The Voiceless

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"..."
Every example of this trope

The character who, though able to speak, never does so on screen (except, perhaps, for that one really dramatic moment).

A variant of He Who Must Not Be Heard. The gag may be extended by having other characters refer to just how talkative this character is -- but that's never seen on screen. ("Sorry I'm late, but The Voiceless caught me in the hall, and I couldn't get him to shut up.")

In movies, The Voiceless almost invariably says a line towards the end of the film—usually it's something complex and/or profound.

Contrast The Speechless, who never says anything because he actually cannot. Not to be confused with The Quiet One. May utilize a Voice for The Voiceless or Mouth of Sauron. For the video game protagonist version, see Heroic Mime. When The Voiceless communicates entirely by body language, see Silent Bob.

Examples of The Voiceless include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The King, the current mascot for Burger King, is a giant, creepy-looking, nutcracker-like being who never speaks.
  • A series of '80s commercials for Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers featured the fictional Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes. Frank did all the talking for the duo. (See example here.)


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Joe Tetsuma from Eyeshield 21.
  • Keith Gandor of Baccano! doesn't speak throughout the entire anime series, despite being a main character and frequently appearing. This is taken to a much larger extreme in the light novel series, which mentions that he has a tendency to go years without talking.
    • The irony of this would be that, even with his muteness ramped up to eleven, Keith actually does get an in-scene line in the first book: "That guy's an idiot."
  • Eucliwood from Kore wa Zombie desu ka... words are powerful enough to kill so she doesn't speak (except writing on paper and Ayumu's imagination).
  • Kamemon from Digimon Savers starts out as this, but the real winners are the two PawnChessmon. They actually have to have Miki and Megumi call their attacks and announce their evolution, but Kamemon is just shy. So shy that everyone stares at him in shock when he finally speaks a full sentence, and he retreats into his shell. Which is cute, but the real hilarity is in the finale: Megumi and Miki take the PawnChessmon to sing karaoke... off-screen, of course.
    • In the Crisis Crossover finale of Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time, a very large number of the involved returning protagonists - specifically Yamato, Gabumon, Mimi, Palmon, V-mon, Wormmon, Guilmon and Renamon - have no speaking parts whatsoever. It's particularly egregious because this is a franchise that is heavy on Calling Your Attacks, and some of their original voice actors ARE involved with this series so it can't always be a matter of being unable to rehire the voice actors.
  • Zazie Rainyday in Mahou Sensei Negima!, made humorous by her phone conversation with another character. Somehow Zazie tells everything that is going on in her life with "..." over and over again, you do see her mouth moving in the panels. This confused the rest of the cast as well.
    • Only up until chapter 294, however.
      • Nope, that's her identical twin sister. However she does talk...inside the Lotus Eater Machine. Make of that what you will.
  • In Inuyasha, Ginkotsu speaks very rarely, more often communicating in a grunt (typically written as "gersh"). After several episodes in a row of nothing but grunting, he surprises everyone by speaking in full sentences just before self-destructing to protect Renkotsu.
  • Nonette Enneagram in the second season of Code Geass, somewhat outstanding in that she is truly voiceless—in her two very brief appearances across 25 episodes, she never says a word.
  • Megumi on Special A writes on a notepad to communicate in order to protect her singing voice, which as a result is devastatingly powerful. She does speak a few times, though.
  • The Captain from Hellsing says not one word throughout the series. His speech bubbles consist entirely of "..."
    • He has exactly one line in The Dawn. Unless that speech bubble is meant to be attributed to Dok.
  • In the second filler arc in Bleach, Enryū doesn't speak until the end of the story line, at which point the giant imposing guy is revealed to have a voice that would make Alvin the Chipmunk blush.
  • Brandon Heat, the main character from Gungrave. He says maybe three things in the whole series. Because in the video game series that the anime is based upon, Brandon (and his later persona Beyond the Grave) doesn't talk at all.... except for one and only one line at the end of the second game.
  • Meru Otonashi (literally "no sound") from Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei is voiceless unless extremely provoked (in which case you'd better run for your lives). She makes up for it by being a very proficient text spammer.
  • Sumiyoshi in the Excel Saga anime talks, but soundlessly. His lines are visible on the screen just as his lines were written in the manga (i.e., right next to his head, without word bubbles).
  • In spite of having a voice actor, Rusty Mackenzie doesn't have a single line in the series. The Typical Gundam SEED Destiny takes this a step further when he's cloned. If any of his clones so much as tries to speak, they will die from some contrived fashion even if all they say is "...".
  • In Black Butler, Lau's favorite girl is this trope in the anime, but in the manga, Ranmao is simply a Cute Mute whose sole purpose in life seems to be wearing skimpy Chinese garb, be Lau's lap candy, and please the fanboys who can stand the shounen-ai long enough to read through the series, but aren't into lolis. ... she needs more screentime, her and Lau.
  • Tabitha from The Familiar of Zero.
  • Me-Mania of Perfect Blue. There are only two scenes in which he has any dialogue at all, and in one of them he's just mumbling to himself.
  • Switch from Sket Dance never speaks with his real voice. Instead, he uses a (very realistic) speech synthesizer, which he controls from the computer keyboard. Later his Backstory explains the tragic cause of this unwillingness to speak.
  • In a sense, Haibara-san of Mahoraba. Speaks with ventriloquy through his dog puppet, Johnny, but never says anything as himself (and claims that Johnny is an actual other being). Though he was not always this way, as revealed through flashbacks, and says a single sentence in the actual plot's timeline as himself for impact.
  • Kuchinashi from NEEDLESS only speaks once in the series when she's calling out her ultimate attack and everyone is more surprised she spoke than about the actual attack. She uses a notebook to communicate through the series, often times having sarcastic comments.
  • Muu from The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer is a bit of a subversion, in that he's a crow, so he shouldn't be able to speak, but he's also the animal familiar of one of the Beast Knights, and all the other familiars can talk, so why not him? Thus there's some doubt among the characters as to whether Muu conforms to this trope or if he's simply incapable of speech (though he certainly displays human intelligence in other ways.) This is eventually settled when Muu finally speaks in front of everyone right before he vanishes forever at the end of the war. We also learn from Muu's voice that she was a female all along.
  • The Baker in Kiki's Delivery Service has one line in the entire film. "Oi" which is little more than a grunt.
  • Many a Giant Spider from Spider Riders rarely ever spoke. The fact is actually lampshaded by the characters themselves on a few occasions.

Spider Shadow: You don't talk much, do you Flame?
Spider Flame: ...silence...

