List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated television series based on the My Little Pony toyline, created by American toy and game manufacturer Hasbro. It features characters and settings developed by Lauren Faust, who sought to create more in-depth characters than the stereotypical "girly" icons used in previous iterations of the franchise. The series began airing on October 10, 2010 in the United States on the Hub Network cable channel, which was re-branded as Discovery Family in October 2014.
The show follows a studious unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle as her mentor Princess Celestia guides her to learn about friendship in the town of Ponyville. Twilight becomes best friends with five other ponies: earth ponies Applejack and Pinkie Pie, pegasus ponies Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, and unicorn Rarity. Each represents a different facet of friendship, and Twilight discovers herself to be a key part of the magical artifacts, the Elements of Harmony. The six ponies—collectively known as the "Mane Six"—share adventures and help out other residents of Ponyville, while working out the troublesome moments in their own friendships, eventually leading to Twilight's ascension as a winged unicorn known as an alicorn.
Several episodes focus on the exploits of Spike, Twilight's baby dragon assistant, and a younger trio of pony characters (Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle) who call themselves the "Cutie Mark Crusaders" and share their own adventures trying to discover their talents in life and receive their "cutie marks"—a central theme of the show—until the season five episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark".
The characters have been well received by critics, and are cited as one of the reasons the series' older fans, called "bronies", became attracted to the show. Several background characters have been popularized by fans as well, and are further incorporated as in-jokes within the show. The series later spawned numerous spin-off media, including a comic book and children's book series expanding some of the characters' roles, and a spin-off film series titled My Little Pony: Equestria Girls where several characters are re-envisioned as humans in a high school setting.
- 1 Creation and conception
- 2 Main characters
- 3 Secondary characters
- 4 Other characters
- 5 Reception
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Creation and conception
Faust was initially hired by Hasbro to create a pitch bible for the show, allowing her to get additional help with conceptualization. Faust said she was "extremely skeptical" about taking the job at first because she had always found shows based on girls' toys to be boring and unrelatable. My Little Pony was one of her favorite childhood toys, but she was disappointed that her imagination at the time was nothing like the animated shows, in which the characters, according to Faust, had "endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying". With the chance to work on My Little Pony, she hoped to prove that "cartoons for girls don't have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness." To do this, she incorporated into the design of the characters and the show many elements that contradicted idealized stereotypes of girls, such as diverse personalities, the message that friends can be different and can get into arguments but still be friends, and the idea that girls should not be limited by what others say they can or can not do. Elements of the characters' personalities and the show's settings were based on her own childhood imagination of the ponies' adventures, in part inspired by the animated shows that her brothers would watch while growing up, such as Transformers and G.I. Joe. Faust still aimed for the characters to be "relatable" characters, using stereotypical "icons of girliness" (such as the waif or the bookworm), as to broaden the appeal of the characters for the young female audience.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic focuses on six core characters, also identified as the "Mane Six", a group of friends who are brought together by the Elements of Harmony, a set of six mystical jewels and an "unstoppable force of good" that are used to defend Equestria against powerful threats. Each character was designed to represent a different element and positive aspect of friendship—honesty (Applejack), kindness (Fluttershy), laughter (Pinkie Pie), generosity (Rarity), and loyalty (Rainbow Dash)—which come together to form the sixth element of "magic" (Twilight Sparkle).
Twilight Sparkle is the central character of the series, based on the first generation or "G1" unicorn toy Twilight. She is depicted in the show's first three seasons as a purple unicorn with a pink-streaked indigo mane; she becomes a winged unicorn called an "alicorn" in later seasons. She takes charge of the Mane Six during their adventures and helps resolve her friends' differences. She is an intelligent, dutiful, and accomplished scholar with an avid love of learning and studied prowess in unicorn magic such as levitation, teleportation, and the creation of force fields. Director Jayson Thiessen describes her as "kind of a neurotic perfectionist" who has "a touch OCD," prone to suffering from nervous breakdowns when confronted with a problem that goes against her understanding.
Twilight begins the story as the protégée of Princess Celestia, who tasks her with studying the magical properties of friendship in Ponyville and reporting her findings. Twilight resents her assignment in the opening episodes, owing her reclusiveness to her obsession with books, but she comes to form strong friendships with the rest of the Mane Six, which she realizes is key to harnessing the Elements of Harmony. She resides with her assistant Spike and pet owl Owlowiscious (pronounced the same way as Aloysius //) in Ponyville's Golden Oak Library, where she also serves as town librarian. Her apprenticeship to Celestia ends in the season three finale "Magical Mystery Cure" when, by creating new magic based on her studies of friendship, Twilight transforms into an alicorn and is crowned a princess of Equestria. Assuming the title of "Princess of Friendship", Twilight becomes responsible for spreading her teachings to propagate friendships across Equestria from the Castle of Friendship, a mystical castle that replaces the library after its destruction in the season four finale "Twilight's Kingdom".
