The 10 Best Pixar Side Characters, Ranked

Pixar has blessed us with countless memorable characters since its inception, many of which have become beloved icons in the world of animation. While the leads often get the spotlight, it’s the side characters that frequently steal the show. These unsung heroes, with their limited screen time, manage to leave lasting impressions and often become fan favorites. Let’s dive into the top 10 best Pixar side characters who have won our hearts with their unforgettable antics and unique personalities.

10. Roz (Bob Peterson) from Monsters, Inc. (2001)

“Always watching, Wazowski. Always watching.” If those words don’t immediately conjure an image of a grumpy, slug-like figure, then you need to revisit Monsters, Inc.. Roz, voiced by Bob Peterson, is a high-ranking member of the Child Detection Agency who goes undercover at Monsters, Inc. Her deadpan delivery and perpetually grumpy demeanor, especially when dealing with Mike’s shoddy paperwork, make her a standout character. Roz’s fun design and sarcastic wit provide much-needed comic relief and add depth to the world of Monstropolis.

9. Captain B. McCrea (Jeff Garlin) from WALL-E (2008)

Captain B. McCrea might be an unexpected entry on this list, but his character arc in WALL-E is both compelling and heartwarming. As the captain of the Axiom, McCrea starts off as a passive leader, heavily reliant on his autopilot, AUTO. However, when evidence of new plant growth on Earth is discovered, he becomes inspired to reclaim humanity’s future. His journey from complacency to proactive leadership is beautifully portrayed, culminating in his powerful declaration, “I don’t want to survive. I want to live!” Jeff Garlin’s performance gives McCrea the gravitas needed to elevate this side character to memorable status.

8. Francis (Denis Leary) from A Bug’s Life (1998)

In the often overlooked A Bug’s Life, Francis the ladybug, voiced by Denis Leary, stands out with his fiery temper and sharp wit. Frequently mistaken for a female due to his species, Francis’s short fuse leads to plenty of comedic moments. His role as the cynical member of the circus troupe, contrasted with his eventual softening as the Den Mother of the Blueberry Scouts, showcases Pixar’s knack for character development even in its side characters. Francis’s journey from a grumpy clown to a nurturing figure adds depth to the ensemble cast of this classic film.

7. Bing Bong (Richard Kind) from Inside Out (2015)

Bing Bong, the imaginary friend from Inside Out, is perhaps one of Pixar’s most emotionally impactful characters. Voiced by Richard Kind, this whimsical blend of cotton candy, elephant, cat, and dolphin is a perfect embodiment of childhood innocence and creativity. His cheerful demeanor and unyielding optimism make his ultimate sacrifice all the more heartbreaking. Bing Bong’s final scene, where he fades away while ensuring Joy and Sadness return to headquarters, is a poignant reminder of the bittersweet nature of growing up. His character is a testament to the emotional depth Pixar can achieve.

6. Dug (Bob Peterson) from Up (2009)

Who can forget Dug, the lovable golden retriever from Up? With a special collar that translates his thoughts into human speech, Dug, voiced by Bob Peterson, is the epitome of canine enthusiasm. His childlike innocence, loyalty, and the iconic line “Squirrel!” make him an instant fan favorite. Dug’s interactions with Carl and Russell provide much of the film’s humor and heart, and his simplistic, pure outlook on life is a refreshing contrast to the more complex human characters.

5. Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) from The Incredibles (2004) & Incredibles 2 (2018)

Lucius Best, aka Frozone, is the epitome of cool—literally and figuratively. Voiced by the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, Frozone’s ability to create ice adds a dynamic visual element to the Incredibles films. But it’s Jackson’s voice performance that truly makes Frozone memorable. His calm demeanor, punctuated by moments of intense frustration (cue the iconic “Where is my super suit?” scene), brings a unique energy to the character. Frozone’s supportive friendship with Mr. Incredible adds depth to both characters and cements his place as one of Pixar’s coolest side characters.

4. Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) from the Toy Story Series (1995-Present)

Mr. Potato Head, voiced by the late Don Rickles, is a staple of the Toy Story franchise. Known for his detachable body parts and sarcastic personality, he often provides the films’ most memorable comedic moments. Despite his gruff exterior, Mr. Potato Head has a soft spot for his fellow toys, especially after the arrival of Mrs. Potato Head. Rickles’ voice work imbues the character with a tough yet lovable charm, making Mr. Potato Head an indispensable part of the Toy Story ensemble.

3. Rex (Wallace Shawn) from the Toy Story Series (1995-Present)

Rex, the anxious, self-doubting dinosaur from Toy Story, is the embodiment of nervous energy. Voiced by Wallace Shawn, Rex’s constant worry about his perceived inadequacies provides a wealth of comedic moments. His trusting nature and desire to help his friends, despite his fears, make him an endearing character. Whether he’s trying to perfect his roar or playing video games, Rex’s childlike innocence and relentless optimism resonate with audiences, making him one of the most beloved side characters in the franchise.

2. Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole) from Ratatouille (2007)

Anton Ego, the fearsome food critic from Ratatouille, is a masterclass in character development. Voiced by Peter O’Toole, Ego starts as a cynical, harsh critic who revels in the power his reviews wield. However, his transformation after tasting Remy’s dish is profound. The flashback to his childhood and his eloquent speech about the role of critics highlight the character’s depth and the film’s themes of passion and creativity. Ego’s journey from skepticism to appreciation is one of Pixar’s most compelling character arcs, earning him a high spot on this list.

1. Edna Mode (Brad Bird) from The Incredibles (2004) & Incredibles 2 (2018)

Without a doubt, Edna Mode is Pixar’s ultimate side character. Voiced by Brad Bird, Edna is the eccentric fashion designer responsible for creating the superheroes’ iconic suits. Her larger-than-life personality, complete with her disdain for capes and unyielding confidence, makes every scene she appears in unforgettable. Edna’s mix of humor, wisdom, and flair for the dramatic steals the show in both Incredibles films. Bird’s performance captures the essence of Edna’s character perfectly, making her a beloved icon in the Pixar universe.

Honorable Mentions

While these ten characters are our top picks, there are plenty of other memorable side characters in Pixar’s repertoire. Characters like Heimlich from A Bug’s Life, Dory from Finding Nemo, and Bonnie’s toys from Toy Story 4 all bring unique charm and depth to their respective films. Pixar’s ability to create such rich, multi-dimensional characters, even in supporting roles, is a testament to their storytelling prowess.

Final Thoughts

Pixar’s side characters often play pivotal roles in their stories, providing humor, heart, and sometimes even the key to the main character’s growth. Whether it’s through a single line of dialogue, a memorable design, or a touching character arc, these side characters prove that sometimes the ones in the background can shine just as brightly as the stars. So, next time you watch a Pixar film, pay close attention to these delightful side characters—you might find that they are the true heart of the story.

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