Every Borderlands Character You Need To Know Before Borderlands 3

by Blake Woog on Aug 13, 2019 at 12:15 PM

Borderlands 3 is rapidly approaching, and there is a lot to catch up on. Who’s doing what, why are they doing it, why are there so many guns, and just what the heck is a Claptrap? These are big games with big worlds and big characters, and there realistically isn’t enough time left to play all the Borderlands games before the upcoming sequel. Well, you don’t have to worry anymore, because your comprehensive Borderlands breakdown has arrived. Here is everything and everyone you need to know going into Borderlands 3. 

Warning: There will be spoilers to the events of Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Tales from the Borderlands, The Pre-Sequel, and the DLC episode Commander Lilith & The Fight For Sanctuary. 


The planet of Pandora holds a legendary secret: A Vault supposedly filled with treasures and riches untold. The Dahl Corporation was attempting to search for the Vault, only to suddenly give up and leave its employees stranded on the planet. These employees slowly lost their minds, becoming the franchise’s iconic psychos. Aside from the bandits, the Atlas Corporation and their mercenary group the Crimson Lance are attempting to collect the alien keys and open the Vault for themselves. 

You play as the Vault Hunters, one of four elite killers with different abilities who, as their name implies, are searching for the Vault. They are in communication with the Guardian Angel, a mysterious woman helping the group collect the keys and open the Vault. The Vault Hunters battle the Crimson Lance who eventually open the vault, only to be killed by the giant monster imprisoned within. As it turns out, the Vault is a prison built by an ancient alien race to hold the monster, called The Destroyer. Whoops. The Vault Hunters are able to kill The Destroyer, and the vault is resealed. In the game’s final moments, it is revealed that the Guardian Angel is communicating through a satellite in the planet’s orbit … owned by the Hyperion Corporation. 


Major Characters

Confirmed to Return in Borderlands 3

•    Marcus Kincaid is both the game’s narrator and the rather aggressive arms dealer who operates all weapons vending stations across Pandora. He has been known to create conflict to sell weapons to both sides, and despite what he may tell you, it is written in tiny print on all his weapon vending machines that he is actually unauthorized to sell weapons on Pandora.
•    Patricia Tannis is – or rather, was – an archeologist researching the Vault for the Dahl corporation who was left behind after its sudden departure. She won’t let her strained relationship with reality get in the way of her Vault research. 
•    Claptrap (technically spelt CL4P-TP) is a general-purpose robot programmed with an upbeat personality in the face of intense loneliness and depression. Despite his programming and his crippling weakness to stairs, Claptrap becomes an instrumental part of the Vault hunt. 
•    Crazy Earl never goes outside, instead staying behind a firmly locked door in every game. Earl holds onto a Vault Key fragment in the first game and becomes a vendor in the second, but just wants to spend time with his pet skag, Skrappy. 
•    Mordecai and his pet falcon, Bloodwing (RIP), was a playable character in the Hunter class who specializes in marksmanship, falconry, and drinking. After Bloodwing's unfortunate demise in Borderlands 2, Mordecai found himself a new bird named Talon.
•    Brick, the Vault Hunter in Berserker class, is more wall than man, specializing in brute force and explosives. 
•    Lilith is the other siren featured in the series’ debut and is the first playable siren in the series. 

Unconfirmed for Borderlands 3

•    Dr. Zed Blanco is a “doctor” with his heart in the right place but a poor understanding of the medical profession. Though he lost his medical license, he operates the medical vending machines around Pandora. 
•    Scooter is Pandora’s eccentric (and mildly incestuous) mechanic in charge of the Catch-A-Ride car stations throughout the world. 
•    There can only be six sirens (women with mysterious and incredible powers) in the universe at any time, and Borderlands’ primary antagonist Commander Steele is one of them. The leader of the Crimson Lance, Steele meets her untimely end at the hands (tentacles?) of The Destroyer.
•    The Guardian Angel is a mystery, a woman communicating with the Vault Hunters through the Echo. In Borderlands, her background and motivations are unknown outside of her ties to Hyperion. 
•    Roland is the Soldier class of playable character, a highly trained soldier, and an ex-member of the Crimson Lance. He specializes in most weapons and can deploy a Scorpio Turret for maximum firepower.  

Borderlands 2

The next game to be released is Borderlands 2, returning the player to the world of Pandora and the search for the Vault five years after the events of the first game. Things are worse. The planet is under attack by the Hyperion Corporation and its deranged tyrannical leader, Handsome Jack. Hyperion (more so Jack) seeks to open the vault once again, harness its destructive power, and wipe out all life on Pandora in order to rebuild it from scratch. Four new Vault Hunters align with the four original Vault Hunters and the people of their home base Sanctuary in order to fight back against Jack and bring him down. After brutal battles and numerous major deaths, Jack is defeated, and the world is saved. At the end, a map is uncovered that reveals many Vaults throughout the galaxy, and where there are Vaults, there are Vault Hunters. 

