Ben 10 Essay Questions
March 15, 2012 | 1:13 p.m.
Unless you have a young boy at home, it’s possible that Ben 10, the shape-shifting teen superhero, has flown completely under your radar. Unlike the other costumed heroes in the Cartoon Network stable — Batman, Green Lantern, Teen Titans — Ben 10 launched without an existing fan base or brand awareness, the Jeremy Lin of the superhero set.
Just seven years after the animated series first aired on Cartoon Network, “Ben 10” is now the network’s top-selling franchise, setting ratings records and selling billions of dollars’ worth of show-related merchandise. At a time when studios struggle to relaunch and reboot long-running comic book properties, Ben 10 is the first new superhero in recent memory to have this sort of breakout success.
On Monday, Cartoon Network kicks off “Ben 10 Week,” culminating next Friday with the premiere of the new CGI movie “Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens.” This is one of those rare franchises that business people like to call “marketing juggernauts,” the sort that rate their own sections in your local Toys R Us. The consumer products line is a $3-billion business worldwide; if one were so inclined, a fan could spend much of his or her waking hours collecting the action figures, playing the video games, or fiddling with their Omnitrixes, the wristwatch-like devices that transform Ben into a host of superpowered aliens. In last year’s list of the top 125 global licensors, Cartoon Network, at No. 24, handily beat Fox, NBCUniversal, Lego, NASCAR and a host of others, largely on the sales of Ben 10 products.
And then there’s all the programming. Since the first series aired in 2006, “Ben 10” has spun off three animated TV shows and two live-action made-for-TV movies; a feature film by Joel Silver is in development. The show picked up its second Writers Guild of America nod this year — the only episode in its category from a series not created by Matt Groening.
The show’s creators, the New York-L.A.-based development company Man of Action Studios, came to Cartoon Network with little more than a name, “Ben to the Tenth,” along with a hazy idea of a kid who could transform himself into 10 identities. Cartoon Network executives, including Tramm Wigzell, the network’s vice president of action adventure, toyed with having different versions of Ben in alternate dimensions; later, they thought he could become 10 superheroes, in the vein of the 1960s DC comic “Dial H for Hero.”
“It was a long 2½ years,” Wigzell says. “We had a lot of people come in and take cracks at it, trying to break the code.”
One of the few constants was that Ben 10 had to be a kid, not a grown man in tights and cowl.
Ben and his 10 alien forms in the original "Ben 10" series, which ran from 2005 to 2008. (Cartoon Network)
“By having a young hero, you create someone that kids can identify more strongly with,” says Charles Solomon, an animation expert and professor at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. “He does cool things and has adventures, but he’s still a part of their world and someone they can relate to. What fun is it to have a 45-year-old man with an Omnitrix?”
And then the idea hit: aliens. In the premiere episode of the first series, Ben Tennyson finds an extraterrestrial gadget in the middle of the woods that allows its wearer to morph into any number of fantastical creatures: a giant dog-like beast with gills on his neck, say, or a dragonfly-like bug who shoots poison out of his eyes and mouth. It’s the sort of good, not-so-clean fun that would appeal to any 10-year-old.
Of course, there are limits to what a 10-year-old boy can do, which may explain why Ben 10, unlike so many of his animated peers, has been allowed to age. At the beginning of the second series in 2008, Ben had aged five years; in his latest series, “Ben 10: Omniverse,” slated to premiere in the fall, Tennyson is a rambunctious 16.
“Batman is perpetually 42,” Wigzell says. “Bart Simpson has been 10 for 20-something years. We just thought it would be really cool to age the character up.” Now Ben can drive (a souped-up Dodge Challenger), hang out late, even date. “With a 10-year-old, you can’t introduce any kind of romance or girlfriend,” says Solomon. “That’s just not going to fly.”
Along with his greater driving and dating powers, Ben’s roster of aliens has also increased. Since the show premiered, Ben has transformed into more than 50 aliens, which translates into that many more action figures lining toy store shelves.
A toy from Bandai's "Ben 10: Ultimate Alien" line. (Bandai/Cartoon Network)
From a marketing standpoint, it’s genius: Ben flips his Omnitrix a few times and you’ve got five more plastic beasties for the holiday season. As exciting as that might be for toy vendors, such concerns, Wigzell says, have never driven the series.
“It’s never been about pushing product,” he says. “Viewers can tell when it’s a toy show. It’s always been about characters and concepts and ideas.”
Despite the show’s deceptively simple premise, producers have found creative ways to defy viewer expectations. Ben’s snippy relationship with his cousin Gwen, initially the geek to Ben’s brat, has evolved into one of the most endearing boy-girl relationships on TV. And that cool Omnitrix? The seeming weapon of war (instant monsters for the lucky wearer!) is revealed to be an instrument of galactic peace, a way for alien life forms to walk in the oversized shoes of myriad other species.