  • The Child from Berserk. While he does not speak in his human form when the body of light appears before Guts - which only appears when the Child is around - when he is on the verge of becoming a monster, it does speak.
  • Mayu from Morita-san wa Mukuchi rarely speaks because her mother said to think before speaking. As a result she spends too much time thinking and misses the opportunity to speak. Luckily her friend Miki can usually guess what she wants from her facial expressions.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Black Bolt. His merest whisper can destroy vast spaceships, so he uses telepathy and sign language instead. When someone translates for him, however, he proves to have a very dry wit.
  • Kevin, the especially disturbing silent killer of Sin City.
    • His father Cardinal Roark informs Marv that he only talks to him and that he has a wonderful singing voice.
    • Deadly little Miho also qualifies, though she's on the side of the Anti Heroes.
  • Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe. In Marvel continuity he was implied to have always been rather taciturn by nature, but on a mission he stayed in a crashing helicopter to save Scarlett and had a fuel line blow a window up right in his face. This led to a great deal of facial scarring and he also accidentally inhaled some burning gasoline, permanently scorching his vocal cords.
    • A crossover comic with Transformers (one of many, actually), also plays with the second part of the trope, when, before the formation of the group, then-Colonel Hawk calls Snake-Eyes "Chatterbox", and reveals that he made a bet with the other soldiers that Snake-Eyes couldn't stay silent for the entire mission. Then Cobra attacks with brainwashed Autobots and Decepticons, rendering him silent for the rest of his life.
    • In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, it's explained that Snake-Eyes apparently took a vow of silence after witnessing the death of his master as a kid, instead of any sort of vocal chord destruction.
  • The angel Duma from The Sandman and its spinoff Lucifer. Initially justified by his function as the Guardian of Silence; however, he continues to be silent after the Creator gives him a new function as co-ruler of Hell. (This is based on Jewish folklore which casts Duma as ruler of Gehenna, as his name is one of the biblical synonyms for the underworld, and in fact means "silence" in Hebrew.) He is nonetheless able to communicate through facial expressions and gestures and, in Lucifer, even in discrete words through telepathy. In the latter comic, he finally breaks his silence in order to stop co-ruler Remiel from tearing apart Rudd's soul and to appoint Rudd as the new ruler of Hell.
    • In the Phil Foglio version of Stanley and His Monster, Duma "speaks" by showing little notes to his colleagues.
      • Also, in Endless Nights, Delirium's story "Going Inside" features a girl who does not speak after being raped. Towards the end of the comic she is shown as recovering and speaking after helping to find Delirium.
  • In Joker, Harley Quinn of all people is this. She does do some awesome stuff (and look damn good doing it), though. This might just be because Harley's usual characterisation wouldn't gel with the comic's atmosphere so well.


Fan-Fiction[edit | hide]


