Static Protagonists Are Common
Hans Ness, Nov 5, 2023
“Your protagonist should be dynamic and grow.”
Not necessarily. While dynamic protagonists are common, static protagonists are not as uncommon as many make it sound. But it also depends on how you define “static”.
The character matures or gains a deeper understanding during the story, which gets them what they need.
Inside Out — Joy starts with toxic positivity, pushing away uncomfortable feelings of Sadness. But eventually she learns how Sadness is an important part of life.
Finding Nemo — Marlin overcomes his fearfulness and becomes less overprotective.
Up — Carl is stuck in his routine and closed off to people. While seeking adventure, he eventually opens himself up to befriend Russel.
Lilo & Stitch — Initially Lilo and Stitch are both destructive in their own ways. Stitch learns to be considerate, which helps Lilo heal emotionally.
Soul — Joe thought becoming a professional jazz musician was the only thing important. Once he achieved his goal, he realized other things in life are important too.
The character does not change significantly throughout the story. They may learn skills and become more confident, which some consider dynamic, but I consider that static because their overall personality and values remain the same. These protagonists are so determined that they change the world, not the other way around.
Finding Nemo — Nemo is bold and makes his dad become less overprotective.
How to Train Your Dragon — Hiccup is determined and makes his father respect him.
Ratatouille — Remy is determined to become a chef. He persuades his father to accept him.
Moana — Moana is determined to save her island. She inspires Maui to change.
Encanto — Mirabel is determined to help her family. She confronts her overbearing grandmother, who finally accepts her.
The Little Mermaid — Ariel is determined to become part of the human world. She learns nothing, and her father yields.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — Ferris is static while his friend Cameron and sister Jeanie are dynamic.
Don’t feel pressured to make your protagonist dynamic, especially if they are determined and they persuade others to change.