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Juan "Johnny" Rico is a fictional character and the protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 military science fiction novel Starship Troopers. Rico is a space marine in the fictional "Mobile Infantry", an army group which is airdropped into combat by "dropships". He also appears in the 1988 Starship Troopers OVA series, the 1997, 2008, 2012 and 2017 installments of the film series and the 1999 television series Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles.
|Starship Troopers character|
|Created by||Robert A. Heinlein|
|Portrayed by||Casper Van Dien (movies, VG)|
Rino Romano (voice, Roughnecks')
David Matranga (voice, Invasion)
Yasunori Matsumoto (voice, Starship Troopers)
|Alias||John, Johnny, Johnnie|
Argentine (in movies and animated series)
The character is also referred to by the nickname "Johnnie" or, in letters from his Filipino father and mother, as "Juan".
In Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Rico is the son of a wealthy Filipino family who joins the Terran Mobile Infantry almost on impulse and over his parents' objections. He is sent to Camp Arthur Currie on the Canadian prairie for basic training and graduates as one of 187 remaining recruits, from an original class of over 2000 enlistees. He is assigned as a private in "Willie's Wildcats" (Company K, Third Regiment, First Mobile Infantry Division), aboard the transport Valley Forge.
Rico's first exposure to battle comes during the disastrous "Operation Bughouse", where 80% of the Wildcats are killed, most of them during the collision of the Valley Forge with another ship during the combat drop. He is subsequently transferred to "Rasczak's Roughnecks" (2d Platoon, Company G, Third Regiment, First Mobile Infantry Division) aboard the corvette transport Rodger Young, where he is promoted to corporal and survives several successful battles. He later enters Officer Candidate School (OCS) at the encouragement of his friend Ace, eventually being commissioned as a second lieutenant after successfully commanding a platoon as a temporary third lieutenant in "Operation Royalty". At the end of the novel Rico is commanding his own platoon ("Rico's Roughnecks") back on the Rodger Young, with his father, Emilio Rico, as his platoon sergeant.
In the films Starship Troopers (1997) and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008), John D. "Johnny" Rico is played by Casper Van Dien and his place of birth is changed: he's now Argentinian and hails from Buenos Aires. The destruction of the city during the first film plays a pivotal role in Rico's will to remain with the Mobile Infantry. In Starship Troopers 3, which takes place eleven years after the first film, Rico is a colonel and no longer commands the Roughnecks but rather a military post on the frontier planet Roku San. At the end of the film, Rico is offered a promotion to general and command of the Marauder Program by the new Sky Marshal. In the fourth film Starship Troopers: Invasion, Rico is voiced by David Matranga and is a general and the commander of the L6 Earth-orbit Station. In the fifth film Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars, Rico is voiced by Casper Van Dien. He is demoted to colonel training new recruits on Mars due to failing to stop the Bug Queen from landing on Earth in the fourth film despite succeeding in destroying her and must lead a squad of in battle on Mars. He is promoted back to general at the end of the film, leading a force to reclaim Mars from the Bugs.
In the 1999 TV series, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, Rico is voiced by Rino Romano, and serves as one of the protagonists. Utilizing elements from the movie, Rico is also from Buenos Aires, has a love triangle with Carmen Ibanez and Dizzy Flores, and is eventually promoted as Lieutenant of the Roughnecks before the cancellation of the series.
In the 2005 computer game Starship Troopers, which takes place eight years after the first film, Rico is a general.