Alice in Wonderland is one of the most popular stories in the Disney world. Incorporated into theme park rides, a myriad of films, and even distinctively loved in many forms of pop culture, such as edgy merchandise and the inspiration behind the mainstream music, it makes sense that the 2010 adaptation of the plot is so well-liked. Grossing $1 billion during its theatrical run, the film is an innovative spin on the original story that was highly acclaimed for its creative visual elements.
With an equally amazing cast, its only right that their portrayals receive recognition for all of the dresses and songs that tastefully implement them into today’s society. Here are the top 10 Alice in Wonderland characters from the Tim Burton-directed, 2010 film.
15. The Red Queen’s Executioner
While he’s a pretty limited character in the film, the Red Queen’s Executioner (who has one line in the film and was voiced/portrayed by Jim Carter (who voiced a lot of the other Queen’s servants as well)) is actually a pretty important character in the book(s). Commonly portrayed as a playing card, typically with a suit of clubs (although he has also appeared as a spade, a heart and in other versions of the story, a joker) the Executioner has been portrayed as someone who will follow orders, almost to fault. At one point, after the Queen of Hearts ordered him to decapitate the Cheshire Cat, he argued that he couldn’t because the Cat was essentially a disembodied head (which lead to a semi-philosophical argument regarding whether or not a disembodied head can be decapitated). Outside of that he also argued that the Duchess owned the Cat and thus he needed her permission to “decapitate” the floating head that was/is Cheshire Cat.
In the Tim Burton version, the executioner is actually portrayed as an assassin of sorts, working for the Red Queen as opposed to the King and Queen of Hearts. He was tasked with decapitating the Mad Hatter. However, before he was to execute him he asked the Hatter to remove his namesake hat. Obviously the Hatter requested to keep his mercury filled hat on, which seemed okay to the Executioner (as he still had access to the Hatters neck). Instead of hitting his neck, however, the Executioner hit the block that the Hatters’ head was resting on and realized that he was duped by the Cheshire Cat who was posing as the Hatter. So, while his role was limited in the film he did actually serve an important purpose during the film’s third act, especially if he ended up executing the Red Queen’s courtiers as she requested as the Cheshire Cat floated away with the Hatters… Hat.
14. The March Hare
When people think of Alice in Wonderland, outside of Alice (Obviously), they mainly think of one character, the White Rabbit. He’s the most adorable, and quotable and arguably important non-Alice character in the books but he’s not the only Rabbit (Species) in town as there’s another anthropomorphisized cotton tail hanging around Wonderland as well! That rabbit, or rather hare, is named the March Hare and is mostly known for appearing during the classic Tea Party scene in Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Portrayed by Paul Whitehouse (who Director Tim Burton basically gave carte blanche to in terms of improvisation as Whitehouse is known as a great comedic talent (although it’s debatable that one should improvise in a story that’s as classic and honestly perfect as Alice in Wonderland)), the Hare is described by Alice as:
“[He] will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this May it won’t be raving mad – at least not so mad as it was in March”
Starting to understand why people equate this/these book(s)/film(s) with LSD? While the White Rabbit clearly has anxiety and perhaps OCD tendencies, the March Hare is essentially a combination the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. So much so that the phrase “Mad as a March Hare” is commonly stated in the UK to this day.
