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Sometimes writers will, for reasons of convenience, extrapolate an entire race's "hat" from the behavior of one or two characters.

Typically, this goes as follows:

  • A character in an Ensemble Cast has exotic, quirky traits.
  • That character is the sole example of their culture seen for a significant period (an entire movie, a season of a series, etc.).
  • When we finally see the character's home culture, their distinctive set of exotic, quirky traits turn out to be their planetary hat.

This Sub-Trope of Planet of Hats is known as Planet of Copyhats.

If the original quirky character manages to stand out from the rest of their people at all, it will often be because they've toned down their culture's hat to bring their behavior more in line with the ensemble, possibly citing that their species doth protest too much and thus turning out to be wearing a lampshade for a hat. Conversely, the trope may be partly psychologically justified when a Fish Out of Water wears their hat proudly to uphold their cultural identity while living in a different culture.

If the culture is conceived from the start as having some specific distinguishing trait, and then characters are presented as specific examples of that culture, that's a standard Planet of Hats. See also A Kind of One for cases where there's some ambiguity concerning whether the quirky character is just a character who is quirky or a perfectly average specimen of a quirky species.

Bonus points if it isn't even established until later on that an individual is part of some broader "race" as opposed to some unique entity.

Examples of Planet of Copyhats include:

Star Wars Expanded Universe

  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe uses this aggressively (in part due to the fact that Star Wars gained a huge fan following and a productive franchise early on when there was only a small body of canon consisting of three movies).
    • The most Egregious example? The Bothans. Their only appearance in the movies is Mon Mothma's line in Return of the Jedi: "Many Bothans died to bring us this information." From that single, offhand mention, EU writers whipped up an entire species whose entire society is based around spying and espionage.
      • But you wouldn't think any of them would willingly die for a cause, like the Bothans of the movies.
    • Star Wars has another Egregious example in Corellians, the culture Han Solo is from. At one point in the movies, Han says "Never Tell Me the Odds", and from this some EU writer extrapolated that all Corellians hate statistics with a passion.
    • Ben Kenobi wears nondescript desert robes in A New Hope; in the prequels, this becomes the Jedi uniform (great way to hide out, Ben).
    • Jabba the Hutt was a crime boss, so the Hutts became an entire species of crime bosses.
    • Female Twi'leks becoming a race of Beautiful Slave Girls based on Oola from Return of the Jedi.
      • Similar to the Hutt example above, and in contrast to the Female Twi'lek example, Bib Fortuna, Jabba's majordomo, would give the male members of his race a reputation as criminals. Also created the dichotomy that while Female Twi'leks tend to be more seductive and beautiful, male ones tend to be rather ugly. Especially if they are evil.
        • The fact that Bib Fortuna fell victim to Luke's mind trick (nothing to be ashamed of at this point, Luke is quite powerful) has many things classify Twi'leks as being weak willed, due to Obi-wan's earlier line about it working better on the feeble minded.
    • Sullustans becoming a race of navigator copilots after Lando's Millenium Falcon copilot (also Return of the Jedi).
    • Farmers from Tatooine developing a reputation for improbable piloting skills as a result of Luke and Biggs. Gavin Darklighter is used to illustrate this in the X Wing Series.
    • Boba Fett's armor and style became the inspiration for the entire Mandalorian culture being a Proud Warrior Race.
      • Of mercenaries that always side with the Sith.
    • Plo Koon, being a Jedi Master, was the inspiration to make his entire race scholarly, with a strong belief in justice and naturally gifted with the force. In short: Jedi-like.
    • The bounty hunter Leia disguised herself as? Turns out he was Ubese. And guess what? Turns out the entire race has a thing for bounty hunting and mercenary work.
      • And wearing helmets all the time.
      • To be fair, they wear the helmets because their planet got nuked into a post-apocalyptic wasteland and they need a poisonous atmosphere to live.
    • A few Quarren were seen in Jabba's palace. Thus, the Expanded Universe features plenty of Quarren mobsters. As they come from the same planet as the Mon Calamari (Admiral Ackbar's people), their people always tend to come off as the more "evil" of the two. Ackbar is a good guy, so his people will tend towards being the good guys in a story. Take Star Wars Legacy: Mon Cals are at the forefront of the resistance against the Sith (and pay a heavy price for it), while we have seen at least two Quarren Sith Lords.
    • One of the bounty hunters in the line-up on Vader's ship is Bossk, his species, the Trandoshans, got a hat as slavers, mercenaries and bounty hunters.
    • Really, pick an alien in any of the movies, look at what that alien was doing, and odds are that's what his race's hat is.

