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Main Characters from The Madagascar Movie Series

Shalu Bhatti
Madagascar! The series has actually turned out to be a maddening but fun journey of four friends from the zoo. From New York to Africa to New York again, they have been through a fun of a joy ride! This story gives you a list of the main characters from the Madagascar movie series to remind you how they like to move it move it!

Did You Know?

Originally, Julien was intended to be a minor character with only two lines. However, when they cast Sacha Baron Cohen for the role, he improvised not only an Indian accent, but eight minutes of dialogue for his recording. The producers found Cohen's performance so funny that they decided to rewrite the script to make Julien have a much more prominent presence in the story as King of the Lemurs.
― IMDb
No matter what, the character of the self-proclaimed King Julien is our favorite among all others; the next in line are the Penguins! Believe it or not, the Madagascar movie series has completely changed the outlook of how we once viewed animals at the zoo, or in the wild. Who would have thought that zebras could be confused about being black with white stripes or white with black stripes? Or giraffes could possibly have an OCD? The makers of Madagascar have taken this script to an all new level!
It is so evident that this movie series is more about the lively, comical, zingy, and humorous characters than anything else. We mean, you just want to see it part by part, sequel by sequel, just to see Alex dancing with those cool moves, or Marty crackalacking, Gloria snorting cum laughing, or Melman being worried about diseases and germs and Gloria!
It is not only the presence of these four main leads, but also the other characters that make this journey an absolute pleasure. The following section lists the main characters from this 3-part movie series: Madagascar (2005), Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012).

Madagascar Movie Series and Their Main Characters

After watching this movie, it would be difficult to determine the absence of any one character, the presence of which would not make a difference in the overall impact of the series. In fact, there is none!
You can't do without the obvious mains―Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman―and it wouldn't be the same without the group of chimps, the penguins, or the cute and adorable Mort who hardly has any dialogs in the movie. Let's refresh our memories by re-introducing ourselves with these endearing characters all over again!

The Main Characters of Madagascar Part 1

What do we say about part 1, it's funny, entertaining, somehow morally educating when it comes to the whole friendship aspect of it, and it is one of a kind when it comes to the thought process of New Yorkers, well, animal New Yorkers! Let's get to know about the story of our protagonist and the creatures/humans that became a part of their journey.

Alex the Lion: Voiced by Ben Stiller

Titled as the King of New York, Alex was found as a cub and has been in the zoo ever since. His super-cool dance moves make him 'the' most popular among all the other zoo animals, thereby giving him the king's title. Alex loves this celebrity life, royal treatment, timely supply of his favorite steak.
He loves his three best friends in the zoo―Marty, Melman, and Gloria―Marty being the closest among all. Life turns upside down for him when Marty escapes the zoo to pursue his dream to live in the wild.
Alex along with the other two, also leaves to bring him back, but ends up taking the wildest craziest journey ever, especially when hunger in the jungle makes him aware of his wild instinct, especially his potential to hunt his best friend, the zebra.
Struggling with the fact that he is no more in New York, that he is becoming this wild beast who attacked his own friend out of hunger, one thing about this lion is that all he wants to do is get back to the zoo, and live the royal life that he did with his fans and his steak.
Trivia: As the second part of the movie has Alex's parents, the animators used Alex's attributes and divided them to create the characters of his mom and dad.

Marty the Zebra: Voiced by Chris Rock

He is a dreamer who wants to know what it is to actually live in the wild. In a hope to live this dream, he, on his birthday, he wishes to go to the jungle, but when the rest of his friends, especially Alex, discourages him strongly, he silently leaves the zoo, thinking he'd be back when he's done with the experience.
When these four accidentally end up in the jungles of Madagascar, he is the happiest among all and sportingly deals with every instance that follows―good or bad―even when his best friend tries to eat him, accidentally!
This is one zebra you would never want to let go of as a friend! Truly, he is worthy of being a best friend in every way.