13. The Dodo
While the Dodo actually only speaks three lines in the film, he’s actually an incredibly important part of the story. Portrayed by relatively well known voice actor, Michael Gough, who was the first person that director Tim Burton thought of for the role because of his “full life quality to his voice” (whatever that means), the Dodo was actually Gogh’s final acting role as he died a year after the release of the film at the age of 94 (he also portrayed the March Hare in the 1966 TV version). So, outside of the talent behind his voice, why does a character who has three lines in the film make this list? Well, it’s really because the Dodo actually represents Author Lewis Caroll, at least in the books. He appears early in the book, in chapters two and three and is considered a “caricature of the author” himself. Some people (incorrectly) believe that Carroll chose the Dodo because he spoke with a stammer/stutter and thus would accidentally introduce himself as “Do-do-dodgson” (as his real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). Considering that Dodo’s actually went extinct when the flightless and relatively stupid birds were easily wiped out by the Dutch (which must be embarrassing in and of itself), perhaps it was Carroll/Dodgson’s way of projecting his low self-esteem or hatred of the Dutch? Either way, The Dodo has been represented in both live action and animated version of the story and in Burton’s version he is one of Alice’s “Good-willed advisers”. He is actually one of the oldest inhabitants of Wonderland as well and despite his limited role in the film that makes him incredibly important and the advice he’s giving Alice important to her and the plot (as he is also captured by the Red Queen’s forces and forced to caddy a croquet game, which is a better fate than the animated version where he is used as a croquet mallet, IIRC).
12. The Bloodhound/Puppy
The Bloodhound in Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland is a completely new character who didn’t appear in the book(s). However, he is thought to be based on “The Puppy” from the book(s) and thus is on this list because he’s really one of the only “new” characters added to the film. Especially in today’s climate/zeitgeist (where people are sick of remakes/reboots and sequels, especially of classic films and those created by Tim Burton and/or starring Johnny Depp) you have to walk a fine line between honoring the original film (especially one as universally loved as Alice in Wonderland) and adding a new twist to it and making it one’s “own”. Think of the Hobbit, which was somehow stretched into three films despite being one book that was shorter than any one single Lord of the Rings book(s), and thus added new characters (Evangeline Lilly’s character?). While Burton didn’t really go that far, it’s clear he was trying to add a little bit of spice to his adaptation and the Bloodhound is a good example of that.
In the book, the Puppy appears in the chapter “The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill” and has an adorable scene with Alice after she shrinks and ends up fleeing the White Rabbit’s garden. She encounters the Pup who appears gigantic to her and ends up playing with him (because despite his enormous size, he’s adorable) and she compares the game they’re playing to ” a game of play with a cart-horse, and expecting every moment to be trampled under his feet”. She ends up leaving the Puppy behind but regrets it because, I mean, come on.
11. The Jabberwock
For those of you who are fans of the video game series, Elders Scrolls (namely Skyrim), should be familiar with the (familiar sounding) name “Wabbajock” as it’s the name of a staff in the game that you receive after encountering the Daedric Prince of Madness. The staff is actually confirmed to be “in keeping with Lewis Carroll’s theme of insanity and allusions to Alice in Wonderland” and also part of a poem that is separate from the book(s), titled “Jabberwocky”. Considered a “nonsense poem” which is about the killing of a creature named “The Jabberwock” it was included in the first edition of Through the Looking-Glass in 1871 (which predates LSD, but probably not mushrooms).
Back to the film, the Jabberwocky had two lines and was voiced by Christopher Lee (who was probably paid a per word amount that rivaled Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $25 million dollar payday in Terminator 2), who Burton said was a “good match” for the iconic character because Lee is a well known and thus “iconic” guy (in and of himself). Originally, Lee attempted to make his voice “burble” (which is how his voice is described in the “nonsense poem” and thus is nonsense) but Burton ended up convincing him to use his actual voice, which he found “more intimidating and aggressive”.
10. The Knave of Hearts
Known formally as Ilosovic Stayne, the Knave of Hearts is a knight that has vowed himself to the Red Queen during her dictatorship of Underland. He is a tall man with black hair, a full suit of armor, and an eyepatch shaped like a heart over his right eye. Often considered to be the Red Queen’s right hand, Stayne also appears to be in a distinctly one-sided relationship with her. She seems to suffocate him; however, her power keeps him close as he aligns himself with whoever is in control.
The Knave originally showed the Red Queen that Alice would return to Underland and slay her Jabberwocky, a massive dragon-like creature that she uses to invoke fear into the realm. Because of this, he is frequently seen throughout the film attempting to locate Alice, to capture her and bring her back to the Red Queen. He even makes several promises, one of which is to an innocent bloodhound named Bayard, claiming that if he finds Alice and brings her to him, that his wife and puppies will be set free, implying that they have been captured.
