Characters in the Present Time
The main protagonist and a budding inventor.
- Adorably Precocious Child: He is a responsible, pre-teen kid, and the things he says or when he smiles can melt your heart.
- Endearingly Dorky: His "adjustments" to being in the future and style of clothing. Too precious.
- Advertised Extra: Exaggerated: Lewis appears on the cover of the console versions of the tie-in game, even though he doesn't actually appear anywhere in them by dint of it being a prequel focusing on Wilbur.
- All-Loving Hero: Lewis' dream of inventing doesn't just stem from his love of it, but also how he wants to make the world a better place.
- Badass Adorable: Has his sweet Adorkable moments and is a brilliant inventor.
- Badass Bookworm: His peanut butter and jelly sandwich gun, the memory scanner, fixing the time machine, eventually building Carl the robot, and the other numerous inventions he's made in the future with Robinson Industries.
- Badass Pacifist: Lewis manages to to stop Doris by simply saying the words, "I am never going to invent you."
- Bungling Inventor: Many of the inventions he's made have not always worked, i.e. the PB&J gun.
- Character Development: Lewis learns that even though he'll fail sometimes, he shouldn't just give up. He has to "keep moving forward".
- Child Prodigy: He is ridiculously intelligent. Obviously he develops into a Teen Genius, as he ends up graduating from college at fourteen.
- Doorstop Baby: His birth mother left him on the doorstep of the orphanage that he would grow up in for 12 years.
- Dumb Blonde: Inverted. Lewis is a blond who also happens to be one of the smartest characters Disney has ever made.
- Future Badass: What he becomes in the future as Cornelius. Many of the inventions he's built have really helped people. Lewis even learns he has his own invention company.
- Gadgeteer Genius: In the climax, with a newly regained confidence, Lewis manages to fix the time machine, as well as create the inventions that are used in the future.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Lewis is a blond, dorky Nice Guy.
- Happily Adopted: By Dr. Krunklehorn and her husband. The trope gets more cemented when after the couple surprises Lewis with his new room, he runs to hug them. A family group hug follows.
- Heartwarming Orphan: He doesn't stop hoping that he will get adopted. Which he does.
- Improbable Hairstyle: For some reason, Lewis' hair is spiky enough to stand on its own. It turns out to be a give away that he's actually Cornelius Robinson.
- Improvised Weapon: Believe it or not, Retcon. By telling Doris he's never going to invent her, Lewis retroactively erases her existence from the space-time continuum, defeating her.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: To match his friendly and bright personality.
- Kid Hero: The protagonist and he's 12, almost 13.
- Meaningful Rename: He eventually changes his name to Cornelius.
- My Greatest Failure: After Goob explains why he "turned evil", Lewis starts seeing his semi-abusive behavior of young Goob as this and fixes it by waking Goob up in time for him to win at an important baseball game.
- Nerd Glasses: He wears the stereotypic round glasses that most scientists or nerds wear.
- Nerds Are Sexy: More like "Nerds Are Cute". Bowtie? Check? Determinator tendencies? Check. His expressions and ideas of being adopted? Check.
- Nice Guy: Lewis has his moments of teen angst, but he's overall a nice and sweet young man.
- Opposites Attract: With Franny. He's a quiet scientist/inventor while she's an excitable musician.
- Primary-Color Champion: The main protagonist and his outfits consists of the following — a blue vest, white t-shirt, red pants, and white socks. And he's a blonde.
- Rags to Riches: Downplayed. While Lewis didn't grow up in poverty and was raised in a reasonably well-off orphanage, in the future, he becomes an extremely wealthy inventor.
- Ridiculously Successful Future Self: As Cornelius Robinson. He owns a company that has really made the world progress.
- Science Hero: The hero who has been making his own inventions since probably before he was 12.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Lewis wears circular glasses and is quite the brainiac.
- Took a Level in Badass: Lewis goes from a pre-teen wannabe inventor whose inventions almost never work to the man who builds all the things to help mankind.
