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Voiced by: Jeremy Leary (child); Edward AsnerCarl Fredricksen (born 1931) is the protagonist. He is a cranky and widowed 78-year-old retired balloon salesman.
- Adorkable: In his youth he was definitely this. After Ellie died it completely left him, though.
- Adrenaline Makeover: Becomes more rugged-looking after the climax.
- Amazon Chaser: As a child, Carl fell for Ellie's fiery spirit.
- Badass Grandpa: Carl made his own house fly.
- Berserk Button: Messing with any of his Ellie-related treasures. When he fulfills the adventure he promised Ellie, he overcomes this and throws the vast majority of the treasures out of the house so it's light enough for him to go after Russell.
- Broken Pedestal: He really did respect Charles Muntz before his reveal.
- Character Development: Throughout his journey, Carl starts to see that he needs to move on from Ellie's death and live his life.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Ellie.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: His appearance is based off that of Spencer Tracy.
- Cool Old Guy: Carl becomes more warm and fun at the ending.
- Death Seeker: It's strongly implied that this was what motivated Carl to finally go to Paradise Falls, at least at first. After all, with Ellie dead and having no family left to speak of, what better way to go out in style than to do the one thing he was still able to pull off? Even if he knows that it'd likely be a one-way trip that could go terribly wrong.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He has to care for a rambunctious scout and an endangered bird plus evade his former childhood hero to get his house to Paradise Falls.
- Expy: Carl was supposedly modeled on Spencer Tracy's appearance in the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, right down to the black rectangular glasses.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Carl qualifies, given he outfitted his house with shower curtain sails and a steering system. Carl retrofitted his entire house into an airship in less than one night. He's better than MacGyver!
- Grumpy Old Man: Can be quite impolite and sarcastic.
- Happily Married: To Ellie.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Fell in love with the Fiery Redhead Ellie.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: When Muntz burns the house to keep Carl busy while he takes Kevin. And really, he technically has been in a prolonged one since Ellie's death. At least up till the end.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Russell eventually.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rude and sarcastic, but he's also loyal and, in is own way, caring.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The Feminine Boy to Ellie's Masculine Girl.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: He's roughly the same size as Russell.
- Parental Substitute: Acts a father figure to Russell.
- The Quiet One: Carl was a really quiet kid. He barely makes a sound during the flashback.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to both Ellie and Russel's reds.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: With Ellie.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: He insults the man from the company who wants to destroy his house.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Carl wears squared shaped glasses and is a Gadgeteer Genius.
- Took a Level in Badass: Carl saved his friends just by using a rope and a piece of chocolate.
- Took a Level in Idealism: He becomes reinvigorated with life.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: A completely justifiable example. In the opening he's almost always shown smiling and laughing and seems to be quite good with the children he sells balloons to, while in the present day he's bitter and sarcastic towards Russel. All of the flashback scenes occurred while Ellie was still alive.
- Took a Level in Kindness: His adventure with Russell mellows him out from cantankerous, grumpy man he was after Ellie's death.
- Tragic Keepsake: The bottlecap "badge", Ellie's Adventure Book, her photo, the house itself... and the airport passes Carl was going to surprise her with just before her final hours. Really, a huge part of the plot is based around this trope and Carl's need to let go of them.
- Unlikely Hero: No one expected a cantankerous septuagenarian who keeps to himself to be The Hero.
- Uptight Loves Wild: While not stuffy as a kid, his slightly more reserved demeanor stands out in contrast with Ellie's more wild behavior. And Carl is smitten almost instantly.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: And how! Carl was much more energetic and accepting of people as a young boy. To be fair, the opening makes it clear that Carl was a pretty sweet guy throughout his life up until Ellie died.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Russell calls him out for letting Muntz take Kevin while he tried to save the house instead.
- When Elders Attack: To fight off elders.
Voiced by: Elizabeth Docter (child)Ellie Fredricksen is a character who, despite being dead before the events depicted, plays a significant role in the movie. She was the wife of Carl Fredricksen. Ellie only has speech during her childhood scenes, as she is voiced by Ellie Docter (as a child), the director's daughter, but doesn't speak for the rest of her appearances during her life sequence.
- Adorkable: As a child, Ellie was a bundle of energy with missing tooth that only added to her charm.