- Voiced by Ashleigh Ball
Rainbow Dash is a sky blue pegasus with a rainbow-colored mane and tail who is based on Faust's "G1" Firefly toy, and shares her name with the "G3" earth pony. She is an "act first and ask questions later" pegasus obsessed with speed and adventure. Her series-long goal is to join her heroes, the elite Wonderbolts aerobatic team, which is accomplished in the season six episode "Newbie Dash". Apart from helping other pegasi manage the weather around Ponyville, she spends her time practicing flight maneuvers such as the "Sonic Rainboom", a rainbow-hued sonic boom; it is shown in the episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" that Rainbow Dash's first Sonic Rainboom as a child produced not only her own cutie mark, but also the rest of the Mane Six's marks. She lives with a propeller-fitted pet tortoise named Tank in a floating condominium of clouds called the Cloudominium, which is sparingly seen in the show because she "doesn't sit still for very long," according to director Jim Miller. Faust struggled to find a suitable aspect for Rainbow Dash's Element of Harmony, seeing the character as "self-absorbed and rather irresponsible." She eventually settled on "loyalty" because it "brought out [Rainbow Dash's] positive traits."
Pinkie Pie (fully named Pinkamena Diane Pie) is a pink earth pony based on the "G3" toy of the same name. Her character, summarized by Thiessen as "a frenetic sugar rush", was inspired by the "G1" pegasus toy Surprise. She is a live-in party planner at Sugarcube Corner, a bakery and confectionery store in Ponyville that resembles a gingerbread house, where she also keeps a toothless baby alligator named Gummy. A comedic character raised on a "dreary rock farm", Pinkie is cheerful, energetic, and talkative. She is defined by her desire to entertain her friends by throwing parties at random times and acting as outlandish as possible; however, she demonstrates a lack of confidence and a fear of being rejected by others, which is occasionally expressed by her balloon-like mane deflating. Pinkie is a source of much of the series' humor, and several of the show's "wacky gags" are kept exclusive to her. Her running gags include breaking the fourth wall and "appearing suddenly in unexpected places", as well as an ability to predict future events through various body reactions, which she calls the "Pinkie Sense". In early episodes, Faust worked to depict Pinkie as a "free spirit" to address concerns of the character being seen as too "hyper" and "ditzy". As the creative team grew more comfortable with Pinkie's character and humor, she became "really over-the-top strange and bordering on crazy, with a wacky cartoonish magic all her own."
Rarity is a white-coated unicorn with purple, curled hair who is based on the "G1" ponies Glory and Sparkler, and named after the "G3" pony. She is a ladylike fashionista who speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent and runs a haute couture salon in Ponyville called Carousel Boutique. Despite her vain and melodramatic tendencies, she has a generous spirit and strives to create dresses that capture their wearers' inner beauty. She owns a pet persian cat named Opalescence, commonly nicknamed Opal. Faust's original idea for Rarity's Element of Harmony was "inspiration", but it was changed to "generosity" after the production team deemed the former "too much of a thinker, especially for kids." Faust was pleased with the change, saying it "really helped pull [Rarity] away from the stereotypical, unlikable debutante." She cites Audrey Hepburn as her biggest influence for Rarity, and also says that Tabitha St. Germain's performance "added a humor to Rarity that was unexpected and wonderful."
- Voiced by Ashleigh Ball
Applejack is an orange, blonde-haired earth pony based on the "G1" toy of the same name. She is characterized as a "farm gal" who sports a cowboy hat and lasso, and speaks with a Southern accent. She works as an apple farmer at the Sweet Apple Acres orchard in Ponyville, using her great physical strength to "buck" apples out of trees. She lives with her grandmother Granny Smith, older brother Big McIntosh, younger sister Apple Bloom, and pet collie Winona; according to Faust, Applejack's parents are deceased. Applejack is honest, reliable, and the most "down-to-earth" of the Mane Six. She also has a stubborn streak, with several episodes focusing on her taking up some sort of "herculean task". Author Begin says that her apple-themed cutie mark "not only represents her name, but also is a symbol of the down-home simplicity found in a classic and common fruit."