During the events of Borderlands 2, most of the characters from the original game return in similar roles. Marcus, Zed, and Scooter return as NPCs who distribute items and vehicles and add Crazy Earl to their ranks. Angel and each of the four playable Vault Hunters from the first game return as major NPCs tied into big story moments. Roland will not be returning for Borderlands 3, as he is killed by Handsome Jack. Angel is also killed in the course of the game.  


Major Characters

Confirmed to Return in Borderlands 3

•    Sir Hammerlock is a biologist (source needed) on Pandora who simply wants to study Pandora’s wildlife. He lost a few limbs in an encounter with a massive Thresher he affectionately nicknamed “Old Slappy.” 
•    Mad Moxxi was technically first featured in DLC for the original Borderlands, but plays her first major role in Borderlands 2. The mother of Scooter and Ellie, ex-girlfriend to Handsome Jack and Mordecai (among others), Moxxi loves nothing more than sex and violence.  
•    Moxxi’s daughter Ellie took up a career as a mechanic far away from Sanctuary in order to get away from her mother’s constant nagging. 
•    Tiny Tina and her family were sold to Jack to be experimented on, and though her parents died, Tina escaped to live a life of insanity and explosives. Did I mention she’s 13?
•    Zer0 belongs to the assassin class and works as a killer for hire. He is an excellent marksman, blade wielder, and is also a number. 
•    Maya is the game’s siren who was exploited by a cult on her home world, escaping to set out and discover the truth about her power. 

Unconfirmed for Borderlands 3

•    The Soldier class, Axton fills Roland’s shoes as the weapons expert and the owner of a Sabre Turret, with which he has a questionable relationship. 
•    Salvador is a Pandora resident, born and raised, which explains his penchant for violence. He belongs to the Gunzerker class, which means he can dual wield any two weapons in the game. 
•    Angel, the Guardian Angel from the first game, is revealed to be a siren and Jack’s daughter. She was forced to trick the Vault Hunters into doing what Jack wanted while he imprisoned her and used her power as a siren to charge a Vault Key. She eventually convinces the Vault Hunters to kill her in order to stop Jack’s plan. 
•    It’s hard to sum Handsome Jack up in only a few words. The depraved, disturbed, and distorted tyrannical dictator of Pandora saw himself as a hero, trying to save the planet from what it had become. In the end though, he killed Bloodwing, so he clearly had to go. 
•    Gaige is a high-school girl who built a death robot for her science fair to combat bullying. She is a playable DLC character in the Mechromancer class and can summon her death robot at will. According to her Borderlands wiki page, “Gaige likes cupcakes and hot chocolate, and her favorite color is purple.” 
•    Krieg is a bandit that was driven insane by unknown means, but still has shreds of humanity in him. The final playable DLC character for Borderlands 2, Krieg belongs to the Psycho class, and has the shiniest meat bicycle. 

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

The Pre-Sequel is so titled because it takes place between the first and second games, but was released after the second game. It follows the story of Jack before he became Handsome Jack, the ultimate betrayal, and his descent into the depraved killer that he is in Borderlands 2. Unlike the first two games, the Pre-Sequel takes place primarily on Elpis, Pandora’s moon. Jack and the four new Vault Hunters fight to take back the Hyperion station from a group of soldiers who previously worked for Dahl called the Lost Legion and open a hidden vault on the moon. 

Due to the game’s odd placement in both timeline and location, the overlapping characters are fewer than in the previous games. All the original Vault Hunters – Lilith, Brick, Mordecai, and Roland – make appearances, as well as Moxxi and Handsome Jack (obviously).


Major Characters

Confirmed to Return in Borderlands 3 

•    Hammerlock has a trillionaire baroness sister who was a playable DLC character in the Pre-Sequel. Her name is Lady Aurelia, and she’s not very nice.

