wiseguy (in an episode based around his father's diary). But they gave him a moustache.
  • Played with in Everybody Loves Raymond when, in a flashback to Ray's childhood, Frank and Marie (Ray's parents) are played by Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton (i.e. the actors who play Ray & his wife Debra).
  • Also played with in The King of Queens, where in a childhood flashback of Arthur (Jerry Stiller), his father is played by the actor's real life son, Ben Stiller.
  • Subverted at least once in Highlander the Series, with immortal Duncan MacLeod pretending to be his own son/grandson when he meets an old acquaintence.
  • Goodnight Sweetheart includes occasional appearances of Reg's Present Day identical grandson, who's followed him into the police force. The episode where Gary travels to the Victorian era, rather than World War Two, introduces Reg's identical grandfather as a Bow Street Runner, as well as an identical ancestor of Yvonne.
  • JAG Harmon Rabb Jr. is identical to Harmon Rabb Sr.
  • The same production company was at the helm of a number of Period Piece series that have been coming out of mainland China: in one, the child actor who played a young Kangxi reappears near the end to play his grandson (who later became the emperor Qianlong); the actor who plays old Kangxi in another drama later appeared in a different series as old Qianlong.
  • On Green Acres, whenever Oliver or Lisa tell stories about their ancestors, they always look like Oliver and Lisa. And an identical ancestor of Mr. Haney always tries to sell them stuff.
  • Played with on The Nanny when Fran Drescher plays a younger version of her character's mother, Sylvia, and the actor who plays Maxwell plays a younger version of his father.
  • Also played with on Leverage, where Hardison paints a picture of the "founder" of their "firm" to make them seem more legitimate. He looks like Nathan aged fifty years..
  • In the final episode of Only Fools and Horses, "Sleepless in Peckham", we see a picture of Freddie "the Frog" Robdal, previously hinted to be Rodney's real father, and he's played by Nicholas Lyndhurst with a moustache. (Even Del, who believes his mum to be a saint, can't ignore the resemblance.) Lyndhurst reprises the role in the Prequel series Rock And Chips.
  • A perfect inversion is done on a clip show of Roseanne where John Goodman plays a grown up version of son DJ.
    • It also featured a flashback in which DJ's actor plays a child version of Roseanne - his mom...
  • Subverted in Primeval season 3 episode 6. The episode starts with a scene of what appears to be 1940's versions of the characters, dressed appropriately, playing a record, etc. They're the normal cast, who had to flee to a disused lodge that had old clothes and other things in it.
  • Loretta of Outrageous Fortune looks exactly like her grandmother Rita in her younger days.
  • Elena Gilbert of The Vampire Diaries looks identical to Katherine Pierce. This is unexplained until Elena finds out that she was adopted, and that her birth mother is a direct descendant of Katherine. Furthermore it's eventually revealed that the reason they look identical after many generations is because they're both "Petrova dopplegangers", indicating that there's a mystical reason for the doubling.
  • In the TV adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the characters of Lunkwill and Fook, who activate Deep Thought, and Loonquawl and Phouchg, who receive the Answer seven and a half million years later, are both played by Anthony Carrick and Timothy Davies respectively.
  • Recently in CSI Greg started dating a woman who is avenging the death of her grandparents. grandmother was murdered by mobsters when they found out about her affair with her grandfather, who was framed and executed. It's even lampshaded by the cast.
  • Mick tries to pull this on Beth in the second episode of Moonlight, when she finds a picture of him from decades before, claiming it's his father. By the end of the episode, though, she knows the truth - he's a vampire.
  • In the Sanctuary episode "Normandy", Helen Magnus recalls her part in the D-Day invasion during World War Two. During their mission in Carentan, France, they are aided by American troops, headed by Captain Jack Zimmerman, who looks exactly like Will Zimmerman, Helen's second-in-command, and is played by the same actor. While Captain Zimmerman is killed at the end of the episode, it is implied that he is Will's grandfather. Interestingly, Helen makes no mention of this to Will, even though this could be one of the reasons she chose him to join the Sanctuary (i.e. his grandfather saved her life at the cost of his own).
