A body swap
is a storytelling device
seen in a variety of fiction
, most often in TV
shows and movies
, in which two people (or beings) exchange minds
and end up in each others' bodies. Alternatively, their minds may stay where they are as their bodies adjust.
There are three distinct types of body swapping. Switches caused by magic items such as amulets, heartfelt wishes, or just strange quirks of the universe. The switches typically reverse after the subjects have expanded their world views, gained a new appreciation for each others' troubles by literally "walking in another's shoes" and/or caused sufficient amounts of farce. Notable examples include the books Vice Versa (1882), Freaky Friday (1972) as well as the film versions of both.
Switches accomplished by technology, exempting gadgets advanced sufficiently to appear as magic, are the fare of mad scientists. Body-swapping devices are characterized by highly experimental status, straps, helmets with complicated cables that run to a central system and a tendency to direly malfunction before their effects can be reversed. Those without such means may resort to brain transplants. Such experiments can have overtones of horror; evil mad scientists seldom use willing test subjects.
The 1989 film Identity Crisis parodies the body-swap films by having its two characters share the same body, switching between personalities whenever struck, hit, or smacked. The 1984 film All of Me also portrays two characters sharing one body - in this case Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin.
On the internet, many amateur authors write and share body swap stories with one another. Fictionmania is a website publishing and archiving transgender fiction, much of it focusing on male-to-female body swaps.
While swapping bodies remains fictional as of 2008, scientific research points to the possibility of head transplants
, whole-body transplants
, or mind transfers
somewhere in the future.
In 1973 a group of scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland Ohio, led by Dr. Robert White, a neurosurgeon inspired by the work of Vladimir Demikhov, transplanted the head of one monkey onto another monkey's body. The animal was still able to smell, taste, hear, and see. The animal survived for eight days after the operation, even at times attempting to bite some of the staff. In 2001 the operation was successfully repeated again on a monkey by the aforementioned Dr. White.
In 2002, other head transplants were also conducted in Japan involving rats. Unlike the head transplants performed by Dr. White, however, these head transplants involved grafting one rat's head onto the body of another rat that kept its head. Thus the rat ended up with two heads.
Appearances in Media
List of movies with body swaps
List of TV shows with body swaps
- 2 Stupid Dogs-In the episode both the dogs might have swtched their bodies or their personalities.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius - Jimmy and Cindy in the episode "Trading Faces".
- American Dragon: Jake Long - "Switcheroo" - Jake and Haley switched bodies due to a magic mirror, then later Huntsboy #88 and #89 switch because of the mirror as well.
- Angel - "Carpe Noctem" - Angel and Marcus because of a spell.
- Ben 10 - "A Change of Face" - Charmcaster and Gwen, then later Ben and Gwen.
- Big Wolf on Campus - In an episode which features a body jumper named Alice, who switches bodies with Lori, then the face-eater that Merton had on his public-access television show.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Faith swaps bodies with Buffy using a magical device in the episode "Who Are You?". Also, In an earlier episode, "Witch", a dark witch switches bodies with her daughter Amy to relive her cheerleading glory days.
- Chalkzone -Snap swaps bodies with a bull in the episode, "Bullsnap."
- Charmed - Phoebe and Paige, Piper and the Zen Master in the episode "Enter the Demon". Phoebe and Amara in the episode "Freaky Phoebe". Piper and Leo in the episode "The Lost Picture Show".
- Code Lyoko - "A Fine Mess" - Yumi Ishiyama and Odd Della Robbia due to the error in the materialisation program.
- Danny Phantom - "Splitting Images"- Danny and ghost nerd Sidney Poindexter switch bodies when Poindexter possesses Danny and kicks the latter out.
- Darkwing Duck - "Trading Faces"- Darkwing and Gosalyn, also Launchpad and Honker due to Darkwing's computer gone haywire.
- Dragon Ball Z - Ginyu has the power to switch bodies with people at will. He switches bodies with Goku in order to become more powerful, but is quickly conned into switching bodies with a frog.
- The Edwin J. Hill Social Club - "Versa Vice" - George and Drew swap bodies after forgetting to return the movie Vice Versa to the video store. They must learn to be each other before midnight, which means Drew has to go on a date with George's girlfriend and Drew has to fight zombies.
- Eerie, Indiana - "No Brain, No Pain" - Simon Holmes's mind is transferred into the Brainalyzer and replaced by Charles "Chappy" Furnell, saying that he would gladly go through puberty again (by not abandoning Simon's body) until his rightful body is found. Then Chappy is transferred to his own body. Then his wife shows up and the Brainalyzer discharges, leaving it Marshall in the woman's body, Chappy back into Simon's body, Simon in Chappy's body and the woman in Marshall's body.
- 8 Simple Rules - "Freaky Friday" - Grandpa and C.J., Bridget and her mother, Rory and his hamster.
