Grunkle Stan

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Grunkle Stan
Gravity Falls character
Gravity Falls - Stan Pines.png
First appearance"Tourist Trapped" (2012)
Last appearance"Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls" (2016)
Created byAlex Hirsch
Voiced byAlex Hirsch
Declan J. Krogman
AliasStanley Pines, Mr. Mystery, Mr. Pines, the Old One, Steve Pinington, Stetson Pinefield, Andrew "8-Ball" Alcatraz, Hal Forrester, Stanford Pines, S618 (prison number), 061800 (Gravity Falls prison number) 618 (Mystery Shack Address)
OccupationOwner of the Mystery Shack
  • Dipper Pines (great-nephew)
  • Mabel Pines (great-niece)
  • Stanford Pines (twin brother)
  • Sherman Pines (brother)[2]
  • Filbrick Pines (father)[1]
  • Caryn Pines [3]
  • Marilyn Rosenstein[2] (ex-wife)

Stanley "Stan" Pines,[1] also known as "Grunkle Stan", is one of the main characters of the Disney animated series Gravity Falls, created and voiced by series creator Alex Hirsch. In an interview, Hirsch claims that Grunkle Stan is loosely based on his grandfather, also named Stan.[4]

Stan is an older man, and the great-uncle (or "grunkle") of the show's main two protagonists, Dipper and Mabel; the show takes place as they stay at his house/tourist trap during the summertime. He is the owner of the Mystery Shack, a tourist trap presenting creatures and objects of supposedly supernatural origin. He often wears a black suit with a red fez, white shirt and red bolo tie, along with a cane topped by a billiard 8-ball, although at home he generally wears slippers, blue and green-striped boxer shorts, a white sleeveless shirt and a gold necklace.[5]

At the beginning of the show, Stan, known to all as Stanford Pines, is portrayed as a relatively simple character, whose shady past is mostly used as a joke regarding his many past crimes.[6] However as the series goes on, he is gradually revealed to hold deeper secrets; in "Not What He Seems", it is revealed that for the past thirty years, Stan had secretly been trying to bring his twin brother and the house's actual owner, the real Stanford Pines, into their world, and that he is in truth named Stanley.[7]

The character made an appearance in the 2018 graphic novel, Gravity Falls Lost Legends: 4 All-New Adventures.[8]

Role in series[edit]

"Grunkle" (a portmanteau of "great uncle") Stan is the great uncle of Dipper Pines and Mabel Pines, 12-year-old twins, whom he is watching for the summer. This does not always sit well with him and sometimes he argues with Dipper, though Stan privately admits to himself that he likes Dipper's persistence, which he shares. He indulges Mabel as much as he can, but doesn't care as much for her pig Waddles.

Because of his loud scoffing at Dipper's investigating Gravity Falls, Dipper, Mabel, and Stan's employees (handyman Soos and teenage cashier Wendy Corduroy) believe him to be unaware of the town's strange occurrences for most of the series. However, in the Season 2 premiere episode ("Scary-oke"), Grunkle Stan reveals he knows about the town's strange secrets, claiming that he has been trying to keep Dipper and Mabel safe. Though grouchy by nature, he is fiercely protective of his family, but keeping secrets from the twins usually puts them at risk, mostly because Dipper refuses to give up on finding answers. He promised Dipper not to keep any more secrets if Dipper would stop investigating; both were lying.

Although presumably old enough to be retired, Stan works nearly every day. He is the cheapskate proprietor of "The Mystery Shack," a tourist trap he created by building additions onto his own home in the woods near the town. Its notable features include an "S" in the Shack's rooftop sign never stays attached, a tall totem pole in the side yard, and a weathervane whose four letters spell out "WHAT" beneath a question mark. A combination of local "weirdness museum" and gift shop, the Shack offers tours of its exhibits and has a number of unusual objects for sale. Stan is always on the lookout for easily susceptible customers, a great deal, or loose change he can pry from its owner. Uncommonly lazy apart from his zeal to make money, Stan often foists his mundane chores off on Dipper or his handyman Soos. He also keeps "contraband" (that is, anything he confiscates from his family or from troublesome visitors) in his room behind a painting.


