Warning, the following character sheet has some unmarked spoilers. Tread carefully.
The protagonist, the last man on Earth with actual space experience, who leaves his family behind to find a new planet for humanity to live on.
- Ace Pilot: A former talented test pilot, who almost became an astronaut back when NASA was still operating publicly. Chosen for the mission because he's one of the few at least somewhat skilled pilots still available for such an undertaking. During the course of the film, he gets to prove that his flying skills with shuttles are far above standard, even if he is a bit prone to trying risky maneuvers.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Well, generation at least. He's an innovator and explorer in a time those ideals are discouraged in favor of getting enough food to eat. It gets lampshaded in-universe by his father-in-law Donald.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially when interacting with TARS.
- Disappeared Dad: Although Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You, namely the fate of the human race. Doesn't stop him from regretting it, though.
- Dumb Jock: Despite his qualifications, Dr. Brand initially seems to regard him as this. Cooper proves her wrong.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After having given up all hope of ever doing so again, he overcomes the odds and eventually reunites with his daughter. He also helps fulfill the mission in an unusual way, helping humanity to survive and kickstart a true era of interstellar colonization.
- Fire-Forged Friends: By the end of the film, he's become firm friends with Dr. Brand and even with TARS.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Cooper stands by this and he himself tries his best to prove this trope in his own life.
- The Idealist: Even before he joins the Endurance mission, Cooper is dismayed at how fatalistic and increasingly narrow-minded humanity has become. His comment on how humans once looked up to the stars but now just stare into the dirt reflects this in particular.
- Last-Name Basis: His first name is hardly ever brought up in the film itself, to an outright All There in the Manual level.
- Living Is More Than Surviving: He's a firm believer in this and grows disgruntled when seeing how humanity is becoming increasingly focused only on short-term survival instead of finding more daring and effective solutions to Earth's problems.
- Meaningful Name: Though not officially confirmed, his surname might be a Shout-Out to 1960s astronaut Gordon Cooper. (This would have been probably intentional, given the film's visual references to 60s space iconography, such as the Gemini missions (the spacesuit helmet styling), Apollo missions (the rocket launch) and films like Kubrick's 2001). As for Cooper's given name, he's literally an "Average Joe", being the Unfazed Everyman of the Endurance crew.
- Nice Guy: Cooper makes no secret that he loves his closest family, is soft-spoken and polite most of the time, and even tries to cheer up Romilly when he notices he has some trouble adjusting to the long and demanding space voyage.
- Only One Name: Cooper's first name is never stated during the film. People familiar with him call him, "Coop," instead of being on a first-name basis.
- Science Hero: Even without a doctorate, he's a competent engineer and innovator. He joins up with more of his type of people later, though.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Former astronaut-in-training, highly knowledgeable engineer, has something of a Texan-like drawl.
- Tranquil Fury: When the teachers responsible for his daughter's education deeply disappoint him. He himself notes that he would have preferred if his poor wife was still alive, because she was always the calmer one when called to a parent-teacher association. His frustration at the beliefs of Murph's educators is all the greater when he notes that their anti-research stance is what made the medical equipment that could have saved his wife's life become unavailable to the public.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: A mild version of this with TARS. As much as they like to joke at each other's expense, Cooper and TARS quickly develop an air of professional camaraderie.
- The Watson: Cooper asks questions concerning advanced astrophysics and relativity so that the crew can explain plot-relevant science to him as well as the audience.
Dr. Amelia Brand
The daughter of the professor, a biologist and the only female member of the Endurance's crew.
- Boyish Short Hair: Justified by the fact she's on a long-duration deep space mission, with lots of spacesuit wearing at various times. Long hair would get in the way. Interestingly, Brand seems to favour this haircut even before the mission, though it's less short.
