Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Rango

Go To

    open/close all folders 

"Now, remember son: stay in school, eat your veggies, and burn everything but Shakespeare."
The main protagonist of the film. He is a chameleon with aspirations for the stage and stardom, but most of all desires companionship. After being accidentally thrown out of his owner's car, he starts his journey towards his destiny.

Voiced by: Johnny Depp

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: It helps Rango convince the people of Dirt that he killed seven people with one bullet when he accidentally kills a giant hawk with one.
  • Accidental Hero: Involuntarily saves the town from the hawk.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: During one of his many tall tales, he claims that Rattlesnake Jake is his brother, and he's so immune to his venom that he puts it in his coffee.
  • Adorkable: Or, as appealing as his character design would allow, anyway. Appearance aside, he is ditzy, awkward, nervous, adorable, cuddly sunshine in a bag.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: The film begins with him struggling to discover his identity, and his "birth" as he is thrust out from the safety of his tank into the burning desert. After struggling with an existential crisis for the entire story, Rango finally comes to realise he is the only one who can answer the question, "Who am I?"
  • Becoming the Mask: At first, it's only superficial. Then, he takes a level in badass.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's quirky and clumsy, but as he movie goes on, he becomes more competent and threatening to his enemies. But even as the film ends, he still retains his silly personality.
  • Birds of a Feather: With fellow secretly-lonely lizard Beans.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Though he is willing to put more of a toe out of line than most examples, partially due to his years-long isolation. Take how he has no qualms about touching Beans (in a PG fashion) while she's paralysed.
  • Companion Cube: He has a toy fish and a dismembered doll for "friends".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Though he's generally clumsy and mostly all talk, Rango does display occasional moments of cunning before officially taking a level in badass at the end.
  • Exposed Animal Bellybutton: If you start asking why a chameleon has a navel, you're halfway to asking yourself why he has thumbs, and your Willing Suspension of Disbelief is likely to take a Critical Hit.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Initially, as all his accomplishments were lies or due to blind luck.
  • The Fool: Lampshaded by Pappy Mole.
    "He look like he sounds?"
  • Genius Ditz: Rango is very aware that he's only digging himself deeper with his lies, but he's also very aware of his surroundings and is able to competently think up solutions to his problems. He's even able to piece together the mayor's water-hoarding scheme.
  • Genre Savvy: He seems to know a great deal about a variety of genres in fiction, westerns included, and thus doesn't have a hard time blending into Dirt.
    • Large Ham: By choice, to impress the townsfolk.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Usually wears a Hawaiian shirt, being an Actor Allusion of Depps's other acting roles (in this instance Raoul Duke).
  • Guile Hero: Even when he becomes The Hero, he'd rather win by conning the villains into surrender... if he can.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: After giving some back robbers an all-access pass to the bank.
  • Hollywood Chameleon: Averted. Rango's color changing abilities are limited and of little use to him in the story.
  • I Have Many Names: Boasts about this before settling on Rango.
    "Well, I'm a man of many epithets. There's my stage name, my pen name, my avatar. I had a pseudonym once, but I had it legally changed. Nom de plume, I have a CB handle, I'm actually one of the few men with a maiden name..."
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: He immediately caves in when faced with mortal danger. Then he realizes that his friends are doomed, and only he can save them. So he goes back, fully prepared to die fighting if his Guile Hero tactics don't work.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Durango cactus juice.
  • Lovable Lizard: An Adorkable chameleon who serves as the protagonist, looking for his place in the world.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Which is how he gets into this mess in the first place.
  • The Munchausen: Brags at length about his fictional former exploits.
  • Nice Hat: Rango gets several bits of choice headwear during the course of the movie, each signifying his progress as a hero of the west;
    • A hat he takes from a patron at the bar, trying to "blend in" after first adopting the persona of Rango. His primary hat, he wears this one more than the others throughout the course of the movie.
    • A showier ten-gallow hat (which he "had marked down from fifteen") he receives upon becoming sheriff.
    • An even showier mariachi-themed hat he picks up once he decides to "get serious".
    • The ladies' bonnet with ribbons he dons during the semi-successful raid on the Mole family's compound.
    • A black, no-nonsense hat mirroring Rattlesnake Jake's own once he truly gets serious.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rango is Hunter S. Thompson, according to the creators. It's not a coincidence he meets the real Thompson (or, at least, his windshield.)
  • No Name Given: We never hear his real name.
    • Or for that matter, if he even has one. Considering the Arc Words question "Who am I?", he may not know himself.
  • Not Used to Freedom: Rango the lizard lives in a box but then is forced to live in the desert. He has trouble both fitting in and surviving.
  • Oral Fixation: Uses his projectile tongue to steal a man's toothpick in the bar scene, and menacingly chews a dragonfly in his duel with Jake.
  • Protagonist Title: His name or, rather, what he calls himself is the title of the film.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Often speaks in this. Usually to come off as smarter than he really is.
    "I say we track this pipe back to its hydraulic origin and apprehend the culprits behind this aquatic conundrum."
  • The Sheriff: He's promoted to this after getting rid of the hawk
  • Too Dumb to Live: Um, Rango? It could be a good idea taking off your shirt and blend into the sand when the hawk is flying in the air. Though could be justified, as Rango was naive in the area (long ways from home) and coupled with that he probably wasn't thinking clearly since he appeared to be panicking.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Arguably he does this after killing the hawk to some degree, as he's much braver after that than before and more clever. However, he gets a big one later when he returns from his Heroic BSoD and defeats Rattlesnake Jake. Very strongly proven when he stares Jake down and actually scares the crap out of him.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: As part of a disguise. And hardly has a male hero kicked so much butt while wearing a dress.


