Michael "Iceman" CaseyA wingman from the first game, Casey was killed in action not long after his son Lance was born. He was a very good pilot: generally, you'd fly four or five missions with each wingman, with the best ones saved for the late-game adventures. Iceman was second-to-last.
- Ace Pilot: The other pilots are in awe and sometimes a little afraid of him, and Colonel Halcyon gets disappointed if he returns from a mission with no kills.
- Clint Squint: His default expression.
- Danger Deadpan: Iceman is described in the manual for the first game as being the calm, cool, collected pilot, and the one on top of the scoreboard when you start the game. A fellow pilot notes that everyone else shouts in combat, but you sometimes have to strain to hear Iceman, because he's pretty much whispering in terse, two-or-three-word sentences.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Died when Kilrathi stealth fighters attacked the Tiger's Claw. He was captured... and Kilrathi don't take prisoners.
- Nerves of Steel: Much like his Topgun counterpart.
- Not So Stoic: In the second expansion pack Iceman gets a message that a captured Kilrathi slave transport turned out to have his daughter on board. It is quite a change to suddenly see the Iceman talk about seeing "my little girl" again.
- The Quiet One: Stoic, but personable.
- Took a Level in Badass: Iceman was deemed an average combat pilot at best before his family was killed by Kilrathi. After that, his main purpose in life became to be the best killing machine in the cockpit he could.
Zachary "Jazz" ColsonA pilot introduced in the original game's first expansion pack, Colson is more notable for being The Mole, the first perpetrator of the "secret defector" subplot which the franchise seemed to love.
- Batman Gambit: His aim was to kill the pilots of the Tiger Claw. Spirit was one of the pilots. He attempts to blackmail her into not attacking a space station her fiancée was held hostage on. Her solution, for anyone who knew her, would have been a Foregone Conclusion.
- Les Collaborateurs: With the Kilrathi.
- Dramatic Space Drifting: In the winning ending of Wing Commander II: Special Operations 2, his empty helmet is shown floating in space.
- Frameup: He destroyed evidence to make Blair get blamed for the destruction of the Tiger's Claw.
- Failure-to-Save Murder: See below, to the point where he collaborates with the people responsible for the incident they failed to save his brother from.
- Freudian Excuse: He blames his brother being killed at Goddard on the Tiger's Claw being delayed from responding to the colony's distress signal by an attack on a Kilrathi transport. Vengeance of the Kilrathi portrayed him as working with the Kilrathi to get his revenge on the crew of the Claw, however Special Operations 2 suggests he is a full blown collaborator without needing revenge for motivation.
- The Mole: He's a member of the Mandarin faction.
- Smug Snake: For sheer irritating smugness he gives Mr. Morden a run for his money. Even in the Secret Missions expansion to the first game, before he does anything actually evil, he has a smug, douchey smirk on his face all the time.
Peter HalcyonThe Commander Air Group of the Tiger's Claw.
- Custom Uniform: His uniform is a different color from all the other Confed personnel in the first game and he has a hat while everyone else does not. (Ironically, it's very similar to the uniforms everyone would start wearing in Wing III.)
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Although, as per the Wing Commander III novelization, commanders of carrier wings aren't required to fly missions, the briefings, debriefings, and the odd ceremony (medals or funerals) are the only things the player ever sees Colonel Halcyon do.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: What we see of him shows that he's not a screaming martinet or otherwise a jerkass.
Etienne "Doomsday" MontclairThe callsign says it all. A Maori pilot with distinctive facial tattoos, he transfers to the Tarawa with Jason Bondarevski.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Pretty much everything he says is pessimistic, predicting death and destruction.Doomsday: Now all we need is Maniac, so we can all die together.
Spirit: What an uplifting sentiment.
- The Eeyore: Almost every comm message he ever sends you is about his impending death. ("Yay, we killed everyone. I bet I'm going to die now.")
- Irony: He is one of the few pilots from the original game to survive the war, and still flying combat missions (as a mercenary) in Arena, set in 2701.