As the film progresses, it becomes glaringly obvious that Stayne is not quite as committed to the Red Queen as she believes. This is seen when he tries to make a move on Alice, who was disguised by being abnormally large at the time. When he is subsequently banished from Underland following the defeat of the Jabberwocky, he begs the White Queen to kill him instead of leaving him to live a life with the Red Queen in confinement. She offers him no mercy and banishes the pair from Underland.
9. The Tweedle Boys
Possibly the most disturbing characters in the 2010 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland were the infamous Tweedle Boys – Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They are portrayed by Matt Lucas, with a mixture of the actor and digital animations contributing to their short bodies and incredibly round heads. Dressed in matching overalls and striped shirts and stockings, the Tweedle Boys don’t have much-known history.
While how they came to be is a true mystery, so is their confusing speaking mannerisms. They often communicate with odd mixtures of words that are difficult to understand, however, the other characters in Underland seem to tolerate them just fine. They are quite obnoxious, however, and often seen doing all sorts of nonsensical things throughout the film. Nevertheless, they align themselves with the side of good and are friends to many of the wonderful characters on this list.
The Tweedle Boys seem to know their way around Underland better than anyone else, as they often assist Alice with directions, although they are usually hard to interpret. They typically discuss matters regarding the complex findings throughout Underland without explaining what they mean, though the childish boys are harmless and surprisingly helpful. Furthermore, they are also dubbed as the Red Queen’s “Fat Boys” at some point in the movie when she requests them in her throne room. When they appear, speaking in their usual gibberish, she laughs joyfully at their witty banter and claims that she loves her “Fat Boys”, probably because of how effortlessly entertaining they are.
8. The White Rabbit
Although many know him as the traditional White Rabbit, his name in the 2010 film is actually Nivens Mctwisp, referred to by his friends as simply “Mctwisp”. Although his role in the movie is relatively small, his actions are among the most pivotal and ultimately led to the storyline’s fruition and success.
Mctwisp is a white rabbit with enlarged ears and feet to complete his round body. He wears a blue coat and carries a pocket watch to tell the time. Although the White Rabbit is openly a supporter and server to the Red Queen, he is actually a secret agent for those who are allied with the White Queen. Although not all of his duties to the Red Queen are fleshed out, he is seen returning the hedgehog she is using to play croquet with to her in one scene, indicating that he is a small but capable assistant of sorts to her.
When those on the good side learn that Alice could be their hero against the Red Queen’s tyranny, McTwisp is the one to go into the real world and bring her to Underland. He does this by catching her interest and, as she rapidly pursues him, he disappears into a rabbit hole at the base of a massive, twisted tree. In addition to this, McTwisp steals the Oraculum – a divine mechanism that can foresee future events – to help Alice find the Vorpal Sword, a weapon that will ultimately allow her to slay the Jabberwocky.
Despite his supposed allegiance to the Red Queen, McTwisp is incredibly loyal to his allies, going so far as to risk his life for them on multiple occasions. His bravery is often overlooked, however without this, many of the incredible happenings throughout the movie would be virtually impossible.
7. The Red Queen
Iracebeth of Crims, known throughout Underland as the Red Queen, is the horrible leader of the world throughout the first film. She is often referred to as “Bloody Big Head” because of her abnormally large cranium. She has pure white skin, red, heart-shaped lips, and bright blue eyeshadow that reaches to her eyebrows. She is often seen wearing an outlandish black and red dress, tied together by a corset and covered in illustrations of hearts – a symbol that represents her. A small but ornate golden crown sits atop her head, where red hair that matches her garments is shaped similarly to the symbols covering her dress.
Iracebeth is an incredibly cruel character who is often seen running an incredibly short temper. She dominates the land of Underland with her pet Jabberwocky, the fire-breathing dragon that breathes terror into her subjects and keeps them from rebelling against her. Those that do upset her, however, are often beheaded, as the infamous line “off with his head” is yelled multiple times throughout the film.