A ranch owner, this desert iguana found Rango and brought him to Dirt. She suspects that something has happened to the water supply of the town, that someone is throwing the water out into the desert.

Voiced by: Isla Fisher



A young cactus mouse (or, if you believe Verbinski, an aye-aye) in the town of Dirt. At first she dismisses Rango as "funny-lookin'", she grows to admire him near the end. She has her own pair of revolvers, seems a little too excited about violence and death, and likes to make fun of strangers.

Voiced by: Abigail Breslin

  • Advertised Extra: She was all over the promotional material, almost being advertised as Rango's sidekick. In the movie proper, she's pretty minor.
  • All There in the Manual: Like a few of the the other characters, her name real name isn't said in the movie proper (she's called "Little Sister" by Rango), so, through the credits and the special features, we learn her name is "Priscilla"
  • Badass Adorable: She's the cutest (or at the most, the least ugly) character in the whole movie, but she carries a pair of revolvers in her lunchbox.
    "Can I gut-shoot someone?"
  • Creepy Child: She looks the part but is rather much of a subversion
  • Deadpan Snarker: When she talks to Rango upon meeting him
  • Expy: She looks quite a lot like a possum version of Mattie Ross.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: A running gag is she will claim for Rango's boots anytime he is off to do something dangerous.
  • Little Miss Badass: Priscilla wants to be one, and shows Rango she's got a lot of spunk. However, he tells her to stay behind, perhaps too afraid of endangering her. On a side note, their entire dynamic resembles that of Mattie and Cogburn in True Grit.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Either she's this or Misplaced Wildlife, as she's either a cactus mouse, an aye-aye, or some combo between of the two.

    Tortoise John

He is the mayor of the town of Dirt, who appoints Rango as the sheriff after killing the hawk. He is the wealthiest citizen in Dirt, and is a polite gentleman to the townsfolk, supporting their wishes of a better life. Early in the film, he is the only character with access to the town's supply of water, which makes Beans particularly suspicious. He's also responsible for sealing the water from getting it to the town, which is part of his grand plan to construct a more modern city outside the borders of Dirt (implied to be inspired by seeing the Las Vegas cityscape), which would eventually make it obsolete and the townsfolk forced to move or to face death.

Voiced by: Ned Beatty

  • Big Bad: As we find out towards the end, especially when he turns on Rattlesnake Jake
  • Corrupt Hick: Though he's more sophisticated than most portrayals
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's pretty handy with a firearm.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Due to the myth surrounding Rattlesnake Jake, and the fact Jake threatened Rango with it before, the Mayor being dragged away screaming by him definitely has this vibe to it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is somewhat reluctant when Rattlesnake Jake leaves Beans to drown.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His name is never spoken and he's only ever called "the mayor".
  • Evil Cripple: As we find out towards the end
  • Expy: Bears an unmistakable resemblance to Noah Cross, John Huston's character in the 1974 film Chinatown.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Well, except for the sweaty part since reptiles can't sweat.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He acts very friendly and well-meaning, almost grandfatherly, before we get to know his intentions
  • Mayor Pain: Type A, as he's wicked and corrupt.
  • Light Is Not Good: He is mostly seen in white most of the time and appears as the Big Good of the entire story and he wears a white hat, which is seen as a symbol of good in old west movies but his true nature is much more evil than he lets on.
  • Obviously Evil: Could be the voice, could be the way he uses insects as literal playthings. Especially when he sounds and dresses like Noah Cross.
  • Shell Backpack: He wears a white suit, but his shell shows through the back.
  • Super Wheelchair: It even has a putting stick!
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: He has very much absolute authority over the town of Dirt.
  • Visionary Villain: Tortoise John aspires to create a modern city in the place of Dirt. To that end, he causes a water shortage so that he can buy the land at low price.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Tried to do this to Rattlesnake Jake in the end, but he used Rango's gun, which no longer had any bullets in it.