Ian "Hunter" St. JohnA "loose cannon" on the decks of the Claw, Hunter is the final wingman of the first game. He also figures a couple of the Expanded Universe novels.
- Back for the Dead: Fleet Action
- Leeroy Jenkins: Hunter obeys orders. Sometimes. When he feels like it. Which is not very often.
- Land Down Under: Name an Australian slang cliche, and Hunter has most likely said it at least once.
- Military Maverick: His saving the Tiger's Claw in Freedom Flight was because he had snuck aboard a captured Kilrathi fighter for a joyride.
- Oral Fixation: He's almost always depicted with a cigar in his mouth.
- Younger Than They Look: The manual says he's in his late twenties. His sprite looks around forty.
James "Paladin" Taggart
Played by John Rhys-Davies.
Another franchise-long mainstay, Paladin is a pilot on the Claw who later transfers into Black Ops, particularly helping set up the Temblor Project which helps end the war. From the fourth game onward, he's been elected as a Senator.
- Cool Old Guy: He was in his 50s when he was a pilot in the very first Wing Commander.
- Badass Grandpa: Paladin is a skilled and tactical pilot. When he retires, his Temblor bomb project is ultimately responsible for winning the war with the Kilrathi.
- Eyepatch of Power: In Super Wing Commander, released for the Macintosh and 3DO, Paladin has an eye patch. However, given his displayed abilities in the game, one might question how much "power" there actually is in that scrap of cloth. "Ach! He caught me with me kilt down!", indeed.
- Old Soldier: Played to the hilt.
- Team Dad: pilots have jokingly called him "Mother Hen".
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He's this to Hobbes, in Wing Commander II.
Mariko "Spirit" TanakaA quiet Japanese woman aboard the Claw, Spirit is one of Blair's oldest friends, staying loyal to him even after his court-martial.
- Bilingual Bonus: Spirit's last words to Blair, before her Heroic Sacrifice. It's not, however, much of a bonus since your character translates it for you during the mission debriefing.
- Colonel Badass: A Lieutenant Colonel, but has enough badass to qualify.
- Good Is Not Soft: Probably the nicest character in all seven or eight games, but pragmatic to the point where she goes Taking You with Me on her fiance, who was a prisoner for ten years and may or may not have been on the space station she blew up.
- Good Is Not Nice: In the novel Freedom Flight she gets rather upset when a pilot under her command disobeys orders, and blames herself when he gets himself killed. Hunter tries to put things in perspective.
- Got Volunteered: She pulls this on Maverick when told of a Confed ship that needs rescuing. It kind of backfires when it turns out to be a captured Confed ship that lures would be rescuers into a trap.
- Gratuitous Japanese: In the first game, she used more than a few Japanese phrases. Later showings toned this down, however.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Lampshaded in The Secret Missions, but averted ("Anything I sacrifice today will bear fur and whiskers"). Then in Wing Commander II when her bomber is crippled...guess.
- I Have Your Wife: Or, in her case, her fiancé. The Kilrathi managed to capture him, and try to use him to secure her cooperation. Her reaction was counted on.
- National Stereotypes: See Japanese Honorifics. She gets called out on giving her life against the Kilrathi but she subverts the trope. Later played straight below in the I Have Your Wife example.
- Poirot Speak: Her dialogue is painfully stereotypical in the first game. Fortunately they fixed this in Wing Commander II.
- Ramming Always Works: Heaven's Gate is a heavily armored space station that Confed thinks will stand up even to bombers. Spirit has a rather unorthodox, Tear Jerker, but effective solution, given that her ship is too damaged to survive a return to base, thanks to sabotage by Jazz.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: She'll mention having fantasies of this after her fiance is taken. It doesn't quite happen.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: In Wing Commander II, she makes a Heroic Sacrifice when her fighter is damaged and rather than eject, she kamikazes into the Heaven's Gate station. Her death is not brought up afterward, except in a passing reference by Jazz, who wanted revenge on the Tiger's Claw crew for the death of his brother, and her death seems to exist to facilitate Maverick and Angel getting together.
