And You Were There

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
It looks like Dorothy really did know those guys all her life.

Dorothy: But it wasn't a dream. It was a place! And you, and you, and you, and you were there! But you couldn't have been, could you?

Auntie Em: We dream lots of silly things...

Often, usually in a departure from a work's normal setting, such as the Storybook Episode or the Fable Remake for a television series, a work will present a story different from, tangential to, or symbolic of the main story. Frequently, characters in this sub-story will be played by actors from the main story. This is not mere convenience and is often used to highlight or lampoon either relationships between characters or particular aspects of each character's personality that may or may not be readily apparent in the main work. This is an example of And You Were There.

The correlation between the two roles portrayed by the actor are what separate it from others of it's kind. A good way to think of it is that the secondary story's characters are not played by the same actors so much as that they are played by the primary characters.

Examples of And You Were There include:

Anime and Manga

  • Mupu and Fupu in Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash*Star are given the same voices as the currently-absent Dark Magical Girl twins Michiru and Kaoru, setting a connection between the two pairs, due to Michiru and Kaoru's Heel Face Turn near the end of the season.
  • In one anime episode of Ranma ½, Genma (as a panda) gets lost in a remote forest and runs into a village of what appears to be all of the main characters. These people have different names, dress from a different era, and different family connections, but their relationships and personalities are the same. The episode ends with the analogs of Ranma and Akane getting married.
  • School Rumble has quite a few versions of this. (and the not-Sequel is ENTIRELY this) especially the episode where Hanai ends up on an island populated seemingly by identical duplicates of the cast.
  • An odd variation on this theme is played with in MAR. Koyuki of the real world, and Ginta's love interest, looks exactly like Snow of MAR Heaven. They are different characters, with different backgrounds, but they are connected somehow. At the end of the anime, Snow dies and joins with Koyuki, so that, when Ginta returns, both of them end up his girlfriend.
  • In "Galaxy Police Mihoshi's Space Adventure!" from the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA series, Mihoshi tells the allegedly-true story of one of the cases she worked on as a Galaxy Police officer, casting everyone in the household in various roles -- except, oddly, for that of her partner Kiyone. When the story's version of Sasami turns out to be a Magical Girl, its Washuu is an Omnicidal Maniac, and other oddities turn up, the general opinion of the listeners is that it's just a tall tale. In The Stinger, though, we see Kiyone -- whom Mihoshi thought had died in a Heroic Sacrifice during the climactic battle with the villain -- still alive, trapped in the villain's old hideout, and still screaming in rage at Mihoshi.


  • Used as part of the Twist Ending to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Lil Dagover (Jane) and Conrad Veidt (Cesare) double as fellow residents of the insane asylum, and Francis even confuses them for the characters he attached to them in his dream. Werner Krauss plays both Caligari and the asylum coordinator. The 2005 "remix" takes this further by making Allan into one of the orderlies.
  • The plot of The Fall centers around a paralyzed man telling a story to a girl in the hospital he's staying with. Since the audience views his story through the child's imagination, almost all of the characters are based on people she knows and played by the same actors—and, eventually, the girl herself gets to be in the story.
  • Hans Conreid voiced both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling in the Walt Disney animated feature Peter Pan, and their character designs are clearly deliberately similar. As a matter of fact, in theatrical and cinematic versions of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Mr. Darling are almost always played by the same actor.
    • This is part of the point of the story. "Never-Never Land" is a fantasy version of the real world.
    • This is true in 2003's Peter Pan in which Jason Issacs played Mr Darling and Captain Hook (the first live action film adapation to ever do so).
    • Hook, a sequel to the Peter Pan story, has a Shout-Out at the end when the adult Peter returns to Earth: He wakes up in Kensington Park and encounters a man sweeping trash; he's played by Bob Hoskins, who is Smee in the Neverland scenes. More subtly, the voice of the plane's captain as the Banning family heads to England at the beginning is provided by Dustin Hoffman—who later appears as Hook himself.
    • Considering that Smee was shown fleeing alone with whatever loot he could carry, it's entirely possible that he simply set himself up into safe, uneventful job in the normal world, or possibly had held such double identity for quite some time.
  • Abbott and Costello's Jack and the Beanstalk does this.
  • In a manner reminiscent of the Peter Pan example, in the film adaptation of Jumanji, Alan's father and Van Pelt are played by the same actor (Jonathan Hyde).
  • The aptly-named Mirror Mask does this a fair amount as well: Stephanie Leonidas plays protagonist Helena and her mirror-world equivalent Princess Anti-Helena, Rob Brydon plays Dad as well as the Prime Minister of the White City, Gina McKee plays Mum, the White Queen and the Dark Queen. Taken a step further with Valentine (Jason Barry), whose real-world equivalent is met after his fantasy-world form, as part of the implication that it wasn't all just a dream. It was, after all, written by Neil Gaiman.

