Gender Flip

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On the left, Lt. Starbuck (Dirk Benedict). On the right, Lt. Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff).

What do I think of it being played by a woman, when it was played by a man in 1972, as part of a Scottish pagan community, and now it's played by a woman with the same name? What do I think of it? Nothing. There's nothing to say.

Christopher Lee on the recasting of his role in the American remake of The Wicker Man

Here's a quick spin on an old story. Flip one or more male roles to the women and female roles to the men. If you are in a hurry, you only need to change a few honorifics, pronouns, and maybe a first name or two. And the casting. If you are able to give it a little more thought, though, you can take this opportunity to explore how there might be a difference in the way things play out with the genders reversed.

It's a very old technique of retelling a story. Many folk Fairy Tales occasionally have Gender Flip variants; they are invariably played absolutely straight.

Sometimes the remake or "reimagining" of a work may involve Gender Flips, perhaps due to societal changes on the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality that, for example, would allow a formerly-male Number Two to be an Action Girl instead. Occasionally, the Gender Flip occurs with a work that's already in development, or even in production (due to, for example, an actor's sudden unavailability or simply a last-minute casting idea.) The results can be particularly interesting in these cases, as the written role may be almost completely unchanged from its original opposite-gender version.

Fan Fics that Gender Flip are fairly common (often referred to as 'Genderfuck' or 'GF' stories.) Rule 63 is closely related, but subtly different. A good general rule of thumb is that a Rule 63 character looks like exactly the same character, as if subjected to Gender Bender. Gender Flip characters will often differ from their originals in a great many ways other than the character's sex.

Supertrope of She's a Man In Japan, which is what happens when localization results in a character Gender Flip.

Distinguished from Crosscast Role, in which the actor is the opposite sex of the character. For example, a production of Hamlet that (as in Shakespeare's own day) had Ophelia played by a boy would be a Crosscast Role, but a production with a male actor playing a male character named "Ophelius" and referred to in the text with male pronouns would be a Gender Flip.

Not to be confused with Gender Bender (though outside All The Tropes, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.) If a story involves a character changing sex In-Universe, that's a Gender Bender. If a creator decides the character works better as the opposite sex, that's this trope. Also not to be confused with Gender-Inverted Trope, when not a particular character, but a whole trope is flipped from its usually expected gender.

When a song gets this treatment in a Cover Version, that's The Cover Changes the Gender.

Also note that this trope is not about "gender roles" in the generic sense. Those are covered (for examples involving couples, anyway) by Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy. See also Spear Counterpart and Distaff Counterpart. You may also find this this character wearing a Gendered Outfit in comparison to their original counterpart.

Examples of Gender Flip include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Kallen:"If only you had justice!"


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In The Multiverse of The DCU, Earth-11 is an Alternate Universe where all the genders are flipped. Thus you have Superwoman and Superlad, Batwoman, Alexis Luthor, Wonder Man (or Wonder Warrior, depending on your sources), and so on.
  • Similarly, some Exiles stories had the team visit worlds with Gender flipped versions of Marvel heroes.
  • Sir Ystin (a cross-time counterpart of the original Shining Knight, Sir Justin) in Grant Morrison's Shining Knight, turns out to actually be the female Ystina in disguise as a boy.
  • In the Ultimate Universe, Vision from The Avengers is female.
  • In Marvel's all-ages Marvel Adventures imprint, Giant-Man is replaced by Giant-Girl, a teenage version of Janet Van Dyne.
  • Tristan in Camelot 3000 is a rare simultaneous example of Gender Flip and Gender Bender. The "role" of Sir Tristan is recast (via reincarnation) for a female... but Lady Tristan remembers her life as a man.
  • One issue of Spider-Man Fairy Tales was yet another gender-flipped Cinderella. Peter was Cinders, with Norman and Harry Osborn as the evil stepfather and stepbrother. Gwen was the princess, and MJ a servant at the Osborn household who helped Peter (possibly a gender flipped version of the Panto character Buttons.)
  • Examples from G.I. Joe properties:
  • The DC Universe has several examples of Male-to-female "recasting" via the Affirmative Action Legacy method:
    • Zatanna (for her father, Zatara)
    • Jesse Quick (for her father, Johnny Quick, though Jesse has also taken on her mother's costumed identity as Liberty Belle.)
    • Beth Chapel, a protegeé of the original Dr. Mid-Nite, took on his role (with a slightly different spelling) as Dr. Midnight.
    • Dr. Fate's role was assumed by females (Linda Strauss and Inza Nelson) twice.
    • Yolanda Montez had a brief tenure as Wildcat before being killed by Eclipso.
    • The new Judomaster is a woman, Sonia Sato.
    • During World War II, Danette Reilly took over the Firebrand identity from her brother Rod.
    • Renee Montoya took up the mantle of The Question.
    • Metamorpho has now been replaced by Element Woman. As she is also of Korean descent, she counts as a Twofer.
  • Some versions of The Green Hornet have used a female Kato:
    • The current Dynamite series features Mulan Kato, daughter of the original Kato.
    • The NOW Comics version had Mishi Kato (half-sister to the original), who eventually became Hornet's Distaff Counterpart, the Crimson Wasp.
  • In the original Bronze Age continuity (and, apparently, in the "Post-Zero Hour" continuity), the Legion of Super-Heroes' Science Police liason Shvaughn Erin was a woman. The "Five Years Later" continuity retconned her into being a Transsexualism named Sean Erin, who stopped using Pro-Fem when he realised Element Lad was actually gay.
  • The Authority briefly dabbled with this by introducing an alternate universe in which all sexes were reversed. At one point Midnighter recruits an entire army of reversed-sex superheroes, although they are instantly killed on the next page.
  • There have been girl versions of Batman's sidekick, Robin:
    • In The Dark Knight Returns, a young girl becomes the new Robin. News reports about Batman's new sidekick don't know any better, and continue to call his assistant "Boy Wonder".
    • Stephanie Brown became Robin when Tim Drake retired for a short time.
  • Deadpool MAX. Taskmaster is a woman. Rule of Cool.
  • In Timestorm 2009-2099, which features an alternate version of the Marvel 2099 timeline, Bloodhawk of the X-Men 2099 is female.


