%%Do not leave trope names hanging - give context.

%%AlternativeCharacterInterpretation can apply to just about any of these characters and YMMV highly. There's a reason why this play was extremely controversial when it came out. All interpretations are welcome but treat others' interpretations with the respect you'd want them to give yours.

The characters in the hit rock opera and musical ''Music/JesusChristSuperstar''. As they are based upon characters in ''Literature/TheFourGospels'', see also [[Characters/TheFourGospels the character page]] for their biblical inspiration.



The leader of the Twelve Disciples; a man called the "Son of God" and the "King of the Jews."

* {{Bishonen}}: Particularly Glenn Carter's Jesus.
* BornInTheWrongCentury
-->''If you'd come today you would have reached the whole nation / Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication''
* BreakTheCutie: He's a kind and well-meaning preacher who feels overwhelmed by his ministry. Then, he's betrayed by one of his closest followers, arrested, tortured, denounced by several of his own people, and executed on trumped-up charges.
* CelibateHero: Well, unless the production goes ''that'' direction with his relationship with Mary Magdalene...
* CrucifiedHeroShot: The final scene of the music depicts Jesus on the cross.
* DoomedByCanon: It's a given that he will be crucified by the Romans.
* HeroicBSOD: "Gethsemane". He admits that his ministry has left him sad and exhausted, that he's terrified of his impending execution, and that he doesn't understand why God is allowing all of his trials and tribulations to happen.
* HeroicSacrifice: Lets himself be crucified as per God's plan.
* HippieJesus: Taken UpToEleven in the 1973 film, where he ''is'', for all intents and purposes, a hippie actor.
** Most other productions tend to retain at least some aspects of the hippie look as well.
* HurtingHero
-->Nail me to your cross and break me\\
Bleed me, beat me\\
Kill me, take me now
* IncorruptiblePurePureness
* JesusWasCrazy: According to Pilate and Judas.
* JesusWasWayCool: According to Mary Magdalene, Simon and Caiaphas.
* LightIsGood: In many productions, he is dressed in white or off-white.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: He doesn't commit any miracles in the course of the play, and most productions leave the question of his divinity open-ended.
* MetalScream: Present in almost every version of "The Last Supper" and "Gethsemane", largely due to the OriginalCastPrecedent of Ian Gillan on the concept album.
* ProtagonistTitle
* RaceLift: Very much downplayed. Jesus of the Gospels was a Middle Eastern man, but most performances of ''Jesus Christ Superstar'' cast European fair skinned actors for the role of Jesus. In real life there are light-skinned Middle Eastern people who can pass for white Americans or Englishmen and the Jewish tribe to which Jesus was born to is known to have white skin. Albeit dark by Western European standards but real life Jesus's complexion would have resembled your stereotypical Sicilian or other Southern European.
** Played completely straight in the 2018 NBC performance casts an African American performer as Jesus.
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth
* UnwittingPawn: Of God himself. In the "Gethsemane" scene, Jesus doesn't realize what role his death will play in God's plan and can only hope that it will not be in vain.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Judas and the Council ''think'' Jesus is a revolutionary fomenting rebellion. In reality, violent revolution is the ''last'' thing Jesus wants.


One of the Twelve Apostles, Judas was initially Jesus's right hand man but has grown concerned about the cult of personality surrounding Jesus, believing it's overgrown his teachings. His political and interpersonal disagreements with Jesus set the plot of the play in motion.