"I'm your Other Mother, silly."

      • In this case the parallels are the result of the Other Mother deliberately modeling herself and the other others after the people in Coraline's life in order to trap her.
  • Partially done in Robot Monster. In Johnny's dream, his sisters and mother remain the same, but the annoying Germanic archaeologist is now his dead father and the assistant is now Johnny's sister's boyfriend. It's a dumb movie, okay?
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, during the wedding scene, much of the bridal party is made up of actors who later become the Transylvanians, of note are: Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien), Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and of course, Doctor Frank N Furter (Tim Curry) in the back, nearest the church. Tim Curry actually turns away from the camera, apparently so he won't be as recognised, but, if you attend a Shadow Cast, they tend to comment on their appearance, with lines like, "Even a Virgin recognises Dr. Frank," and, "Hey, Frank, Riff's front! Hey, Riff, Frank's back!"
    • The 2016 Fox remake mimicked this with its version of the scene, then took it Up to Eleven.
    • In an inter-movie And You Were There, several cast members from Rocky Horror portray similar characters in the continuation of Janet and Brad's life, Shock Treatment
  • In Tron, the three or four most important characters in the computer world are played by the same actors as the three or four most important characters in the real world. (Note that in each case, the program character has the real-world character as their "user", who in at least 3 cases also created the program.)
  • In Little Nemo's Adventures in Slumberland, Nemo sees a circus parade at the beginning of the movie, and most of the people in the parade look very similar to characters who show up in Slumberland later.
  • In the most famous example, all of Dorothy's friends in Oz in The Wizard of Oz were played by the same actors as played Dorothy's Kansas-area friends. This connection was acknowledged in the movie (the connection does not exist at all in the original novel), of course, in the line above. In this case, it's intended to show that it is All Just a Dream.
    • Stage versions based on the Movie extend this to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry by by having their actors play Glinda and the Door Guard respectively.
    • And, by extension, The Forbidden Kingdom, which is just Wizard of Oz as a martial arts epic.
    • Return to Oz played this trope as well.
    • The Muppets Wizard Of Oz sticks closer to the original book by not claiming it was All Just a Dream, but still has Dorothy's friends in Oz resembling people she knows in the real world (since she's just auditioned for The Muppets).
    • The Kentucky Fried Movie ends the segment "A Fistful of Yen" this way, even placing the main character in bed with Auntie Em and Toto.
    • Sam Raimi's 2013 Oz the Great and Powerful (which can't legally call itself a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, but somehow manages to be one) pays homage to this by populating the Land of Oz with individuals played by actors who also had roles in the opening scenes set in the American Midwest.
  • In the film Nadja, the title character is Dracula's daughter, being pursued in the present day by a descendant of Professor Van Helsing. Dracula himself, being dead, appears only dimly in flashbacks—wherein he is played by the same actor as plays Van Helsing.
    • Dracula is actually played by Bela Lugosi archive footage, although not from Dracula but from 1932's White Zombie, likely because the latter film is in the public domain.
  • In Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland, this trope is played with a bit: most obviously, the sisters remind Alice of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Less explicit is the fact that both the Hatter and Hamish have red hair, and the Hatter represents everything that Hamish is not. The caterpillar is implied to represent her father, which is probably why he was named "Absalom". There's a nod to Hamish's mother representing the Queen of Hearts, and some have seen parallels between the Knave and Alice's sister's fiance.
  • In Spider, the title character begins remembering flashbacks of his mother (played by Miranda Richardson.) Gradually, the actresses portraying every female character become replaced in their respective roles by Richardson to demonstrate Spider's hallucinations.
  • In Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning, the same actor plays Fukov (in the Star Trek-verse) and Festerbester (in the Babylon 5-verse) as a Shout-Out to Walter Koenig playing both Pavel Chekov and Alfred Bester.
  • In The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the actors playing the... actors in the theater troupe also play characters within the Baron's "real" adventures.


  • In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There (the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), the eponymous character believes that the Red and White queens are the looking-glass versions of her cats.