Fairy Tales[edit | hide]

Fan Works[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • The Jerry Lewis movie Cinderfella.
  • The writers of Alien purposely wrote a "gender-neutral" screenplay, so that any character could potentially be male or female. Someone suggested making the "Ripley" character (who wasn't given a first name until the second movie in the series) a woman, which they did, resulting in Sigourney Weaver playing one of the most memorable female characters in SF movie history.
  • Conversely, Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead plays what is essentially the Final Girl of the horror movie. It wasn't planned that way, however. The order in which characters died was actually determined by actor availability. If an actor left early in the shoot, his or her character also died early in the movie. Apparently Campbell was the one without a life, though that seems to have worked to his benefit in the long run.
    • In the upcoming remake, the Ash expy will be a girl named Mia.
  • The character of Dizzy Flores in Starship Troopers was a man in the original Robert A. Heinlein novel. In the movie, he was switched to a she, given a much bigger role, and played by Dina Meyers. Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles followed the movie's lead.
    • It would be more accurate to say that Dizzy Flores was turned into a character, as well as a woman, in the movie. In the book, Dizzy has no lines, only appears near the end of chapter 1, and dies at the end of it.
  • The live-action adaptation of Disney's The Jungle Book gender-bends Bagheera - and Bagheera alone - so that s/he's a female for the duration of a movie. This is probably so that Mowgli can have a mother-figure without adding in Akela Mother Wolf, the she-wolf from the book, but it can be a little odd for a kid only familiar with the Disney version.
    • Of course, it could simply have been that female animals are less willful (and ferocious) than their male counterparts, so using a female black leopard was both cheaper and less dangerous.
  • Done in two recent versions of Treasure Island. In Muppet Treasure Island, Ben Gunn is changed to Benjamina Gunn just so Miss Piggy can have a role to play. In Treasure Planet, the captain is a feline lady alien named Amelia.
  • The famous duet of seduction "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was first introduced in the movie Neptune's Daughter by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban. She plays "The Mouse" and he plays "The Wolf," as you would expect. But the song is soon reprised by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton, and this time he's the one who's resisting and she's the one who's advancing.
  • The film version of Sgt Bilko turned Cpl Rocky Barbella into Cpl Raquelle Barbella. (Bilko's other sidekick, Cpl Henshaw, was given a Race Lift).
  • A 1990s adaptation of Mickey Spillane's Come Die With Me made Mike Hammer's cop buddy Lt. Pat Chambers into Patricia Chambers.
    • The Human Popsicle Expy of Hammer in the comic book Mickey Spillaine's Mike Danger worked with a Lt. Patrick Chandler in the 1950s, but his descendant Patricia after he was thawed out in the future.
  • Head Over Heels is a gender-flipped romantic comedy version of Rear Window.
  • The plot of Grease 2 is basically a flip of the first movie's plot. The guy is now the naive, sweet one and the girl is the tough, experienced gang member.
  • The Howard Hawks classic newspaper comedy His Girl Friday is a gender-flipped version of the play The Front Page (which had already been made into an acclaimed movie once before). Hawks turned the "Hildy Johnson" character into a woman and made it a romantic comedy. Billy Wilder later remade it yet again with two male protagonists, and then an '80s remake called Switching Channels - set this time in the television news industry - put the romance aspect back.
  • Most shadowcasts of the Rocky Horror Picture Show will let anyone, regardless of gender, audition for any part. ("Genderfuck" versions specifically gender flip all the roles.)
  • The 1996 made-for-TV movie, The Stepford Husbands is, as its name suggests, The Stepford Wives with the gender roles reversed-this time it's the women seeking to make their husbands "perfect."
  • Spotted in, of all things, Son Of Man, an adaptation of the story of Jesus Christ that takes place in modern Africa. Several of the disciples are portrayed by women, with feminized versions of their original names to match.
  • With its virtually identical Clear My Name plotline, one could consider the Ashley Judd vehicle Double Jeopardy to be a Gender Flip of The Fugitive. Both movies even feature Tommy Lee Jones as a lawman who first hunts for, then aids, the fugitive. We even get a misleading 911 call made by the victim though as the audience soon learns, this was deliberately done in order to ensure that the woman would be convicted, as well as the protagonist wailing, "I didn't kill my husband!", similar to Richard Kimble. Indeed, the movie was referred to as The Female Fugitive by several critics.
  • The title character of Salt was originally named Edward and played by Tom Cruise, but he dropped out. When Angelina Jolie stepped in, the writers changed Ed to Evelyn and also decided to make Salt's spouse less of a Damsel in Distress.
  • The film adaptation of Jurassic Park switched the roles of Hammond's grandchildren, making Lex (the girl) the older one and the computer genius.
    • Like the Starship Troopers example above, this was done in order to give Lex more characterization. In the original novel Tim was a Teen Genius that was both computer savvy and obsessed with dinosaurs, while Lex was just annoying.
  • The original Abba recording of "Does Your Mother Know?" was an older man singing to a barely (or possibly not quite) legal girl, whereas in Mamma Mia! it's flipped to a middle-aged woman singing to the very persistent and very young man who's pursuing her.
  • In the 2010 movie "The Tempest" directed by Julie Taymor, the character Prospero is changed to Prospera and played by Helen Mirren.
  • Burglar gender flipped several of the main characters, as well as giving a Race Lift to the protagonist. The movie was based on a series of novels by Lawrence Block about a white male bookstore owner/burglar. The screenplay was written after Bruce Willis passed on the role and it became a vehicle for Whoopi Goldberg.
  • Many years after Alien, Sigourney Weaver was again affected by this trope. In the 2006 movie The TV Set, the part of a network television president was written for a male actor. In pre-production, it was decided that the part could be played by a woman, and Weaver was cast. No dialogue was changed, and even the character's name, Lenny, remained as written.
    • And it happened again during the production of Vantage Point (2008), where Sigourney Weaver played the also originally male TV producer Rex Brooks.
  • The 1967 version of Bedazzled starred Peter Cook as the Devil. The 2000 remake cast Elizabeth Hurley in that role.
  • Arguably Tangled, Disney's take on the fairy tale "Rapunzel". In the original story, Rapunzel was a commoner and her love interest was a prince, but in the Disney movie, Rapunzel is a princess and her love interest is a commoner.
