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 (young)[1]
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 (older 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 unnamed wife. He was raised Jewish, but identifies as atheist.[9] Filbrick was an abusive pawn shop owner, while his wife, a pathological liar, worked as a phone psychic. As children, Stan and Ford would often scour the beach and go treasure hunting. One time, they came across an abandoned ship, claimed it for themselves, and dubbed 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. Ford won numerous awards for his science fair projects, especially a perpetual motion machine, which earned the attention of the university West Coast Tech. Stan was crushed by this news because, over the years, the two had been fixing the Stan-O-War for international travel and treasure hunting. While wandering the science fair hall that night, Stan threw a temper tantrum, accidentally destroying Ford's machine and then trying to fix and hide it. When Ford presented his broken machine to West Coast Tech's judges, they refused him entry. Ford then found the toffee peanut bag that Stan accidentally dropped and confronted Stan about it, 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 various 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 generous research grants to build a house there and search for the source of the world's largest amount of supernatural anomalies in the area, documenting his findings in three journals bearing six-fingered hand emblems with numbers. Ford found a cave where he recited an ancient incantation against all warnings, which caused the interdimensional dream demon Bill Cipher to visit him in a dream and trick him into building an interdimensional portal. Ford contacted fellow Backupsmore alumnus Fiddleford McGucket (known in the present as local hillbilly "Old Man" McGucket), who had gone into the personal computer business in Palo Alto, California, and the two built the portal in a secret lab underneath Ford's house. In a test, Fiddleford survived an attack from a gravity anomaly, then recited a warning against Bill and ordered Ford to destroy the machine. When Ford refused, Fiddleford quit the project, constructing a machine to erase specified memories. He then founded the "Society of the Blind Eye" to do the same for the populace of Gravity Falls. Meanwhile, Ford contacted Bill, demanding to know where the machine really lead to. Bill revealed his true intentions, prompting Ford to contact Stan.

After Stan arrived and learned the whole story, Ford revealed that he had hid two of his three journals explaining how to operate the portal and had entrusted his first one 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 they were not impressed after an invention caused one of local diner owner "Lazy" Susan Wentworth's eyes to permanently close. After making his first fake attraction and winning over the tourists, Stan 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, Weirdmageddon begins, Bill Cipher captures Ford, and Stan takes refuge in the Shack, enchanted by Stanford's unicorn spell. Eventually, McGucket finds him and invites into the Shack an army of the series' supporting characters, including the gnomes, the disembodied head of a wax Larry King sculpture, the boy band Sev'eral Timez, the minotaurs, and the Multi-Bear. Stan he proclaims himself king of the group and plans on eating canned meat and all the Gnomes until they run out. When Dipper, Mabel, Wendy and Soos return and the twins make plans to save Ford, Stan is jealous of their wanting to save him even though he started the apocalypse in the first place.

After a battle with Bill's demons using the "Shackatron", a fighting robot built from the Shack itself, the heroes finds the rest of the townsfolk in Bill's fortress, the "Fearamid", and unfreeze them all. Ford remembers a way to finish Bill off. This was done by recreating an old prophecy on the floor with Robbie V's spray paint. Each symbol represented something related to Wendy, Dipper, Mabel, Soos, Fiddleford, Stanley, Stanford, Pacifica, Robbie, and Gideon. Each individual stands on their symbol except Stan, who refuses to further cooperate with the plan until Stanford says thank you. Ford gives him his request, but, after correcting his grammar one too many times, is punched to the ground by Stan. The two fight while Dipper and Mabel try to separate them, but it is too late. Bill finds them, locks Mabel and Dipper up, grabs the Stan twins, and turns the rest into flags. Dipper and Mabel distract Bill while Stan and Ford are locked in their own cell. Stanley and Stanford apologize to each other, and go over their options.

All that Bill wants is to get inside Stanford's mind for a simple equation needed to get through Gravity Fall's weirdness barrier and take over the world, but since Ford has a metal plate in his head, Bill has to have Ford's permission to enter. The only way to defeat him now would to have Bill in his mind and erase it with Fiddleford's memory gun, but because of the metal protector, it would do nothing. Stan volunteers his mind to be erased ("Wasn't good for anything, anyway," he says) and the twins switch clothes. When Bill returns, he is about to kill Mabel right in front of them, but 'Ford,' Stanley in disguise, agrees to Bill's plan.[10] The brothers fight for show, entertaining Bill. Finally, Bill and Stanley shake hands, with Bill going out of physical form and into the mindscape. Bill rejoices his win until he discovers that he's in the wrong mind. He calls off the deal, but there is no turning back, as the mind eraser has already been fired. As the mind burns, Stan's mind and Bill have a verbal war, until Bill weakens and declares one final spell before being punched by Stan and exploding into pixels. Stanley realizes that his purpose in life was to protect his family, and burns in silence.

Meanwhile, Weirdmageddon reverses itself, and the town returns to normal. As an unconscious Stan revives, he is clueless about himself and everything around him, and the family takes him back to the ruined Shack. Mabel tries to revive his memories with her scrapbook, and his memories and characteristics come back quickly. On the last day of the summer, Stanley and Stanford make plans to sail around the world like they dreamed about when they were kids, but 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.[11]

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.[12] 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. ^ "What's In a Character: Stan Pines". AniB Productions. 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  11. ^ "Gravity Falls - Behind the Scenes - First Look Featurette". YouTube. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  12. ^ "The development of Stan (pre production to final result) | Gravity Falls Amino". Gravity Falls | Retrieved 2018-04-26.

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