Chapter 6, Part 1: Background Ponies

(Please note that any images used in this post are by the artists listed. They are placeholders and I hope to have art expressly drawn for this book to replace these images. If you are interested in submitting something, please see this post.)


Chapter 6: (CH)
All the other Ponies: The Background Characters of MLP:FIM

As you may have noticed in the Meme Maker sections, many characters other than the mane six have been embraced by the fandom.  These background ponies have become as popular as the named characters in many cases.   Where children may choose a non-speaking pony to be their favorite based on its looks, Bronies have taken it much farther.  Every single pony that has ever been in the show has been nicknamed by Bronies.  Every. Single. One.  Through debate and sometimes full-fledged argument, each name is eventually to be the the fanon (fan canon) name.  And although some background ponies are variants of a pony base (different hair color, for example), they are still all recorded as either a variant, another character (i.e. a twin sister) or they can be accepted as a completely different pony.

The show’s ‘excuse’ for all the background ponies is that in flash animation, it is easier to copy a premade base and use it over again. They can be used to add ponies to a scene or flesh out a crowd.  As such, some ponies may seem identical save certain colorings or the addition or removal of wings and horns.  Color changes are simple, and can also be found in toy blind bag ponies.  For example, a pony that looks exactly like Pinkie Pie is colored peach, has a peach cutie mark and is called Peachie Pie.  Another example is Noteworthy, a blue male horse who has two beamed eighth music notes in the show, but three eighth notes on his blind bag toy.  In addition, Blues, a fan-named pony, has three beamed eighth music notes on his flank.   This blue noted pony may thus be considered to be different characters, or all alternate versions of the same one.  The amount of combinations is almost limitless, and I will highlight some of the most popular / debatable in this chapter.

Why do the Bronies name all these ponies that don’t even do anything important in the show?  The answer is simple.  Those characters are based on the fans’ imaginations, rather than the show.  Fans take these ponies and give them a name, personality, history, etc.  In the past six months, it has been considered a competition by some to create this ‘new character’ for a new background pony.

Sometimes the animators pick up on the popularity of background characters, as was the case with Derpy Hooves and Princess Luna.  However, when fan built ponies are put into the show as canon (official Hasbro) characters, some Bronies get  upset that ‘their’ ideas on how these characters should act didn’t get integrated into the show.  Similarly, when a fan-named pony gets an official name that differs, fans can get upset that their “Berry Punch” has been officially named “Berryshine”.

As of January 2012 there were more than 400 named ponies from Friendship is Magic.  With every episode, more ponies are being added to the ‘background pony’ list, and the full list can be found at the MLP WIKIA.

Official Named Ponies

MLP FIM: Sweet Apple Acre - Applejack's family by hinoraito on DA

MLP FIM: Sweet Apple Acre - Applejack's family by hinoraito on DA

The Apple Family: Applejack introduced her entire extended family to Twilight in the first episode.  There are dozens of ponies in the Apple family and almost every one has been given a name by the fans.  All of the official named ponies have large fan bases, and a few of the fan-named ponies also are quite popular:

  • Big Macintosh – The brother of Applejack, he wears a yoke and rarely speaks.  Usually he only says yes / no#.
  • Granny Smith – The old, withered matron of the Apple family, she sometimes seems senile, and is the stereotypical ‘back in my day’ kind of sweet but silly grandmother.   She has been named Green Delicious by fans, who think that she had the alternate name for this type of apple when she was a young filly.
  • Braeburn – The ringleader of Appleoosa.  Although he was only in one episode, his frontier demeanor is well loved.
  • Uncle Apple Strudel – An elderly member of the family, he was mentioned is Season 1 Episode 1, but was first shown in Season 2 Episode 12.

Mr. Carrot Cake and Mrs. Cup Cake run Sugar Cube corner, a bakery that Pinkie Pie works at (and always eats her way through).  Pinkie Pie rents the loft above their shop to live in, as well.  These two bakers cater to and host many of the parties in the show.  They are well developed for being side characters and they wear distinctive bakers’ clothes.

The Mayor of Ponyville is humorously called Mayor Mare.  She spends most of her time planning events and giving speeches.  She loves money.

