Characters / Jesus Christ Superstar


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


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.

  • Alas, Poor Villain
    So long Judas
    Poor old Judas''
  • Angry Black Man: In both the original Broadway production and the original film.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: He suffers a complete emotional breakdown after his betrayal of Jesus and subsequently hangs himself.
  • Anti-Villain: Portrayed very sympathetically throughout the play.
  • Apologetic Attacker
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: 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.
    • Tim Minchin in the 2012 tour makes a pretty convincing case for Judas being good.
    • That goes double for Josh Young in the 2012 Broadway revival
  • Betrayal by Inaction: He actually threatens to not betray Jesus just to spite him and God's plans.
  • Blatant Lies:
    (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!"
  • B.S.O.D. Song: "Judas's Death", wherein he realizes that God chose him to be the one to betray Jesus.
  • Doomed by Canon: See Driven to Suicide, below.
  • Driven to Suicide: He hangs himself after betrying Jesus.
  • Evil Costume Switch: 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.
  • Jerkass Façade
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: "You have murdered me! MURDERED ME! MURDERED..."
  • Knight in Sour Armor
  • The Lancer: Serves as a foil to Jesus and calls him out on some of his beliefs and practices.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: "Judas's Death".
  • Necessarily Evil:
    I came because I had to; I'm the one who saw.
    Jesus can't control it like he did before.
  • Never My Fault: 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.
  • No Indoor Voice: in the original film.
  • Only Sane Man: Believes himself to be this.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: "Judas's Death".
    God, I'll never ever know
    Why you chose me for your crime
    For your foul bloody crime.
  • The Resenter: Jealous of Mary and distrustful of Jesus.
  • Slut-Shaming: Chastises Jesus for associating with a woman of Mary's profession.
  • Sour Supporter: He admires Jesus, but strongly disagrees with a lot of his actions and proclamations.
  • Supporting Protagonist: The story is largely told from his perspective.
  • Tears of Remorse: After he sees the extent of Jesus's punishment at the hands of the Romans.
  • Unwitting Pawn: of God, no less.
    My God, I am sick.
    I've been used!
    And you knew
    All the time!
  • Villainous Breakdown: "Judas's Death".

Simon Zealotes

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


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

  • Angry Black Man: Peter gets a bit of this in the 2000 film.
  • Karma Houdini: 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.

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.


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


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

Pontius Pilate

The Governor of Judea tasked with Jesus's trial.


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