Trivia: Among the four main characters of this movie series, Marty is the only one without a love interest.

Gloria the Hippo: Voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith

This she-hippo is a chilled out, fun-loving, and carefree character, who is quite a positive influence on her three best friends. It wouldn't be wrong to say that she is the wisest among all, giving them advice when the boys sort of blow it out of proportion!
She is round and big with all the qualities of an attractive she-hippo, she sticks with her friends at all times, without any sort of girly tantrums. We absolutely love the way she sleeps and snores, and when she laughs and snorts. Truly adorable!
Trivia: Originally, Gloria was supposed to be bigger in size. However, it was getting too much for the animators and so they ended up settling for, what they called a "Hippo Swimming Suit Model Body" for her size.

Melman the Giraffe: Voiced by David Schwimmer

This is one vulnerable giraffe you would love to take in! Apparently our poor Melman seems to have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and has come to believe that he simply cannot survive without doctors and medicines! You will find him constantly worrying about catching a flu, cold, or an infection.
In his quest to find Marty, he let goes of his need to be in an illness-proof environment and does all that he can to stick together with his friends. Perhaps, one strong reason for that was his secret affection or should we say, "childhood love", for Gloria.
We can't think of anyone else who could have done it better than David Schwimmer!

Trivia: Originally, the creators of the series wanted Melman to be an Okapi. Later, they thought that the character would look better on a familiar animal, so he was made into a Giraffe.

Skipper the Leader Penguin: Voiced by Tom McGrath

Skipper is the leader of the group of penguins that escape the New York zoo so that they could go back to Antarctica.
He plans to hijack the ship which was on its way to Madagascar―and also had Alex, Gloria, Marty, and Melman! Skipper is dominating, of course, because he is the leader, someone who goes with his gut feeling and who loves to slap the other penguins if they say something he doesn't like to hear, which is almost everything!
Trivia: On one of the posters used for promoting this movie, Skipper is labeled as Joe Penguin.

Kowalski the Penguin: Voiced by Chris Miller

Kowalski is the right hand of Skipper, or to say, the second in command. He also happens to be the most intelligent, tall, and skinny among the four penguins. In the movie series, he is often seen taking notes from Skipper and intelligently abiding by his foolish but amusingly-workable plans.
He is a crucial member of the penguin team, and invariably the most dependable, as well.

Trivia: Kowalski can't write. He records ideas and information on a notepad by drawing pictures.

Private the Other Penguin: Voiced by Christopher Knights

Private is the youngest and the chubbiest character in the movie. Due to his inexperience, he is often the target of Skipper, making him quite unsure of the dos and don'ts of the said plan. He is also slapped by Skipper quite often, but somehow manages to save the plan from total failure, at least when it comes to his role.

Trivia: Private is cross-eyed in the movie.

Rico the Silent Penguin: (Un)voiced by Jeffrey Katzenberg

What's unique about this penguin? He doesn't speak, at all! Yes, his mode of communication isn't words, but only squeals and grunts. He also uses his facial expressions to convey his stance on a situation. He is the second tallest penguin in the group after Kowalski.
Trivia: His appearance has a drastic change in the animated series called The Penguins of Madagascar. Although it is the same character, in the series he has feathers on his head, resembling a Mohawk, along with a scar on the left side of his beak.

King Julien the Ring-tailed Lemur: Voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen

Ooh King Julien! Totally adorable and immensely funny, especially with that Indian accent! He is the king of Madagascar who thinks too high of himself. He thinks he has a great sense of humor, but his lines become all the more humorous when his stupidity doesn't strike the other characters, but the audiences.
He calls the four leads of the series, 'Freaks' when they reach Madagascar, his (so-called) territory. King Julien plays an important role in helping them escape from Madagascar on the journey back to New York on a crashed plane; however, the fact that they reach elsewhere is a different story altogether.
All in all, the foolishness/cleverness/prissiness of this character makes him a crucial part of this series. Crucial for laughter, indeed!