  • A recent episode of The Daily Show, John Stewart interviewed the descendents of two of his correspondents, in alternate futures, to see which party's dire predictions would turn out correct.
  • In an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a photograph reveals that Dennis' grandfather looked exactly like him when he was young. Oh, and he was also a Nazi SS officer in World War II.
  • On The Golden Girls, one flashback showed a younger Sophia also played by Estelle Getty, but without the additions to make her look older. Her mother is played by Bea Arthur, who plays Sophia's daughter, Dorothy, in similar additions.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy and the gang realize that a portrait of Mayor Wilkins' ancestor is really a portrait of Mayor Wilkins himself:

 Willow: Wow. Like father, like son.

Oz: How about 'like exact same guy, like exact same guy'?

  • The Castle episode "The Blue Butterfly" features a suspect who looks just like an old picture of his grandfather.


  • The Stephen Sondheim show Sunday in The Park With George has a double whammy: the actors who play painter Georges Seurat and his fictional mistress Dot in Act I play Georges and Dot's daughter Marie (in old lady makeup) and Marie's grandson George in Act II. The rest of the cast plays new roles, too, but that's more a matter of economy.
  • Reversed, but essentially the same: In a (frequently cut) scene from the final act of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Prior meets the spirit of Louis' grandmother Sarah, whose funeral was one of the first scenes in the show. Kushner specifically states in the published script that Sarah is to be played by the actor who plays Louis, though obviously in some kind of costume and makeup.
  • The play Coram Boy has two actors playing one character, Alexander Ashbrooke -- one is a girl who plays him as a young man, and in the first act it switches in a brilliant piece of staging to being a man that plays him. The actress who played Alexander as a young man returns in the second act as his son, Aaron.
  • The action of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia is set in both the early nineteenth and late twentieth centuries. When the play is staged, the same actor is used to play Augustus, a character from the nineteenth century, and Gus, from the twentieth. It's not explicitly stated that the latter is directly descended from the former, but they are certainly related. (There is also a possibility that they are intended to actually be the same character.)
  • Most productions of Show Boat which don't outright cut the Eleven O Clock Number will have it performed by the same actress playing Magnolia in the person of her daughter Kim. (Kim also appears earlier as a child, and in the final tableau as an extra turned away from the audience.)

Video Games

  • An early plot point in the game Chrono Trigger is the fact that Marle, a princess from 1000 A.D., looks exactly like her ancestor Queen Leene from 600 A.D.
  • Adelheid Bernstein (son of the evil Rugal Bernstein from King of Fighters) is basically a younger Rugal minus the mustache.
  • Tales of Phantasia has three generations of this, due to the three time periods. Each time period has its own member of the Morrison family, all of whom use the same sprite with only the clothes being different (and that's just a color swap). In addition, two characters from a sidequest in the "past" section of the game have descendants who grow up to look just like the original characters.
  • Used in the Metal Gear series with Big Boss and his three clone sons. Solid Snake and Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid are mirror images of each other, but with different skin tones and hairstyles, while Solidus Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty, who has the same face as Solid Snake, is said to resemble the elder Big Boss from the early Metal Gear games. In contrast, Naked Snake, the young Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, resembles the young Solid Snake from the MGS titles.
    • It is later averted though, in MGS4. When Big Boss shows up in the epilogue, he looks very different from Old Snake, with a different voice actor. However, Old Snake is an imperfect clone of Big Boss, and his accelerated aging combined with FOXDIE, his facial damage in the Volta River fire and his physical ailments could have simply taken him biologically in a different direction.
    • Raiden could be Raikov's identical grandson. Only, Raikov is gay...
      • Judging by the patronymic, it's more likely he's Raikov's father. (Raiden! You've created a time paradox!)
      • Isn't it supposed to be a pun? 'Raidenovitch' into 'Raiden no Bitch', which is 'Thunderbolt's...' Oh, jeez. Raiden only wishes he was getting laid out of this.
    • Also, except for the latter's wheelchair, Otacon is the image of his father, Huey, complete with the same style of glasses.
  • The Japanese version of Harvest Moon DS has this trope happening with every single "familiar" character in the game, practically falling under Generation Xerox as well, as their personalities and backstories are nearly identical to those of their ancestors. The only major difference? Their names, but even those tended to be blatant offshoots of the originals. Lazy, lazy developers!