- Took a Level in Idealism: Lewis' failures nearly lead him to give up on his dreams and aspirations. His adventures with Wilbur and the Robinsons help him eventually adopt the "keep moving forward" philosophy.
The person who runs the orphanage that Lewis grew up in.
- All There in the Script: Her last name isn't revealed in the movie.
- Friend to All Children: There's her first scene with baby Lewis and the fact that she runs an orphanage.
- Good Parents: Or rather "Good Substitute Parent", but there's no doubt that the way Lewis turned out is because of her.
- Hartman Hips: Mildred has rather curvy hips.
- Meaningful Name: "Mildred" is Old English for "gentle strength", alluding to her help towards Lewis in letting go of the past.
- Nice Girl: A kind, motherly woman and one of the very first to not discourage Lewis' inventions.
- Parental Substitute: Before being officially adopted, Mildred is a positive mother figure for Lewis and the rest of the kids at the orphanage.
Lewis' roommate and friend at the orphanage.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Inverted. Bowler Hat Guy claims that his classmates "all hated [him]", but the footage shows that said classmates actually tried to befriend him. He shut them out.
- Creepy Child: His anger over losing a baseball game is so scary, it causes the adults coming to adopt him to not do so.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a dry sense of humor. He loses the trait after he takes the advice of his future self.
- Exhausted Eye Bags: As a result of Lewis using him as a guinea pig for his inventions.
- Happily Adopted: His last scene has him prepared to be adopted.
- In-Series Nickname: Often called "Goob".
- Nice Hat: His green baseball cap. And later, a bowler hat.
- Older Than They Look: At first glance, he looks around elementary school age. He's twelve, the same age as Lewis.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: After he meets with Doris, she persuades him to ruin Lewis' life, all for a baseball game. Thankfully, this gets averted after Lewis wakes up Goob to catch the winning ball.
Lewis' mother who gave up him up for adoption.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Gender-swapped and discussed. When former Doorstop Baby Lewis is rejected by the 100+ adoptive parents, he bitterly complains that even his birth mother didn't want him. Mildred is quick to point out that that might not be true; she probably did want him but couldn't raise him for some reason. Unfortunately, this just makes Lewis obsessed with tracking the birth mother down, since he's now convinced that she's the only one who ever wanted him. At the end of the movie, though, we can see she was having second thoughts before leaving Lewis. Make of that what you will.
- Missing Mom: She left Lewis at the front door of the orphanage, walking away into the distance.
- No Name Given: Her name is never revealed.
- Small Role, Big Impact: She has such an influence on Lewis that it was her that inspired him to invent his Memory Scanner.
- Reused Character Design: She shares the same model as Franny Robinson, probably to make her real identity more of a mystery.
- Riddle for the Ages: Her reasons for giving up Lewis, as well as her current status, are ultimately never revealed.
The titular, wacky family.
- Badass Family: They attack dinosaurs. One builds huge model trains. One teaches frogs to sing.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The whole family are quite a kind bunch... and you would like them to stay that way.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Each and every one of them is eccentric, but when things get deadly, they get serious.
- Cloudcuckoolander: All of them to some extent. See Keet and Genki Girl.
- Cool Aunt: Petunia and Billie to Wilbur.
- Cool Uncle: Wilbur has Art, who's an intergalactic pizza man, and Gaston, who built a meatball cannon. Then, Fritz and Joe become this to Lewis and Wilbur; for the latter, they're his great uncles. They all come to help Lewis and Wilbur when the T-Rex appears.
- Cool Pet:
- Their butler named Lefty is an octopus.
- They have a dog that wears glasses.
- Eventually, they take in a T-Rex named Tiny.
- Who can forget Frankie and the Singing Frogs?
- Genki Girl: All of the female Robinsons have this eccentricity.
- It Runs in the Family: The Robinson eccentricity, it would seem.
- Keet: All the male Robinsons have this eccentricity.
- Mama Bear: The female members. When the T-Rex attacks Lewis, the Cloudcuckoolander Robinsons decide to get dangerous.
