Gwendolyn "Gwen" Tennyson, occasionally known as Lucky Girl, is a fictional character that appears in Cartoon Network's Ben 10 franchise, created by Man of Action. The paternal first cousin and best friend of title protagonist Ben Tennyson, Gwen is a core member of Ben's team who frequently aids him in his various adventures to defeat villains and criminals and protect and save earth and the universe. A highly intelligent and strong martial artist, Gwen later develops magic abilities that are eventually revealed to be alien in nature, having inherited it from her alien paternal grandmother, Verdona.

Gwen Tennyson
Ben 10 character
Gwen Tennyson as depicted in (from left to right) Ben 10 (2005), Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben 10: Omniverse, and Ben 10 (2016).
First appearance"And Then There Were 10" (2005)
Last appearance"Alien X-Tinction" (2021)
Created by
Voiced by
  • Meagan Smith (2005–2008; 2012)
  • Tara Strong (future; 2006–2007)
  • Ashley Johnson (2008–2014)
  • Montserrat Hernandez (2016–2021)
Portrayed by
In-universe information
Full nameGwendolyn Tennyson
AliasLucky Girl
Sorceress
The Witch
NicknameGwen
SpeciesAnodite (genetically human)
Affiliation
  • Team Tennyson
  • Plumbers
  • Anodites
Family
  • Frank Tennyson (father)
  • Natalie Tennyson (mother)
  • Ken Tennyson (older brother)
  • Ben Tennyson (paternal cousin)
  • Carl Tennyson (paternal uncle)
  • Sandra Tennyson (paternal aunt-in-law)
  • Manny Tennyson[a] (paternal uncle)
  • Max Tennyson (paternal grandfather)
  • Verdona (paternal grandmother)
Significant othersKevin Levin
ChildrenEunice / The Unimatrix (genetic copy)
Relatives
  • Gordon Tennyson (paternal granduncle)
  • Betty Jean Tennyson (paternal grandaunt-in-law)
  • Vera Tennyson (paternal grandaunt)
  • Joyce (maternal grandaunt)[b]
  • Ben[1] (paternal great-great-grandfather)
  • Jedediah Tennyson[2] (paternal great-granduncle)
  • Sunny (paternal cousin)
  • Joel Tennyson (paternal first-cousin-once-removed)
  • Camille Mann-Tennyson (paternal first-cousin-once-removed-in-law)
  • Clyde Fife (paternal second-cousin)
NationalityAmerican
AbilitiesMagic/sorcery and mysticism
  • Life force/chakra creation, manipulation and absorption
  • Spellcasting of various types of magic, sorcery and mysticism
  • Teleportation spells
  • Power augmentation spell

Elemental magic

Extrasensory/psionic abilities

Natural abilities

  • High intuition
  • Expert martial artist
  • Enhanced intelligence
  • Enhanced agility
  • Natural potential to utilize supernatural artifacts

Gwen was created for Ben 10 (2005–2008), in which she was voiced as a 10-year-old by Meagan Smith. Smith was replaced by Ashley Johnson, who voiced the teenage Gwen for the sequel series Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, and Ben 10: Omniverse, while Montserrat Hernandez voiced Gwen for the 2016 reboot. Tara Strong also briefly voiced a version of Gwen set in an alternate future from the original series.

An anime spin-off solo series starring Gwen, set in the original continuity as she attends college, is in active development.

Fictional character biography

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Ben 10 (2005–2008)

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In the series, Gwen Tennyson (Meagan Smith) is sent by her parents on a road trip with her Grandpa Max (Paul Eiding) and her cousin Ben (Tara Strong). She and Ben constantly argue, however they are both shown to deeply care for each other on various occasions throughout the series. Following Ben's acquisition of the Omnitrix, the trio embark in a series of adventures, encountering various extraterrestrial and supernatural entities, including the intergalactic alien warlord overlord and conqueror Vilgax and master magician Hex (Khary Payton) and his niece Charmcaster (Kari Wahlgren), the latter of whom detects a "magical aura" within Gwen, which she begins tapping into, acquiring magic powers of her own and obtaining Charmcaster's spellbook. On two occasions, Gwen uses the magic artifacts known as the Charms of Bezel to become the superhero Lucky Girl while becoming powerful like her cousin Ben with his Omnitrix. Besides magic, Gwen's biggest power is her intelligence: she is a computer expert and revealed to have extensive knowledge of history and science. She is also a skilled martial arts practitioner and adept gymnast.