    • Also, they didn't have all the depressing, realistic back-stories and plots that made the "Wonderful Life" series so unique. They're happy-go-lucky, with little to no problems. Plus, they're personalities are quite different, much more shallow and boring, then their AWL and FOMT grandparents.
      • They also wear the same clothing and wedding clothing as their (great?) grandparents. For example, Celia. DS and AWL.
    • Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility combines this with the New Game+. Your child, regardless of who you married, can grow up to look exactly like you (or the opposite gender PC, depending on gender) and set off to start a farm on an island suspiciously identical to your own in every way, down to the inhabitants.
    • Back in Harvest Moon 64 you were the Identical Grandson of the original protagonist, from the SNES game. Your bachelorettes look extremely similar to the original ones, minus Karen who only has her grandmothers blond hair (her bangs).
  • Eggman from the Sonic the Hedgehog series looks almost exactly like his grandfather, Gerald Robotnik. Eggman Nega, who claims to be Eggman's descendant from the future in Sonic Rivals also looks exactly like Eggman, except his mustache is gray and he wears cooler clothes.
  • Captain Price in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare looks exactly like Captain Price of World War II-era Call of Duty 1 and 2, right down to the righteous mustache and Badass attitude.
    • He's never really stated or implied to be the descendant of the original Captain Price. It's possible that he's just a Recurring Character who happens to have Immortality. On multiple levels.
      • A developer for Infinity Ward, Sami Onur, gave some Word of God on the matter. He said that the Modern Warfare Price is intended to be the grandson of the World War II Captain Price. There have been a few rather sneaky references to the actual character's origin, however (for instance, one of the final Modern Warfare 2 cutscenes makes it clear that Price still has the Call of Duty 1-specific dedicated pistol slot, containing the same incorrect-for-his-country M1911).
    • The Call of Duty 4 Captain Price is remarkably less polite than his predecessor, it must be said. They also sound rather different (Billy Murray for modern Price, compared to Michael Gough (not that one for WW 2 Price).
  • The Legend of Zelda series has Link and Zelda appearing again and again... only they're not quite the same Link nor Zelda. Though Link himself may not be direct descendants, it's spelled out in Zelda 2 and in Wind Waker that the green-clad hero and noble lady of the royal line are reincarnated again and again. Zelda 2 actually has Link set out on a quest by Princess Zelda to wake one of her predecessors, also named Princess Zelda, from a deep sleep.
    • Although similar, Link and Zelda are not exactly identical in each game. In "Twilight Princess" Zelda isn't even blond like she usually is.
      • She's only been blonde in the recent games. The original Link and Zelda were brunette/redheads. As well, it's only Brawl that has her as dark brown, her Twilight Princess look is dirty-blonde / brownish blonde.
    • Spirit Tracks has Linebeck III as a literal example, who looks exactly like his grandad from Phantom Hourglass. Zelda herself subverts it as her grandmother looks totally different for most of her screentime. Link, of course, looks the same, although we don't exactly know if he's actually related to Wind Waker Link.
      • Actually, Zelda is not a subversion at all. Tetra just wears her hair tied up in something resembling an Odango and has a strong tan. But aside from that, Spirit!Zelda and Tetra are absolutely identical. Actually, Spirit!Zelda resembles Tetra more than her own mother.
  • In Golden Sun Dark Dawn, Matthew and Tyrell are the spitting image of their fathers, Isaac and Garet, as teenagers. Several other characters are also descended from the previous games' cast, but they're not quite as blatant as these two.
    • Except Amiti, who despite dressing and acting completely differently is still mistaken for... someone in a mask... by an NPC in Tonfon Palace.
  • The Breath of Fire series beats this trope to death.
  • Subversion: if Jimbo and Sully from Contra III: The Alien Wars looked way too much like Bill and Lance from the original arcade/NES games, that's because they are Bill and Lance. In the Japanese continuity, the series always took place in the future, so there was never any need to change main characters, but in the original American continuity the earlier games were moved from the future to the present, forcing the name change for the main characters when the SNES installment kept the futuristic setting.