- Voiced by Andrea Libman
Fluttershy is a yellow pegasus with a long, pink mane, based on the "G1" earth pony Posey. True to her name, she is "defined by her shy sweetness; soft, whispery voice; and tender, nurturing nature," as described by author Begin. She possesses a unique affinity for animals that allows her to understand and communicate with them. She lives in a secluded meadow cottage in Ponyville, where she cares for multiple woodland creatures such as her "conniving and willful" pet rabbit Angel Bunny. In many episodes, Fluttershy exhibits a more authoritative personality that emerges whenever a friend or animal is harmed in some way, in contrast to her normally fearful and submissive self. Her most prominent ability is known as "the Stare", where any creature that meets her gaze becomes "powerless and moved to meekness" while it is in effect. Faust enjoyed writing for Fluttershy the most out of the show's characters due to her "relatable" struggles with fear, which Faust says brings potential "not just for great storytelling but [also for] great filmmaking."
- Voiced by Cathy Weseluck
Spike the Dragon is a purple baby dragon with green spines, based on the "G1" and "G3" character of the same name. Hatched from an egg by a young Twilight Sparkle as part of her entrance exam for Celestia's academy, he fulfills the role of Twilight's "number one assistant", named so for his loyalty and skill at helping Twilight solve problems and learn lessons. He is also described as having "an incurable crush on Rarity, an insatiable appetite for sparkly gems, and the uniquely comical ability to messenger letters via his fiery dragon breath." Author Begin calls Spike a foil to the Mane Six in terms of personality, size, and shape, which "provides plenty of opportunity for exploring this difference in story lines." He adopts a newborn phoenix named Peewee as a pet in the second season episode "Dragon Quest", later returning Peewee to his family in season three's "Just for Sidekicks". Faust envisioned the character as "the sensitive little boy who has a lot of sisters and just seems to get along better with girls." On Spike's role as a dragon outsider living among ponies, Meghan McCarthy says, "He's trying to figure out who he is. What beyond being Twilight's assistant is his role in this world? I think he really reflects how everybody feels at some point in their life."
- Voiced by Nicole Oliver
Princess Celestia, based on the "G1" unicorn Majesty, is a regal white alicorn depicted as the benevolent ruler of Equestria. Her design is larger, more mature, and more horse-like than the standard pony character, and she has a flowing, multicolored mane and tail resembling a celestial body. As detailed in The Journal of the Two Sisters, Celestia has ruled Equestria for over one thousand years due to her kind's slowed aging, and her status as an alicorn is seen as a symbol of harmony between unicorns, pegasi and earth ponies. She is responsible for magically raising the sun each day in the show's setting from her castle in Canterlot. She also acts as a mentor and, as described by Faust, "a bit of a surrogate parent" to Twilight Sparkle, guiding her throughout the series' first three seasons to her eventual destiny as a princess of Equestria. She owns a mischievous pet phoenix named Philomena, who appears to be a "squaking old bird" before bursting into flames and renewing herself. Faust's original concept for Celestia was a queen rather than a princess, reflecting her status as the "highest authority" in the series' setting. The change was made at Hasbro's statement that "girls assume that Queens are evil [...] and Princesses are good," and that "the perceived youth of a Princess is preferable to consumers."
- Voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, singing voice by Kazumi Evans ("Twilight's Kingdom") and Aloma Steele ("A Hearth's Warming Tail")
Princess Luna, also named "Selena" in earlier drafts, is dark-blue alicorn and Princess Celestia's younger sister, designed and developed by Lynne Naylor. She serves as co-ruler of Equestria alongside Celestia, using her magic to maintain the moon and safeguard her subjects' dreams during nighttime. Luna is introduced as the opening episodes' antagonist Nightmare Moon, transformed into a malevolent, black-coated mare by bitterness and jealousy towards her more beloved sister; as expounded in the comic series, her alter ego is a creation of the Nightmare Forces, a dark lunar miasma that preys on others' insecurities to convince them to become their host. Banished to the moon by the reluctant Celestia in the series' past, Nightmare Moon returns from a millennial exile to evoke eternal nighttime. The Mane Six use the Elements of Harmony to purify and reform Luna, who reconciles with her sister and resumes her royal duties in a weakened state. She sports a different design in later episodes with a darker coloration and starry mane, which represent her dominion over the night. Several episodes depict Luna's "difficulty living in her older sister's shadow", such as adapting to modern Equestrian customs and repairing her public image. Outside the television series, Luna owns a pet opossum named Tiberius that appears in several comics and chapter books.
Cutie Mark Crusaders
The Cutie Mark Crusaders are a group of fillies who are bonded by their desire to earn their "cutie marks", symbols that adorn a pony's flank once they discover their special talents in life. They are each depicted as younger sibling figures to the main cast. Several episodes of the series focus on the Crusaders' misadventures in trying to earn their marks in "the most unorthodox and sometimes less-than-productive ways." This goal is achieved in the season five episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", where the core members gain similarly-themed cutie marks when they recognize their true purpose in life is helping other ponies discover or interpret their own cutie marks. The Crusaders featured in the series are:
- Apple Bloom (voiced by Michelle Creber) – Apple Bloom is a yellow earth pony filly with red hair and a pink hair bow, and is so named for being "full of potential" and having "a lot of growing to do." A fiesty girl with a sarcastic streak, she is the younger sister of Applejack and Big McIntosh who formulates and spearheads most of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' "missions".
