Remote Body

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A character has one or more bodies that can be operated remotely. Likely with equal or greater performance than if said character was physically present. Distinct from Fighting a Shadow in that the character is not an Eldritch Abomination with only a small piece sticking out in our time and space, but a person (human, alien, whatever) that operates a separate device or number of devices. Although, this distinction can get a little messy if, for example, a Brain In a Jar was given remote control of one or more machine bodies.

Perhaps they are robots, cloned cyborgs, hard light, whatever. For story purposes what matters most is whether or not Your Mind Makes It Real and if the connection can be sabotaged. And sometimes having a remote-operated body is no protection.

Compare and Contrast: Actually a Doombot, Body Surf, Decoy Getaway, Demonic Possession, Enemy Without, Myself, My Avatar, Robot Me, and Soul Jar.

Examples of Remote Body include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Arpeggio of Blue Steel (and Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova-), each member of the Fleet of Fog has a core that contains their consciousness. They can generate one or more bodies from nanomachines that the core controls directly or remotely, from human-like "Mental Models" up to warships.
  • In Battle Angel Alita, Disty Nova cures his son's split personality by building a remotely controlled robot body to channel the other mind.
  • In Bleach Guile Hero and Gadgeteer Genius Urahara reveals he has a gigai (an artificial body that spiritual beings can use to interact with the real world) that he can control remotely.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Major Kusanagi (and presumably other characters) can remotely control robot bodies. At the end of the first season she uses this ability to avoid being killed.

Comic Books

  • In early Alpha Flight Handicapped Gadgeteer Genius Roger Bochs had a robot called Box that he control with a neural interface helmet.
  • Iron Man could remote control his suits at a distance, even used a remote controlled armor while he was crippled.
  • NoMan of the THUNDER Agents can transfer his consciousness into and out of several (disposable, if necessary) android bodies because of a Emergency Transformation.
  • The Surrogates: Portrays a society where practically everyone save for a small religious group uses remotely controlled androids called "surrogates". As a result murder is practically unknown.
  • In Dark Empire, Luke Skywalker could create a remote body and even use the Force with it, though apparently it could only go so far from him. This power is never used again by anyone, and his sister refers to it as a Sith trick.
  • In PS238 when Tyler was infected with an alien virus and put in stasis Victor von Fogg cloned him and replaced most of the clone's brain with a remote control device linked to Tyler's virtual interface. However, thanks to a meddling angel and demon the clone developed independent consciousness and superpowers, now he's known as "Toby".

Fan Works


  • Surrogates: Have become ubiquitous in society.
  • Avatar: The hero spends most of the movie as the controller of a synthetic alien.
  • Gamer: The hero spends most of the movie being controlled like a video game Space Marine then at the end puppeteers the Big Bad, kind of.


  • New Kashubia Series: The hero spends most of the second book as the controller for a telepresence human-ish robot.
  • Aristide, the protagonist of Implied Spaces, makes use of this trope just like every other being in his verse.
  • The title character of The Ship Who... Searched puts a lot of money into building herself a remote body because she's a space ship and wants to have legs.
  • This is the entire premise of David Brin's Kiln People. One can make duplicate bodies out of a special clay, and send them off to do things.
  • Culture Minds control avatar bodies to interact with the people they watch over.
  • Summa Technologiae by Lem in Chapter 6 ("Phantomology") analysed possibilities of using devices providing artificial sensory input and repurposed motoric output to realistically experience interaction with real world (as opposed to simulated), and named such hypothetical practices "teletaxia". The most obvious use being exploration of dangerous areas.

Live Action TV

  • Played with in Mystery Science Theater 3000 with the Observers. They claim that their bodies are operated remotely (as their brains are located in bowls), but if their brains are more than a few feet away from their bodies they become completely helpless.
  • In the episode "I, Robot, You, Jane" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a demon creates a mechanical robot self he operates via the internet. Eventually he gets stuck in that body.
  • An episode of Crusade had Galen generate a sort of remote hologram of himself to discover who had been kidnapping and vivisecting crewmembers who got seperated from the others while on the planet. His Bad Bad Acting as the Homonculus makes this scene a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • This is the premise of the Doctor Who episode "The Rebel Flesh". At least, until a storm hits and what are supposed to be remote-operated bodies develop an independent consciousness...