Trivia: His name, Julien is spelled 'Julian' in the video game and some merchandise of the first part of the movie series.

Maurice the Aye-Aye Lemur: Voiced by Cedric the Entertainer

Maurice is the sole adviser of King Julien, and perhaps the only one with brains in the whole kingdom! It is quite clear from his demeanor that he isn't quite fond of King Julien and his idiocies, but somehow puts up with him because he is the king. He is the only one who suspects the true nature of Alex, being warned as to why the fossa were scared of him.
In spite of warning the king in vain, he accompanies King Julien in every decision he makes, even when it requires him to leave Madagascar for to New York at the end of the movie.

Trivia: According to Cedric the Entertainer, the reason why Maurice puts up with King Julien is because they are cousins.
Well, we guess then he's just waiting for the time when Julien says goodbye to the world, and he becomes the new and worthy king!

Mort the Mouse Lemur: Voiced by Andy Richter

Mort is this adorable, cute, little, mouse lemur who is loved by all but King Julien! Mort has had close calls with the fossa as he is so naive, little, and the easiest prey they could catch, but lucky him, he has successfully survived.
He doesn't say much, and is pretty much like a young little child who is scared of the world around. He is always put in threatening situations but comes out of them alive and happy.

Trivia: You know why King Julien hates him? Perhaps Mort has a thing for his feet and loves to hug them all the time, which is the worst thing that King Julien can take!

The Foosa: Voiced by Tom McGrath

The Foosa are a group of medium-sized weasel-like felines who constantly raid the borders of King Julien's territory for food. They are about to hunt Mort when Alex steps in and spoils it for them. They don't really speak much, you just hear some sounds coming from them. But they are the so-called antagonists of the first part of this series.
Trivia: Foosas, in reality, are called fossas. They are the largest (native) land predators in Madagascar. Perhaps that was the reason why they feared Alex, as he was quite big from what they usually see.
Please Note: Don't think we have missed out on the adorable yet kick-ass old lady who gives a really tough time to Alex in the Grand Central Station. She follows him up till Africa too, where the next part of the series occurs. Nana's character coming up in a while!

The Main Characters of Madagascar Part 2: Escape to Africa

The storyline of the second installment revolves around reuniting with the past, especially for Alex. The New York giants leave Madagascar only for their plane to crash so that it lands in Africa.
Here, Alex surprisingly reunites with his mom and dad, but a rift occurs when he is played by an evil envious lion Makunga who wants to be the king. He also ends up drifting from Marty, while Gloria and Melman are dealing with their own issues. Take a look at the new characters introduced in this series.

Zuba the Lion: Voiced by Bernie Mac

Zuba is Alex's father and the king of the tribe. He is strong, wise, stern, and quite clear-headed, just as a leader should be. He is super-excited when he sees Alex's hand with the birthmark, and welcomes him with great delight. He assumes that when Alex said that he was the King of New York, he meant that he was the actual king, like in the wild.
However, he is highly disappointed when he discovers that Alakay, as he calls his son, cannot fight but dance. Because of the inability to win a fight against Teetsie, Zuba banishes Alex from the pride.
Later, he reunites with Alex on the mission to get water for the herd, and accepts him wholeheartedly for all his strengths and weaknesses, thereby defeating Makunga's evil intentions. He also discovers his dancing grooves in the process.
Trivia: Bernie Mac passed away during the making of this film. In fact, he didn't even complete his dubbing. The creators had to dig into the archive of improvisations Mac had done before, to complete the final scene of the movie. This movie was dedicated to him.

Alex's Mom, the Lioness: Voiced by Sherri Shepherd

Alex's mom is a kindhearted, patient, and affectionate lioness, who is more than happy when she sees Alex return to his actual home. Her character is that of an ideal mom and an ideal partner. She plays a major role in convincing Zuba to forgive Alex and accept him back.
During the father-son conflict, she seems torn between the two, perplexed about which side to take. All in all, she is the best mate for Zuba, and the best mom for Alakay.