- Taking You with Me: See above.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: If her showing up in the second game wearing a kimono didn't clue you in, she's very traditional, adopts the Samurai belief and acts quiet and reserved. By now however you might guess she's no wilting flower, unless it were made from tempered steel.
Elizabeth "Shadow" NorwoodAt the beginning of the second game, Blair is court-martialled for allowing the Tiger's Claw to be destroyed and Reassigned to Antarctica, if by "Antarctica" we mean "The Coast Guard IN SPACE," where he is expected to live out his career in obscurity and shame. Shadow is one of the few friends he makes there.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: One would think Blair would remember one of his only post-Claw friends a bit more.
- Plotline Death: Her death to a pair of Kilrathi fighters occurs in a cutscene, with the player not being able to affect the outcome.
- Retirony: Killed shortly before she was set to go home.
Dirk "Stingray" Wright
Dirk Wright is a Terran pilot flying for the Terran Confederation serving onboard the TCS Concordia.
Captain William EisenThe Captain of the TCS Victory and then of the Lexington, the carriers out of which the third and fourth games take place, Eisen is a no-nonsense captain who treats Blair with respect (but is not above chewing him out if he screws up royally, or ejects unnecessarially). In the fourth game he defects to the Union of Border Worlds, convincing several of his best pilots to do the same, and is eventually elected captain of their carrier, the Intrepid.
- The Captain: Earns the player as well as Blair's respect with his hardass but reasonable actions.
- Defector from Decadence: Joins the Border Worlds out of a desire to prevent an unnecessary war sparked by the Confederation.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: probably would've shown up in Prophecy, but Jason Bernard passed away in '96. His final film, Jim Carrey's Liar Liar, is dedicated to him, and Prophecy has a carrier in his honor as well as the Real Life Barnard's Star renamed on the galaxy map that shipped with some versions of Prophecy to "Bernard's Star."
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Especially compared to when Admiral Tolwyn was commanding the Victory, he's almost a model of reasonableness, willing to listen to others if they have something important to discuss.
- What the Hell, Hero?: will do this to Blair if necessary, particularly if the player's starting wingman choices all focus on Hobbes, and if you chase down The Mole later in Wing Commander III, resulting in Vaquero's death.
- You Are in Command Now: leaves the Intrepid for further espionage later in the game. The novelization elaborates that Blair is assigned a Navy Lieutenant to whisper in his ear; that character is captain in all but rank.
- Becomes the head of the Border World military after the Black Lance effectively annihilates his superiors.
Winston "Vagabond" ChangA Chinese pilot from the third and fourth games with a Dark and Troubled Past, Vagabond has seen more of the universe than he necessarily wished to.
- Back for the Dead: Is killed during the fourth game.
- Dead Man's Hand: Loses his first major poker game in history right before going on an important mission. Where he's killed.
- Defector from Decadence: Joins the Border Worlds in The Price of Freedom along with Maniac and Captain Eisen.
- Demoted to Extra: In the fourth game's novel. The good news is that he is Spared by the Adaptation.
- "Join the Army", They Said: Is less than pleased to be called up as a Confederation reserve in The Price of Freedom.
- Killed Off for Real: Tragic considering he survived the hellstorm of the Kilrathi war.
- Meaningful Name: His callsign is said to reflect the fact he never settles down and is, essentially, a nomad after the war.
- Professional Gambler: The Victory's local card shark. Losing to Maniac of all people is considered a very bad omen by him. He's right.
Rachel CoriolisA technician in the third and fifth games who leads the ground crews that service fighter craft. Played by renowned porn star Ginger Lynn Allen in her first "dramatic" role.
- Double Entendre: Most of her dialogue with Blair is laden with these; the Reality Subtext was likely deliberate.
- First Girl Wins: Canonically marries Blair after the events of Wing Commander 3. Sadly, their relationship fails in the ensuing years.
- Genki Girl: She's extremely happy and outgoing during the events of Wing Commander III, far more than one would expect.
- Ms. Fanservice: Actually averted, despite the obvious temptation. She has a Girl Next Door appeal in the third game, but it's not overtly sexualized.