- Brainy Brunette: A professional biologist, and in charge of overseeing the cryogenically frozen sperm and egg samples the mission is taking along, in order to seed potentially habitable worlds with Earth life and a human population.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has her cheeky moments.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She's a bit arrogant and stubborn at first, but she mellows as the mission goes on and the team is faced with increasingly difficult challenges.
- Fire-Forged Friends: She gains a great deal of respect for Cooper later in the film, before they part.
- Idiot Ball: Despite Cooper telling her that the second wave was right on top of them, which she could plainly see, she still insisted on going for the data log. Making her indirectly responsible for Doyle's death, since he sent CASE to save her and made sure she made it back to the shuttle.
- On an even greater scale, she gets so bogged down in the details that she fails to see the bigger picture twice: First, she doesn't make the connection that the Year Inside, Hour Outside level of time dilation means that Miller hadn't been on the planet all that long to begin with, and Second, that seeing the mountain-sized tsunami bearing down on the lander should have immediately invalidated Miller's planet as an option, making gathering the data irrelevant. Cooper calls her out on this after the fact.
- Maybe Ever After: Implied with Cooper. He's already a widower, and at the end, there is no one still alive who he's close to. He sets off to search for Brand and visit her. Brand had also buried Edmunds on his planet and continued work on setting up the small colony he had started there. Cooper and Brand might not be motivated by romance, but the friendship they developed might help them cope with their experiences and loss of their loved ones.
- Meaningful Name: In reference to Amelia Earhart.
- Not So Different: Both admits in front of others and calls Cooper out on how she and him might have their judgement clouded by personal attachments. In her case, it's her relationship to Edmunds, in Cooper's case, it's his daughter and son.
- The Smurfette Principle: Played straight while on the Endurance, but then again, it's only a crew of four people (and two male-voiced robots).
- Too Dumb to Live: You really have to wonder what she was thinking, when she insisted on trying to recover the recorder, after being told (4 times) there wasn't time, because the tsunami was right in front of them.
- Unkempt Beauty: Dr Brand can cut her hair and not wear visible makeup, but she can't stop herself being played by Anne Hathaway.
Another crew member, a geologist.
- Heroic Sacrifice: When he sees that Brand is pinned, he sends CASE to save her, then manually overrides the controls to the shuttle doors, mere seconds before being swept away by the tsunami.
- Last-Name Basis: We never learn his first name.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Though of the same age as the others, he invokes this when he tries to remind Cooper that "now he needs to think bigger than just his family", as the outcome of the mission might decide about humanity's future prospects.
- The Stoic: Of the no-nonsense variety.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Dies early in the film to convey the danger involved in the mission.
Dr. Nikolai Romilly
The last human crew member, an astrophysicist.
- Black Dude Dies First: Subverted. He dies second, after Doyle.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Averted. He spent over 23 years in orbit around Miller's planet, only using hibernation for part of it. While he does seem more than a bit rattled, he stays sober enough to still be helpful on the mission.
- Last-Name Basis: We never learn his first name. Even Cooper's nickname for him, "Romi", or Brand's "Rom", are abbreviations of his surname, not his given name.
- All There in the Manual: His first name is Nikolai.
- The Leader: Sort of a subversion, as the Endurance crew is tiny enough to not bother with hierarchy. Romilly still seems to be the most important voice on board, especially due to his scientific credentials that are crucial for the outcome of the mission. Though he is the closest the crew has to a leader figure, he's a very calm and soft-spoken example of the trope.
- Nice Guy: He's polite and friendly to his fellow crew members and seems calm and collected even in the face of adversity.
- The Quiet One: Goes hand in hand with him being the most introverted of the crew members.
- Science Hero: Though the whole Endurance crew is made up of experts, Romilly is its most clear-cut "professional scientist" member.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Is blown up with no warning by Dr. Mann's trap.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Downplayed, but even with the help of cryosleep and Cooper's recordings of Earth sounds, he never warms up to the fact that he has to live aboard the completely artificial environment of the Endurance for several years.
