Characters: Rango


"Now, remember son: stay in school, eat your veggies, and burn everything but Shakespeare."
The main protagonist of the film. He is a chameleon with aspirations for the stage and stardom, but most of all desires companionship. After being accidentally thrown out of his owner's car, he starts his journey towards his destiny.

Voiced by: Johnny Depp

  • Accidental Aiming Skills
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: During one of his many tall tales, he claims that Rattlesnake Jake is his brother, and he's so immune to his venom that he puts it in his coffee.
  • Adorkable: Or, as appealing as his character design would allow, anyway.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: The film begins with him struggling to discover his identity, and his "birth" as he is thrust out from the safety of his tank into the burning desert. After struggling with an existential crisis for the entire story, Rango finally comes to realise he is the only one who can answer the question, "Who am I?"
  • Becoming the Mask
  • Birds of a Feather: With fellow secretly-lonely lizard Beans.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Though he is willing to put more of a toe out of line than most examples, partially due to his years-long isolation. Take how he has no qualms about touching Beans (in a PG fashion) while she's paralysed.
  • Companion Cube: He has a toy fish and a dismembered doll for "friends".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Though he's generally clumsy and mostly all talk, Rango does display occasional moments of cunning before officially taking a level in badass at the end.
  • Exposed Animal Bellybutton: If you start asking why a chameleon has a navel, you're halfway to asking yourself why he has thumbs, and your Willing Suspension of Disbelief is likely to take a Critical Hit.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Initially.
  • The Fool: Lampshaded by Pappy Mole.
    "He look like he sounds?"
  • Genius Ditz: Rango is very aware that he's only digging himself deeper with his lies, but he's also very aware of his surroundings and is able to competently think up solutions to his problems. He's even able to piece together the mayor's water-hoarding scheme.
  • Genre Savvy: He seems to know a great deal about a variety of genres in fiction, westerns included, and thus doesn't have a hard time blending into Dirt.
    • Large Ham: By choice, to impress the townsfolk.
  • Girly Run
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist
  • The Hero
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: After giving some back robbers an all-access pass to the bank.
  • Hollywood Chameleon: Averted. Rango's color changing abilities are limited and of little use to him in the story.
  • I Have Many Names: Boasts about this before settling on Rango.
    "Well, I'm a man of many epithets. There's my stage name, my pen name, my avatar. I had a pseudonym once, but I had it legally changed. Nom de plume, I have a CB handle, I'm actually one of the few men with a maiden name..."
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Durango cactus juice.
  • Lizard Folk
  • Miles Gloriosus: How Rango gets into this mess in the first place.
  • The Munchausen
  • Nice Hat: Rango gets several bits of choice headwear during the course of the movie, each signifying his progress as a hero of the west;
    • A hat he takes from a patron at the bar, trying to "blend in" after first adopting to persona of Rango. His primary hat, he wears this one more than the others throughout the course of the movie.
    • A showier ten-gallow hat (which he "had marked down from fifteen") he receives upon becoming sheriff.
    • An even showier mariachi-themed hat he picks up once he decides to "get serious".
    • The ladies' bonnet with ribbons he dons during the semi-successful raid on the Mole family's compound.
    • A black, no-nonsense hat mirroring Rattlesnake Jake's own once he truly gets serious.
  • No Name Given: We never hear his real name.
    • Or for that matter, if he even has one. Considering the Arc Words question "Who am I?", he may not know himself.
  • Oral Fixation: Uses his projectile tongue to steal a man's toothpick in the bar scene, and menacingly chews a dragonfly in his duel with Jake.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Often speaks in this. Usually to come off as smarter than he really is.
    "I say we track this pipe back to its hydraulic origin and apprehend the culprits behind this aquatic conundrum."
  • The Sheriff
  • Too Dumb to Live: Um, Rango? It could be a good idea taking off your shirt and blend into the sand when the hawk is flying in the air. Though could be justified, as Rango was naive in the area (long ways from home) and coupled with that he probably wasn't thinking clearly since he appeared to be panicking.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Arguably he does this after killing the hawk to some degree, as he's much braver after that than before and more clever. However, he gets a big one later when he returns from his Heroic BSOD and defeats Rattlesnake Jake. Very strongly proven when he stares Jake down and actually scares the crap out of him.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: As part of a disguise. And hardly has a male hero kicked so much butt while wearing a dress.


A ranch owner, this desert iguana found Rango and brought him to Dirt. She suspects that something has happened to the water supply of the town, that someone is throwing the water out into the desert.

Voiced by: Isla Fisher


A young cactus mouse (or, if you believe Verbinski, an aye-aye) in the town of Dirt. At first she dismisses Rango as "funny-lookin'", she grows to admire him near the end. She has her own pair of revolvers, seems a little too excited about violence and death, and likes to make fun of strangers.