One secret Stan keeps is a passageway behind the "broken" vending machine in the Shack's gift shop. Stan uses this to go underground to a hidden laboratory, where a strange machine exists. This machine requires input from all three of the journals Dipper finds. Stan owns the first, rival tourist trap owner Gideon Gleeful "obtains" the second, and Dipper finds the third, presumably by accident. In the first season finale, "Gideon Rises", Stan acquires all three and uses them to activate the machine, an interdimensional teleportation device. In the mid-season 2 episode "Not What He Seems", Stan reveals his true motivation for gathering the journals: his brother, Stanford, the author of the journals, was trapped in another dimension approximately thirty years before the series. Stan succeeds in bringing him back to Earth by the end of the episode.

Keeping secrets seems to have made Stan slightly paranoid. In the second season, he becomes furious with Dipper when the boy wants to work with federal agents to figure out the town's biggest mysteries. Over the series, it becomes an open question how much of his public con artist persona is real.

Early life[edit]

Stanley and his six-fingered twin brother Stanford were born in Glass Shard Beach, New Jersey to Filbrick Pines and his wife Caryn.[9] He was raised Jewish but identifies as atheist.[10] Filbrick was a stern pawn shop owner, while Caryn, a pathological liar, worked as a phone psychic. The last name "Pines" was reportedly introduced in Ellis Island, but records of the family's original surname have been lost.[11]

As children, Stan and Ford would often scour the beach and go treasure hunting. One time, they claimed an abandoned ship for themselves, dubbing it the "Stan-O-War". The boys were frequent targets of bullies, so Filbrick signed them up for wrestling classes. Stan later used knowledge of wrestling to save a woman named Carla "Hotpants" McCorkle from a robber. However, Carla eventually left him for a hippie playing hypnotic music.

In school, Ford was a straight-A student and a favorite of his teachers, while Stan was a prank-loving slacker who often copied his brother's test answers. On a fateful night, Stan wandered into a science fair hall and accidentally broke his brother's prize-winning perpetual motion machine, ruining Ford's chances of being accepted into the prestigious university West Coast Tech and straining their relationship. Filbrick disowned Stan, refusing to allow him back home until he could make real money.

Stan first took an interest in sales after seeing a billboard which glamorized the practice. He started countless companies both inside and outside the United States, adopting various aliases over time, only to be chased out by angry mobs and banned in a number of states whenever the flaws in his products were found out. He was once arrested for unknown reasons in Colombia.

Arrival in Gravity Falls[edit]

Stan came to Gravity Falls upon receiving a postcard from Ford, now a Ph. D. graduate of the lackluster Backupsmore University, who used his research grants to build a house there and investigate the world's largest concentration of supernatural anomalies. In a dream, the demon Bill Cipher persuaded Ford into building an interdimensional portal with the aid of fellow Backupsmore alumnus Fiddleford McGucket (known in the present as local hillbilly "Old Man" McGucket) underneath Ford's house. In a test, Fiddleford survived an attack from a gravity anomaly, then quit the project, constructing a ray gun to erase specified memories. When Ford demanded answers about the portal, Bill revealed his true intentions, prompting Ford to contact Stan.

After Stan arrived, Ford revealed that he had hid two of his three journals documenting his supernatural findings and explaining how to operate the portal, entrusting the first to Stan. Outraged that Ford did not call him to reconcile, Stan wanted to burn the journal. In a brawl, Stan threw Ford into the accidentally activated portal, which then ran out of fuel and deactivated. Stan learned to his dismay that he could not reactivate the portal without all three journals.

With money running low, Stan went into town to buy some supplies to run away again, but locals mistook him for Ford and requested for a tour of the house, offering money. Stan agreed, adopting the name "Stanford" as his own. He tried to impress them with some of Ford's inventions but failed, then won over the tourists with his first fake attraction. Stan subsequently converted the house into a tourist trap of fake attractions, dubbing it initially "The Murder Hut", but later renaming it "The Mystery Shack". He even faked his death as Stanley in another state to avoid further pursuit from the police. For the last 30 years prior to the start of the series, Stan has continued to sneak into the lab at night to try reactivating the portal so he can rescue Ford, a goal he finally accomplishes in the episode "Not What He Seems".