  • The original screenplay for Streets of Fire had the role of McCoy, the hero's old army buddy, written as a male. Actress Amy Madigan, while auditioning for a different role, convinced the filmmakers to let her play McCoy as a tough, strong woman instead, without rewriting the part.
  • Ran is a partial Gender Flip of King Lear, changing the gender of the daughters and Edmund.
  • There are far too many adaptations of A Christmas Carol with Ebenezer Scrooge replaced by a female with the similar backstory and attitude (but not necessarily same age and attractiveness).
  • The movie adaptation of Silent Hill replaced Harry Mason with Rose Dasilva. The idea was to play up the notion that a mother is even more attached to her child than a father, particularly if the child is a girl. Interestingly, the father was played by Sean Bean, who does look a bit like Harry Mason.
  • In the live-action adaptation of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, the male character of Major Anderson will be played by Viola Davis.
  • In The Muppet Wizard Of Oz, Rizzo the Rat takes the role of the Queen of the Field Mice, which has been conflated with the Mayor of Munchkinland.
  • The 2019 production of Cats cast Dame Judi Dench in the traditionally male role of Old Deuteronomy.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Cinderellis And The Glass Hill, by Gail Carson Levine (and based on a Norwegian fairy tale called The Princess on the Glass Hill), makes Cinderella a boy (Ellis, nicknamed 'Cinderellis'), with two older brothers and a princess as a love interest. (But note the comments about Cinderlad above.)
  • The Khaavren Romances are a fantasy recycling of the D'Artagnan Romances (The Three Musketeers and its sequels). The Porthos-equivalent, Tazendra, is female. This leads to interesting results, as the original is very much a Boisterous Bruiser, a character-type almost always male, and applying these traits to Tazendra not only makes her a rare female example, but also results in her having some of the traits of The Ladette.
  • Trivigaunte, in The Book of the Long Sun, is essentially a parody of fundamentalist Islam, but with the genders reversed.
  • Terry Pratchett is fond of genderswapped gags in his Discworld books.
    • In The Light Fantastic Cohen the barbarian attempts to free the virgin girl sacrifice from the deadly druid priesthood. He goes through the priests like a chainsaw through butter, but Cohen is about 90 years old at this point, and his back goes out. He ends up fleeing the temple, slung over the shoulder of the virgin girl.
    • In Moving Pictures, a film image of a woman is possessed by an Eldritch Abomination, who transforms into a 50-foot monster. It immediately grabs up the Librarian (a male ape), and attempts to climb the 888-foot Tower of Art at Unseen University.
    • In Monstrous Regiment the whole point of the story is that the 'Male Only' military is really half female.
    • Equal Rites has elements of A Wizard Of Earthsea, with Esk in Ged's role, and Granny Weatherwax as both the unnamed village witch and Ged's mentor Ogion.
    • And then there's the non-Discworld story Once and Future where a time traveller stuck in the past ends up re-enacting the King Arthur legend ... except for that the king who pulls the sword from the stone happens to be a woman.
    • In Lords and Ladies, it's a woman who gets up in armour to save the captured prince. (This is partly a straight version of Tam Lin and Janet, but she didn't wear armour.)
  • Marianne Wiggins' John Dollar, which reworks Lord of the Flies with a group of marooned girls. Believe it or not, It Gets Worse.
  • In Time Scout, one of the theories floating around is that the Ripper Watch Team might be looking for Jill the Ripper.
  • In The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta are flips of Manly Men Can Hunt and Feminine Women Can Cook, respectively. Peeta also spends much of the first book as a Dude in Distress.
  • The protagonist of Steel Beach by John Varley actually has an Easy Sex Change, but invokes this trope. The protagonist calls him/herself Hildy Johnson as both a male and female. See the His Girl Friday/The Front Page example in Film above. Hildy is also a reporter in the book, and chose the name.
  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four the personage Emmanuel Goldstein is believed by some literarians to be (among other possibilities) a gender-flipped version of the real anarchist Emma Goldman.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • One of the episodes of the new Fantasy Island featured a terminally ill woman who wanted to experience life as a soldier in a combat zone. Instead of being placed with a company of male soldiers like she expected, she was placed in a gender-reversed version of The Squad, which was filled with the requisite roughneck personality types, only with women playing the roles.
  • The Battlestar Galactica Reimagined remake Gender Flips Starbuck and Boomer (also a Race Lift) from the original. And Commander (now Admiral) Cain.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, Gene Roddenberry sort of gender flipped the First Officer role, which was originally written as an emotionally distant, supremely rational Number Two (named "Number One.") NBC objected, however (not due to the casting of a female so much as the casting of the particular female, Majel Barrett, who happened to be Roddenberry's mistress at the time.) While different in several ways (most obviously, being an alien), Mr. Spock essentially assumed both her role as First Officer and her rationality and lack of emotion.
  • The crew of the Red Dwarf meet the GenderFlipped versions of themselves in a parallel universe.
    • Although, not all of them were flipped. The Cat, the ultimate narcissist, is looking forward to meeting the feminine version of himself for... obvious reasons. However, his opposite number is a male Dog with zero dress sense.
  • Will and Grace. Will wanted to stage an all-male rendition of Ben-Hur titled "Ben-Him". Grace mentioned her mother appeared as "Millie Loman" in "Death of a Sales Lady". Grace's mother also mentions not even wanting to audition for 'The Ice-Person Cometh'
  • Djaq in Robin Hood is a Gender Flip of the Saracen outlaw seen in Robin of Sherwood (Nassir) and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Azeem).
  • The 2010 remake of Hawaii Five-O makes Kono a woman (renamed Kona, but still nicknamed "Kono"), played by Grace Park. Incidentally, she's best known as Sharon Valerii in Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, who is the gender-flipped Boomer.
  • It Happened One Christmas (1977) is a TV-Movie Gender Flip of It's a Wonderful Life starring Marlo Thomas. Played completely straight.
  • In the second series of The Avengers, Honor Blackman (as Dr. Cathy Gale) replaced Ian Hendry (Dr. David Keel) as John Steed's partner. In her earliest appearances (scripts written much earlier for Hendry), her dialogue was left completely unchanged. This is sometimes credited with making Cathy Gale a particularly memorable female character for the early '60s.
  • In-universe example: In "Mr. Monk and the Actor", there's a movie being made of one of Monk's cases, and the male Lieutenant Disher is replaced in the movie with a gorgeous blonde woman who becomes a love interest for Captain Stottlemeyer. The real Disher and Stottlemeyer don't know this when they show up on the set to watch a rehearsal, leading to a very awkward moment when the two actors lean in for a kiss.