Voiced by: Abigail Breslin

  • Advertised Extra: She was all over the promotional material, almost being advertised as Rango's sidekick. In the movie proper, she's pretty minor.
  • Badass Adorable: She's the cutest (or at the most, the least ugly) character in the whole movie, but she carries a pair of revolvers in her lunchbox.
    "Can I gut-shoot someone?"
  • Creepy Child
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Enfante Terrible
  • Expy: She looks quite a lot like a possum version of Mattie Ross.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: A running gag is she will claim for Rango's boots anytime he is off to do something dangerous.
  • Kids Are Cruel
  • Little Miss Badass: Priscilla wants to be one, and shows Rango she's got a lot of spunk. However, he tells her to stay behind, perhaps too afraid of endangering her. On a side note, their entire dynamic resembles that of Mattie and Cogburn in True Grit.

Tortoise John

He is the mayor of the town of Dirt, who appoints Rango as the sheriff after killing the hawk. He is the wealthiest citizen in Dirt, and is a polite gentleman to the townsfolk, supporting their wishes of a better life. Early in the film, he is the only character with access to the town's supply of water, which makes Beans particularly suspicious. He's also responsible for sealing the water from getting it to the town, which is part of his grand plan to construct a more modern city outside the borders of Dirt (implied to be inspired by seeing the Las Vegas cityscape), which would eventually make it obsolete and the townsfolk forced to move or to face death.

Voiced by: Ned Beatty

Rattlesnake Jake

"You got killer in your eyes, son? I don't see it."

A fearsome, ferocious desert rattlesnake with a gatling gun for a tail and the secondary antagonist. He is called the Grim Reaper and lauded by many as a ruthless killer who "doesn't leave a town without taking a soul." He secretly worked for the Mayor until near the end when the Mayor turned on Jake.

Voiced by Bill Nighy.

  • Badass
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Finishes off the Mayor in the end.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: His rattle is replaced by an artificial machine gun made of revolver cylinders.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted in the final battle, and exploited to cause Jake to waste all his bullets on the mole family's bats.
  • The Big Guy
  • Blood Knight: Killing is his business, and he enjoys his work.
  • The Comically Serious: While Rattlesnake Jake definitely adds a sinister touch to the movie, his second faceoff against Rango cost him a little of his mystique. He is quick to gain it back after the mayor screws up a double cross however.
  • Cool Gun: It's part of his body!
  • Defeat Means Respect: After he loses the battle to Rango at the end, Jake now sees him as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Tells Rango he'll do this if he ever sees him again. As a result of all the myth surrounding him, it's difficult to question if he can actually carry out the threat or not. Due to this and his character in general, the scene where he drags the mayor away screaming certainly has this vibe.
  • The Dragon: To the mayor... At first
  • The Dreaded: Just mentioning him freaks people out.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Upon his first meeting with Rango, one gets the distinct impression that he hates liars.
    "Listen to me, you pathetic fraud..."
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's the largest character apart from the Spirit of the West.
  • Expy: Jake seems to be based on Angel Eyes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, though his sociopathic behavior is very reminiscent of Frank from Once Upon a Time in the West, too.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Comes with the territory of being a rattlesnake.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Falls victim to this in the final battle, first with his fear of hawks and then with his anger at being made a fool of.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a thin jagged scar over his left eye. It's easy to miss outside of close ups.
  • The Gunslinger: A cross between Types B and D. He can pump out huge amounts of fire from that tail, but he can also unleash a quick burst with uncanny accuracy and speed. He pops Wounded Bird from halfway across town based on nothing but the sound of Wounded Bird's gun cocking.
  • Hannibal Lecture/Break the Haughty: He could kill Rango easily enough at their first meeting, but seems to feel that he's not even worthy of that. He calls all Rango's bluffs, humiliates him utterly, and forces him to recant his lies. It crushes the spirits of all the townsfolk.
  • Hero Killer: It's established that he killed the previous sheriff of Dirt, not to mention what Bad Bill says about him.
    "Jake's the Grim Reaper, he never leaves town without taking blooming soul."
  • Heel-Face Turn: In the end of the movie, he strikes peace with Rango and seemingly kills The Mayor.
  • Karma Houdini: He loses a bit of his reputation, but he doesn't suffer anything worse.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When he shows up, the film's tone goes from light and mischievous to high-stakes drama.
  • Large Ham: He has almost as much a flair for the dramatic as Rango, weaving threats of Hell-fire and damnation into his speech at every opportunity.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: To his "brother", Rango.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: He's a cowboy rattlesnake with a gatling gun grafted onto his tail.
  • Noble Demon: Rattlesnake Jake is a contract killer without an ounce of compassion or pity, but he does exhibit a disgust for lies and treachery, and he respects true courage - even in an enemy. Especially in an enemy.
  • Oh Crap!: Inspires this reaction from pretty much everyone when he arrives. He gets one himself when he faces off against Rango and realizes that the chameleon has found the necessary grit to gun him down.
  • Psycho for Hire: It's implied that he isn't in this for the money - his price for service is one life.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His look like the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent
  • Rule of Cool: His Gatling gun/rattle seems to have no realistic way of working (What is the firing mechanism for that thing?) other than that it is very cool.
  • Sadist: He takes a twisted glee in Rango's abject humiliation, and his treatment of the other characters suggests that he loves his work.
  • Shrouded in Myth
  • Slasher Smile
  • The Sociopath: He does not hesitate to kill and feels no need to justify what he does.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Though many would say this is what everyone else thinks of Jake, he is afraid of hawks, which is the only thing keeping him away from Dirt. Rango uses this to their advantage by having the moles form a shape of a hawk to fool Jake. It doesn't fool him for long, but it does make him waste his ammo. This is somewhat ironic, considering the trope's name.
  • Worthy Opponent: His opinion of Rango at the end.
    "I tip my hat to you... One legend to another."
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Not only does Jake give Rango a gun during their first meeting, he aims it at his own face for him and barks at him to pull the trigger, telling Rango that he doesn't have "killer in his eyes". He's right... at that time.


