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Characters / The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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    Arthur Dent
"I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle."
Played in the radio and TV series by: Simon Jones
Played in the film by: Martin Freeman
The main lead of the series, a British man who is one day thrust into the galaxy against his will when his friend Ford Prefect saves him from the destruction of the planet Earth. All he really wants is to find a place where he can settle down and have a cup of tea.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: In Life, the Universe, and Everything, Arthur stumbles across the technique for unassisted flight (which turns out to be principally psychological).
    • In So Long and Thanks for All the Fish he buys a computer and attempts to plot out the location of the cave he lived in while on prehistoric earth. He has no idea how to actually do so, and so relies on a lot of guesswork and fuzzy logic. Not only does he somehow get it exactly right, but when he goes to visit the place he is accidentally reunited with Fenchurch.
  • Action Survivor: Has survived many crazy science fiction adventures.
  • Adaptational Wimp: By comparison, at least. The original radio version has Arthur be the one to convince Mr. Prosser to take his place and lie down in the mud for a bit. Every version since has Ford do it instead. He's a bit more assertive at other points as well.
  • Anti-Hero: In the befuddled sense.
  • Badass Long Robe: His Pajama-Clad Hero getup does include a long dressing gown.
  • Brits Love Tea: Arthur has little goals in life beyond the acquisition of a good cuppa. Something of a problem when Earth and all sources of tea have been destroyed, and the only source of drinks on the Heart of Gold is the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Nutri-matic which produces a vile liquid which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nothing ever goes his way.
  • Catchphrase:
    Arthur: So this is it. We're all going to die.
    • And some variation of: "Where's the tea?"
    • Zaphod claims that "What?" could be another one. When Arthur responds with an indignant "What?", he declares victory (and gets punished by Trillian in some physically painful way.)
  • The Comically Serious
    "Now, I am the first to appreciate a joke," said Arthur and then had to wait for the others to stop laughing.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Hinted at. The man who learned the whole truth of the universe suffers a serious case of the giggles on meeting him. In the book, whatever it was is enough to actually fatally injure the man before he can stop.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Clearest and strongest in the original radio drama, where his sarcasm actually makes him famous among the bird people of Brontitall. In other versions this side of him is usually downplayed quite a bit, but he still occasionally gets in a few sarcasms.
    Ford: How would you react if I said I'm not from Guildford after all, but from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse?
    Arthur: I don't know. Why, do you think it's the sort of thing you're likely to say?
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: He was due the huge break life gave him in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. Too bad it didn't stick. (Though it does in the radio version.)
  • Fantastic Racism: Ford, Trillian, and Marvin are the only ones who don't call him "Earthman" or "Monkeyman". Why they call Trillian by her name and not him is just another one of the universe's cruel tricks.
  • Flight: Learns how to fly by accident in the third book.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Attempts to do this on Lamuella but realizes he doesn't know how anything works and ends up inventing the sandwich.
  • Heroic Neutral: Arthur shares this with most of the characters, which is one of the reasons Adams found the books so difficult to write: all Arthur really wants out of life is a nice cup of tea and maybe his planet back, so he has to be forced to have adventures. Arthur in the film is a bit more impetuous and hot-blooded than the diffident Arthur of the book/radio/TV.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ford. Even if they don't always act like the best of friends, Arthur is very happy to see Ford at the beginning of Life, the Universe and Everything.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: When he learns to fly in Life, the Universe and Everything.
  • Iconic Item: His dressing gown and his towel.
  • Last of His Kind: Apart from Trillian, anyway. Subverted when the Earth reappears in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and later with Random, though this fact is important to her origin.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He's stuck in his pyjamas and dressing gown until So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
  • No-Respect Guy: He saves the Heart of Gold from missiles, but Zaphod brushes this off immediately when Arthur tells him "it was nothing really." Justified in that Zaphod is from Betelgeuse, where they don't have sarcasm, and presumably lack other figures of speech too.
    Zaphod: That was good thinking, Earthman. You just saved your lives!
    Arthur: Oh, well, it was nothing really.
    Zaphod: Oh, was it? Oh, well, forget it then.
    • Averted later on Lamuella when he becomes the Sandwich Maker: the blacksmith and baker both consult his wisdom in matters related to cutlery and baking, and everyone appreciates his mad aptitude in the field of sandwich-making.
  • Only Sane Man
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: Is clad in pajamas and a dressing gown (the British term for a bathrobe) when he and Ford first leave Earth. Despite his dressing gown being iconic, Douglas Adams himself didn't realize that Arthur would logically still be wearing it after leaving Earth until the TV series was made, meaning that Arthur's pajama-clad status was not mentioned in the radio series or the first two books.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Not very often, but lets out unusually high shrieks at times in the radio series.
  • Solid Gold Poop: Funds his travels across the galaxy by selling samples of various body tissues/fluids, which are valuable because he's the last human male in the universe. Sperm samples bring in enough to let him fly first class.
  • Supreme Chef: When he gets stranded on Lamuella in Mostly Harmless, having nothing better to do with his time he becomes a supremely brilliant sandwich maker, revered by the local community.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The former Trope Namer.
  • Unknown Rival: Agrajag, a reincarnating being whom Arthur has unknowingly killed many, many times over. Agrajag is understandably annoyed.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: When standing around in Slartibartfast's office, Arthur casually remarks he "seem to be having tremendous difficulty with [his] lifestyle". Through a freak of probability, a small wormhole momentarily passes through the room, carrying Arthur's words through time and space to where the heads of two armies are about to go to war over a grievous insult. As it turns out, "I seem to be having tremendous difficult with my lifestyle" is the most hideous insult in the Vl'hurg language, kick-starting a long and bloody war that eventually results in both armies putting aside their differences and launching a combined attack on the Earth...being eaten by a small dog. All without Arthur ever knowing.
  • The Watson: He's new to the whole universe thing. Bonus points for being played by Martin Freeman who played the Trope Namer on Sherlock.

