Wikus van de Merwe
Played by: Sharlto Copley
A completely ordinary MNU agent who finds himself in an extraordinary situation. When tasked with evicting the aliens from the titular district, Wikus is sprayed by a mysterious alien liquid. He begins to undergo an unusual transformation into something inhuman, forcing him to go on the run.
- Action Survivor
- Adorkable: He has his moments. One of the last scenes in the film is archive footage of him working with the documenters, and he pulls out the little wedding photo of his wife and gushes over her a little bit.
Let me show you my wife...My special angel! She even looks like an angel, with a halo. You want to see that, you see—with the white...the white veil over the...over the head...She even looks like an angel. Everybody insists that his wife is an angel but this is a real angel that you are seeing there...on the cameras...they won't put that in the video, I know.
- And Then Wikus Was A Prawn: See Karmic Transformation.
- Amoral Afrikaner: Subverted. He starts out doing pretty reprehensible things, but he is not a monster, over the course of the movie, her begins to show more of a conscience, as more of MNU's atrocities come to light and as he starts transforming.
- Anti-Hero: Starts off as a Classical Anti-Hero, then evolves into an Unscrupulous Hero over the course of the film.
- Apologetic Attacker
- Badass: Though it takes him a long time — nearly the entire film — to get there, it's spectacular when it happens.
- Break the Haughty
- Character Development
- Chew Toy
- Dirty Coward: Even while armed to the teeth in a Mini-Mecha, his first instinct is still to run.
- Duality Motif: The iris of his left eye turns gold (and huge) at around the seventy-second hour of his transformation into a Prawn.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While it's hard to say how evil he is, (and even whether he qualifies as evil) even he thinks the weapons test he's put through during the movie is disgusting.
- Good Is Not Nice: He would've been a fully-fledged villain if he is completely obsessed with keeping law and order.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Christopher, by the end.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Until it becomes a total conversion.
- Happily Married
- Hero with Bad Publicity
- Hidden Depths: He has quite the artistic side. As noted below, his bumbling persona is at least partly an act; however, he is so far in over his head and freaked out throughout the movie that it's hard to gauge how intelligent he really is.
- Idiot Hero: At times, and intentional.
- Jerkass: Appears to be at first. It's tough to sympathize with him when one of his earlier scenes in the movie has him aborting a nest of prawn eggs and joking about it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: What he eventually develops into, though any scene in which he discusses his wife implies he's been one all along. He's also appalled at the experiments MNU is running on captive prawns and refuses to shoot one during weapons testing.
- Karmic Transformation: Remember the scene where he kills a bunch of baby prawns? Suddenly, seeing him turn into a prawn is a lot more poetic.
- It's also interesting in that it's probably what saves him in the end. If he hadn't turned entirely into a prawn and blended in with the others in District 9, he would've likely been found, captured and sliced up in an MNU laboratory.
- Large Ham
- Lawful Neutral (Invoked by Word of God): Interviews with the creators of the film have said that Wikus is this. He's basically an Obstructive Bureaucrat who is obsessed with rules.
- Noble Bigot
- Not So Different
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: A rare protagonist example.
- Punch Clock Villain: Prior to his Character Development.
- Even prior to this he seems appalled on what the Government is really doing with the Prawns regardless of his condition and had no clue what was going on though this in part fuels his character development. He seems to bear no ill will towards the Prawns even in the beginning. He also calls them Prawns which is considered derogatory though mainly due to lack of a better term and is really just carrying out orders, but due to his condition and the realization on what the government is doing with them he seems to better emphasize with them then he did previously.
- Red Right Hand
- Sir Swears-a-Lot
- Took a Level in Kindness: He gains one after his contact with the alien fluid.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He's able to control a Mini-Mecha, though he unfortunately has no idea how to use it.
- Villain Protagonist: Arguably at the beginning. It Gets Better though.
Played By Jason Cope
An alien in District 9 with a young son, secretly building a ship so he can leave Earth.
Played By N/A
Christopher Johnson's young son.
Tania Smit van de Merwe
Played By Vanessa Haywood
Wikus' loyal and loving wife. She is also the daughter of Piet Smit.
Played By Louis Minaar
The head of the South African MNU. He also happens to be Wikus' father-in-law.
Colonel Koobus Venter
Played By David James
The commander of a mercenary unit, employed by Piet Smit.
Played By Eugene Khumbanyiwa
A paralyzed Nigerian gang leader who wants to gain the 'power' of the aliens by consuming them.