All this has resulted in many honors, including five Emmy nominations, two wins, and the WGA award. The show’s awards are housed in a tall trophy case in the Cartoon Network studios lobby, one of the few bits of seriousness in a building jammed with toy robots and Powerpuff Girls figurines.
Working in such surroundings it’s easy to forget just how huge the show is outside the Burbank office walls. For voice actor Yuri Lowenthal, who plays the show’s titular hero, the aha moment came when he took a trip overseas.
“When I went to Australia and England and Ireland, it was 10 times bigger,” he says. “You see kids walking down the street, and every kid of a certain age is wearing Ben 10 stuff.”
And it’s not just Ben 10 T-shirts. In Britain, fans can ride a Ben 10 roller coaster at the Drayton Manor theme park and compete on the live-action game show “Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge.” In Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, kids can watch live multimedia extravaganzas based on popular episodes from the series (last year, the shows drew half a million attendees).
Part of the Ben 10 Ultimate Mission ride at the British theme park Drayton Manor. (Cartoon Network)
“We’re in 168 countries, 312 million households,” says Stuart Snyder, president of TBS’ animation, young adult and kids media division. “We approach it as a global brand, but then we leave it to each of the individual territories to really connect with the audience there.”
“The moment I knew it was big was when Gordon Brown, who was the prime minister of England, was quoted in one of the papers saying that he couldn’t get the ‘Ben 10’ theme song out of his head,” Wigzell says. “I was like, is this an ‘Onion’ article?”
As huge as “Ben 10” has become, with the toys and games and upcoming movies, not a lot has changed for Lowenthal, who has been the voice of teenage Ben since 2008. Lowenthal can stroll the halls of comic conventions unbothered — until it’s time for a “Ben 10” screening or panel and he’s outed as the show’s star.
“You go do your panel and they know what you look like,” he says, “and suddenly, we’re the Beatles.”
— Robert Ito
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More in: Animation, TV, Animation, Ben 10, Cartoon Network, cartoons, Robert Ito, Television
Ben 10 is an animated TV series and media franchise created by Man of Action Studios and produced by Cartoon Network Studios. The franchise revolves around a boy named Ben Tennyson who acquires a watch-like alien device (the Omnitrix) which allows the wearer to transform into ten different alien creatures. The Ben 10 franchise has received wide critical acclaim, winning three Emmy Awards. Worldwide it has grossed over $4.5 billion in retail sales. The franchise consists primarily of five television series and four movies, the latter of which aired between August 2007 and March 2012. Spanning twelve years, it is Cartoon Network's longest-running franchise to date.
Main article: Ben 10 (2005 TV series)
Original airdate: December 27, 2005 - April 15, 2008
Overall episode numbers: 1-52 (with Secret of the Omnitrix designated as episodes 44-46 in Cartoon Network airing order, 40-42 for the production or chronological order and 49-51 for the official order of the series)
Main article: Ben 10: Alien Force
The series begins five years after the summer vacation when Ben discovered the Omnitrix. It has been removed by Ben of unknown... reasons. A teenage Ben regains the Omnitrix while searching for his grandfather, who was abducted by a xenophobic alien species called the Highbreeds, along with the DNA Aliens at their command, are determined to cleanse the Earth of human beings. Ben's age causes the Omnitrix to reboot itself, granting him access to a new set of alien forms along with a few of his previous forms. Ben is joined in his search by his cousin Gwen and former enemy, Kevin Levin, as they fight the Highbreed's universal extermination plan. Later on in the series, Ben yet again goes face to face with villains from his past.
Original air date: April 18, 2008 - March 26, 2010
Overall episode numbers: 52 -98
Main article: Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
After Ben's last battle with Vilgax which resulted in the destruction of the Omnitrix, Ben replaces it with the new Ultimatrix that allows him to evolve his alien forms into their ultimate forms. With the recent disclosure of his identity, Ben has become a worldwide celebrity. Meanwhile, Ben, Gwen, and Kevin must stop an Osmosian villain named Aggregor, who hunts new aliens from the Andromeda galaxy, and intends to use their powers to achieve the "ultimate prize". Later, Ben, Gwen, and Kevin have to prevent the release of an extra dimensional entity called Diagon and prevent him from taking over the universe.The last episode of this series also featured Ultimate Way Big.
Original air date: April 23, 2010 - March 31, 2012
Overall episode numbers: 99-150
Main article: Ben 10: Omniverse
After Ultimate Alien, Ben acquires a new powerful, perfect Omnitrix that allows him to gain access to a new set of alien forms along with all the forms he has assumed prior. After Gwen goes away to college with Kevin accompanying her, Ben pairs up with a by-the-book rookie plumber, Rook Blonko. Rook is an intelligent and talented expert fighter plumber from the planet Revonnah. He is targeted by an intergalactic huntsman named Khyber, who made a copy of the Omnitrix (which he called the Nemetrix) with the help of mad scientist Dr. Psycobos. Both of them are working with an enemy from Ben's past, a mutated Galvanic Mechamorph named Malware. Ben later contends with the Incurseans, Albedo, Zs'Skayr, Dr. Psycobos, Charmcaster, the Plumber's Black-Ops Unit (called the "Rooters"), his alternate dimension self (the warlord, Mad Ben), and a Time War with Maltruant.