    Rattlesnake Jake
"You got killer in your eyes, son? I don't see it."

A fearsome, ferocious desert rattlesnake with a gatling gun for a tail and the secondary antagonist. He is called the Grim Reaper and lauded by many as a ruthless killer who "doesn't leave a town without taking a soul." He secretly worked for the Mayor until near the end when the Mayor turned on Jake.

Voiced by: Bill Nighy

  • Badass Bandolier: Several of them are wrapped around his upper half.
  • Badass Mustache: Or at least, the appearance of one on his facial scales.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Finishes off the Mayor in the end.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: His rattle is replaced by an artificial machine gun made of revolver cylinders.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted in the final battle, and exploited to cause Jake to waste all his bullets on the mole family's bats.
  • The Big Guy: He appears to tower over most of the other animals (even the ones that would be bigger than a rattlesnake in real life).
  • Blood Knight: Killing is his business, and he enjoys his work.
  • The Comically Serious: While Rattlesnake Jake definitely adds a sinister touch to the movie, his second faceoff against Rango cost him a little of his mystique. He is quick to gain it back after the mayor screws up a double cross however.
  • Cool Gun: It's part of his body!
  • Defeat Means Respect: After he loses the battle to Rango at the end, Jake now sees him as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Tells Rango he'll do this if he ever sees him again. As a result of all the myth surrounding him, it's difficult to question if he can actually carry out the threat or not. Due to this and his character in general, the scene where he drags the mayor away screaming certainly has this vibe.
  • The Dragon: To the Mayor... at first.
  • The Dreaded: Just mentioning him freaks people out.
  • Enemy Mine: In the end of the movie, he strikes peace with Rango and seemingly kills the mayor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Upon his first meeting with Rango, one gets the distinct impression that he hates liars.
    "Listen to me, you pathetic fraud..."
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's the largest character apart from the Spirit of the West.
  • Evil Virtues: He hates liars and frauds and will respect those who earn his respect.
  • Expy: Jake seems to be based on Angel Eyes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, though his sociopathic behavior is very reminiscent of Frank from Once Upon a Time in the West. He also has a lot in common with Liberty Valance.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Comes with the territory of being a rattlesnake.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Falls victim to this in the final battle, first with his fear of hawks and then with his anger at being made a fool of.
  • Foil: To Rango. They both are larger-than-life "legends" with fearsome reputations that are a part of their influence. However, the villainous Jake is much more authentic and can actually back up to his boasts, while Rango is a Fake Ultimate Hero whom Jake effortlessly discredits. From this encounter starts Rango's journey into true herohood. Tortoise John explicitly says both Jake and Rango are not so different legends that have no place in the future he envisions. Jake himself acknowledges Rango as another legend after the sheriff rescues the outlaw from the mayor.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a thin jagged scar over his left eye. It's easy to miss outside of close ups.
  • The Gunslinger: A cross between a Vaporizer and a Quick Draw. He can pump out huge amounts of fire from that tail, but he can also unleash a quick burst with uncanny accuracy and speed. He pops Wounded Bird from halfway across town based on nothing but the sound of Wounded Bird's gun cocking.
  • Hannibal Lecture/Break the Haughty: He could kill Rango easily enough at their first meeting, but seems to feel that he's not even worthy of that. He calls all Rango's bluffs, humiliates him utterly, and forces him to recant his lies. It crushes the spirits of all the townsfolk.
  • Hero Killer: It's established that he killed the previous sheriff of Dirt, not to mention what Bad Bill says about him.
    "Jake's the Grim Reaper, he never leaves town without taking a blooming soul!"
  • Insult Backfire:
    Beans: Go to hell!
    Jake: Where do you think I come from?
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Before banishing Rango from the town, he calls him out on his lies.
  • Karma Houdini: He loses a bit of his reputation, but he doesn't suffer anything worse.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When he shows up, the film's tone goes from light and mischievous to high-stakes drama.
  • Large Ham: He has almost as much a flair for the dramatic as Rango, weaving threats of Hell-fire and damnation into his speech at every opportunity.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: He's a cowboy rattlesnake with a gatling gun grafted onto his tail.
  • Noble Demon: Rattlesnake Jake is a contract killer without an ounce of compassion or pity, but he does exhibit a disgust for lies and treachery, and he respects true courage - even in an enemy. Especially in an enemy.
  • Oh, Crap!: Inspires this reaction from pretty much everyone when he arrives. He gets one himself when he faces off against Rango and realizes that the chameleon has found the necessary grit to gun him down.
  • Psycho for Hire: It's implied that he isn't in this for the money - his price for service is one life.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: To his "brother", Rango.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His look like the Eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Unlike Rango and Beans, Rattlesnake Jake is nothing but a snake slithering in the dust.
  • Rule of Cool: His gatling gun/rattle seems to have no realistic way of working (What is the firing mechanism for that thing?) other than that it is very cool.
  • Sadist: He takes a twisted glee in Rango's abject humiliation, and his treatment of the other characters suggests that he loves his work.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Regarded as the Grim Reaper by the people of Dirt.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: The sole rattlesnake in the cast is the biggest and most menacing character in the movie. Though it turns out he's not quite the Big Bad.
  • The Sociopath: He does not hesitate to kill and feels no need to justify what he does.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Though many would say this is what everyone else thinks of Jake, he is afraid of hawks, which is the only thing keeping him away from Dirt. Rango uses this to their advantage by having the moles form a shape of a hawk to fool Jake. It doesn't fool him for long, but it does make him waste his ammo. This is somewhat ironic, considering the trope's name.
  • Worthy Opponent: His opinion of Rango at the end.
    "I tip my hat to you... One legend to another."
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Not only does Jake give Rango a gun during their first meeting, he aims it at his own face for him and barks at him to pull the trigger, telling Rango that he doesn't have "killer in his eyes". He's right... at that time.