TARS and CASE
Two robots assigned to the mission.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Completely averted. Though TARS, being TARS, lampshades this by cracking a joke to the Endurance crew about them becoming "slaves for [his] robot colony".
- Benevolent A.I.: They're not completely autonomous in their sapience, but they are independently thinking robots who are very helpful and loyal to their human masters.
- Computer Voice: Subverted. Despite looking very obviously inhuman, TARS and CASE both have perfectly normal human voices and intonations, to the point that viewers who have gotten used to expecting synthesized monotones might have a difficult time at first telling when the robots are speaking and when the people do.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially TARS. CASE is more of a polite jokester.CASE: TARS talks plenty for both of us.
- Fire-Forged Friends:
- Cooper and TARS, whose first meeting involves TARS tasering Cooper and interrogating him, and the two of them getting into each other's faces and threatening each other. Throughout the movie, they warm up to each other while engaging in plenty of Snark-to-Snark Combat, and at the end, Cooper repairs TARS after their trip into the black hole, and they leave together to Edmunds' planet to find Amelia and CASE.
- Cooper and CASE as well, though it's more subtle due to CASE being The Quiet One. They grow to trust each other more and more as copilots over the course of the mission.
- Made of Iron: Whatever they're constructed from is enough for TARS to survive the explosion that kills Romilly. Cooper mentions that they were originally designed for military operations.
- Morality Dial: They have adjustable settings for at least honesty, humor, discretion, and trust, and possibly more. They can show an indicator light when they're joking. Set humor too high, and they will turn it off if they think it's funnier.
- Old Soldier: Sort of. Their model was originally developed for the US armed forces. TARS himself seemed to have served as an army robot, but after the closure of the armed forces, he and his kin were given over to what was left of NASA.
- Properly Paranoid: TARS, thanks to his low trust setting, becomes wary enough of Dr. Mann at some point that he locks him out of the access to the automatic docking procedure for the landers and the Endurance. Sure enough, this ends up preventing Mann from hijacking the ship and marooning the rest of the crew.
- The Quiet One: CASE, who pretty much only speaks when spoken to or when giving necessary updates/information while piloting the crafts, and probably has the least amount of dialogue of the entire crew (excepting perhaps Doyle, who dies pretty early on in the story). When this is lampshaded by Cooper, CASE explains "TARS talks plenty for both of us."
- Robot Buddy: Despite how inhuman and abstract they look, they share a close relationship with the crew. TARS and Cooper develop a snarky friendship over the course of the story. Amelia Brand seems to have known the two robots for a few years and even subtly displays genuine concern for their "lives" several times. It's oddly touching to see how she considers them something more than just very smart machines. It might have something to do with CASE saving her life on Miller's planet.
- During the Distant Finale of the film, we still see their type/model of robot being used by humanity several decades later. What's more interesting is that they're being carried aboard the cockpits of small reconnaissance vessels, in a compartment behind the pilot's seat. This is remarkably similar to how astromech droids are carried aboard many fighters in the Star Wars universe.
- Their shape also invokes the monoliths of 2001: A Space Odyssey, while their personality seems to be the inverse of HAL 9000: Witty and snarky, but ultimately 100% loyal.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: They are in fact deliberately programmed in this role, to make them more personable.
- Starfish Robots: They have a completely non-humanoid outward appearance, based on four simple, interconnected rectangular shapes◊. These shapes are highly modular, especially the outer two rectangles, and can be adjusted by the robots to perform whatever task is needed at that moment. Furthermore, they actually do have a starfish-looking configuration for whenever they need to move real quick.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: Though they are both serious when it comes to carrying out their duties and necessary tasks, CASE (who only cracks a couple of jokes in the entire movie) is the Straight Man to TARS (who is quite a Deadpan Snarker), the Wise Guy.
- Swiss Army Hero: Their whole bodies might be based on simple rectangular shapes, but this allows them to reconfigure them or parts of them into whatever shapes they need for movement or work. They can walk◊, gallop◊, cartwheel◊ to a location speedily, create hand-like or leg-like appendages from their side-rectangles, and much more.
