Characters / Sunshine

The Film

    open/close all folders 


Robert Capa
"Eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb. My bomb. Welcome to the Icarus Two."
Played By: Cillian Murphy

  • Alone with the Psycho: When he discovers that Pinbacker is alive (and thoroughly insane). He struggles against Pinbacker later in the film.
  • Badass Bookworm: He is very smart and manages to last longer than any of the other characters, even surviving several encounters with Pinbacker.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments. Especially during the discussion about whether or not to kill Trey; he snarks at Mace about the latter's ice-cold attitude towards it.
  • Female Gaze: Wears a sleeveless top for a big part of the movie.
  • Geek Physiques: He's quite toned and attractive for a scientist.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He delivers the Icarus 2's payload, restarts the sun, and saves humanity at the cost of his life.
  • Hot Scientist: Come on, it's Cillian Murphy.
  • Not So Stoic: Despite being one of the most calm and composed survivors, he starts to snap a little as shit hits the fan.
  • The Quiet One: He doesn't speak much for the film.
  • Science Hero: He's a particle physicist who was the one who had figured out how to "restart" the sun with the bomb note . Also, in the end he's all alone facing a psychotic murderer, but manages to detonate the bomb anyway, saving humankind.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Plays chess against Kaneda, displaying his intelligence.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the end of the film he's gone up against Pinbacker and saved all of humanity.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: While it was a calculated risk, his decision to rendezvous with the Icarus I leads to the deaths of the entire crew and puts the mission in jeopardy despite its eventual success.


"There is nothing, literally nothing, more important than completing our mission. End of story!"
Played By: Chris Evans

  • Badass Beard: He's a bad-ass (as particularly shown when he sacrifices his life to repair Icarus) and he sports a small but noticeable beard.
  • Badass Bookworm: With more emphasis on the bad-ass, but he's still very smart.
  • Bald of Awesome: At the beginning of the movie he has longer hair and isn't in the best state of mind, but then he gets a buzz cut and from then on he goes full-on bad-ass.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Isn't the most well-adjusted when he sports an unkempt beard at the beginning of the movie. His shaving it (and getting a buzz cut) marks an improvement in his state of mind.
  • The Big Guy: The most physically imposing of the team.
  • Cassandra Truth: If everyone had just listened to him at the beginning about not taking the detour, none of the bad events in the film would have happened.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Repeatedly immersing yourself in freezing liquid is bad enough. Getting your leg pinned so you can't climb all the way out? Absolutely horrifying.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He kind of has to be as the blunt Only Sane Man.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While he has all the characteristics of the traditional protagonist it becomes clear that the real main character is Capa, and Mace ends up dying just before the climax.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dies after repeatedly immersing himself in freezing liquid to fix the ship.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's quick to anger.
  • Important Haircut: Cuts his hair at the beginning of the film and shaves his beard; this marks his depression lifting.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Yes, he's curt and rude, but he's not wrong. The fate of humanity rests on their shoulders.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a bit of a jerkass for putting the mission first, but he does care about his team.
  • The Leader: Not officially, but he assumes de facto leadership after Harvey's death.
  • Only Sane Man: While he's blunt his solutions to problems are usually the most logical; problem is, most of the time the crew goes against him.


"Only dream I ever have…is it the surface of the sun? Every time I shut my eyes…it's always the same."
Played By: Rose Byrne

  • The Conscience: Is the only member of the crew who doesn't agree with the decision to kill Trey.
  • Famous Last Words: "Finish it".
  • The Heart: She values human life and is reluctant to kill Trey to conserve the ship's oxygen.
  • Kill the Cutie: Can be considered the cutie of the crew, as she is the most sweet (see The Heart), and is mortally wounded during the final fight with Pinbacker.
  • Perpetual Frowner: She rarely smiles.
  • Stupid Good: She refuses to vote for killing Trey (who's already suicidal) to save enough oxygen so the Icarus crew can complete the mission and save the human race because she considers it wrong.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She and Capa take on a rampaging Pinbacker.



