The Minions from the Despicable Me franchise started as small, lovable side characters who served their evil overlord, Gru.
Despite their simplistic design and there being little to no context to what these characters are actually saying, the Minions have become a cultural phenomenon that has spanned across multiple generations.
Whether you love them genuinely or ironically, there is no denying that Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures have found their next generation of questionably lovable mascots.
What Language Do The Minions Speak?
The Minions speak Minionese, which is also known as “the banana language.”
Minionese is a completely fictional language, despite the language having genuine words and phrases that fans can learn from home.
Languages that are constructed for fictional settings are called conlangs, with some of the best-known conlangs including Star Trek’s Klingon, Elvish from The Lord of the Rings, and Dothraki from Game of Thrones.
Not only do conlangs like Minionese exist in fiction, but there have been attempts to construct a worldwide language.
The best-known attempt at creating a single international language was Esperanto, which was designed by L. L. Zamenhof in 1905.
When Despicable Me movie directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda were first creating the Minions, they had no intention of creating their own conlang.
This is why the Minions’ speech is nearly all gibberish in the first film and becomes more complicated as the franchise expanded.
Modern-day Minionese still mostly consists of gibberish, but words from a variety of different languages can be heard in the mix.
When deciding which real-world words to use, Coffin and Balda wanted to only use the most ridiculous-sounding words.
Some of the most recognizable phrases that Minionese borrows from other languages include ti amo, gelato, la boda, kanpai, bi-do, and terima kasih.
The sampled languages include Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Indonesian, Korean, French, and even fellow conlang, Esperanto.
Minionese also heavily relies on onomatopoeias, which is further reflected in their reliance on physical expression.
When a Minion explains a situation to Gru or another Minion, they will often act out the scene and add their own goofy sound effects.
According to Pierre Coffin, the most important part of Minionese is the inflections and tone of the characters’ voices.
The Minions get a majority of their information from body language.
What Were The Minions Inspired By?
The Minions from Despicable Me were inspired by the lovability of the Jawas from Star Wars and the Oompa-Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Although there have been rumors of Minions being inspired by the young Nazi soldiers of World War II, these rumors couldn’t be further from the truth.
When the script for Despicable Me was written, there were no friendly yellow Minions, and Gru took on an even more intimidating appearance.
Instead, the henchmen were just as big and scary as Gru, who looked a lot more like Dracula.
Although Gru’s original henchmen were also not human, these ogre-like creatures were too off-putting to stay in the film’s plan for long.
The Minions that fans know today were meant to make Gru and his film more appealing.
Rather than matching their master’s sinister aesthetic, the Minions offered a cuddly and goofy counterbalance for Gru.
By having these cuter characters adore the dark Gru, Gru could become more likable and easier for the audience to root for.
While some people may find the Minions annoying, fans of the franchise can’t get enough of these iconic yellow henchmen.
Are Minions Evil?
No, the Minions are not evil or naturally have any evil intent.
Minions have a completely different sense of morality from humans, most likely shaped by the fact that they’ve been the same trope of creatures for millions of years.
None of the Minions have any evil intentions, not once attempting to overthrow their overlords or breaking their incredible sense of loyalty.
Instead, the Minions’ goal in life is to find someone to serve for their whole lives.
While the Minions may not age or seemingly die, the same can’t be said about their more traditionally organic leaders.
Gru is simply one of hundreds of masters that the Minions have served, with their time with him still only in the early stages of their lifelong commitment.
Throughout the Despicable Me franchise, neither the Minions nor Gru are capable of mustering up the malice necessary to be truly evil.
The only time the Minions show any kind of desire is when it comes to receiving praise or affection from Gru and his daughters.
The only time that the Minions go against Gru’s wishes is when they know what he says he wants isn’t what he truly wants, such as when Gru returns the girls to the orphanage near the end of the first movie.
In the end, the Minions are only seen wanting bananas, an occasional toy, Gru’s happiness, and the girls’ happiness.
While Minions explained that the Minions will search for the most evil person to serve, their lack of intelligence alters what they perceive as evil.
To soothe the worries of fans who took the introduction of Minions literally, the Minions were trapped in an ice cave for the entirety of World War II.
Although the Minions are attracted to evil, they remain ethical for the family-friendly franchise.
Why Are There No Female Minions?
There are no female Minions because director Pierre Coffin couldn’t imagine any of the Minions as female due to “how dumb and stupid they often are,” according to an interview that Coffin gave with TheWrap.
Without any female counterparts to their species, fans began to seriously question how the Minions reproduced.
After theories of asexual reproduction began running rampant on the internet, Coffin had to come out to explain that Minions do not reproduce.
As seen in the Minions movie, the Minions have been serving evil overlords since dinosaurs walked the Earth.
