Role Reversal

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Roleswap, Role Swap
Related: Mirror Universe
See Also: Role Reversal (Merlin)

Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Role Reversal is an Alternate Universe trope in which one or more characters switch character roles. There are a number of common subtropes involving different roles.

This article or section needs expansion.

Define subtropes and add examples.


Role Swap

In a role swap AU story, two characters switch character roles - this can include swapping jobs, superhero alter-egos or supernatural/superhuman abilities. For example, if Clark Kent changes roles with Lois Lane, Clark would be a human reporter and Lois would be Superwoman.

In some cases, roleswap AUs address what if scenarios. What if one event happened differently? How would that then effect the characters and their stories? For example, a Winter Soldier AU story may begin with Steve Rogers falling into the hands of Hydra, and Bucky surviving to take the mantle of Captain America.

Characters swapping roles, can in some cases result in characters also change their alignment. For example, an AU where a criminal swaps roles with the detective trying to capture them.


In some role reversal stories, a character's alignment with good, evil, or a certain side of a conflict is changed. A subgenre of this is the Villain AU, where a heroic character is recast as a villain. These stories may sometimes be called Evil AU or Dark AU. A story can swap the alignments of multiple characters, or only one character. One example of this could be an AU where Harry Potter is working with Voldemort, and it's up to Hermione and Ron to save Hogwarts. Villain AU stories can allow characters to have antagonistic interactions with their canon allies, but also allows for more positive interactions between characters that may be enemies in canon.

Mirror Universe is a well known example of this trope. In canon, the Star Trek crew visits an alternate universe in which the peaceful Federation never existed, replaced by the brutal, conquering Terran Empire, with evil doppelgangers. In fandom, the term Mirror Universe is a term used to describe an alternate universe in which familiar characters are given reversed alignments or characteristics. In this subtrope, "evil" characters from the mirrorverse may interact with their canonverse doppelgangers.

Age & Experience

This may be known as the Age Swap trope. It usually involves the De-Aging and Aged Up tropes.

Popular Fandom Examples

Fanworks Examples

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


  • no man is an island (oh this i know) by confidentialityspice (Arrow) – "My name is Felicity Smoak. For five years, I was stranded on a desert island with only one goal: survive. Now I will fulfill Robert Queen's dying wish to use the list of names he left me and bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else. I must become something else."'
  • Constellations (Things You Left Unsaid) by DasWarSchonKaputt (Yuri on Ice, Victuuri) – AKA a role reversal au, wherein Yuuri is a figure skating legend in the making - mostly made, or so they say - who decides to take a season off at the peak of his career, and Victor is the runaway-cum-international student from Russia who joins his university and cons Yuuri into becoming his coach. Featuring Phichit Chulanont as the worst (best) friend ever, and Yuri Plisetsky as Yuuri's self-proclaimed Arch Rival.
  • Capriccio by Archaeopteryx (Mob Psycho 100) – Kageyama "Mob" Shigeo vanished at the age of ten, never to be seen again. Ten years later, Kageyama Ritsu meets another ten-year-old, this one with an irresistible urge to mess with supernatural forces he really, really shouldn't. As annoying as he might find Reigen Arataka, he can't let history repeat itself.




  • Reverse RWBY AU Masterpost by bastart13: "Reverse RWBY is a roleswap AU." "tl;dr: Salem and Ozpin’s forces have been switched from good to evil and vice versa along with their ages. Teenage Team WTCH are now the protagonists attending Beacon, run by its headteacher, Salem, and they fight the grimm and Ozpin’s forces."


Marvel Cinematic Universe:

Example Art Gallery

External Links