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Top 10 Cartoon Characters Destined to be Iconic

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Nick Spake These are the cartoon all-stars of tomorrow… TODAY! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cartoon Characters That Will Become Iconic In The Future. For this list, we’re taking a look at animated characters that aren’t necessarily household names yet, but have the potential to join the same league as SpongeBob and Homer Simpson. We’ve excluded any characters that officially hit the scene before 2010. Sorry, Archer. Special thanks to our user governmentfree suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Cartoon+Characters+That+Will+Become+Iconic+In+The+Future
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Written by Nick Spake

These are the cartoon all-stars of tomorrow… TODAY! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 cartoon characters that will become iconic in the future.

For this list, we’re taking a look at animated characters that aren’t necessarily household names yet, but have the potential to join the same league as SpongeBob and Homer Simpson. We’ve excluded any characters that officially hit the scene before 2010. Sorry, Archer.

#10: Tina Ruth Belcher
“Bob’s Burgers” (2011-)

While Archer didn’t make the cut, we can give some love to another show featuring H. Jon Benjamin’s voice talents. Bob Belcher runs this show’s titular restaurant along with his eccentric family, but if we had to single out one member of the Belcher clan, it’d have to be the scene-stealing Tina. Voiced to deadpan perfection by Dan Mintz, the eldest of the Belcher kids speaks to anybody that felt awkward growing up. Some don’t entirely understand her fascination with zombies and erotic friend fiction. Rather than judging Tina, though, this show ultimately embraces her unusual quirks. She reminds us why weird is the new awesome, cementing her place as a future cartoon icon.

#9: Pinkie Pie
“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” (2010-)

Traditionally, the “My Little Pony” franchise wasn’t exactly known for character development. However, upon launching the “Friendship is Magic” series, Lauren Faust and company aspired to create characters with distinctive personalities – Pinkie Pie in particular has personality in spades. The embodiment of laughter, this pony loves pranks, pastries, and parties. Never too far away from her party cannon, she’s always ready to throw an extravagant bash and put a smile on your face. Pinkie’s good cheer and sense of humor have naturally made her popular among young girls. However, she’s also become a fan favorite among adult male viewers. In that sense, Pinkie is a testament to the recent shift in gender norms.

#8: PC Principal
“South Park” (1997-)

PC Principal is just one example of how “South Park” has remained fresh. Introduced in Season 19, PC Principal is a college frat guy who takes political correctness to the extreme. Since “South Park” is notorious for its politically incorrect humor, PC Principal often acts as an antagonist. However, he’s also had a positive impact on the town, influencing them to be more accepting and adapt to the changing world. The problem is that PC Principal always forces his views on others, leaving no room for compromise. He encompasses both the good side and the bad side of PC culture, making him one of the most relevant characters in post-millennium television.

#7: Korra
“The Legend of Korra” (2012-14)

As Avatar Aang’s successor, Korra certainly had some big shoes to fill. The newest Avatar does admittedly get off to a rocky start, proving reckless and temperamental. What makes her such a compelling character, though, is that she continues to grow throughout the series. In addition to becoming more patient and understanding, she finds that failure is part of any hero’s journey. Even when she hits rock bottom, Korra eventually manages to rise from the ashes, stronger than ever. What’s more, Korra stands out for her relationship with Asami, becoming a ground-breaking LGBT character in the realm of western family entertainment. That alone makes her a character that’ll be remembered for years to come.

#6: Mordecai
“Regular Show” (2010-17)

Mordecai is the epitome of everything Generation Y stands for. Like many other millennials, this blue jay enjoys playing video games, watching nostalgic TV shows, and kicking back with a few drinks. Along with his best pal Rigby, he frequently slacks off and dodges responsibility. While his priorities aren’t entirely sorted out, Mordecai isn’t without ambition. He wants a family, career, and something more out of life… it just takes him longer than some to move forward. Over the course of this series, Mordecai finds that he can do whatever he sets his mind to, whether it’s being an artist or an astronaut. Like the show itself, he’s anything but regular.

#5: Mabel Pines
“Gravity Falls” (2013-16)

Dipper Pines provided “Gravity Falls” with a grounded center, but Mabel was the sugary shell that gave this series something extra special. Inspired by creator Alex Hirsch’s real-life twin sister, this twelve-year-old girl is a perpetual ray of sunshine. Unapologetically goofy and full of energy, Mabel has always lived in a world of her own imagination. Of course in a town like Gravity Falls, imagination and reality are virtually one and the same. Although the show’s ongoing mystery hooked viewers in, characters like Mabel kept us coming back for more. Her creativity, wit, and optimism helped make “Gravity Falls” a truly unique experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

#4: Steven Universe
“Steven Universe” (2013-)

“Steven Universe” is a show with huge stakes, a rich mythology, and deep themes. At the core of everything, though, is a simple, relatable main character. Living in his mother’s shadow, Steven sometimes feels like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop him from maintaining a playful spirit and a hopeful outlook on life. Steven’s infectious positivity makes him a character that we want to follow to the ends of the universe. Even if he does screw up on occasion, Steven’s always prepared to learn from his experiences. While Steven has changed a lot since we first met him, he remains as lovable and inspiring as ever.

#3: BoJack Horseman
“BoJack Horseman” (2014-)

BoJack Horseman is one of the most complicated and tragic characters on television, earning comparisons to Tony Soprano, Don Draper, and Frank Underwood. Oh, and did we mention he’s also a talking horse? Honestly, it’s easy to forget about his animal characteristics, as he feels incredibly human. A former sitcom star, BoJack wishes to reclaim his fame and emerge as a serious actor. Whether he succeeds or fails, however, BoJack always finds that something is missing from his life. One minute, you’ll find yourself wanting to slap BoJack for his self-destructive behavior. The next, you’ll want to give him a reassuring hug. In any case, he’s certainly a horse of a different color.

#2: Rick Sanchez
“Rick and Morty” (2013-)

This animated series almost immediately accumulated a cult following. Its fan base is likely to only grow bigger over time, especially with a character like Rick at the helm. Seemingly burping between every other sentence, this drunken scientist is rude and insensitive. Regardless, he’s always the smartest man in the room. Granted, sometimes there are multiple Ricks in one room, but we digress. While Rick loves his family, he’s not above putting them in the line of danger. He frequently drags grandson Morty along on hazardous adventures involving aliens, time travel, and Szechuan sauce. As long as Rick’s in the driver’s seat, we’re always in store for something inventive, unpredictable, and hilarious.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

- Star Butterfly
“Star vs. the Forces of Evil” (2015-)

- Gumball
“The Amazing World of Gumball” (2011-)

#1: Jake the Dog & Finn the Human
“Adventure Time” (2010-18)

Many have argued that “Adventure Time” set a new gold standard for animated programming. The show wouldn’t be the success it is today if it weren’t for the dynamic between Finn and Jake. Come to think of it, modern cartoons in general likely wouldn’t be the same. With their happy-go-lucky attitudes, expressive faces, and genuinely kind hearts, you can definitely see how Finn and Jake influenced some of the other cartoon characters on this list. These adoptive brothers perfectly complement each other, with Finn being the determined hero and Jake being his laidback wingman. Years from now when people look back at the current animation renaissance, this endearing pair will instantly come to mind.
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