  • The Belmonts from the earlier Castlevania games, namely Simon, Christopher, and Trevor, strongly resembled each other, but this can be justified, since the original games were for 8-bit platforms like the NES, MSX, and Game Boy, which weren't exactly known for their graphical prowess. Richter Belmont from the PC Engine's Rondo of Blood, was the first Belmont to actually look different from his predecessors and every Belmont afterward (whether it was from a sequel or prequel) followed suit.
  • The Guy from I Wanna Be the Guy looks almost the same as his son the Kid, except that he's four times as big, has a different facial expression and smokes a cigarette.
  • Shadow of Destiny is made of this trope. In every era there are people who resemble the citizens in the other eras. In fact, the main character even lampshades this once. The game ends up subverting it once however, in the biggest plot twist of the game. A character you spend most of the game assuming is your ancestor (though he doesn't exactly resemble you) turns out to be you.
  • Kori, from Time Hollow, ends up with the Protagonist's uncle, after sending him back through time to save her from certain death. In the present day, after the credits, we see the Protagonist meeting with his friends, and a girl who looks exactly like Kori. She's implied to be her daughter
  • Altaïr and Ezio look very similar to the protagonist Desmond Miles. All three of them even have a perfectly identical scar on their mouth. It's Justified in that the interface with which Desmond sees Altaïr and Ezio, the Animus, is patching his face partially over their face, for familiarity.
    • Although Word of God implies they're not actually related, many fans have pointed out that Altair's son Darim is a dead ringer for Subject 16. Whether this is merely coincidence or hinting at yet another revelation in a future game remains to be seen.
  • Phantasy Star Zero manages to pull this one under the radar. Ogi and Nicolas both ask you if you're 200+ years old early in the game (which is outright preposterous unless you're a CAST). Later, you get a video from before the Great Blank that shows someone identical to you in the battle before the aforementioned catastrophe. The third instance crops up when you encounter Mother Trinity, who has a sudden realization just who you really are. She takes it pretty well. No, really.
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, the resemblance between Katia and her grandmother, Sofia, is so strong that even the game's main antagonist confuses the two. Considering that he's mistaking Katia for his estranged lover and he's really her grandfather, it's no wonder the poor girl gets a little distressed before she finally gets a chance to explain.
  • In Knights Of The Old Republic 2, 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. Of course, it was all a cheap way of explaining why they used the same model for all of Atris' 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 gah.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Samara and her daughter Morinth are identical. Lampshaded in that the achievement for completing Samara's loyalty mission is called "Doppelganger". During that mission, if you recruit Morinth instead of killing her, the other members of your crew never realise she isn't Samara.
  • Sam and Max Season 3 episode "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak," you play as their grandfathers, Sameth and Maximus.
    • Also, Nicholas St. Kringle is implied to be the ancestor of Santa Claus.
    • Subverted with Jurgen, who is initially assumed to be an identical grandfather of the vampire Jurgen. That is until he is bitten by a vampire elf in the past.
  • Mai Shiranui, if Gen-An's ending in the first Samurai Shodown is to be believed.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, some characters remark that Battler looks a hell of a lot like Kinzo did when he was young. Just how much is finally shown in EP7 - Young Kinzo's sprite has Battler's face.
  • This is Baby Bowser from Yoshis Island and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. This is Bowser Junior from Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros.
  • The Way of the Samurai games use this enable The Blacksmith Dojima to appear in every game (As they take place 20 to 300 years apart).
  • Inazuma Eleven, the Endou family members who are related to soccer are looking the very similar: Daisuke, Mamoru, and Kanon.


  • In Dragon City Erin and Beatrix look like blue and green versions of their father Sam (respectively), and Jonas looks like a red version of their mother Rachel. Rachel and her sister Sarah look like their mother, too.
  • In Jix Lauren's daughter, Alice, in flashforwards look like a young version of Lauren.
  • In Narbonic, a version of Helen, Dave, and Mell appears each generation. Partly justified as the Helens are cloning themselves.
  • The Order of the Stick: Elan and Nale's father is depicted exactly like his sons, only with gray hair due to age.
