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Characters / Bridge to Terabithia

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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 he’d told her, Leslie would’ve likely come along and wouldn’t have died.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffers an extremely realistic one after Leslie's death.
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  • 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.

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Leslie Burke

Played by: Julie Beaulieu (1985) AnnaSophia Robb (2007)
  • 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)

Joyce Ann Aarons

Played by: Grace Brannigan (2007 film only)

Miss Edmunds

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.

Ellie Aarons

Played by: Emma Fenton (2007 only)

Brenda Aarons

Played by: Sharon Alexander (1985) Devon Wood (2007)

Janice Avery

Played by: Bridget Ryan (1985) Lauren Clinton (2007)

Mr. Aarons

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.

Mrs. Aarons

Played by: Gloria Carlin (1985) Kate Butler (2007)

Mr. Burke

Played by: Peter Dvorsky (1985) Latham Gaines (2007)

Mrs. Burke

Played by: Darlene Bradley (1985) Judy McIntosh (2007)

Gary Fulcher and Scott Hoager

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