The Strong, Silent Type: Why (Sometimes) Less Dialogue is More

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If you’re a fan of science fiction, fantasy, or just pop culture in general, then chances are you’ve fallen in love with one of these characters. You know, the strong, stoic type…the archetypal quiet characters…characters of little or limited dialogue. Often times, they can only say their name, or they refuse to speak. Other times, they are shy or they speak in a language we don’t understand. Groot, Hodor, Chewbacca, and so many more characters have made their way into the heart and soul of modern (and classic) storytelling. But why do we love these characters so much? The answer is simple: with all of the dialogue and narrative that often fill our stories, sometimes the strong and silent types are a breath of fresh air. Often times they are used for comic relief, but they can fill many different roles, and even carry a story by themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous characters who stole our hearts with so little words.


With Marvel’s introduction of the Guardians of the Galaxy team, audiences became acquainted with the loveable, selfless, and ultimately awesome alien, Groot. This sentient tree being quickly stole our hearts with three simple words…”I am Groot.” In fact, those are the only words Groot speaks (save for one other key moment…if you’ve seen the movie, you know which one we’re talking about!). Groot’s dialogue and vocabulary aren’t what define him. The storytelling aspect associated with these strong, silent types is truly astounding. To make us fall in love with a character without using words to do so takes much effort, and Groot is no exception. The fact is, Groot has become quite popular after the film’s release, and could possibly be considered the most lovable character of the franchise.


Westeros’ jolly giant, Hodor, has existed since his creation by George R.R. Martin but has since translated to television with fantastic fan reception. Hodor’s famous word is ”Hodor.” That’s all he says, and that’s all he needs to say. The truth is that Hodor’s loyalty, strength, and character are clear without dialogue. He can only say his name, much to audience’s amusement, but the fact that Hodor has become a fan favorite and draws loving smiles week in and week out cannot be denied.


“Chewie…we’re home.” We’re not the only ones who got teary eyed when we saw our favorite on-screen duo in last week’s Star Wars trailer, right? Seeing our favorite fuzz ball back on screen brought thoughts of Chewbacca back to the forefront. Chewbacca, being a wookie, can’t speak English. Instead, he’s known for his classic growl…one that fans and audiences alike have been trying to mimic for decades. We’ve loved Chewie at first sight, and his connection with Han Solo and the rest of the cast is what makes him such a lovable character. He doesn’t need to say a word. He certainly doesn’t need to say, “I love you”, because we know.

Edward Scissorhands

Sometimes these characters have to open up for us to discover their voice. That’s certainly the case with Edward Scissorhands, who goes most of the movie without saying more than a few words. While his vocabulary and growth might be a little more advanced than some of the other characters on this list, Edward fits the bill. His shyness, and little words carry the movie to a place that dialogue simply couldn’t. Tim Burton’s creative genius and the choice to introduce a title character who is so silent really captured audiences’ spirits.

Iron Giant

“You stay…I go.” Who else cries like a baby whenever they hear this line? Iron Giant certainly fits the title of the strong, stoic type. While he learns a few words from his pal, Hogarth, the Giant really doesn’t need to say much for his love and his character to come across the screen. Perhaps one of the most underrated animated films of the past 20 years, Iron Giant deserves the fan love and appreciation.


Yes, all of the Pokémon. These lovable pocket creatures became a mainstay in households across the world during the 90s, and did so by simply repeating their own names. Pikachu, Charizard, Squirtle, and hundreds of others are known for their cute and lovable inability to say anything but their own names, and we love it! Seriously, how can you not fall in love after one “Peeka peeka chu?”


Possibly Pixar’s greatest challenge so far was getting audiences to fall in love with a robot who barely spoke, in a movie that had little dialogue to begin with. Yet, as we’ve been proven time and time again…audiences love the strong, silent type. Wall-E’s inquisitive nature and cute awkwardness made the film what it is, and resulted in yet another successful film on Pixar’s list of accolades.


While R2D2 might have trouble vocalizing his thoughts, he certainly doesn’t have trouble communicating. Whether C-3PO or Luke or someone else is translating, we still love to hear that lovable beeping and chirping from our favorite little astro droid. And let’s face it, 6 films later and more on the way, we’re still looking forward to hearing more from R2!


Charlie Brown’s trusty sidekick for over 60 years, Snoopy stole hearts a long time ago and still brings joy to families every year in the form of movies, cartoon strips, and animated shorts. With his Pal Woodstock at his side, our silent friend always manages to bring a smile to our face without the need for words, and that’s why we love him.


“I’ll be right here.” E.T.’s vocabulary grows from the beginning of the film to the end, but he still manages to steal our hearts while saying very little. Elliot’s teaching and love help E.T. learn English, but it is the silent moments where we truly get to see the curious and genuine nature of this little alien.

What makes these characters so lovable? Not their voices…but their hearts. We as audiences can acknowledge love and compassion for characters with or without the use of dialogue, and these 10 characters are perfect examples. We’ll continue to see characters hitting mainstream entertainment for years to come, and we’ll continue to enjoy these characters as well. Who do you think would make this list of lovable, silent types? Let us know below!

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