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Taarna, the heroine of the final story of the 1981 movie Heavy Metal, never speaks. Whether she can't or merely won't, however, is never explained.
    • Strangely, this actually makes her the most interesting character in the movie.
  • In the original version of The Thief and the Cobbler, Tack never said anything until the end when he gets engaged to Princess Yum Yum—he says "I love you too" in a surprisingly deep voice. Later versions however had him speak throughout the movie.
    • Also, the thief was silent throughout the original version. The only time he makes any vocalization is when he fakes getting his hands chopped off. Later versions had him speak, though.
  • Spike from The Land Before Time is voiceless, only speaking in squawks and grunts. The only instants he speaks are when his sister falls down a ledge ("DUCKY!") and when he breaks through thin ice ("MOM!") Justified because he's a baby, and adult Stegosaurs in the films are shown to be perfectly capable of speech.
  • Dopey from Snow White doesn't speak at all, though he is quite expressive. One of the others says that Dopey doesn't know whether he can talk, because he never tried.
  • Dumbo as well. Also justified because of his young age.
  • In Up although she was plenty talkative as a child, Ellie is never heard speaking once as an adult in the montage (though neither is anyone else).
  • In "Peter Pan", Tiger Lily was mostly taciturn. A rare speaking moment from her was when she cried to Peter for help.
    • This is partly justified, since Captain Hook has been threatening her to give up information, and the Indian princess bravely refuses to disclose anything.
  • In "The Care Bears Movie", Secret Bear let his secret of never uttering a word slip a couple of times. When he says "the key", while handing it to Nicholas to help him close a book which contains The Spirit's face and when he lets out a "yeah!!" during a song, as the Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins fall down from the sound of this behind them and they turn around, and look at him surprisingly.
  • In Tangled, the King and Queen do not speak. Despite this, they have three of the most emotionally charged and tearjerking scenes in the movie, which says a lot about the quality of the animation.
    • In the special Tangled Ever After, the Queen gets a single line in an Imagine Spot.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • "Battle Royale": Kiriyama, one of the most psychopathic students in the game, never says a word. The only noise he makes is blowing into a loudspeaker.
  • The Blind Side: Michael, due to his Dark and Troubled Past, when he first arrives at his new private religious school. He eventually opens up and starts talking after the Tuohys begin helping him.
  • Vinnie Jones (The Sphinx) in Gone in Sixty Seconds, who gets a lengthy philosophical soliloquy at the end.
  • The Thin Man, played by Crispin Glover, in the Charlie's Angels films.
  • The View Askewniverse/New Jersey Trilogy movies by Kevin Smith
    • Silent Bob, who earns his nickname. If you pull the string on Silent Bob's action figure, nothing happens. Each film has about one instance of him talking, ranging from a profound monologue (Clerks) to an Indiana Jones impression after throwing someone off a train (Dogma) to him just finally losing it with Jay's stupidity (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). The trend is subverted in Clerks II: When in jail at the end and having to figure out what to do Jay says to Bob, "That's your cue man!" To which Bob tries to think out something and just shrugs off with a "I've got nothing".
      • In Chasing Amy he starts gearing up for his speech when Jay gripes that, oh look, Bob's opening his mouth, motherfucker thinks that just because he never says anything that one time he motherfucking says something he thinks it's so motherfucking profound. Bob points out that he at least has a leg up on Jay, who talks all the time and yet has never said anything remotely meaningful.
    • God, in Dogma, since living humans would die instantly if they ever heard her speak out loud; the Metatron has to speak for her.
  • One of the holders of the Pieces of Eight in the third Pirates of the Caribbean never spoke, but as it turned out, it was because he actually had a very high-pitched, squeaky voice..
    • Cotton, one of Jack's crew members, also never speaks, since his tongue was cut out. He speaks through his parrot instead (which isn't a very good speaker).
  • Dwayne of Little Miss Sunshine, begins the film as this because he's taken a vow of silence until he can join the Air Force Academy. However, he begins speaking regularly after finding out he's color-blind and thus can't become a pilot. His first word is a very loud "FUCK!"
  • Jaws from the James Bond movies. At the end of his second film appearance in Moonraker, he has one line of dialogue when preparing a toast to his bespectacled girlfriend as the rocket ship is heading back to Earth. He says, "Here's to us."
  • Another Bond example: Emil Locque, the Psycho for Hire Career Killer in For Your Eyes Only. We see him speaking on the phone at one point, but we cannot hear him. He later screams in terror when Bond kills him. Otherwise, he is silent.
  • Colby (Lee Van Cleef) from High Noon, seems to speak at the beginning, but has no lines beyond a few harmonica tunes.
    • Not to be confused with Charles Bronson's similarly harmonica-bound character in Once Upon A Time In The West, who was more The Quiet One.
  • Harpo of the Marx Brothers built his professional persona around pantomime. As a youth, his Uncle Al wrote him a vaudeville part that was silent, but Harpo insisted on ad-libbing some lines. Afterwards, he read a review that said his excellent pantomime was spoiled once he started talking. Thereafter, he never spoke in a performance again, and very rarely allowed his voice to be recorded. However, he does audibly sneeze in At the Circus and might be harmonizing "Sweet Adeline" with his brothers in Monkey Business.
    • According to Joe Adamson in Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers, the producers of their next-to-last feature, A Night in Casablanca, wanted to give Harpo a single spoken line—a scream of "Murder!"—so they could promote the film with "Harpo Speaks!" Harpo listened to the proposal, thought it through, and shook his head. (However, he did like the proposed tagline enough to use it as the title of his autobiography.)
    • If you're curious what Harpo sounded like, some recordings of his voice can be found here.
  • Stanley, the title character in Jerry Lewis' The Bell Boy, doesn't say a word until the very end of the film (although Lewis, in a dual role, also appears as himself and speaks while doing so).
  • Lane's super-genius kid brother Badger in Better Off Dead never says a word on-screen, which doesn't seem to keep him from picking up trashy women. There's also a young Asian immigrant who never speaks because he doesn't know any English - although his brother does, and talks like Howard Cosell, thanks to repeated viewings of Wide World of Sports.
  • Kroenen in Hellboy, on account of removing his lips, among other things. His character is completely different in the Comic Book and can speak quite well.
  • Vega in the Street Fighter movie; he only speaks with his mask on or off screen. In the games, he can indeed talk whenever he wants. This sparked a rumour that the actor who played him couldn't speak English or was mute.
  • Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, ostensibly deaf-mute, eventually reveals to McMurphy that he's faking it.
  • Tiny never speaks in either House Of 1000 Corpses or The Devil's Rejects. This may be due to the fact that he's completely covered in burn scars and can't hear very well.
  • Nishi (played by Kitano Takeshi) in Hana-bi.
  • Han-gi in Bad Guy by Kim Ki-duk. When he does eventually speak, his voice turns out to be a hoarse whisper.
  • The two protagonists of 3Iron, also by Kim Ki-duk, share a romance through the entire film without ever speaking a word.
  • The Avengers 1998:
    • Eddie Izzard's character Bailey is silent in all but one of his appearances. Reportedly, to avoid a PG rating an F-word was added on the soundtrack just before his demise to bump it up to PG-13.
    • Mrs. Peel's clone doesn't say a word in any of her appearances on screen.
  • One of the comedy writers in My Favorite Year says nothing up until the film scene, when he finally blurts out, "Oh God, this makes me happy!"
  • In the Scottish comedy Gregory's Girl, the character of Charlie doesn't speak until the final scene, when he point out that the capital of Venezuela is misspelled.
  • The bounty hunters chasing Hulk Hogan in Suburban Commando are large, muscular and silent—until one(played ironically by Mark "The Undertaker" Calloway)speaks in a squeaky, girly voice, prompting Hogan to remark, "No wonder you guys never talk!"
  • The Golden Child, as a Buddhist Messiah figure, never speaks until the very end, after he's been rescued.
  • Mitch in Waiting, for the most part. Every time he is asked a question or tries to speak, he is somehow interrupted within the first two words of his response. Averted in the end when he goes on a tirade at the end during the party.
  • The Korean Hi, Dharma! comedy movies, about Buddhist monks in a modern society, has one monk under a vow of silence, Played for Laughs of course.
  • Sub-Zero, and Reptile from the first Mortal Kombat film.
  • Everyone assumes the title character in What the Deaf Man Heard is a deaf-mute, until he appears as a witness in a court case.
  • The Guns of Navarone: Anna has never spoken after her torture by the Germans. But that's all a lie, since she's actually The Mole.
  • Even after the introduction of sound, Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character didn't speak. The first and only time we hear the Tramp's voice is when he sings in Modern Times. Chaplin chose to have the Tramp sing gibberish so he could continue to cross all language barriers.
  • In Scrooged, the son of the TV executive's African-American assistant hasn't spoken since his father (her husband) was murdered a couple years back. Until the end with the TV executive, where he speaks: "God bless us every one."
  • Inverted in Mel Brooks's Silent Movie: the only one who says anything is Marcel Marceau, the French mime, who gives an enthusiastic, "Non!" to appearing in the film.
  • In the first X-Men movie, the Brotherhood members never speak. Mystique is silent but for one line early on, except when she's disguised. It's quite effective and adds to her, well, mystique. Sabretooth has two lines, Toad has three.
  • Riptide (Janos Quested) from X-Men: First Class never speaks.
  • Laddie, the youngest of the vampires from The Lost Boys, doesn't speak until the very end, when he bursts out with Star's name in his excitement over having become human again. He does snarl at the Frog brothers prior to this, but it's inarticulate growling, not words.
  • Allison in The Breakfast Club remains quiet for at least the whole first half of the movie, during which time she has a grand total of one line of dialogue (aside from shouting "ha" once). It isn't until the last quarter of the film that she finally opens up and we start to learn about her troubled social life.
  • Special mention must go to the Furies in 1979's The Warriors. They are baseball bat-wielding, Day-Glo face-painted vigilantes who prowl New York's Central Park after dark and never, ever utter a single word.
  • Mindy, Dupree's girlfriend in You, Me & Dupree, apparently can speak, but we never hear her do so; we do hear her scream in pain when Dupree accidentally sets her on fire. Even more bizarrely, Mindy is also The Faceless.
  • In 44 Inch Chest, the kidnapped French "Loverboy" never says a word, even though his captors don't bother to gag him. Oddly, the filmmakers went to the trouble of casting a French actor even though we never hear his accent.
  • In the original Halloween series Michael never spoke and only ever uttered generic noises like grunts, which themselves are barely audible in most cases. In the remake series Michael's shown to talk, but only as a child.
    • ... until the director's cut for Halloween II (2009), where he screams "DIE!" at Loomis before stabbing him multiple times.
    • An early version of H20 also had Michael speak. Right before Laurie kills him with a javelin, he would've said her name.
  • Similarly Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13 th never spoke except as a child in the flashbacks and in the earlier films before he became a zombie he would occasionally grunt and scream.
  • The Holy Man in Black Narcissus. Kanji screams, but has no dialogue.
  • Mini-Me Dr. Evil's clone from the Austin Powers series, the only things he ever says are "Me or Eee" and during Dr. Evil's music video he says "You and I" in a deep voice.
  • Vulnavia, The Dragon to the Villain Protagonist in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Offscreen, she apparently can speak, although she is The Quiet One. Onscreen, her only utterance is a scream of agony as she is doused with Hollywood Acid.
  • The Human Centipede films have a couple such characters. In First Sequence, the cop named Voller never utters a word, merely staring piercingly (something between a Death Glare and a Kubrick Stare) but it's assumed he can talk. In Full Sequence, Villain Protagonist Martin is suggested to have spoken offscreen numerous times, even making phone calls, but otherwise never actually says a single thing outside of a few weird squeaks and grunts.
  • Repo the Genetica Opera has two identical characters who speak one line in the entire film. Justified as they're the silent, badass bodyguards of Rotti Largo.
  • The Artist, the almost-but-not-quite "silent film", features an interesting twist on this trope. It is mostly a silent film where we can't hear characters speak except in inter-titles. However, in a dream sequence, we find that suddenly the world has sound (which we can hear), except that our hero finds he cannot speak, despite trying to. At the very end of the film he speaks, audibly, for the first time - indicating that he has now accepted the inevitability of people talking in movies. We are also surprised by the fact he has a strong French accent, which may explain earlier reluctance to appear in talkies.