- Relationship Upgrade: Marries Blair after the events of Wing Commander 3 but their marriage doesn't last.
- Wrench Wench: Even being the chief mechanic aboard the Victory, which could easily be primarily a desk job, she has no problem with getting her hands dirty working on equipment.
Lt. Robin "Flint" Peters
Played by Jennifer Macdonald
A beautiful pilot and wingman to Blair during the events of the third game. She shows a romantic interest in Blair which is reciprocated once he discovers his wife has passed away.
- Ace Pilot: Is the only pilot who can stand up with Blair, Maniac, and Hobbes.
- Action Girl: Goes with being an Ace Pilot.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Blair's justification for choosing Rachel as he believes Flint is more likely to die in combat.
- Killed Off for Real: In the novelization, Flint dies during the final attack on Kilrah.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Happens in the novelization.
- Revenge: Became a pilot to avenge her brother, also a pilot, who died fighting the Kilrathi.
- What the Hell, Hero?: A Downplayed Trope example. If Blair consistently drinks before missions, Flint calls him on it.
Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez
Played by Julian Reyes.
A music-minded pilot from the third game who dreams of opening a cantina when he retires.
The Kilrathi as a whole
A race of sentient feline bipeds which rule a substantial portion of the galaxy and are an old established power when the Confederation comes to power. They soon reach a point of irreversible conflict with them and begin a decades-long war against humanity which ultimately ends in their defeat. Afterward, they abandon warfare and become an Actual Pacifist race.
- Actual Pacifist: The treaty with humanity completely disarms them and they seem overall okay with that. Subverted in the Expanded Universe where there's an extended civil war before this is achieved.
- Blood Knight: Kilrathi honor is only satisfied through sentient sacrifice and combat.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Kilrathi morality is almost completely incompatible with humanity's, a reason why the war lasts so long as it does.
- Cat Folk: An entire race of them. They vary between lion and tiger.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: How the war ends on their side. To be fair, they had already started implementing this on humanity.
- Human Sacrifice: One of their practices, except they also sacrifice other races and themselves.
- Proud Warrior Race: They're a darker take on this concept, highlighting how it makes them vicious and cruel.
- Space Jews: They're Space Imperial Japanese with a smattering of Aztec.
- Recycled In Space: The Pacific Theater of World War 2 IN SPACE with them as the Imperial Japanese.
Ralgha "Hobbes" nar HhallasA defector from the Kilrathi empire, Ralgha nar Hhallas joins the Confederation and is even accepted into the Space Forces, eventually achieving the rank of Colonel. Of course, since he's a Cat, a lot of people mistrust him; as such it doesn't hurt him to be loyal to Blair despite his disgrace in the second game, but since the Kilrathi are a Proud Warrior Race, Hobbes' trust means something. In the third game he gets an even bigger role.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Inverted: The justification for Hobbes' FaceHeel Turn in Wing Commander III didn't make it into the original PC release, but did make it to the Playstation port and the novelization.
- Crutch Character: Serves as this in Wing Commander III: he's an excellent pilot but each mission you use him on means one less mission to improve on the Relationship Values of the rest of the Squad. Lampshaded by Capt. Eisen if you pick Hobbes too often early on.
- Deep Cover Agent: In Wing Commander III, of the Manchurian Agent variety.
- Defector from Decadence: He is presented as this in Wing Commander II.
- Fantastic Racism: Suffers a great deal of this from his comrades. It turns out to have been justified.
- FaceHeel Turn: Has one halfway through III where he betrays the TCS Behemoth
- Fake Defector: In the second half of III it is revealed that he actually was a Manchurian Agent for the Kilrathi Empire.
- Memory Gambit: Wing Commander III revealed that Hobbes' defection to the Confederation was a Memory Gambit.
- Token Heroic Orc: Even after his Manchurian Agent personality takes over, he is driven by honor to leave a message explaining himself to Colonel Blair.
- Token Non-Human: Not all alien races are allied with the Kilrathi, but Hobbes is the only one you fly alongside.