- Scootaloo (voiced by Madeleine Peters) – Scootaloo is an orange pegasus filly with purple hair, based on the "G3" pony of the same name. She suffers from an inability to fly, and instead uses her wings to propel her specially fashioned scooter. She idolizes Rainbow Dash as an older sister figure, often trying to imitate Rainbow Dash's "too cool" attitude and athletic skill.
- Sweetie Belle (voiced by Claire Corlett, singing voice for seasons 1–3 by Michelle Creber) – Sweetie Belle is a "sweet-natured and sometimes spacey" unicorn filly with a white coat and a lavender and pink-striped mane, based on the "G3" pony of the same name. She has "a blossoming talent for singing", and strives to become a fashion designer and gain the approval of her older sister, Rarity.
- Babs Seed (voiced by Brynna Drummond) – Babs is an earth pony filly and "tough-talkin' Apple cousin from Manehattan", debuting in the third season episode "One Bad Apple". The character was created as a "blank flank" bully of the Cutie Mark Crusaders "whose behavior was the result of an insecurity that the Crusaders could relate to and ultimately help her overcome". She joins the Crusaders and forms her own branch of the club in Manehattan because, according to McCarthy, "We've got our three Crusaders in Ponyville and didn't want to add a permanent fourth." Babs earns her cutie mark as a hairstylist in the season five episode "Bloom & Gloom".
- Gabby (voiced by Erin Mathews) – Gabby is a friendly and enthusiastic female griffon featured in the show's sixth season. Introduced as a social outcast from the griffon city of Griffonstone, she joins the Crusaders at the end of her debut episode, "The Fault in Our Cutie Marks", following her failed attempts to obtain her own cutie mark.
- Voiced by John de Lancie
Discord is a spirit of chaos who first appeared as the antagonist of the season two premiere "The Return of Harmony". Primarily characterized as a nonsensical trickster, he is a Greek mythology-inspired creature called a "draconequus" (from the Latin words meaning "dragon horse"), a serpentine being with a pony's head and numerous different animal parts, symbolizing his inharmonious nature. It is shown in the series' distant past that he was opposed by Princesses Celestia and Luna for tormenting ponies with his reality-bending powers, and he similarly faces the Mane Six during the premiere; both times, the ponies use the Elements of Harmony to turn him to stone. In the season three episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Discord is released under Celestia's decree to reform himself, which he does after Fluttershy treats him like a friend. He appears in later episodes as a reluctant ally of the Mane Six, occasionally causing mischief while struggling to become a better friend to them.
Faust based Discord's character on Q, an omnipotent trickster played by John de Lancie on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The production team considered casting a soundalike of de Lancie to voice the character, and were surprised to learn that de Lancie himself was available. The creative team developed Discord as "the one character who could break all of the rules of the show" by including more modern or contemporary references than usual in the series' "fantasy storybook" setting. He was not intended to have a recurring role; according to McCarthy, "'reforming' him allows us to tell new stories with his character. He gets to be the not-always-reliable ally instead of the known enemy." Author Begin commented on the "chaotic" settings that accompany the character, such as his home dimension called Chaosville, likening them to "dream-inspired Salvador Dalí paintings."
Princess Cadance and Shining Armor
Princess Cadance (fully named Princess Mi Amore Cadenza) and Shining Armor are Twilight Sparkle's older sister-in-law and brother, respectively, who both debuted in the season two finale "A Canterlot Wedding". Cadance, a kindhearted alicorn princess, is Princess Celestia's adopted niece and Twilight's childhood "foal-sitter" (babysitter); according to her backstory presented in Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell, Cadance is a former pegasus who turned into an alicorn after reversing an evil sorceress's love-stealing spell. She marries the unicorn Shining Armor, who is the captain of Canterlot's royal guard and has a close relationship with his sister, for which he is nicknamed her "Big Brother Best Friend Forever" (B.B.B.F.F.). In the third season premiere, Celestia appoints Shining Armor and Cadance to rule the Crystal Empire, an "ancient city" that Cadance protects using the power of love so that their subjects, the shimmering coated "crystal ponies", may magically project their feelings of hope and love across Equestria. In the season six premiere "The Crystalling", Cadance gives birth to an alicorn filly named Flurry Heart (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain).