Live-Action TV

  • This concept was used in an episode of Scrubs called "My Mirror Image", where J.D, Dr. Cox, and The Janitor each talk to a patient played by their actor. It's explained as a doctor "seeing themselves in their patients", and causes them to see possible consequences from their current behavior.
    • Later, in the series, Laverne dies and her replacement Shirley is played by the same actress. Laverne was killed off because they thought the show would be ending that year, but when it continued, Bill Lawrence fulfilled a promise to cast the actress in another role. Note that only J.D. notices a similarity, but it's played for laughs as even then he can't quite place it.
  • The miniseries version of Angels in America uses only eight actors for all the significant and many of the minor roles, meaning that (for example) actor Jeffrey Wright ends up playing Camp Gay nurse Belize, Harper's imaginary friend Mr. Lies, and the Continental Principality of Africa. In the play, the workload is bigger: Eight actors play approximately thirty roles, many of them important in some way.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars" features Sisko as a 1950's African-American pulp-fiction writer named Benny Russell, with his crew-mates (and enemies) taking roles as his co-workers and other denizens of his neighborhood. The ending, as well as the episode "Shadows and Symbols," leaves open the question as to which reality is actually real.
  • Both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Stargate SG-1 had episodes where where Bashir and Carter saw the other characters appear as aspects of their own personalities.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when The Prophets (who are both Energy Beings and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens) want to communicate with a character, they usually present themselves as various characters from the series walking around in various familiar ambients.
  • The 1999 Alice in Wonderland TV movie does this, where the guests at the party being held by Alice's parents become the characters in Wonderland.
    • Possibly done in the mini-series Alice as well, in which Alice returns to the real world after a series of adventures with Hatter. She awakens in the hospital where her mother tells her that she was found and rescued by a man called "David". No prizes for guessing who David is. It possibly a subversion however, considering that "David" obviously recognizes Alice, implying that David and Hatter are one and the same, rather than other-worldly counterparts of each other.
  • The X-Files. In "Triangle" Mulder discovers the luxury liner Queen Anne in the Devil's Triangle, only it's back in World War II and his friends and enemies are spies, sailors or Nazi soldiers fighting over the vessel. Various aspects of their 'contemporary' selves are reflected: Skinner is apparently a Nazi but turns out to be on Mulder's side, Assistant Director Kersh is shown chained in the engine room, forced to steer the course set by the CSM who is naturally the Nazi Big Bad. Scully is a spy who is initially skeptical of Mulder's claims to be one of the good guys, yet comes through for him in the end. Scully also reflects Mulder's unrequited feelings for her—she wears a red cocktail dress but punches Mulder in the jaw when he gives her a Now or Never Kiss. In the end Mulder wakes up in a hospital bed surrounded by his friends, including A.D. Skinner who responds "Yeah, and my little dog Toto" when Mulder says the And You Were There bit. Other Shout Outs include setting the events in 1939 when The Wizard of Oz came out in cinemas, and the "Lady Garland" boat after actress Judy Garland.
  • An episode of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World had Malone find himself in London and facing Jack the Ripper, but his friends are a cop, doctor, etc.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer backed itself into this by reusing Kali Rocha, who previously had played Cecily Underwood, Spike's Edwardian-era crush when he was still alive, to play Halfrek, Anya's vengeance demon friend. The fan community inevitably noticed, and the show acknowledged it by having Halfrek recognize Spike and call him "William" in a season 6 meeting.
  • The Leverage episode "The Van Gogh Job" does this: as the guest-star narrates a WW 2 story, scenes are shown from said story, with the main cast playing most of the important characters.
  • This was used during "The Wizard Of Song" epsiode from The Fresh Beat Band
  • The Castle episode "The Blue Butterfly" has Castle find a rather Noir diary of a 1940s-era P.I., and as he reads it, we see scenes from it playing out, with all the characters played by the main cast. (Castle's character, of course, falls in love with Beckett's character at first sight.)
    • This was a reworking of a Moonlighting plot. David and Maddie both had dreams about a Film Noir murder, in which the same actors played the main roles in the dream sequences.

Newspaper Comics

  • They ended The Far Side using this trope, having Gary Larson wake up in bed next to all his family and friends, who happen to resemble a lot of the strip's more popular subjects.

Gary: And Aunt Zelda all the women looked like you and Uncle Bob all the cows looked like you and Ernie there were cavemen that looked like you and there were all these nerdy little kids like you Billy and there were monsters and stupid-looking things and animals could talk and some of it was confusing and ...and...Oh, wow! There's no Place like home!