- Arc Words: "Thanks for the adventure! Now make a new one!"
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Carl.
- Color Motif: Pink.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Ellie was barefoot in two of her childhood scenes.
- Fiery Redhead: Ellie was always a spunky and energetic person.
- Genki Girl: Much more so as a child, though she was still lively and spirited even as an adult. And tellingly, she remained somewhat youthful even as she aged.
- Girliness Upgrade: Much more feminine as an adult though she's still clearly quite tomboyish.
- Happily Married: To Carl.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Her death transformed Carl into a sullen, angry, grumpy man who refuses to interact with others.
- The Lost Lenore: To Carl.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: With Carl.
- Motor Mouth: As kid, in contrast with Carl.
- Nice Girl: A loving and sweet person since childhood.
- Posthumous Character: She strongly influences the story.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Carl's blue, though she appeared to have mellowed out a bit as she aged.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: With Carl.
- She's All Grown Up: She goes from a gawky, androgynous little girl to a beautiful woman and continues to age gracefully up to her deathbed.
- Tomboy: As a kid.
- The Voiceless: Ironically, we never hear her speak during her adulthood.
Voiced by: Jordan NagaiRussell is the deuteragonist. He is a Junior Wilderness Explorer who accompanied Carl Fredricksen to Paradise Falls.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Russell tries to act like grown-up.
- Adorkable: A sweet child who's kind of an airhead.
- Asian Air Head: Zig-zagged. See Genius Ditz below.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: If only Russell could've laid low about his discovery of Kevin.
- Cheerful Child: Even cheerful in a jungle.
- Children Are Innocent: Goes hand and hand with Cannot Tell a Lie.
- Determinator: Either by gaining his father's approval or saving his friends.
- Disappeared Dad: We never see Russell's dad, and from what we hear about him, he's pretty neglectful of his son.
- Friend to All Living Things: He quickly wants to adopt both Dug and Kevin when he first meets them.Russell: An Explorer is a friend to all / Be it plant or fish or tiny mole!Carl: That doesn't even rhyme!
- Genius Ditz: Despite having dozens of merit badges, including in Zoology, he doesn't realize there's no such thing as a snipe. Another example is when he doubts there's a bus stop in Paradise Falls, and then, a few lines later, figures he might be able to use his city bus pass. In South America.
- Heroic Resolve: He simply cannot climb a rope... until he realizes Carl is in trouble.Russell: You leave Mr. Frederickson alone!!
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Carl.
- Like a Son to Me: One Word of God interview says that Russell was designed to be the child Ellie and Carl were unable to have, in both a figurative and literal spirit. Figurative in that if they had had a child, that child would be very much like Russell (especially at the end when he has both a mother and father figure in his life), and that Russell fills the hole Ellie left behind when she died, much like Carl and Ellie's potential child would have. Literal in that if you look close enough, Russell has features VERY similar to that of both Ellie and Carl...
- The Load: Russell at first seems to fit this category: he loses his Wilderness Explorer GPS, literally acts as a deadweight while Carl is towing the house, cannot put up his tent, and reveals to Muntz that he and Carl have met "the Monster of Paradise Falls" (i.e. Kevin the Bird). Probably meant to be an inversion of how in many films where a crotchety old man is paired up with a spunky kid, it's the adult who's portrayed as inept and in need of rescue. Plus, Russell has the excuse that he has no real way of getting home under his own power. If Carl doesn't do it, the poor kid is toast. However, he eventually takes a level in badass.
- Motor Mouth: Carl tries to get him to play "Who Can be Quiet the Longest":Russell: My mom loves that game!
- Nice Guy: A kind and helpful child.
- Nice Hat: A yewllow cap that's part of his scout uniform.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Not as much as Dug, but still notable.
- Too Dumb to Live: He makes some very poor survival choices throughout the movie, though since he's a sheltered little kid it's hardly surprising.
- Took a Level in Badass: Not as much as Carl, but he does become considerably more self-reliant as the movie goes on.
- Unlikely Hero: A harebrained and chubby little boy is hardly what you'd call prime hero material.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Russell's motivation to earn his last badge.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Almost always optimistic, even in the face of certain doom.