- Multigenerational Household: Wilbur lives in the Robinson House with his parents, grandparents, great uncles, great aunts, and older cousins.
- No Sense of Personal Space: As pointed out in the director's commentary, the Robinson family frequently get in the face of the more reserved Lewis. It's most noticable with Uncle Gaston◊.
- Papa Wolf: The male members. When the T-Rex attacks Lewis, the Cloudcuckoolander Robinsons decide to get dangerous.
The Robinson member who wants Lewis to fix his memory scanner.
- Badass Adorable: His facial expressions and being able to take down a T-Rex.
- Catchphrase: One of his favorites is "That is an excellent question" (said directly before not answering said question).
- Fearless Fool: He acts confident and level headed despite how hectic his time travel shenanigans get.
- I Gave My Word: Lewis makes him promise to bring him to his biological mother after everything has blown over. After everything has been sorted out, Wilbur keeps his promise and brings Lewis to his real mother's house. Thanks to Character Development, Lewis decides to leave it a mystery so he can focus on his other—and in his eyes, true—family.
- Innocently Insensitive: Wilbur should probably be glad Lewis didn't overhear him telling Franny that "he (Lewis)" is an orphan; his tone is almost too casual and treats something deeply painful for Lewis as a footnote.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Wilbur has his moments of insensitivity, but he does mean well.
- Kid from the Future: He turns out to be Lewis' future son. Wilbur came back from the future to protect his dad from the Bowler Hat Guy. Things got complicated. By the end of the movie, we learn that he also ran into a young Franny but didn't even realize it.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Like mother, like son. A light complexion with black hair.
- Ret-Gone: Near the end of the film. He turns out to be Lewis' son, and since Lewis gave the Bowler Hat Guy the directions he needed to work the time machine, reality was altered. Lewis never met Franny and so Wilbur was never born. Don't worry, he gets better.
The matriarch of the Robinsons, Wilbur's mother, and Cornelius' wife. She teaches frogs music.
- Action Mom: Franny does martial arts during food fights and attacks a Tyrannosaurus rex to protect Lewis.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Implied. When Lewis meets Franny as kids, she makes a comment that people would call her crazy for thinking she can teach frogs to sing.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The probable reason why Franny took such a liking to Lewis aka Cornelius in the first place is because he believed in her dream to teach frogs to sing, when others didn't.
- Brainy Brunette: She was able to teach frogs to sing for God's sake!
- Childhood Friend Romance: She and Lewis met each other when they were still kids, at the science fair.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Wilbur walks into young!Franny near the beginning of the film, and apparently never figures out who she is.
- Friend to All Living Things: Judging by her ambition to teach amphibians to not only speak, but sing as well.
- Happily Married: To Cornelius. Who turns out to be the older Lewis.
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Has a very broad and robust upper-body, and a waist you could wrap your whole hand around.
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: For her future husband, Lewis. Word of God stated that Franny's body model was used for Lewis' mother as well.
- Little Miss Badass: As a child, Franny is able to push around Wilbur, who is much taller and older than she is.
- Mama Bear: As previously mentioned, she attacks a T-Rex when it tries to grab Lewis.
- Nice Girl: Franny is feisty, sweet, and was willing to adopt Lewis the first day she met him. She doesn't because he turns out to be the younger self of her future husband.
- Opposites Attract: With Cornelius/future Lewis. While she's an excitable musician, he's a quiet person by comparison who is a worldwide known inventor.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Black hair and a light complexion.
- Red Is Heroic: Wears a red bowtie in her head and red heels, and she's also one of the good guys.
- Sibling Rivalry: Implied to have this with Gaston.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Heavily implied. When Lewis and Franny first meet at the science fair, Franny gets lovestruck gaze after her future husband tells her he believes in her dream of teaching frogs to sing.
- Tomboy: An expert in karate and would rather teach frogs to sing than play with dolls.
The patriarch of the Robinsons, Wilbur's father, and Franny's husband. He is in charge of Robinson Industries.