Part of the posse. A horned toad with a simpleton personality and less than appropriate amount of teeth. Regarding to his official information, he writes "surprisingly bad haiku."

Voiced by James "Jim" Ward Byrkit

  • Abusive Parents: His father made him cough up marshmallows he had eaten the last evening for breakfast.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Although everybody (sans Rango, Beans and Wounded Bird) in the town could be considered this, Waffles is perhaps the most prominent example.
  • The Fool
  • Friendly Enemy: Acts as one towards one of the inbred rodents for a very brief moment, warning him that he's about to hit his head.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton
  • Manchild: Waffles has a childlike personality and matching intelligence.
  • Scary Teeth: Most of the townsfolk have bad teeth, but Waffles' big, crooked, rotten teeth are the most visible.

Wounded Bird

Part of the posse and Rango's deputy. A Native American raven who is a quiet bystander and uses a crutch of some sort to help himself walk. His general information from the movie's website states that his tracking skills are legendary and that he's big in Finland for reasons unknown.

Voiced by Gil Birmingham


Part of the posse. An owl of some sort, dresses like a gentleman and, according to his official information, is a professional gambler and can speak in 12 languages.

Voiced by Ian Abercrombie

The Armadillo

Voiced by Alfred Molina

The Mariachi Owls

Rock-Eye the Toad

The Hawk

  • Necessary Evil: The townsfolk of Dirt are frightened of the hawk, but if it dies, Rattlesnake Jake might show up. Nobody wants that.
  • Silent Snarker: Has no dialogue outside of screeching, but smirks at Rango while operating the vending machine.

Mr. Johannes "Fluffy Joe" Merrimack III


The Mole Family

Belligerent, numerous, and possessed of strange ideas concerning property ownership. They are a community unto themselves, headed by their patriarch, known simply as "Pappy".

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The armament shown by the moles includes guns, dynamite, hatchets, knives of various sizes, digging equipment, a cheese grater and an egg beater.
  • Clear My Name: Their reason for helping Rango take on Rattlesnake Jake.
  • Decoy Antagonist: They are set up to be the cause of Dirt's water problems. At first.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pappy has his moments.
  • Deep South: Yes. Even though they're all native to the Southwest, the Mole Clan is pretty much one big satirical look at this trope.
  • The Dragon: Maybelle, the de-facto leader when Pappy is absent. She is the only other named mole.
  • Evil Cripple: Pappy is both blind, and uses a cane. Not that he really needs the cane, he mostly just uses it to whup on his progeny. Maybelle has a clubfoot and correcting foot wear.
  • The Family That Slays Together
  • Gatling Good: Several of the bats are loaded with pepper-mill style guns.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Averted. They are in fact quite useful both below ground, and high above it.
  • Gonk: And considering the Ugly Cute nature of the rest of the characters, that's saying something.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Rango enlists their aid to take out Rattlesnake Jake in exchange for freeing their family members from Dirt's jail and clearing their name.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: They even have a system worked out, complete with rousing cry and a platoon of trained bats.
    I likes it when they run.
  • Made of Explodium: ...The hell are they feeding those bats?!
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Their attempt to rob the bank of Dirt reveals that the water was already gone when they got there.
  • Noodle Implements: The "prospecting equipment" Rango gives them includes an Etch-A-Sketch.
  • The Nose Knows: Pappy, who is blind, seems to navigate primarily though smell. Which is not unusual for a mole.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Moles let out a gobbling war cry (possibly inspired by the rebel yell?) before giving chase to Rango's wagon.
    Pappy: Maybelle! Give the holler!"
  • Stuff Blowing Up: They make liberal use of dynamite, their bats explode when they crash, and while not an actual example, the destruction visited upon Dirt by returning the water invokes the image.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Pappy, who is well aware of it, and not at all happy about it. His walking stick sees more use thumping heads than as a blind man's cane.
  • Threat Backfire: See Zerg Rush.
  • Villain Song: The Mole chant.
  • Zerg Rush: The Mole family might have more extra chromosomes than teeth, but one marvels at the problems that can be solved by throwing the sum total of your kinsman at a given situation. Overlaps with We Have Reserves in the final fight, where the plan is to have Rattlesnake Jake empty his guns shooting at them so Rango can safely walk right up to him with his One Bullet.
    Rango: We've got you surrounded! You and your entire family get your hands up where I can see 'em!
    Pappy: (chuckles) My entire family?