The phrase “less is more” perfectly sums up the idea behind some of the most famous silent or mute characters in tv and media. With defying characteristics and original story-lines, these roles play an unforgettable part in entertainment. Although their extroverted loud counterparts may be stealing their thunder, it sometimes takes less fuss to steal a spot in the mental collective. Here’s a list of some of pop culture’s most remarkable characters who don’t say much. But when they do decide to speak, we’re all ears.
Starring in one of my favorite movies this year, Groot has really grown on me (get it, “grown”). This sentient gentle root-giant is more than meets the eye. Vin Diesel did a great job voicing the phenomena that is Groot. As another Star Wars reference in Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot means large in Dutch (and “vader” means father sooo the Dutchies kinda had it all figure it out before the actual reveal in Empire Strikes Back).
House Starks’ most beloved simple minded servant, Hodor has been of great importance to the Game of Thrones storyline. Kristian Naim, the Irish DJ who plays Hodor of Winterfell, grew up being partially deaf, which helped him mold into the role. “Hodor” has become a widely used catchphrase to showcase well, anything from surprise to anger or happyness. Because that is basically all of which this gentle giant can say in order to express himself. And it works just fine. “Hodor!”
The Predators (or Yautja) spend their time hunting and killing Xenomorphs and humans and display them as trophies. It’s a rite of passage for the most badass of these Rastafarian looking violent creatures. Solely referring to the 1987 and 1990 movies, the Predator is a mostly silent character that uses speech as a mockery of the English language. The Yautja language uses written symbolical objects that you can probably remember them from their self-destruction wrist gauntlets. Voiced by Kevin Peter Hall (also known for Gremlins, Red Skull and GoBots). the Predators refuse to say more than a few words in English, words they’ve remembered and probably kept to use in “special” occasions. The movies are filled with ridiculously quotable lines. “Want some candy?
Wall-E, the lovable robot garbageman was sent to clean up Earth’s filth in the distant future. Pixar succeeded in projecting emotions and free-will onto this lovable metal case. Wall-E’s robotic voice is the result of Ben Burtt’s vision of a sentient robot who uses body language and sound imitation to communicate. The curious Wall-E falls in love with EVE, a modern probe on a different mission. They’re robotic sounds are the results of human voices running through computers, thus creating sounds that humans cannot. Ben Burtt is the sound engineering genius who created the lightsaber sound, among many others.
Maggie is the smallest of the 3 Simpsons children and the one to hear and see the least in the show. Although she does not yet know how to talk, she is often shown as a child prodigy, displaying advanced skills for her age and mimicking actions taking place around her. Heroic Maggie is rarely heard talking. Her first word, “Daddy“, made international news. During the entire 25 season of Simpsons, she was voiced by guest stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, James Earl Jones and Jodie Foster.
This is the hero of an alternate earth which is being harvested by the Combine. Apart from a few grunts and some heavy breathing, Gordon appears to be mute throughout the Half-Life game series, a decision made by Valve to give the player the feeling they ARE him. You could shake your mouse up and down to simulate nodding, but it won’t have effect on interactions with well-spoken characters. No matter, as Gordon is better equipped with a crowbar instead of a voice. “Man of few words aren’t you?”
Lieutenant Bumblebee is the yellow Chevvy Camaro (originally a fictional car called Urbana 500) that fights alongside the AutoBots in defeating the Decepticons. His voice was damaged and ultimately replaced by inter-Autobot frequencies used to communicate with his peers. Bumblebee is talking to humans with the aid of radio sounds put together to create coherence. There’s a ton of media on the Transformers and the character story somewhat differs but what remains the same is Bumblebee’s charming “smart ass” nature. The voices of Bumblebee include many actors, namely Mark Ryan who also worked on the Transformers movies.
Rowan Atkinson created one of comedy’s most easily recognizable characters in modern television. The situational comedy is based on a challenged individual acting as child in a grown man’s body. Bean delighted us with hours of pure comedy fueled by the best physical humor there is. Mr. Bean talks only when necessary. He does sometimes mumble sentences in British accent to his teddy bear or other characters. If he’s indeed an alien or not, we’ll never know…
Reborn again and again, Link is (usually) the wielder of the triforce of courage in the land of Hyrule. While he can be very expressive with his face and musical instruments, he too has a non-existant vocabulary… apart from the CD-i Zelda game which is widely regarded as a bad move. His quiet nature may make him look mysterious as in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time he is wanted by numerous female characters. Legend of Zelda voice acting was done by several different voice actors in different games and various stages of character development throughout the game(s).
This dynamic duo consists of Jay, the verbally exhausting, disrespectful extrovert and Silent Bob, the delivered of deep, meaningful, but ever so rare monologues. Silent Bob’s character first appeared in Clerks and then in several movies dedicated to the two. Played by Clerks producer Kevin Smith, Silent Bob seems to sometimes burst out of his non-talkative character simply to pin point Jay to some obvious direction. He’s mostly reacting and gesticulating through-out the movies, which adds to the stoner humor promoted by the show.
“Oh my God, they killed Kenny!” “You bastards!” One of the poorest kids in South Park, Kenny McCormick dies repeatedly only to magically return again the very next episode. Technically Kenny is not mute or even quiet as he has quite a dirty mouth. It’s just that nobody apart from his friends can understand his muffled speech. That is until he either removes his orange raincoat (as seen in the South Park movie; Bigger, Longer & Uncut) or takes on the form of his brave alter ego, Mysterion. Hooded Kenny voiced by Matt Stone and unhooded Kenny is voiced by Mike Judge, both creators of the show. Video contains spoilers:
The point is you don’t need to be loud to have a strong voice and to become heard.