- El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: - "These Freaky Riveras" - Manny and Frida swapped their bodies and look at their mirrors. Then, Grandpapi and Rodolfo.
- The Fairly OddParents- In "Dog Daze Afternoon", Timmy swaps bodies with Vicky's dog. In "Presto Change-o", he not only swaps with the dog again, but other characters as well.
- Family Guy- "Lois Kills Stewie"- Peter and Lois shortly switch bodies due to one of Stewie's inventions.
- Farscape - The Moya crew swap bodies twice due to the effects of an alien weapon in the episode "Out of Their Minds."
- Freefonix - Lady Lux and BB
- Fullmetal Alchemist - The character of Dante has lived for hundreds of years by continually switching bodies with others.
- futurama - fry and amy end up on amy's body after a freak hover-car crash on mercury.
- Gilligan's Island - "The Friendly Physician" - A mad scientist lands on the island and takes the castaways to his castle on a nearby island to perform mind-swapping experiments on them. The castaways are locked in a dungeon and trapped in the wrong bodies thanks to the mind-swapping machine (originally aired 4/7/1966).
- Garfield and Friends - Though the episode "Fair Exchange" does not have a body switch episode. It shows both Garfield and Jon's heads in different bodies in a dream.
- Genie in the House - Philip Norton and Emma Norton, father and daughter swap bodies, in episode "Out of Our Minds"
- Intergalactic Kitchen - Everyone in the kitchen swaps bodies as follows: Kirk and Kirstie, Robin in Jay's body, Jay in Fleur's body and Fleur in Robin's body. At one point, Kirstie and Snoo share Kirk's body. This happens in the episode "Take me to your Larder" when an alien removes the Kitchenaut's brains and Snoo unsuccessfully tries to put their brains back.
- Jackie Chan Adventures - Jackie Chan and Jade.
- Jumanji A werid ball of light kept switching mings in Jumanji the animated series, first seen with Peter and his sister Judy and then with Alan and VanPelt in the episode, "Who am I?".
- Justice League Unlimited - the Flash and Lex Luthor swap bodies due to a combination of a spell cast by Doctor Fate and a mental scan getting carried out by Luthor on Gorilla Grodd in the episode, "The Great Brain Robbery".
- Kappa Mikey-Lili and Mitsuki swap bodys in the episode "Manic Monday"
- Kim Possible - Kim and Ron swap bodies due to an accident in the episode "Mind Games".
- Krypto the Superdog - Krypto and Kevin Whitney swap bodies in a red kryptonite incident in "Dog-Gone Kevin".
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series - "Swapper" - An experiment causes various characters to swap bodies.
- Lizzie McGuire - Matt and Lizzie, "Those Freaky McGuires"
- Lloyd in Space - Lloyd and his Sister in the episode "Lloyd Changes His Mind".
- Murder Princess- After nearly falling to their death, a proper princess and a notorious bounty hunter swap bodies. The show follows the adventures of the bounty hunter now princess.
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger - Kai Ozu and his sister Houka Ozu are zapped by one of their foes which causes them to switch bodies with each other while losing their ability to morph in the episode(s) "Contrary Brother and Sister" and continued in "The Gorgon's Garden".
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - Squat sabotages a machine invented by Billy, causing the latter to temporarily switch bodies with Kimberly in the episode Switching Places. The episode involves each ranger teaching a class and using the Ranger Powers specific to the body they are in.
- Naruto - Orochimaru every three years he Switch bodies with others.
- Papa to Musume no Nanokakan (パパと娘の七日間) - Kawahara father and daughter.
- Pepper Ann - Pepper Ann and Lydia
- Phil of the Future - In the episode "Neander Phil", Phil and Curtis switch their personalities and bodies due to a malfunctioning gadget. In "Versa Day", Phil and Pim are forced to switch bodies by Lloyd.
- Phineas and Ferb - In the episode "Does this Duckbill make me look fat?", Phineas and Ferb make a teleportation device, but it ends up switching Candace and Perry's bodies. Candace realized this almost immediatly, whereas Perry dosen't realize it until Major Monogram commented him on being disquised as a teenage girl.
- Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea - Team Rocket, then Ash, and Jackie due to Manaphy's Heart Swap.
- Power Rangers: S.P.D. - Wootox switched bodies with Sky so that the rangers would chase Sky instead of him in the episode "Recognition", similar to the adaptation of the episode "Fake Blue" in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger.
- Quantum Leap - Sam Beckett body-swaps with random people, leaping to various points in time, in order to change the course of their lives.
- Red Dwarf - In the Series 3 episode "Body Swap", Rimmer and Lister.
- Robotboy- In two separate episodes, Robotboy first swaps bodies with Gus, and then with Protoboy. In another episode, a disgruntled magician causes Gus to swap bodies with a pigeon.