Part of the posse. A horned toad with a simpleton personality and less than appropriate amount of teeth. Regarding to his official information, he writes "surprisingly bad haiku."

Voiced by: James "Jim" Ward Byrkit

  • Abusive Parents: His father made him cough up marshmallows he had eaten the last evening for breakfast.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Although everybody (sans Rango, Beans and Wounded Bird) in the town could be considered this, Waffles is perhaps the most prominent example.
  • The Fool: In comparison to everyone everyone else.
  • Friendly Enemy: Acts as one towards one of the inbred rodents for a very brief moment, warning him that he's about to hit his head.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Besides his father making him cough up the marshmallows for breakfast and few other anecdotes, he, at one point, implies his father took him a brothel.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: He's a rather nice guy and a bit of moron.
  • Manchild: Waffles has a childlike personality and matching intelligence.
  • Scary Teeth: Most of the townsfolk have bad teeth, but Waffles' big, crooked, rotten teeth are the most visible.

    Wounded Bird

Part of the posse and Rango's deputy. A Native American raven who is a quiet bystander and uses a crutch of some sort to help himself walk. His general information from the movie's website states that his tracking skills are legendary and that he's big in Finland for reasons unknown.

Voiced by Gil Birmingham

  • Captain Obvious: In the video game, it's almost impossible not to find it funny that he keeps repeating "I'm over here", "Over here, Rango" and "I'm here" while Rango is goddamn standing right next to him.
  • Collector of the Strange: In the video game, he gives Rango updates to his abilities by getting sheriff stars traded in return. Wonder what he does with those stars...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Slightly slips into this when he becomes Rango's second-in-command, especially when Rango assumes he's a Magical Native American played straight.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: While he usually speaks in short and broken sentences, in the latter part of the movie he has lines in perfect English.
  • Handicapped Badass: His leg injury doesn't seem to slow him down very much.


Part of the posse. An owl of some sort, dresses like a gentleman and, according to his official information, is a professional gambler and can speak in 12 languages.

Voiced by: Ian Abercrombie

    The Armadillo 
Voiced by: Alfred Molina

    The Mariachi Owls

  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Accordionist: "When is he going to die?"
    Guitarist: (depressed sigh) "Soon."
  • Greek Chorus: Though the head of group does this most, with the others echoing him
  • Lemony Narrator: They constantly narrate that Rango will have some doom or the other.
  • No Fourth Wall: Unlike the other characters, they speak directly to the viewer.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: An owl is seen smashing his guitar in the credits, while another sets his on fire Hendrix-style.

