A strange Pokemon character that only appears in the Pokemon Trading Card Game was originally intended to appear in Pokemon Gold and Silver as a villain. Longtime fans of the Pokemon Trading Card Game probably recognize Imposter Professor Oak, a strange villainous character who resembles the famed Pokemon professor, save for a distinctive scar on his forehead. No reason is given for why this person is posing as Professor Oak, but the character was recognizable enough to appear on multiple Pokemon cards. The Imposter Professor Oak remains shrouded in mystery, but the beta leak of Pokemon Gold and Silver provided some critical context about the character's likely role in the franchise.
The infamous "1997 Spaceworld beta" version of Pokemon Gold and Silver has a sprite for Imposter Professor Oak in the game. It seems that the character was originally part of Pokemon Gold and Silver's plotline, but it was dropped at some point between 1997 and 1999. This would explain Imposter Professor Oak's appearance in the original card set, which was released back in 1996. The Spaceworld Beta also featured Giovanni appearing during Team Rocket's takeover of the Goldenrod City radio tower. Since Oak also appears at the Goldenrod City radio tower to record his daily radio show, it could be that Team Rocket originally hired some sort of imposter to help infiltrate the radio station.
Although we never learned who the real Imposter Professor Oak is, several other parts of the Pokemon franchise has paid homage to this infamous character. James successfully imitated Professor Oak in an episode of the Pokemon anime (which was also set at the Goldenrod City Gym), and the Imposter has also appeared in the Pokemon Adventures manga as a hallucination. We haven't seen the Imposter Professor Oak appear in any sort of Pokemon media in nearly 18 years, but it's always possible that this mysterious villain could make a comeback.
Are you surprised that the Pokemon Company originally had plans for Imposter Professor Oak? Let us know in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @CHofferCBus to talk all things Pokemon.