    Ford Prefect
"Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is."
Played in the radio by: Geoffrey McGivern
Played in the TV series by: David Dixon
Played in the film by: Mos Def
A hitchhiker by trade who is working to gain more info to add to the Guide. He is mostly concerned with finding a good place to get a drink and spend time with girls.
  • Artifact Alias: Ford Prefect is so named due to a research error in which he mistook the name 'Ford Prefect' as an equivalent to 'John Smith', without realizing that it was the name of a popular model of car, which his shoddy research had led him to believe was Earth's dominant species.note  However, he continues to be called this (as opposed to his birth name, which is unpronounceable, or his childhood nickname, Ix) by everyone long after Earth is destroyed. Even characters who hadn't seen him since before he was stranded on Earth and would have no way of knowing this pseudonym, like childhood friend and semi-cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox. The explanation is apparently that the Galactic civil service has access to time machines - who doesn't? - and finds it easier to change his name so that it has always been "Ford Prefect" than it would be for them to maintain two records for the same person.
  • Bearer of Bad News: When you tell everyone you meet that the world is going to end in a few minutes, you are indeed a bearer of bad news.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Anytime Ford tries to attempt Technobabble, it becomes abundantly clear he knows as little about it as Arthur, or sometimes less. One moment in the radio series had him try to explain Time Travel with a wine bottle and a napkin.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Smiles "a little too broadly, giving people the unnerving impression he was about to go for their neck." David Dixon in the TV series took this and ran with it.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: In the TV series. The actor tried using purple contacts but they were just gilding the lily of his already creepily intense eyes. (In And Another Thing... it's revealed that Ford finds it relaxing to not blink and can go for eight minutes without doing so — he's timed it and wonders if it's a new record.)
  • Deadpan Snarker: Actual verbal irony is not a concept they have on his planet, but he still manages to be a smart-ass without it.
  • Died Laughing: As the Earth is destroyed in Mostly Harmless.
  • Doctor Whomage: He's The Doctor, if The Doctor were incompetent.
  • The Drag-Along: In Life, The Universe, and Everything, Ford isn't too keen on the whole "saving-the-universe" thing, but is dragged along by Slartibartfast anyway.
  • Fashion Dissonance: Ford wears tacky abstractions of Seventies fashion.
  • Herald: Sends Arthur on an adventure, but far from a traditional example and in no way a mentor to the protagonist.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Arthur. Of all the humans to save from Earth's untimely destruction, Ford chooses his best mate in the hopes that they can bum around the galaxy together and have a laugh.
  • Human Aliens: Despite presumably being the same species as Zaphod (they're semi-cousins) Ford doesn't have any extra appendages and looks perfectly human, give or take a disturbing smile.
    • It should be noted that Zaphod's third arm is not a natural feature, but something he acquired (either to help with his "ski-boxing", or so he could fondle all three of famed prostitute Eccentrica Gallumbits' breasts at the same time).
  • Iconic Item: His leather satchel, in which he carries the essential tools of his trade (including a good-sized bath towel).
  • It's All About Me: Not as bad as Zaphod, but he was more concerned with his sacrifice of a pair of shoes than Arthur's daughter going missing.
    Arthur: I think we have different value systems.
    Ford: Mine's better.
  • Last of His Kind: To some minor degree, according to a footnote, but he doesn't seem to let it get him down.
  • Human Alien: The TV show and the movie portray him as one.
  • Mr. Exposition: He tries to be this to Arthur, but barely knows as much as Arthur.
  • No Name Given: "Ford Prefect" is an alias used on Earth due to Ford believing that cars were the dominant life form on the planet. A footnote reveals that Ford's father was the last remaining survivor of the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster on Betelgeuse VII, and named Ford in the language of Betelgeuse VII, but Ford could never learn it, causing his father to die of shame, and his original name was thus lost. His schoolmates on Betelgeuse V nicknamed him 'Ix', which in their language means "boy who is unable to satisfactorily explain what a Hrung is, or why it should collapse on Betelgeuse Seven."
  • Race Lift: Appears to be, or is described as, white in all versions but the film, where he is black.
  • Really 700 Years Old: According to the books, he is approximately two-hundred years old.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: In the TV series, he wears a carefully clashing outfit involving a striped cricket blazer and an Argyle sweater.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: They don't have sarcasm on Betelgeuse. He eventually learns it in And Another Thing..., to Arthur's pride.