* AlasPoorVillain
-->''So long Judas \\
Poor old Judas''
* AngryBlackMan: In the original Broadway production, the original film, and 2018 live version.
* AntagonistInMourning: He suffers a complete emotional breakdown after his betrayal of Jesus and subsequently hangs himself.
* AntiVillain: Portrayed very sympathetically throughout the play.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Depending on how you interpret his character, his being played by a balding young man who hasn't shaved recently in the 2000 version either subverts or plays it straight.
** Music/TimMinchin in the 2012 tour makes a pretty convincing case for Judas being good.
** That goes double for Josh Young in the 2012 Broadway revival
* BetrayalByInaction: He actually threatens to ''not'' betray Jesus just to spite him and God's plans.
* BlatantLies:
-->''(about Mary)'' "It's not that I object to her profession..."
-->''(to the high priests)'' "Jesus wouldn't mind that I'm here with you!"
* BSODSong: "Judas's Death", wherein he realizes that God chose him to be the one to betray Jesus.
* DoomedByCanon: See DrivenToSuicide, below.
* DrivenToSuicide: He hangs himself after betraying Jesus.
* EvilCostumeSwitch: in the 2000 film, after betraying Jesus to the Pharisees, Judas takes off his jacket to show off his black shirt, and starts wearing red after committing suicide.
** In the 2012 Live Arena tour, he wears grey and green, before switching to black post-suicide.
* JerkassFacade: In public, he's an angry, judgmental contrarian. Beneath the surface, he's worried about the future of Jesus' ministry, conflicted about betraying him, and later devastated by the harm he brought down on his friend.
* KilledMidSentence: "You have murdered me! MURDERED ME! MURDERED..."
* TheLancer: Serves as a foil to Jesus and calls him out on some of his beliefs and practices.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: "Judas's Death".
* NecessarilyEvil:
-->I came because I had to; I'm the one who saw.
-->Jesus can't control it like he did before.
* NeverMyFault: On a meta level - whilst other characters have the deeds accredited to them in the Bible presented in different ways to make them more or less sympathetic, Judas actually has negative aspects of his character removed entirely (such as his robbing from the Apostle's purse) to make him more sympathetic.
* NoIndoorVoice: in the original film.
* OnlySaneMan: Believes himself to be this.
* RaceLift: Judas was a Middle Eastern man in the Gospels, but he's depicted as an African American man in some versions of ''Jesus Christ Superstar''.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: "Judas's Death".
-->God, I'll never ever know \\
Why you chose me for your crime \\
For your foul bloody crime.
* TheResenter: He's jealous of Mary, calling her out for her past involvement in prostitution. He's also distrustful of Jesus.
* SlutShaming: Chastises Jesus for associating with a woman of Mary's profession.
* SourSupporter: He admires Jesus, but strongly disagrees with a lot of his actions and proclamations.
* SupportingProtagonist: The story is largely told from his perspective.
* TearsOfRemorse: After he sees the extent of Jesus's punishment at the hands of the Romans.
* UnwittingPawn: Of God, no less.
-->My God, I am sick. \\
I've been used! \\
And you knew \\
All the time!
* VillainousBreakdown: During "Judas's Death", he's overwhelmed with grief and guilt for betraying Jesus. His cocky assertiveness is gone, replaced by anguish.

[[folder:Simon Zealotes]]

A belligerent apostle who urges Jesus to lead his followers into battle against the Romans.

* AngryBlackMan: In the original film.
* {{Bishonen}}: In the 2000 film and the 2018 NBC performance.
* LaResistance: A militant leader looking to overthrow Roman power.
* LargeHam: '''AAAAA-MEEEEEEEEN!!!'''
* LyricalDissonance: His song is an energetic, joyful song and dance number about trying to convince Jesus to rebel against Roman rule.
* PoisonousFriend: He tries to get Jesus to declare war on Rome in order to gain absolute power.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Calls for a war against Rome.


One of the Twelve Apostles, prophesized to deny Jesus three times.

* AngryBlackMan: Peter gets a bit of this in the 2000 film.
* KarmaHoudini: Judas: Betray Christ once, suicide and eternal damnation. Peter: Deny Christ three times, become the first pope.
** YMMV, as he also was the only of the Apostles to follow after Jesus, even when he told them to make a break for it.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: He's overcome with shame after he publicly denies being one of Jesus' followers.

[[folder:Mary Magdalene]]

The only major female character in the play - formerly a prostitute, now a follower of Jesus who finds herself falling in love with him.

