They’re little (usually). They’re yellow. They love bananas. And they are utterly hilarious. They are, of course, Minions! With five feature films (and a sixth on the way), a series of short films, theme park attractions, and a brand new land at Universal Orlando devoted to their shenanigans, it’s safe to say Minions are here to stay.
Between the five films in the franchise, earnings total close to $5 billion. The third film in the franchise – 2015’s Minions – is the first non-Disney, non-Pixar film to earn $1 billion at the box office. Even more impressively, it’s the only film with a budget under $100 million to break $1 billion worldwide (without being rereleased).
With Minion Land at Illumination Avenue opening at Universal Orlando in 2023, and the upcoming opening of Illuminations Villain-Con Minions Blast attraction, let’s celebrate a few fun facts about these wacky wanderers.
What Exactly Are Minions?
Minions have been around since the dawn of time, evolving from microscopic organisms into the yellow, three-fingered, pill-shaped pals they are today. They have instinctual programming to serve an “evil master.” They dutifully perform their nefarious tasks with varying results. Unfortunately for their evil masters, the Minions often end up angering them, or even accidentally defeating them. The most famous master of Minions is Gru, first introduced to the world (along with the Minions) in the 2010 film Despicable Me.
Minions love bananas, and their cravings sometimes land them in trouble. About those signature blue overalls – it’s not the only thing they wear, but it is their outfit of choice since they discovered (and stole) a baby’s denim overalls on a clothesline in New York City.
If you’ve ever listened to Minions speak, you’ve likely gathered a vague idea of what they are talking about, minus a few key details. That’s because they speak in their own language, known as “Minionese.”
Created by Pierre Coffin – voice actor, animator, and co-director of several films in the franchise Minionese is a mix of gibberish along with words from many languages, including French, English, Spanish, Italian, and Indonesian. It may sound nonsensical at first, but there is usually enough context in the scene to get a vague idea of what they are saying. The English-sounding words used in the American versions of the films are dubbed in native languages of other nations, in order to make them recognizable worldwide.
Speaking of Pierre Coffin – he voiced many of the minions over the course of the franchise’s first two films, and has voiced EVERY Minion in each subsequent film, starting with 2015’s Minions. That’s a lot of bananas!
At first glance, most Minions look quite a bit alike. But several of these yellow fellows have achieved more prominent status, and have unique characteristics to go along with their higher profile.
The primary leader of the Minions, Kevin is a little taller than most of his counterparts, with a signature tuft of hair atop his head. He likes playing golf, polo, and cricket, and as such he often very dapperly dresses the part. In the 2015 prequel film Minions, Kevin emerges as a leader among his peers.
Second in stature only to Kevin, Stuart only has one large eye in the center of his face, and hair combed on both sides of his head. He is the stereotypical dumb second guy, chosen at random to assist Kevin, but having no idea what the heck is really going on. What is one thing Stuart does know? He loves the guitar!
The third wheel of the three-part Minion leadership, Bob is shorter than most of his peers, and has just a little bit of hair on his head. He also has two different colored eyes. His eagerness is the only reason he was chosen to accompany Keven in the triumvirate. Bob was once temporarily the King of England after he hilariously removed a sword in a stone – King Arthur-style.
Most Minions are quite cheerful fellows, but not Mel. This grouchy gaucho first appeared in Despicable Me 3, and was quite upset that his evil master Gru turned away from villainy. Mel has one eye, much like Stuart, but his hair only exists on each side of his head, with nothing in the middle.
Otto is a recently celebrated Minion, first appearing in Minions: The Rise of Gru. Otto is a little on the hefty side, being both taller and rounder than most other minions. He is most easily spied when his mouth is open, proudly sporting his bright, silver braces. Atop his head grows about a dozen sprouts of hair.
Throughout the film franchise, the Despicable Me and Minions films have featured a who’s who of top entertainment talent. The most notable of these is Steve Carell, who has voiced the despicable Gru in every film in the franchise. In addition to Carell, the franchise has featured Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Julie Andrews, Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Jean-Claude Van Damme (as Jean-Clawed), and many others.
Speaking of stars – Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Orlando replaced a different kind of star – Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast – in 2012.
World’s Greatest Boss
While the Minions consider it their calling to serve an evil master, their master Gru is anything but evil to them. Whereas most criminal masterminds have a nasty habit of abusing their henchmen, Gru gets along quite swimmingly with his servants. He seems to like them quite a bit, and he shows appreciation for their hard work and support, rarely having to be strict with them. He seems to know all 799-ish of them by name, and he even pays them wages. Not a bad way to make a living!
Do you know Gru’s full name? It’s Felonius Gru (get it?). Wanna send him an email? His address is [email protected]. While Gru was introduced to us as a villain, we all know he’s a hero at heart, despite his deepest desires. Some guys just can’t help but be their best selves.
Can you tell one Minion from another? It takes practice and determination, but pretty soon you’ll figure it out (especially if you want to score high in the new attraction). Do you have a favorite Minion (or a favorite villain from the franchise)? Let me know, either with a comment here, or with a direct message on social. Also, if you are interested in visiting the Minions either in Universal Orlando or Universal Hollywood, I can help you get there. Start by visiting the Facts and Figment Travel Planning page.