Unconfirmed for Borderlands 3

•    Jack, before he became Handsome Jack, he had never really been stable; he always planned to manipulate the Vault Hunters and use his daughter’s power to open the Vault. He was saner back then, when he was simply a lower-level Hyperion programmer. Lilith saw how unstable he was and turned on him, scarring his face and pushing him over the edge. 
•    Nurse Nina replaces Zed as the medical vendor on Elpis and probably still has her license, so she’s got that going for her.
•    Janey Springs is the black-market dealer that initially equips you with an Oz Kit, which is necessary in order to breathe on the moon’s surface. She also writes children’s books in her spare time. 
•    Colonel Tungsteena Zarpedon is the game’s primary antagonist and the leader of the Lost Legion. She learns of Elpis’s Vault and the knowledge inside, and pledges to keep humans from ever reaching it. That is, until Jack kills her. 
•    Athena is an ex-Crimson Lance assassin and playable member of the Gladiator class, becoming a gun-for-hire and taking a job from a Hyperion programmer named Jack. 
•    Wilhelm is the playable character in the Enforcer class who loves money, killing, and cybernetic enhancements. Wilhelm would eventually go on to become full robotic, and remain in Jack’s employ as a major boss in Borderlands 2. 
•    Nisha is the Lawbringer, a sharpshooter who kills simply because it’s fun. She also went on to be a boss in Borderlands 2 as the Sheriff of Lynchwood. 
•    Fragtrap is Claptrap, but programmed with “experimental software” and armed to the teeth. This version of Claptrap can go up the stairs! 
•    Jack, who was once known as Timothy Lawrence, is Handsome Jack’s body double and a playable DLC character in the Doppelganger class. It’s important to note that he underwent the Handsome Jack facial-reconstruction surgery to pay off his student loans. 

Tales From The Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands – Telltale Games’ episodic take on the world of Pandora – takes place after the map was discovered in Borderlands 2. New Vault Hunters flock to Pandora in a desperate search for keys to these new Vaults. The game follows two primary protagonists: Rhys Strongfork, a Hyperion employee, and Fiona, a con artist working on Pandora. Very long story short, the two end up opening a Vault, defeating the creature within, opening a chest, and disappearing as the Vault teleports them … somewhere. Oh, also Handsome Jack still exists as an A.I. (though the choice to destroy him once and for all is believed to be canon, but we aren’t sure). 

As a major departure from the franchise’s signature shooting and looting up to this point, many characters are unique to this game, though some return. Returning characters include Moxxi, Marcus, Zer0, Janey Springs, Athena, Brick, Mordecai, Claptrap, and Scooter. In one of the more emotional moments in Borderlands history, Scooter meets his tragic end in the game’s fourth episode. He died doing what he loved: catching a ride. 


Major Characters

Confirmed to Return in Borderlands 3

•    Rhys Strongfork was a Hyperion employee who ended up with an A.I. version of Handsome Jack. Rhys, after learning how from Jack, ended up taking over the Atlas Corporation. He also loves colored socks. 
•    Vaughn is a Hyperion employee and Rhys’s best friend. Previously an accountant, Vaughn, at some point between Tales from the Borderlands and the new Borderlands DLC Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary, Vaughn became the war chief of a bandit gang. 

Unconfirmed for Borderlands 3

•    Fiona and her sister Sasha are con artists on Pandora who get involved with Rhys and the Vault after trying to sell Hyperion a fake Vault Key. According to in-game posters, she is wanted for quackery … somehow. 
•    Sasha is Fiona’s younger sister, partner-in-crime, and fellow quacker, I guess. 
•    Gortys is an Atlas robot programmed to find the Vaults who learns friendship over the course of the story. 
•    Hugo Vasquez is an evil executive in the Hyperion Corporation and Rhys’s arch-nemesis. He stole Rhys’s promotion to the title “Senior Vice President of Securities Propaganda of Hyperion” after pushing his boss out of an airlock. 

Commander Lilith & The Fight For Sanctuary

This recently released DLC episode is supposed to bridge the gap between Borderlands 2 and the upcoming Borderlands 3. Therefore, it stands to reason that we should brush you up on the events of the DLC in the spirit of preparation. Luckily for us, since this is DLC that relates both to a game from seven years ago as well as a game that isn’t out yet, there aren’t many new characters in this segment to discuss. 

Commander Lilith begins five years after the main events of Borderlands 2. Roland, Jack, and Scooter are dead, Tales from the Borderlands has taken place, and the galaxy map leading to new vaults is being investigated. Until, that is, a man named Hector and a battalion of Dahl soldiers invade Sanctuary in order to steal the Vault Key. Hector and his men were left for dead by the Dahl Corporation, and he has dedicated his life to opening the Vaults and giving his men the life they deserved. Well, one thing leads to another and Lilith – powered by all Crazy Earl’s eridium – destroys Sanctuary along with Hector and all his men. This unfortunately also seemed to destroy the Vault Key, but little did they know the Key survived the destruction and is now out in the wild all by its lonesome. The key being unprotected is likely how the DLC is linked to Borderlands 3; the key will probably have fallen into enemy hands.