Box art - Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 Characters | All returning characters revealed so far

After many years of rumors and teases, Borderlands 3 has finally been revealed. Developer Gearbox showed off the game for the first time at PAX last week, so now we’ve got two trailers (that’s the Masks of Mayhem teaser and the full reveal trailer) to pore over for any hints and information. Other than the release date (which will hopefully be announced this week), the main thing of interest is any returning Borderlands 3 characters we can spot.

We’ve noted what we know about the new characters being introduced in Borderlands 3, including the villains the Calypso twins and the four new Vault Hunters, Amara (Siren), Zane (Operative), Flak (Beastmaster), and Moze (Soldier). Now we’re going to check out all the returning characters either spotted or announced for Borderlands 3, and some are quite shocking.

Borderlands 3 characters | Mordecai, Lilith, Brick

The main four playable characters in the original Borderlands, so the first Vault Hunters, are Mordecai the Hunter, Lilith the Siren, Brick the Beserker, and Roland the Soldier. Roland is currently missing (probably because he’s dead, spoiler), but the other three Hunters made big appearances in the Borderlands 3 trailer. Lilith (above) was the first to show up, and she seems to be in trouble in one part, the way she’s crawling after a gun. Brick gets a wonderful sax solo, and both he and Mordecai appear alongside another returning character…

Borderlands 3 characters | Tiny Tina

Borderlands 3 features the return of a now grown-up Tiny Tina, the slightly unstable explosives-loving teenager from Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel. She was the star of arguably the best DLC expansion in the series, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. The trailer shows her playing with her bunny pal Badonkadonk, but she’s flanked by both Brick and Mordecai. It had been established that Tina was friends with Roland, so it’s not inconceivable she knows his Vault Hunter pals too. The funny thing is, they’ve all got a skull logo with a “B” on it, suggesting they’re all in the same gang now. Brick’s?

Borderlands 3 characters | Maya, Zer0

Moving on to the returning Vault Hunters from Borderlands 2, it’s genuinely surprising that the only two we’ve spotted so far are Maya the Siren and Zer0 the haiku-ing Assassin, leaving Salvador, Axton, Gaige, and Krieg still to be revealed. Maya seems to be accompanied by a new girl who may or may not be her daughter (see top picture), although we don’t know what their roles will be. Zer0, after making an important appearance in Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands, is in the background of a scene with at least one more familiar character…

Borderlands 3 characters | Vaughn and Rhys

Two major characters from Telltale’s Tales From the Borderlands, arguably the now-closed studio’s best game, seem set to make an appearance in Borderlands 3. Well, one’s guaranteed, the other seems very likely. The ambitious and now-mustached Rhys started off as a muscled-out executive in the Hyperion corporation, but now after his visit to a Vault at the end of Tales he seems to be running the show. You can distinctly see his cyber-eye implant on the right, and he’s also accompanied by Zer0 for some reason.

Much less clear are the fates of his two friends Vaughn and Fiona. Con artist Fiona was the other star of Tales From the Borderlands, who entered the Vault alongside Rhys at the end, but she’s currently absent from Borderlands 3. Vaughn, on the other hand, seemed to be in the earlier Mask of Mayhem teaser trailer. Towards the end there’s a shirtless, ripped, bearded man with a cape and a gun, standing on top of a pile of corpses. The current theory is that this is a cool version of the originally-nerdy Vaughn, Rhys’s best friend. Tales already established him as obscenely fit, so we certainly hope that’s the case.

Borderlands 3 characters | Moxxi and Ellie

Mad Moxxi and her daughter Ellie (above) are confirmed for Borderlands 3. Ellie’s the mechanic who was introduced in Borderlands 2, and she’s running the Ellie’s Scrap building that appears prominently in the trailer. Presumably she’ll play a similar role as she did in her last appearance, as both quest giver and vehicle repairer.

Ellie’s the estranged daughter of bar owner Mad Moxxi, who made an appearance in the Masks of Mayhem trailer and was the star of the Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot DLC expansion. At the stage reveal for the game at PAX, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford confirmed that Moxxi would be in the new game, and would have a new bar you can visit. Presumably she’ll have some new quests for you to do. Of course, the main question is, is she hiding in the proper trailer too? Well, she may very well be…

Borderlands 3 characters | Marcus and Tannis

Patricia Tannis and Marcus Kincaid are two major NPC characters from several previous Borderlands games, and they’re both dealers. We’re pretty sure than, apart from a certain robot mascot, Tannis may actually be the only NPC to appear in all Borderlands games (apart from Tales), as she’s in The Pre-Sequel too. She’s an expert in Vaults and is slightly nuts. Marcus has actually been in all Borderlands games except for Pre-Sequel (he was in Tales), and will likely be selling us weapons in the third game too. But who’s that lady in the red dress on the right of the picture above? That could certainly be Moxxi.

Borderlands 3 characters | Hammerlock and Aurelia

The robot-handed Sir Hammerlock and his sister Lady Aurelia Hammerlock return in the new game, after being a big part of previous games. Sir Hammerlock had the starring role in the Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt DLC expansion for Borderlands 2, and Aurelia is the only playable character from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to show up in Borderlands 3 so far. As for the other guy on the right, could this be another Hammerlock sibling? It kind of looks like Vaughn, actually…

Borderlands 3 characters | Claptrap

Ah yes, we couldn’t write this article without referencing the only-slightly-annoying mascot of the series, Claptrap. He’s been in every game in the series and we really can’t get enough of/get away from him (delete as applicable). He’s in some perilous situations in the Borderlands 3 trailer, but he’s fine with breakdancing through some of them, such as to carefully avoid rockets. He’s not so good at avoiding giant magnets, of course. We’ll probably find him giving out advice and getting in the way, although it’s doubtful his Fyrestone player character version from The Pre-Sequel will show up.

Borderlands 3 characters | Handsome Jack?

Now then, let’s head on to the big will-they won’t-they of the new game. It’s a fact that Handsome Jack, the wonderful villain of Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, who made a shocking comeback in Tales From the Borderlands, was specifically mentioned by Randy Pitchford as not being in Borderlands 3. However, that’s clearly his mask in the teaser trailer (above), and the teaser is actually called “Masks of Mayhem”. Plus, let’s not forget that Rhys from Tales From the Borderlands is back in the new game, and in Telltale’s adventure Rhys was taken over by a hologram of Handsome Jack. Depending on the player’s choices in that game, it’s entirely possible that the electronic soul of Jack survived, so the best villain in the series may well return yet.