  • Irregular Webcomic's Ishmael is identical to him. Same with the Mythbusters.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court's Antimony and her mother. There's a very good reason for this.
  • Coney Dewclaw, the carnivorous rabbit in Kevin and Kell, looks exactly like her grandmother Dorothy Kindle did when she was Coney's age.
  • The time travel storyline of Pv P includes a presumed ancestor of Max Powers who looks and behaves just like him. Modern technology was invisible to medieval Max just as Skull was (until recently) invisible to modern Max.
  • In The Dreamer, 21st - century Bea and 18th - century Bea look exactly the same.
  • Lampshaded in Questionable Content with Marten's dad, who strongly resembles him except for the hair, though that's in part due to Generic Cuteness. Upon meeting Mr. Reed, Dora exclaims "You're going to be so hot when you go gray!"
  • The protagonist of Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger is a distant descendant of the hero of Tales of the Questor and looks almost the same (even has the same white forelock). Though he does seem a little older and more experienced.
  • In Erstwhile, the princess is the image of her dead mother. This is Not A Good Thing.

Web Original

  • Due to a narrow selection of male partners, the mother of Dee from Tales of MU is the spitting image of her great-great-grandmother, the family's current matriarch. Not one to waste an opportunity, the matriarch uses her descendant as assassin bait.
  • Vic and Vic Jr. (who was multiple generations removed) in Red vs. Blue use identical models and voice actors. This is, of course, played for laughs more than anything else.
Although later seasons pretty strongly imply that not only was Vic Jr. actually just Vic being deceptive, but that Vic wasn't even human.

Western Animation

  • In the Kim Possible episode "Rewriting History," practically every main character on the show had a counterpart one hundred years ago with not only a similar appearance, but a similar name. According to Word of God, the episode was not a dream.
    • Additionally after they come out of the dream (and regardless of its actual status) Kim and Ron are confronted by a statue of someone who looks exactly like Ron from Ancient Rome, and learn of his ancient nemesis and mysterious female ally who bear an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Drakken and Kim.
  • Likewise, there was an Arc in the old Inspector Gadget cartoon. Dr. Claw decided to get rid of Gadget by eliminating his ancestors via Time Travel. This went for several episodes, including prehistoric times, Ancient Rome, and 19th Century Britain. In each, there was an almost-identical variant of Gadget, niece Penny, and their dog, Brain. The prehistoric version of Gadget even had a few Bamboo Technology gadgets!
  • An episode of Jackie Chan Adventures featured a journal, written by Jackie's ancestor, which involved identical western ancestors of all the main characters. However, it was established that this was being visualised by Jade, and she was deliberately ignoring how the journal described the character she'd picked as her own counterpart as an adult. On the other hand, the cover of the book clearly showed the "Hong Kong Kid" was identical to Jackie.
  • In Futurama Fry is Professor Farnsworth's many times great uncle as well as direct ancestor. While not as apparent in his old age, the younger professor looked almost identical to Fry, only with less hair and glasses. Both have the same facial features and bright orange hair. Similarly, Fry's brother Yancy has a son who grew up to look identical to his father, close enough for Fry to be fooled (Not that fooling Fry is generally hard). The Irony is that Yancy and his son are the professor's ancestors a few generations down from Fry, and neither of them have orange hair, theirs being brown instead (just like Fry's father and grandmother, but still the same style as Fry, Young Professor, and Cubert). And above all, let's not forget that Fry is his own grandfather, and therefore a resemblance between Fry and his grandfather makes perfect sense.
    • Keep in mind, of course, that since he and his father are both their own grandfathers, that it's totally genetically possible for each of them to create a child that is genetically identical to their respective fathers (each other).
    • In "A Leela of Her Own", Hank Aaron the fourteenth is identical to Hank Aaron, except that he's terrible at baseball blernsball.
  • Averted in Megas XLR. In the episode "Terminate Her," the bad guys go after the ancestor of Kiva, who traveled back about a thousand years to our time. The two women both have red hair, but that's about their only similarity--they don't look particularly similar, they act differently, they have different skin tones, and they even have different voice actresses.
  • Two Swat Kats episodes feature Queen Callista, Callie Briggs' lookalike medieval ancestor.