- Badass in Charge: Of Robinson Industries, the leading scientific company in the world.
- Big Good: A brilliant scientist who's responsible for the inventions that led to the good future.
- Borrowed Catch Phrase: "Keep Moving Forward" was an old saying by Disney, and it's plastered everywhere in 2037.
- Childhood Friend Romance: He met his future wife, Franny, when they were both kids at the science fair.
- Determinator: As Wilbur lets Lewis know, he keeps inventing until something works, even if he fails spectacularly hundreds of times in the process. His motto isn't "Keep Moving Forward" for nothing.
- Hairstyle Inertia: A major plot point, in fact. He kept the same spiky hairstyle he had in his youth when he went by Lewis. This is the reason Wilbur keeps present Lewis' hair covered with a hat.
- Henpecked Husband: He has shades of this with his wife. After all, she is always right.
- Hot Scientist: He's pretty darn good looking, even with wearing a labcoat and his necktie.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Spoofed. When Lewis asked what Cornelius looks like, Wilbur replies, "Like Tom Selleck", his voice actor. In reality, Cornelius bares no resemblance to his voice actor.
- Primary-Color Champion: He wears the same primary-themed attire he was dressed in when he went by Lewis, except now he wears a white labcoat.
- Self-Made Man: Thanks to the memory scanner, he was able to show what he could do, and by now he even owns his own company and builds the inventions by it. Though having a scientist for an adopted mom probably helped matters.
- Walking Spoiler: It's impossible to talk about him without revealing that he's actually Lewis from the future and spoiling the plot.
The robot butler and honorary member of the Robinson family.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Towards the end of the movie, Doris kills Carl by impaling him with her arm weapon. Don't worry, he gets better.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Doris, when he and Wilbur go to rescue Lewis.
- Light Is Good: Carl is a shiny, golden robot.
- Muscle Angst: Implied. Before Lewis goes back to the past, he gives some "suggestions" for his design (namely building him muscular instead of skinny).
- Nice Guy: Carl is shown to be consistently polite and helpful.
- Only Sane Man: He is the least strange member of the household... and he's a robot.
- Pick Your Human Half: Carl is completely robot in appearance and has the character traits of a human.
- Robot Buddy: To the Robinsons, but especially Wilbur. He is considered part of the family, even if he's not blood related, and is treated like a Robinson.
- Servile Snarker: He works for the Robinsons and doesn't hide his snarky side.
The rest of the unique family.
- Ambiguously Related: Wilbur mentions that no one knows who Spike and Dmitri are related to.
- Crazy-Prepared: Aunt Billie has her "toy" train collection ready either to race competitively with other members of the family or for stopping any possible intruders threatening her family (i.e, Bowler Hat Guy and a giant T.Rex).
- Fiery Redhead: Petunia, her "daughter" Tallulah, and her "son" Laszlo. They show their fiery nature when Petunia's children argue while painting the house. A few minutes later, Petunia slaps her husband.
- Henpecked Husband: Uncle Fritz. Aunt Petunia berates and smacks him around... which is strange since she looks like just a hand puppet.
- Large Ham:
- Uncle Art most of the time.
- Uncle Gaston when food-fighting with Franny.
- Manchild: Without his PB&J sandwich, Uncle Joe can become one of these:Uncle Art: You don't understand what's at stake here; Uncle Joe's seen the toast!
[Uncle Joe starts whimpering]
Grandpa Bud: We're past the point of no return!
Aunt Billie: If he doesn't get PB&J—
Aunt Petunia: We all pay!
- He is briefly shown sucking his thumb a bit later.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Franny's brothers, Gaston and Art, who all have black hair and light complexions.
- Sibling Rivalry:
- Implied between Gaston and Franny.
- Played straight with Dmitri and Spike in a doorbell ringing contest.
- Spicy Latina: Aunt Billie, who is Latina and has a fiery temper and personality. She always has her toy trains ready for either racing or stopping potential threats to her family.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Art Framagucci is tall, muscular, has dark hair, and is quite handsome.
