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The main character of the film. Mumble is a young penguin who, unlike his peers, doesn't know how to sing and is an outcast because of that. However, he is also a very talented dancer.
- Adorkable: Dances whenever he's excited, incredibly polite, and his obvious love for Gloria.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Treated like an outcast because he was unable to sing.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Gloria.
- Distinctive Appearances: He's an adult penguin who still has the plumage of a chick, as well as the only penguin with blue eyes.
- Distinguishing Mark: Apart from his Perpetual Molt, he's got a black patch on his throat in the shape of a bow tie. When he returns to Emperorland, he has normal plumage from the shoulders down so it's gone, but the second film reverts him back to his full-bodied fluffy appearance to bring it back.
- Dreadful Musician: Mumble is a terrible singer — Ramon even comments that he sounds like a dying animal when he shows the Amigos just how bad he is. This makes him an outcast in penguin society.
- Happily Married: With Gloria in the sequel.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: He was terrible at singing at first, as he "had no heartsong".
- Leitmotif: He has no heart song, but the film strongly associates him with "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder.
- Meaningful Name: Mumble's name was not chosen by Memphis or Norma Jean, but Gloria. She called him this because while he was trying to exit his egg, he made small noises.
- Momma's Boy: Closer to his mother than his father.
- Nice Guy: Mumble is shown to be kind and friendly, as well as shy, but he can also be extremely brave when a situation calls for it.
- Non-Standard Character Design: His adult self is nothing like the other Emperors, instead resembling how he appeared in his youth.
- Official Couple: With Gloria at the end of the first movie.
- Papa Wolf: Twice he nearly risks falling to death to save Eric from the same fate.
- Perpetual Molt: Subverted. As an adult, he never finished his molting. He's the only adult to have this.
- Single-Target Sexuality: He's only had eyes for one penguin: Gloria.
- "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: In the sequel, Mumble worries about Erik not looking up to him.
Mumble's love interest. Gloria is a penguin known for her beautiful singing voice that Mumble had a crush on since they were kids. Gloria is generally a friendly and patient with Mumble.
- Berserk Button: Don't insult her singing.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Gloria isn't known to get upset, but she is kind of proud and got very mad when her singing was insulted.
- Character Signature Song: Her heart song is "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind & Fire.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Mumble.
- Dude Magnet: Became the most sought after female penguin when she grew older.
- Happily Married: With Mumble.
- Nice Girl: She's gentle, patient, and good with children.
- Official Couple: With Mumble at the end of the first movie.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Gloria was disappointed for Mumble's attempt to trick her, and just wants him to be himself.
- Voiced by: Hugh Jackman
Mumble's father who accidentally dropped his egg. He doesn't approve of Mumble's love for dancing, but genuinely wants the best for him.
- Character Signature Song: His heart song is "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley.
- Demoted to Extra: Has a barely-noticeable one-line cameo in the sequel.
- Former Teen Rebel: He even states that he used to be someone who did what he liked.
- Heroic BSoD: By the time Mumble returns, Memphis has become consumed with guilt over supporting Noah's decision to exile his son that he has isolated himself into a cave from the rest of the colony.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Didn't support his son, but came around.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's Elvis Presley as a penguin. With emotional baggage.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He has two big ones in the first film.
- When he recklessly dropped Mumble's egg. He blames himself heavily for the way his son turned out, and becomes more devoted to the penguin belief.
- Realizing there was no hope of changing Mumble, he supported Noah's decision to exile his son. However, he is soon consumed with guilt so much, that he temporarily loses all feeling of music in him, completely shutting off from the rest of the colony in shame.
- Parents as People: Memphis truly loves his son, but doesn't support his son's dancing, urging him to "repent" instead. Why does he do this? Because the winter incubation is not only an unforgiving period, but a devoutly religious one for the penguins, meant for singing praises to the "Great Guin" in the hopes that he'll bring them sunlight and a bountiful fishing season. Memphis, cold and desperately lonely, chose instead to lose himself in thoughts of Norma Jean, and got so into the memory of her song that he started dancing along and dropped Mumble's egg. His evangelicalism and hatred of anything that "ain't penguin" stem from a tragic combination of guilt and a sincere belief that going against the grain results in cosmic punishment.