- Voiced by Kelly Sheridan
Starlight Glimmer is a unicorn who debuted in the season five premiere "The Cutie Map". Initially appearing as a "perfectly pleasant-looking unicorn", Starlight proves to be a sinister figure who wishes to build a "perfectly equal society" by using her magic to remove other ponies' cutie marks; she cites her reasons as believing that differing degrees of ability cause disharmony between friends, stemming from her childhood friend Sunburst (voiced by Ian Hanlin) becoming estranged after earning his cutie mark before her. She later appears in the season finale "The Cutie Re-Mark" to take revenge against the Mane Six by traveling to the past and preventing their friendship before it starts. After realizing the catastrophic changes this causes in the present, Starlight is convinced to change her ways and make new friends. She appears in season six as Twilight's pupil who studies friendship alongside the Mane Six in Ponyville. According to Miller, Starlight's design was chosen to parallel her role as a "proto-Twilight character". Her original name during production was "Aurora Glimmer", which was changed due to the Walt Disney Company's trademark of the character name "Aurora".
Ponyville is the primary setting of the television series and home of the show's main characters. The town's unique locales were designed to reflect their characters, while the overall style of the town was largely influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch design, steampunk artwork, and European and Bavarian folklore. The town also incorporates pony design elements such as horseshoes, hay bales, and troughs.
- Big McIntosh (voiced by Peter New) – Big McIntosh, commonly called Big Mac, is a large earth pony stallion who is Applejack and Apple Bloom's older brother. He "generally doesn't have much to say", and often speaks only by replying "eeyup" and "nope".
- Granny Smith (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) – Granny Smith is the earth pony grandmother of Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Big McIntosh. She is depicted as a "wise matriarch" who has sharp wit and a "fuzzy" memory, and she is stated to be one of Ponyville's first settlers.
- Mayor Mare (voiced by Cathy Weseluck) – Mayor Mare is the earth pony mayor of Ponyville.
- Cake family – The Cakes are the owners of Sugarcube Corner, which is run by the kindly earth pony couple Mr. Carrot Cake (voiced by Brian Drummond) and Mrs. Cup Cake (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain). In the season two episode "Baby Cakes", Mrs. Cake gives birth to twin foals: a pegasus colt named Pound Cake (voiced by St. Germain), and a unicorn filly named Pumpkin Cake (voiced by Andrea Libman).
- Cheerilee (voiced by Nicole Oliver) – Cheerilee is an earth pony based on the "G3" toy of the same name, appearing as a schoolteacher at the Ponyville Schoolhouse.
- Snips and Snails (voiced by Lee Tockar and Richard Ian Cox) – Snips and Snails are a pair of dimwitted unicorn colts who create mischief in Ponyville. The short and pudgy Snips is "known for his enthusiasm", while the taller Snails is "slightly more relaxed".
- Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon (voiced by Chantal Strand and Shannon Chan-Kent) – Diamond Tiara and her cohort Silver Spoon are two wealthy, snobbish earth pony fillies who tease the Cutie Mark Crusaders for not having their cutie marks, calling them "blank flanks". It is shown in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" that Diamond Tiara's behavior stems from her stress about meeting the expectations of her father Filthy Rich (voiced by Brian Drummond) and mother Spoiled Rich (voiced by Strand). By the episode's end, she and Silver Spoon make peace with the Crusaders.
- Pipsqueak (voiced by William Lawrenson in "Luna Eclipsed" and Graham Verchere in all other appearances) – Pipsqueak, also named Pip, is a pinto earth pony colt who hails from Trottingham, a location outside of Ponyville. He speaks with a Cockney accent in most of his appearances.
- Cranky Doodle and Matilda (voiced by Richard Newman and Brenda Crichlow) – Cranky Doodle Donkey is a donkey and "crotchety old grouch" who rejects Pinkie Pie's friendship until she reunites him with his long-lost "special friend" Matilda, a female donkey. The two marry in the one-hundredth episode "Slice of Life".
- Bulk Biceps (voiced by Jayson Thiessen/Michael Dobson) – Bulk Biceps is a muscular pegasus stallion with small wings. His design was partially based on John Kricfalusi's animation style. He first appears as a nameless gag character in the season two episode "Hurricane Fluttershy", where his shouts of "Yeah!" (attributed to "pony walla") are recorded by Thiessen. Dobson performs the character in full speaking appearances starting with season four's "Rainbow Falls".
Canterlot is the mountainside capital of Equestria, named after the castle Camelot of Arthurian legend. The city is home to the country's upper-class elite, including Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, who reside in the local castle. Canterlot was designed to give the sense of its residents' royalty and nobility.
- Prince Blueblood (voiced by Vincent Tong) – Blueblood is Princess Celestia's unicorn nephew and an object of Rarity's affections in the first season until he proves to be "quite vain" and "a pompous fool".