Voiced by: Pete DocterKevin is the tritagonist and a giant bird. She is the main target of Charles Muntz's hunt in South America. Due to Russell's mistake of determining her gender, he named her "Kevin" after they met.
- Animal Nemesis: In a roundabout way to Muntz. Unlike most, she isn't even responsible for any degree of pain he went through, he just wants her so he can prove he was right.
- Big Brother Instinct: Becomes rather clingy and protective of Russel upon first meeting him and repeatedly shrieks at Carl for trying to get in the way of that. Later turns out to be a case of Mama Bear.
- Expy: Kevin bears a strong resemblance to the Road Runner.
- Foreshadowing: The fact that she's not only female but a mother is hinted at by the affectionate why she acts toward Russel when she first meets him, at least once cradling him like a baby.
- Gender-Blender Name: Russell unintentionally gives her a masculine name.
- Samus Is a Girl: Which Russell lampshades:Russel: Kevin's a girl?
- Super Speed: Her speed makes her a hard prey to catch.
- Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Kevin the "snipe" is really a mama. But her name remains Kevin even after the discovery.
Voiced by: Bob PetersonDug is the tritagonist. He also appears in Dug's Special Mission as the protagonist and in George & A.J. as a minor character.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: "SQUIRREL!"
- Big Friendly Dog: He's definitely the nicest, and stupidest of the dogs.
- Birthday Episode: He reveals in his short that the day that he found Carl and Russel was his birthday. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma sarcastically wish him a happy birthday.
- Break the Cutie: Carl calling him a bad dog. Of course, dogs being loyal, he stays at Carl's doorstep.
- The Chew Toy: Gets this treatment from the rest of Muntz's canine army.
- Cone of Shame: "I do not like the cone of shame..."
- Don't Explain the Joke: "See? It is funny because the squirrel gets dead!"
- Dumb Is Good: Dug is noticeably stupider than all the other dogs, who can talk in complex sentences and even, in at least one case, cook. The dogs themselves are not that intelligent, but they're still smarter than Dug.
- Heel–Face Turn: Dug eventually leaves Charles Muntz and joins Carl in the end.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Dug decides that Carl is his master after being repeatedly mistreated by Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Omega.
- Odd Name Out: Dug's is the only name (that we hear) that is not from a letter in the Greek alphabet.
- Oscar Bait: An unusual example: Word of God says that Doug was added to the film with the aim of winning the "Palme D'og" award for "best canine performance" at the Cannes Film Festival. Which may be the only time in history that fiction writers have made an artistic decision to boost their chances of winning a joke award.
- Plucky Comic Relief: One of the funniest characters in the movie.
Charles F. Muntz
Voiced by: Christopher PlummerCharles F. Muntz is a famous explorer admired by Carl Fredricksen and his wife Ellie as children, and the main antagonist. In the movie he found the bones of a tropical bird in South America but the scientific community claimed they were fake. Insulted, Muntz searches the South American wilderness for a live member of the same bird species, traveling in a zepplin with his many pet dogs, whom he equips with special collars he invented that enable them to speak.
- Ax-Crazy: It may not be clear at first, but when he strongly implies that he's actually murdered others in the past just because he was paranoid that they were after his bird, AKA Kevin, it's quite obvious he's gone completely insane after all those years of searching to no avail. And he only gets worse. By the end of the movie, he attempts to kill Kevin, Dug and Russell (a 'kid' mind you), in cold blood with a shotgun.
- Badass Grandpa: He's older than Carl and he still manages to hold his own in the wilderness.
- Berserk Button: Kevin. Because he's been trying for well over sixty years to capture her, you'd do well to try and steer clear of both of them, if you know what's good for you...
- Big Bad: He is trying to capture Kevin, and he will kill anyone who gets in his way.
- Catch Phrase: "Adventure is out there!"
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: He was modelled after Kirk Douglas.
- Cool Old Guy: The guy's in his nineties, and he almost takes Carl Fredricksen down in a sword fight and designs collars that allow dogs to talk! Some of the other adventures that we only hear bits and pieces of sound pretty epic.
- Disney Villain Death: It really does not get more dramatic than falling to one's death from 10,000 feet.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Charles Muntz has become one of these, ad nauseum.
- Evil Counterpart: To Carl. Both of them were fixated on the past, and on living their adventure. One was able to move on, the other wasn't.