- Undying Loyalty: To the crew of the Endurance, though this is partly due to their basic programming. Cooper even points this out briefly several times.TARS: (After volunteering for a Heroic Sacrifice) Before you get all teary, try to remember that as a robot, I have to do anything you say.
The exploratory spacecraft of the latest Lazarus mission, as seen in the film. Though an inanimate character, she plays a crucial role in the entire story.
- Boring, but Practical: She's large and comfortable enough for her tiny crew of four astronauts, but the conditions aboard are fairly spartan. Her design is simple and compact, in order to waste as little space and resources as possible. Almost the entirety of the ship's contents consist of the modules mounted on the rotating ring she uses to generate artificial gravity. This includes the four main engine pods! The outsides of some of the modules are equipped with strategically placed solar panels to produce electricity from whatever solar energy can be scrounged up even in deeper space.
- Cool Starship:
- Subverted a bit with the "starship" part, as she's more of an interplanetary spaceship for long-duration missions, but is able to travel through wormholes to other star systems.
- Her pairs of Ranger and Lander shuttles. The former plays the "Cool Spaceplane" subtrope straight, but the latter is much closer to a Flying Brick.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: She takes the "wheel in space, spinning to generate onboard gravity" concept to its logical conclusion, being little more than the wheel itself, with attached modules of particular functions and a versatile docking section in the middle.
- Interplanetary Voyage: What she's built for, though she gets to become a temporary starship while crossing the wormhole at Saturn.
- Rule of Symbolism: Bordering on a Visual Pun. She's ring-shaped, with her 12 modules arranged roughly in the same way hours are on a clock. Given the time-related themes of the film (especially the relentlessness of time), the clock symbolism is more than apt.
- Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Justified, for the same reasons a lot of Real Life spacecraft adhere to this esthetic. She's slightly grungier in her interiors, though still clean and tidy looking.
- Shout-Out: Her name is a reference to the eponymous ship of early 20th century British Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. In something of a sly nod to this, she even gets to orbit an ice planet during the course of the storyline.
- Starship Luxurious: Outside of some relative spaciousness in a few modules, this is completely averted.
- Used Future: Played with. She's not rusting or falling apart, but while she is shiny and tidy, her interiors do have a slightly worn, lived-in look to them. Justified by the fact that she and her shuttles were basically cobbled together from what modules and equipment were left over after the public closure of NASA. As there has been no new spaceflight tech developed for a number of years, it makes sense that the mission developers would reuse what was still at hand or viable with their limited secret budget.
The First Scientists
A scientist who stood at the creation of the Lazarus exploratory missions. He was previously sent through the wormhole to search for habitable planets, but is the only one still transmitting data.
- The Ace: The other scientists describe him in inspirational terms, and he was apparently the best scientist working on the Lazarus Project. He turns out to be a Broken Ace.
- Affably Evil: Seems genuinely regretful he has to kill Cooper, and even offers to stay on his comm channel to comfort him and keep him company until he runs out of oxygen, at least until he decides he can't bear hearing Cooper die.
- Big Bad: He is the biggest obstacle to the crews goal of saving the humans on Earth, as he lures them to an inhospitable planet and then does everything in his power to sabotage their mission, just to save his own life and carry out Brands Plan B.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: At first, he seems like the heroic man everyone described. He isn't, at all- he is a Dirty Coward who would kill an innocent man to save himself.
- Broken Pedestal: He was once a respected man who was seen as a hero who sacrificed himself for the good of humanity. Then the crew find him and turns out to be very different.
- Consummate Liar: It's just one lie after another with this guy, both to the crew of the Endurance, and to himself. He dies this way too; in the middle of telling another lie.
- Dirty Coward: Proves his Fatal Flaw once he becomes obsessed with leaving his planet.