Stottlemeyer: That never happened.
Disher: Not even once.

  • When Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger was "remade" into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the male Tiger Ranger became the female Yellow Ranger in order to have two female rangers instead of just one. This practice was later repeated when four later Super Sentai shows were adapted into Power Rangers seasons: the male yellow rangers from Gingaman, Gogo-V, Timeranger and Gaoranger were turned into females in their corresponding adaptations (Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force and Wild Force). This practice would cause inconsistencies between the imported Japanese footage and the locally-filmed new footage, in which the Yellow Ranger would switch from having a masculine figure in one scene to having a feminine one in the next. The less said about what the fanfic community made of this, the better.
    • The effects of this trope are best seen in the seasons that are actual adaptations of the source show, as the original would only use fight footage rather than adapting episode plots. For example:
      • Katie from Power Rangers Time Force was made similar to Domon from Timeranger, although many of the latter's traits were given to Lucas and Trip. From what was left, Domon's nostalgia for sumo wrestling competitions got adapted as Katie missing her family, a much more emotional and feminine intake on the feeling; similarly, the subplot with Domon's relationship with a female photographer who discovered his identity was changed to a one-off deal between Katie and a male photographer who unmasked her that didn't go anywhere, due to males pursuing relationships being less common (and to make room for focus on the Rangers who wore any shade of red).
      • Taylor from Power Rangers Wild Force, on the other hand, was almost identical to Gaku from Gaoranger in terms of background and plot, the only major differences being personality -Taylor was a bold Defrosting Ice Queen, Gaku was friendly from the very beginning and somewhat quirky- and rank -Taylor was a lieutenant, whereas Gaku was a soldier-. As a female Lancer was proven successful the previous season, Taylor got a better end of the stick than her yellow predecessor, who was The Big Guy and therefore more expendable.
  • Queen of Swords was pretty much a straight Gender Flip of Zorro, to the point that Sony sued over its resemblance to the character and its 1998 Mask of Zorro film.[1]
  • In the books of The Vampire Diaries Elena had a 4-year-old sister. In the TV show, she has a teenage brother.
  • In the American version of Skins, most characters are transplanted from the British series except for the openly gay Maxxie. Maxxie becomes the lesbian Tea. The fact that they followed the same storyline with the character sleeping with Tony has several Unfortunate Implications.
  • A Gender Flipped unseen character in Sherlock; Watson's brother, "H. Watson", mentioned in "The Sign of Four", becomes John's sister, Harry.
    • And in "The Hounds of Baskerville", Dr James Mortimer becomes Dr Louise Mortimer. Stapleton is a trickier case; there's a Mr Stapleton and Miss Stapleton in the book, but only one (female) Dr Stapleton in the programme. The plot's been changed sufficiently that you can't tell which one she's meant to be by her actions.
    • In the upcoming CBS adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, John Watson has been changed to Joan Watson and will be played by Lucy Liu. As Liu is Chinese American, this is a Race Lift as well.
    • In The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, Sherlock's descendant and Expy is his great-grandniece.
  • The 2012 series Missing (neither of these) (female secret agent searches for her kidnapped son) seems to be a gender-flipped TV version of Taken (male ex-secret agent searches for his kidnapped daughter).
  • Warehouse 13 plays with this trope; H.G. Wells is split into two people; the real H.G. Wells is Helena G. Wells, the genius inventor, adventurer, and warehouse agent. The man recognized as H. G. Wells is her older brother Charles, who chronicled her adventures using her abbreviated name as a pen name.
  • In the Netflix reboot of Lost in Space, Dr. Smith is the alias of a woman name June Harris, a felon who poses as her sister to stow away on the Resolute so she can escape the Earth's demise and "start a new life" at Alpha Centauri. When the Resolute is attacked, she boards one of the Jupiters with Don West, and they end up crash-landing on an unknown planet along with the Robinson family.

Music[edit | hide]