Ben 10: Alien Force (2008–2010)

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Set five years after the end of the original series, Gwen Tennyson (Ashley Johnson) is now a black belt in karate, but tends to favor using her powers. She is capable of creating energy blasts and constructs for nearly any purpose and opening up interdimensional portals, which she uses to assist Ben (Yuri Lowenthal) after Max's disappearance forces him to put the Omnitrix back on. In the episode "Everybody Talks About the Weather", the pair's former enemy Kevin (Greg Cipes) tells Gwen her powers and abilities originate from her "alien bloodline", which she refuses to believe. In "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", Gwen discovers this to be true, that her paternal grandmother, Verdona, is an energy being known as an Anodite; a magic-wielding race made of the magic energy mana from the planet Anodyne, and that Gwen seems to be her only human descendant to have inherited her powers. Verdona offers to take Gwen to her home planet and train her in magic, but Gwen prefers to remain on Earth with Ben and Kevin, later coming into conflict with a returned Charmcaster and Michael Morningstar, who after initially seeking to absorb her powers, seeks revenge against her after her taking back her powers reduced him to a husk. Gwen later unleashes her true Anodite form for the first time in "War of the Worlds: Part 2", succeeding defending the world from the Highbreed. During the course of the series, she develops a romantic relationship with Kevin, and is revealed to suffer from both arachnophobia and claustrophobia. Galadriel Stineman portrays Gwen in the 2009 television film Ben 10: Alien Swarm.[3][4]

Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (2010–2012)

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Set several weeks after the previous series, Gwen Tennyson, now sixteen years old, releases her dormant, inner Anodite for the second time against Zombozo (John DiMaggio) after he attempts to kill her aunt and Ben's mother Sandra (Beth Littleford), growing to a gigantic size and shouting at him to leave Ben and Kevin's families alone, terrifying him before letting him go to spread the word to all of their other enemies. Gwen also discovers that her black-haired near-identical cousin Sunny (also voiced by Ashley Johnson) is also an Anodite and once again encounters Charmcaster and Darkstar, who are engaged in a romantic relationship after Charmcaster failed to use the Great One Dagon to resurrect her father, before helping Ben save the universe in destroying the extra and inter-dimensional demon entity and deity Dagon and his Esoterica and Lucubra. Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United, a one-hour crossover with fellow Man of Action series Generator Rex, aired on November 25, 2011 on Cartoon Network, in which Gwen is featured towards the beginning and in a flashback in a cameo appearance.[5]

Ben 10: Omniverse (2012–2014)

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In Ben 10: Omniverse, Gwen is now sixteen years old, attending the college Friedkin University (with one of her teachers being a reformed Hex), and reduced to a supporting role. She is often depicted in flashback sequences to when she was 11, revealing she had developed a crush on Kevin at that time.

At the end of the series finale, "A New Dawn", after traveling back in time to stop Maltruant (Mark Hamill) and watching the birth of the universe, Ben calls Gwen to get Kevin as he proposes that the trio and his partner Rook Blonko (Bumper Robinson) go on a road trip together to explore the universe that they watched being created.[6]

Ben 10 (2016–2021)

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Ben 10 introduces a re-imagined Gwen (in her 10-year-old form), her cousin Ben, and Grandpa Max, as they travel the country during summer vacation. When Ben finds the Omnitrix, a mysterious watch that transforms him into 10 different aliens, a world of extraterrestrial superpowers opens up to him; Gwen's identity of Lucky Girl from the previous continuity exists as a popular in-universe multimedia franchise of which she is a fan, while her enemy Kevin has a crush on her, to which she is oblivious.[7]