- Smallville - Clark and Lionel swap bodies using a Kryptonian artifact in the episode "Transference".
- Strange Days at Blake Holsey High - Lucas (played by Michael Seater) and Vaughn (played by Robert Clark) switch bodies accidentally in the episode "Brainwaves". While in Lucas's body, Vaughn experiences Lucas' asthma and Lucas, in Vaughn's body, discovers Vaughn's closeted dyslexia.
- Stargate Atlantis - Rodney and Lt Laura Cadman share Rodneys body in the episode Duet after they're released from a crashed Wraith Dart.
- Stargate SG-1 - At least four episodes to date have dealt with body swapping.
- Star Trek - "Turnabout Intruder" - Kirk and Dr. Janice Lester. William Shatner performs like a hysterical woman for the better part of an hour.
- Star Trek: Voyager - "Vis à Vis" - An alien has the ability to swap bodies and does so, first with Tom Paris, then with Captain Janeway.
- TaleSpin - Baloo and Kit Cloudkicker, and later Rebecca Cunningham and Don Karnage, switch bodies due to a magical idol in the episode "A Baloo Switcheroo."
- Teen Titans - In the episode "Switched", Starfire and Raven swap bodies during a confrontation with the Puppet King.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Splinter (aka Hamato Yoshi) and Shredder (aka Oroku Saki) in "The Big Switcheroo"
Raphael once switched bodies with a cab driver in a rather humorous season 4 episode.
- The Tick - In the episode "Tick vs Science", A body changing machine is stolen by Professor Cromedome and Chairface Chippendale, leading the device to be used used to switch both Tick and Arthur into each others bodies. Eventually, The Tick, Arthur, Carmalita, Dr. Vahtoss, Professor Cromedome, Chairface Chippendale, Tongue Tongue and A Zebra each switch bodies with one another, eventually having Chippendale inside Tick's body in order to take over to take over the world before being stopped by Maneuver 14Z
- The X-Files - Mulder and Morris Fletcher, in the Dreamland two-parter from season 6.
- Thundarr The Barbarian - In the episode "Island Of The Body Snatchers", both Ariel and The Evil Witch of the island switch bodies as The Evil Witch hopes to leave the island in someone else body due to the curse that was put upon her body that prevents her from leaving the island.
- Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger - Wojon Seijin Jinche switched bodies with Hoji to escape deletion in hope that the other four Dekarangers would delete Hoji instead in the episode "Fake Blue". His plan backfired when "Hoji" called Ban partner when the real Hoji would have replied with "Don't call me partner." This was adapted into Power Rangers: S.P.D..
- Switched!- Jiang Xin Yu & Xin Hui switches indentities (not voices) at Episode 6
- Wizards of Waverly Place - Episode: "Quinceañera" The family prepares for Alex's quinceañera, a traditional celebration to mark her 15th birthday, but she doesn't want to wear the customary frilly ball gown and casts a spell to swap bodies with her mom, who never had a quinceañera of her own. Justin and Max also switch bodies with their dance instructors, and at the beginning of the episode Alex practises the body-switching spell on her and her dad. The spell was "(People's Names) Cambia Corporum, Meum Corpora, Sua Nominavi"
- Xena: Warrior Princess - Callisto, works with Ares, god of war to invade Xena's dreams and switch bodies with Xena, so that she is free and Xena is trapped in Tartarus. But Xena persuades Hades to let her return to earth, although still trapped in Callisto's body, where she defeats Callisto and sends her back to Tartarus. Xena remains trapped in Callisto's body for one episode before Ares restores them to their normal selves.
- Yvon of the Yukon - Tommy and Yvon swap bodies with a wish that was accidentally granted while they were near the Aurora Borealis in the episode "The Siamese Twits".
List of video games with body swaps
- Geist - You are forced to take the form of a ghost and switch from body to body.
- Chrono Cross - Serge and Lynx due to the Dragon Tear.
- Pitfall: The Lost Expedition - The title character gets body switched by each of three animal spirits in the boss levels.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - The Twilight Town chapter. After battling the Creepy Steeple boss, the boss and Mario swap bodies until Mario can defeat the boss with the help of Vivian.
- Avenging Spirit - The entire game focuses around switching bodies in order to fight your way through the levels.
- Various Dragon Ball Z games - Captain Ginyu in some games has the power to switch bodies with the opponent.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl - After throwing a Poké Ball, there is a chance that Manaphy will come out and swap the bodies of you and your opponents.
- Tales of Rebirth - The character Agarte has the Force of Moon, which forces her to switch bodies with other characters, including Claire, multiple times.
List of graphic novels/manga with body swaps
List of novels with body swaps
The Help I'm Trapped In... series by Todd Strasser
List of short stories with body swaps