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In the Broadway version of The Lion King, Julie Taymor changed Rafiki's gender from male to female to combat The Smurfette Principle. Since it didn't change Rafiki's role at all, it works quite well.
  • There was a stage play of Sleeping Beauty where the beauty was played by a guy and it was the girl who administered the wake-up kiss.
  • Neil Simon wrote a version of The Odd Couple with every role gender swapped, simply called The Female Odd Couple. The biggest difference is that the British Pigeon sisters are changed to a pair of Spanish brothers, whose names and accents become the source of a great deal of wordplay.
  • There's also an official female-cast version of 12 Angry Men (making it Twelve Angry Women). Modern productions are often staged as Twelve Angry Jurors where the director can cast whichever roles he or she feels like as women.
  • Errand Into The Maze by Martha Graham is a Gender Flip of the Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, expressing in dance. The creature may or may not be entirely in her mind, representing Fear.
  • Shakespeare's King Lear has had incarnations that explore this technique:
    • In Lear (Maleczech, 1990), Lear was a queen and the conflict on division of the realm was among three sons, rather than three daughters. All of the dialog was left as found (save for pronouns).
    • Queen Lere was a feminist production that had women in all the roles, updated language, and things turned out much less tragically. Little bit of "agenda", in that one.
    • Akira Kurosawa's Ran has his Lear analogue divide his realm between three sons. Except one of them is basically married to Lady Macbeth and it ends really really badly for everyone.
    • Older Than Steam: Shakespeare's King Lear was itself something of a Gender Flip. The story is based loosely on the story of Clovis Merovingian, who, in the early 6th century, divided up France among his three sons for them to rule equally (oddly enough, such an arrangement did not turn out well).
  • Even stranger than the King Lear examples above, there was a production of Julius Caesar in which Caesar was played by a woman, but still referred to by the male pronoun. Calpurnia, however, became Calpurnius, and he got his pronouns changed. (The production had other changes as well: it thought it was set in a dance club Twenty Minutes Into the Future.)
  • Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" took the ballet and turned all the swans into male characters.
  • Gender flipping is not terribly uncommon in modern productions of Shakespeare, often as part of a Deconstructionist, Feminist, and/or Darker and Edgier take on the material:
    • The practice is older than you'd think. Sarah Bernhardt, the most celebrated actress of her day, played Hamlet on the stage in 1899. Curiously, part of a performance was filmed as Le Duel de Hamlet, making the "first movie Hamlet" a woman!
    • Sara Bernhardt is by no means the only female Hamlet in movies—Hamlet (1921) had Asta Nielsen as a female Hamlet who had been reared as a boy, and was much more interested in Horatio than Ophelia.
    • Amateur Shakespeare productions often do this simply to allow more casting balance, with no change to the plot whatsoever. Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, for instance, has no real need to be male or female, so the role can easily be cast for the best performer of either sex. Likewise, many minor characters are presumed to be male, but could just as easily be female.
    • This is nearly always done to Titania's fairy servants. They were originally played by boys, as boys. Bottom even calls them things like "Monsieur Mustardseed" and "Master Cobweb". The more modern female association with fairies, coupled with the fact that a lot more girls will usually audition for any given production of Midsummer, leads to the gender flip.
  • In some productions of Oliver!, the Artful Dodger is played by a girl, and actually referenced as such in the play (with the additional few lines of "Dodger's a girl?" "So what if I am? I could lick you any day!"). It doesn't have much bearing on the plot whether Dodger is played by a boy or girl, though.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Super Princess Peach gave Peach a starring role where she saves the Super Mario Bros.. from Bowser for a change, instead of the brothers setting out to rescue her as in so many previous Mario games.
  • The "For Girl" versions of Harvest Moon and Tokimeki Memorial games. (Most of the former received official-if-flawed localizations. After many years of No Export for You, the first two Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side games for the Nintendo DS games have complete fan translations.)
  • Warriors Orochi Z recently features a genderflipped Tang Sanzang AKA Genjou Sanzou as their most recent addition.
  • In Onimusha 2, Word of God states that the Yagyu Jubei who is the main character is the grandfather of the Yagyu Jubei. ...then Onimusha 4 comes out and there's a Jubei (it's a title in the family) and she's his granddaughter...
  • The Persona 3 Video Game Remake for the PSP has the option to take a female protagonist. There are also shots of a male version of Elizabeth named "Theodore." The fandom has taken this and ran with it in terms of fanart. The female protagonist, however, looks and acts nothing like the male, having a notably more expressive and cheerful personality. Her social links are also completely different from the original main character. Theodore however is basically a male Elizabeth right down to the Fish Out of Water scenes.
  • Lightning was billed as a Distaff Counterpart to Cloud Strife. This got hilarious when fans of the series, after decades of extremely pretty and androgynous heroes, were all too ready to complain that Lightning was "just another girl-faced guy". Until they found out that she actually was a girl.
    • Fang from the same game was initially conceived as a sexy male character, but eventually became a sexy female character (letting them desexualise Lightning, which they wanted to do). As a result, she ended up subverting the usual gender roles of Final Fantasy, and became quite popular as a result.