  • Danny Phantom: Jack Fenton and his ancestor John Fenton Nightingale.
  • Played straight in Goldie Gold and Action Jack episode, "Race Against Time", with Goldie Gold and her great-grandmother, Carlotta Gold. She even have gadgets that ride that reminds Travis of Goldie's 1980s vehicles.
  • This was used way back in the old Archie cartoons, which routinely showed the "ancestors" of the Archie gang in historical time periods for educational purposes.
  • Inverted in Time Warp Trio where the three boys of the original trio meet three girls from the 22nd century who are their own great-granddaughters. Each girl has the same hair and skin color as her ancestor, and the boy with glasses has a great-granddaughter with glasses, but not only are these descendants of the opposite gender, each has a personality that is the opposite of her ancestors'.
  • A Looney Tunes short had an odd example; a scene from a Sylvester & Sylvester Jr. cartoon is shown, but we're told this is Sylvester as a kitten with his father.
  • In Loonatics Unleashed, all the future descendants of the Looney Tunes resemble their ancestors to some degree.
  • In an episode of The Fairly Odd Parents, 19th century Dimmsdale is shown, with the ancestors of their inhabitants all looking like their descendants. The ancestor of Timmy Turner even has Cosmo and Wanda as his fairy godparents (given that they are immortal).
    • An odd instance of this appears in the Breakin' Da Rules! PC game. One level has Timmy time-travel to the 1970s 1950s and have to avoid the younger-aged version of Vicky and Tootie's affectionate mother, Nicky. In-game dialogue from Timmy suggests that Nicky is supposed to resemble Tootie (which she sure enough does when she appears on the show)... but the graphics depict her as looking like De-aged Vicky from the "Switch Glitch" episode.
    • There's "Which Witch is Witch," which shows Crocker's ancestor. There's also "Channel Chasers, which shows Tommy Turner who looks like his father with black hair (cluing the audience to believe Trixie or Tootie is his mother). And a recent episode "Timmy Turnip" has Timmy Turner's grandfather who looks like an older version of him, but with bigger, lighter blue eyes.
  • In an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, Professor Utonium's 19th century ancestor is shown, looking just like his descendant. He creates his own version of the Powerpuff Girls using steampunk technology.
  • In a possible future of Ben 10, Ben's son looks just like a darker skinned present-day Ben. Kevin's son looks like a non-mutated version of present-day Kevin.
  • Occurs in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 with the second Turtle Titan and his grandfather, the Silver Sentry. Curiously enough, the characters started out with different voice actors -- Silver Sentry was voiced by Terrence Archie, while Marc Diraison (Berserk's Guts) voiced Turtle Titan -- until the seventh season, when Diraison took over the Silver Sentry role.
  • In The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, Judy broods over losing her Stone Age boyfriend Iggy, moping, "A boy that fabulous comes along just once in a million years!" Cue the entrance of Iggy's Space Age descendant, who of course is a perfect replica of Judy's long-ago crush.
  • Used repeatedly in Family Guy episodes referencing Peter's ancestors, usually named Real Famous Person's Name Griffin, all of whom look and sound exactly like Peter.
    • Subverted in one notable exception where Peter discovers that one of his ancestors is actually black, though still looks and sound otherwise identical.
      • In this flashback, Nate Griffin's (white) wife looks identical to Lois, even though Lois is actually descended from her sister.
    • In a later episode it is revealed that Peter's biological father is actually a man named Mickey McFinnigan, who looks very similar to Peter. This also means that the identical-looking Griffin ancestors were not actually related to him at all.
      • At least not officially, there's nothing preventing one of them from stopping by Ireland...
    • In yet another episode, it is revealed that Peter's ancestor was british and fled England to settle in the New World and eventually founded Quahog. It seems that Peter's contradictory ancestors are just another way to mess with the viewer's mind.
      • He's not his ancestor, but a past life.
  • In King of the Hill Hank looks identical to his mother while Peggy looked almost exactly like her mother--before the Retcon, that is. Bobby looks somewhat similar to his grandfater Cotton, except short and chubby, although it is unknown where he got his blonde hair from; all of his relatives were shown to have brown hair in their youth.