Anime and Manga


  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-800 wields a minigun in one scene because it is most effective in achieving a particular goal (namely, scaring off the police). Rise of the Machines and Salvation, in contrast, show the T-800s using the minigun as their preferred weapon of choice.
  • In Elmo in Grouchland, we learn that 1) Grouches are a distinct species of monster, 2) they all have exactly the same preferences as Oscar toward trash and snarkiness, and 3) they all have a hidden Heart of Gold as well.



  • Bionicle had Roodaka, a treacherous and cruel female Vortixx, and possible the only toy whose gender you could guess simply by her looks. When we learn of the Vortixx culture, it turns out that every female of her race is as mean, but not only that, as it's also revealed that the whole species looks exactly like her... including the males.

Live Action Television

  • Averted by the Vulcans of Star Trek. Vulcans were defined as a logical species early on, and that gave the writers a hook to develop Spock's personality. (Watch "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before", and "The Man Trap"; Spock is a very different character before he dons the Vulcan logic hat.)
    • While not the first Bajoran seen on screen, Ro Laren was the first with any real amount of screen time. In an episode she shows a more religious side (compared to Geordi). Come Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, religion became the Bajorans' hat.
    • Also, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, There is Guinan the Barkeep, who was always eager to listen to people and offer advice. We later learn she is not human, and even later that she is from a race whose hat is "listening".
  • On the Lois and Clark show, Clark decided to wait for marriage. A cute gesture? When the New Kryptonians show up, they tell him it's a racial quirk.
  • In Stargate, Ra is an evil alien overlord (and sole member of his race seen on screen). Come Stargate SG-1, Ra's race, the Goa'uld, has a Hat of being evil overlords posing as deities.

Video Games

  • Hedgehogs in Sonic the Hedgehog. Turns out they all run fast. Like Sonic.
    • Not quite' Shadow is fast because of his Hover shoes, and Silver is only a little faster than most people whilst flying, but otherwise runs at normal speed, and Amy's not a very fast runner.
  • The Legend of Zelda first established Ganon as a thief in A Link to The Past, where the backstory makes out his attainment of the Triforce to be thievery. Come Ocarina of Time, and it turns out the whole Gerudo tribe, which Ganondorf belongs to, wears a Thievery Hat (though it appears they aren't too fond of how far Ganondorf takes such tendencies).
    • Truth in Television, to an extent; most desert cultures (of which the Gerudo are one) practice raiding more than peoples from more hospitable climes (resource scarcity might also explain the Vikings—and steppe nomads are from a cold desert). The Apache economy in the 19th century is estimated as having been 40% stolen goods.
  • Mostly averted with Mass Effect, as a race's Hat tends to be explained by the crew member of that race or set up before you get a companion of that race. In fact, the different NPCs you meet have a 50/50 chance of exemplifying or subverting a particular race's Hat.
  • In Touhou the tengu and kappa cultures seem to be defined almost entirely by the quirks of Aya and Nitori, respectively. Which leads to the odd consequence of having an entire civilization filled with nothing but Intrepid Reporters and their rival Paparazzi.


Western Animation

  • In the Ronald McDonald cartoon movies, Grimace travels to the island of his people, the Grimaces.
  • In Futurama Dr. Zoidberg's Yiddish accent became the standard one of his entire race.
  • World of Quest inverts this. The techno-organic Way is a living direction finder, and for most of the series is assumed to be representative of her people. Then we meet her people, most of whom have senses of direction on par with Ryoga Hibiki.
  • One episode of Wakfu has Sadlygrove, the "lovable goof" of the series, doing a butt-slapping dance to playfully mock the other team during a sporting event. It's fairly typical conduct for an athlete in the middle of a game, and it lasts for about second and a half. Later on, we meet Sadlygrove's people, the Iops, and they have an entire butt-slapping dance ceremony.
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