Humor[edit | hide]

  • An old joke goes: there was a boy who never spoke. As he grew up, his parents took him to doctors, specialists, healers; there appeared to be no physical reason for his silence, but no one was ever able to make a dent in it. Finally they gave up and accepted him for what he was. One day when he was 13, the family was eating dinner, and the boy suddenly spit it out and loudly proclaimed, "This soup is terrible!" His parents were shocked. "You can speak?" "Of course I can. Why wouldn't I be able to speak? Perfectly normal thing to do." "Then why have you been silent all these years?" "Well, up to now, the soup's been pretty good."


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Inkie from The Seventh Tower.
  • In John Scalzi's Old Man's War Maggie is an example, though at one point after she speaks and is looked at oddly, she comments "What? I'm just quiet, not mute."
  • In Daughter of the Forest, based on the traditional fairy tale, a girl must rescue her brothers after they have been turned into swans by her evil stepmother. To do so she must not speak (or, it seems, make any vocal sound, not even sobs or cries of pain) until she has made seven shirts for them out of what are essentially sharp thistled plants. She manages it, but it causes her quite a few troubles, including one man's death because she could not speak up at the appropriate time.
  • In The Chronicles of the Black Company, one of the company wizards (called Silent) is quite the embodiment of this trope.
  • In The Dragonslayer's Apprentice, the dragonslayer's assistant Ron is like this; he says little, if anything, and has mastered the art of nonverbal communication. He says so little that when the titular apprentice fills her boss in on the details of a celebration he got a little too drunk at, a big deal is made of Ron commenting that he likes the sausages.
  • Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy book two Lirael.
    • Lirael rarely talks to any of the Clayr after becoming a librarian. She does, however, talk to the Dog.
  • A running joke in John Morgan Wilson's Benjamin Justice series. Fred, one of Justice's elderly landlords, has virtually no dialogue, beyond the occasional grunt.
  • Adah Price in The Poisonwood Bible communicates almost entirely by writing notes. After she goes to college alone, she's pretty much forced to talk and starts acting more normally, much to Rachel's surprise.
  • In Superfudge, baby sister Tootsie is too young to speak until the end, when she starts imitating the "Yuck!" that Peter utters while changing her diaper. Her timely repitition of "Yuck!" is later misinterpreted as "York!" by the rest of the family, which helps them reach the decision to move back to New York City ("Nu yuck!").
  • The only sounds Rip the Coyote from the Hank the Cowdog series makes are grunts of affirmation ("Uh") or negation ("Uh-uh").
  • John Marsden's So Much To Tell You is written as a diary by a girl called Marina. Before the book starts, she was horribly disfigured when her father threw acid in her face (while aiming for his wife). She hasn't spoken since, and does not break her silence until the final chapter when she visits her father in prison and announces that she has "So much to tell [him]."
  • Harry Potter: Crabbe and Goyle, until the last book.
    • Marietta Edgecomb, despite being infamous of her one act of being a tattletale, never says anything onscreen.
  • In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Oskar's grandfather slowly loses his ability to speak after Anna's death. He resorts to writing everything in journals and even tattoos "Yes" on one hand and "No" on the other.
  • In Tiassa, Khaarven's servant Borteliff is widely assumed to be mute. He can talk, he's just found that silence in a servant is so prized by his employers that he'll go for a year or more without saying a word.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Played for laughs in one episode of The Big Bang Theory at season 2 where Sheldon ended up with laryngitis. As a result, he has to communicate with a laptop and does gestures while it talks to what he is typing at.
  • In season 5 of Canada's Worst Handyman, Matt's nominator Silent Keith fully lives up to his nickname, never saying a word or making a sound. The one time he speaks is in the 2nd-to-last episode, when spoken to about not speaking.
  • Stan from Will and Grace plays this trope straight without any exceptions.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Morn, an example of a "voiceless chatterbox". The funny part is that he wasn't originally meant to be a Voiceless character, and the make-up crew went through the trouble of making his mask in two parts (i.e., for a movable jaw) in anticipation of lines that never came. Played even further by having other characters constantly mention how much he keeps talking all the time and tells the funniest jokes... just never while the camera is around.
      • Just as Morn never speaks on screen, so the novels never give him dialogue (again, despite mentioning how he's actually a chatterbox). In the first book of Star Trek: Millennium, it briefly looks like Morn has been giving dialogue as part of a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Turns out it's actually Odo taking Morn's form.
    • Maihar'du, the Grand Nagus's servant, is said never to speak except to his master. The only time his voice is heard in the series, it's not actually him but a wormhole alien using his likeness.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mr. Homn, Lwaxana's valet, never speaks until the end of his first appearance, surprising everyone when he gives his one line. He would never speak again.
    • It's not clear whether the Breen are The Speechless or The Voiceless. However, given Star Trek's amazing translation technology, it seems likely that the reason they don't communicate with other characters is that they don't want to.
  • For his entire run on Hey Hey It's Saturday, Drummer "Animal" never spoke a word onscreen. Once, when he received an award, instead of speaking his thanks, he handed a letter to another cast member, who then read it aloud.
  • Mr. Foley on Remember WENN (another "voiceless chatterbox").
  • Clarabell the Clown on The Howdy Doody Show (who did speak in the final episode).
  • Larry's brother Darryl and Larry's other brother Darryl in Newhart (again, spoke in the final episode—ironically, only to bellow "Shut up!" at their chattering wives).
  • Bill from The Red Green Show is usually considered one of The Voiceless, though this may be unfair: he most often appears in the Adventures With Bill segments, in which the dialogue is replaced with a narration by Red, though he has shown up in the regular scenes from time to time, as well as in the Red Green movie Duct Tape Forever. In the "Behind The Scenes" special, the character of Bill appears, and points out that many people assume him to be mute, but he is actually quite talkative.
    • Justified in one of the books when Red states that the old black and white movie cameras they use to record the Adventure segments just have crappy microphones that don't pick up what Bill is saying.
      • In some of the adventures in seasons 7-8, and towards the end of the show when Rick Green returned, you can actually hear voiceovers of whatever Bill is saying at the time. He sounds like a frantic, hyperactive version of Rick Green, the man who plays him.
    • Also lampshaded in one of the books, in which Bill is specifically handed a chance to ramble on... at length... about whatever he finds interesting... and we discover that it's probably just as well that we never actually hear him speak.
    • Further, Bill is an Expy of Bill from Bala, a character from several Frantics skits. The main gag behind the character was that he never shut up. The joke here was he never got to talk.
  • Rajesh from The Big Bang Theory never speaks around girls, except when he's drunk (slipped up in one episode, though, prompting him to cover up his mouth).
  • The enigmatic racing driver known as The Stig on the British car show Top Gear has only been seen to speak once in an interview, although he didn't say much else other than confirming that his name is The Stig. He is always wearing the same coveralls and helmet, which when added to his muteness suggest that more than one man may be playing the role.
    • There have been two Stigs on Top Gear: "The Black Stig" and "The White Stig" (named for the colors of the racing overalls and helmets that they wore). The Black Stig has been revealed to be British F1 driver Perry McCarthy, although McCarthy has stated that more than one driver has played the role of The Stig. To date, the identity of The White Stig hasn't been revealed. The Other Wiki has an article on The Stig.
    • Incidentally, Top Gear has been far from hesitant to play around with The Stig's role as The Voiceless, as demonstrated in the DIY Caterham vs. The Stig segment.
    • The White Stig was briefly revealed to be F1 legend Michael Schumacher but the BBC swears this was just a joke, presumably because the car being tested was the Ferrari FXX.
  • The Haitian during most of the 1st season ("volume 1") of Heroes. Many characters still believe he's incapable of speech.
  • In the iCarly episode iSpace Out the little girl who infiltrates the Shays' apartment never says a word.
  • Jesse's brother John in Jesse upheld a vow of silence and was completely mute until That One Critical Moment when he decided to speak and save Jesse's relationship. For the rest of the season he became the good-natured wisecracker of the cast.
  • Jerri's father in Strangers with Candy is only ever seen silently frozen in place, usually with an expression of extreme shock. He's implied to be very active whenever the camera isn't on him.
  • Matt's best friend Lanny on Lizzie McGuire. Matt and Melina were the only ones who ever seemed to be able to communicate with him. Matt even had a conversation with him over the phone, which really confused his parents.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The Nameless Hispanic girl employed as a lookout by Carlos never speaks a word on screen. Emotionless Girl Cameron appears to identify with this, because she lets her live in "What He Beheld".
  • Effy Stonem in the first series of Skins - and her Expy, Eura, in the American remake.
  • The General in Prison Break used to be this, apparently for fear of being recorded saying something incriminating. He is first heard speaking in a small boat in the middle of the ocean where the environmental conditions somehow prevent bugs from transmitting. He later abandoned this habit for no apparent reason.
  • The episode "Battlefield" of the mini-series Nightmares and Dreamscapes has no dialog whatsoever, including extras and an anchorwoman on television (the audience in aware of what's being reported by text instead). The main character does make some noise, such as yelling in pain, anger or surprise.
  • The stagehands in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger.
    • And, years earlier, Grifforzer of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, until he was reunited with his wife Lamie. He claimed to have been saving his voice for her.
  • In Breaking Bad, the Salamenca cousins, even though they're fully able to talk, only speak in two of the six episodes they appeared in; their reputation and actions spoke for them, in most instances.
  • The IT Crowd, in the episode "Something Happened", had Norman, Jen's new boyfriend who plays the keyboard in a band.
  • Cute little Vorena, the Younger from Rome emits only three brief sounds throughout the entirety of the series despite featuring regularly as a background character.
  • Brad, the ubiquitous piano player, on Glee.
  • The Adventures of Brisco County Jr had gunfighter Utah Johnny Montana (he's from Idaho) who can't speak due to having been shot in the throat, and has a sidekick who does all his talking for him.
  • Wacky the Wolf, from A.N.T. Farm.
    • Noted in one episode; When Lexi disguises herself in a cheap replica of Wacky's costume, and starts asking why the rest of the cheerleaders seem to hate her, one of them notes that Wacky never speaks.
  • Jake Bohm from Touch, whose voice is only heard during the opening narration of each episode (except when he screams).
  • On an episode of The X-Files set in a town full of sideshow performers, the heavily-tattooed Conundrum doesn't say anything until the very end, when he breaks his silence to deliver a lame punch-line.