  • Sengoku Basara features a gender-flipped Saika Magoichi. However, this is subverted in that it could be any woman who has taken the title 'Saika Magoichi' to lead the Saika mercs. The real life Suzuki Shigehide (the best known Saika Magoichi) is said to have had a wife/sister/daughter, and Maggie could very well be any one of them.
  • In Tekken, Kunimitsu was initially a palette swap of Yoshimitsu, but in the second game, was gender flipped and given a mostly-new moveset.
  • In Bionic Commando Rearmed, Hal was replaced by Haley.
  • Most titles in the Da Capo franchise feature a male lead. Da Capo Girl's Symphony features a female lead, and no adult content.
  • Samus from Metroid was (like Aliens above) gender-neutral until the very end where the designers decided to add a twist to the end. The twist? Create a new trope! Samus Is a Girl indeed.
    • A interesting note, in Prime this is clearly still big news as every Space Pirate refers to her as he.
  • One of the playable characters of Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors is the cold and stoic imperial sorceress Seimei, a major protagonist and spiritual guide who's based on the real-life man and legendary Japanese folk-figure Abe no Seimei.
  • Choice of Games' Choice Of Broadsides game allows you to play an entire genre under Gender Flipped conditions: rather than force the protagonist to be male, the player has the option of changing the setting to being Wooden Ships and Iron Women. Choice of Romance is somewhat similar, but not quite as pronounced—the game culture is a bisexual one. The player's choice of character sex and sexual orientation determines the sex of his/her suitors, but the suitors' characters remain the same.
  • In the original Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, when Guybrush calls the LucasArts Help Desk (then LucasFilm Games Help Desk) on Dinky Island, the phone operator on the other end of the phone appears near him... and it appears to be a woman named Chester! In the redrawn Special Edition, however, Chester the phone operator is now a man. Interestingly, both characters can be found in the Special Edition version, with female Chester appearing in Classic mode and male Chester appearing in the high-definition mode, and both characters even have unique voice actors.
  • The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook was a 2010 indie game about gardening and relationships. In fall 2011, it will be followed up with a reverse harem game called Winter in Fairbrook.
  • Abe no Seimei is a she in Otogi 2. From Software must like this trope, because this is not the first game of theres where Seimei is a woman.
  • The main games in Red Entertainment's Sakura Wars franchise all feature male main characters. In 2010, the same company created a similar game called Scared Rider Zechs, with a female lead and a harem of men.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei games have Louis Cypher as a recurring character. Strange Journey has Louisa Ferre instead.
    • Strange Journey gets even stranger: everyone's favorite penis demon, Mara, is female for a change. Yes, she's still a penis.
  • In the original version of LucasArts' 1990 fantasy adventure game Loom, the main villain is Chaos, the King of the Dead. As an inhuman undead specter, Chaos' gender is determined only by the other characters' dialogue—and in the original release, they refer to him and he. In the rewritten talkie PC CD version, however, the dialogue is changed so Chaos becomes she. (This may have occurred in part because Chaos' design was based on the look of Maleficent.)
  • Milk, the hero of the NES game Nuts & Milk, was female in the earlier Japanese PC versions.
  • The video game adaption of Spider-Man 3 has a Gender Flipped Dr. Stillwell.
  • Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has a female version of Doctor Octopus as the Big Bad of the Spider-Man 2099 portion of the game. Also counts as a Twofer since she is of Indian descent.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Fate/stay night and prequel Fate/Zero put a spin on a famous legend - King Arthur was a handsome young lady.
    • Mordred too out of necessity since it's no longer possible to have the classic origin. In the anime at least it's hard to say if Bedivere is a case of this or is just a Bishonen with a really girly voice.
      • That's not right. Morded is a Bishonen, not a woman. He just happens to look exactly like his mother because Fate/Stay Night rewrites his origins as a homunculus based on his mother.
    • The series as it released is gender flipped compared to the scenario originally planned: Saber herself was originally going to be a male character and servant of a Meganekko who was the basis of Rin.
    • The PSP game Fate Extra has a gender-flipped Francis Drake and Nero Caesar as Rider and the red Saber, respectively.
  • Colonel Sebastian Moran and Henry Irving have both been genderflipped in Shikkoku no Sharnoth, though for the former it's quite possibly that it is not her real name.
  • The doujin soft game Go! Magical Boy is a Romance Game that switches the genders of the Magical Girl genre. Well, mostly -- the player character looks like a girl to others when transformed and has to give up his powers to a legitimate girl in the end. So not the best game ever.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Arthur, King of Time and Space; Tristram, Argavaine and Gaheris are female in the space and contemporary arcs. Isolde is female in all arcs, and this makes no difference to Tristram's story. (However, Gaheris's paramour becomes male in the space arc.)
    • Sir Bromell, Elaine of Carbonek's knight protector, is an interesting example—he's a male knight in the baseline arc just like in the legends, and female in the contemporary one (where he and Elaine only exist in Arthur's webcomic). But because AKOTAS-Elaine is based on Helen from Narbonic, the baseline Bromell is actually a gender-flipped version of Mell.
  • Magical Boys gender-flips the Magical Girl series.
  • Spinnerette is a Gender Flip of Spider-Man


