Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Spaceballs

Go To


    open/close all folders 


    Lone Starr
Played by: Bill Pullman
Voiced in French by: Thierry Ragueneau

The main protagonist. Along with his best friend Barf, Starr is a mercenary flying through space in a Winnebago mobile home. Trapped by crippling debts to an interstellar mob, a way out comes when Princess Vespa flees from Druidia, and the pair get themselves expensively hired by her father to rescue her from the Spaceballs.

  • Arch-Enemy: Starr describes himself as being "numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit-list", and Dark Helmet is able to instantly recognize Starr's handiwork when the Winnebago jams Spaceball I's radar. Though interestingly, their climactic showdown inside the Megamaid seems to be their first ever meeting in-person.
    Dark Helmet: "There is only one man who would dare give me the raspberry... LONE STARR!"
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: "Lone Starr" is a pretty awesome name.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Vespa, as the two do not like each other and he is Only in It for the Money. However the two begin to warm up during the course of the movie.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Despite being in a sword duel with Dark Helmet, Lone Starr had no problem with punching him at one point during the duel.
  • Composite Character: Of Han Solo's outlaw personality with Luke Skywalker's name and Jedi abilities.
  • Cool Hat: Though it's quickly knocked off his head and never seen again in his and Barf's introductory scene.
  • Doorstop Baby: He was found on the doorstep of a monastery as a baby. Unfortunately for him, the monks never told him who his parents were... because they'd taken a vow of silence.
  • Every Man Has His Price: He initially refused to cross the Spaceballs for Vespa until he was offered a million Spacebucks, which would save him from the wrath of Pizza the Hutt.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Barf the Mawg. We're introduced to the pair living together in the Winnebago, and they're all but inseparable.
  • Heroic Lineage: After defeating the Spaceballs and destroying the Megamaid, Lone is revealed in a last-second plot twist to be the lost son of an unnamed king and queen, just in time to go back and prevent Vespa's wedding.
  • Improvised Weapon: He uses a can of shaving cream to take out a guard and a mirror to take down Dark Helmet.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure, he can be a bit rude towards Vespa and even Barf for that matter, but he clearly cares about both of them and chooses to turn down the million-spacebuck reward when he realizes he's free of debt.
  • Magic Knight: He uses the Schwartz and can fight in a Schwartsaber battle.
  • Only in It for the Money: Justified, as Starr and Barf are a million spacebucks in debt to a crime lord, and need to pay him back by tomorrow to avoid having a hit put out on them. Subverted later - when Pizza suddenly dies, thus freeing them from the debt, Starr decides to refuse the reward money, only taking enough to get fuel and supplies before leaving.
  • The Reveal: The medallion around his neck is his birth certificate, which identifies that he's the son of royalty. Naturally, this leads to:
  • Suddenly Suitable Suitor: For Vespa, thanks to The Reveal.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Gets a spiffy white uniform for his final scene. Averted for the rest of the movie where he's dressed much more down-to-earth.

Played by: John Candy
Voiced in French by: Richard Darbois

Lone Starr's sidekick. He's a mawg; a half-man, half-dognote . He and Starr are hired by King Roland to save Princess Vespa, as a way to get out of their debts to the mob.

  • Accidental Misnaming: Pizza the Hutt calls him Puke by mistake.
  • Accidental Pervert: Sometimes.
    (climbing up the ladder)
    Dot Matrix: Hey, stop looking up my can!
    Barf: Sorry.

    (while waiting, his tail swings up into a waitress's skirt)
    Waitress: Hey, hey! Watch where you're sticking that thing!
    Barf: It's got a mind of its own, sweetheart. I can't do a thing with it. (laughs)
  • Big Friendly Dog: Well, half-dog. But his good nature cannot be denied.
  • Big Fun: A chubby guy who is kind and silly.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Is caught looking up Dot's skirt while climbing a ladder, and at the diner towards the end of the film he gets distracted by the rather buxom waitress.
    "I'll have the cleavage, I-I mean the special!"
  • Cowardly Lion: Prone to panicking, but surprisingly manages to hold his own fairly well during the assault on the Spaceball prison complex.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Lone Starr. We're introduced to the pair living together in the Winnebago, and they're all but inseparable.
  • Nice Guy: Aside from being very friendly, he's also easier to get along with.
  • Man's Best Friend: Parodied; as both a man and a dog, he's his own best friend.
  • Number Two: He's Lone Starr's partner and the co-pilot of the Winnebago.
  • Only Sane Man: Has to keep Lone Starr and Vespa in check, and rightfully points out that they need to hightail it somewhere after Spaceball One overshoots them in Ludicrous Speed.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: While crash-landing on Vega's moon, Starr asks Barf for a reading of the ship's systems. Barf interprets this as a reading from the Bible, and immediately clasps his hands together to start fearfully praying until Starr scolds him for it.
    • Bonus points for the “reading” being the Lord’s Prayer
  • Tears of Joy: Sheds these near the end shortly after Lone Starr and Vespa's marriage.

