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Played By: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
- The Danza: Joe, as played by Joseph Gordon Levitt.
- Heroic Suicide: Kills himself to stop the cycle that would create the Rainmaker.
- Hitman with a Heart: Develops into this over time, especially with Love Redeems in play.
- Love Redeems: In stark contrast to Old Joe.
- Redemption Equals Death: Redeems himself for his past as a hitman by destroying the main threat in the future... by committing Heroic Suicide.
- Shadow Archetype: He and Old Joe ultimately become this.
- Taking You with Me: Killed himself so Old Joe will cease from existence.
Played By: Bruce Willis
- Anti-Villain: Ultimately a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
- Apologetic Attacker: He cried after killing the first Rainmaker prospect.
- Badass Grandpa: Exceptionally good at combat despite the fact that he's pretty old.
- Bald of Awesome: Initially. Eventually becomes Bald of Evil.
- Big Bad: By killing Abe and charging the plot.
- Crusading Widower: His reason for his mission.
- I Hate Past Me: He has no kind words for Young Joe.
- Love Makes You Evil: The film follows his Protagonist Journey to Villain, though he didn't became "evil" per se.
- He Who Fights Monsters: By trying to stop the events of the past to save his wife, he becomes a child-murdering monster.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: In his quest to stop the Rainmaker, he creates the Rainmaker, making him into the Big Bad by the end of the movie.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Narrowly subverted. If Young Joe hadn't performed a Heroic Suicide, he would have created the very Rainmaker that ruined his life.
- Shadow Archetype: He and Young Joe ultimately become this.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ultimately becomes this as he (almost) creates the Rainmaker.
- Would Hurt a Child: Would kill one, actually.
Played By: Emily Blunt
- Action Mom: Handy with a shotgun when it comes down to it.
- Badass Boast: Her first major line has her delivering one while aiming the rifle at the apparent intruder in the corn field. Played with in that Joe quickly realises she's overcompensating - as she's spending too much time describing what she's going to do than actually doing it.
- Good Bad Girl: She used to be a Hard-Drinking Party Girl but has now reformed. Or is trying to.
- Mama Bear: For Cid.
- Morality Pet: Cid's transformation into the Rain Maker is implied to have been started by watching her get killed. Her influence is what causes him to spare older Joe.
- Parental Abandonment: She didn't want to have Cid and dumped him on her sister for years.
Played By: Paul Dano
- Body Horror: His Cruel and Unusual Death involves Fingore, both An Arm and a Leg and Facial Horror before being Killed Off for Real.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: It isn't pretty.
- Decoy Protagonist: Well, Decoy Deuteragonist.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Implied for young Seth. Abe knows they can't kill him (because he needs to survive long enough to be sent back in time and complete the loop), so instead condemns him to 30 years bedridden with no limbs, tongue, ears or nose. The fact he can (presumably) still talk at least lets him narrowly avert And I Must Scream.
Played By: Noah Segan
- Big Bad Wannabe: Blue has aspirations to be something greater, but he's far too incompetent to be taken seriously.
- Butt Monkey: Things rarely go right for Kid Blue, although it's usually his own fault.
- Determinator: Credit where credit's due; he doesn't give up, even if it's the smart thing to do.
- Especially since this involved driving a hoverbike with a single broken hand, pulling off reasonably accurate shots with his offhand in the meantime.
- Establishing Character Moment: Mishandling his gun and being mocked by his co-workers establishes Blue as a notorious fuck-up.
- The Gunfighter Wannabe: Blue wants to be deadly with a gun, but has clearly been watching too many Westerns. Or maybe not enough.
- Gun Twirling: Frequently does this, even though he's shot himself in the foot before.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He has this relationship with Abe.
Played By: Piper Perabo
- Chekhov's Gunman: Two examples. Her son turns out to be one of the potential candidates to become the future Rain Maker. Old Joe visiting her apartment also leads to Abe's crew catching him.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Implied. She turns down Joe's offer to give her half his silver, insisting she'd rather earn her money on her own.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She seems good-natured enough, and comforts Joe when he's feeling guilt over Seth's death. She's also working as a prostitute to provide for her son.
Played By: Jeff Daniels
- Affably Evil: He takes a friendly tone with his men, giving them advice and cracking jokes.
- Big Bad: Right up until Old Joe kills him.
- Break Them by Talking: His preferred method of dealing with troublemakers. If that doesn't work, he breaks them with a hammer.
- Disc One Final Boss: He's killed by Old Joe before the finale.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Has this relationship with Kid Blue.
Played By: Pierce Gagnon
- Badass Adorable: This little boy has the potential to become a Person of Mass Destruction, being way more powerful than his mother. And he does, in the timeline where he becomes the Rainmaker.
- Facial Horror: After Old Joe shoots him, he gets a pretty nasty wound on his face.
- Future Badass: He is the Rainmaker.
- Greater Scope Villain: As the future Rainmaker.
- Mind over Matter: His powers.
- Power Incontinence: Given how young he is, he has very little control over his abilities.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In the timeline where he becomes the Rainmaker. He watches his mother be killed, and that becomes his Start of Darkness.
Played By: Garrett Dillahunt