Pro Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • "The Shooter" Dean Malenko in the original ECW NEVER spoke, usually having a mouthpiece (Jason, Shane Douglas). At times this was played up in promos, such as when Douglas noted that Malenko was very happy after winning a title, and for his victory speech... he said nothing (even as Douglas held the microphone to his mouth). Of course, this made it an even bigger event after Dean's and Eddie Guerrero's last match in ECW when he asked for the mike and gave a farewell speech.
  • Kane was this trope for a while after debuting at Bad Blood in 1997. He helped to cement his role as a silent badass monster. Over the years, he slowly found himself capable of speaking more and more usually during face runs in order to humanize him which eventually culminated years later when he unmasked. First, he started talking with a voice box when he challenged Stone Cold Steve Austin to a First Blood match in 1998. Later, he revealed he could make noise when he let out an animalistic yell over a downed ally (X-Pac... or was it Chyna? This troper can't remember...) Then, finally, they had Kane speak on his own - and, yes, his words were "suck it."
  • Countless "evil foreigners", mostly of the Samoan or jungle variety (Wild Samoans, Kamala, Abdullah the Butcher, et al). Save for the occasional primal moaning, of course.
    • Vladimir Kozlov passed through a fascinating progression of this. He started out never speaking at all (which was also emphasized by his ring entrance, which featured no music or sound). Eventually he got a musical theme and began speaking, but he could only say things in Russian with the occasional English phrase. Now he speaks in English (with a Russian accent) pretty much exclusively, but still doesn't talk all that much.
  • Sting took a vow of silence in WCW during the third quarter of 1996 (right after the New World Order hired an impostor Sting to frame the real Sting for a heinous act) and would not speak again until very late in 1997 - and that was only out of anger at being stripped of the WCW Championship.
  • Hornswoggle, the mischievous leprechaun, has been around since 2006 and has only spoken a handful of times since then. The first time was in 2007, when he expressed his fear of the Little Boogeyman by saying (among other things), "Little people are scary!" Subsequent appearances primarily showed him being unable to talk unless he tentatively mimicked the words of others, such as when Christian got him to shout, "MOOSE!" at Vickie Guerrero.
    • Except now he's able to talk, thanks to a wish from Santa (yes, really).
  • Sin Cara, a high-flying masked WWE wrestler, hasn't spoken a word,[1] opting instead to gesture at his opponents, and of course, dazzling the fans with an impressive aerial arsenal.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Slann Mage-Priests from Warhammer Fantasy qualify. Usually, they're too busy contemplating to speak, and only one has ever said anything. His words? "Attend to the gates!"
    • Word of God is that they do talk on occasion, but it's always in short blurbs. Then the Skink Priests take forever to figure out what they meant. (They've fought the High Elves for centuries because when a Slann first met some, he said, "They should not be here", and the Lizardmen took it as a genocide order... while he could have just as easily meant "Send them back to Ulthuan".)
    • The Phoenix Guard of the High Elves take a binding vow of silence.