- Voiced by: Nicole Kidman
Mumble's mother. Unlike Memphis, Norma Jean is much more accepting of Mumble's love for dancing.
- Character Signature Song: Her heart song is "Kiss" by Prince.
- Demoted to Extra: Has a barely-noticeable one-line cameo in the sequel.
- Good Parents: Very supportive of Mumble and his uniqueness, even when no one else is.
- Nice Girl: She is much more accepting of Mumble's quirks than Memphis.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: What Memphis is to Elvis, she is to Marilyn Monroe.
The Adelie Amigos
A group of five penguins and the comic relief of the movie. They quickly befriend Mumble and are known for failing to attract any chicas.
- All There in the Manual: Their names and how to tell them apart.
- Ascended Extra: In the first film, Ramon was the first among equals, only really standing out among the group because he was voiced by Robin Williams. In the sequel, he's a main character.
- Casanova Wannabe: All five of them, especially Ramon. Through Ramon actually does find a girl who loves him back in second movie.
- Demoted to Extra: In the sequel, the other four besides Ramon only make scattered appearances.
- Distinctive Appearances: Each of them has a unique head crest. Ramon is the most obvious, with the reddish blond; Nestor has the pointy cardinal-like crest, Raul has a white dot on the back of his neck in lieu of a crest, Rinaldo has a flat-top, and Lombardo's is wispy and curly.
- Greek Chorus: They don't talk to the audience, but most of their screen time is spent commenting on the action rather than contributing, and rather than having any motivation of their own, they just enthusiastically support Mumble on his quest.
- Nice Guy: Bunch of cheerful, easy-going penguins who quickly befriend Mumble and try to help him, through Ramon tends to be little egotistical.
- The Nicknamer: Each of them has a different nickname for Mumble.
- No Name Given: Apart from Ramon, none of their names are mentioned in either film, save Raul's opening line in the Adelie Rap, "Yo soy Raul".
- Voiced by: Robin Williams
A fortune teller who ends up going on an adventure with Mumble and Amigos after they find out that he is being chocked by the plastic rings on his neck.
- The Casanova: He is surrounded by bunch of women who really seem to like him in his first appearance. It kind of fades away later on.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: An egotistical jerk who nonetheless becomes grateful towards Mumble when he saves him and in the second movie, he develops a genuine friendship with Sven.
- Narrator All Along: Narrates the film for quite some time before his proper introduction.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's a caricature of Barry White.
- Voiced by: Hugo Weaving
A leader of the Elders who disapproves of Mumble's dancing and exiles him for it.
- Anti-Villain: Although he is disapproving of Mumble's dancing, he exiled him out of concern for the colony.
- Big Bad: The closest thing to a villain in the first movie.
- Brave Scot: Has a thick Scottish accent and, though it's not as noticeable in the first film due to his being on the wrong side, defends his nation courageously. In the second film, he makes an inspiring speech while climbing up to the highest point in Emperorland to make it, beating up the skuas in his path as he does so.
- Everyone Has Standards: He has a Jaw Drop when Memphis admits to having dropped Mumble's egg and concealing it for years.
- The Fundamentalist: Hes a firm believer of The Great Guin and considers Mumbles inability to sing and affinity to dancing both an affront to tradition and a threat to the colonys food supply. He later gets over his prejudice.
- HeelFace Turn: The main antagonist of the first film, a brave leader in the second.
- Jerkass: A prejusticed, close minded jerk. Through he becomes slightly nicer in the second movie.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He eventually comes around once he sees the humans for the first time.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He starts out strongly opposed to Mumbles dancing, before finally giving in to the desire himself.
- Voiced by: Magda Szubanski
Mumble's former teacher.
- Voiced by: Miriam Margolyes
A teacher with a Russian accent who tries to teach Mumble how to sing, with no success.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The only prominent character from the first film to make no appearance whatsoever in the second.
- Husky Russkie: Portly and with a thick Russian accent.
- Large Ham: Comes with being an opera singing Husky Russkie.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Not a huge impact, but the way she pronounces "spontaneous" is the way Mumble continues to pronounce it later in life.
- Voiced by: Fat Joe (first film), Common (sequel), Cesar Flores (first film, young)
Mumble's and Gloria's former classmate who loves rapping.