- Tragic Monster: What they were going for with the revelation he's a Manchurian Agent. YMMV whether they succeeded or not.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He's this to Paladin in Wing Commander II.
- Worthy Opponent: After being outed, leaves behind a recording for Blair indicating his respect for him and regret that, in order to remain loyal to the Kilrathi, he must betray him.
Prince Thrakhath nar KirankaThe Darth Vader of the franchise, Thrakhath is Crown Prince of the Kilrathi Empire and the favorite grandson of The Emperor. He and Blair tangle quite frequently over the course of the franchise, and it is he who bestows on Blair his Kilrathi warrior name, "The Heart of the Tiger."
- Ax-Crazy: A combination of this and Blood Knight. He is considered a bloodthirsty psychopath even by other Kilrathi.
- Archenemy: To Colonel Blair.
- Batman Gambit: He uses Angel's death as a bid to drive Blair into an Unstoppable Rage. In the novel, it gets worse.
- Darth Vader Clone: A Downplayed Trope example. He may not have armor or magic but he's the chief minion of the Emperor, a starfighter pilot, the supreme commander of their military forces and Archenemy of a character played by Mark Hamill.
- The Dragon: In both Venegance of the Kilrathi and Heart of the Tiger, to the Emperor himself (who is never fought directly).
- Dragon-in-Chief: He appears to lead a significant portion of The Empire's forces, possibly all of them by Wing Commander III.
- Final Solution: Intends to implement one of these on the human race, even over the objections of other Kilrathi.
- General Failure: To the point that, in the Expanded Universe novels, it's stated that the only reason he hasn't been assassinated is because he's the Emperor's heir.
- And not for lack of trying either. Thrakhath assigns those most likely to betray him to missions where they are most likely to die in battle.
- Lampshaded by Khasra, who questions why he is still in command.
- In Fleet Action, it's mentioned in passing that he has been unable to conceive an heir of his own, implying that he may be sterile, in addition to merely being impotent on the battlefield.
- The Uriah Gambit: Threats to his position or authority tend to be assigned to missions that are believed to be one-way trips.
- Worthy Opponent: Has this attitude to Colonel Blair, which is not really reciprocated.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Was planning on disposing of the Mandarins around the time Blair destroys Ayer's Rock.
A Kilrathi warrior who believes Thrakhath has You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. He aspires to replace Prince Thrakath as leader of the Kilrathi forces since he believes (not without reason), he'd do a much better job.
- Blunt "Yes": Declares that not only does he question Thrakhath's orders, but he also doesn't think he should still be in charge after his failure.
- Cain and Abel: Khasra and Thrakath are cousins, not brothers but the Emperor treats the former like a son.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The heroes cause Khasra's coup to fail and Thrakath to remain in charge. While no friend to humanity, Khasra was not nearly the Ax-Crazy lunatic his cousin was.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Is a cousin of Prince Thrakath and one of the potential successors for Emperor should he die.
- The Starscream: Betrays Thrakhath in Special Ops 1, leading to his capture by Paladin and Blair.
MelekThrakhath's toady—you know how every villain needs to have someone to talk to, in order to have Character Development? That's Melek, Prince Thrakhath's senior adviser. After the destruction of Kilrah, he assumes control of the Empire and formally surrenders to Blair; he returns in the fourth game in much the same office.
- Actual Pacifist: Becomes one of these (along with the entire Kilrathi race) as part of the surrender agreement.
- Friendly Enemies: with Blair, whom he considers a Worthy Opponent. Some Kilrathi certainly go on feeling the shame of losing to the "hairless apes," but Melek is not one of them.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After the destruction of the Kilrathi, Melek surrenders the Kilrathi Empire to humanity. Notably, this is the first time in history any Kilrathi has ever surrendered.
- Only Sane Man: Melek seems to be aware, even if his masters aren't, that the inevitable Kilrathi victory over the humans isn't nearly as inevitable as it may seem.
- You Are in Command Now: With the death of the immediate royal family, Melek takes the reins of the Kilrathi Empire... only to wind up in a seven-way Enemy Civil War with other Kilrathi nobles and warlords who lay claim to the imperial throne.