- Expy: Charles Muntz was modeled after Charles Lindbergh, right down to the nose.
- His character arc seems to be inspired by the story of Jimmy Angel, an aviator who's desire for gold got him and his family trapped in the South American jungle for days. This would be a bit of stretch, if paradise falls weren't modeled after Angle falls. Jimmy discovered the falls while thinking it was a landmark were his previous client had found gold, and stranded his plane atop them.
- Face–Heel Turn: After being called a fraud, he returned to Paradise Falls to capture the bird, and after many, many years of failures, he obviously lost sight that keeping the bird with her family was more important than proving himself right.
- Fallen Hero: Once a beloved adventurer who turned into an Ax-Crazy jerk who would kill innocent people.
- Famous Last Words: "Enough! I'm taking that bird back with me, alive or dead!"
- Faux Affably Evil: His politeness is actually his nastiness.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He built translators for his dogs.
- Gentleman Adventurer: In his youth he wandered the world, visiting strange places, hunting dangerous beasts, and playing gin rummy with Theodore Roosevelt.Muntz: Ah yes, the Arsinotherium. Beast charged me while I was brushing my teeth. Had to take him down with my shaving kit!
- Mad Scientist: Becomes this as a Fallen Hero.
- Older Than They Look: Word of God stated that he was 23 at the beginning of the movie, which makes him 92 by the time Carl meets him. He's still impressively fit for his age.
- Sanity Slippage: Being isolated for the rest of the world and eluded by a bird for sixty years has became him a heartless man, consumed by bitterness, paranoid to the extreme, and convinced that anyone who comes across him is after the bird.
- Shadow Archetype: To Carl. Charles represents what could've become of Carl, had he not let go of the past.
- Small Name, Big Ego: By the time the film takes place, Muntz has largely been relegated to history if not outright forgotten, thanks in part to his previous humiliation over Paradise Falls. Even if he did bring Kevin back, few would even know about it.
- Walking Spoiler: Yeah, he's the Big Bad. Thanks for telling us that, marketing!
- Would Hurt a Child: He has no qualms killing Russell if it means getting to Kevin.
Voiced by: Bob PetersonAlpha is the secondary antagonist and the leader of Charles Muntz's pack of dogs.
- Badass Baritone: But only when his collar is working properly.
- Cone of Shame: Dug sticks it on him for the win, and becomes the new Alpha.
- The Dragon: To Muntz, being his main dog and leading the others.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Alpha is a Double Subversion, as his collar gives him a squeaky voice, but only when it's not working right. However, when his voice becomes deep, it becomes really deep.
- Heel–Face Turn: The credits show all of the villain's dogs, including Alpha, assisting the infirm.
- Large Ham: The broken wire in his collar doesn't help.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Gets his voice switched back to chipmunk and gets the Cone of Shame.
- Vocal Dissonance: In-universe. Despite his imposing appearance, his voice sounds high-pitched and squeaky due to a malfunction in his collar.
Beta Voiced by: Delroy Lindo
Gamma Voiced by: Jerome RanftA group of guard dogs who work under Charles.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Muntz has definitely dedicated some time to training his dogs. Other than talking, they can cook and fly planes.
- Angry Guard Dogs: A whole pack of them. They aren't so angry when Charles acts cordially towards Carl and Russell, though.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: They get easily distracted by a SQUIRREL!
- Bully Bulldog: Gamma is a bulldog who works for the villain.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Most of them have not yet mastered human speech.
- Heel–Face Turn: The credits show all of the villain's dogs, including Alpha, assisting the infirm.
- Jerkass Has a Point: During a routine search for Kevin, Alpha chuckles to himself on getting Dug out of their hair. Beta however states that Muntz won't be pleased for losing one of his dogs. Which Alpha begrudgingly realizes he's right.
- My Instincts Are Showing: Smart as they are, they're still animals and can't ignore their instincts for certain things like tennis balls and SQUIRRELS!
- Punch Clock Villains: Lampshaded. They do whatever Muntz tells them to. In the scene where he says that they are his guests now, you can even hear one of them say "I like you temporarily!"
- Right Hand Attack Dogs: To Muntz.
- Talking Animals: At least Beta and Gamma, thanks to their translation collar.