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The review of Partymania on The Spoony Experiment took place in a genderswapped 80s world. Linkara (or rather, his 90s Kid persona) became 80s Chick and Spoony became the giggly girly Spoonette. And Benzaie... let's not talk about Veronique.
  • In Mechanical Maniacs, the Mega Man 3 Robot Masters are Author Avatars. After the first series of epilogues, Anton, the Needleman of the team, departed. For series 2, Gauntlet (Shadow Man)'s sister Psycho Magnet joined to fill the Needleman role, so the character became "Needlegal". During Series 5, Musashi Razz became inactive as Sparkman, so Classi Cal took over the role and it became "Spark Chan". And those are just the members that are still around—around the same time Needleman became Needlegal, Sarah also took up the then-vacant Hardman role as "Hard Chick", until Series 2 ended.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Barbie gets some meatier roles via Gender Flip in:
  • A particularly demented example occurs in Drawn Together on the episode "A Very Special Drawn Together Afterschool Special" where the characters, in an attempt to help Xandir prepare for revealing his homosexuality to his parents, role play as Xandir's parents (among other random roles). Eventually even this fake family has to see a therapist (Woldoor), who suggests that said role playing family role play yet again. This ends with Captain Hero being a meek, feminine housewife, Toot being a homophobic blue-collar father, and Xandir becoming a prostitute for Japanese businessmen.
  • Some have accused Johnny Test of being a gender-flipped version of Dexter's Laboratory (annoying male sibling with super-intelligent sister(s) instead of the opposite). (A potentially plausible theory because Chris Savino, who directed seasons three and four of Dexter's Laboratory, worked on Johnny Test as a contributing writer, producer, and director of some episodes.)
  • In the Captain Scarlet remake, Seymour Griffiths (Code Name: Lt. Green) is replaced by Serena Lewis (also codenamed Lt. Green).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fans often joke that the roles of the Evil Overlord's son and daughter on the Evil Overlord List are gender flipped with Zuko and Azula. The Nick website also suggests Ozai and Zuko are a rare Gender Flip of the Fairest of Them All trope.
    • The series also has two developmental gender flips: Toph and Azula both started as male characters (the latter being called "Prince Azul", and initially having a much smaller part that didn't come up until the end). The former gets a reference in The Ember Island Players, among many, many other in-jokes.
      • The original male design for Toph went on to be reused for Avatar Roku's Earthbending teacher.
  • In the 90s cartoon version of Flash Gordon, Flash's ally Prince Thun of the Lion People became Princess Thundar.
  • In the early planning stages of the Justice League animated series, a female version of Cyborg was supposed to be part of the main cast. Test footage of her even exists.
  • When The Simpsons puts their cast members in another story to parody the original, occasionally Lisa will be given a role that was originally male. For instance Lisa was given equivalent roles for Sherlock Holmes, Johnny "Connie" Appleseed, and Amadeus (as Sally Eri).
    • And since Lisa is something of a tomboy anyway, it worked each time!
  • The CGI Rupert Bear cartoon flipped Ping Pong and Ferdy Fox into females. Ferdy was also renamed "Frieda".
  • The cartoon version of Watership Down has the book character Blackberry made from a buck to a doe. Many fans were displeased about this, since half the plot of the original is about the fact that they need does to establish a successful warren.
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood animated series Owl, Weasel and Adder, who were males in the books, were changed to females.
  • When she was introduced in the second season of Winx Club, the Pixie of Messages, Livy, was a girl. But in the Spin-Off series Pop Pixie, she's now a guy with an appearance [dead link] removing any trance of femininity that was part of her original design, her lack of eyelashes (all the female characters have them), and an outfit that (s)he wears when transformed by his/her Pixie Pop that resembles the other male pixies' costumes.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Superfriends" contains a gender flip of the version of the Duty First, Love Second problem that usually only male heroes deal with, but with a new friend instead.