* BeneathTheMask: "I Don't Know How to Love Him" reveals she's just as clueless as everyone about what to make of him.
* CompositeCharacter: She combines elements of herself with that of Mary, the sister of Martha, whose "waste" of costly perfume on Jesus was derided by Judas.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
-->'''Mary:''' "[[LampshadedDoubleEntendre And I've had so many men before, in very many ways]], he's (Jesus) just one more."
* TheHeart: She comforts Jesus when he's stressed. In some performances, such as the 2018 NBC musical, she calms down other members of Jesus' entourage and tempers their anger.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: She's the holiest of ho's, alright.
* NumberTwo: Judas believes that she has usurped his role as Jesus's most trusted follower.
* SlutShaming: Judas is jealous of Mary's close relationship with Jesus and mocks her for being a former prostitute.


The high priest who sees Jesus as a threat to the nation.

* AntiVillain: He's an arrogant religious leader who arranges for an innocent man's arrest and execution. However, he did so because he honestly believed that Jesus' followers were about to carry out a rebellion, which would have prompted the Roman occupiers to crush Judea in retaliation.
* BaldBlackLeaderGuy: The 2000 version.
* BassoProfundo: The role of Caiaphas is traditionally given to men with voices in the deepest vocal range.
* TheChessmaster: He plays a major role in Jesus' arrest, having convinced Judas to reveal Jesus' wearabouts and urging the Roman authorities to crucify Jesus.
* EvilSoundsDeep: He's the only bass in the show, and one of the few in all of music theater. (Not only that, he's actually a ''basso profundo'', which is rarer still).
* GoodColorsEvilColors: In the 1973 film and the 2018 NBC performance, Caiaphas and the other priests wear black clothing, in contrast to Jesus' white clothing.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: He believes that the actions of Jesus will have negative repercussions for the entire Jewish race.
* ImpossiblyCoolClothes: In the 2018 NBC version, Caiaphas and the other priests are wearing long black coats covered with geometric patterns, making them look both futuristic and sinister.
* KickTheDog: It's pretty damn cruel to mock Judas for having been paid 'pretty good wages for one little kiss' in betraying Jesus when Caiaphas forced him to accept the money to give to charity as a 'fee' to begin with.
* NecessarilyEvil: See IDidWhatIHadToDo, above. He believed that Jesus' followers were about to launch a rebellion, which could have thrown Judea into chaos.
* TheNeedsOfTheMany: The stated rationale for the priests' actions:
-->'''Caiaphas:''' For the sake of the nation, this Jesus must die!
* ScaryBlackMan: His 2000 version is a commanding, intimidating, black man.
* SopranoAndGravel: Contrasted with high-voiced Annas, who is usually played by a countertenor.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: With Annas.
* VillainRespect: In earlier versions of the music, he thinks "Jesus is cool" for not openly preaching violence against Rome. Averted in later versions, in which his line about Jesus' coolness is replaced with "Infantile sermons; the multitudes drool".
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Caiaphas is driven by a desire to avoid 'blood and destruction' against the Jews.


A Jewish priest, Caiaphas's second-in-command.

* AgeLift: In history he was the older man and Caiaphas' father-in-law, most productions present him as a younger SmugSnake sidekick.
* BaldOfEvil: In the 2000 film and the 2018 NBC performance.
* TheDragon: To Caiaphas.
* GoodColorsEvilColors: In the 1973 film and the 2018 NBC performance, Annas and the other priests wear black clothing, in contrast to Jesus' white clothing.
* ImpossiblyCoolClothes: In the 2018 NBC version, Annas and the other priests are wearing long black coats covered with geometric patterns, making them look both futuristic and sinister.
* {{Jerkass}}:
** He makes no attempt to hide his contempt for the "carpenter king", who he calls a "hero of fools". He also sneers at Jesus' followers, calling them "blockheads" and "half-witted fans" who could easily get out of control.
** He makes no attempt to empathize with a distraught Judas, dismissing his emotional breakdown as histrionics.
-->'''Annas:''' Cut the confessions. Forget the excuses. I don't understand why You're filled with remorse.
* LackOfEmpathy: The coldest of the priests, who says he can't really understand why Judas is filled with remorse for betraying Jesus since he 'backed the right horse' in the end.
* RaceLift: In the 2018 NBC version, he's played by Jin Ha, who (as his name suggests) is East Asian.
* SmugSnake: He sneers at the early Christians' devotion to Jesus, but fails to understand what Jesus stands for or what his death will achieve.
* SopranoAndGravel: He is played by a countertenor, which is the highest of male voices, to contrast him with BadassBass Caiaphas.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: With Caiaphas.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Like Caiaphas, Annas is driven by a desire to save the Jewish people from Rome's wrath.

