Astarion from 'Baldur's Gate 3'

If ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’s Astarion Didn’t Remind You of These Other Iconic Characters, He Will Now

By the hells.

I know I haven’t been very coy about this, but I’m obsessed with Astarion in Baldur’s Gate 3. Y’all know this. Everyone I play this game with knows this, and eventually, my algorithms found out, too. (Praise Selûne!) TMS writers Jack Doyle and Madeline Carpou have labeled him “the reddest of red flags” and “cunty to the umpteenth degree,” respectively. Yes, and yet, I lust for him anyway.

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Alongside my in-game partner, Lae’zel, this rogue vampire holds a permanent position in my party. I rotate everyone out based on narrative and combat needs—except Astarion and (usually) Lae’zel. And because of this, they’re also the most optimized equipment-wise, getting second dibs on interesting armor, jewelry, helmets, and more.

@yeahthebees Obsessed with him fr #baldursgate #baldursgate3 #bg3 #astarion #fyp ♬ original sound – bee

The character design and writing is incredible for Astarion, and really all the companions. However, it’s English actor and motion capture director Neil Newbon who brings him to life. Known for previous roles like Nicholai Ginovaef (and Karl Heisenberg, both of the Resident Evil series) and Elijah Kamski (and Gavin Reed, in Detroit: Become Human), Newbon is a seasoned veteran in video game performance. However, Astarion will probably be considered one of his best roles, not just for the memorable sass and bravado, but for the cracks and vulnerability peeking through the end of Act 1 and well into Act 2 of BG3.

These performances (plural, since you don’t know which one you’ll get) also feel familiar. Many players and onlookers curious about the game began pointing out how it reminds them of various characters in pop culture. Here are some of these comparisons, from least similar to least, according to an expert. (Someone who’s had Astarion in her ears for hours.)

Stewie Griffin

Louis Griffin holding Stewie in 'Family Guy.'
(20th Television Animation)

This is definitely one of the weaker theories expressed online, but I kinda hear Seth MacFarlane’s Stewie. It’s probably more his cunning nature and childish temper, because their mannerisms are very different otherwise.

Laszlo Cravensworth

Laszlo Cravensworth drip. Image: FX.
(FX/Hulu)

Sure, Astarion doesn’t do those random pronunciations of things so off they make you laugh (a Matt Berry staple found in Toast and as that one regular human bartender), but the theatrics, charm, and consistent blood references remind me a lot of this Staten Island rapscallion. They are also both very horned up and find the most creative ways to express it. Laszlo is the first of two dandies on this list and definitely the only person that would help Astarion not understand the danger that comes with it.

Jason King

Peter Wyngarde from 'Department S' and 'Jason King.'
(ITV)

This may be the most deep cut of anyone on the list. Played by Peter Wyngarde, Jason King was a character from the 1969 U.K. spy-thriller series Department S. The character got his own single-season spinoff production. Newbon’s acting doesn’t sound that similar to Wyngarde’s, but when you add in the context of King and the glorious amounts of camp, it makes sense. After an hour of clips from the broadcast, I get it.

First, the mystery setting puts him in the right setting. BG3 may be an adventure role-playing game, but at the heart of the story is a mystery. In the show, King plays an author who works with Interpol to help solve crimes. He also uses details to help write his own stories (like Ian Fleming) and flirts with beautiful women. However, (like Astarion, before me) he’s not looking for a commitment in the short-lived series.

Austin Powers

Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) in 'Austin Powers in Goldmember.'
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

How could I put King and not this international man of mystery? Jason King was a major inspiration behind Mike Myers’ Austin Powers. Put aside the goof for a moment and close your eyes. Tell me you couldn’t image Astarion saying, “Oh behave!” Don’t you lie.

Lord Jareth Tyton

Jareth (David Bowie) holds up a glass orb, wearing a shimmery silver outfit and heavy makeup.
(Tri-Star Pictures)

Despite loving Jim Henson’s work, I feel like I’m one of the only people in the world who didn’t like Labyrinth. Still, I’ve seen enough to agree with those who think Astarion resembles David Bowie’s character from the 1986 fantasy film. While unfortunately, BG3 probably won’t turn into a musical (not even a teensy-weensy dream sequence), you can multi-class Astarion into a bard to make him a bit more Jareth-like.

I did see a very sparkly one-piece floating around TikTok, coming later in the game, that looks like it came right out of the costume department of this film. I hope there are at least two so that Astarion and I can match. However, in the likely case there’s only one, he will be the new Goblin King.

Prince Charming

Prince Charming dancing with Fiona in 'Shrek 2.'
(Dreamworks)

I’ve been seeing Astarion voice comparisons for weeks. However, the final one that had me like, “I need to put these together,” was this one right here. Lovers and haters of the vampire alike can hear (and possibly fail to unhear) Rupert Everett’s performance in Shrek 2. Shoutout to this TikTok made by @Mega_Fro_Girl that almost ruined this for me.

@mega_fro_girl #astarion #baldursgate3 #bg3 #astarionbg3 ♬ original sound – ✨??mega_fro_girl??✨

(Meanwhile, I’m crossing my fingers that I can keep him from going full Prince Charming.)

Dr. Frank-N-Furter

Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
(20th Century Studios)

Nothing on this list is a straight insult, but this entry is a straight compliment of the highest order. Iconically portrayed by the talented Tim Curry, Dr. Frank-N-Furter is the main villain of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show. There’s the obvious sex appeal and playfulness with gender found in both the doctor and our vampire, but the theatricality of it all really brings these characters together. I even hear this low growl-like hum come out in Astarion’s speech sometimes that sounds just like Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Of all the entries on the list, I would be least surprised if Newbon came out and said he’s a fan of Curry or used this specific performance as inspiration.

@geekynikki Been playing Baldur’s Gate 3 for hours and every time I see Astarion, I think of Frank-N-Furter. #bg3 #astarionbg3 #baldursgate3 #astarion #astariontok #astarionedit ♬ original sound – Nikki

(featured image: Larian Studios)


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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.