Characters / The Iron Giant

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Titular Character

    The Iron Giant 
Voiced By: Vin Diesel

A fifty-foot, metal-eating robot. It fell from space, so its creator(s) is presumed to be extraterrestrial. It arrives on Earth slightly damaged and with no recollection of its function. Judging by the capabilities it shows later on, it was designed as a vanguard unit for planetary invasions... although it's not clear if Earth was its original intended target. Unaware of its own function when it arrives, it eventually encounters and befriends Hogarth.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: How the giant views his inadvertent reactions to guns.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: The Giant loses his memory at the start of the film thanks to a dent on the right-side forehead.
  • Anti Anti Christ: A scene added to the Signature Edition, as well as the nature of the Iron Giant's weapons, heavily implies that the Iron Giant was originally created to destroy planets, and that either he was just one out of a huge line of robots who were created for this purpose or had managed to destroy quite a large amount of planets prior to arriving on Earth. However, the Iron Giant eventually manages to reject going down/continuing down this path.
  • Arm Cannon: Among the Giant's plethora of weapons, also the first one he deploys when he goes ape-shit on the Army.
  • Badass Adorable: Despite being 50 feet tall and possibly even sent to pulverize Earth, the Giant's childlike naivete about the world makes him an endearing hero.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The Giant first takes an interest in Hogarth because the young boy saved him from being electrocuted to death.
  • Berserk Button: Guns. He hates them and doesn't want to be one.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Once that dent pops out, he goes berserk.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Grabs an "S" from the scrapyard, and uses it as Superman's S.
  • Came from the Sky: The Giant is first seen by a fisherman lost in a storm. He first sees something fall from the sky, then runs into the Giant thinking its glowing eyes are the lighthouse.
  • Character Title: Meet The Iron Giant but the actual protagonist is Hogarth.
  • Chest Blaster: Like his Arm Cannons, he's capable of shooting powerful blasts that rival nuclear power.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The military stand next to zero chance in a fight with him.
  • Cute Giant: He's at least 50 foot tall (as tall as a house as Ted Hughes writes him) and is absolutely precious.
  • Defence Mechanism Superpower: The Iron Giant is a massive alien war machine that, due to damage caused during the initial landing on earth, is completely unaware of its true purpose. Unfortunately, the Giant's weapons and more destructive mindset can be triggered against its will if it perceives a threat.
  • Die or Fly: The Giant has this in spades.
  • Dieselpunk
  • Doesn't Like Guns: The Giant is quick to show that he isn't one. Despite the fact that he is made of them. Becomes one of his Berserk Buttons.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: You stay. I go. No following".
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Giant thrives on a diet entirely of metal. A lot of it. So Hogarth decides to hide him at a junkyard.
  • Eye Beams: The Giant has these, though they're only shown in one scene. It's when he automatically acts in self-defense from Hogarth's toy gun.
  • Fanboy: The Giant becomes enamored with Superman.
  • Famous Last Words: "Superman..."
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The Giant only. But then, he IS an alien (and a robot).
  • Gentle Giant: Obviously. The Giant is still a sweetheart.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: If you push his Berserk Button.
  • Giant Robot: Hence the name.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: He saves a young boy's life like this.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: In his amnesic state, the Giant has yellow-white eyes and "eyelids" more or less like a human's. In his Weapon mode, he has red eyes and Dilating Door-type "eyelids".
  • Go Out with a Smile:"Superman..."
  • Guttural Growler: Voiced by Vin Diesel.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He was programmed to be a terrifying alien superweapon, but overcomes his destructive nature.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Intercepts the nuclear missile about to wipe out the town below.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Hinted at by the Giant's design and backstory; not shown.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Giant being a sentient, non-piloted version.
  • I Am Not a Gun: Trope namer.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Hogarth insists that the machine is 'he', so that people will think of the Giant as a person.
  • The Juggernaut: Tank shells, battleship guns, and even a nuclear missile can't destroy the Giant completely. All but the last are nothing but a Worf Barrage. If he had stuck to his original programming, he would be completely unstoppable. The missile would have only slowed him down.
  • Made of Iron: If the title is to be believed, the Giant is made of iron, quite literally.
  • Mysterious Past: Who he was before meeting Hogarth remains a mystery. Adverted in the deleted dream sequence where it shows he came from another planet, but Ted Hughes deliberately keeps his origin a secret:
    "Where did he come from? Nobody knows. How was he made? Nobody knows."
  • Nice Guy: The Giant has a genial personality.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: He combines being "Made of Diamond" (survives heavy weaponry from tanks), as well as a mixture of "Regeneration" and "External Repair" (even after being blown apart, the Iron Giant is capable of self-repair while its pieces crawl back together from various places to rebuild itself). He can even recover from getting blown up by a nuclear bomb.
  • No Name Given: Oddly, despite insisting that the machine is 'he', Hogarth never bothers to give him a proper name. Though it can't be known for sure, he probably never had a name to begin with.
  • One-Winged Angel: When the Iron Giant feels threatened, he turns into a much less humanoid war machine.
  • Organ Autonomy: Pieces of the Giant will return to him when summoned.
  • Papa Wolf: Harm Hogarth at your own peril.
  • Parts Unknown: It isn't clear where The Giant is from besides not originating on Earth.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Inverted. A whack on the head damaged him, and wasn't enough by itself to set off his self-repair mechanism.
  • Planet Killer: The Signature Edition's Dream Scene shows that the giant is supposed to be this. Even without the scene, the film, especially during the giant's rampage, heavily implies that this was what he really was.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: The Giant's parts are all autonomous and have a homing function, allowing him to reassemble himself if damaged. This is first showcased when he has a run-in with a train. After his Heroic Sacrifice, Hogarth realizes the Giant is still alive when this feature activates on the screw given to him by Rogard.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Tends to tilt one side of his head when he's confused about something.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When those eyes go red, shit is about to hit the fan.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When he believes Hogarth has died, he lets all his anger fly at the attacking military.
  • Secondary Character Title: His name is also the title of the movie, but the actual protagonist is Hogarth.
  • The Spook: We never find out where he is from.
  • Telescoping Robot: One of the straighter, and more haunting, examples.
  • Tin-Can Robot
  • Unstoppable Rage: When he's threatened. Explicitly stated to be part of his programming, that has absolutely nothing to do with rage and he has no conscious control over it initially. To be clear, he resists with his little friend's help and runs away, but when the attacks persist and his friend appears to be dead, the giant emotes some very clear rage and engages his attack-response programming.
  • Walking Armory: Absolutely brimming with destructive weapons.
  • Wing Pull: He doesn't find out he has boosters on his feet until he accidentally falls off a cliff and they activate automatically.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Subverted, the Giant easily could be if he was not so docile.
  • Your Size May Vary: The title Giant seemed to have varying sizes in different scenes. Compare him figure when he iscrouching in Hogarth's barn compared to him fighting the military in third act.