- Ventriloquism: Uncle Fritz, who seems to be the "voice" for his "wife" and puppet, Aunt Petunia.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Grandma Lucille has grey hair that may have turned pink, or could have been dyed pink.
The main antagonist, who has a mysterious vendetta against Lewis.
- Big Bad: A Big Bad Duumvirate between the Bowler Hat Guy and Doris until it is revealed that the former is an Unwitting Pawn to the latter.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He's more pathetic than villainous. Doris, on the other hand...
- Card-Carrying Villain: He tries to be this.
- The Corrupter: He tries to serve as this to Goob, telling him to hold onto his resentment. Goob is just confused.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Seems to be the inspiration for his design. Thematically it's an appropriate design, as an old and antiquated archetype contrasts well with the "keep moving forward" message.Bowler Hat Guy: I know! I'll turn him into a duck! Yes, yes, it's so evil! ...Oh... I don't know how to do that... I don't really need a duck.
- Decoy Antagonist: It's revealed that his bowler hat, Doris, is the movie's true main villain.
- Didn't Think This Through: Bowler Hat Guy's main downfall is that he doesn't think any of his plans through, which people love to point out. The first time it's a CEO. The second time it's a talking frog. Not enough? The third time it's Tiny the Tyrannosaur innocently lampshading it, finally causing Bowler Hat Guy to have a minor Villainous Breakdown.Tiny: I have a big head and little arms! I'm just not sure how well this plan was thought through, Master. [Beat] Master?
[cut to Bowler Hat Guy repeatedly face-planting himself on the monitor]
- The Dragon: To Doris. Without her assistance, he's virtually a Harmless Villain.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Bowler Hat Guy only wanted to ruin one kid's future, and never wanted to enslave humanity, as Doris ends up doing in the Bad Future. He also doesn't want to kill Lewis, because Lewis is his former friend.
- Evil Laugh: He's constantly cackling, but instead of making him menacing it highlights how ineffective and pathetic he is.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: We get to see bits and pieces of him growing up from Goob to become Bowler Hat Guy - he starts out reasonably attractive, but then he starts getting lankier and spindlier from stewing incessantly in a cramped, dark room in the abandoned orphanage until he's his Dastardly Whiplash present self.
- Evil Sounds Deep: While it pitches with his emotions and theatrics, his voice is typically very deep.
- Face Death with Dignity: The alternate ending of the film has him going back in time and preventing himself from turning evil. He then quietly leaves Lewis at the Robinson family house, knowing this version of himself will be Ret-Gone from existence.
- Foil: The basic difference between Bowler Hat Guy and Lewis ( especially Lewis' future as Cornelius) is the essence of the movie's moral: While Lewis suffers failure after failure yet learns to Keep Moving Forward and not give up on his dreams, Bowler Hat Guy never moved past one nasty setback, keeping himself from ever finding happiness or success. Lewis points this out after Bowler Hat Guy's Motive Rant, but he chooses to keep blaming other people for his problems.
- Freudian Excuse: Goob blamed Lewis for making him miss the winning ball for his team, which got him beaten up. The loss took such a toll on him that he never got adopted and stayed in the orphanage until he hit his thirties.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The director's commentary states that jealousy of Cornelius Robinson is Bowler Hat Guy's entire motivation for his villainy.
- Harmless Villain: Until he meets Doris, and even then he is hopelessly incompetent at being evil.
- HeelFace Turn: When Lewis shows him the Bad Future, and of course, when his Start of Darkness is erased from history.
- In-Series Nickname: Everyone, or at least Wilbur and Lewis, refers to him as "Bowler Hat Guy", or "Goob" when he was a child.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He tries so hard.
- Killed Offscreen: Implied via Ret-Gone.
- Large Ham: He's completely over-the-top and comedic.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: His and Doris' main goal is to destroy Lewis' future, which turned out utopian the first time.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Ultimately, Doris' manipulation of Bowler Hat Guy sets off a chain of events through time travel which result in her getting erased from existence, along with what caused Bowler Hat Guy's descent in the first place.