    Princess Vespa
Played by: Daphne Zuniga
Voiced in French by: Virginie Ledieu

The spoiled princess of Druidia who flees the planet on her wedding day, only to be targeted by the Spaceballs. Lone Starr and Barf are hired to rescue her and bring her home safely.

  • Action Girl: When you push her Berserk Button.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: This was an intentional gag.
    Lone Starr: "That's all we needed; a Druish princess."
    Barf: (Aside Glance) "Funny, she doesn't look Druish."
    • Later, we learn that Vespa was born with a comically huge and crooked nose, which she'd gotten rid of with some cosmetic surgery. The Spaceballs hire a cosmetic surgeon and threaten to return Vespa's nose to its original state, unless King Roland surrenders the access code of Druidia's air-shield.
  • Berserk Button: "My hair! He shot my hair! ... you son of a bitch."
  • Character Development: She eventually grows out of her Spoiled Brat phase.
  • Daddy's Girl: She defies her father and runs away from her wedding, but the moment the Spaceballs show up she immediately calls Roland and pleads for his help.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Once her hair has been damaged by enemy fire, she manages to single-handedly wipe out an entire contingent of bad guys.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Lone Starr, by way of Fire-Forged Friends and Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The picture of her with her previous nose is labeled "Vespa, Princess"
  • It's All About Me: The moment she's initially rescued, she demands that her matched luggage be rescued with her and that the Winnebago's interior be cleaned up. When they crash on Vega's moon, she forces the rest of the party to carry her luggage for miles across the desert, which turn out to be filled with useless luxuries such as a supersized hair-dryer she insists she "can't live without".
  • I Am X, Son of Y: "I am Princess Vespa, Daughter of Roland, King of the Druids!"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's self-absorbed and mean, but has a good side.
  • Marry for Love: This is why she ran away from her wedding - Prince Valium may have been the last prince left in the galaxy, but that didn't mean Vespa loved him.
  • Missing Mom: Roland mentions offhandedly that she died before Vespa could be married, ruefully wishing she could have lived to see the big day.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: She goes full Rambo on some Spaceballs who shoot her in the hair.
  • Spoiled Brat: She's a princess who's used to getting her way all the time.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: At first.

    Dot Matrix
Played by: Joan Rivers (voice), Lorne Yarnell (portrayal)
Voiced in French by: Laurence Badie

Princess Vespa's robot handmaiden, who gets dragged along (literally) as the princess flees her wedding.

  • Matron Chaperone/Parental Substitute: Vespa's mom is dead, and Dot seems to act as maternal figure to the princess—she even has a built-in "Virgin Alarm."
  • Punny Name: Named after a now obsolete type of printer.
  • Robot Buddy: Goes along with Vespa on her journey, and serves as her constant companion during the course of the movie.
  • Robot Hair: She has the hard hair variant.
  • Shipper on Deck: Even before they meet Lone Starr in-person she told Vespa his voice sounds sexy and "he might be cute" *wink*; however, despite supporting the relationship, Dot's shown to be very protective of Vespa and draws the line at something like sex-before-marriage (by way of the "Virgin Alarm").
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Subverted—although Dot is technically a robot, she's established as having hopes, fears, and moments of sarcasm just like any flesh-and-blood being, and she's never treated as property or discriminated against.



    Dark Helmet (Panakin Crybaby)
Played by: Rick Moranis
Voiced in French by: Luq Hamet

The main antagonist, and a high-ranking officer among the Spaceballs. He has been tasked by President Skroob to kidnap Princess Vespa and hold her at ransom, with the ultimate goal of opening Druidia's air-shield so the Spaceballs can steal the planet's oxygen for themselves.