Hughes Family

    Hogarth Hughes 
Voiced By: Eli Marienthal

An energetic, young, curious boy with an active imagination.

    Annie Hughes 
Voiced By: Jennifer Aniston

A widow and Hogarth's single mother.
  • Ascended Extra: She is only mentioned once in the book, described as growing pale upon Hogarth's discovery of the Giant.
  • Deadpan Snarker: With a son like Hogarth, it comes easy.
  • Dude Magnet: Managed to win romantic affections from Mansley (though his were more out of lust), and Dean.
  • Fiery Redhead: Usually averted. Unless Hogarth's in danger.
  • Good Parents: She may work a lot of hours, but there's no room for doubt that Annie has raised her son the right way.
  • Hartman Hips: While a few female residents of Rockwell have these, Annie is a notable example.
  • Mama Bear: To Hogarth. If there's any indication that he may be in danger, she will immediately rush to where he might be and protect him.
  • Nice Girl: Annie is devoted, loving, protective, and caring.
  • Official Couple: Refers to Dean as "honey" in the final scene, implying this. The Signature Edition makes it slightly more explicit by adding an earlier scene of Annie and Dean chatting at the diner.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Somehow never notices the gargantuan metal monster in her barn.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: She has green eyes, is a redhead, and is the mother of the protagonist.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Annie was married to a soldier. And by the end of the film, she is an Official Couple with Dean who showed her his protectiveness of Hogarth and peacekeeping nature.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only noticeable female in the movie. Subtly lampshaded in a deleted scene where Hogarth shows her some of his comics books, and she points out the lack of female characters.
  • Widow Woman: Her husband is implied to have died during the Korean War. Averted in the book.