    Zaphod Beeblebrox
"If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now."
Played in the radio and TV series by: Mark Wing-Davey
Played in the film by: Sam Rockwell
The former Galactic President who stole the ship The Heart of Gold, and Ford's cousin. Extremely self-absorbed, and everything he does seems to work out in the end. He is also unwittingly wrapped up in a conspiracy, much to his chagrin.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Blonde in the books, dark hair in the TV series.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: He blocked off a section in each of his brains so he could become President, resulting in a new persona who finds he's not really on-board with the plans those sections devised.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Two heads and three arms. Depending on the version of the story, they're either natural for his species, or Zaphod added them himself for a multitude of reasons.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The TV series has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it mention of a Beeblebrox Enterprises, which among other things sells firelighters made out of discarded Vogon paperwork.
  • Corrupt Politician: He is mentioned as being one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had, having already spent two years of his ten-year term in prison for fraud.
  • The Fool: Mostly because many of his apparently random impulses are actually related to memories he isolated within his mind years ago. He'd rather not think about it too hard.
  • Genius Ditz: He's a hedonistic, self-absorbed thrill seeker but he has moments of brilliance. His past self was much smarter, given the master plan he cooked up to meet and confront the ruler of the universe.
  • The Hedonist: Just like Ford.
  • Heel Realization: When he’s hit with the POV gun, he suddenly learns how Ford and Tricia really think and feel about him, especially the latter when she finds out he signed the order to destroy Earth (without bothering to check what it actually was). He starts treating his comrades better after that scene.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He claims to be insecure, but he may just be doing it for the attention.
  • Informed Attribute: Voted the Worst-Dressed Sentient Being in the Universe seven years running, but quite a few characters compliment his outfit.
  • Jerkass: Is just generally rude and nasty to Arthur for no real reason. He is also a complete scoundrel, will screw almost anything over for personal gain, and is far from a role model. Practically the reason why he is the president of the galaxy in the first place, actually.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In more than one way. He is a jerk, but is a nice guy at heart. Also, his ship is called The Heart of Gold.
  • Large Ham: Especially the Sam Rockwell Zaphod.
  • The Load: In the movie, he spends the latter half somewhere between this, The Millstone, and vaguely useful, because he's missing one of his heads. Ford actually has to drag him around in one or two scenes. Also, when they're getting shot at, he apparently thinks it's a dance party. Fortunately, Vogon soldiers make even the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy look good by comparison.
  • Multiple Head Case: Subverted in most adaptations (where there's no distinction between the two heads), pretty much played straight in the movie, and zigzagged in the sixth novel, where the second head has a distinct personality after being removed and attached to the Heart of Gold.
    • In the film, Zaphod's second head often sports a Slasher Smile while making serious threats, like promising to pull Arthur's spleen out through his throat.
  • My Own Grampa: Apparently there was "an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine;" the details are not explained, but his father is Zaphod Beeblebrox the 2nd, his grandfather is the 3rd, and so on (it is strongly hinted) back literally billions of years into the past.
  • Narcissist:
    "If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Also quite capable of actual stupidity. Telling the difference is tricky.
    • And sometimes it's a case of Brilliant, but Lazy: he's quite capable of figuring it out for himself but wants someone else to spare him the bother.
  • Puppet King: The purpose of being President of the Galaxy is not to actually be in power, but to distract everyone from where the power actually lies. Zaphod, we are told, was one of the most fantastically successful presidents the galaxy had.
  • Really 700 Years Old: According to the books, he's two-hundred years old.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Downplayed in that he's a Big Name, Big Ego.
  • That Man Is Dead: In the back story he lobotomised himself to keep his plans secret even from himself. However, turns out that the 'new him' hates the old one and actively works against those plans.