The Wonderbolts by ShelltoonTV on DA

The Wonderbolts by ShelltoonTV on DA

Rainbow Dash’s idols, the Wonderbolts, consist of Pegasus ponies.  Originally thought to be a team of three, as the show progressed the total was changed to six.  All were named by the middle of Season 2:

  • Soarrin’
  • Spitfire
  • Sweet
  • Elite
  • Fleetfoot
  • Rapidfire

The Wonderbolts are meant to be like the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, and/or the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. They wear flight uniforms evocative of superhero outfits, colored blue with gold lightning around the hooves, and also wear aviator goggles.  Debate about whether their cutie mark is on the Wonderbolts’ uniform have been inconclusive.

Cheerilee is the young ponies’ teacher and she is very supportive of all the ponies’ creative endeavors.  She taught her students about cutie marks in Call of the Cutie, where pictures of her a as baby and 80’s punk teenager were shown.

The young ones Cheerilee teaches also have had attention from the fans:

  • Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are spoiled, haughty ponies that tease Apple Bloom and other blank flanks.  By far, most fans dislike these two due to their bullying nature and spoiled, regal airs.
  • Twist is a nerd pony who wears glasses and has a lisp.  She earned her cutie mark by making candy canes.

Unnamed / Fan Named Ponies that were later named by Hasbro
These are the aforementioned crossover ponies which were named by fans when the show aired, but were later given different official names.  Official names can be mentioned in the show, in Hasbro’s toy line, or stated by the show’s crew.

Stereo Hearts by Half-Pint-Hero on DA

Stereo Hearts by Half-Pint-Hero on DA

  • Heartstrings is a unicorn that has a horseshoe shaped harp as her cutie mark.  She was called Lyra by fans.  She is often depicted sitting as a human would on a chair.
  • DJ Pon3 is a unicorn who was briefly seen running the sound booth for a fashion show.  She has an eighth-note as her cutie mark, and was named by fans as Vinyl Scratch.  She wears purple goggles, and fans have decreed that under those lenses are red eyes.
  • Berryshine / Berry Punch is an earth pony with grapes and a strawberry as her cutie mark.  She was shown drinking punch at Diamond Tiara’s cute-ceanera, and many fans consider that to indicate that she is the town alcoholic.  In season two, she did have a child teammate that the fans named Apple Core, and they won the competition.
  • Golden Harvest is an earth pony with carrots as her cutie mark.  She was originally called Carrot Top until the blind bag toys revealed her sanctioned name.

Fan Named Ponies

Lyra and Bonbon by Sierraex on DA

Lyra and Bonbon by Sierraex on DA

  • Bon Bon is an earth pony with three wrapped candies as her cutie mark.  She enjoys fashion and popular trends.   Bon Bon is often depicted near Heartstrings/Lyra.  She has had multiple speaking roles in the show, but each time her voice has sounded different.
  • Octavia is an earth pony with a treble clef cutie mark, who plays a cello at the Grand Galloping Gala.  She is very demure, and is often depicted with DJ Pon3 in fan creations, as they are both musical ponies and may have had similar training together as children.
  • Doctor Whooves is a fan pun on Doctor Who, the BBC time travelling character.  The pony is a brown earth male with an hour glass as his cutie mark.  The Doctor Who fandom has embraced this coincidentally marked pony, and has made Doctor Who fan stories, art, and all the rest, starring this pony.  Fans have theorized that different ponies sharing the hour glass cutie mark are actually the different incarnations of the Doctor.
  • Colgate is another pony that has been given a previously trademarked name by the fans.  She is a blue pony with light and dark striped hair that looks like toothpaste.  She has a cutie mark that also looks like an hourglass.

Many ponies may have different names, given by many bronies, immediately after airing.   TV tropes callers such unnamed characters Ensemble Darkponies.  Usually fans settle on one name, but  Colgate is one example of a pony with other names that are still used frequently.  Minty Fresh is a forerunner, though the MLP Wikia also states that Romano, TARDIE and Jenne are also names for this pony.

Tomorrow we will continue on to other ponies that fans create…OC’s!


About isaunter

I'm 30 years old and I have been living in the District for six years now. I love all things geek: from tabletop to video gaming; from computers to manga. I am a brony. I wear glasses, have short hair and sport a dragon tattoo (gasp!). I enjoy wearing tall socks and short skirts, and tend to dress more goth and Lolita than chic. It's just a fun thing.

Posted on February 12, 2012, in Chapters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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