Jesse Aarons Jr.
Played by: Julian Coutts (1985) Josh Hutcherson (2007)
- Age Lift: He's 12 instead of 10 in the 2007 film.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards May Belle.
- Guilt Complex: He didn't tell Leslie about the trip to the museum due to his crush on Ms. Edmunds, wanting to spend time with her alone. If hed told her, Leslie wouldve likely come along and wouldnt have died.
- Heroic BSoD: Suffers an extremely realistic one after Leslie's death.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: He's an artistic boy who tries to not let his many insecurities get the best of him while Leslie is a runner who uses her sense of adventure to design an imaginary kingdom across the creek.
- Mistaken for Gay: In the book his parents worry that he might be gay because he's into art and his only friend is a girl.
- Outnumbered Sibling: He is the only male in the Aarons siblings.
- The Protagonist: The story focuses mostly on him, and he goes through most of the character development.
- Teacher/Student Romance: He has a one-sided crush on Ms. Edmunds.
Played by: Julie Beaulieu (1985) AnnaSophia Robb (2007)
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the 2007 film she's more cute than either her plainer book version or bookish 1985 version.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: The 2007 film changes Leslie from brown haired to blonde haired.
- Adaptation Personality Change: She becomes more bubbly and friendly in the 2007 film.
- Age Lift: In the 2007 film she's aged-up from 10 to 12.
- Calling Parents by Their Name: In the book but not in the 2007 adaptation. This friendliness towards her parents weirds Jesse out.
- Death by Irony: She was a good swimmer, but she died by drowning after hitting her head on a rock.
- Disabled in the Adaptation: She wears glasses in the 1985 version.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Before there even was a bridge.
- Killed Offscreen: Jesse just finds out that she died after coming home from the museum.
- Kill the Cutie: Thankfully, off-screen/off-page. Not that it makes it less saddening.
- Knight of Cerebus: Inverted, she is one of the lightest and nicest characters in the book, but the book takes a darker turn with her death.
- Gender-Blender Name: In the early 1970s "Leslie" was unisex but more commonplace for boys. This changed by the 2007 film, with it being very rare for boys.
- Girliness Upgrade:
- Goes from a tomboy to a Tomboy with a Girly Streak with a more feminine appearance in the 2007 film.
- In the 1985 adaptation Leslie is more androgynous than boyish looking thanks to her longer haircut.
- Hippie Parents: At least compared to the other parents in the story.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: When Jesse first met her in the novel, he thought she might have been a boy because of the way she dressed and her short hair, as well as having a name that some boys have.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: She's a runner who uses her sense of adventure to design an imaginary kingdom across the creek while Jesse is an artistic boy who tries to not let his many insecurities get the best of him.
- Nice Girl: She is friendly to everyone she meets, and even reaches out to Janice Avery.
- One of the Boys: Leslie's first friend is a guy, and it is implied that she doesn't have any others. Jesse befriends and spends time with her to get away from his girly-girl sisters, despite the fact that she's a girl as well.
- Passionate Sports Girl: Leslie's athletic. She's into running and swimming.
- The Smart Girl: She's wordly for her age and is shown to be popular with the teachers.
- Tomboy: In the book and 1985 film. She looks androgynous, is sporty, and her only friend is a boy. This makes Leslie stand out amongst her more girly classmates.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: While still a tomboy, the 2007 version shows Leslie has no problem wearing a dress and she mentions owning Barbie dolls.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to May Belle's Girly Girl.
May Belle Aarons
Played by: Jennifer Matichuk (1985) Bailee Madison (2007)
- Annoying Younger Sibling: She can be this to Jesse
- Big Brother Worship: Can also be seen as this to Jesse.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Leslie's Tomboy.
Joyce Ann Aarons
Played by: Grace Brannigan (2007 film only)
Played by: Annette O'Toole (1985) Zooey Deschanel (2007)
- Cool Teacher: That, plus her looks, is what Jesse likes about her.
- Hippie Teacher: Literally in the original novel due to it taking place in the 1970s. Miss Edmunds is considered an oddity as a result. She's less so in the 2007 film.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had she not called Jesse to join her at the museum, Leslie would probably have survived her last trip to Terabithia.
Played by: Emma Fenton (2007 only)
Played by: Sharon Alexander (1985) Devon Wood (2007)
Played by: Bridget Ryan (1985) Lauren Clinton (2007)
- Abusive Parents: Her father physically abuses her.
- Freudian Excuse: See Abusive Parents.
- HeelFace Turn: After Leslie reaches out to her. She even beats up another bully for messing with Jess after Leslie's death.
Played by: Tom Heaton (1985) Robert Patrick (2007)
- Abusive Parents: In the film at least it's more overt, with him being openly scornful of Jessie's art hobby (especially when Jessie loses his keys by accident).
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being strict on Jessie early in the movie, he does console him when the latter is grieving over Leslie.
Played by: Gloria Carlin (1985) Kate Butler (2007)
Played by: Peter Dvorsky (1985) Latham Gaines (2007)
Played by: Darlene Bradley (1985) Judy McIntosh (2007)
Gary Fulcher and Scott Hoager
- The Bully: Toward Jesse, and Leslie's death does nothing to stop them.
- Catchphrase: Gary always calls Jesse "Dead Meat". In Terabithia, this is translated in the form of a hairy vulture that's constantly squawking "DEAD MEAT!"
- Decomposite Character: They were the same character in the book, but Scott Hoager is a character made up in the movie.
- Jerkass: Putting it very mildly...
- Lack of Empathy: If anything they up the ante with their bullying antics after Leslie's death.
- The Sociopath: See Lack of Empathy.