Series finale[edit]

In the last few episodes, the prophesied apocalypse dubbed "Weirdmageddon" begins, Bill Cipher captures Ford, and Stan takes refuge in the Shack, enchanted by Stanford's unicorn spell. McGucket finds him and invites into the Shack an army of the series' supporting characters. Stan is jealous of Dipper, Mabel, and his employees Soos and Wendy wanting to save him even though he feels responsible the apocalypse.

After a battle with Bill's demons using the "Shackatron", a fighting robot built from the Shack itself, the heroes unfreeze the rest of the townsfolk in Bill's fortress, the "Fearamid". To stop Bill, Ford draws on the floor a prophetic diagram bearing ten symbols around a wheel. Each symbol represents something related to one of the major characters of the series. Each individual stands on their symbol except Stan, who demands that Ford thank him. Ford gives him his request, but Stan punches him, tired of having his grammar corrected. The brothers fight until Bill finds them, captures the Pines family, and turns everyone else into flags. Dipper and Mabel distract Bill and escape their cell while Stan and Ford are locked in another cell, where they finally reconcile.

Ford reveals that Bill needs a secret equation stored in his mind to spread the Weirdmageddon effect all over the world and that luring Bill into his mind, then erasing it with McGucket's memory gun, would erase the demon from existence. However, this is seemingly impossible, as Ford has a metal plate in his skull. Stan volunteers to have his mind erased, and the brothers switch clothes. When Bill returns, the disguised Stan agrees to his plan, tricking Bill into entering the wrong mindscape.[12] As Ford erases Stan's memory, Bill is punched into non-existence by Stan's mindscape self, who realizes that his purpose in life was to protect his family before he burns in silence.

After Gravity Falls returns to normal, Stan awakens without any memories until his family and friends revive them. On the last day of the summer, Stan and Ford make plans to live out their dream of sailing around the world, this time to find more anomalies. Stan promotes an enthusiastic Soos to manager of the Shack and is last seen in a flash-forward at sea with Ford as they deal with an anomaly aboard a ship dubbed the "Stan-O-War II".


Character and concept[edit]

Stan is based on Alex Hirsch's own grandfather, also named Stan. Both share the characteristics of being big, barrel-chested guys whose clothes have popped-undone buttons; both also wear a gold chain and gold rings.[13]

Stan originally looked considerably different than he does in the show. In conceptual art, Stan was shorter, did not have his shoulder pads, and had a pointy pink nose instead of a big orange one. His face also more resembled a puppet than a grizzled old conman.[14] This version of the character was seen in an unaired unofficial pilot of the show, which was low budget and a pre-production test version based around the aired pilot episode "Tourist Trapped."

Along with Dipper and Mabel, Stan has appeared in almost every episode of the series. He was featured in the Gravity Falls series of shorts entitled "Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained", as well as a short ("Stan's Tattoo") in which the twins investigate the mysterious tattoo on Stan's shoulder. In "A Tale of Two Stans", it's revealed that it was not a tattoo but a burn scar.


  1. ^ a b c "A Tale of Two Stans". Gravity Falls. Season 2. Episode 12. July 13, 2015. Disney XD.
  2. ^ a b As stated in Gravity Falls: Journal 3
  3. ^ As stated in Gravity Falls: Lost Legends
  4. ^ "Access - D23". D23. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  5. ^ "Grunkle Stan Costume". Carbon Costume. 2015-09-27. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  6. ^ "Grunkle Stan – Creative Analytics". Creative Analytics. 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  7. ^ Hill, Jim (2015-03-09). "Is Gravity Falls ' Grunkle Stan 'Not What He Seems'? Disney XD Episode Answers Big Questions Tonight". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  8. ^ "Through Mysterious Puzzle Pieces, Alex Hirsch Revealed the Cover for the First-Ever Gravity Falls Graphic Novel". Oh My Disney. 2018-02-16. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "What's In a Character: Stan Pines". AniB Productions. 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  13. ^ "Gravity Falls - Behind the Scenes - First Look Featurette". YouTube. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  14. ^ "The development of Stan (pre production to final result) | Gravity Falls Amino". Gravity Falls | Retrieved 2018-04-26.

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