So we've all seen a shape shifter. And we all know that when a shape shifter shifts themselves into another entity, they usually assume the voice of the entity they are copying. Meaning, a perfect imitation of another character's voice is a Required Secondary Power of anyone who would change their physical form.
Being a Voice Changeling, however, requires the distinction between someone who changes their physical form and someone who merely changes their voice. Meaning, while any run-of-the-mill shape shifter can copy a subject's voice, in order to be a Voice Changeling, you've got to perfectly copy a voice without changing your body.
It is important to realize that the Voice Changeling creates a perfect and flawless imitation - not one that is merely different from their own. So in other words, if Bob is annoyed with Alice, and decides to mimic her in his most obnoxious-sounding girl voice, that is not a Voice Changeling. If, however, Bob's imitation of Alice requires a voiceover from the actress who plays Alice, then the trope is in play. As a general rule, it is only a Voice Changeling if there is a momentary change in voice actors. That's the kind of ability we're talking about.
This ability can be a natural gift, or an acquired talent. It can be gained through circumstance, through magic, or through machines. But the important element is not to confuse this trope with Voices Are Mental. Therefore, if some magic turn of events causes a body switch, or if someone gets possessed, then this trope is NOT in effect, no matter how different the voices become. This trope strictly applies to a voluntary ability - Voluntary Shapeshifting, if you will - but only concerning the voice. It's that simple.
Note: A character is only a Voice Changeling when they can imitate an actual voice/means of communication. Meaning, if some character can make non-human sounds that are not associated with a specific character, the trope is not in action. Only when their voice matches that of another character is this trope in effect.
Not to be confused with Man of a Thousand Voices.
- In Disney's adaptation of Aladdin, Iago shows this ability when impersonating Jasmine and Jafar. His Jasmine impersonation is used to steal the lamp. Handwaved by him being a parrot.
- This comes up again in an episode of the series, in which he impersonates Mozenrath to fool his minion.
- In Terminator 2, the T-800 uses John Connor's voice on the phone with the foster parents one of whom is actually the shape-shifting enemy Terminator, using the Required Secondary Power to impersonate the mom while on the phone
- This was a throwback to the original Terminator copying the voice of Sarah Connor's mother.
- Also in Terminator Salvation, where a T-101 imitates the teenage Kyle to catch John Connor off guard.
- In Diamonds Are Forever. Both Blofeld and James Bond use voice duplicating machines to fool other people.
- Disney's telling of Peter Pan has Peter perfectly replicating the voice of Captain Hook. This is used to trick Mr. Smee a number of times.
- In the movie Scream 3, the Ghostface villain uses a voice changer that mimics many of the other characters's voices. In the rest of the series, Ghostface just uses the device to put on a deep, creepy-sounding voice to mask his or her identity.
- In The Little Mermaid, Ursula acquires Ariel's voice through a magic spell.
- Sgt. Jones from the Police Academy series is so good at imitating sounds, he has been shown to foil his opponents using his voicebox alone.
- That's actually one of Michael Winslow's main real-life talents.
- In Police Academy 6, the Big Bad uses this trope, combined with Latex Perfection, to impersonate Commissioner Hurst. Unfortunately for him, his deception is foiled when the real Commissioner shows up, and one of the heroes figures out how to Spot the Impostor.
- Juni from Spy Kids runs perpendicular to both this and imitating one's voice. Justified as he is just that good.
- The second X-Men movie has Mystique imitating the Big Bad's voice to get into his files, while staying in her blue form. She also mimics Nightcrawler's voice briefly during a conversation with him.
- John Milton in The Devil's Advocate can do this. Justified. He's the Devil.
- The entity in REC.
- The early Stephen Chow comedy Royal Tramp has a Rebellious Princess who's learned to imitate the voice of her brother ie. the Emperor for whichever schemes she had in mind. It's also a Chekhov's Skill.
- In What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, the fact that Jane can perfectly imitate Blanche's voice is a Chekhov's Skill.
- Len Parker in the Apocalypse film series movie Revelation imitates the voices of Thorold Stone's wife and daughter through a walkie-talkie in order to deceive Stone into thinking that he has them in his custody. He even "tells" them to be quiet.
- In a throwaway gag in Dogma, Serendipity perfectly imitates Azrael. Justified in that she is a divine being.
- Miles Axlerod during the Lemon meeting in Italy in Cars 2.
- Several characters from the Discworld books have this ability:
- TomJon from Wyrd Sisters has this as a result of the three witches's blessings; Nanny Ogg blessed him that he would "always remember the words", a handy ability for the adopted son of an actor.
- Agnes Nitt from Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum has such amazing vocal ability that she can do this. The Vampires in Carpe Jugulum also demonstrate this ability when they're trying to coerce Magrat to unlock the door.
- Mort when he was beginning to slip into Death's role, and his daughter Susan when she feels like it, have the ability to speak like Death.
- Wayside School's substitute teacher Mr. Gorf steals the kids's voices through his third nostril. He's able to deceive numerous parents, but he gets found out by the lunch lady when he says something uncharacteristically nice using a meaner student's voice.
- Tyson, like all cyclopes, can mimic voices and even entire conversations verbatim. It's considered incredibly creepy, so he doesn't use it that frequently.
- Konrad Beezo from Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz has the ability to mimic other people's voices with frightening perfection. He's an insane clown with many tricks up his sleeve, and uses this ability, along with some good plastic surgery, to impersonate an FBI agent.
- Erik, in the original novel. He uses it against Carlotta and several other characters.