  • If a live production is missing an actor, they will often have one of the present cast double as the needed character during rehearsals. Examples of this should not be counted, since it's only done as a temporary fix and rarely needed for actual performances.
  • The most famous version of Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods does this three times. The narrator and the mysterious old man (who later turns out to be the one who set the whole story in motion) are played by the same actor, as are the wolf (a metaphorical but not-at-all-subtle sexual predator) and Cinderella's cheating, lecherous prince. The same actress plays Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother, Cinderella's Mother and voices the Giant's Wife.
    • The first two of these are because of the similarities between the characters: The Narrator and the Old Man know more about what's going on than any other characters; and The Wolf and the Prince are greedy and insatiable. Red's Granny, Cinderella's Mother and the Giant's Wife are all fairly small parts, but are all motherly characters. It just makes sense.
  • Peter Pan stage productions often use the same actor for the Darlings' father and Captain Hook.
  • Pacific Overtures has a lot of this going on, as it can be played by a cast of only about two dozen actors despite having six dozen roles.
  • Another Sondheim musical, Sunday in The Park With George, typically has the characters from Act One played by the same actors as the characters from Act Two, which is set nearly a hundred years later.
  • Similarly to George above, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia explicitly instructs the character of Augustus and his mute, mysterious descendant Gus (180 years later) to be played by the same person. It's left oddly ambiguous as to whether the two are actually the same character.
  • In many productions of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the actors playing Theseus and Hippolyta also play Oberon and Titania. Sometimes Theseus' manservant Philostrate will also be Puck.
    • Historically, many roles in Shakespearean plays were doubled by actors, especially when you have cases like "Enter 3 Fishermen" and later on "Enter 3 Soldiers" or "Enter 3 Fairies."
    • In As You Like It, the French courtier Le Beau warns Orlando to flee and wishes that they might be able to speak to one another "in a better world than this". Some productions take this line as a cue to double Le Beau with the French traveller Jacques once Orlando reaches the idyllic Arden.
  • In the musical City of Angels, there is a near-complete overlap between the "Movie Cast" of the Show Within a Show and the "Hollywood Cast" which is making the Film Noir. The exceptions are the main characters of each cast, the private detective Stone and his creator Stine; they don't double each other (or anyone else), and occasionally interact. As for the others, let the writer of the musical (Larry Gelbart) speak for himself:

For instance, in the screenplay portions of the show, Stone's secretary, Oolie, is played by the same actress who plays Stine's employer, the producer-director, Buddy Fidler's secretary, Donna. In some instances, we first meet someone in the screenplay, say, Alaura Kingsley, and later discover the model for the character when the same actress appears as Buddy Fiddler's wife, Carla Haywood. We reverse the process by introducing Fidler himself, oozing fake charm, in Stine's life before revealing him in Stine's screenplay depicted as an equally odious studio boss, Irwin S. Irving, a man with absolutely no charm at all, real or fake.

  • In the play based on the Parker-Hulme case, Daughters of Heaven, the adults in the cast double up to great effect, symbolising the role each of the parents had in the girls' lives.
  • In stage productions of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Professor and Aslan usually double up, as do the White Witch and Mrs Macready the housekeeper, suggesting that the children's adventures might all be a dream (though canonically this is not the case).
  • In Jekyll and Hyde The Musical, as duality is the theme of the play, all the rich people on the hospital's board of directors (Jekylls) are played by the same actors as poor and sometimes criminal people living in the underbelly of the city (Hydes).
  • In the opera Dido and Aeneas, the heroine Dido and the evil Sorceress are often played by the same singer, and their respective attendants are similarly doubled.
  • The play Speaking In Tongues has three acts, each featuring four characters. and is written so that four actors can play nine characters: Leon/Nick, Pete/Neil/John, Sonja/Valerie and Jane/Sarah. Averted in the film adaptation Lantana.
  • Every single minor character in Little Shop of Horrors is played by the same actor who plays Orin (the dentist), in the standard version of the script. However many productions change this to fit more actors in (including the movie adaptation).