Spin-off solo series

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In September 2021, in response to a fan questioning about rumors of a Gwen 10 spin-off series, Man of Action confirmed they were actively working with a Japanese anime company to develop a series that would "just follow Gwen without any Ben" as they attend college, retaining her boyfriend Kevin Levin as a supporting character, citing the character's greater popularity in Asia compared to Ben as the reason for the solo series entering development.[8]

Concept and creation

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The original design of Gwen from the original pilot of Ben 10 (2005), in which the character was developed as a classmate, friend and potential romantic interest of Ben.
 
Glen Murakami's original concepts for Gwen.

Ben 10 was created by Man of Action (consisting of comic book creators Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle) and was produced by Cartoon Network Studios. The group worked on the concept of Ben 10 and its title character roughly three years before Cartoon Network picked up the series. Dave Johnson also helped in the design development.[9] Gwen was originally developed to be a classmate, best friend and potential romantic interest of Ben's accompanying on his road trip with his grandfather. Later in development, she was changed to be his cousin, the pair being the same age.[10][11]

Gwen's original design, including a yellow t-shirt and ponytail, was inspired by the original design of Ben Tennyson, the red hair retained for all series, while the ponytail would be incorporated into her outfit redesign by Glen Murakami for the last season of Alien Force, the entirety of Ultimate Alien and the first season of Omniverse.[11] Her head and hair were reworked by Glenn Wong, who also gave the character her blue top in Alien Force, while colors were added by Chris Hooten.[12]

The original concept behind the characters was later cited as the primary inspiration for the characters of Patrice Blazing and Nate Timely in PopCap Games and Dark Horse Comics' Plants vs. Zombies comic series, with Patrice designed after Gwen and Nate after Ben.[13][14]

Personality

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In the original series, Gwen is portrayed as an intelligent, mature but usually stubborn and smart-mouthed when it came to talking with Ben. Her quick thinking and good instincts give her an edge in dealing with dangerous situations.

As she got older, she became even more mature, caring, and sympathetic. Her affection towards her cousin Ben became more clear, as she had deeply bonded with him over that adventure-filled summer, realizing how much she cared about him. Gwen is willing to forgive villains for their wrongdoings, the most notable being Kevin, if she believes they have changed for the better.

Despite being far more mature and reasonable than Ben and Kevin, Gwen is somewhat hot-headed and can lose control of her abilities if angered enough.

Powers and abilities

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Due to her Anodite (beings of pure magical energy) heritage and having inherited "the spark", Gwen is able to manipulate mana (life energy/chakra/chi).

Magic

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In the original series, Gwen has shown a latent knack for magic, able to handle multiple magical artifacts. In the third season, after keeping the villain Charmcaster's small spellbook, Gwen begins casting spells and practicing magic. Throughout the Original Series, her abilities manifested as light blue energy, due to her being a badly trained Anodite as well as due to her manipulating mana indirectly. Despite abandoning these tactics in favor of her Anodite powers starting in Alien Force, she continued casting spells later on Ultimate Alien and Omniverse.

Mana manipulation

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Starting in Alien Force, Gwen's abilities have progressed to a magenta-colored energy. She soon discovers her Anodite heritage and comes to learn the energy she manipulates is mana, a life force energy present in all living beings. Mana is the basis of magic, which explains Gwen's previous magical proficiency.

By manipulating mana, Gwen is able to create forcefields, energy blasts, beams, stepping stones and energy constructs. She is also able to track living beings by sensing their mana and can absorb or generate mana at will. Through her powers, she is also capable of telekinesis, teleportation, clairvoyance and healing.

Anodite form

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Gwen is able to assume an Anodite form. In this form, she is dark purple in color, with long glowing pink/white hair. In this form, she is capable of growing in stature, flight, and immortality, as well as her abilities being enhanced exponentially.