    Tricia McMillan/Trillian Astra
"It was either this or the dole queue again on Monday."
Played in the radio by: Susan Sheridan
Played in the TV series by: Sandra Dickinson
Played in the film by: Zooey Deschanel
A woman who is picked up by Zaphod at a party, six months before the destruction of Earth. At first she is content to go along with Zaphod and whatever he is doing, but eventually gets a career as a reporter.
  • Accidental Misnaming: thinks her surname is "McMillian" instead of "McMillan".
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: She has dark hair in the books, blonde in the TV series.
    • The radio adaptation of Mostly Harmless plays with this by introducing a parallel universe version of her that is both blonde and American (see Adaptational Nationality below).
  • Adaptational Nationality: She's American in the TV series and the film.
  • Advertised Extra: In the radio version.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Dumps the boring nice guy Arthur Dent for bad boy Zaphod. (How much of a relationship she and Arthur actually had varies with the different versions.)
  • Ambiguously Brown: In the books, where she's "darkish", with black hair and brown eyes and a "vaguely Arabic" appearance when she wears a headscarf, although her actual ethnicity is never mentioned.
  • Badass Driver: Having grown up on Earth and having spent what can only have been a couple of weeks aboard the Heart of Gold, Trillian becomes such a good pilot that she successfully evades two guided missiles for several minutes. After one especially spectacular manoeuvre.
    Ford: Where the hell did you learn that, Trillian?
    Trillian: Going around Hyde Park Corner on a moped.
  • Brainy Brunette: Originally an astrophysicist and mathematician.
  • Informed Ability: Trillian is described by Arthur as "devastatingly intelligent" and has a degree in maths and another in astrophysics, but she doesn't get to show it very often. In Life, The Universe and Everything she argues skilfully with the Krikkit War Council, but most of the time Trillian is just slightly more intelligent than everyone else. She does get to put her academic training to use in Mostly Harmless, working up astrological charts for the Grebulons who are stationed out beyond Pluto.
  • Last Of Her Kind: After the Earth is blown up, she's the last female Earth person. Again, subverted later.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Unlike Arthur, she has very little trouble dealing with life in outer space.
  • Married to the Job: As a reporter in Mostly Harmless.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: At the time she had Random.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Has one of these in And Another Thing... when she realizes just how badly her negelectful parenting affected Random.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Trillian" is just a "spacy" nickname based on her real name, Tricia McMillan. It's never established how she acquired it.
  • Parental Neglect: Her Married to the Job lifestyle means she is a pretty neglectful mother towards Random.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: In the film, she's Arthur's love interest. In every other version, Arthur tried unsuccessfully to flirt with her at a party before the events of the story and that was that.
  • Race Lift: Described as "vaguely Arabic" in the first book but is played by white actresses in both the TV series and the film. In the comic book, she has the same pale skin as Arthur and brown hair instead of the black she has in the books.
  • Straight Man: To Zaphod.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only female character of note until Fenchurch and Random came along in the fourth and fifth books, respectively.
  • Women Are Wiser: She gives the impression of having her act together even when she doesn't. She's easily the most sensible and mature person aboard the Heart of Gold. (And there's an Overly Narrow Superlative if there ever was one.)

