10 Memorable Shapeshifters from Film and Television


Shapeshifters have appeared in mythology, literature, television and movies, and the concept of someone who is able to change his or her physical form is an intriguing one.  By morphing into another person – or a creature, for that matter – you’d be able to sneak around using someone else’s identity, escape from someone looking for you in your prior form, or maybe even become a more efficient fighter. 

What would you do if you could shapeshift?  Me?  I’d probably transform into Marisa Miller and spend my time naked in front of a mirror with my legs spread.  Anyway, keep reading for 10 memorable shapeshifters from film and television.*

*I’m not including werewolves.  

Sam Merlotte – True Blood

The True Blood universe isn’t filled with just humans and vampires; there are werewolves, mind-readers, and shapeshifters, too.  Sam Merlotte, the owner of Merlotte’s bar, is a shapeshifter, and he usually changes into a collie to help look after Sookie.  Sam can’t change into other humans and needs a live animal as a “model” to complete his transformation.

Sylar – Heroes


Unlike Sam Merlotte, Sylar used his recently-acquired shapeshifting powers for personal gain.  After creepily shifting back and forth between himself and his mother, Sylar became Senator Nathan Petrelli in an attempt to meet and then impersonate the President of the United States.  His plan failed, though, and with his memory wiped, Sylar is currently stuck looking just like Nathan.

Alexandra Mack – The Secret World of Alex Mack


Alex acquired her powers from exposure to a chemical spill, and she has the ability to transform herself into a liquid puddle.  Only a few people know about Alex’s powers; even her own parents are kept in the dark.

Mystique – X-Men movies


Mystique’s ability to shapeshift comes from her mutant power.  She is normally blue-skinned and yellow-eyed, but with the ability to look like whoever she wants, Mystique is rarely found in her “normal” form.  In the X-Men movies, Mystique uses her shapeshifting ability for infiltration and to aid Magneto.  She even teases Wolverine a bit by transforming right before his eyes as a sexual sampler of sorts.

T-1000 – Terminator 2: Judgment Day


Not only can the lethal, liquid metal T-1000 take the form of any person it comes into contact with, it can change its shape to fit through otherwise impermeable barriers, can flatten itself and blend in with the floor or other surroundings, and, coolest of all, can morph its arms into blades and stabbing weapons.

Merlin – The Sword in the Stone


Merlin’s ability to shapeshift is magic-based, and he makes good use of it during his Wizard’s Duel with Madam Mim.  Merlin and Mim transform themselves into different animals with the intention of destroying their adversary.  A crab, snake, rhino, and dragon are just a few of the creatures that the two wizards turn into during their duel.  This movie rules.

Michael Jackson – Moonwalker


No, I’m not going to make a joke about how Michael Jackson shapeshifted from a black guy to a white guy.  In Moonwalker, MJ transforms himself into a really fast sports car.  That likes to have sex with little boys.  See?  Jokes about changes in skin color: not very funny.  Jokes about molesting children: always funny.  It’s axiomatic.

Odo – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


Odo is of the Changeling race and, as such, has the ability to alter his physical form.  He can’t seem to figure out how to shapeshift into a human perfectly, and he was discovered in a gelatinous form.  Odo serves as the Security Chief for Deep Space Nine.

The Thing – The Thing


In John Carpenter’s The Thing, “the Thing” is an alien with an ability to shapeshift.  It comes upon a research station in the Antarctic and, naturally, kills the team inside.  More researchers come to investigate and they, too, are attacked by the Thing.

The Doctor – Doctor Who


Alright, maybe he’s not a shapeshifter per se, but the time-traveling alien known as The Doctor can regenerate his body when near death.  The Doctor can do this up to 12 times (for a total of 13 different forms), and each new form has its own subtle characteristics.

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  1. Envy from the anime Full Metal Alchemist uses his shape shifting ability to keep the nation in a constant state of war. It is an anime, so I guess it doesn’t count, but I feel it is the best example of shape shifting

  2. What about the Animorphs? A group of teenagers with the ability to shapeshift into any animal whose DNA they have assimilated? There was a tv show and a series of novels, though I’m not sure which ones came first.

    Oh and what about the Transformers? Any one knows that as long as they have scanned an object of equal mass (much like the T-1000) they can turn into it. I mean look that the 2007 movie, Bumblebee reformatted himself by scanning a newer model of the Camaro (pardon the spelling). The same can be done repeatedly.

  3. The Animorphs novel series came first. It’s my favourite series from my childhood. I used to attempt to absorb my cat’s DNA and morph into her. It never worked =(

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