Trivia: Although in the movie, she is only credited as Alex's mom. Her name is Florrie.

Nana (The Old Lady): Voiced by Elisa Gabrielli

This is one old lady who can brutally kick the butt of every lion, hippo, giraffe, or even a dinosaur for that matter! This character can also be seen in the first part when Alex bumps into her at the Grand Central Station, and man, she can hurt!
In this part too, she is seen in Africa as a tourist, and when her safari jeep ends up getting stolen by the penguins, she becomes the leader of the stranded tourist group, which includes the tourist guide.
She seems to be resistant to injuries, and therefore, ends up kicking the butt of every bad kitty! She is the one who takes care of Makunga too, in the end, by hitting, slapping, and pulling his ears.

Trivia: Nana is highly obsessed with her handbag. Nobody touches the handbag!

Makunga the Lion: Voiced by Alec Baldwin

Makunga is a somewhat narcissistic lion who believes that he should be the actual king of the pride, simply because he has good looks, better hair, and a style to carry off the title. In spite of being repeatedly defeated and warned by Zuba, he never ceases to stop plotting against him.
In fact, it was his evil mind behind Alex's banishment from the pride, as Makunga was the one who asked Alex to choose Teetsi as an opponent, the strongest and unbeatable lion in the pride, probably after Zuba!

Trivia: The DVD commentary reveals the fact that Makunga was brought to New York by Nana in a kitty cage.

Moto Moto: Voiced by Will.i.am

Moto Moto happens to be Gloria's love interest, only that the interest doesn't last for long, once she realizes that her true love is her best friend, Melman, yes, the giraffe! Moto Moto is this hunk, a dude who every she-hippo finds irresistible! He seems quite a stud, but truth is, he is a dumb stud, quite superficial and shallow, who adores Gloria because she's the roundest hippo he's ever seen.

Trivia: 'Moto Moto' means 'Hot Hot' in Swahili.
Although part 2 of this movie series begins with a plane crash, it ends up taking our characters to the right place. This is because at the end of this series, Alex reunites with his parents, Gloria and Melman find true love in each other, and Marty gets to live his dream―to get to know how it feels to live in the wild. But this is not the end, there is more to this journey, a journey that forms the plot of the next movie in the series making our characters, "Europe's Most Wanted".

The Main Characters of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

The third sequel of this series was released in 2012, and showed a completely different side of life to our four main characters! While in the first and second part, these four were stuck in a jungle, out in the wild, trying to find a way back home to their New York zoo, in this part, they explore a different life altogether―the life of a circus!
Additionally, this part also introduces the character of a psychotic and crazy animal control officer, who wants to hunt Alex at any cost. In the attempt to escape from this crazy female, all four friends end up hiding in a circus train, and here is where they come across a new facet of life.

Captain Chantel DuBois: Voiced by Frances McDormand

She is the antagonist of this movie who totally hates animals, and killing them is an obsession of hers that has crossed all limits. She also has a personal collection of animal heads, and the one thing she craves for is to complete that collection with the head of a lion.
When she finds out that a few animals, one of them being a lion, are in her territory, she shows great tracking skills to get to them, overcoming all the hurdles that the penguins throw her way! Man it was a close call, had it not been for the circus train that left on time, and the animals found a place to hide.
Another interesting quality of her is that she is a great singer, and she uses her singing abilities to revive her injured henchmen to go on with the mission of hunting the animals. She is one evil woman, devious, but eventually defeated by our super-talented king of New York.
Trivia: Her quote to remember: "Poor, poor animals. You should never have left the forest. Now you deal with ME!"