    Marvin "the Paranoid Android"
"Life. Don't talk to me about life."
Played in the radio by: Stephen Moore
Played in the TV series by: Stephen Moore (voiced), David Learner (portrayed)
Played in the film by: Alan Rickman (voiced), Warwick Davis (portrayed)
A robot with a "brain the size of a planet" and the prototype for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's personality chips, who came along with The Heart of Gold. Unfortunately, the combination of his massive computational power with nothing to do and his flawed chip leaves him extremely bored and depressed.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Well, added rhyme appeal— "Marvin the Chronically Depressed Android" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
  • Berserk Button: By the time it's pressed, he's too ancient (and, of course, depressed) to explode about it, but Arthur's usage of the word "time" in So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish clearly touches some very frayed nerves.
  • Catchphrase: "I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed", "Life? Don't talk to me about life." some of the first two lines he says when introduced in every continuity of H2G2. There's also his "Here I am, brain the size of a planet..." speeches.
  • The Chew Toy: He gets treated like crap (or makes himself believe he is, at times) by almost everything in the entire universe. The fact that (due to time travel) he is several times older than the universe itself in the later books doesn't help much, either.
  • The Constant: And he's not happy about it.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the second radio series, his autobiography is used to torture an evil lawyer. As we hear him narrating, there's the occasional noise of the poor bastard groaning and screaming in pain.
  • Cute Machines: More than anything, you can't help but want to hug him.
  • The Cynic: If his reaction to something going on isn't ennui from the sheer futility of it all, it's usually barely-disguised contempt for the person, place, thing, idea or situation he is forced to endure in that very moment.
  • Deadpan Snarker: You'd be snarky too if you hated everyone and everything. Unlike most examples of the trope however, Marvin gets no pleasure from his sarcasm. Crosses over into Servile Snarker.
  • The Drag-Along: He has to be dragged along by the other characters: he'd much rather lie somewhere, moping. Unless he thinks he's starting to enjoy that.
  • The Eeyore: Alive and not happy about it.
  • Eye Lights Out: His death at the end of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, after he sees God's final message to His creation.
  • Flanderization: In the original radio series, Marvin is mostly grumpy, charmless, gloomy and caustic. By his later appearances he's become a virtually catatonic black hole of depression who can barely stir himself to move.
  • Flawed Prototype: Marvin was the unsuccessful prototype for the personality chip. Everything else that has it is irrepressibly cheerful all the time— including Eddie, a ship AI who will cheerfully tell you you're about to be vaporized by nuclear missiles, and even the individual doors which all thank you for passing through them. Marvin hates them all.
  • Go Out with a Smile: As his last words- "I think I feel good about it"- imply, reading God's last message to His creation seems to instill in Marvin the closest feeling to happiness he ever experienced before he finally expires.
  • Image Song: He had four such songs sung by Stephen Moore, his actor from the original radio and TV series.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: In "Life, the Universe and Everything", he's spent several million years in a swamp, walking in a circle. It's the closest he'll get to enjoying himself.
  • Informed Attribute: Marvin is described (including by himself) as "manically depressed" but we never see him being manic, only depressed.
  • Insufferable Genius: He's ten thousand times smarter than everyone else, and regularly insults and shoots down other people's suggestions.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Marvin often ends up alone by himself- not just to sulk, but because most everyone he interacts with gets bummed out by his depressing worldview and either leaves him alone or, in two cases, kills themselves.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • In the TV version, he dies when the Disaster Area ship does its sun dive.
    • In the books, he dies shortly after reading God's final message to His creation.
  • Long-Lived: By the end of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, he reveals that, thanks to time-travel, he is no less than 37 times older than the universe itself.
  • Mundane Utility: Marvin has a brain the size of a planet, and yet he's only assigned simple household tasks.
  • Personality Chip: As stated above: A flawed prototype.
  • Pet the Dog: He's unfailingly critical of all life forms, as well as all robots (including himself, except in the area of intelligence). But he does have a kind word for Trillian's deductive ability in Life, the Universe and Everything.
    Marvin: That girl is one of the least benightedly unintelligent life forms it has ever been my severe displeasure not to be able to avoid meeting.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He is the blue oni to Eddie’s red.
  • Riddle for the Ages: In the radio version, he survives being eaten by a Haggunenon and makes his way to Ursa Minor Beta by means that are never satisfactorily explained, not even to him.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Subverted. While humanoid, his emotion chip is supposed to emulate real emotions. Unfortunately, it does that too well, and only with depression.
  • Robot Buddy: Under certain definitions of the word "buddy". The marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was probably referring to a different robot when it advertised "Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With!"
  • "Second Law" My Ass!: Marvin is a low-grade version of this trope: he'll obey, but he won't like it, and he'll never let you forget it.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Easily of Deus Est Machina levels intelligence, but it's never put to full use.
    • At one point he is put in charge of all the computing for a robotic army and fleet that can take on the whole galaxy at once, and is still so under-challenged that he composes little poems to keep himself occupied.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Sort of. In the radio, he's revived after his death in the Quandrary Phase, much to his irritation.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Brain the size of a planet, and yet they only ask him to do [insert menial task here]? How very depressing.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After a literal eternity of being depressed and neglected, he seems moderately satisfied (in as much as he's ever satisfied) with a promotion at the car park at the end of the Quintessential Phase. Unless he's being sarcastic.
  • Time Abyss: Oh so very, very much. In one instance he stays in one spot from approximately 1980 until the end of the universenote . By the end of the series he is, by virtue of Time Travel, six times older than the universe itself! He is then brought back to life again because numerous characters that lived when he was created were still alive, and that went against the Lifetime Insurance Policy of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
    "The first ten million years were the worst. And the second ten million, they were the worst, too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that, I went into a bit of a decline."
  • Tin-Can Robot: His look in the live-action series, which infamously had no budget. However, given Sirius Cybertnetics Corporation are a bunch of complete idiots, it helps visually indicate how shoddy they are.
  • Tinman Typist: Marvin sometimes uses vocal commands. In the TV version he opens the black spaceship's airlock by saying "Abracadiodularservosystems". It would be hard to judge whether he would find a plug in or voice control easier. He'd certainly be depressed by either option. In the novels, on the one occasion he directly interfaced with another AI it was Driven to Suicide, so it's probably justified.
  • You Never Asked: On the stolen spaceship, he reveals he could've read the Answer imprinted in Arthur's brain the whole time, but no-one asked. Of course, he never gave any indication he could've in the first place.

Played in the radio by: Jane Horrocks
Played in the TV series by: uncredited
The woman from the beginning of the first and fourth books, who had a startling revelation about the nature of life but was interrupted by the Earth exploding and is thus in search of what this revelation was that she lost. Eventually becomes Arthur's Love Interest.

    Random Frequent Flyer Dent 
Played in the radio by: Samantha Béart
Trillian and Arthur's daughter, after Trillian got a sperm donation from the only other human in the galaxy (which he gave so he could have a first-class seat on a flight). Because all she has ever known is flying from one world to the next, has no world to call her own, and neither parent really being equipped to be a parent, she struggles with trying to find a place she belongs.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Random's actions lead directly to the annihilation of the Earth. (The second one.)
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Extremely rude towards her father.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In one line towards the Guide Mark II;
    "'Oh, great. A laser show,' said Random fractiously. 'Never seen one of those before, except at about five million rock concerts.'"
  • Foreshadowing: Unintentionally; there's a throwaway line Arthur makes near the beginning of the story about wishing he had a daughter so he could forbid her to marry a Vogon. The stage adaptation treats this as a Brick Joke.
  • Freudian Excuse: Trillian had her because she wanted a kid, then decided to focus on her career, which meant Random frequently got dropped off at places, sometimes for years at a time. It's the reason for her personality.
  • Ironic Name: Trillian named her "Random" because she was born using a sperm donor and, therefore, her parentage was random. At the time, there was only one male human alive who could possibly have been the donor, and Trillian knew this perfectly well.
  • Little Miss Badass: Well, she does like to throw rocks at people who annoy her. And keeps a specially sharpened one in her pocket for the right occasion, which she can "cause a lot of trouble with".
  • Mood-Swinger: Goes from bad mood to bad mood at the drop of a hat.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Never smiles. Ever.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Being manipulated by the Guide Mk II.
  • Vague Age: "Teenager". Anything beyond that, thanks to time-travel and alternate universes, is a toss-up.