[[folder:Pontius Pilate]]

The Governor of Judea tasked with Jesus's trial.

* AlliterativeName: '''P'''ontius '''P'''ilate.
* AntiVillain: He harbors no ill will toward Jesus and admits that he has no legal grounds to execute him. He feels anguish when forced to choose between punishing an innocent man and allowing his angry subjects to get out of control.
* ChewingTheScenery: Fred Johanson takes this to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFUYxkdIv10 epic proportions]] in the 2000 film, as does Ben Daniels in the 2018 NBC performance.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome:"Pilate's Dream", in which he meets with Jesus and is responsible for his death.
* IgnoredEpiphany: Takes little no no note of his prophetic dream.
* LargeHam[=/=]PunctuatedForEmphasis: "What? Doooooooo you mean by that? Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat is nooooooooooooot! An aaaaaaaaaaaan! Swer!"
* MundaneMadeAwesome: He counts along while Jesus is flogged to the tune of heavy metal guitar.
* OutDamnedSpot: ''I wash my hands of your demolition!''.
* PeerPressureMakesYouEvil: He ''does not want'' to execute Jesus and insists that Jesus has committed no crime. Peer pressure from the priests and the mob drives him to have Jesus flogged, then to foist Jesus' case onto Herod instead of setting him free.
-->'''The Mob:''' Remember Caesar! You have a duty to keep the peace, so crucify him! Remember Caesar! You'll be demoted! You'll be deported! Crucify him!"
* PuttingOnTheReich: In the 2000 film.
** He ends up looking like a weird {{Expy}} of [[Franchise/StreetFighter M. Bison/Vega]].
*** "For you, the day Bison/Vega crucified your Christ was the most important day of your life. [[ButForMeItWasTuesday But For Me, It Was Friday.]]"
* ShamingTheMob:
** He lambasts the mob screaming for Jesus to be crucified, since he sees Jesus as a harmless crazy man being used as a scapegoat by the mob for the revolutionary rumblings his presence set off.
** He also calls members of the crowd hypocrites for insisting, "We have no king but Caesar", pointing out that they hate the Roman occupiers more than they hate Jesus.
* ATasteOfTheLash: Unwilling to execute a man, he first orders Jesus to be whipped instead.


The King of Galilee; Jesus is brought to him for judgment after first being taken to Pilate.

* BerserkButton: Ignoring him and not performing the miracles he wants makes Herod positively explode.
* CampStraight: For all his camp and debauchery, he's a married man.
* CardCarryingVillain: The only unashamedly evil character and is not suffering an existential crisis.
* ChewingTheScenery: Alice Cooper delivers a flamboyant performance as Herod, complete with dancing girls, during the 2018 NBC performance.
* FatBastard: In the 70s production, Herod is noticeably paunchy and quite the nasty jerk.
* IronicEcho: Jesus says "Get out!" first when clearing the temple then to Judas. Herod drives him away with the same words.
* LargeHam: Oh yes!
* RoyalBrat: Interested in getting things his way, having fun and enjoying life.
* SissyVillain: Some performances depict him as effete and flamboyant.

* TheChessmaster
* ThePlan / GambitRoulette: For the highest of stakes and with his own son's life as the ante.
* TheUnseen: He doesn't actually appear in the musical.