Original air date: August 1, 2012 - November 14, 2014
Overall episode numbers: 151-230
Main article: Ben 10 (2016 TV series)
The official Twitter feed of Cartoon Network PR confirmed a rebooted series that would return to following the adventures of Ben, Gwen, and Max Tennyson, but would also feature new additional alien forms from the Omnitrix. In mid-June 2016, Cartoon Network released the first poster for the series, in which ten of the most popular aliens from the franchise were featured. The series would premiere on international Cartoon Networks beginning in October 2016, with the Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East & African versions, and continuing into 2017 with the North and Latin American versions.
The world premiere was on Cartoon Network (Australia), airing on October 1, 2016. The U.K network premiered the series on October 8, 2016. The German Cartoon Network premiered the first two episodes on October 10, 2016. The series premiered in the United States on April 10, 2017.
Original International air date: October 2016 - Present
Original U.S. air date: April 10, 2017 - Present
Overall episode numbers: 231-310
Voice actors for the shows
Main articles: Ben 10 (2005 TV series) § Cast, Ben 10: Alien Force § Cast, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien § Cast, Ben 10: Omniverse § Cast, and Ben 10 (2016 TV series) § Cast
- Tara Strong as Ben Tennyson (4, 5, 10, 11-year-old and toddler), Ben 23, Albedo (11-year-old Human form), Upgrade (10 and 11-year-old), Techno-Bubble, Buzzshock, Blitzwolfer, Wildmutt (Dream), Pesky Dust, Nighty Knight, Amalgam Ben, Diamondhead (Gwen), Upgrade (Gwen), Kenny Tennyson, Future Gwen, Edith, Lucy Mann, Mrs. Fang, Sandra Tennyson, Attea, Serena, Pakmar, Mad Pakmar, Agent Swift, Molly Gunther, ML-E, ML-E’s Mother, Natalie Alvarez, Mazuma, She-Worst, Y-it, Fergi, Private Brownbag, Rook Shim, Duffy, Sally, Computer Voice, Mrs. Rheault, Mrs. Billions, Dust Bunny, Unnamed Blue Alien/Scientist
- Yuri Lowenthal as Ben Tennyson (15 and 16-year-old), Albedo (15 and 16-year-old Human form), Eon, No Watch Ben, Mad Ben, Bad Ben, Benzarro, Nega Ben, Anur-Mirrored Ben, Alien X, AmpFibian, XLR8, Speedyquick, Upgrade (16-year-old), Feedback, Walkatrout, Pesky Dust, Mole-Stache, The Worst, Kickin Hawk, Omnitrix, Ultimatrix, Brad, Jeff, Orb, Kenko, J.T., Carl Tennyson, Buzz, Pink-Worst, Green-Worst, N-8, Julius, Lieutenant Rana, Herve, Lieutenant Steel, Computer Voice, Sumo Slammer
- Dee Bradley Baker as Wildmutt, Ultimate Wildmutt, Stinkfly, Stink Arms, Big Bug, Eye Guy, Spitter, Swampfire, Ultimate Swampfire, Echo Echo, Ultimate Echo Echo, Humungousaur, Ultimate Humungousaur, Jetray, Big Chill, Ultimate Big Chill, Freezeghost, Chromastone, Brainstorm, Spidermonkey, Ultimate Spidermonkey, Goop, Cannonbolt, Ultimate Cannonbolt, Upchuck, Way Big, Ultimate Way Big, Lodestar, Diamondhead, Nanomech, Water Hazard, AmpFibian, Armodrillo, Terraspin, NRG, Heatblast, Four Arms (16-year-old), ChamAlien, Eatle, Fasttrack, Clockwork, Jury Rigg, Crashhopper, Crashocker, Wildvine, The Worst, Astrodactyl, Cash Murray, Drone, Mutant Cockatiel, Sixsix, Limax, Acid Breath, Joe, Amazing Alan, Scooter, Elsgood (Old), Mr. Zu, Joel Tennyson, Carl Tennyson, Gluto, Psyphon, Sevenseven, Dravek, Dasypodidate, Rodilia Dentia, Xenocyte, Tiny, Tiny's Mother, Ssserpent, Pyroxivor, Decka, Bailiff, Mr. Smoothy Mascot, Naljian Destructor, Zaw-Veenull, Tiffan, Commander Sangfroid, Stone Creatures, Sugilite, Bioids, Bivalvan, Andreas, P'andor, Ra'ad, Yeti, Geochelone Aerio, Computron, Cerberus, Blowfish, Pallorfang, Scrutin, Sentinel, Barry, Harvey Hackett, Plant Alien, Sir Reginald, Lucubra, Trumbipulor.