Gia the Italian Jaguar: Voiced by Jessica Chastain

Gia is a female spotted jaguar who is a part of the circus crew that helps the four escape from DuBois. She is focused, smart, confident, yet delicate in her demeanor. A soft-spoken character who becomes Alex's love interest, and eventually, they do end up together.
Her character is extremely passionate about trapeze, and she believes that Alex can help her learn "Trapeze Americano"! She is also very defensive about her fellow performers, whom she considers like a family. For her, it's all about her family which is the circus, and in her words,"Circus sticks together".

Trivia: The palms of her paws are heart-shaped.

Vitaly the Russian Siberian Tiger: Voiced by Bryan Cranston

Vitaly is a strong, mature, and no-nonsense Siberian tiger. Though initially his character is quite ruthless, insensitive, and ill-tempered, it can all be traced to his past. Once Vitaly was the gem of this circus, a friendly, carefree, and fearless tiger who loved to take risks.
However, he meets with an accident while performing a stunt, passing through narrow fire loops. He loses everything, his confidence, fame, wife, and his fur. When Alex and group enter his life, Vitaly slowly changes back to his old self, regaining his lost confidence to be able to pull off the stunt that once ruined him. He is like a father-figure to Gia.
Trivia: Unlike the other main characters, Vitaly is the first animal character who is seen wearing clothes; he wears a belt and briefs/tights.

Stefano the Italian Sea Lion: Voiced by Martin Short

Stefano is a friendly, somewhat naive sea lion, who is the reason why our New York animals get a shot at entering the train of Circus Zaragoza. Stefano always looks at the bright side of things, even when things are rough. He is a happy, lively, comical, and caring character who plays his part as a constant moral supporter to all other circus animals.
He loves to juggle, balance himself on rubber balls, play horns, act as an animal cannon ball.

Trivia: Director Conrad Vernon said that "The funnest character has been Stefano the seal. He's innocent, a fun idiot. His design is hilarious. And he's voiced by Martin Short. So we could go nuts with the animation. For every sentence, he has six other thoughts."

The Dancing Dogs by Vinnie Jones, Steve Jones, Nick Fletcher, Jules de Jo

The Dancing Dogs consists of six dogs, out of which four are named. Freddie (voiced by Vinnie Jones) is a Great Dane, Jonesy (voiced by Steve Jones) is a Bernese Mountain Dog, Frankie (voiced by Nick Fletcher) is a Entlebucher Mountain Dog, and Shakey (voiced by Jules de Jongh) is a Bernese Mountain Dog.
These dogs wear pink and blue-colored, cute and cuddly outfits, but their true nature is nowhere close to being cute and cuddly, in fact, they hate it! They often end up fighting with each other, breaking bottles on each other's heads, and what not.
Later in the movie, on Alex's advice, the dancing dogs become stunt dogs when they are given the act of rocket skating!

Trivia: The names of the other two dogs are unknown. We wonder why ...

Sonya the Bear: Voiced by Frank Welker

She is a beastly she-bear, who doesn't speak at all, but communicates through voices including growling or roaring, which only King Julien understands. Sonya is Julien's love interest in the movie. Her character is quite the opposite of Julien. While he comes of as a narcissist, intelligent-ish character, she is quite like a mute and dumb sort of bear.
She is natural when it comes to riding a sports bike, which she and Julien steal in Rome.

Trivia: All the scenes in movie that include Sonya and King Julien, are Jada Pinkett Smith's favorite in this part of the series. She states that she "Can't get enough of that bear, it's hilarious" and that "It's probably the most adorable part of the whole story to me."
Madagascar 3 was indeed a happy ending for all. Alex found a girlfriend, and is able to let go of his inclination towards the zoo when he finally decides that he will live his life as an adventurer, not as a zoo animal. Melman and Gloria find love in each other's arms, King Julien finds love too, in Sonya the bear, who hardly speaks anything!
Marty too is happy as he gets to put his crackalacking zest into the circus act. The journey of Madagascar is never-ceasing, and we can explore more of these characters through the additional animated series, short films, video games, and plays that form a huge part of the Madagascar franchise. It's all there for us to keep it moving!