  • Adaptation Expansion: The short-lived animated series actually shows his backstory as a parody of The Phantom Menace and gave him the name "Panakin Crybaby" before he wore the helmet and became Dark Helmet. How much of it is canon is up in the air.
  • Arch-Enemy: Starr describes himself as being "numero uno on Dark Helmet's hit-list", and Dark Helmet is able to instantly recognize Starr's handiwork when the Winnebago jams Spaceball I's radar. Though interestingly, their climactic showdown inside the Megamaid seems to be their first ever meeting in-person.
    Dark Helmet: "There is only one man who would dare give me the raspberry... LONE STARR!"
  • Berserk Button:
    • At the start of the movie, a deckhand bypasses the chain of command by contacting President Skroob before even notifying him that they'd approached Druidia. Helmet reprimands him, before using his schwartz ring to crush his testicles.
    • And for the love of George Lucas, don't ever walk in on him while he's playing with his dolls.
  • Butt-Monkey: Suffers the most physical abuse in the movie, though fortunately his helmet protects him from the worst harm. Notable examples include being thrown across the room by Spaceball I entering and exiting Ludicrous Speed, and being so short that Lone Starr is able to hold him and his schwartz-sword at bay just by planting a hand on his helmet.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Wearing Black? Check. Helmet? Check. Is a parody of such however due to his actions and size. He also shares some similarities with Kylo Ren.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: His "reveal" to Lone Starr is that he is actually his "father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate," which is just a roundabout way of saying he used to be a roommate of Lone Starr or one of his cousins.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: While he's not much of a threat, he manages to be this since Skroob is even more pathetic.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Parodied. While his mask is down, his voice seems to be modified to a booming growl, but a scene showing Helmet in private reveals that this voice is simply Rick Moranis himself deepening his voice to sound scarier.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Dark Helmet wears glasses and is one of the bad guys.
  • Good Is Dumb: The Trope Namer, uttering the line after Lone Starr falls for the oldest trick in the book.
    "Now you will see that evil will always triumph... Because good is dumb."
  • Groin Attack: Is particularly fond of this. In his introductory scene, Helmet uses the Schwartz to crush an insubordinate underling's testicles, and the crew of Spaceball I are apparently familiar enough with this punishment that they all reflexively cover their crotches the moment Helmet seems to lose his temper for any reason.
    (To Lone Starr) "Say goodbye to your two best friends... and I don't mean your pals in the Winnebago!"
  • The Heavy: President Skroob is the official leader of the Spaceballs, but Lord Helmet gets the most screentime and is the bigger physical threat (to the extent that any of the villains are).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • During the hyperspace chase sequence, every single one of the humiliations and Amusing Injuries Helmet suffers is a direct result of either an order he gave or a safety measure he consciously chose to ignore.
    • This is also ultimately how Lone Starr defeats him, using a handheld mirror to turn Helmet's Groin Attack back on himself.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Subverted. Helmet sounds like he's making lecherous advances towards a captive Princess Vespa... only for the camera to pan around and reveal he's roleplaying with Spaceballs toy merchandise in his room, putting on a ridiculous falsetto to voice the princess and her friends.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Uses this in his final fight with Lone Starr, by offering a gentlemanly fight and sealing the deal with a handshake. Starr obliges, and Helmet steals the schwartz ring right off Starr's finger.
  • Laughably Evil: He's considered one of the funniest villains in media due to his hilarious lines and personality and his attraction to slapstick.
  • Literal-Minded: Helmet's response to being ordered to comb the desert to find Princess Vespa is to have his mooks literally comb the sand with gigantic hair combs.
    Colonel Sandurz: "...Do you think we're being too literal?"
    Helmet: "No, you fool, we were told to comb the desert, so we're combing it!"
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Spoofed.
    Dark Helmet: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate!
    Lone Starr: (Beat) What does that make us?
    Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.
  • Manchild: He uses his Rage Helm to make childish faces at Skroob without him knowing, and at one point Sandurz catches him playing with Spaceballs toys in his room.
  • The Napoleon: As one would expect from Rick Moranis as a Darth Vader Clone.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: He even provides the picture for the trope page.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Physically and in personality, he isn't threatening in the least. However, his troops legitimately fear his wrath, and his capture of Vespa is quite creepy. He also displays decent fighting ability in his Schwartz duel with Lone Starr and uses underhanded tactics to gain an advantage in said duel.
  • Punny Name: His real name, Panakin Crybaby, aside from sounding similar to Anakin Skywalker, sounds very close to "panicking crybaby", as it is a Take That! to the preformances of Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen in the prequels.
  • Rage Helm: Parodied. It looks pretty intimidating, but it turns out to be hard to breathe in or speak through, and Helmet frequently pulls the faceplate up in order to speak more clearly.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: He's subservient to President Skroob, but that doesn't mean he treats him with any respect.
    Skroob: Ah, Planet Druidia, and ten thousand years of fresh air!
    Dark Helmet: (to Colonel Sandurz) The way he runs things, it won't last a hundred.
  • A Sinister Clue: He wears his Schwartz ring on his left hand and uses it for his attacks.
  • Sickly Green Glow: His Schwartz abilities manifest as green light in contrast to Lone Starr's orange.
  • Surrounded by Assholes: Quite literally, when he discovers that most of Spaceball I's bridge crew is composed of members of the "Asshole" family, including Major Asshole and Gunner's Mate First Class Philip Asshole.
    Dark Helmet: "I knew it, I'm surrounded by assholes." (Beat) "Keep firing, assholes!"

