Shapeshifting is the ability to alter one's appearance and body.
- James Martin had this ability naturally.
- Rhia Petrelli also possesses this ability naturally.
- Hannah Deveaux also possesses this ability naturally.
- Gabriel Gray has taken this ability, from James Martin in World 2, and from Rhia in World 8.
- Peter Petrelli has mimicked this ability from Gabriel in World 2, and from Rhia in World 8.
- Noah Gray has also mimicked this ability.
- Abbie Gray has also absorbed the ability.
- Robert Max has also mimicked this ability from Rhia.
- Jessica Sky Petrelli has absorbed this ability.
- Josh Davis also has this ability.
- Tori Petrelli will also possess this ability naturally.
- An unnamed villain in the future of World 2 has displayed this ability.
- Leo Castern has duplicated this ability from Rhia, but subsequently lost it.
- A Peruvian terrorist is known to possess this ability.
- Tyler Cooper has this ability naturally.
- An unnamed villain in World 8 had been given this ability using ability granting.
- Kosei Akiyama will also have this ability naturally.
James seemed only to be able to shift his entire body, and only to copy the forms of others. It is unknown whether he could have in future learned to change specific aspects of his appearance. He needed to gain physical contact with the person before he could shift into them, or access their DNA in another way. The process appeared to be painful and slightly slow. It was shown that his own DNA did not alter when he shifted his appearance, meaning this could still be used to identify him.
Rhia can shift either small aspects of her appearance, or her entire body. She also doesn't need to copy an existing form, and she doesn't need contact. However, if she attempted to copy the form of another, she'd need knowledge of it and would be likely to make mistakes or miss something. The process is painful for her too, but she has by now learned to bear it. She has also occasionally used the ability for other purposes apart from changing her appearance, like shrinking her throat to avoid being choked, and increasing her muscle mass to increase her physical strength.
Hannah can change her appearance at will, and can also change the appearance of any clones she produces using replication. She can also copy the appearance of any existing people, and tends to change her appearance completely instead of altering specific features. She previously had a selection of favourite faces which she'd use often, but doesn't do this as regularly, recently, having grown out of doing so.
In World 2, Gabriel gained this ability from James Martin, and therefore has the same version as he does. At first he did not have much control over this ability - it would activate subconsciously, triggered by identity crises, and he would often find that he would shift in his sleep. However, he has also shown that he can shift small aspects of his appearance, such as changing one eye or moving the spot in his brain which controls regeneration. He has also gained conscious control over the ability. It is unknown whether the capacity to change small aspects is a part of this increased control. In World 8 he gained the ability from Rhia, and therefore has her limits.
In World 2, Peter has absorbed the ability from both Hannah and James Martin indirectly, therefore he has both of their versions. He did not suffer any of the crises Sylar did at first. In World 8 he has similar limits to Rhia.
Noah has the same limits as James Martin and as Hannah. He can mimic a complete appearance if he has access the person's DNA, and can also change his appearance at will. He has never suffered the identity crises which his father did at first.
Abbie has the same limits as her twin brother.
Robert seems to have the same limits with the ability as Rhia does.
Jess has similar limits to her mother.
Josh can use his ability to make himself look physically like anybody else.
Tori will be able to change any aspect of her appearance at will, and will also be able to copy the appearance of others perfectly in order to impersonate them. She'll use this ability as an adult to give herself what she feels is the perfect appearance for her. At first she'll find the process of shifting painful, but she'll overcome this when still a child.
Unnamed Villain In World 2
This villain used the ability to pose as Elle Bishop successfully. He or she hadn't needed any contact with Elle or exposure to her DNA to do so.
Since Leo gained this ability from Rhia, he had the same limits as she does. He used it twice to disguise himself before he lost it.
This individual's limits are unclear, but are likely to be similar to James Martin's. He is likely to need access to a person's DNA before he can mimic their form, and can only probably copy another.
Tyler can use this ability in two ways. He can either shift small aspects of his appearance at will, or he can copy another's appearance completely if he has previously accessed their DNA through touch. He can alter his face, his physique, his skin, his hair and his voice. He tends only to use the ability on missions, to disguise himself if he needs to. The process is easy, quick and painless for him.
Unnamed Villain In World 8
Initially, Kosei will only be capable of altering his physical appearance by copying others. He will need to have seen the person but will not need contact or genetic material. He could theoretically shapeshift from a photograph. The process will be fast, and his skin will seem to ripple and move as he changes. Later in life, he will occasionally be able to alter small individual aspects of himself too. One of these uses will be moving the weak spot given by his dragon mimicry.
- Appearance alteration is the ability to alter other people's appearance
- Biokinesis can be used to manipulate one's appearance
- Illusion can be used to look like another by manipulating air and light to deceive the senses
- Telepathy, psychokinesis and telepathic control can make others think you're someone else
- Metamorphing, formshifting and DNA manipulation can all be used to alter appearance
- DNA mimicry can be used to copy a person's appearance and abilities
- Trace shifting can be used to alter some features
- Identity theft is the ability to copy another undetectably
- Cytokinesis can be used to change one's cells to appear differently
- Body manipulation can also be used to alter one's appearance and that of others
- Desire shapeshifting is the ability to shapeshift into an appearance others find attractive
- Gender shifting is the ability to alter one's gender
- Unconscious shapeshifting is the ability to shapeshift while asleep
- Subliminal shapeshifting is the ability to shapeshift according to one's subconscious desires
- Leptokinesis can be used to change one's appearance