Theatre[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Zoq-Fot-Pik from Star Control II are a trio of aliens (one green and vaguely plantlike, one blue and cylindrical, and one red and spherical) who evolved together, and always come in groups of one each. The red one never seems to say anything, though.
    • In fact, one of the dialogue options when meeting them is "Doesn't that guy behind you say anything?", to which the other two reply "Nope," and "Not a word."
  • Just about all the Ko-Matoran in the Bionicle online games, their dialogue consisting of the page quote. They speak just fine in the comics, though.
  • Sergei Dragunov of Tekken doesn't speak at all - the only noises he makes are grunts when he's attacking or being hit (and, in the case of one of his Tekken 6 win poses, humming). Not much of a problem, in that (since it's a Fighting Game) he communicates mainly by kicking ass.
    • Tekken 6's Scenrio Mode reveals that he is, in fact, capable of speech, he just chooses to not speak 99% of the time (a fact that is frequently lampshaded by several characters, especially Alisa). In one level, Alisa reacts with amazement when he utters a single word ("I am shocked. You can speak!"), and, in another level, he goes one further by speaking an entire sentence to Raven. It should be noted, however, that the audience never actually hears him speak, as all of Scenario Mode's dialogue (minus the cutscenes) is purely text-based.
      • Sergei's official profile lists his hobby as "singing", and word is he has quite the singer's voice.
    • Neither do any of the Mokujins.
    • None of the Jack robots are heard to speak, either, although Tekken 6's Scenario Mode does reveal that Jack-6 is capable of speech - albeit Hulk Speak, and it's written entirely in caps ("BIOLOGICAL IGNORE JACK. JACK SAD.").
  • Any player character from the Pokémon games. The most notable is Red, whom you can encounter and battle in Pokémon Gold and Silver and their remakes. The only dialogue he gets in the text box is "..."
  • Link is one example. Other than the random grunts and yells, he never utters any words. The tradition is broken in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, when Link occasionally yells "C'mon!", but that's it.
  • Kevin Smith in Suda 51's Killer7. He never makes a sound other than the noise of him throwing a knife. He doesn't even grunt when the enemies explode on him. Hand in Killer7 says that his voice can summon gods.
  • Mario Is Missing: Weegee, according to Fanon.
    • An quick elaboration here is that while he does speak in the actual game, fanon explains his silent nature as when he actually does speak, something especially horrible will happen.
  • Len of Tsukihime basically never says anything but "............." in official material. She's still somehow able to communicate, presumably just by showing her emotions really, really well. (Shiki, for one, seems able to pull full sentences just from reading her facial expressions.)
    • She does speak a total of twice. In Kagetsu Tohya, she gasps out Shiki's name during an...intense moment. In Melty Blood, she tells White Len (who sort of is Len's voice and intellect) to, basically, shut up, get back here, and stop screwing up reality.
    • She's also seen muttering to herself at one point in Kagetsu Tohya about the paradoxes and contradictions going on and hoping she can fix it before Shiki notices.
  • One of the Thorntails in Star Fox Adventures says "Mumble... mumble... not now..." when you try to speak with him, until after the WarpStone tells you to look for "He who has no voice". Then he'll spill. Apparently, he hasn't spoken in a while.
  • Claude Speed from Grand Theft Auto III never talks beyond grunts of pain when he gets shot. It's believed he actually lost his ability to speak somehow (tongue cut out, probably). This is supported somewhat; when he appears in San Andreas he's described as a "snake without a tongue".
  • Ward in Final Fantasy VIII starts out able to speak, but an encounter with some Esthar soldiers renders him mute for the rest of the game. However, Kiros and possibly Laguna have gotten REALLY good at reading his body language, to the point where they can interpret entire conversations with him.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy X. Kimahri is set up as being one of these characters, being stoic and totally silent for the first few hours, but he surprises Tidus by speaking, and after that he has no problems opening up (though he's hardly a chatterbox). His earlier extended silence is explained as him not liking Tidus.
  • The dabuses in Planescape: Torment communicate only in rhebuses. The Nameless One can decypher them with a moderate level of Intelligence, but getting other party companions' translations can reveal nuances in symbolism and more of those characters' personalities.
  • Pleinar from Disgaea, except in the first game where you access the Dark Assembly by speaking to her. She's silent if you recruit her in New Game+, though. In Disgaea 2 she's a news anchor but never speaks, instead letting her bunny/co-anchor/emergency food supply do the talking. At one point she's on the screen alone and proceeds to give the news in 30 seconds of silence.
  • Mathilda, the Black Baron's "ho" in MadWorld, never says a thing. She does, however, give little poses after punting the Baron into the latest deathtrap. She seems to enjoy her work.
  • Thor Herring in the later Backyard Sports games.
  • Halo 3: ODST gave us The Rookie, who, aside from grunts and yells, never says a single word. The Chief doesn't count, since he talks in cutscenes.
  • Gordon Freeman from Half Life. Lampshaded in Half-Life 2 when another character comments "Strong silent type eh?"
  • The player character from Saints Row never speaks during gameplay. He has exactly 4 lines in the game, each spoken during the final cutscene of a chapter. Subverted in the sequel, where he drops the mute act, and becomes a loudmouth nut.
  • Fuuma Kotaro in Sengoku Basara takes this to the extreme, making no noise at all: he doesn't even breathe audibly. This apparently comes from the fact that he's a highly professional Ninja that just focuses on his job and has no need for words. The creators lampshade this, using a gust of wind and the sound of a shuriken as his voice sample, and having him communicate exclusively in ellipses.
  • Samus Aran of Metroid used to be this. Metroid Fusion only had a few lines outside of journal entries, but in Metroid: Other M she talks constantly.
  • This describes many old school RPG protagonists the player controls. Even when you can choose things to say for them in certain conversations, you'll never hear the character's own dialogue. Take your pick: Crono, Vahn, Red (or really any Pokemon protagonist), Brian, Toan... even Mario, who often resorts to expressive pantomime in order to communicate.
  • In Dead Space, this is played straight with Isaac. He can talk in the sequel, though.
  • In Sonic Generations, Classic Sonic does not speak. Something of a nod to the Genesis games, where Sonic never spoke. Classic Tails, on the other hand...
  • Ryuji from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. He never speaks during his cutscenes, and he only speaks in the battle when he does his dash or you lose a clash with him ("See you in hell...") or when he is summoning his dragon ("Come out, dragon..."). The rest is just grunts.
  • Starfy from the Starfy series, who only speaks in squeals.
  • Isaku, the main antagonist and title character of the Isaku Survival Horror games and its anime adaptions, doesn't speak. He only communicates to the protagonist through notes narrated by someone else and videotapes of his deeds.
  • Isaac in the first Golden Sun game is a Heroic Mime, and Felix takes over the role in Golden Sun: The Lost Age. In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Isaac's son Matthew doesn't get any written lines, but it's implied that he speaks anyway; sometimes you'll be prompted to elucidate an emotional response to a remark, and if you choose "angry" in the right spot, Karis will remark, "Wow! Graphic!"