These unassuming henchmen don’t age and evolved from bacteria in the ocean, spending their conscious days searching for their next master.
Pierre Coffin and the team behind the Despicable Me franchise decided against having the Minion reproduce in any manner because they felt it would be too awkward for how childish the characters are.
While Coffin has neither confirmed nor denied their potential immortality, there is no denying that Minions are vastly sturdier than humans.
There was also the rumor that the Minions were actually gender-neutral, especially when considering that they don’t sexually reproduce.
However, Coffin has confirmed that all the Minions are male, pointing to their typically male names such as Kevin, Steve, and Bob.
Even Coffin has admitted that the internet has put more thought into the Minions than he ever intended to, causing the creative team to have to make stuff up as they go along.
By officially releasing the answers to the internet’s burning questions, the Despicable Me team is able to keep the fan theories from getting too wild or graphic for their target demographic.
How Many Minions Does Gru Have?
Gru has 10,400 Minions who report back to him and help execute his plans to the best of their abilities.
Despite most Minions having their own distinct looks and personalities, there are only 48 possible appearances for Minions.
With physical appearance only showing up in their hair, eyes, height, and build, there are countless identical Minions.
This makes it impossible to simply count all the Minions across all the films because you never know if you’ve counted a new Minion or recounted one of their identical counterparts.
Minions have more diversity in the way they look in modern movies, especially when looking back to the original Despicable Me.
There were originally only seven physical variations between Minions, which is especially noticeable when zooming in on those older scenes.
When Pierre Coffin was first cast as the voice of the Minions, he was told that he would be voicing about “a hundred of them throughout two movies.”
The first two films saw Coffin taking on a bit more Minions than he expected.
By the third movie of the franchise, Pierre Coffin was credited for playing 899 Minions.
Although Coffin has only given voices to 899 of them, the director claims that his voiced roles only make up a small portion of the Minion population.
The only time that fans see the majority of the Minions under Gru’s command is on the Despicable Me 2 poster, where Gru stands above his adoring crowd of loyal companions.
If it weren’t for Gru’s secret underground base, it would be impossible for him to fit all of his Minions into his house.
As the Despicable Me franchise expands, Gru has begun to take a backseat and has allowed the Minions to become the stars of their narratives through multiple movies and short films.
Why Were People Dressing Up To See Minions: Rise Of Gru?
People were dressing in their best attire to watch Minions: Rise of Gru at everyday movie theaters across the country thanks to the viral TikTok trend “#GentleMinions.”
This viral trend included teenagers and even their families dressing like they were going to a red carpet event for the film, with most videos even including the groups giving the family film a standing ovation at the end of the credits.
The “#GentleMinions” trend most likely came along thanks to the strong influence that Minions have had on internet culture.
With Minions being the visual representation for countless memes having nothing to do with the Minions, these yellow pill-like creatures have reached the same ironic popularity as characters like Shrek or Spongebob Squarepants.
Although the trend seems harmless and even has the whole family trying it together, some theaters refused to let customers contributing to the trend buy tickets or even enter the theater despite having bought tickets.
Some fellow theater patrons feel the trend is distracting and keeps them from enjoying the movie.
While most people who did the “#GentleMinions” challenge would bring only a handful of people, other groups would organize schoolwide meet-ups and nearly sell out entire viewings.
It’s understandable why theaters wouldn’t be able to handle these kinds of events without warning, but the response from some theaters has been criticized.
A 13-year-old boy and his friend from the United Kingdom were not only banned from entering a viewing of Minions: Rise of Gru they had already paid for, but they were also being harassed by adults and fellow children at the theater while waiting for their parents to bring them new clothing.
This trend may have caused some trouble for theaters and patrons alike, but it also boosted the ticket sales for the sequel family film.
Who Designed The Minions?
Eric Guillon created the Minions alongside the Despicable Me directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, going through a vast evolution of designs for the iconic characters.
When the Minions were first designed, they were short human factory workers who were meant to even out Gru’s intimidating figure.
However, the design team felt that Gru was going to need henchmen who were more lovable and adorable.
This led Guillon to go from drawing your typical stumpy employee to creating robots of varying shapes and sizes.
With robots, more jokes could be based on the robots getting knocked over.
The downside of the robots was that it was more difficult to make them lovable or anything more than just props in a scene.
Minions went through a third design stage, where they began to look a little more like their final product.
Although these designs weren’t fully organic, these semi-robotic creatures were more relatable than the robots.
This third stage made the Minions look more like aliens, coming in a variety of shapes with similar outfits.
Guillon even experimented with the idea of making the characters red but ended up deciding that yellow was less intimidating.
By their fourth design stage, the Minions we know today truly took their pill-like shape.
The final change made to the Minion’s design was the faces and the way their overalls fit, creating a more uniform look for the new species.