Important/Recurring Characters

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ("The Book") 
Played in the radio by: Peter Jones (first and second series), William Franklyn (third, fourth, and fifth) John Lloyd (sixth)
Played in the TV series by: Peter Jones
Played in the film by: Stephen Fry
The titular guide to the galaxy. It is full of information that is apocryphal at best and Blatant Lies at worst, but nonetheless is a best seller throughout the galaxy and provides valuable insights to Ford, Arthur, and the audience.
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: Particularly Peter Jones. In one particularly stressful scene in the television series, he assures the main characters' safety in advance while pleasant images appear on the screen.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Is constantly quoted throughout the story on every subject in the galaxy the audience needs (or doesn't need, for that matter) to be told about- Played for Laughs, of course.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: As far as The Guide's editors are concerned. The guide justifies it on the grounds that there's nothing else to do.
  • Executive Meddling: In-universe. "Mostly Harmless" gives this as being (one of) the reasons for the Guide's general uselessness and inaccuracy. Any work sent in to the Guide is ground through the mill of secretaries and lawyers until anything resembling useful information has been comprehensively stripped, while the actual editors are busy at lunch.
  • Footnote Fever:
    • The glossary, since it's ripped off a cereal box (which ripped off The Guide thanks to Time Travel).
    • According to a scene in the TV series, the glossary itself is actually larger than the rest of the guide put together.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Used to prove that the universe is actually not populated at all. To whit - the universe is infinite. While there could be an infinite number of worlds, they can't all be inhabited. Any finite number divided by infinity is next to zero as makes no odds, so all those people out there are actually the result of a deranged imagination.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The Guide proclaims to be definitively accurate, even though it has many glaring omissions, and contains much that is apocryphal. The Guides' creators eventually stated that the Guide was accurate, and it was reality that was getting it all wrong. In instances where it cannot deny being inaccurate, it at least justifies that it is definitively in-accurate.
  • Made of Indestructium: The copies used by both Ford and Arthur undergo some serious abuse over the course of the series, including being thrown in a river and buried in mud, and keep right on working.
  • Motive Decay: The earliest version of the Guide was founded on the principals of knowledge and enlightenment. Then, after falling into bankruptcy, the Guide's founder took an extremely long lunch break, looked at those principals, and decided where they could be stuffed.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Oh, that thing."
  • The Rival: With fellow publication the Encyclopedia Galactica. The Guide generally outsells it despite its many, many, many flaws on the grounds it's slightly cheaper, and of course it has the words "Don't Panic" on the cover.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: On the subject of the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, the Guide states that they're "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when The Revolution comes". A copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica which had fallen through a time warp from a thousand years in space said much the same, only it states they were the first against the wall when The Revolution came.

    The Vogons
"Bloody apathetic planet, I've no sympathy."
The bitter, bureaucratic aliens that evolution simply gave up on. They were tasked with blowing up the Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, and to get rid of anything else that gets in the way of that.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. According to the Guide itself, they are "not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous." The book states that they wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmother from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without loads of paperwork first. It's mentioned they have tried to improve themselves, and acquire style and social grace, but the modern Vogon is little removed from his primitive forebears.
  • Bad Boss: A Vogon captain killing most of his crew in a violent rage is pretty normal for them.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: They genuinely don't understand why humans are horrified by them destroying the Earth, especially when their plans had been clearly laid out in a series of charts set on Alpha Centauri fifty years earlier.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: They're well aware of their reputation for unpleasantness and revel in it.
    Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz: No, well you're completely wrong. I just write poetry to throw my mean callous heartless exterior into sharp relief. I'm going to throw you off the ship anyway.
  • Determinator: By all indications, the Vogons were never supposed to survive, or become sentient (where their brain should be is actually a malformed, misplaced liver). And yet, they're still around, being too damn stupid to kill. In Mostly Harmless, Ford manages to weaponise their mindless determination against them.
  • Evolutionary Levels: They're a species evolution didn't so much forget, but rather completely gave up on the minute it saw them.
  • Green and Mean: Vogons aren't exactly known for their kindness.
  • Lawful Stupid: Vogons as a whole aren't particularly bright, capable of imagination or even spelling sometimes. They just run things and do what they're told.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: That's right, the entire race. So much so that Vogons won't lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from a painful death without an overly elaborate amount of paperwork being signed first. In triplicate.
  • Planet of Hats: They're all unpleasant bureaucrats. Every last one of them.
    • Except for the ones who just want to shout their way through life.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: In the TV series. In the film, thanks to a much bigger budget, they look much more impressive and alien.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Vogon poetry is often used as a torture device. Only one or two creatures in the universe ever made worse poetry (including a human). Vogons are under no illusions about the quality of their poetry, and use technological means to make the experience worse for any poor bastard unfortunate enough to be subject to it.