- Meagan Smith as Gwen Tennyson (10-year-old)
- Ashley Johnson as Gwen Tennyson (11, 15 and 16-year-old), Future Gwen, Gwen 10, Diamondhead (Gwen), Clockwork (Gwen), Humungousaur (Gwen), Upchuck (Gwen), Rath (Gwen), XLR8 (Gwen), Wildvine (Gwen), Carol Smith, Cicely, Mother, Sunny, Mrs. Rozum, Margie
- Montserrat Hernandez as Gwen Tennyson (10-year-old and toddler), Four Arms (Gwen), Dana
- Paul Eiding as Max Tennyson (54, 59-60, 60-61, 64-65 and 65-66-year-old), Future Max, Upgrade (Max), Ultimate Spidermonkey, Zed, Lukik, Moldywarp, Ishiyama, Highbreed, Highbreed, Blukic, Liam, Bailiff, Hoodlum, Seasoned Pro, Firey Buddy, Moe, Serf, Colonel
- Greg Cipes as Kevin Levin (11, 12, 16 and 17-year old), Future Kevin, Stinkfly, Jetray (Kevin), Wildmutt (Gwen), Way Big (Gwen), Nanomech (Kevin), AmpFibian (Kevin), Aggrebot, Grick
- Bumper Robinson as Rook Blonko, Future Rook, Mad Rook, Bloxx, Terraspin, Ball Weevil, Smoothy Vendor, Corvo, Magister Arnux, Alan Albright, N-D, Elliot, Techadon Robots, Crujo, Professor Aniceto
- Steve Blum as Heatblast, Ghostfreak, Heat Jaws, Vilgax, Future Vilgax, Zs’Skayr, Four Arms (4-year-old), Roger, Bob, Steve Cummings, Mr. Mann, Edward White, Hobble, Helena Xagliv, Adwaita, Mino-Toga, Drone, Pa Vreedle, Thaddeus J. Collins, Bill Gacks, Ectonurite Twins, Regis.
- Jim Ward as Diamondhead, XLR8, Wildvine, Diamond Matter, Jack, Gordon Tennyson, Mr. Beck.
- John DiMaggio as Rath, Ultimate Rath, Four Arms (10, 11, 16-year-old and toddler), Handy Man, Armodrillo, Toolboxx, Humungousaur, Dino-Mighty, Ultimate Humungousaur, Humungoopsaur, Bullfrag, Atomix, Whampire, Galapagus, Vulkanus, Baron Highway, Octagon Vreedle, Judge Domstol, Ragnorak, Doug, Aggregor, Ultimate Aggregor, Will Harangue, Mad Harangue, Colonel Rozum, Zombozo, Adwaita, Spellbinder, Magister Coronach, Conduit Edwards, Swamps, Garage Monster, Centur Squaar, Diagon, Aggrebot, Piscciss Volann Commander, Bobo Haha, Bubble Helmet, Madison's Father.
- Eric Bauza as Diamondhead, Grey Matter, Brainfrog, Eatle, Ultimate Arctiguana, Freezelizard, Ripjaws, Way Big, Upchuck, Vomit Man, Big Chuck, Buzzshock, Toepick, Chromastone, Driba, Dr. Psychobos, Albedo (Galvan form), Ultimate Albedo, Fistrick, Megawhatts, Pax, Solid Plugg, Bellicus, Commander Raff, Trumbipulor, Rook Da, Cooper Daniels, Contemelia, Lackno, Sergeant Cast Iron, Mechaneer, Poltroon, Jerry, Pretty Boy Vreedle, Dodecahedron Vreedle, Gust-O.
- David Kaye as Shocksquatch, Electricyeti, Cannonbolt, Rollaway, Heatblast, Gravattack, Ultimate Gravattack, Frankenstrike, Lightning Volt, Mole-Stache, Unitaur, Slapstrike, Max Tennyson, Khyber, Skurd, Exo-Skull, Sunder, Gar Red Wind, Deefus Veeblepister, Malice, Thumbskull, Lord Transyl, Bouncer, Joseph Chadwick, Steve, Shock-O, Foreman, Merlin, Forgeti.
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Snare-oh, Blitzwolfer, Highbreed Commander, Sheriff Mason, Milleous, Sir Morton, Battle Mode Ship, Magister Pyke, Kwarrel, Sergeant Cookmeister, Sweet-Eels Sparklefunk, Walt, Ujin.
- Richard McGonagle as Four Arms (10-year-old), Dr. Kelly, Gladiator, Exo-Skull, President, Reinrassic III, General Groff, Highbreed Supreme.
- Fred Tatasciore as Ripjaws, Cannonbolt, Way Big, Evil Way Big, Krakken, Duane, Bug-Lite, Dr. Doomacus, Mycelium, Coach Finn, Squire, Hammer, Surgeon, Quince, Strabismus, Hydromander.
Cast for the movies
Main articles: Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix § Cast, Ben 10: Race Against Time § Cast, Ben 10: Alien Swarm § Cast, and Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens § Cast
Main articles: List of Ben 10 characters and List of Ben 10 villains
Episodes and seasons
Main articles: List of Ben 10 episodes, List of Ben 10: Alien Force episodes, List of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episodes, List of Ben 10: Omniverse episodes, and List of Ben 10 (2016 TV series) episodes
|Series||Number of seasons|
|Ben 10: Alien Force||3|
|Ben 10: Ultimate Alien||3|
|Ben 10: Omniverse||8|
|Status||Number of episodes|
|Status||Number of episodes|
|Continuity||Number of episodes|
Having 310 episodes and 21 seasons, the franchise as a whole is the most number of episodes and seasons on all Cartoon Network original series.
Secret of the Omnitrix
Main article: Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix
The first film is a regular animated feature called Secret of the Omnitrix. A trailer of the film was released with the film, Billy & Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen, and it aired August 10, 2007. The main plot was that, during a fight with Dr. Animo, Ben's Omnitrix accidentally sets off its self-destruct mode and Ben has to find the Omnitrix's creator to shut it down and stop the evil Vilgax.
Race Against Time
Main article: Ben 10: Race Against Time
The second is a live-action film titled Ben 10: Race Against Time, which aired November 21, 2007. It revolves around Ben, Gwen, and Grandpa Max returning to their hometown of Bellwood and attempting to adjust to being "normal" again. Unfortunately, their lives are once again disrupted by a mysterious alien known as Eon who has an unexpected connection to the Omnitrix. It premiered on Cartoon Network on November 21, 2007. The film was directed by Alex Winter. The film was nominated for two Visual Effects Society Awards: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special – Dina Benadon, Evan Jacobs, Brent Young, Chris Christman; and Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial – Brent Young, Michael Smith.
Main article: Ben 10: Alien Swarm
The third is a live-action film titled Ben 10: Alien Swarm which aired November 25, 2009. It is about Ben, Gwen, Kevin, and Grandpa Max. In the movie the group stumbles upon a hive of alien nanobots using humans as host bodies in order to take over the world. The Nanochips, or "alien swarm", are controlled by a single consciousness. Ben and his friends work together to stop them. This movie is also when Ben unlocks Nanomech.
Destroy All Aliens
Main article: Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens
A CGI movie titled "Ben 10: Destroy all Aliens" was announced in mid-2011, and released on March 11, 2012 (Asia/Philippines) and on March 23, 2012 (US). This film had previously been under the working title Ben 10: Alien Dimensions. The film was based on the original series, and featured the original voice cast. The CGI was animated by Tiny Island Productions in Singapore.
Feature film adaptation
On June 14, 2011, producer Joel Silver announced that he, along with Warner Bros. and Dark Castle Entertainment, would be working on a film version of Ben 10. In January 2012, Albert Torres was announced as screenwriter. In February 2013, Ryan Engle was announced to work on Torres' script. Andrew Rona, Steve Richards, and Joel Silver were producers. Alex Heineman and Sarah Meyer were executive producers. Since Silver left Warner Bros. and Dark Castle joined Universal Pictures, it remains unknown whether Warner Bros. or Universal will release the movie.
Ben 10 / Generator Rex crossover
Main article: Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United
During Cartoon Network's panel at 2011's San Diego Comic-Con, Ben 10 and Generator Rex creators "Man of Action" announced a crossover special between the Ben 10 and Generator Rex series titled Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United. The forty-minute special aired on November 25, 2011, as a Generator Rex episode.
A comic book based on the special titled "Hero Times Two" was released on November 30, 2011, as the 65th issue of DC Comics' Cartoon Network: Action Pack.
Elements of the franchise
Omnitrix Prototype / Ultimatrix / Omnitrix / Nemetrix / Hero Watch / Biomnitrix / Power Watch / Argitrix
Main article: List of Ben 10 aliens
The Original Omnitrix, its Ultimatrix replacement, and the "finalized" version that is the New Omnitrix are the central elements of the Ben 10 story. They are all alien devices developed by Azmuth that transform the user into any one of a number of alien beings (originally 1,000,903, but the number has increased by 11 because of the transformations that have been unlocked throughout the series via the "Scan Mode" of every version of the Omnitrix). Despite many seeing the Omnitrix as a weapon, its true purpose was to allow the diverse beings of the universe to understand each other by "walking in each other's shoes" and to resurrect all of the intelligent species in the universe that may go extinct (including the human race). Both of these facts are revealed in the Alien Force episode "War of the Worlds." The second function cannot be achieved by the Ultimatrix because of Albedo's modifications. It is not yet confirmed if the New Omnitrix can achieve it.
The Omnitrix appears in the first two incarnations of the franchise (Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force), but Ben had to destroy it and use the Ultimatrix in the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien series. In the final episode of Ultimate Alien, Azmuth takes the Ultimatrix from Ben and replaces it with the New Omnitrix – the original version having been a prototype. The new version had all of the same features as its predecessors. In Omniverse, Azmuth reveals that Ben's habit of slamming his hand on the Omnitrix's core (and inadvertently the scroll pad) randomizes the time-out function, causing Ben to sometimes transform back to normal much earlier than expected or to transform into a random alien.
In Ben 10: Omniverse, the Nemetrix, a knock-off of the original Omnitrix used by a bounty hunter with an alien dog which uses the Nemetrix, is introduced. Unlike the Omnitrix and its succeeding models, the Nemetrix uses the DNA of the natural predators of the sentient alien races such as a giant worm, beetle, etc., which throughout the Omniverse series have the sole purpose of hunting Ben. Thus, only an animal can use the Nemetrix, as users of higher intelligence are unable to use it themselves without incurring mental and/or genetic damage. In Omniverse, Albedo recreates the Ultimatrix by using a Polymorphic Crystal to stabilize his transformations, making it so that he can stay in any form as long as he wants. It also allows him to transform into the Ultimate Forms of his aliens without first turning into their normal forms.
The Plumbers is an organization composed of both human and alien members, each of whom possesses a special badge. All badges bear the intergalactic peace symbol, a green hourglass shape, which is on the faceplate of the Omnitrix Prototype, Ultimatrix and New Omnitrix. Later, in Omniverse, the Plumbers' symbol becomes a red dot.
In the original series, the Earth's Plumbers were a secret government organization that protected the universe from any threat. Their main base was located inside Mount Rushmore, where the Null Void projector and Sub-Energy were stored. Their main adversary was Vilgax. Max was a Plumber in his youth. Most of the Plumbers have disbanded; however, a few members (like Max and his relatives) remain in a semi-active capacity.
The Forever Knights are a secret British society/paramilitary group first formed during the Middle Ages that are dedicated to collecting and studying alien technology, usually by illegal means. Any aliens they capture along the way are dissected and studied, and any humans caught with them are immediately deemed worthless and disposed of. It is revealed in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien that the reason for their actions is to combat Diagon, an entity from another dimension that nearly conquered the Earth in the Middle Ages were it not for the Forever Knights' immortal Founder George. When George left them, the Forever Knights began to splinter under various self-titled Forever Kings who transformed their knights' duty into a genocidal policy toward anything alien. The Forever Knights also arm themselves with a large variety of medieval weapons enhanced by alien technology, with Lightsaber-like swords, lances, "laser lances", laser guns and electroshock rods being their most common weapons.
Each series has featured some kind of main transportation. The wheeled motor vehicles, appearing like normal cars, are equipped with several pieces of Plumber technology such as a turbo engine, laser guns, and autopilot. They are often destroyed during the series.
The Rustbucket and the Rustbucket II, is an old RV resembling a 1973 GMC motorhome owned by Max Tennyson. Despite being old, and even having been destroyed a few times, Max has great affection for it.
Ship is a Galvanic Mechamorph (Upgrade's species) alien that has the ability to transform himself into fully operational technology he's once touched. He merged with the Forever Knights spaceship and from this event onward he became the space transportation for Ben's team during the third season of Ben 10: Alien Force. The Rustbucket III, a Plumbers' jet that Kevin has upgraded with alien tech, later replaced him.
Kevin's car is a Muscle car resembling a Dodge Challenger armed with Plumber technology as well as other various alien tech, including guns and off-road capabilities. It is the team's main transport in Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. It is damaged or destroyed often, mainly during fights or chase scenes, and Kevin is constantly busy repairing it. In Omniverse, after Ben destroyed it while aiming at Upgrade, Kevin gave it a new look. He painted it blue and placed a white circle with the number 11 on it, with only one stripe.
- During the original series, Ben has a lack of hygiene, and this is briefly seen in the other series. It is sometimes mentioned that he rarely washes himself or never changes clothes, claiming the shirt that is commonly worn throughout the first series is the only shirt he used during the entire summer.
- Ben chooses some alien in the Omnitrix, tries to transform into it, but often ends up transforming into some other alien found therein (occasionally becoming something he's never chosen before).
- Mr. Smoothy is a restaurant that serves mostly smoothies at which Ben and his friends are regular customers. The titular mascot is a cup with face and legs that holds a smaller cup. It serves the strangest assortment of flavors in its smoothies, made to order. Among the strange flavors Ben drinks are "chocolate and carrot", "nectarine", "mango and blueberry with extra echinacea", and all-meat flavored smoothies such as "lamb" and "sardine". In Bellwood there are 23 Mr. Smoothy restaurants, and in some episodes, some of them are destroyed because of Ben. Additionally, when confronted by the Contemelia, an alien race whose physical appearance changed to match what "held the most sway" to whoever looked upon them in the Omniverse finale, Ben saw them as living versions of the Mr. Smoothy mascot.
- Sumo Slammers is a large franchise creating video games, trading card games, TV shows, movies, mp3 players, etc., which appears often in the Ben 10 series. The storyline of the franchise is similar to anime stories, although the details were not shown, but it tells about a warrior called Ishiyama and his archenemy called Kenko with the ability to shapeshift. In Alien Force/Ultimate Alien, Kenko has somehow joined forces with Ishiyama, a nod to former villain Kevin 11 teaming up with Ben and Gwen Tennyson. Ben has been an enormous fan since he was young, and is always trying to do something linked with it, such as knowing the news about them and pretending that he is fighting like them.
- Kevin's car is a muscle car armed with Plumber technology as well as other various alien tech, including guns and off-road capabilities. As it is often damaged or destroyed (such as during fights or chase scenes), Kevin is constantly repairing it. The Rustbucket III has also become a part of this running gag. In the episode "Video Games", Kevin seems to think Ben's destruction of Will's car is not a good way of getting back at Harangue for his rage focused at Ben. Due to Kevin's obsession with his own car, it is likely a joke referencing that.
- Since "Fame", due to Ben's worldwide fame, he shows some typical celebrity behavior, where he is chased by fans and shows off, hoping that someone will notice and adore him. He constantly claims to have "saved the universe".
- Whenever Pakmar is shown running a business (in Omniverse), on several occasions Ben accidentally destroys it, or gets blamed for wrecking it, which causes Pakmar to hate Ben, and demands payment from Ben on multiple points.
- With very few exceptions, if Grandpa Max is doing the cooking, it won't be a anything ordinary. It'll be tentacles, or grub worms, or something else highly unusual (if not alien), and he'll expect whoever is around to be ready and willing to partake of his meals.
The advanced technologies shown are both alien and from Earth. In the series, they are divided in levels of complication, danger or sophistication. The levels known thus far are 1-20, although some technology is confirmed to be higher than Level 20. Any tech above the allowed level used on this planet is considered illegal.
Earth is a Level 2 planet, something that is considered very inferior by other aliens as it was stated once that Earth is at least 500 years away from being Level 3.
The Omnitrix and the Ultimatrix are Level 20.
Dwayne McDuffie describes some levels:
- Level 1 includes use and construction of simple tools.
- Level 2 includes remedial energy Manipulation, the use of Fire or the use of simple machines.
- Level 3 includes intermediate tool use and industrial organization combined with intermediate energy manipulation. Often information management technologies develop at Level 3. This is also the level at which many species accidentally kill themselves.
- Level 5 includes remedial manipulation of the fundamental force and of the Omnitrix Prototype, Ultimatrix, and New Omnitrix.
The Null Void is a pocket dimension, created by the Galvans as a penal colony. Although frightening, it can be a place for some to start anew. It is filled with floating rocks, with flying creatures known as the Null Guardians who protect powerless people in the Null Void from the more violent inmates. The Null Void also served as a base of operations for the Rooters. Over the course of the show, the Null Void became increasingly dangerous from the aliens sent there, especially after the Mutant To'kustars (Way Bads) were imprisoned there after the events of "The Frogs of War: Part 2".
ID Masks are masks that can change someone's appearance by means of a hologram. They were often used by DNAliens to take forms of human beings and are also used by Plumbers' Kids who are obviously part alien to hide their appearance and be able to roam freely on Earth. Even Kevin uses one after he turns into what he calls 'a monster'.
Techadons are powerful war machines that were mass-produced by a Weapons Technology group known as the "Weapon Masters of Techadon". They are armed with powerful lasers and nanite-based regenerative technologies, able to recreate itself in entirety from a single hand. The custom-made ones that are commissioned for a hit are stronger and when one is destroyed; the other ones adapt from the defeated ones.
Time travel is featured many times throughout the franchise. Professor Paradox, a supehuman, shown with knowledge of the entire time line, explained to Ben the concept of Cross Time. Cross Time is a reference to alternate future timelines, such as the timeline depicted in "Ben 10,000" and "Ken 10" where Kevin was still evil. Another Cross Time future, depicted in "Ben 10,000 Returns", presents a future version of Ben having the Ultimatrix and using it to become an Ultimate human who can access the abilities of his aliens instead of assuming their forms. It was stated by Derrick J. Wyatt that the future timeline in "The End of an Era" followed the "Ben 10,000" and "Ken 10" timeline.
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2007||34th Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Individual in Animation||Thomas Perkins||Won|
|Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing in Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue, ADR and Music for Television Animation||Otis Van Osten, Melinda Rediger, Trevor Sperry, Matt Brown, Jody Thomas, Andy Sturmer, Ron Salaises, Keith Dickens for the episode "Ben 10,000"||Nominated|
|2008||35th Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Brian A. Miller, Sam Register, Jennifer Pelphrey, Alex Soto, Donna Smith, Tramm Wigzell||Nominated|
Race Against Time
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2008||29th Young Artist Awards||Best Leading Young Actor||Graham Phillips as Ben Tennyson||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Young Actor||Tyler Patrick Jones as Cash Murray||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Young Actress||Haley Ramm as Gwen Tennyson||Nominated|
|6th Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial||Brent Young, Smith, Michael For the Grey Matter sequence||Nominated|
|Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special||Dina Benadon, Evan Jacobs, Brent Young, Chris Christman for visual effects compilation||Nominated|
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2009||36th Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Sound Mixing – Live Action and Animation||Robert Hargreaves, Robert Serda and John Hegedes||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Editing – Live Action and Animation||Robert Hargreaves and George Brooks||Nominated|
|Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Brian A. Miller, Sam Register, Glen Murakami, Jennifer Pelphrey and Donna Smith||Nominated|
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2010||62nd Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special||Evan Jacobs, Sean McPherson, Andrew Orloff, Brent Young||Nominated|
|8th Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or a Special||Evan Jacobs, Sean McPherson, Andrew Orloff||Nominated|
|15th Art Directors Guild Award||Television Movie or Mini-Series||Yuda Acco Harry Matheu, Hugh D.G. Moody, Rouzier, Pierre, Robb Bihun, Ann Stacy, Dan Post||Nominated|
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2013||Annie Award||Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Chap Yaep, Steven Choi, Derrick Wyatt for the episode "The More Things Change Part 2"||Nominated|
|40th Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Sound Mixing – Animation||Carlos Sanches||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Editing – Animation||Jeff Shiffman, Roger Pallan, Matthew Thomas Hall, Otis Van Osten, Tony Ostyn, Gerardo Gonzalez||Nominated|
Further information: List of Ben 10 episodes § DVD releases, List of Ben 10: Alien Force episodes § DVD releases, and List of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episodes § DVD releases
Following the success of the Ben 10 animated TV series and films, various Ben 10 merchandise has been released for general sale. These items include comic books, card games (such as Top Trumps), toys, video games, Lego construction sets, bedding, coloring books, footwear, and watches (the Omnitrix and the Ultimatrix). All three shows have been released on DVD.
The game franchise has many different formats. The video games franchise started on 2006 with the release of Ben 10 for the HyperScan, while the franchise's first official video game Protector of Earth came out in 2007.
The latest video game, Ben 10: Omniverse, has been developed and released for the NintendoWii and Wii U, Nintendo DS and 3DS, MicrosoftXbox 360, and SonyPlayStation 3 on November 13, 2012. The player can play as 13 alien heroes, including never-before-seen aliens like Bloxx and Gravattack, as they work for either Ben or Rook to defeat the evil plans of a fierce villain intent on destroying the world. The game is developed by Vicious Style Studios for all platforms except for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS versions, which are developed by 1st Playable Productions. The plot is about Ben's partner Rook going back in time and meeting an 11-year-old Ben. In the past, Malware absorbed Rook's Proto-Tool and intends to destroy the Earth. The player is able to access both Bens.
Ten games have been released, including Omniverse:
Apart from the Nintendo and PC games, Ben 10 games are also available to play online in flash format which is a gaming format developed for Adobe Flash Player. Such games can be played directly from the web browser and needs not to install them on your system.
Further information: Ben 10 (toy line) and Lego Ben 10
Bandai has manufactured a large amount of Ben 10 toys from the four series.
The series received three McDonald's Happy Meal promotions internationally, as well as one in America in August 2011. The toys are colored translucent figures of some Omnitrix/Ultimatrix aliens and their Ultimate forms, with a small photo of Ben inside. The Alien Force toys are four rings, each one is an alien (Goop, Jetray, Alien X, Chromastone) with features linked with their powers.
Developed by Jason Hall, Min G. Kuand and Heroic Age, the Ben 10 comic revolves around Ben's summer vacation with Gwen and their Grandpa Max, traveling in the Rust Bucket. The Ben 10: Alien Force comic revolves around Ben, with Gwen and a reformed Kevin, battling the Highbreed and the DNAliens.
Cartoon Network Action Pack was a 2006-2012 comic book series made by DC Comics which showcased Ben 10 alongside Samurai Jack, Codename Kids Next Door, The Secret Saturdays, or Generator Rex. Some of the issues were connected with the franchise, while others are non-canon.
In February 2013, IDW Publishing announced a partnership with Cartoon Network to produce comics based on Cartoon Network properties. Ben 10 was one of the titles announced to be published.
Ben 10 in other media
Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge
Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge is a game show developed for television by United Kingdom-based produced company, Twenty Twenty, which airs on Cartoon Network in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Bulgaria, the Nordic region, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Chile, United States and the Middle East.Ultimate Challenge is a trivia show that tasks children with answering questions about all three series.Ultimate Challenge is produced by Mandy Morris and executive produced by Daniel Marlowe.
References in other shows
- Ben appeared as a parody of Benjamin Franklin on the show MAD, in an episode titled "Ben 10 Franklin". Franklin was flying his kite when he was struck by a lightning bolt, gaining the Omnitrix. He used Swampfire to sign The Declaration of Independence. He also used Humongousaur to defeat the British and smash down a junior high school bully's house in revenge. He used other aliens from Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, where they have his hair and glasses.
- Also in MAD, a reference to Alien Force