  • Hawke from Advance Wars 2 and DS partially qualifies. Where other Commanding Officers would cheer or lament at a good or bad turn of events for each simulated battle respectively, Hawke would only respond with "...", regardless of whether he suffered a crushing defeat or completely obliterated his opponent.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Poopsmith in Homestar Runner, who has taken a vow of silence (for no explained reason).
  • The entire intelligent cast of Adam Phillips' Brackenwood, and also Bingbong. Of the three, the Auld Sage barely speaks (one line per appearance, not counting the time he sang a Coldplay song), Lemonee Wee hasn't had cause to say much on screen, and Bitey spends most of his time around animals that can't talk back, so he doesn't bother.
  • Whenever Mario shows up in Bowser's Kingdom, he says nothing except the grunting from Charles Martinet.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Nate from Bob and George actually cannot talk at all, save for the line "Behind you, doofus", back when he was just a Yellow Demon (and presumably before the author decided on that character quirk), and when they were all in a computer. He communicates with signs that come out of nowhere, so it doesn't really matter.
  • In the comic Unshelved, Colleen's adopted daughter Doreen never spoke for years, apparently because she was too little. When Dewey finally wondered about this, he found out she had been speaking—just not to him (and thus not to us, since he's the viewpoint character).
  • In The Wotch, when Jason/Sonja is turned into a child along with Anne and Robin, s/he never talks, instead communicating with thought bubbles (with pictures, not words.) Communication is accomplished by whispering (and we get graphical speech bubbles.) Gets one line at the end of the story, but it's not treated as a dramatic "Wow! S/he can talk!" moment, so it's possibly an oversight.
  • The title character from The Egregious Adventures of the Wom Wom Coconut, i.e., the coconut, never speaks. Its only direct mode of expression is the "wom wom" sound it makes while hovering. Anything the coconut "says" is described, not quoted, by the narrator.
  • Emm from The Wisdom Of Moo is an odd example. She speaks frequently, but never as herself—she's a ventriloquist who speaks only through her cow hand puppet, the eponymous Moo. Later on, she had to talk when Moo was in the wash, and made her shirt-sleeve into a makeshift sock puppet to do so... then ran away when she accidentally spoke for herself, rather than through a puppet.
  • Aylee from Sluggy Freelance once became unable to talk due to having her throat slit by Oasis. She got better.
  • Buddha is one of these in Sinfest, serving as a comparison for the in-your-face Devil and the Deadpan Snarker/Cloudcuckoolander God.
  • Scut from Gnoph never says anything apart from 'Kyuu!' and 'Ki!' (or variants thereof) except for one line, which was 'I'm sorry.'
  • Black, during his internship at the Leafy Bar in Bard. He spoke exactly once, and that was when he was offered another position. Not so dramatic now are you, Black?
  • The Touhou 4koma series Journal (warning: link leads to Danbooru, and thus may be NSFW, although the series itself is fine) involves several silent characters, most noticeably the main character Hakurei Reimu. As more silent characters are introduced later on, it seems that they are able to perfectly communicate with one another without words, often baffling those around them.
  • Stumps from Beyond the Canopy.
  • 3 from A Path to Greater Good.
  • In Wake the Sleepers, Ren appears as this until the end of the chapter.
  • In Question Duck, all the humans about the duck. Partly, perhaps, because of the difficulty of answering its off-the-wall questions. Except for #100 and #200.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Amaya.
  • Erma, from Erma - in over 250 strips, she's had one speech bubble - and it didn't have any words in it.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Lucy in Lonelygirl15, to sinister effect. She finally got a line in the late season 3 story "Prom: It's To Die For", although some fans were too busy reeling from the Wham! Episode to notice.
  • The Watcher in Kate Modern, who appears frequently but never gets a line. Mostly, he just... watches. Silently.
  • The German radio drama Allimania (which is set in World of Warcraft) has the character Raoul. Every time he speaks, the sound of a train is played and all character laugh about how funny he is... except for the female elf priestess, who does not believe that Raoul is NOT the Voiceless, despite what the other characters tell her.
  • Menelaos in Greek Ninja a lot of the time due to his limited knowledge of English.
  • The Ninja-Style Dancer on Atop the Fourth Wall only communicates with cue cards. Except in the Silent Hill: Dead/Alive review, but that was a hallucination.
  • Neo from RWBY. Prior to her (apparent) death at the end of Volume 3, the only vocalizations she made were gasps and grunts. In the Spin-Off comedy series RWBY Chibi, she goes so far as using signs, Looney Tunes-style, instead of speaking.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Grown-up Maggie, in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding". Every time she is about to speak she is interrupted. (And just to rub it in, Dr. Hibbert comments, "Heh heh, she's quite a hellion but she does have an incredible voice." And in another scene, Homer mutters to himself "Doesn't that girl ever shut up?") In fact, the only words Maggie has said at all (barring "Treehouse of Horror" shorts, hallucinations, and The Movie) is "Daddy" (and, after the credits in the movie, "Sequel?", as well as the 20th season finale, where she repeatedly says "Ya" after the ambiguously Norwegian Ogdenvillians migrate to Springfield).
    • In another episode set in the future, "Holidays of Future Past", Maggie is now a famous rock star, but is instructed not to speak while pregnant, as it turns out that "the umbilical cord is also a vocal cord".
  • Longshot and Combustion Man on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although Longshot eventually gets a line, Combustion Man doesn't. It's never made clear if he can speak or not, and it's too late now.
  • The title character of the Canadian cartoon Kevin Spencer does speak, and the other characters react appropriately, although the audience almost never hears his voice. Instead, the show's narrator tells us what Kevin is "saying".
  • In The Venture Brothers episode "The Incredible Mr. Brisby", the title character has an imposing black henchman who makes evil faces while carrying out his commands, but never speaks. Until the end, where in his final confrontation, he shrugs, "Man, I don't even need this job," and stalks off.
  • The title character in the Pink Panther cartoon almost never spoke in the original shorts. In fact, there were only two cartoons in which he actually spoke. When he got his own spinoff series in the 1990's, he spoke in nearly every episode.
  • The title characters of Tom and Jerry rarely speak beyond screams and yelps of pain. In some shorts they have at least one line of dialogue, and the only short in which both of them spoke throughout the picture was The Lonesome Mouse. Strangely enough, when the two hear each other talk in Tom and Jerry The Movie, they act very surprised despite having heard each other talk in past cartoons.
  • Snoopy from Peanuts doesn't really talk in the cartoons, but he does laugh, cry, and say words like "hey!", "ow!", and "woah!" On a few occasions in the specials (and regularly in the newspaper strip) we hear him "speak" through his thoughts.
  • In the Clerks the Animated Series segments at the end of the episodes, starring the above Jay and Silent Bob, the trope is inverted: instead of referring to the Voiceless as someone who talks a lot, he refers to Silent Bob's supposed inability to talk. The twist is that during these segments, Bob talks completely normally.

