Usually, when actors play multiple characters on a show or in a movie series, it’s because there’s a whole twin/clone/doppelganger situation going on.
But sometimes, the show or movie series will introduce a new character, and you’ll go, “Wait a minute…I’ve seen this actor on the show before.”
The show/movie series/cinematic universe is pulling one over on us!!! We already know this actor, and now, the show is trying to tell us they have a a totally different name and personality!!!! WE ARE BEING GASLIT.
Anyways, if you also find this phenomena equal parts infuriating and amusing, check out these 17 examples below!
Perhaps one of the best known examples is Gemma Chan. After joining the MCU as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel…
…She starred as Sersi in Eternals. Sersi is an immortal figure created at, like, the start of time, right??? So, why is there a random Kree woman who looks just like her?
Another MCU example is Michelle Yeoh, who played a minor role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2…
…Then played a larger role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Are they variants of each other????
A season before Dean-Charles Chapman became known as Tommen on Game of Thrones…
…he actually played Martyn Lannister! I mean, I guess they’re both Lannisters (Tommen by blood, not name), but…still. This is wrong.
Personally, I find this one especially egregious. Before Peter Capaldi took on the ultimate Doctor Who role, that of the Doctor himself…
It gets worse. That Season 4 episode also featured Karen Gillan in a minor role — essentially an extra, but still. She was recognizable.
Almost exactly a season later, Gillan became the Doctor Who companion Amy Pond. Did they love shooting that Season 4 episode so much they just had to bring back two minor characters to be main ones? Did Doctor Who begin then abandon a conspiracy to get all their new doctors and companions from past seasons??? The world may never know.
TBH, it really grinds my gears when a former minor character is later cast as a SERIES REGULAR. Like Diane Neal, who played Casey Novak for over a decade on Law and Order: SVU.
Harry Morgan was well-known (and even won an Emmy!) for playing Col. Potter on M*A*S*H (post-Season 4) and AfterMASH, but he’d actually been on an earlier season of the show as well — as, you guessed it, folks, a different character. When will my suffering end?
In the Season 3 premiere, exactly one season earlier, he’d played Major General Steele — in fact, the entire episode was centered around him. And his costume was VIRTUALLY THE SAME. You’re telling me this didn’t confuse anybody??? At least make him LOOK different!!!
Tom Lenk became a main character (or, at least, the main source of comic relief) in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he’d also actually been in the show before…
…albeit with stage makeup/prosthetics. In Season 5, he’d played the vampire Cyrus. I’ll give a bit of a pass to this one as he at least looks different, but the Buffy casting team is on thin ice.
Similarly, Warwick Davis appeared in two roles in the Harry Potter films, but you likely didn’t notice because of his prosthetics and makeup. He played Hogwarts Professor Flitwick…
…as well as playing the Gringotts goblin Griphook. My mind was BLOWN when I found this out. I’m still coming to terms with it.
This is a small one, but I’m including it because I noticed it even as a kid. Back when Torrey DeVitto was just getting her start, she appeared on Drake & Josh — here she is as “Denise Woods” in Season 2, a college student Drake hits on.
And here she is as Tori in Season 3!! WHAT IS THE TRUTH??
Look, I get that writers sometimes do it as little in-jokes. Psych had a ton of examples — oftentimes, writers stepping in to do a small part. For example, producer Andy Berman played a part in a Season 1 episode…
…and also in a Season 6 episode. He also plays a zombie in Season 8. I guess it’s kinda cute and funny that they did this, but it ALSO HURTS MY BRAIN.
Another minor Psych one that bothers me — this guy, Peter Benson, who played two different characters only FIVE EPISODES APART. Psych, what are you trying to do to me?
Two and a Half Men is another repeat offender. Judy Greer spent two episodes as Herb’s sister Myra in Season 4…
But she became much better known as Bridget, Walden’s ex-wife, in Season 9 of the show. She even continued to play Bridget in later seasons! And we never heard from Myra again. Quite suspicious, if you ask me.
Jennifer Taylor also played multiple roles — she was best known for playing Charlie’s fiancée Chelsea…
Finally, we’ll end with a few examples that I actually like, because the actors’ second role was just a voice and/or motion-capture role.
John Rhys-Davies was best-known for playing Gimli in Lord of the Rings…
…While also providing voice — and motion capture — for Weasel.
He did something similar in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, providing motion capture for Rocket Raccoon (and acting as a stand-in for the actors)…
…as well as playing Kraglin.
And finally, Mark Hamill obviously reprised his role as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi…
That’s all I got for ya right now — which examples am I missing? Ruin my day by letting me know in the comments below!