    • In a flashback in the Halloween episode young Hank looked just like Bobby.
    • There's also Jun-ichiro, Hank's Japanese half-brother, who looks exactly like Hank Hill with a different haircut, despite having a different mother.
  • The Venture Brothers has Jonas Venture Jr., who inherited his father's handsome rugged looks and intellect despite living inside his fraternal twin brother's torso as an absorbed fetus for over forty years (which resulted in his undeveloped body). In contrast to Thaddeus, who is pretty much the antithesis of their father.
  • Phineas and Ferb has their entire cast get into the act in "The Monster of PhineasNFerbenstien".
    • Instead of having Candace trying to tell her mother what her brothers are up to, we've got Constance threatening to tell a mob the Phineas and Ferb analogues made a monster. Like Linda Flynn, the mob don't believe her until they see Candace having got turned into a monster.
    • Only confirmed ancestor was Ferb's look-alike. And this is probably just a kid's visualisation of Grandpa's story, not really a flashback (Phineas and Candace disputing about proper picture style)
    • In the episode "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo", Candance (20 years older) has a daughter almost identical to her. And Candace herself grew up to be much like her mom.
      • Sort of averted with her other kids---despite her future family clearly mirroring her current one (complaining older daughter, two serene younger sons), neither looks like their avuncular counterparts. Of course, on the other hand, Xavier's blond hair does bring to mind who his father might be...
  • Subverted in Justice League: Vandal Savage reappears in a later episode and attempts to use the excuse that when the League travelled back in time to WWII and went up against him, they were really fighting his evil grandfather and that he is actually "Vandal Savage the Third". Of course, he was lying, because he's actually an immortal.
    • Although actual examples of this trope happen quite often in the DCAU:
      • Kevin Conroy, who voices Batman/Bruce Wayne, also voices his father, Thomas Wayne in all of his appearances. Thomas looks quite a bit like Bruce, but with a mustache.
      • Even more interestingly, his mother, Martha Wayne, is voiced by Adrienne Barbeau, who voices Catwoman, considered by many to the The Dark Knight's true love. Out of context, this almost inserts an Oedipus Complex into the mix.
    • Christopher McDonald, who voiced Jor-El, would also later voice the far older Superman in his appearance on Batman Beyond.
  • One episode of Arthur had D.W. curious of her grandmother Thora's antique doll prompting a story on how she got it. In the flashback, Thora a spitting image of D.W. right down to the voice. Thora's three brothers also resemble Arthur to an extent.
    • Binkey's great grandfather looked exactly like him as a child.
  • On Garfield and Friends, Some episodes are set in the past and usually feature cats that look and sound like Garfield with different coloring. It's implied they are his ancestors. In one episode Garfield flashes back to when his great uncle Buchanan was sent into space and he looks and sounds exactly like Garfield. Another episode features Jon's Italian ancestor, Tony Arbuckli.
  • An old episode of Scooby Doo once had Shaggy and Scooby exploring an old mansion belonging to Shaggy's family. In a hallway containing numerous family portraits, Shaggy mentions that all of the members in his family have the same nose shape(so he could say "noses run in the family"), but the actual pictures show that every member of the Rogers family looks exactly the same as Shaggy. Even the women.
  • In the X-Men episode "Descent", the Victorian physician Dr James Xavier looks like Professor X with a fringe of hair and (in 1888) a moustache.
  • Hurricanes: Stavros Garkos IV, who sent a robot 100 years back in time to change the results of a bet where Stavros Garkos lost everything other than his soccer team, looks like Stavros Garkos. Of course, the whole plot was All Just a Dream and there's no evidence that Stavros Garkos IV will even exist.

Real Life

  • Orville Redenbacher started appearing in commercials with his real identical grandson shortly before his death. Now his grandson has his role.
  • Musician Hank Williams III is said to have an amazing resemblance to his grandfather, the legendary Hank Williams. Minnie Pearl, an old friend of Hank Williams, remarked upon first meeting his grandson, "Lord, honey, you're a ghost."
  • New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau had a daughter named Marie Laveau who was also a New Orleans Voodoo Queen who reportedly looked quite like her mother. Needless to say historical accounts and legends surrounding the two women often get mixed up.