Video Games

  • Used in this short film three times for three different video games.
  • In Gitaroo Man, Kira, the girl U-1 befriends, and Zowie, the head of the evil empire, are direct analogues of Pico, his crush, and Kazuya, the boy who bullies him. They all share voice actors, and Zowie and Kazuya even have the same catchphrase.
  • In Roadkill's ending in Twisted Metal 2, he wakes up from a coma after a car crash. The other characters are in the beds around his, still in comas.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Episode 5: 8-Bit is Enough, Strongbad wakes up like this. However, Trogdor almost immediately shows up and roars at everyone.
  • Whenever a Zelda game is set in a mysterious alternate dimension of Hyrule, expect plenty Expys of characters from the preceding game to show up, most of them with similar roles (For example: Old and young farmer-girl Malon became the farmer-sisters Cremia and Romani). The best example is The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, which used almost nothing but reused character-models from Ocarina of Time. (In the manga, Link even notices this) The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass also reused a few characters from Wind Waker in the alternate dimension, like boat-merchant Beedle and some other NPCs.
    • It gets weirder in the case of Cremia and Romani. Cremia and Romani are parallel universe expies of Malon from Ocarina of Time. But then Malon is inversion of trope, being a real world Hyrule expy of a character that originally appeared in a dream, Marin from The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening. And then Marin was supposed to look like Princess Zelda. This results in a four level chain of And Your Were There: Reality -> Dream -> Reality -> Parallel Reality
  • Gaz from Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Ghost from its sequel, Modern Warfare 2, basically fill the exact same roles. Both are elite British soldiers, both are voiced by the same voice actor, and both are killed by each game's respective Big Bad personally, with a large caliber pistol, executed in front of a player character.

Web Originals

Western Animation

  • Cosmo/Mr. Turner and Wanda/Mrs. Turner of The Fairly OddParents may be a television example.
    • Not only do Cosmo and Wanda share actors with Mr. and Mrs. Turner, respectively, but as of the new season, Cosmo and Wanda have a son voiced by Tara Strong --- who also voices Timmy. Coinky-dink? I think not!
  • Parodied in Rocko's Modern Life in the episode "Short Story". After a crazy dream inspired by his insecurities about being short, Rocko wakes up to find folks he knows who appeared in his dream, and goes through the usual spiel, but the last person in line turns out to be series creator Joe Murray:

Rocko: And you... um, I don't think I've ever seen you before.
Murray: You're Off-Model, kangaroo-boy.


Leela I had the most wonderful dream... except you were there, and you were there and you were there!

    • In the latest movie, Bender's Game, the characters are dropped into an alternate, fantastical universe where each has a different backstory and motive. This setup was partly in reference to The Wizard of Oz.
  • On The Venture Bros, creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick voice many duos (21 & 24, Billy Quizboy and Pete White, Dr. Girlfriend and The Monarch, Watch and Ward). These duos tend to have similar interactions, i.e., how Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick interact in real life.
    • Another example of this trope is in the parallel between the Victorian guild and the modern cast. Colonel Venture = Dr Venture (Both are related), Eugen Sandow = Brock (Muscular bodyguards to a Venture), Samuel Clemens = Pete White (Both have white hair and dress in white), Oscar Wilde = The Alchemist (Both are Flamboyant Gay intellectuals), Fantomas = Phantom Limb (Again, Related), Aleister Crowley = Dr. Orpheus ("wizards" with a penchant for the theatrical).
    • In the 4th season episode where Dr. Orpheus goes inside Rusty's mind (not to be confused with the 4th season episode where Brock and the boys go inside Rusty's body), he meets "Eros" and "Thanatos", who look and sound like Billy Quizboy and Pete White, respectively.
  • Parodied in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, when Leo wakes Michelangelo:

I had the oddest dream. And You Were There, and the tin man, and a wizard, and a cowardly lion...

  • The Simpsons, when Bart awakes after being hit by a car to find Homer, Marge and Lisa surrounding him, along with bottom-feeding attorney Lionel Hutzz grinning cheesily at him:

Bart: I had the most wonderful dream! You were there, and you, and you... [to Hutz] You, I've never seen before.

    • Seeing as Bart had just been to Hell, his And You Were There is particularly hilarious. He's such a horrible child.
  • Played literally in Mater's Tall Tales, a series of Pixar shorts set after Cars. Each short begins with Mater regaling Lightning McQueen and the Radiator Springs residents with a story about an exciting career he used to hold (firefighter, bullfighter, drift racer). Halfway through, Mater would turn to McQueen and say "And You Were There!", then continue the story with McQueen as a Butt Monkey participant. Each story ends with a stinger that suggested the story wasn't completely fabricated...
  • Batman: The Animated Series, in which both the Joker and his first onscreen laughing gas victim (a mint shipment driver) are voiced by Mark Hamill.
  • In the animated short The Groovenians, Dennis Hopper voices both the dad and King Norman.
  • Barbie movies often have Barbie tell a story to one of her sisters and/or her friends, with Barbie and her friends shown in the lead roles.