Furthermore, Iracebeth is an incredibly bitter and cynical woman who wants nothing more than for people to worship her. She initially wonders if it is better to be feared than loved, however, it’s apparent that she would prefer the latter. Eventually, she decides that it is much better to be feared, despite the fact that this only continues to fuel her violent and impulsive tirade against the people and creatures of Underland. This even includes her own family members, with her sister, the White Queen and number six on our list, being a primary source of her anger.
6. The White Queen
Named Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen is the other half of the sisterhood between her and the Red Queen. Unlike her sister, Mirana is a sophisticated peacekeeper, with her heart set on bridging the gap between her and her estranged sibling. She is very pale-skinned with a matching gown and beautiful, ivory hair. Her makeup is simple, with bright red lips that pop against her light complexion. She is often seen as incredibly graceful, with her movements comparable to leisurely dancing.
Mirana is the rightful heir to the throne of Underland, however, when her sister, the Red Queen, set her Jabberwocky out to kill and terrorize as many as she could, the White Queen barely made it out alive. In the chaos, Mirana’s crown was lost and stolen by Iracebeth, who thus named herself the Queen of Underland. When the White Queen hears that there may be hope for her kingdom, she is adamant on finding Alice and bringing her safely to her palace in Marmoreal.
In the film, the White Queen appears to have a knack for cooking, as she is seen whipping up a concoction that will turn the too-big Alice back to her correct size. She is an ultimate force of good in Underland with an army of chess pieces and an allied resistance against her sister, her nature is not to fight, however, she is fiercely passionate about saving the things that she loves. In this instance, the cool and collected queen, who chooses to rule alone without any mentioned love interest, the White Queen’s goal is to take back her kingdom and overthrow the tyranny of Iracebeth by any means necessary.
5. The Dormouse
Mallymkun, also known as the Dormouse, is a feisty female character who represents the original Dormouse from the animated Alice in Wonderland film in 1951. In that film, the Dormouse was depicted as a sleepy male, however the 2010 adaptation took a 360 turn with their vision, because Mallymkun is as sassy and ready-to-fight as they come. Despite being small, she holds a huge personality inside of her and is just as fierce, if not more so, as the rest of the characters in the movie.
The Dormouse is dressed in a small white tunic, covered by a red coat, and tied together with leather straps around the midsection. There her knife, a small pin provided to her by number two on our list, is kept sheathed. For the majority of the movie, Mally is seen with her weapon out, as she is prepared to duel and fight off anyone who tries to hurt her or her friends.
Her sassy personality is apparent from the moment she appears on the screen, as she takes an immediate disliking to Alice. For the first half of the movie, Mallymkun is convinced that Alice is “not the right Alice” and is rather indifferent to having her join the party, despite the fact that she is the only one who can save Underland. One theory regarding this is that she harbors a crush on the Mad Hatter, who is notably excited over Alice’s arrival. Nevertheless, Mally remains loyal to her companions through and through, even saving Alice’s life early on in the film.
4. The Cheshire Cat
The Cheshire Cat, also known as Chessur, is one of the most popular characters throughout any of the Alice in Wonderland adaptations. In the 2010 film, he is depicted as a cat with grey fur, covered in light greenish blue stripes. His eyes, which match the color of the details on his body, are wide and inquisitive, but his giant grin is what truly makes the feline stand out. In addition to this, Chessur possesses the ability to turn completely invisible, typically with his creepy smile fading from view last, but can also shapeshift into other people and creatures, as shown throughout the movie.
Chessur is incredibly sarcastic and often elusive, with his aloof attitude and dark personality complementing the world of Underland well, given its drastic change from whimsical to gloomy. Despite being a force of good, the feline is regarded as being a coward and is initially considered an outcast by number two on our list, as it is claimed that he abandoned everyone when the Red Queen began her dictatorship.
In addition to being able to shapeshift and turn invisible, Chessur can also float and move through the air as if he was walking normally on the ground. Throughout the movie, as he pops up in a variety of scenes, he is often seen using this tactic as he discusses the prospect of Underland in his usual, grim tone. Although his personality doesn’t quite match his massive grin, Chessur eventually redeems himself for his former cowardice and considers the White Queen and all of her supporters his allies.