    Colonel Sandurz
Played by: George Wyner
Voiced in French by: Jacques Frantz

The commanding officer of Spaceball I, and Dark Helmet's immediate subordinate.

  • Demoted to Extra: He only appeared in a single scene of a single episode in the animated series.
  • Harmless Villain: He's really not very menacing, nor does he directly do anything that threatens our heroes.
  • Mook Lieutenant: He's Dark Helmet's right-hand man.
  • Mr. Exposition: His role is typically to spout useful or not-so-useful facts about the plot.
    Colonel Sandurz: "Once we kidnap the princess, we can force her father - King Roland - to give us the combination to the air-shield; thereby destroying Planet Druidia, and saving Planet Spaceball!"
    Dark Helmet: (Aside Glance) "Everybody got that?"
  • Only Sane by Comparison: Despite his cowardice, he seems to be the only competent Spaceball.
  • Only Sane Man: Seems to be the only Spaceball with even a shred of competence, though that still leaves him totally ineffectual.
  • Punny Name: As lampshaded by Dark Helmet:
    Dark Helmet: "What's the matter, Colonel Sandurz!? Chicken!?"
  • Sissy Villain: Despite being a high ranking officer of Spaceball, he's quite cowardly and easily intimidated.

    President Skroob
Played by: Mel Brooks
Voiced in French by: Roger Carel

The president of Planet Spaceball.

  • The Ditz: He's so incompetent that under his leadership, Planet Spaceball has hardly any air left.
  • Harmless Villain: Unlike Dark Helmet, he's never a threat at any point, and even manages to be so dumb that even Dark Helmet calls him out, though only behind his back.
  • Large Ham: It's Mel Brooks, after all.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Skroob is, for the most part, content to sit around while Dark Helmet does all the dirty work.
  • President Evil: Mixed with a heavy dosage of President Buffoon.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: His name is almost "Brooks" reversed. (Technically it's an anagram, but Mel thought "Skroob" sounded cooler than "Skoorb")
  • Teleporter Accident: Skroob has a non-lethal one when Snottynote  beams him into the teledar room to view Dark Helmet's impending capture of Princess Vespa. Skroob is understandably upset when he discovers that his head is suddenly on backwards because of a "microconverter malfunction". After he is safely beamed back, he decides to walk to the teledar room instead. Fortunately, it is literally in the next room.
    Skroob: "Why didn't somebody tell me my ass was so big?!"

    Radar Technician 
Played by: Michael Winslow
Voiced in French by: Greg Germain

Spaceball One's radar system operator who has a habit of mimicking the sound effects of his equipment.