- Hoity Toity (voiced by Trevor Devall) – Hoity Toity is an earth pony "fashion guru" who gives make-or-break critiques to designers.
- Photo Finish (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) – Photo Finish is a famed earth pony fashion photographer who speaks with an Austrian accent.
- Sapphire Shores (voiced by Rena Anakwe) – Sapphire is an earth pony singer known as the "Pony of Pop", based on the "G3" toy of the same name.
- Fancy Pants (voiced by Trevor Devall) – Fancy Pants is a good-natured unicorn socialite with the highest position in elite Canterlot society, often appearing with a readily agreeable entourage.
- Sassy Saddles (voiced by Kelly Sheridan) – Sassy is the unicorn manager of Canterlot Carousel, Rarity's boutique in Canterlot that opens in the season five episode "Canterlot Boutique". Her design was inspired by Emily Blunt's character Emily Charlton in The Devil Wears Prada.
Cloudsdale is the home and birthplace of several pegasus characters such as Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. It is depicted as a floating city of clouds where pegasi produce Equestria's clouds, weather and rainbows inside a specialized "weather factory". The city's design was influenced by Greek and Roman architecture, which author Begin states "harks back to the original Olympic Games, [...] a fitting reference for Rainbow Dash."
- The Wonderbolts – The Wonderbolts are a squad of pegasi that perform "aerial feats of wonder", based on the Blue Angels. They are captained by Spitfire (voiced by Nicole Oliver in the episode "Sonic Rainboom" and Kelly Metzger in all other appearances), a "spirited competitor" and "no-nonsense instructor" at the Wonderbolts' training academy, and her second-in-command Soarin (voiced by Matt Hill). Their costumes were designed by Craig McCracken. According to writer Amy Keating Rogers, the name of the Wonderbolts' founder, General Firefly, is a tribute to Faust's online username "fyre-flye", in turn named after the "G1" toy Firefly.
- Boy Bullies – A trio of pegasus stallions introduced in "Sonic Rainboom" serve as Rainbow Dash's childhood bullies. They consist of Hoops (voiced by Kathleen Barr in "Sonic Rainboom" and Terry Klassen in all other appearances) and two nameless ponies nicknamed "Billy/Dumb-Bell" (voiced by Richard Ian Cox in "Sonic Rainboom" and Brian Drummond in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles") and the unvoiced "Score".
- Nightmare Moon (see Princess Luna)
- Discord (see above)
- Queen Chrysalis (voiced by Kathleen Barr) – Chrysalis is the leader of the changelings, a race of "grotesque shape-shifting ponies" that gain power by feeding off of ponies' love for each other. She appears as the antagonist of "A Canterlot Wedding", where she leads an invasion of Canterlot by impersonating Princess Cadance to control her fiancé Shining Armor, only for the changelings to be driven off by the couple's combined magic. She also makes recurring appearances in the comic series, seeking revenge against the ponies responsible for her defeat in the television series. Character designer Rebecca Dart drew Chrysalis and the other changelings with an insect-like design after reading the character's name in the script, drawing inspiration from manga artists Junko Mizuno and Hideshi Hino.
- King Sombra (voiced by Jim Miller) – Sombra is the antagonist of "The Crystal Empire". Described as a "snarling black-hearted monster", he is a tyrant unicorn king said to have enslaved the crystal ponies until Celestia and Luna banished him as a shadowy mass during Equestria's history. His efforts to reclaim the Crystal Empire are thwarted when he is destroyed by the magical Crystal Heart that protects the city. The comics explore Sombra's role as an "umbrum", a shadow pony who embraced his kind's monstrous nature after being rejected by the crystal ponies, only to be restored to life and redeemed by Radiant Hope, his childhood friend. Miller based his performance on the vocals of Mastodon song "Crystal Skull".
- Lord Tirek (voiced by Mark Acheson) – Tirek is a red-skinned, bull-like centaur who appears as the antagonist of "Twilight's Kingdom". Based on the character of the same name from the animated My Little Pony special Rescue at Midnight Castle, he is depicted in Friendship Is Magic as an ancient and diabolical tyrant who escapes from the prison realm of Tartarus, manipulating Discord to help him steal all magic from Equestria's ponies. The Mane Six eventually defeat and reimprison him with their "Rainbow Power", a more formidable magic acquired from the Tree of Harmony. Character designer Phil Caesar strove to make Tirek appear as intimidating as he could without being deemed "too scary" for younger audiences, giving him design elements such as a black upper body to "tone down the intensity".
- Starlight Glimmer (see above)
Other recurring characters
- Gilda (voiced by Maryke Hendrikse) – Gilda is a female griffon featured in the season one episode "Griffon the Brush Off". She is introduced as a childhood friend of Rainbow Dash, who later ends their friendship when Gilda tries to assert herself over Rainbow Dash's pony friends. The two later reconnect in the season five episode "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone".
- Trixie (voiced by Kathleen Barr) – Trixie is a traveling unicorn magician and braggart who exaggerates her magical abilities, calling herself "The Great and Powerful Trixie". She makes appearances in the show and various spin-offs as either an anti-hero or villain, beginning as a rival to the Mane Six in the season one episode "Boast Busters", but becoming more apologetic after seeing the error of her vengeful actions in season three's "Magic Duel".
- Zecora (voiced by Brenda Crichlow) – Zecora is a zebra shaman and herbalist who always speaks in rhyme and lives in the Everfree Forest, a "mysterious" forest on the edge of Ponyville. The townsfolk misjudge her as an "evil enchantress" until the Mane Six befriend her in the episode "Bridle Gossip", often turning to her for her wisdom afterwards. Her appearance and mannerisms are influenced by African tribal cultures.
- Apple family – The Apples are Applejack's extended family of earth ponies that live throughout Equestria. Family members include Braeburn (voiced by Michael Daingerfield), Applejack's cousin from Appleloosa, a "Wild West" town; her "high-society" Aunt and Uncle Orange (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain and Brian Drummond) from the "bustling city" of Manehattan; Hayseed Turnip Truck (voiced by Trevor Devall), a yokel-type odd-job worker; Babs Seed (see Cutie Mark Crusaders); Auntie Applesauce and Apple Rose (voiced by St. Germain and Ashleigh Ball), two older relatives and friends of Granny Smith; and Goldie Delicious (voiced by Peter New), an old cat lady who hoards family heirlooms. A possible distant relationship between the Apple and Pie families is uncovered in the season four episode "Pinkie Apple Pie", but is never confirmed.
- Pie family – The Pies are Pinkie Pie's family who live on a rock farm outside of Ponyville. They are depicted as a clan of dour, drably colored earth ponies in contrast to Pinkie's bright appearance and personality. They consist of Pinkie's father Igneous Rock (voiced by Terry Klassen in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and Peter New in "Hearthbreakers"), mother Cloudy Quartz (voiced by Andrea Libman in "Hearthbreakers"), and three sisters (all voiced by Ingrid Nilson): Limestone Pie, the surly oldest sister; Marble Pie, Pinkie's withdrawn, younger twin; and Maud Pie, an older sister who rarely expresses emotion and is obsessed with rocks, introduced in the show's fourth season.
- Star Swirl the Bearded – Star Swirl is a unicorn and historical figure in the series. He is described as an archetypal wizard with a prominent beard, similar to Merlin. As detailed in the comic book series and The Journal of the Two Sisters, he mentored Equestria's co-founder Clover the Clever and served as Celestia and Luna's royal adviser in their youth. Star Swirl's spellbook is a key figure in "Magical Mystery Cure", where Twilight is directed by Princess Celestia to finish Star Swirl's "unfinished masterpiece" written within, resulting in her ascension as an alicorn princess of Equestria.
- Flim Flam Brothers (voiced by Samuel Vincent and Scott McNeil) – Flim and his mustachioed brother Flam are two traveling unicorn "salesponies" and con artists who use song and dance to enthrall ponies into buying their usually faulty wares. Writer M.A. Larson said he "particularly enjoyed" writing for Flim and Flam, saying that "their energy and optimism infuses the actual writing".
- Daring Do (voiced by Chiara Zanni) – Daring Do is a pegasus and main character of the fictional Daring Do adventure novel series parodying Indiana Jones. Author Begin describes her as "essentially a different-colored Rainbow Dash in a hat". In the season four episode "Daring Don't", the books' author A.K. Yearling (a parody of J.K. Rowling) is discovered to be Daring Do herself, who writes her books after her real adventures, such as her encounters with the Aztec mythology-based villain Ahuizotl (voiced by Brian Drummond).
- Coco Pommel (voiced by Cathy Weseluck) – Coco is an earth pony fashion designer who works in Manehattan. She is introduced in the season four episode "Rarity Takes Manehattan" as the assistant to Suri Polomare (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain), Rarity's chief rival in a fashion competition, and quits after observing Suri's unscrupulous tactics for winning. Her name is a reference to fashion designer Coco Chanel; it was later changed to "Miss Pommel" prior to the show's sixth season for "legal reasons".
The show features an extensive cast of over 200 minor characters, also designated "background ponies", that are used to fill out crowd scenes and serve as visual gags in episodes. Several background ponies have been well received by the show's brony fanbase, who have assigned names and more detailed personalities to them. As a response to fan interest, the series' creative team have given these characters expanded roles in later episodes and media, such as the show's one-hundredth episode "Slice of Life", which presents the characters' daily lives as the episode's central focus.