- Ascended Extra: A recurring extra in the first film and a supporting player in the second.
- Character Signature Song: His heart song is "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash, the only heart song we hear that isn't about love or sex.
- Ship Tease: With Miss Viola in the first film, but the second proves it never came to anything. Also with Gloria, though of course she ends up with Mumble.
- Voiced by: Anthony LaPaglia
A skua who attacks baby Mumble in the first movie. He really loves talking about the ring on his leg.
- Apologetic Attacker: To baby Mumble, when he asks if he can appeal to his better nature.Sorry, kid, but... no.
- Anti-Villain: Sure, attempting to eat an adorable baby penguin is pretty horrific, but its nothing personal. As he puts it,Flying Boys, thats me, eat the Flipper Boy, and the fish. And frankly... there aint a lot of fish.
- Affably Evil: Sure, he tries to attack baby Mumble, but he doesnt show any genuine malice and even indulges Mumbles curiosity regarding his yellow tag.
- The Cameo: Menaces the emperor penguins throughout the second film but doesn't call much attention to himself.
- Dub Name Change: Called "the Alpha Skua" in some international versions of the first film and all versions of the second.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Only appears in a couple of scenes in the first film, but puts the idea of alien invaders in Mumble's head.
- Would Hurt a Child: Is perfectly willing to eat the baby Mumble as a result of the fish shortage.
- Voiced by: Lee Perry
Noah's second in command on the council of elders.
Maurice and Michelle
- Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker (Maurice), Chrissie Hynde (Michelle)
Gloria's parents, close friends of Memphis and Norma Jean.
- Character Signature Song: A mash-up in the film's soundtrack would seem to be a depiction of their respective heart songs: "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band (which claims "some people call me Maurice") and "Everything I Own" by Bread, which Michelle's voice actress performs.
- Recurring Extra: Maurice being more recurring.
Happy Feet Two
- Voiced by: Ava Acres (speaking); Elizabeth Daily (singing)
Mumble's socially anxious son who, unlike his father, can't dance but has a beautiful singing voice.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Pleasantly averted in the sequel; while Erik clearly has crippling social anxiety that prevents him from relaxing enough to discover his heartsong, his relationship with his loving and supportive parents is healthy despite Mumble's difficulty with communicating. He also has close friends in the form of Atticus and Bodicca, who never leave his side and are always ready to distract, comfort, or defend him as necessary.
- Meaningful Name: Erik's talent turns out to be opera...just like another famous Erik.
- Shrinking Violet: Erik is naturally shy. He is never seen fully participating, successfully at least, with the other penguins' dances. Because he is shy, usually lets Bo or Atticus do the talking, but will occasionally say a few words.
- Voiced by: Meibh Campbell (speaking); Elizabeth Daily (singing)
A friend of Erik's and a daughter of Miss Viola.
- Voiced by: Lil P-Nut
A friend of Erik's and a son of Seymour.
The Mighty Sven
- Voiced by: Hank Azaria
A puffin who was hyped up by Lovelace as a flying penguin. He quickly becomes Erik's idol.
- Friend to All Children: Sven shows a great fondness towards Erik. He even takes on a Papa Wolf mentality for the young penguin when he sees Erik is about to fall from a great height.
- Nice Guy: Despite the fact that he lied about being a penguin, he does help out Mumble a lot and never seems to be malicious.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Sven seems to vanish once the Emperor Penguins are freed.
Will and Bill
Two krill who function as the comic relief of the second movie.
- Ambiguously Gay: Bill is implied to have a thing for Will.
- Butt-Monkey: Both, more so at the start of the movie, but it gradually got better for them.
- Determinator: Will refuses to give up on his quest to move up in the food chain despite all the danger, and Bill's pleading.
- Fearless Fool: Will fits this to a tee near the beginning of the film, as he eagerly leaps into danger, ready to attack a seal hundreds of times larger than he is without fear for his own safety.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Will wants to be "one in a krillion".
- Voiced by: Sofía Vergara
A gorgeous adelie, and Ramon's love interest.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Ramon.
Bryan the Beachmaster
- Voiced by: Richard Carter
A powerful beachmaster elephant seal.