Played By: Michelle Yeoh

  • Deadpan Snarker: Like many of her crewmates.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She lovingly maintains the plants in the oxygen garden. When a fire devastates the garden, she's horrified.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: When the oxygen garden is destroyed she goes into a bit of a shock, desperately crying, and her crew mates have to drag her away for her own safety.
  • In the Back: Pinbacker knifes her in the back with a scalpel.


"…total light envelops you. It becomes you. It's very strange...I recommend it."
Played By: Cliff Curtis

  • Bald of Awesome: Is bald and very brave.
  • Driven to Suicide: Volunteers to stay behind so the others have a chance of escaping Icarus I, then commits suicide by overexposure to the sun.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Stays behind on Icarus I (which has separated from the other ship) to make sure that Capa, Mace, and Harvey get back safely. After doing this he commits suicide by exposure to the sun.note 
  • Face Death with Dignity: Faces his imminent demise with no fear.
  • Foil: To Pinbacker. They're both obsessed with the sun, but as Cliff said about his own character, Searle "would sacrifice those beliefs and views, his life, for the greater good, whereas Pinbacker, who's come to a place he believes is right, would sacrifice the world for his beliefs. They're two sides of the same coin."
  • Not So Different: From Pinbacker. Both are enamored with intense sunlight.
  • Opaque Lenses: What he wears.
  • Sanity Slippage: At the start of the film, he's enamored with the sun and spends time basking in sunlight. As the movie progresses, his fixation on the sun leads him to spend more time bathing in sunlight, so much so that his face is badly sunburned. He never progresses to the state Pinbacker got to, but it does lead to him easily choosing to stay behind in the Icarus I and committing suicide by overexposing himself to the sun.
  • The Shrink: He serves as a mental health professional for the Icarus 2 crew. He was the one that came up with the theory that the original Icarus mission had failed due to human mental health issues, and was deliberately chosen to go along with the current mission to prevent this from happening again.
  • Space Madness: Albeit a mild version. See Sanity Slippage.


Played By: Troy Garity

  • Asshole Victim: There's only one space suit and four people when they get stuck on Icarus I, and he selfishly claims the space suit for himself, even though Capa is the person who's critical to finish their mission to save humankind. When he consequently dies during the jump, it's hard to feel sorry for such a cowardly prick.
  • Butt-Monkey: Doesn't get much respect from his men, though this is justified.
    Harvey: I am the CAPTAIN!
    Mace: You're a communications officer on a ship without any means of communication.
  • Dirty Coward: Despite being the captain, he only cares about self-preservation and refuses to stay behind on Icarus I even though the mission is much more likely to fail without Capa.
  • It's All About Me: Harvey only cares about himself, and he tries to act like he's the victim when his crew get justifiably disgusted by his behavior.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Gets frozen in space after missing the airlock, and his corpse is disintegrated.
  • Sanity Slippage: A different and much more subtle version than Searle and Pinbacker. It isn't clear in the movie, but Word of God states that he is secretly going mad over the thought of never getting back to Earth and seeing his wife again, and that is what leads him to bad actions (such as jeopardizing the mission by denying Capa the space suit).
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Harvey misses the hole then freezes out there in seconds, his frozen corpse hitting an antenna, thus breaking his arm before flying outside the shield, reduced to dust in seconds by the Sun.
  • You Are in Command Now: Previously the second in command, he becomes captain after Kaneda dies. Though this doesn't mean much in practice - see Butt Monkey.


Played By: Hiroyuki Sanada


Played By: Benedict Wong

  • Asian and Nerdy: He's of Asian ancestry, and knowledgeable enough about science to navigate the Icarus 2.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After he unwittingly jeopardizes the mission, Trey succumbs to depression and is put on suicide watch.
  • Driven to Suicide: His crewmates find him in the medical ward with his wrists cut. While his death appears to be a suicide, Word of God states that Pinbacker did it.
  • It's All My Fault: When he resets Icarus 2's new course, he forgets to conduct calculations for the shields, which leaves the ship vulnerable to the sun's intense heat and jeopardizes the mission. He's horrified when he realizes his mistake, more so when people start suffering from the repercussions.
  • Good with Numbers: As stated by himself.
  • Nice Guy: He is harmless and is consumed by self-loathing when his mistake gets Kaneda killed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: See It's All My Fault.


"For seven years I spoke with God. He told me to take us all to Heaven."
Played By: Mark Strong

  • The Ace: He was this. It's why he was chosen to lead the original mission.
  • Amoral Afrikaner: Hard to place because we don't really get a look at him, but Word of God says he's South African. It's easier to hear the accent in his recordings. Also an interesting example in that we have no idea what kind of person he was before he lost his marbles.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Pinbacker that the Icarus 2 crew encounters is delusional and murderous.
  • Bald of Evil: Likely burned off, as the man has been exposed to too much sunlight due to his madness.
  • Big Bad: Sabotaged his mission, sabotaging the second Icarus as well.
  • Body Horror: Because of his prolonged exposure to sunlight, he's covered in third degree burns. Also, during his fight with Capa and Cassie at the end of the film, Cassie grabs his arm, and his skin and flesh slough off in her hand.
  • Egocentrically Religious
    Capa: My God. Pinbacker.
    Pinbacker: Not your God. Mine!
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Baritone.
  • The Fatalist: After his sanity slippage, he concludes that efforts to save humanity are futile.
    Pinbacker: All our science, all our hopes, our dreams, are foolish! In the face of this, we are dust, nothing more. Unto this dust, we return. When he chooses for us to die, it is not our place to challenge God.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: He doesn't wear clothing, showing off his burns and wounds.
  • The Fundamentalist: Having lost his mind, Pinbacker believes that he can talk to God and that he's carrying out God's will by sabotaging efforts to restart the sun.
  • Genre Shift: He represents the movie's shift from hard-ish Sci-Fi with No Antagonist to a borderline slasher flick.
  • Hypocrite: If humans are nothing but dust to God and saving them is futile as he claims, why does Pinbacker think it even necessary to sabotage said efforts, let alone that he, a single human, could talk to and be chosen by God for this task?
  • Implacable Man: He's convinced that God wants humanity to die so that they can ascend to heaven. He meets any attempt to thwart this with violence, and he cannot be reasoned with or cowed.
  • Knight of Cerebus: All of the film's body count except Kaneda's—although he had some involvement, broadly speaking is his fault (directly or indirectly), he killed all of his own crew too, and the film shifts to pure slasher horror the moment he appears.
  • Made of Iron: There's no reason he's pretty much completely indestructible. He just is. Despite already being covered in third-degree burns.
  • Not Quite Dead: Pinbacker was believed to have died along with the crew of the Icarus 1. However, he's very much alive and determined to thwart the Icarus 2 mission.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: His effort to stop the Icarus crew by brutally murdering them would doom all mankind to extinction. He thinks he's serving God's will by doing so.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: He was The Ace, the guy humanity entrusted its future with when they launched the Icarus I. Then he suffered a Sanity Slippage and turned against his cause.
  • Religious Bruiser: He's a formidable opponent who believes that he's carrying out the will of God.
  • Sanity Slippage: Pinbacker lost his sanity while leading the crew of the Icarus 1.
  • Satanic Archetype: He acts as an adversary to humanity on God's behalf (or so he believes in his madness), bringing to mind Satan's traditional role in the Hebrew Bible as the Adversary. When Capa meets him face-to-face, he's bathed in light, evoking Lucifer as an angel of light.
  • Space Madness: During Icarus 1's journey, he went insane, presumably from the same thing (characterized by an obsession for the sun) that Searle and Kaneda have, and possibly the stresses of the mission.
  • Spanner in the Works: After he goes insane, he sabotages the Icarus 1 mission and creates enormous problems for the Icarus 2 mission.
  • Straw Nihilist: In his lunacy, he concludes that humanity's efforts to restart the sun are in vain, and that humans are inconsequential "dust" before God.