Played by: Charlie CoxThe protagonist.
- Action Hero: In the climax.
- Adaptation Name Change: Originally Tristran in the novel, but changed to the more conventional sounding Tristan for the film.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Yvaine, before they confess their love three quarters into the film.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Shakespeare gives his hair extensions when he starts his training with the pirates and he takes a level in badass.
- Nice Guy: Despite the incredible Belligerent Sexual Tension between him and Yvaine and his rude behaviour toward her (of course, she doesn't make things any easier), Tristan is a very sweet and romantic guy.
- Not Staying for Breakfast: Wakes up before Yvaine so he can give a lock of her hair to Victoria (as per their agreement) and then tell her he's no longer interested, intending to get back before she wakes up. Sadly, Yvaine wakes up before he gets back and interprets his actions differently...
- Out-of-Character Moment: And a pretty jarring one, too. The otherwise sweet, romantic, considerate Tristan's first reaction on seeing an injured woman on the ground is to force her to walk on her injured leg for a several-day journey to his village, just so he can present her as a gift to his crush. Granted, he had originally intended to use the Babylon Candle to get back, then opted not to use it so he could give it to her to get home afterwards, but that's still pretty callous.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Yvaine.
- Spared by the Adaptation: The book opts for a Bittersweet Ending by having him die of old age, leaving Yvaine to rule in his stead. The movie avoids this with a Prophecy Twist: thanks to their love, he metaphorically possesses Yvaine's heart, and therefore benefits from the immortality it confers. The two use a Babylon Candle to join the stars once their children are old enough to rule.
- The Reveal: He's the son of Princess Una, and therefore an heir to the throne of Stormhold. Everyone (barring Una) was completely unaware of this fact until the end of the movie—after all of Tristan's uncles have been killed, making him the only remaining heir and therefore the new king of Stormhold.
- Took a Level in Badass: Halfway through the movie when he gets a Training Montage from Captain Shakespeare and his crew.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One can only assume the otherwise sweet and considerate Tristain forces injured Yvaine to walk on her bad leg just so he can give her as a present to his crush because she's a star, therefor not worthy of the same kindness as he gives other human beings.
Played by: Claire Danes
- Break the Cutie: When she thinks Tristain left her for Victoria the morning after they slept together.
- Deadpan Snarker: For a star who spent most of her life by herself in the sky, she sure can be quite snarky.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Initially is very cold and rude to Tristan —considering they met when he chained her up and forced her to walk many miles on her injured leg just so he could give her as a gift to his crush, it's kind of hard to blame her for not liking him at first—, but eventually warms up to him and even falls in love with him.
- Fish out of Water: She is quite naïve and not exactly well-versed in human behaviour; for example she has no idea what a massage is. Justified in that stars can only watch from a distance; they can't hear or interact with earthlings.
- Fountain of Youth: Anyone who consumes the heart of a star gets extra years added to their life. The happier the star when killed, the more years added.
- Not a Morning Person: Or a day person, really. Stars come out at night.
- Phosphor-Essence: Yvaine glows more brightly the happier she is.
- Power Glows: Her ability to shine when she's happy. However, it's more for than just aesthetic purposes, as Yvaine completely vaporises Lamia when she really shines.
- The Power of Love: What allows her to defeat Lamia.
- Road Trip Romance: Falls for Tristan on their way back to his village.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Tristan.
- Stars Are Souls: And in this case people, when they fall to Earth.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Finds herself on the receiving end of this quite a bit. Otherwise kind and gallant Tristan thinks nothing of forcing her, an injured woman, to walk a few days' journey to give as a present to his crush just because she's a star rather than a human, and several other characters think nothing of wanting to butcher her and eat her heart just to restore their own youth.
Played by: Michelle PfeifferThe main antagonist.
- Adaptational Villainy: While her goal is still essentially the same in both versions, she's a lot nastier in the movie. In the book, she's a Graceful Loser once she realizes she's lost Yvaine's heart for good, and there's no hint that she'd ever betray her sisters. The movie plays up her vanity and selfishness much more, to the point where she rejoices when her sisters die because it means she won't have to share Yvaine's heart. Of course, her actions towards everyone else up until the climax are the same in the book and the movie, so she was never nice.
- Cast from Lifespan: Every time she uses her magic, she loses a little more of her youth and beauty.
- The Hecate Sisters: Takes the role of the Maiden, as she is the most active and outwardly youthful of her sisters.
- Hot Witch: When she regains some of her youth at the beginning of the film.
- Shoulders-Up Nudity: When she becomes young, she drops her robe and looks at herself in the mirror. But not without giving the audience a sexy look as she does so.
- Solitary Sorceress: Lives in a crumbling manor/castle in the middle of a wasteland with her two sisters.
- Technicolor Fire: Her magic manifests as green flame.
- Vain Sorceress: Her main goal in the film is to eat Yvaine's heart to completely restore her youth and beauty.
Played by: Mark Strong
- Adaptational Badass: In the books, his preferred weapon was poison, and he dies quite easily against the Witch. In the film he's a blade-wielding badass, that ends up killing one of the witches before being defeated.
- Anti-Villain: He's utterly ruthless and is planning to eat Yvaine's heart for the immortality, but he's also pragmatic, able to be reasonable, and also doesn't seem to kill without cause (though he does consider mocking him to be cause).
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Lamia. At least, until Lamia kills him off and takes her status as the sole Big Bad. However, his goals initially do not clash with Tristan's, and they team up to take on the witches.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Ultimately proves no match for Lamia and her sisters, as they easily finish him off and turn him into an undead puppet.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Una disappeared for years and is presumed dead, and Septimus is known to have killed several of his older brothers, but he is still deeply offended that everyone assumes he must have killed Una as well. As he points out, he would have no reason to kill her, given that Stormhold is an Heir Club for Men—as a daughter she's not in the line of succession anyway.
- Pet the Dog: A minor one, but he does offer to let Primus live if he does not pursue the stone, something unheard of in Stormhold history. Later on, he also lets Bernard live after the rest of his men get killed fighting Shakespeare's crew.
Played by: Robert De Niro
- Everybody Knew Already: When he's accidentally outed as Camp Gay in front of his crew, they tell him they always knew.
- Jerkass Façade: He pretends to be tough and threatening in front of his crew, but is secretly Camp Gay and quite a nice guy.
- Large Ham: You can tell Robert De Niro had fun playing this role.
Played by: Sienna Miller
- False Soulmate: Tristan wholeheartedly believes he and Victoria are meant for each other. He learns better over the course of the film.
- It's All About Me: What Victoria seems to think, even after Tristan flat out tells her to "get over herself."
- Romantic False Lead: Given her unpleasant behaviour and stringing Tristan along, and that she's in less than five scenes for the whole movie, it's quite obvious she's this for Tristan.
- Satellite Love Interest: Tristan would do absolutely anything to win her heart, though she's due to marry another man. And that's pretty much all we know about her. As his relationship with Yvaine the fallen star grows, Yvaine even points out that she's not exactly proving her love to him the way he is to her... and eventually, he figures this out himself and dumps her for Yvaine.
- Spoiled Brat: In the original book, she was actually Spoiled Sweet, whereas here her only sweetness is that she's nice to Tristan out of pity, and stops being nice the minute she actually expects something of him. Otherwise, she only thinks of herself.
Played by: Jason Flemyng
- Adaptational Wimp: He was a lot more cunning in the story. He was always highly suspicious of Septimus, and in the book, Tertius was killed by poison, while Primus always made sure to carry his own prepared drink. In the film, Primus only survives the poisoning through sheer luck. Other scenes, like when he outwits Septimus at the harbor, were omitted.
- Blue Blood: The first born son of Stormhold's king. Also turns out to be a literal example of the trope when he gets his throat cut by Lamia.
- Nice Guy: While still a bit snooty, he is friendly and welcoming to Tristan.
Played by: Rupert Everett
- Decoy Protagonist: He enters his dying father's bedroom to heroic music, tosses his hair... and is pushed out of the window by Septimus.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Introduced early in the movie, and swiftly killed by Septimus. In the book he was dead before the story started.
Played by: Mark Heap
- Death by Sex: In the book, he dies having sex with a prostitute.
Ferdy the Fence
Played by: Ricky Gervais
- Jerkass: Let's face it, he's kind of an ass.
Played by: Henry Cavill
- Ambiguously Bi: In the coronation scene at the very end, he's seen sharing a wink with Captain Shakespeare, to the confusion or frustration of Victoria.
- Jerk Jock: Humphrey gets a line that implies he's been bullying Tristan since their school days—specifically that he whupped him in their fencing lessons.
Empusa and Mormo
Played by: Sarah Alexander and Joanna Scanlan
- The Beastmaster: Mormo's main power. Though unfortunately, the animals eventually turn against her and maul her to death.
- The Hecate Sisters: Mormo takes the role of the Matron, as she is rather plump and motherly-looking, while Empusa takes the role of the Crone, as she is more spindly in appearance and seems the most bitter and sarcastic of the three.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Empusa gets stabbed through the chest by Septimus.
- Karmic Death: Mormo gets torn to pieces by the animals the sisters keep around as divination sacrifices.
- Playing with Fire: Empusa's specialty.