"Hang the sense of it all and keep yourself busy."
Played in the radio by: Richard Vernon (first and second series), Richard Griffiths (fourth, fifth, and sixth)
Played in the TV series by: Richard Vernon
Played in the film by: Bill Nighy
A fjord-loving old Magrithean who helped build Earth the first time around (he won an award for Norway). He later goes off on his own to stop time anomalies on behalf of the Campaign for Real Time.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Comes off as one in the 2005 film as played by Bill Nighy.
  • Doctor Whomage: Of the Doctor in Life, the Universe and Everything due to the book being an adaptation of a rejected Doctor Who serial by Douglas Adams, Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. Both the Doctor and Slartibartfast are very old Human Aliens who travel through space and time righting wrongs in a weird looking spaceship (a police box for the former, an Italian bistro for the latter). Ford and Arthur even act as companion stand-ins.
  • Mr. Exposition: In both the first and third books, he gives out plot relevant information on galactic history and technology.
  • No Name Given: Subverted. It's not important.
  • Wizard Classic: In the TV series, he looks a lot like Gandalf. While not an actual wizard, he looks and acts the part.

    Deep Thought 
Played in the radio by: Geoffrey McGivern
Played in the TV series by: Valentine Dyall
Played in the film by: Helen Mirren
The ancient computer tasked with finding the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything.
  • Anticlimax: In-universe. It took Deep Thought seven and a half million years to work out The Answer. It came out with "42". Its creators were not exactly impressed.
  • Badass Boast: When Lunkwill and Fook are trying to guess what the most powerful computer in the universe is, if it's not Deep Thought, they ask Deep Thought if "The Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler" could be the computer it's thinking of. Its response:
    Deep Thought: (with Trilling Rs) The Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler could talk all four legs off of an Arcturan Megadonkey. But only I could convince it to go for a walk afterwards.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the radio series, when Vroomfondel and Majikthise threaten, on behalf of philosophers, sages, luminaries and other thinking peoples, to go on strike if Deep Thought threatens to give The Answer, it cuts in by asking who, exactly, this was meant to inconvenience.
  • Gender Flip: Voiced by men in the TV and radio versions, while given a female voice in the film.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Nobody was impressed when it dubbed its creation "the Earth".
  • Impossible Genius: Before its data banks had even been connected, it had already deduced the existence of income taxes and rice pudding based solely on the phrase "I think therefore I am".
  • Insistent Terminology: Immediately after being turned on, Deep Thought declares itself the second greatest computer of all time, because there is another, far greater computer which it knows it will one day create.
  • Large Ham: The radio, and TV versions especially, what with having Valentine Dyall's booming voice.
  • Literal Genie: Seven and a half million years were spent working out the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. At the end of it, Deep Thought proclaimed the answer was "42". After some incredulous responses, Deep Thought points out they never once bothered to think what the Question was.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Deep Thought only appears in a flashback, but that flashback reveals it helped kick-start the plot, what with creating Earth and all.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Deep Though speaks exactly as you'd expect a computer made by a hyperintelligent race of pan-dimensional beings to be... except briefly while pointing out to Vroomfondel and Majikthise how they could benefit while waiting for the Answer.
    Deep Thought: So long as you keep violently disagreeing with one another, and slagging each other off in the papers, and so long as you have clever agents, you can keep yourselves on the gravy train for life.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Before giving The Answer, Deep Thought pauses, and tells the people its giving the answer to that they're not going to like it.
  • Tin Man Typist: In the movie, the gang finds Deep Thought watching cartoons off a smaller screen.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The radio and novel versions don't really answer what became of Deep Thought after it fails to give the Answer. The TV version suggests the hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional civilization ultimately collapsed. In the film, she's just been sitting around watching TV.

    The Ruler of the Universe 
Played in the radio by: Stephen Moore
An old hermit who runs the universe, completely unbeknownst to him.
  • Captain Oblivious: The Ruler has no idea that he rules the Universe. This makes him perfect for the job. He also has no idea that his table can't talk to him.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He has some very interesting thought patterns.
  • Dimension Lord: Rules the entire universe.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Downplayed. He's blonde, and he's very, very polite to his guests and his cat. However, he never does any overwhelming acts of good and immediately forgets about Zarniwoop when he leaves the shack.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: His only real redeeming feature is that he looks after his cat. Or at least, he thinks he does, because it pleases him to be nice to what he presumes must be a cat.
  • Man Behind the Man: As far as most of the galaxy is concerned, Zaphod or whoever else is Galactic president is in charge.
  • Manchild: He really doesn't know... Anything. He refuses to accept anything he can't directly perceive right this second. This notably includes the past.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: It's implied that the Ruler is a lot more on the ball than he appears to be. The narration notes that he listens for the sounds of the Heart of Gold's engines (despite professing not to believe in anything he can't currently see), and then speaks to cover up the noise so Zarniwoop won't realize Zaphod and Trillian have escaped and stranded him.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: He rules a universe that he doesn't believe exists.

    Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged 
Played in the radio by: Toby Longworth

An alien being who, due to an accident, became immortal. He became bored with the whole thing, and decided his life goal was to insult every single creature in the universe in alphabetical order.