  • Advertised Extra: He gets eighth billing in the credits, above Dot Matrix's actress, even though he only appears in one scene.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The way he imitates sounds effects (something his actor is famous for doing) to get his point across suggests that there's something off about him.
  • No Name Given: He's only referred to as "Radar Technician" in the credits, and he's only called by his rank, private, in the movie. Being black, unless he's adopted or something, he's probably not an Asshole.
  • Precision F-Strike: After his radar screen goes out, we hear what sounds like a long static sound that turns out to be a long, drawn out "shhhhhhhhit."
  • Radio Voice: Parodied and provides the page quote. He talks to Dark Helmet in a staticky, echoing voice even when Dark Helmet is right next to him and doesn't stop it until Dark Helmet rips out the communicator and throws it away.
  • Token Minority: He's not the only black person in the movie (there's the two guys with the giant afro comb), but he's the only significant black character, while most of the main cast is white.
  • Voice Changeling: Played with. Instead of imitating a voice, he imitates "the bleeps, the sweeps, and the creeps," as well as imitating the sound of speaking through a speaker. Michael Winslow is known as the Man of 10,000 Sound Effects.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: He appear in one scene and then vanishes. Presumably, he escaped the ship's destruction in along with the rest of the crew, but he's never shown entering an escape pod.

    Major Asshole and Gunner's Mate First Class Philip Asshole 
Played by: Jim Jackman and Michael Pniewski

A pair of cross-eyed cousins serving on Spaceball One.


Played by: Mel Brooks
Voiced in French by: Serge Lhorca

The "Everlasting Know-It-All", Yogurt is a reclusive, kindly mystic who teaches Lone Starr the way of "The Schwartz."

    King Roland
Played by: Dick Van Patten
Voiced in French by: William Sabatier

The King of Druidia and father of Princess Vespa.

  • Artistic License – Biology: The return of the air should not have brought him back to life - victims of asphyxiation won't just come back to life if they're in an environment with air again.
  • Back from the Dead: He dies of asphyxiation when the Spaceballs begin sucking up Druidia's air, but comes back to life when the air is restored.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Doesn't even get a mention in the animated series.
  • Doting Parent: It's obvious despite his limited screen time he's the one that spoiled Vespa.
  • Good Parents/Papa Wolf: He cares about Vespa and is willing to pay Lone Star and Barf a million space bucks for the safe return of his daughter. He also gives into Dark Helmet’s demands for the code to Druidia’s air-shield just so Helmet won’t hurt Vespa.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: The passcode to Druidia's air-shield is revealed to be 1-2-3-4-5, which is the exact same passcode President Skroob has on his luggage.

    Pizza The Hutt
Played by: Dom DeLuise
Voiced in French by: Henry Djanik

A space gangster. Part man, part pizza. Lone Starr and Barf owe him a hundred-thousand spacebucks, which Pizza abruptly ramps up to a million and tells them he wants the money by tomorrow, or else.

  • Autocannibalism: How Pizza ultimately dies. Locked in the trunk of his limo, he became so hungry he ate himself to death.
  • Blob Monster: Imagine Jabba The Hutt...made out of pizza.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Just as the group is returning to Druidia to wrap up their adventure, a news broadcast reveals that Pizza had abruptly died, freeing Lone Starr and Barf from their million-spacebucks debt.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: He's around to give Barf and Lone Starr a motive for getting involved in the story, but serves no purpose after that and is disposed of off-screen.
  • Punny Name: It's a play on "Pizza Hut", a restaurant franchise.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He's a notorious crime boss, but his death is reported as a tragedy.

Played by: Rudy De Luca

Pizza's right hand man.

  • Ambiguously Gay: Yeah, there is something going on between him and Pizza. Especially when he takes a bite out of Pizza and says "You're delicious."
  • Expy: Given how he's serving the expy of Jabba the Hutt, he's the closest this movie gets to a Bib Fortuna and or Boba Fett parody, though with more of a Max Headroom vibe.
  • Nice Hat: It goes nicely with his gangster outfit.
  • Russian Reversal: Informs Lone Starr he had better pay back his debt, "or else Pizza is gonna send out for YOU!"
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: He's never brought up again after his one and only scene.

    Prince Valium
Played by: Jim J. Bullock
Voiced in French by: Emmanuel Jacomy

The last prince left in the galaxy, and Princess Vespa's intended groom. He's a narcoleptic who doesn't talk much, mostly because he ends up just yawning instead.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: