Despicable Me Wiki
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The name The Once-ler does not belong to the Despicable Me franchise.
The Once-ler
Onceler transparent
Species human
Gender male
Age around 20-25
Eye color light blue
Height approximately 6'4" ft or 1.93 m
Hair color black (young)
white (old)

businessman/entrepreneur (formerly)


His mother (formerly)
Brett and Chet (formerly)
Ubb (formerly)
Grizelda (formerly)
The Lorax
Ted Wiggins
Mrs. Wiggins
Grammy Norma


The Lorax (formerly)
Aloysius O'Hare
Bar-ba-loots (formerly)


His mother


Brett and Chet (older twin brothers) unnamed younger sister


The Lorax

Voiced by

Ed Helms (English) , Florian Halm Tom Luca (German), Matsumoto Tortoise / トータス 松本 (Japanese), Николай Карпенко/Nikolai Karpenko (Russian), Donald Reignoux (French)

"My conscience is clear. I have done nothing illegal, I have my rights, and I intend to keep on biggering, and biggering, and turning more Truffula Trees into Thneeds! And nothing is going to stop me!"
— The Once-ler

The Once-ler is the central protagonist-turned-main antagonist of his flashback story in The Lorax.

He's a man who recounts to Ted Wiggins when older about how his discovery of the Truffula Forest in his youth led to its depletion in the film.


He left his family when he was a young man, setting out to find the perfect material with which he could make his invention, the Thneed, a product that could do any job. His family constantly ridiculed him, saying that if he were to return a failure, it would be no surprise to them but the Once-ler sets off anyway to prove them wrong.

On his journey, the Once-ler discovers a valley full of beautiful Truffula Trees, where the Swomee-Swans, Humming-fish, and Bar-ba-loots live. When he chops down a Truffula Tree, he gets a visit from The Lorax, a small, orange creature that tries to warn him of the recklessness of his decision. The Once-ler eventually agrees not to cut down anymore trees.

The Once-ler soon makes a profit by selling Thneeds and so he calls his whole family down to satisfy demand. At first, he has his family harvest the trees' tufts, but they convince him to resume logging as a more efficient method. Many Thneeds are sold and the Once-ler becomes filthy rich, corrupting him in the process. One day, however, the Lorax shows up just as the very last tree falls, putting the Once-ler out of business. His family leaves with his mother disowning him, telling him that he let her down, and that Bret is now her favorite child. The animals migrate and even the Once-ler's mule, Melvin, leaves him. He ends up spending the rest of his adulthood guilty, isolated and alone until the events of the film, where he has aged considerably.

Old Onceler

Once-ler as an old man

One day, when Ted Wiggins is searching for a real tree to impress Audrey, his grandma tells him about the Once-ler and where he lives. The now elderly Once-ler recounts his story to Ted over the course of three days, giving Ted the last Truffula Tree seed when he is finished.

As Ted plants the seed in Thneedville, the old Once-ler takes his axe and hacks away at the wooden boards nailed across his window, gazing out at the town singing "Let it Grow". Some time later, when the trees have begun to grow back again, he emerges from his house to water the saplings. The Lorax returns, telling him that he did good and that he is proud of him. They enjoy a joyful reunion, after which the Lorax compliments the Once-ler's new mustache.



  • His whole family disowned him due to his failure except his brothers. Despite this, they are not innocent, as they are also to blame for convincing the Once-ler to chopping down the Truffula Trees in the first place.
  • Even though the Once-ler is the central antagonist of the film, he is more of a fan favourite than Aloysius O'Hare, the main antagonist of the film. Many fans have joined "The Once-ler Fandom" which proves how much of a fan favourite he is.
  • In the book and 1972 movie (The TV special), we never see the Once-ler in whole and his species is unknown. However, in the 2012 movie, he is seen in whole and he is human.
  • In the 2012 movie, the Lorax calls the Once-ler "Beanpole" due to his skinny and tall body.
  • In the book and 1972 movie (The TV special,) the Once-ler builds a house, not a tent unlike in the 2012 movie.
  • From the appearance of the body and head-stock, it seems that until he obtains the red "Flying V" and "Double-necked Flying-V" in "How Bad Can I Be?". He is also seen playing a fictionalized version of a black Fender Stratocaster.
  • The Once-ler's father was never mentioned, drawn/animated, or seen in the official book and both of the 1972 (The TV special) and 2012 movies.
    • However, in the original book and TV special, he calls The Lorax “dad” on multiple occasions due to his behavior, implying that the Once-ler might’ve had a father at some point.