  • Dirk Blocker also looked almost exactly like his father, Dan.
  • See if you can find an old picture of Cal Ripken, Senior. The resemblence is almost eerie.
  • There is a short article once about a woman who looked exactly like her grandmother. She was holding an old picture of her grandmother at her age... I almost wonder if they just took a picture of the woman, aged the picture so it looked older and claimed it was her grandmother.
  • Due to the tradition of always marrying their sisters, the Egyptian Pharaohs reportedly all looked almost identical. At least until those nasty recessive genes started making their heads look like American footballs.
  • In one documentary of Joni Mitchell, clips from interviews with her starting decades ago are mixed in with the images, and it's very clear how her voice changed from when she was young to the modern day. Then, at the end, Mitchell meets back up with her genetic daughter she had put up for adoption -- and her daughter's voice sounds just like hers from when she was young. (They do look different, though.)
  • Except for skin-tone, Barack Obama is his maternal grandfather.
  • Dhani Harrison looks exactly like his father, George Harrison, when he was younger.
    • In fact, all The Beatles' children look very much like their fathers.
      • In Julian Lennon's case, he even sounds like his father when singing.
  • There's the adage, "If you want to know what a woman will look like in a few decades, meet her mother." Generally, it's pretty accurate.
  • The British Royal Family may in fact be made of this trope. Compare the 13th century's King Edward I and his great^21-grandson of modern times, Prince William, for instance.
    • Except that picture of Edward I is clearly an 18th- or 19th-century rendition; actual contemporary (13th- or 14th-century) illustrations of Edward are much more stylized and not useful for this kind of comparison. Many of the other, more recent ancestral pictures on the page play it straight, though.
  • Compare Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now with his son Charlie Sheen in Platoon. Or his other son, Emilio Estevez, in recent years.
    • A commercial for Visa Check Card uses this trope directly -- Charlie Sheen tries to pay for some videos with a credit card, and it takes the clerk so long to verify it that when the card is verified, the clerk looks up and sees Martin Sheen there instead.
  • Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas.
  • Jerry and Brian Lawler
  • Aside from a lack of poodle-perm, Jeff Buckley was almost the spitting image of his dad, Tim.
  • Harrison Ford's son Ben resembles him so much they used him to fill in for his father for a few new shots in the Final Cut version of Blade Runner.
  • Angelina Jolie bears a strong resemblance to her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand.
  • After over 3 centuries, Japanese figure skater Oda Noburari retains a strong physical resemblance to his famous ancestor Oda Nobunaga. Though, of course, the resemblances sorta stop there...
  • Here's Ingrid Bergman and her daughter Isabella Rossellini. Except for the eyecolor, she's almost a carbon copy of her mom.
  • The descendents of J.M. James believe their ancestor was actually outlaw Jesse James, whom they claim faked his own death to avoid arrest. While their claim is considered highly dubious by historians, family member Jeremiah James bears a remarkable resemblence to photographs of Jesse James as a young man: so much so that, if the blood connection were true, he would qualify as an identical great-great-grandson.
  • Actress/musician Schuyler Fisk looks almost exactly like her mother Sissy Spacek.
  • Aside from being blonde, Brian Henson is a near-perfect replication of his father, Jim.
  • Late John Ritter and his son Jason.
  • Mark Hamill and his son Nathan
  • Bette Midler and her twenty-something daughter Sophie von Haselberg.
  • Colin Hanks is basically a lanky version of his father with a different haircut.
  • My grandmother has an identical cousin, no kidding. They look as much alike as Patty Duke, and a photograph of Patty Duke. It's really amazing. They were born 20 years apart, though, and my grandmother grew up in the US, while her cousin grew up in Slovakia, so I didn't meet her until I was 18. I just about fell over. It was like seeing my grandmother just the way I remembered her when I was very little. They showed me childhood pictures. The backgrounds are very different-- two different times, two different places, but the same child. This was in the 80s. People now would probably think they were photoshopped.
  1. The only proper response after learning that the heroine, her two sidekicks, her coach, her arch-villain, and The Dragon are all covered by this trope.