Martial arts

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Gwen is a skilled martial artist and has been practicing since the original series. She is talented in Savate, Karate, Taekwondo, and Jujutsu. She is also a talented gymnast as she is very agile and can jump great heights and distances.

Intellect

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Gwen is highly intelligent and graduated high school early at 16.

Portrayal

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Voice actors

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She is voiced by Meagan Smith in the 2005 original series as 10-year old Gwen to the show's finale in 2008. Smith reprises her role in the film Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens.

In the 2008 sequel series, Ben 10: Alien Force; teenage Gwen (15 years old), is voiced by Ashley Johnson (replacing Smith) and continued to voice Gwen in both Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Ben 10: Omniverse respectively. In Omniverse, she voices both the kid and teenage versions of Gwen, as well as all her alternate timeline counterparts.

Tara Strong voices Gwen as an adult from an alternate timeline in the original series for two episodes ("Ben 10,000" and "Ken 10").

Gwen is voiced by Montserrat Hernandez in the 2016 reboot, who additionally voices both alternate variants (from the future and a universe where she had the Omnitrix instead of Ben) and all alien forms she assumes.

Live-action

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Gwen is played by Haley Ramm in Ben 10: Race Against Time and by Galadriel Stineman in Ben 10: Alien Swarm.

See also

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Notes

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  1. ^ Manny was mentioned in Gwen 10, a non-canon episode. It is unknown if he exists in the canon timeline.
  2. ^ Mentioned in What Are Little Girls Made Of?.

References

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  1. ^ "Rook Tales". Ben 10: Omniverse. Season 7. Episode 62. October 21, 2014. Cartoon Network.
  2. ^ "Under Wraps". Ben 10. Season 3. Episode 34. March 10, 2007. Cartoon Network.
  3. ^ Carter, Kenneth (23 November 2009). "TV Review: "Ben 10: Alien Swarm" Surprisingly Entertaining And Fun". Alabama Local News. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  4. ^ Weir, Melanie (4 June 2020). "Here's Why Ben 10 Alien Force Was An Underrated Show". The Things. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Ben 10 & Generator Rex Team-Up!". Archived from the original on 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  6. ^ Kirkpatrick, Noel (4 December 2012). "Animation Round-up: Gwen and Kevin Return to Ben 10, Droid Rage on The Clone Wars, and Adventure Time Takes Down 'Shippers?". TV.com. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Cartoon Network Australia October 2016 Highlights". RegularCapital. 2016-09-09. Archived from the original on 2016-09-12. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (February 20, 2013). "General: Audio Proof of Gwen 10 series being planned". Reddit. TPT-Moved: "Would you consider doing like, a little side piece for Gwen in her college years? She's away from Ben-" Man of Action: "Oh, absolutely. As a matter of fact, we're working with a Japanese anime company about giving Gwen her own series, so just follow Gwen without any Ben." TPT-Moved: "But Kevin will still be with her?" Man of Action: "Yeah, yeah, yeah... Kevin." TPT-Moved: "That would make Martha very happy." Man of Action: "There's uh, she's very popular in Asia, more-so than Ben." TPT-Moved: "Wow. Well that makes sense though."
  9. ^ Kur, Maciej (12 June 2015). "Interview: Dave Johnson". gothamwdeszczu.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  10. ^ Language and Style in Cartoons: A Case Study of Ben 10 (Salome Katumbi Kaula). University of Nairobi, 2015.
  11. ^ a b The Complete Second Season: Commentary for "Ghostfreak Out" (DVD). Warner Bros Entertainment.
  12. ^ Wong, Glenn (21 March 2019). "@wongdraws – Glenn Wong – Here's the turnaround I did for Gwen Tennyson from Ben 10: Alien Force". Instagram. Retrieved 21 March 2019.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Mosseri, Adam (19 July 2013). "Plants vs. Zombies Comics Now Available on the App Store". iClarified. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  14. ^ The Art of Plants vs. Zombies. Dark Horse Comics, 2013.