Bubbles: Hey, Robyn, we're sorry...
Buttercup: ... we left you behind all the time.
Blossom: It was never because we didn't like you, it's just...
Robyn: I know -- that's your job.

  • The show Transformers Animated actually changed the character of Red Alert from The Unicron Trilogy from a male to a female for their own version of Red Alert. In fact, they originally wanted Ratchet to be female and have Red Alert's name, but the final version of the show changed Ratchet back into a male, and made Red Alert a separate character.
  • Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century has Inspector Lestrade as a female (she's a descendant of the male Lestrade from the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and also a major fan of the master detective in general).
  • Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake does this to pretty much everyone, including the theme song singer.
  • Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every Child occasionally did this to the characters, along with changing the stories to be more multiracial than the typically European originals. For example the The Prince and the Pauper became "The Princess and the Pauper".
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic did this to the gen 3 pony Star Swirl, who was mentioned but not seen and called Star Swirl the Bearded.
  • The creators of Animaniacs couldn't get the rights to use Screwy Squirrel, and thus, the equally violent Slappy Squirrel was born.
    • The Warners were also originally three brothers, but the third was sort of uninteresting, so she became a girl to add something new.
  • Gargoyles was originally going to have Broadway as a female, but Executive Meddling didn't like the idea of an overweight female protagonist. It's worth noting that the clan was also originally going to be led by a female named Dakota, but she was considered uninteresting, so they reimagined her as Demona and created Goliath instead.
  • The Batman had Gotham mayor Marion Grange changed to a male, despite the comic version of the character being a woman. This was mostly so that the creators could cast Adam West in the part.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man provides a minor example: the only fictional mayor ever mentioned in Spider-Man canon was Mayor Waters, a male villain from Spider-Man: Reign (set thirty years in the future). Since the show's creators strive to use canon characters over new ones, they created an In Name Only version who is a modern, not-apparently-evil woman (maybe the villainous one's mother/grandmother?)
  1. The judge ruled against Sony, holding that both the original Zorro story and its first (1920) film adaptation were now in the public domain, and any similarities to the 1998 film were incidental.