  • Aliens Speaking English: Can be handwaved by the Babel Fish but why he seems to alphabetize his victims based on the English alphabet is anybody's guess.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: His ship can pick up channels from nearby planets and Blade Runner is one of his favourite movies.
  • Ascended Extra: Becomes a major character in And Another Thing....
  • The Cameo: He shows up at the end of a Douglas Adams short story, "The Private Life Of Genghis Khan", and insults Khan to his face, thereby indirectly causing the Mongol's massacres.
  • Complete Immortality: Wowbagger is eternal.
  • Death Seeker: Subverted. While he envies the dead and dying, he knows there's no point in trying to emulate them.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Revealed in And Another Thing; his first name is Bowerick. He stopped using it because people were calling him Bow-Wowbagger.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Implied to be what made him immortal.
  • Jerkass: Wowbagger has become entirely soured by his immortality. He doesn't like anybody. So he decided to tell them so. All of them. Everywhere.
  • Lizard Folk: A line in And Another Thing... implies he looks like an iguana.
  • Noodle Implements: Wowbagger became immortal through a curious accident involving an irrational particle accelerator, a liquid lunch, and a pair of rubber bands. The book throws in a Do Not Do This Cool Thing warning: "The precise details of the accident are not important because no one has ever been able to duplicate the exact circumstances under which it happened, and many people have wound up looking very silly, or dead, or both, trying."
  • Rage Against the Heavens: The final person on his list is Crystal Dragon Jesus, Zarquon whom he calls a "tiresome goggle eyed pillock" and gets his immortality stripped in retaliation seconds before the universe ends.
  • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: In Life, the Universe and Everything, he asks his ship computer if there's any movie he hasn't already seen "over thirty-thousand times."
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: He recognizes that his purpose in (eternal) life is meaningless and stupid, but he picked it as the only thing he could work up some interest in.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Best shown by the fact that he has watched every movie ever made at least thirty thousand times. He's utterly bored, leading to his impossible goal of personally insulting every living creature in all of time and space.

"Oh no. not again ".

A poor soul who over their many incarnations has been killed by Arthur Dent many times.

  • Bat Out of Hell: The "revenge body" he wears when he finally confronts Arthur is a giant and very distressing-looking bat-like creature, with torn wings and a great number of sharp, misaligned teeth.
  • Berserk Button: He was already tetchy and insane by the time Arthur encounters his final body, but he makes it clear he doesn't accept the explanation that all his myriad deaths have been "coincidence".
  • Blessed with Suck: He continuously reincarnates, just long enough for Arthur Dent to unthinkingly cause his demise.
  • Butt-Monkey: Considering how many times they've died over the series, it would count.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Some of the more bizarre deaths. like just happening to be crushed by a teleported-in couch.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The universe definitely has it out for him, considering Agrajag seems to exist purely so he can die by an unwitting Arthur's hands over and over and over again. Even when he gets a chance to finally enact his revenge, things still don't go his way when it turns out he abducted Arthur too early in the timeline.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In one of his incarnations; he was a rabbit that was killed by Arthur Dent and later skinned to make into a handbag. Some time later, Agrajag comes back as a fly which ends up getting squashed by Arthur Dent using the same handbag that his previous incarnation was made into.
  • Large Ham: It happens when you are existentially tetchy, but the radio version as provided by Douglas Adams himself especially.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: His final body, but they don't all properly fit, causing Agrajag to bite himself repeatedly, just adding to the tetchiness.
  • Non-Linear Character: He and Arthur don't encounter each other in the same order, in particular he realizes too late that he met Arthur in his final life before Arthur met his Stavro Mueller Beta incarnation.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Not only their quote on this page, but specifically realizing they were the bowl of petunias materialized above the alien planet, doomed to fall.
  • One-Winged Angel: He incarnated as a giant, Body Horror-filled bat creature purely for the purpose of killing Arthur, referring to it as his "revenge body." Unfortunately for him, its gruesome condition means that it goes down easily when Arthur proceeds to accidentally cause his death again.
  • The Power of Hate: Once he figured out who's responsible for his many deaths, he reaches a sort of "existential" tetchiness, and tries clawing his way back to life for one last go at killing Arthur.
  • Reincarnation: And he's unfortunate enough to remember all his past lives, or at least his deaths at the hands of Arthur Dent.
  • Saying Too Much: Accidentally lets slip to Arthur about an encounter he remembers, but Arthur doesn't... because it hasn't happened to him yet. Poor Agrajag goes a little insane(er) at this point, and tries killing him anyway.
  • Tempting Fate: In one of his lives, he was a married man with a heart condition, whose wife tried to beg him off going to a cricket match. Agrajag assured her there'd be no harm in a simple cricket match. While he was there, two people suddenly materialized on the grounds. The surprise gave him a fatal heart attack.
  • Unknown Rival: Agrajag sees Arthur as a nemesis who keeps killing him, and has thus dedicated his many lives to destroying Arthur. Arthur, on the other hand, is literally unaware of Agrajag's existence until the latter spirits him away to the Cathedral of Hate.

Alternative Title(s): The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, Life The Universe And Everything, Mostly Harmless, And Another Thing, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy 2005, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy 1984, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy 1978, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy 1981