    Mr. Hughes
Voiced By: N/A

Hogarth's deceased father.
  • Adaptational Badass: A variation. In the novel, he was a farmer. Here, he was a soldier.
  • Death by Adaptation: He was alive throughout the book. In the movie, he is long dead.
  • Disappeared Dad: Hinted to have perished as a pilot in the Korean War. Averted in the book, in which his father plays a role slightly similar to Kent Mansley by rounding up the other farmers to take down the Giant, who is held directly responsible for eating up their equipment, including tractors and plows.
  • Posthumous Character: Already dead by the start of the movie. He's only seen in a picture and mentioned in the deleted scenes.
  • Unnamed Parent: His never name is never mentioned.


    Dean McCoppin 
Voiced By: Harry Connick, Jr.

A beatnik artist and junkyard owner who "sees art where others see junk".
  • All of the Other Reindeer: As the cool, artistic resident beatnik of the small town of Rockwell, Maine, 1957, where this film takes place, Dean is sort of an outcast. The rest of the town doesn't really take him seriously, but he's cool with that.
  • Badass Pacifist: Dean is portrayed as a man of action, but not of violence (tying into one of the movie's themes.) Culminates with him convincing the military task force that the best way to keep America safe is to not attack the Alien Menace that's currently blowing things up.
  • Beatnik: Complete with a job as an artist, and love of espresso. He's portrayed more sympathetically than actual films of the 1950s would have shown him.
  • Be Yourself: "You are who you choose to be".
  • Bully Hunter: He helps out a guy from being mocked at by a couple of jerks.
  • Canon Foreigner: He only appears in the movie version.
  • Cool Shades: Wears them a few times.
  • Dark is Not Evil: His main clothing scheme is black and he's turns out to be a Badass Pacifist.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When you're dealing with a kid and his massive metal muchacho, the deadpan snarkery just flows.
  • Drink Order: He has a love for espresso.
  • Eureka Moment: After the Giant nearly attacks Hogarth, it's when Dean notices Hogarth's toy gun that he puts two and two together and realizes that the Giant has a Defense Mechanism Superpower.
    "It was defensive. He reacted to the gun!"
  • Foil: To Mansley. Dean is very unconventional and hip, while Mansley portrays the ideal manly man of the time - a hard-boiled detective type with a steel jaw. Dean is also a LOT faster on the uptake and more flexible than Mansley. Although he does make the mistake of trusting Mansley to do the right thing...
  • Friend to All Children: His first scene with Hogarth certainly implies his, given how friendly he was with the kid. And whenever danger seems to threaten Hogarth, Dean puts himself bodily in the way.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Comes close to being a tritagonist and it's heavily implied that he's a couple with Annie by the end of the movie.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: He has his actor's similar hairstyle and Perma-Stubble.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Hogarth — Dean is around Annie's age and becomes friends with her adolescent son, Hogarth, even to the point of being a surrogate father.
  • Mellow Fellow: A laid-back man. His first appearance has him asleep in a the diner Annie works at.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Dean, the handsome artistically inclined beatnik with the voice of Harry Connick Jr. and animated by a team of female artists. Annie agrees by the film's end.
  • Nice Guy: Believes in people being themselves, protected a man who was being picked on by jerks, a good father figure/mentor to Hogarth, and acts as a gentlemen to Annie.
  • Official Couple: Implied with Annie in the final scene. The Signature Edition makes it slightly more explicit by adding an earlier scene of Annie and Dean chatting at the diner.
  • Papa Wolf: He's not afraid to threaten the Giant when he nearly vaporizes Hogarth with his eye lasers.
  • Parental Substitute: He is a father-figure/mentor to Hogarth.
  • Perma-Stubble: Has a constant 5 o'clock shadow to go with the beatnik look.
  • Second Love: It's implied he and Annie become a couple in the end.
  • Starving Artist: Dean. At one point he grumbles that turning the scrap in his junkyard into art actually makes it worth less.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: See the Mr. Fanservice section.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Dean's also quite a snarker.

Government Officials

    Kent Mansley

An arrogant, ambitious, paranoid and corrupt government agent sent to investigate the Iron Giant. The logo on his official government car says he is from the "Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena."
  • Amusing Injuries: Suffers them constantly.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: He browbeats Hogarth into giving up the location of the Giant by threatening to ruin his mother's life.
  • Big Bad: The closest thing to it anyway.
  • Butt Monkey: He deserves every second of it though.
  • Canon Foreigner: Ironically, he appears to have some of Hogarth's father's traits from the book.
  • Catch Phrase: "...and all that that implies."
  • Didn't Think This Through: Doesn't exactly think all the way about launching a Nuke aimed at the Giant standing about 5 feet away from him.
  • Dirty Coward: Mansley tries to bolt out of town when a serious danger arises. Namely, after dooming everyone in the town thanks to his own paranoia. He doesn't get far.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Smokes a straight billiard, despite being neither distinguished nor a gentleman.
  • Eagleland: Typical of a man living on The '50s, he's got a beef against anything he thinks is un-American, like being a Beatnik or being a potential weapon not manufactured by (nor probably concerned with standing behind the politics of) America.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Dean. Besides being foils of each other (see Dean's section above), Kent is also a cowardly man who only wants to prove the existence of the Giant not to keep the citizens safe, but for his own selfish reasons; Dean has proven to a brave man on several occasions and helps Hogarth hide the Giant simply because Hogarth asked him to. Also, while Kent has proven to be someone who Would Hurt a Child, Dean has proven to be a Friend to All Children.
  • Evil Redhead: About as evil as a dipstick G-Man can be.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He tries to put on an affable façade, but it becomes clear that it's all an act as the film goes on.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Mansley. Subverted in that he barely did any actual fighting against the benign Giant, and when he did, he nearly killed them all.
  • Hero Antagonist: Towards the Giant, whom he believed its here to destroy the Earth even though its really a Gentle Giant. Subverted that his motives behind them are actually for his own selfish beliefs rather then for the benefits of his fellow countrymen.
  • Hypocrite: All summed up in this one line: "Screw our country, I wanna live!"
  • Inspector Javert: He is irrationally convinced that the Iron Giant is here to destroy the Earth and does all he can to destroy it before it destroys them.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: He is always getting bashed into things but manages to pop back up again. Maybe he's just that serious about stopping the robot.
  • Jerkass: Oh, big time.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: For all his paranoia and fear of anything not related to the US, he's right about the Iron Giant being dangerous. In the remastered version of the movie, there's even a scene where the Giant has a nightmare of hundreds of other robots like him destroying a planet. And if his memory hadn't been damaged upon his arrival, then he likely would have done the same to Earth and we would have sided with Mansley.
  • Large Ham: Well since he's voiced by Chris McDonald, calmness clearly doesn't come easy to him.
  • The Men in Black: A 1957 version.
  • Motor Mouth: Whenever he loses it, he slips into this and rants without stopping for breath.
  • Nice Hat: He is often seen wearing a dark grey fedora.
  • No Respect Guy: Rogard clearly holds no respect for the guy. Nor does anyone else, and this has resulted in Mansley being massively insecure.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Starts off as seemingly harmless Plucky Comic Relief. Then he nearly nukes the city.
  • The Men in Black: Originally portrayed as some faceless, bumbling bureaucrat with a poor worker-boss relationship. Later on, he turns into a very dangerous Man in Black with the power to disappear anyone at any time with no repercussions. Or so he would have Hogarth believe.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat
  • The Paranoiac: Even though he claims to be worried for the safety and security of America, it becomes clear that he's acting out of self-righteous fear for his own skin, which comes to the surface when he launches a nuclear strike on Rockwell and tries to escape shouting, "Screw our country, I wanna live!"
  • Potty Emergency: Hogarth slips him some chocolate-flavored laxatives to get away from him.
  • Properly Paranoid: We all know he's right about there being a giant metal man. He even turns out to be right about it being very dangerous... to its enemies. His superiors simply think he's wacko.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: What Rogard threatens him with after Dean and Hogarth's ingenious plan succeeds. It's also a popular interpretation of his status at the beginning of the movie, given his high-and-mighty attitude in spite of clearly being in a dead-end government position that nobody takes seriously.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When he launches the nuke and realizes it can't be stopped, he grabs a jeep and runs about 3 feet before the Giant stops him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: There's dumb, and then there's launching a nuclear missile at a target standing ten feet away from you.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Culminating in launching a nuke at the town.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: He's easily the most vile person on the whole cast, Faux Affably Evil, spouting a hatred against anything he thinks is not patriotic and yet seeks self-aggrandizement and anybody who gets in the way (even children) can go to hell. He probably wouldn't have minded dropping a nuke in the middle of an American town if not for the fact he was literally on ground zero (and even then, he tries to run).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's trying to ensure his country's safety... he's just not very good at handling unknowns. Or evaluating threats. Or pursuing investigations. Or outsmarting small boys.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He threatens Hogarth with harming his mother, uses a chloroform rack to sedate him, and finally outright lies to General Rogard about the Giant carrying Hogarth, and instead recommends they send everything they have against it.

    General Shannon Rogard 
Voiced By: John Mahoney

The Army (National Guard?) leader in Washington, D.C. who is the military liaison with Mansley's department. He doesn't like Mansley or feel that this 'giant metal man' thing is anything but a hoax. Once he knows the threat is real, he responds bravely and efficiently — though it soon becomes clear that his unit is up against something too hot to handle.
  • The Brigadier: General Rogard is actually a good guy who is only fighting the Giant because Kent lied to him that it was a killer. Once he learns the truth, he immediately stops attacking it.
  • Canon Foreigner: Only appears in the movie version.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's a combination of Four-Star Badass and Reasonable Authority Figure, who won't stand for Mansley's shit.
  • Cool Shades: He wears what appear to be green-tinted teashades in the field.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially with regards to Mansley, who he despises.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Despite facing an imminent nuke strike thanks to Mansley, Rogard remains dignified the entire time and calmly informs him that there is no way to escape their fate. Luckily, the Giant saves them.
  • Four-Star Badass: Actually three stars, but who's counting? General Rogard stays absolutely in control during the battle with the Giant, at one point shooting at him with his pistol. Compare this to some of his more panicky subordinates, and especially Mansley.
  • General Ripper: Subverted. He has the appearance and mannerisms of your standard Cold War psychotic, but turns out to be a Reasonable Authority Figure who quite clearly distrusts Mansley and calls off the attack when it is finally revealed that the Giant only attacks defensively. Mansley, however, more than makes up for the expected psychotic tendencies.
  • Gender-Blender Name: His given name can also be given to girls.
  • Hero Antagonist: Towards the Giant during the climatic battle, due to Kent Mansley's imploring him to destroy it as it's a dangerous weapon and a threat to national security, however, while Mansley's a subversion of this trope due to his own egotistic beliefs, Rogard plays this role straight and ceases firing on the Giant when he realizes the Giant is not their enemy.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Mostly averted. He brought infantry, a few tanks, and the ability to call in air support, naval artillery and even a nuclear strike. Given that a substantial threat appeared 'out of nowhere' right in the middle of a civilian population, the military response seems pretty well-planned. A purist might point out that the tanks shouldn't have been sent up close.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he's openly (and cooly) dismissive towards Mansley, General Rogard deeply cares for his country and is a reasonable man. He even personally sends Hogarth a package containing the only part recovered from the Giant, as he believes Hogarth should have it in honor for the Giant's selfless sacrifice for the town.
  • Meaningful Name: "Shannon" is an Irish variant for Sionna, which means "possessor of wisdom". The General later proves to be a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He knows the Giant is a possible threat, but he doesn't use force until it seems necessary. After it becomes apparent that Mansley lied about the giant killing Hogarth, as well as Dean explaining that the Giant only reacts defensively, he immediately calls off the attack and orders them to stand down.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: In contrast to Mansley's irrational Inspector Javert, Rogard is this due to not attacking Giant unless necessary to protect his country and call off the attack when he realizes the Giant is a good guy and only attacks in defense.