- Egopolis: His planet is preliminarily named "Mann's planet", simply for convenience's sake.
- Expy: Of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as both are helping carry out a mission to anothers planet, but know the truth about the mission and are sworn to secrecy. They become the Big Bad after turning against the crew in order to save themselves and carry out their mission.
- The Faceless: Dr. Mann is this for the first half of the film. When the camera is panning across the portraits of the Lazarus astronauts, it deliberately cuts away before Professor Brandt points out Mann.
- Foil: To Romilly. Both show the flipsides of how isolation with minimal hope of ever seeing a human again can affect someone.
- In terms of viewpoint and life circumstances, he embodies a startling contrast to Cooper. Cooper was a test pilot who initially missed his chance to go into space and eagerly leaps at the chance, but ultimately cares about the people back on earth. Mann was already renowned and respected before he was sent to his planet, but his isolation and ego drive him to complete the mission no matter the cost.
- In thematic terms, if the entire film were to be compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, since the HAL equivalents in TARS and CASE are 100% loyal, Mann fills that antagonist role, kills Romilly and tries to kill Cooper. So, instead of A.I. Is a Crapshoot, the human mind is a crapshoot?
- Go Mad from the Isolation: A particularly bad (and rather creepy) case of this. Especially given how he only shows his true mental state to the Endurance crew when they least suspect it.
- It's All About Me: When Mann reveals his true intentions, it's very clear he doesn't care much about the rest of the crew members, as long as his own self-preservation is fulfilled. This goes as far as him jury-rigging an explosive trap that destroys the surface camp and kills Romilly. It's also implied that one of the reasons he went insane was that he couldn't accept that he wasn't the one who discovered an inhabitable planet after all, and seems to view himself as being both entitled to be the one who does so and the only one who can.
- Karmic Death: Gets blown up and blown out into space during his attempt to hijack the Endurance. This is due to his less than perfect docking with the mothership and unwillingness to listen to Cooper's and Brand's warnings against using the airlock improperly.
- Last-Name Basis: We never learn his given name. The novelization gives it as Hugh, as in Hugh Mann.
- Living Legend: He's highly respected and admired by the crew before they find out his true nature.
- Meaningful Name: Of the Rule of Symbolism kind. Mann is (of course) German for "man", and given the themes of the film and Mann's behavior once he shows his true colors, it represents how Humans Are Flawed.
- Sanity Slippage: As one of the "best and brightest", the realization that his allotted planet was a bust and no one would come for him led him to panic and hatch a scheme to save himself.
- Tragic Villain: He's a brilliant mind, and an intelligent, soft-spoken person, but his eventual Sanity Slippage gets the better of him and reveals some ugly personal flaws. This aspect of his personal story is touched upon in Absolute Zero, a short prequel comic.
- Walking Spoiler: He initially appears to be a benevolent astronaut scientist and ally of the heroes, but in truth he's not the friendliest folk that Cooper and company meet. In fact, he is the main antagonist who tries to sabotage their mission to save himself.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In several ways. He is onto Professor Brand's true plan, as they both share a pessimistic outlook on the possible success rate of either of the two contingency plans. Then, in something of a subversion of this trope, he falsifies the data he sends to Earth about his planet, because he's lonely and scared after finding it barren and too inhospitable for life and just wants to lure in a newer interstellar mission so they could rescue him and he would be able to carry on with 'Plan B' by himself.
Doctor Laura Miller
Another scientist who was looking for planets to live on.
- Egopolis: Her planet is preliminarily named "Miller's planet", simply for convenience's sake.
- The Ghost: Is never seen as an on-screen character.
- Killed Offscreen: In a particularly tragic example, due to the way time dilation works on her planet, she was smashed by a wave minutes before our heroes arrived.
- Last-Name Basis: Narrowly averted. Her given name only comes up once.
Doctor Wolf Edmunds
The last astronaut/scientist sent out to survey planets. Amelia is in love with him.