Tabletop RPG

  • This is a central component of GURPS: Transhuman Space. People, especially AIs, rent (rarely purchase) cybershells designed for their environment or the job they're doing at the moment.
  • Occasionally used in Eclipse Phase, though full Brain Uploading is just as common.
  • Exalted gives us the Alchemicals, whose bodies become too small for them as their Essence score increases and must make the leap to first Colossi and then Metropoli/Patropoli. As there are times when they need to interact with the populace, however, they have access to Charms that allow them to produce a human-sized version of themselves.
  • Dungeons & Dragons got a few sells doing this. Project Image allows projection that's non-corporeal, but allows to cast other spells "from" it. Astral Projection allows to visit the Outer planes or other Prime worlds, while the traveller's real body stays home.
    • The Complete Ninja's Handbook has Shadow Form spell; the resulting body has 1 hp, but this still allows to find at least one danger ahead.
    • Al-Qadim has spell Sand Form that creates a "body" from sand controlled by the spell recipient, whose own body remains in suspended animation, but with normal senses. The sand "body" can see, hear, talk, cast spells… If it's destroyed, there's a potentially fatal shock, but the link can be safely terminated at any time.

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy VII had Cait Sith who was really a high ranking member of Shinra operating a false body apparently operating another false body. Very Celtic.
  • Xenosaga has a couple of these too, particularly Doctus and Wilhem. Doctus employs multiple android replicas of herself that are all tied into her consciousness (she's also hinted to be a cyborg herself) so she can be multiple places at once and operate in public without leaving her secret base. Series Big Bad Wilhelm, meanwhile, has a giant mecha named Joshua; unlike the other mechs in the series, Joshua is actually an extension of Wilhelm's physical body.
  • This is the premise of Cortex Command, where humans, being Brains In Jars, operate robotic bodies.
  • In Mass Effect 3, EDI gains control over a Cerberus-built robotic body. She's still physically located within the Normandy and any damage to the body will have no effect on her, but she can control it as long as it's within range of the Normandy's communications array, which can reach anywhere in the galaxy.

Web Comics

  • Moire Dziva in Umlaut House 2 prefers to meet people using dragon like "marionettes".
  • Sometimes AI in Schlock Mercenary act in bodies that don't host their "brains". Hypernodes theoretically extend range to "anywhere in the Galaxy", but since even those can be jammed, avatars are limited to either non-combat use or the territory under good control and with backup forces (such as on board of a ship controlling them).
    • It's not very widespread outside of plain utility purpose, however. To communicate with "meatspace" AI commonly use a tiny floating projector with holographic avatar, which can be as articulate and variable as necessary. Most actual work, rather than piling all the eggs into basket of Master Computer, usually is delegated to small local systems, such as fabber bots for construction and fully autonomous tactical robots for fighting - after all, specialization is an advantage - under general oversight of a "larger" AI. One limitation is the time necessary to grow and properly test a new individual AI, which depends on the complexity - it's a problem with warship grade AI, but not much with lesser vehicles or run-of-the-mill repair bots, even the talking ones.
    • So far there were King Lota and "a platoon of armed avatars" acting as top-security marines on board of a battleplate.
    • Chinook controls a space station the size of a planet, so technically most unattached robotics there are included, but some of it was taken elsewhere. The new additions include Crypt Spiders working as mind-record archivists and occasionally doubling as general-purpose remotes, and later a robotic "representative" type avatar (with head matching the owner's holographic avatar) to "make personal appearances more meaningful". Of course, it's hard to tell where each of those remotes fits on the scale from pure external devices to semi-autonomous extensions of an AI.
  • Freefall has some AI using remote bodies, especially when the "main" one is a vehicle.

Western Animation

  • NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core: Ish controls a robot called the Sub.
  • Nemesis Prime from Transformers Prime is a remote controlled robot created by the human villian group called MECH.