- Never My Fault: Rather than let go of what happened and move on with his life, he chose to blame Lewis. It really didn't help that he listened to the radio, which talked about Lewis' accomplishments.
- Obsessed Are the Listmakers: Bowler Hat Guy loves checklists and is often seen ticking off items on his, such as "Steal time machine", "Ruin science fair", and "Get that [comic book swearing symbols] boy".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bowler Hat Guy doesn't get a name until about 2/3 of the way through the movie, for spoilerific reasons.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Bowler Hat Guy never let one childhood trauma go and thus kept a child-like mentality.
- Ret-Gone: Given that Lewis was able to go back in time and give him an opportunity to win his game, it's safe to say this version of Goob no longer exists.
- Revenge: His goal is to get revenge on Lewis for accidentally causing him to blow a game-winning catch during a childhood baseball game.
- Straw Loser: Bowler Hat Guy doesn't shower, doesn't even bother to think his evil plans through, and initially couldn't think of any way of revenge more effective than throwing eggs and toilet paper at the Robinson Industries sign.
- Unwitting Pawn: Turns out Doris was only using Bowler Hat Guy's hatred for Lewis to trick him into getting the time machine, so he could use it to steal one of Lewis' inventions and make a lot of money. Then, Bowler Guy would use the money to build more Dorises. Then, the real Doris would have her clones enslave the humans.
- Unreliable Narrator: When explaining his Start of Darkness to Lewis. While his fellow baseball players apparently beat him up for not catching the winning ball, some parts are still inaccurate to what we see onscreen.Kid: Hey Goob, what's up? Nice binder.
Another Kid: Hey Goob, you wanna come over to my house today?
Bowler Hat Guy: [voiceover] They all hated me.
- Walking Spoiler: You might notice that there's a lot of white, given that both Bowler Hat Guy's identity and Doris' evil plan have plot implications.
- We Used to Be Friends: He was once Mike "Goob" Yagoobian, Lewis' friend and roommate at the orphanage.
Bowler Hat Guy's partner.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: She was invented to be as helpful as Carl, but she teams up with Goob, and is ultimately revealed to be the true Big Bad.
- Cyber Cyclops: She is a robotic bowler hat with one eye.
- Dark Is Evil: She's a black, robotic bowler hat.
- Do-Anything Robot: She has a massive array of attachments, including spider legs, a display screen, miniature versions of herself, night vision goggles, a toothbrush, and screwdrivers.
- Dragon with an Agenda / Dragon-in-Chief: Despite appearing to be Bowler Hat Guy's henchman at first glance, it turns out that Doris was using him for her own agenda.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Doris only teamed up with Goob so that she could rule over humanity.
- Hate Sink: Doris has zero redeemable qualities, outright murders Carl and possibly Bowlet Hat Guy, enslaves all of humanity and tries to kill Lewis.
- Hover Bot: A robotic bowler hat with a single eye who normally travels by hovering. However, she also has retractable limbs and weapons, including Spider Limbs that she can walk with.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Doris appears to be this to Bowler Hat Guy for most of the movie. She's actually the one who's manipulating him in her own plan for world domination.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: We can only understand her by her beeps... which isn't saying a lot.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Her and Bowler Hat Guy's main goal is to destroy Lewis' future, which turned out utopian the first time.
- The Man Behind the Man: Or rather, the hat atop the man.
- Puff of Logic: Her "death".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When she's angry her optical unit glows red. The same happens the first time she controls a human.
- Retgone: Lewis promises to her that he'll never make her.
- Robotic Psychopath: She is a robot, and a sociopathic one on top of that.
- Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Doris looks like a spider and moves like one too.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Unlike the laughably incompetent Bowler Hat Guy, her villainy isn't Played for Laughs. She tries to murder Lewis by dropping a chandelier on him, and the movie takes a dark turn when she betrays Bowler Hat Guy (probably killing him) and creates a Bad Future in her image in which all humans are slaves to bowler hats like herself.