3. The Caterpillar
The famed blue caterpillar, whose name is Absolem in the film, is perhaps one of the most underrated characters throughout the movie. He plays an incredibly significant role, despite only gracing a few minutes of screen time where he verbally communicates with Alice. Absolem is a blue, reasonably fat caterpillar who is often surrounded by smoke because of his one and only habit, aside from appearing throughout the film at random intervals. He eventually transforms into a butterfly, specifically a blue Monarch.
Absolem, voiced by Alan Rickman who passed away in 2016, had a foresight unlike other creatures in Underland that allowed him to be a fantastic resource to his allies. He was often looked to as a source of wisdom throughout the film, however, his cryptic explanations of things often left the characters in a loop. Although he wasn’t nearly as confusing as the Tweedle Boys, Absolem was a poet of sorts in that he wasn’t keen on sharing the finer details of things.
Instead, the Caterpillar left those he spoke with to perceive things in their own way. His importance throughout the film didn’t come from his way with words, though. Instead, it was how he influenced characters to reach their fullest potentials, without hardly having to do a single thing. In addition to that, he is the owner of the Oraculum, an equally important mechanism that allows his allies to grip a better understanding of the world of Underland, and how to save the kingdom. For this, Absolem earns slot number three on our list.
2. The Mad Hatter
In Underland, the Mad Hatter is known as Tarrant Hightopp, however, he is often referred to simply as “Hatter” or “Tarrant”. Poisoned by mercury because of his occupation, Hatter is a thin and pale man with curly orange hair, bright eyes, and makeup that changes from a gaudy pink and orange to a dark and frightening color palette that similarly affects his iris color, depending on his mood. He is a character that is best described as being truly mad in that he is an eccentric and energetic individual who is just a tad touched (though all the best people are).
Tarrant is one of the most loyal characters throughout the film, as his primary goal is to help take back Underland from the Red Queen, who he mockingly dubbed “Bloody Big Head”. He is incredibly temperamental, with the mere sight of something or a few words being spoken able to trigger the split personality he has developed from his rocky past. Despite this, Hatter is undeniably one of the most favorable characters in the film for many reasons.
Firstly, his kind-hearted nature is not something to be overlooked. He is very welcoming of the return of Alice and, when he is in the right mood, has a quite positive outlook on life and his friend’s abilities to save Underland. His kooky demeanor and even more extravagant appearance are additional reasons that he is so well-liked among both the characters in the movie and by audiences around the world. His connection to the main protagonist, who we will get to in just a moment, provides even more grounding for the Hatter as they share a slight lack of sanity but support one another anyway, a relatable concept for many people.
1. Alice Kingsley
Undoubtedly the most important character in Alice in Wonderland – Alice Kingsley is a creative young woman who is fully supportive of anything that is impossible, even if the rest of the world thinks that she is crazy for it. At the age of 19 years old, the son of a rich and well-known family proposes to her, and in the midst of trying to find a way to decline this in front of hundreds of people, Alice finds herself chasing the White Rabbit all the way down to Underland.
Alice is an intelligent and brave individual who usually wears some type of dress and has long blonde hair, dark eyes, and a light complexion. She is distinguishable simply by her adventurous personality and the heroic actions she takes to save her friends. Throughout the film, Alice’s character progressively establishes herself in Underland with her kind spirit, imaginative mindset, and strong attitude when it comes to taking on the Jabberwocky.
Her interactions throughout the movie are unique, as she speaks with every character on this list and regards every single one with an inquisitive gentleness that makes her stand out. Ultimately, Alice’s devotion to saving Underland trumps everything else as she faces some of the most terrifying elements of the realm, including the dreaded Bandersnatch and the bloodcurdling Jabberwocky.
For the depth of her character, and all of the six impossible things she believes she can do before breakfast, Alice Kingsley holds the number one spot as the top character in the 2010 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.