- Derpy/Muffins (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) – "Derpy" is the name assigned to a cross-eyed pegasus who makes several background appearances in the show. Originally the subject of an overlooked animator's joke in the first episode, the character was dubbed "Derpy Hooves" (based on the Internet slang word "derp") and characterized as a well-meaning klutz by 4chan board users. The creators have since recognized "Derpy" as the fandom's mascot and included her in scripted easter eggs throughout the show. She was addressed by name and given lines during the initial broadcast of the second season episode "The Last Roundup" as a direct call-out to the fandom. Following complaints from viewers who felt her appearance and actions negatively reflected those of mentally handicapped people, the scene was modified to remove the character's name, alter her voice, and reduce the degree to which her eyes are crossed. According to Miller, the character was renamed "Muffins" for "legal reasons that I don't understand" prior to her credited appearance in "Slice of Life".
- DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch – DJ Pon-3 (//) is a silent unicorn disc jockey rarely seen without headphones and sunglasses, first seen in "Suited for Success". The names "DJ Pon-3" and "Vinyl Scratch" were created by the fan community, with the former being used in official products, such as the "Equestria Girls" music video parodying Katy Perry's song "California Gurls". She also makes major, non-speaking appearances in the film My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks and its accompanying shorts.
- Dr. Hooves/Time Turner (voiced by Peter New) – An earth pony background character, his name was coined as "Doctor Whooves" by fans for his purported resemblance to David Tennant's portrayal of the Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who. He appears in later episodes as Ponyville's eccentric timekeeper, and he exhibits similarities to his namesake in episodes such as "Slice of Life". He is voiced by various actors besides New, who performs him in his major speaking appearance in "Slice of Life".
- Lyra Heartstrings and Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops (voiced by Ashleigh Ball and Andrea Libman) – The unicorn Lyra and earth pony Sweetie Drops (also named Bon Bon after the "G1" pony) are two incidental characters who appear together as best friends in several scenes; one such scene in "Slice of Life" outs Sweetie Drops as a disavowed secret agent living in Ponyville under the assumed identity "Bon Bon". They are voiced by various actresses, with Ball voicing Lyra and Libman as Sweetie Drops in "Slice of Life" and the Friendship Games film and shorts.
- Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts (voiced by Rebecca Husain, Tabitha St. Germain and Ashleigh Ball) – Often appearing separately as incidental characters, these three unicorns are given focus in the series premiere and season five episode "Amending Fences" as Twilight Sparkle's often neglected friends from before her move to Ponyville, while Minuette and Twinkleshine appear alongside Lyra Heartstrings as Princess Cadance's bridesmaids in "A Canterlot Wedding". Among various other actresses, they are voiced by Husain (Minuette), St. Germain (Twinkleshine), and Ball (Lemon Hearts) in "Amending Fences".
- Octavia Melody (voiced by Kazumi Evans) – Octavia is an earth pony who plays the cello, originally seen in "The Best Night Ever". She is featured in a scene in "Slice of Life" where she rehearses an "electric cello dubstep" number with fellow musician DJ Pon-3; Octavia's portion of the song was performed by Tina Guo.
The characters of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have received praise, and are cited as one of the reasons the series' older fans, called "bronies", became attracted to the show. In his review of the show, Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club complimented the characters' stylized appearance and defined personalities, while favorably noting that "the show uses them well to come up with fun stories and bounce solid jokes off of each other." Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media, an organization focusing on the parenting aspect of children's media, felt the characters posed a positive influence on children with themes tolerance and respect for one another, and that they "don't let their diverse personalities keep them from forging relationships". However, she advised parents to be wary of the "influence the characters might have on their kids' desires, since it's rooted in a well-known product line of books, toys, and just about everything in between." Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd praised the show's diverse female characterization, but noted the smaller male cast by comparison, calling them "largely beside the point."
Kathleen Richter of Ms. was dismissive of the characters in her critique of the show in comparison to other girls' shows, which she considered "so sexist and racist and heteronormative." For example, she suggested that the character of Rainbow Dash was used to promote the stereotype that "all feminists are angry, tomboyish lesbians." She also considered that the only darker-colored ponies shown at the time were in positions of servitude towards the "white pony overlord". Lauren Faust responded to these claims by stating that while Rainbow Dash was a tomboy, "nowhere in the show is her sexual orientation ever referenced" and "assuming [tomboys] are lesbians is extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys", and further stating that "Color has never, ever been depicted as a race indicator for the ponies."
- Libman provides Pinkie Pie's singing voice for some songs.
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