- Awesome McCoolname: His first name is 'Wolf', for God's sake.
- Egopolis: His planet is preliminarily named "Edmunds' planet", simply for convenience's sake.
- The Ghost: Is never seen as an on-screen character.
- Last-Name Basis: Narrowly averted. His given name only comes up once or twice.
- Old Flame: Of Amelia Brand.
- Passed in Their Sleep: The novelization of the film shows that he settled into hypersleep to await NASA response after confirming that the planet was in fact habitable; while he was asleep a rockslide destroyed his shelter, giving him what's most likely the most painless death of all the scientists.
The protagonist's daughter, and the main reason he regrets leaving Earth.
- Affectionate Nickname: Many call her just "Murph".
- Broken Pedestal: Professor Brand, once she learns of the secret he's been keeping from her and the rest of the researchers. On a more personal level, she grows angry and discontent at her father for leaving her at such a young age, but gradually starts finding ways to understand him and reconcile with him.
- Big Damn Kiss: Gives one to Getty near the end of the movie.
- Cruel to Be Kind: After her brother stops trusting her and decides he'll never let her set foot in their old family home ever again, she drives off to set alight his field of crops, in an attempt to distract him and be able to rescue her nephew and sister-in-law and visit her room one more time. Luckily, she solves the room's hidden mystery that's been bugging her since childhood and the trope comes into play when she runs out and hugs an angry returning brother. Tom becomes so stumped by Murph's behaviour and revelation that he seems willing to change tact and hear her out.
- Cute Bookworm: While she's still a child. She has a big bookcase, loves reading and seems fascinated by her dad's old textbooks on astronomy and spaceflight. In a sad subversion, due to policy changes in the increasingly jaded leftovers of Earth's governments, her passionate defense of former spaceflight programs in school is frowned upon even by her teachers.
- Daddy's Girl: While promoting the film on British TV, Jessica Chastain said that it was, among other things, "a father-daughter love story."
- Deuteragonist: She might not seem like one at the start, but over the course of the storyline, she develops into this role in relation to her father.
- Drives Like Crazy: Tom mentions in a message to his father that Murph crashed Donald's car one time and she's got no problem blindly swerving into corn fields.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Poor Murph and her brother have had it hard since their father left them. Things ultimately turn for the better, though. She and Tom reconcile as siblings once she uncovers the mystery of her bedroom's "ghost". With the unexpected help of her father, she helps solve the obstacles that prevented Plan A from happening. And she gets to reunite with her father one last time, decades in the future, as an old and slowly dying lady. A bittersweet happy ending, but very heartwarming.
- Embarrassing First Name: Or at least she thinks so. Tom frequently uses it to take jabs at her, but her father explains to her the name doesn't automatically invoke bad things happening.
- Eureka Moment: Has one later in the film, and it makes her almost euphoric with happiness in front of a surprised NASA staff.
- Fiery Redhead: Somewhere between a brunette and bright red redhead. While she's usually calm, she does have a bit of a feisty personality when she grows annoyed or angered.
- Gender-Blender Name/ Tomboyish Name: Lampshaded by her father, who notes that they were originally expecting a son, but gave her the name anyway once she was born, as they thought of it as unisex-enough and having a bit of Rule of Symbolism in it (under Murphy's Law, anything could happen - bad as well as good).
- The Smart Girl: She's extremely intelligent and imaginative already at a young age and her father encourages her to become a scientist or researcher one day. After her father leaves, Professor Brand picks up on her talents and offers her an opportunity to receive higher education at the NASA facility, as his young protege.
- Sole Surviving Scientist: It's possible that she and Getty are the last ones trying to solve the gravity equation back on Earth as the dust storms get worse and the death of Dr. Brand impacts NASA.
The protagonist's son.
- Bad Ass Driver: Chasing down a drone while narrowly avoiding a head-on with a combine and able to brake just before the edge of a cliff while maintaining one's composure is pretty impressive.