    Rock-Eye the Toad 
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He is rude towards Rango when they meet, but he's only trying to survive and Rango's panicking isn't helping matters.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Appears for a short scene and then is carried off by the hawk.

    The Hawk 
  • All There in the Manual: The hawk, apparently, is called "Metalbeak"
  • The Dreaded: The Hawk is feared by Rattlesnake Jake, and is the only thing keeping Jake at bay.
  • Evil vs. Evil: It's collectively agreed that The Hawk is the lesser of two evils. The Hawk may be bad but Rattlesnake Jake is worse.
  • Necessary Evil: The townsfolk of Dirt are frightened of the hawk, but if it dies, Rattlesnake Jake might show up. Nobody wants that.
  • Silent Snarker: Has no dialogue outside of screeching, but smirks at Rango while operating the vending machine.

    Mr. Johannes "Fluffy Joe" Merrimack III 


    The Mole Family 

Belligerent, numerous, and possessed of strange ideas concerning property ownership, they are a community unto themselves, headed by their patriarch, known simply as "Pappy".

  • All There in the Manual: According to credits, Pappy's name is "Balthazar"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The armament shown by the moles includes guns, dynamite, hatchets, knives of various sizes, digging equipment, a cheese grater and an egg beater.
  • Clear My Name: Their reason for helping Rango take on Rattlesnake Jake.
  • Decoy Antagonist: They are set up to be the cause of Dirt's water problems. At first.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pappy has his moments.
  • Deep South: Yes. Even though they're all native to the Southwest, the Mole Clan is pretty much one big satirical look at this trope.
  • The Dragon: Maybelle, the de-facto leader when Pappy is absent. She is the only other named mole besides Pappy, Ezekial and Jedidiah.
  • Evil Cripple: Pappy is both blind, and uses a cane. Not that he really needs the cane, he mostly just uses it to whup on his progeny. Maybelle has a clubfoot and correcting footwear.
  • The Family That Slays Together: They act this part.
  • Gatling Good: Several of the bats are armed with actual hand-cranked Gatling guns to provide heavy firepower in the sky..
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Averted. They are in fact quite useful both below ground and high above it.
  • Gonk: And considering the Ugly Cute nature of the rest of the characters, that's saying something.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Rango enlists their aid to take out Rattlesnake Jake in exchange for freeing their family members from Dirt's jail and clearing their name.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: They even have a system worked out, complete with a rousing cry and a platoon of trained bats.
    I likes it when they run.
  • Made of Explodium: ...The hell are they feeding those bats?!
  • Mauve Shirt: Of the god-knows-how-many Moles we see, only four are named onscreen; Pappy, Ezekial, and Jedidiah (the first three Moles we see,) and Maybelle, Pappy's lieutenant.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Their attempt to rob the bank of Dirt reveals that the water was already gone when they got there.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Played With, as their patriarch is a mole, while a good number of them appear to actually be gophers, prairie dogs, and or other underground dwelling animals.
  • Noodle Implements: The "prospecting equipment" Rango gives them includes an Etch-A-Sketch and a loofah sponge, which Jedidiah takes an instant liking to.
  • The Nose Knows: Pappy, who is blind, seems to navigate primarily through smell. Which is not unusual for a mole.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Moles let out a gobbling war cry (possibly inspired by the rebel yell?) before giving chase to Rango's wagon.
    Pappy: Maybelle! Give the holler!"
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: Pappy relaxes considerably after finding out the new sheriff "looks like he sounds".
  • Stuff Blowing Up: They make liberal use of dynamite, their bats explode when they crash, and while not an actual example, the destruction visited upon Dirt by returning the water invokes the image.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Pappy, who is well aware of it, and not at all happy about it. His walking stick sees more use thumping heads than as a blind man's cane.
  • Threat Backfire: See Zerg Rush.
  • Villain Song: The Mole chant.
    ♪ Grit and spit and collared greens ♪
    ♪ Waffle chitons, monkey brains ♪
    ♪ Refried bones and booger blood ♪
    ♪ Pickled eggs and flaps of mud ♪
  • Zerg Rush: The Mole family might have more extra chromosomes than teeth, but one marvels at the problems that can be solved by throwing the sum total of your kinsman at a given situation. Overlaps with We Have Reserves in the final fight, where the plan is to have Rattlesnake Jake empty his guns shooting at them so Rango can safely walk right up to him with his One Bullet.
    Rango: We've got you surrounded! You and your entire family get your hands up where I can see 'em!
    Pappy: (chuckles) My entire family?

A female Frog that we see briefly.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: