If there’s one name (besides Frank Welker) that you should know in voice acting, it’s John DiMaggio. As far as big name voice actors go, he comes from very humble beginnings. His first credit was “Soldier/Crowd Member” in the English dub of Castle in the Sky. Now, he has over 370 acting credits (and counting) and is one of the most recognizable voice actors.
Taking all of his movie, television and video game roles into account, here are John DiMaggio’s 10 best characters.
10 Crosshairs, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Transformers: The Last Knight
Ok. Look. Hear us out. We’re not saying the movies are good, but we give props where props are due. Age of Extinction saw the softest of reboots for the Transformers movie franchise. The previous trilogy still happened, but things just felt off. Seriously guys, we just destroyed Chicago, do we really have to do it again?
Crosshairs was one of the new Autobots introduced to the movies and he actually looks pretty awesome. A metal trench coat might not make sense on a giant robot, but that parachuting scene makes everything worth it.
Also, shout out to the best Decepticon ever: Nitro Zeus. Yes, that was DiMaggio. Yes, he says hello to your wife.
9 Various Roles, Ben 10
Back in the day, Ben 10 was kind of a breakout hit. Like, who knew it’d become such a strong franchise and reboot itself at least three times since its creation?
Ben 10 tells the story of a kid, Ben, who happens to be 10 years old with the last name of Tennyson, discovers an alien watch (the Omnitrix) that lets him transform into one of ten aliens at any given time. His adventures involve other aliens, another kid who can transform into eleven different aliens, and magic. Gwen learns magic and it’s awesome.
DiMaggio’s been a part of the show since the beginning, starting as Vulkanus the Detrovite. Expanding out of the villains, DiMaggio also voices Four Arms and Rath from Ben’s Omnitrix.
8 Schnitzel, Chowder
Chowder has a generally mixed response, but it does have a charm to it given its unique animation style and occasionally witty dialogue. The show chronicles the misadventures of Chowder, the young apprentice of Chef Mung Daal. He works in Mung’s catering company with Truffles and Schnitzel. Yes, everything and everyone is a food pun.
Arguably, Schnitzel is the only sane one in the restaurant. He’s the only one to really question what’s going on around him and really doesn’t like working with Chowder. Oh, and he only says “Radda.” It’s like an “I am Groot” situation, which always gets any voice actor a win when they can breathe a personality into only a repeated word or phrase.
7 Marcus Fenix, Gears of War
No big deal. John DiMaggio is the head of a video game franchise. So chill.
Marcus Fenix has appeared in every Gears of War game and is set to appear in the fifth installment despite his smaller role. Fenix is reinstated into the Coalition of Ordered Government’s (COG) military to destroy the Locust Horde. He was originally convicted leading an unauthorized mission to rescue his father. Maybe it would’ve gone ok if the mission wasn’t a failure? Yeah, probably not.
6 Rico, The Penguins of Madagascar
Anyone who can portray a character and personality out of grunting deserves every award. The penguins first appeared in Madagascar and became massively popular. Honestly, making cute, cuddly penguins dangerous assassins and able to MacGyver their way out of anything.
Rico’s powers include regurgitating anything the Penguins might need and acts as the team’s demolition expert. He also has a little feather mohawk!
5 General Grievous, Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
So John DiMaggio was the first General Grievous. Yeah, we’re shook too. General Grievous actually first appeared in the 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars series. It consisted of shorter episodes with the ones from the first two season being 2-3 minutes long and the third season upping that time to 15 minutes. It is definitely a mini series, but created a successful launchpad for the 2008 CGI animated Clone Wars.
While Revenge of the Sith is seen as Grievous’s introduction, he showed up a year earlier in Clone Wars. DiMaggio voiced a very memorable and unique Star Wars villain and at the time, didn’t even know it. Don’t worry, he definitely does now.
4 The Scotsman, Samurai Jack
Guess who’s back? Back from the past?
Samurai Jack was created by Genndy Tartakovsky, who also created Dexter’s Laboratory. The premise is just plain genius. Aku, the evil wizard, sends a samurai from feudal Japan into the future. This samurai, Jack, travels to find a way back to his home and undo all the chaos Aku has caused.
The Scotsman becomes one of Jack’s allies in this strange world and recurred the most out of the side characters. When the show was revived for a fifth season thanks to Adult Swim, he took on a larger role. He’s the exact opposite of Jack, but you know what they say about opposites. The Scotsman is a wonderful friend and obviously, downright hilarious.
3 Dr. Drakken, Kim Possible
Kim Possible was one of those pinnacles of early 2000s Saturday morning cartoons. Kim’s just your average high school cheerleader who, you know, lowkey saves the world like, every day. No big deal. The show itself was just an immense amount of fun and grounded in a way that kids could relate to or imagine themselves as either Kim or Ron. Kim was godtier, but Ron was just such a compassionate character that you can’t help but love him. I mean, protecting toddler Kim from a bunch of bullies even though he couldn’t do much either? That’s best friend material.
But probably one of the funniest and most memorable villains was Dr. Drakken. Incompetent, confident, and not-quite-evil, Dr. Drakken appeared the most throughout the series and aside from Shego (who gets stuff DONE), is really seen as Kim Possible’s big bad. You can definitely hear that undertone of DiMaggio’s natural voice, but it’s one of his more varied performances and he does such a great job hamming it up as one of our favorite villains. When life gives him lemons, he destroys the lemons.
2 Jake the Dog, Adventure Time
Finally wrapping after ten wild seasons, Adventure Time is a titan among animated shows. The Land of Ooo presents as a fantastical world full of candy people and, well, adventure. Digging deeper, it’s actually the world after a nuclear apocalypse and it gets very real very quickly.
DiMaggio has such a wonderful performance as Jake and got to really flex his acting muscles in this role. As Jake the Dog, he’s Finn’s older brother figure. He can be aloof and a bit selfish at times, but he cares for Finn and at the end of the day, is always there for his brother. And Bacon Pancakes is legendary.
1 Bender, Futurama
You knew this was coming. There’s no way Bender wouldn’t make the list, let alone be anything other than number one. Bender can be considered DiMaggio’s breakout role, either due to the performance he gives or the longevity of the character. Writing has a lot to do with humor, but DiMaggio brings Bender to life in a way no one else could.
Bender was the team’s most difficult character to cast because nobody had really brought a robot to life in the way Futurama intended to. Most auditions were understandably done in robotic ways. But after his second audition, DiMaggio was cast. Why? Because he made Bender sound like a drunk. It was different, it was brilliant, and it worked so, so well.