Jay: Kids, if Silent Bob could talk, he'd remind you that when you're camping, it's always smart to tie your food up in a tree at night so as not to attract bears.
Silent Bob: Word.

  • Furball from Tiny Toon Adventures usually only spoke through meows, but there were two episodes in which he talked. In "Buster and the Wolverine", after Sweetie is eaten by the wolverine, he comments on how he wanted to be the one to eat her. And in a Star Trek parody, he played the role of Spock.
  • Although that isn't the case in Code Lyoko, in the working pilot for the series titled Garage Kids, Ulrich is The Voiceless. He says a total of two syllables—blink and you'll miss it.
  • Chilly Willy the Penguin from the Walter Lantz company almost never spoke; there are only a small handful of cartoons in which he actually speaks.
    • Then who is that singing his (first-person) theme song?
  • Hisomi, of the Ninja Tribunal in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), is one of these, due to his role as the Ninja Master of Stealth.
  • Jericho, a last-minute inductee of the Teen Titans cartoon, has no voice of his own. His power of possession allows him to use the voice of whomever he chooses to overshadow.
    • Ironically, this exception to the trope backfires when Jericho. infiltrating a villainous stronghold, uses a borrowed body to respond to another Mook's question. Turns out that the borrowed body's owner, Cinderblock, is also The Voiceless. "Since when can you talk?"
    • Also Kyd Wykkyd, a member of the HIVE Five.
  • Shelby Bitterman of Baby Blues never speaks aside from the occasional grunt or sneeze.
  • Hobie Brown in The Spectacular Spider-Man is always interrupted before he says anything, though he does eventually get to deliver a monologue from Shakespeare.
    • The series also has Mrs. Osborn who never speaks and only sits glumly. Norman Osborn isn't the greatest husband and father.
  • For all intents and purposes, Brainy from Hey Arnold! never ever says anything, just... snores.
    • Not all the time.
  • Curare in Batman Beyond. It's never made clear whether she can't speak or just chooses not to.
  • Debbie Grund, Buck Strickland's secretary and mistress from King of the Hill was silent until the episode "Hanky Panky" she is also killed off in that same episode.
    • The Firefighter "Beef" from "A Firefighting We Will Go" never speaks once but he does laugh plenty.
  • Snake Eyes from pretty much every incarnation of G.I. Joe, from the 80s cartoon, to Sigma 6, to Resolute, and now in Renegades, is a prime example of this.
  • The Chameleon in Spider-Man: The Animated Series is an odd case - he never once uses his own voice, instead imitating other people.
  • In one episode Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, Ms. Mimi appears this because of having laryngitis. She spends the whole episode communicating with Angelina and her friends by notes and music. Luckily, she got her voice back in the end.
  • Toki's Abusive Parents in Metalocalypse.
  • In Tale Spin, one of the Air Pirates never spoke out loud, only whispering into Don Karnage's ear. The pirate's name, ironically, was Gibber.
  • Transformers Prime Soundwave combines this with The Blank to creepy effect. Word of God says he does have a voice, but chooses not to use it since coming to Earth. Instead, he "talks" through recordings of others (and it's usually something snarky).
  • Ricardo, Jasper's boyfriend in Family Guy only appeared twice in the series and in both episodes, he never speaks. This is handwaved by Japser, saying that "Ricardo doesn't speak any English."
    • Actually, he DOES speak in a deleted scene from "You May Now Kiss the, Uh, Guy Who Receives."


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In fact, a decent number of people (about 1 in 150 children, the same ratio as autism, and much fewer adults) have an anxiety disorder called selective mutism. As it sounds, this makes them mute in certain situations, usually because of extreme anxiety about social situations or communication, though occasionally for no apparent reason. The manifestations can be quite odd, from being able to speak to only one person in one situation to being able to speak anywhere but school to speaking to anyone but a teacher, while using gestures, written words, non-word noises, and/or whispers or not communicating in no-speak situations.
  • One author who presents himself this way is ItsJustSomeRandomGuy [1], who does the "I'm a Marvel/And I'm a DC" shorts on YouTube.
  • Some autistic individuals themselves have what's known as nonverbal autism. Some have mental impairments that prevent speech but others have all the capabilities for speech, it's imply that other facets of the autism make it difficult to verbalize. It is essentially a form of selective mutism, but autistim-related rather than the above disorder. This can sometimes lead to others believing them mentally impared or incapable, but when they are given assistive devices, usually computer equipment, they can learn to communicate quite well. Others simply use pen and paper writing to communicate.
  • Meg White of The White Stripes was this, initially (I have no idea nowadays).
  • Mana from Malice Mizer and more recently Moi Dix Mois does this on purpose. During televised interviews he does not speak or emote, keeping a perfectly deadpan expression and opting to whisper his answers into a bandmate's ear so that they can answer for him, although he has been known to use mime and yes/no cards. According to him, this is because his music is his voice. So far he has kept it going for about 15 years with only two mistakes, not counting the time he sung through a distorter at a Malice Mizer live performance.
  • Lucius Sergius Catilina (or "Catiline"), the guy who almost destroyed the Roman republic in 64 BC doesn't have dialogue in ANY historical writings. His speeches are mentioned and he is occasionally quoted, but nobody has any idea what his own voice sounds like. All we've got are people talking about him, such as Sallust and Cicero.
    • Can also be used as an example of the "Voiceless Chatterbox", since Sallust describes a moment in the senate where he tries to defend himself against Cicero's verbal onslaught, but he's drowned out by the shouts of everyone else present.
  • Josef Stalin, interestingly enough, virtually never spoke in public or allowed his voice to be recorded, because his voice was surprisingly high-pitched and he didn't think it was intimidating enough.
  • Indian mystic and spiritual leader Meher Baba stopped speaking in 1925, at the age of 31, and until his death in 1969, he only communicated by an alphabet board and hand gestures.
  • Teller, of Penn & Teller, in their various shows and specials, and even their appearance on Babylon 5, with the sole exception being the end of Penn and Teller Get Killed. Teller also spoke on camera for a television series on magic, though he kept his his face completely obscured. Teller talks openly off camera, such as while meeting fans after live performances, and in non-performance contexts such as radio interviews, lectures, and panel discussions like at The Amazing Meeting.
    • A notable exception to this can be found in the Egypt episode of Penn & Teller's Magic And Mystery Tour. Teller speaks quite frequently there, on camera and in full view.
    • On his radio show, Penn Jillette revealed that Teller talks during every live show at least once, but it has to be a gimmick. Examples include arguing with Penn off-mic, speaking as an animatronic dummy of himself, or narrating his magic act aloud while an industrial wood chipper is drowning him out.
      • The speech-plus-gimmick format is retained in their TV series Penn and Teller Bullshit; Teller does speak occasionally, but he's usually facing away from the camera or has something in front of him. (One memorable example has Penn standing alone on the set, referencing the kiddy rhyme "Liar, liar, pants on fire"; Teller runs by in the background with his own pants actually on fire, screaming in ostensible terror.)
    • They used his voice when he appeared in an episode of The Simpsons. Just long enough to proclaim that he "Was not the first Teller". One troper's family has a running joke about a "Mass Teller Grave" behind Penn's house.
    • The wood chipper example illustrates that Teller's silent act is a subversion of the typical magician's trope of stating the obvious throughout one's act: "I'm putting these needles on a thread, and I'm going to swallow them now..." Earlier in his career, it also made his act heckle-resistant, which was important when he was performing alone at frat parties. He later teamed up with Penn, who could simply shout over any crowd noise, but stayed silent so that they could maintain the integrity of their separate acts.
  • Dane Cook mentioned this trope (and the "speaking for one dramatic moment") in one of his jokes about action movies. He says that every team in an action movie has the one guy who "never says anything, he just stands there. And he never talks, ever, except for like, one scene near the end where he says 'Let's go kill those bitches.'"
  • Moonie, in one version of his performance, (usually) will not speak, and instead use gestures, sounds, and the like to convey ideas. Then, towards the end of his act, after having found an audience member who can follow directions; then conveyed the idea that he will be juggling torches on a tightrope, and, if he catches fire, the volunteer should use a bucket of water on him, utters his first line Don't. Screw. Up
  • The guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They are only allowed to speak during the Changing of the Guard...unless someone is acting disrespectful.
  1. Though, a rival wrestler who briefly replaced him (and now wrestles as "Hunico") did speak while assuming the identity.