- Gandalf in The Hobbit used this trick rather handily against a group of trolls.
- In Book of the New Sun, the alzabo is a semi-sentient alien creature that gains access to the memories of anyone that it eats. It also gains the ability to perfectly imitate their voice. It uses these as a hunting technique to lure prey out of hiding, and it is especially effective when it has eaten somebody's loved one.
- In Scrubs, J.D. has the ability to perfectly mimic Turk's voice. In the solitary occasion we see it, Donald Faison voices over Zach Braff's lipsync. He justifies by having worked on the imitation for years, besides he loses the perfection later in the episode while trying to show off.
- In Charmed a few characters are shown to have this ability, complete with actor voiceovers.
- Star Trek: The Original Series:
- In "The Savage Curtain", the fake Kahless is able to perfectly mimic the voices of both Surak and Lincoln.
- In "A Taste of Armageddon", the High Council of Eminiar 7 uses a voice duplicator to imitate Captain Kirk's voice and order the Enterprise crew to beam down to their doom. William Shatner provided the imitated voice.
- In "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", the android Ruk does perfect imitations of Kirk's and Nurse Chapel's voices.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Commander Data is shown doing this a few times. First seen in the pilot, when Picard asks him to repeat what he and Q just said.
- The Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager also is capable of this, being a computer program.
- The '60s TV series Batman - One time Bruce Wayne was missing, so Alfred dressed up in the Batman outfit and talked with Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara. He used a special voice synthesizer to make him sound like Batman, and stood at a distance so they couldn't identify him. "Batman" explained that he had a cold and didn't want them to catch it.
- In Supernatural, angels have the ability to imitate voices. In "The Song Remains The Same", Anna uses it when she calls John Winchester posing as his boss to lure him away.
- Castiel presumably employed this ability in "Death Takes A Holiday", when he calls the brothers with a job pretending to be Bobby. However, since the call is shown from Sam's perspective, we don't actually see him do it.
- The Doctor once used it to get out of a scrape on Gallifrey.
The Doctor (trapped in Cardinal Borusa's office, talking to himself): There must be a way out of your office... but where? Voice lock? No, like you always said: 'There's nothing so useless as a voice activated lock!'
(in Borusa's voice): 'There's nothing so useless as a voice activated lock!'
- Cameron from The Sarah Connor Chronicles can do this. She uses this memorably in one scene, where she's talking to the principal about an emotional rant that a classmate had in the bathroom to Cameron. Cameron usually speaks with a Creepy Monotone, but in this one instance, Cameron recites what the classmate said, word for word, inflection for inflection. It's more than slightly unsettling.
- The pilot of the Wonder Woman TV series shows Wonder Woman perfectly impersonating a German spy's voice.
- Echo in Classical Mythology was famous for having a gift with speaking and a beautiful voice—but one day she misused her ability, and Hera cursed her to only ever repeat the last thing that had been said to her. Eventually her heart was broken so that she faded away to nothing but her voice—and obviously, an echo can always reproduce exactly what was said before.
- In Japanese legend, the Youkai known as "yamabiko" are known for stalking people in the mountains, terrorizing them by repeating everything they say back to them in their own voice. Now, guess what "yamabiko" means in Japanese...?
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Chisato of Suikoden V is known as The Woman of a Thousand Voices, and for good reason: she can do astounding things with her voice. Her range is so fantastic that, at one point, she perfectly duplicates the voice of a pirate captain to trick his crew into lowering their guard at a critical moment. As a member of the Loyalist Army, she also functions as the Voice Changer, enabling the player to alter the sound of the Prince's voice.
- The Quropeco from Monster Hunter Tri, it can mimic an array of monster cries. Which can turn a simple hunt into a nightmare
- Peter Pan once again demonstrates this ability of his in Kingdom Hearts, drawing Captain Hook out of hiding by imitating Smee's voice from the other side of a door.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- One of the powers Vox uses the most in the Whateley Universe. She's a Siren, so she can do a lot more than just Voice Changeling. Including perfectly imitating a pop singer and the singer's backup singers and the singer's background musicians, all at the same time.
- In Powerpuff Girls, Grubber shows this ability in the episode about prank calls. In particular, he copies the Mayor's voice to make fake crises and divert the Powerpuff Girls. What makes it doubly funny is that Grubber is usually The Unintelligible.
- Though in "Buttercrush", he did an absolutely terrible impression of Buttercup.
- In one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter adopted this ability. Some kind of machine enabled him to copy the exact voices of others. This was in the babysitting episode, where he used the voices of the babysitter and her boyfriend to sever their relationship, so that he could move in himself.
- An episode of Futurama had Prof. Farnsworth invent a machine that made anyone sound like him (needless to say it was quickly borrowed by Hermes's son Dwight and Farnsworth's clone Cubert). His explanation?
- In the DC Animated Universe, Superman has this ability. It's explained as "precise muscle control."
- In an episode of Rugrats, Angelica steals an invention of Stu's which allows her to speak in the voice of her mother Charlotte, she uses it to buy things and throw a party for herself. Though it still contains her usual childish inflections such as "bestest" and "ezackly".
- Arnold does a perfect impression of his grandpa over the phone as he calls in sick to school when he and Gerald cut class.
- In the Donkey Kong Country episode "Kong for a Day", Krusha uses his imitation of DK's voice to insult Dixie and Diddy, making the both of them get angry at DK.
- One episode of American Dad had Francine do this to Stan during her "kidnapping" of Roger.
- "Meddlers! If I were human, I will actually find that amusing!"