- Conflict Ball: Grows irrationally hostile towards his sister's attempts to bring up their father, to the point where his sister is forced to trick him out of the family house so she can gain entrance. While this might not seem like that big of a deal, the movie shows this subplot at the same time that their father is about to cross into a black hole.
- The Cynic: Young Tom is quite the optimist, but adult Tom grows increasingly jaded, due to the absence of his father, the personal tragedy that befalls his young family and the generally worsening nature of the world around him.
- Determined Homesteader: Subverted; his refusal to abandon his land, while it makes him an excellent farmer, puts his own family at risk because they're suffering lung damage from living for years in the dust bowl. In the end his sister tries to force the issue by evacuating them herself.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't see a full resolution to Tom's life, but we do get to see his reconciliation with his sister over their father, after she makes her big discovery.
- Cool Old Guy: He's sharp-minded and offers sage advice.
- Foil: Their interaction is relatively brief, but his viewpoint is contrasted with Dr. Brand's. While the former is concerned primarily with the day-to-day earth affairs, Brand is concerned with settling somewhere else, completely at the expense of those who are still on earth.
- I Want Grandkids: Tells Cooper to be nice to the attractive teacher he's going to talk to, because he has to do his bit to repopulate the human race. Cooper is not interested and ends up losing his temper at her anyway.
- Lead You Can Relate To: Not the lead, but remarks made by him mentioning how in his childhood, "there was always a new gadget daily", as well as more positive things about the old world imply he is from the generation in which the film was made.
- Nostalgia Filter: While watching the contemporary version of the New York Yankees (a barnstorming group of college-age kids and local stars), he complains that none of the players would have made it on the Yankees of his day.
Scientist and former acquaintance of Cooper from back when they worked at NASA. He recruits Cooper for the expedition.
- Broken Pedestal: He confesses to Murph that he believed Plan A to be an impossible dream all along and had kept it from the public in order to keep morale high. However, the pedestal turns out to be more on the low side; it's just that he died believing the mathematical equation which could save humanity was impossible, but Murph soon starts to believe there may be a way to work it out that he never really lived to solve.
- Do Not Go Gentle: His entire motivation for Plan A. Despite the fact that he believes the plan to be an impossible dream, he keeps this revelation to himself, at least in part, because he feels it is better for humanity to at least try to save itself then to simply roll over and die.
- Genius Cripple: As time goes on, he ends up wheelchair bound.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He is not the Big Bad, as his antagonism is indirect, and he dies halfway through the film. However, he is the reason for much of the conflict, as he tricks the heroes into thinking that he has the power to save the humans on Earth (Plan A) when he really plans to abandon them in favor of a new humanity (Plan B) because he cannot find the solution to the equation necessary for Plan A. He was also the mentor of the direct Big Bad Dr. Mann, who aims to carry out his plan.
- Last-Name Basis: We never learn his given name in the final film; according to the novelization and early drafts of the script, it's John.
- Madness Mantra: His quoting of a famous Dylan Thomas novel seems like an optimism-boosting catchphrase at first, but when he reveals on his deathbed that he wasn't being completely sincere about his research, his love of the poem quickly warps into this, in hindsight.
- Parental Substitute: To Murphy Cooper when she agrees to study and work under him at the NASA facility.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: A mentor figure to several characters, including Cooper and his own daughter Amelia, but particularly to Murphy Cooper.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: When Murphy learns of his dark little secret while he's on his death bed.
- He's All Grown Up: The novelization mentions that Amelia used to babysit him, and she initially thinks a reference to him in one of her father's messages was about his parents (also scientists).
- Nice Guy: Helpful and loyal to Murph, and also has a good bedside manner examining her sick nephew.
- Oh, Crap!: When Murph tells him that Brand had faked his research.
- Ship Tease: He's always around Murph and they seem to get along very well. Murph's Big Damn Kiss at the end probably helps too and makes the tease stronger.