Ludo Avarius is a secondary antagonist of the Disney XD series Star vs. the Forces of Evil. He is a villainous Avarian with many henchmen at his disposal, and is the arch-enemy of Star Butterfly. Ludo was the main antagonist for most of season one, where he sought to claim Star's magic wand as his own to rule the universe, and briefly allied with Toffee to do so. By season two, he gains his own wand, but gets possessed by Toffee. At the beginning of season 3, he briefly conquers the Kingdom of Mewni. As of Star vs. the Forces of Evil: The Battle for Mewni, Toffee has been expelled from Ludo, while Ludo is currently on a soul-searching journey as part of his request to Star.
Ludo was once part of a family of bird-like creatures led by Lord Brudo and Lady Avarius in Mewni. He was considered the runt of fifty offspring and did not grow properly like the rest of his siblings; due to his abnormality, his family treated him severely in hopes of toughening him up for most of his childhood. When he was younger, Ludo became frightened of beards from a traumatic experience involving a beard during a birthday party.
One day, when the family went on a vacation without him, Ludo seized the opportunity to lock them outside and took over Castle Avarius, forcing his family to vacate to the Forest of Certain Death. Ludo then built an army of monsters over time and began organizing plans to steal the wand of Mewni's royal family.
Ludo is defined by his maliciousness and selfishness, bent on obtaining the magic wand to rule the entire universe out of pride without any qualms against who gets hurt in the way, even his allies. He has no empathy towards his own minions, punishing them for failure and is intolerant of tardiness, and will put his own safety and needs above them. Despite his ruthless nature, Ludo is weak and cowardly, having his minions do the fighting for him and quickly retreating after his army is defeated. However, he possesses tenacity, refusing to give up on obtaining the magic wand even after countless defeats.
Although Ludo is evil, he is shown to have a childish and naive side, presumably due to his upbringing which fueled his ambition for power. According to himself, Ludo's family was distant and lacked parental guidance growing up, resulting in Ludo becoming self-serving but also left him childlike and feeling bereft. As a result, when left without a proper guide, plan or in a conundrum, Ludo can quickly affix to someone else given they provide him with results and have the patience and respect to deal with him; this was evident when Ludo became attached to Glossaryck due to the strong patience Glossaryck put up with Ludo. However, Ludo can also be easily manipulated by more evil entities into doing their work under the guise of them supporting Ludo.
After he was stranded in the wilderness, Ludo developed greater determination, strength, and cunning in his competition against the wildlife for food, to the point of gaining authority over the more aggressive animals. He soon loses his former cowardice, as he gains more minions over time with the power of his new wand and confronted Star with greater success compared to his previous encounters.
Ludo is a short, dull green bird-like monster with yellow eyes, a dark beak with teeth in it, and a large round head with warts on it. Unlike the rest of his family, Ludo lacks wings, or at least feathers, on his arms. When he was first introduced, he wore a green cloak with a dark fur collar and skulls, a creature's skull on his head, and flip-flops on his feet. During the events of "Ludo in the Wild", Ludo's appearance changed drastically: he no longer wears his skull cap and now has a long gray beard braided into three tails while wearing a corn chip bag over his body.
Role in the series
Ludo Avarius begins the series as the ruler of Castle Avarius and the leader of an army of monsters, one of whom is the ever loyal Buff Frog. His main goal in life seemed to be to rule all of Mewni by overthrowing the rulers Moon and River Butterfly. In order to do that, he needs to obtain the Royal Magic Wand from the then current holder Star Butterfly who was sent to Earth in the care of the Diaz family. He begins the repetitive action of trying to steal the wand only to be thwarted by Star and her friend Marco Diaz over and over again. It quickly becomes apparent that not only is Ludo heavily incompetent at being a worthy foe, but that he suffers from a form of little man's syndrome, as his goal to get the wand is motivated solely on the basis on wanting to be better than everyone after, presumed, years of being looked down upon.
In "Fortune Cookies", he hires a mysterious individual named Toffee who is calm and collected and appears to offer good advice to Ludo. His actions result in Ludo firing Buff Frog, though he seems to mildly regret this afterwards. In "Marco Grows a Beard", Toffee outright tells Ludo that he is incapable of leading and is thrown out of his castle. He tries to rehire Buff Frog by offering him baby tadpoles, but he only joins when Star arrives to rescue Marco from Toffee. In the end, Star ends up destroying her wand and Ludo's castle to defeat Toffee and Ludo, while in a fit of anger, gets tossed through a dimensional portal by Star to places unknown.
Ludo ends up landing back on Mewni where he finds a piece of Star's wand in a skeleton hand and teams up with a giant Spider and Eagle who become his new minions. In "Wand to Wand", Ludo uses his new wand to recruit a village of rats and starts stealing corn from Mewni (their biggest cultural need). Ludo begins listening to the wand as if it is speaking to him and makes his presence known to Star and her allies. Ludo manages to steal the Magic Instruction Book in "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown", but cannot figure out how to read its contents. It quickly becomes apparent that Moon begins to spy on Ludo from afar and it is revealed through his family, that Ludo was bullied, and presumably harmed, by his father who was the rightful ruler of Caslte Avarius before Ludo kicked him out and took over. While his family does not seem to want to have anything to do with him, his younger, yet significantly taller brother, Dennis wants to reach out to him and help him. Ludo is confronted by Moon and the Magic High Commission, but Toffee takes control of Ludo and makes short work of them.
Ludo's wand is now embedded into his hand and he desperately tries to read the book, but cannot because he is "not the owner". He angrily tosses it into a fire, which he regrets, but is informed by Toffee that they must attack Castle Butterfly. Ludo finally achieves his goal of taking over Mewni, but quickly realizes that something is wrong when Star arrives to inform him that Toffee is controlling him. He soon begins asking for help, which leads to a final confrontation between Star and Toffee. During the fight, Ludo is hurt to learn that Mewni's destruction was not his own doing and after helping in defeating Toffee, asks Star to send him back into the void so that he can find himself.
Sometime later, Ludo made a home for himself in the void using garbage to make up the people in his life. His brother Dennis comes asking him to come home, but Ludo delusionally refuses. The garbage seemingly becomes sentient and Ludo and Dennis work together to overcome their anxieties and move on from their lives. Ludo tells Dennis that he still needs to stay to work some more things out. As he leaves, Ludo is revealed to have garbage facsimiles of Star and Marco, whom he still considers his arch-enemies.
Ludo only has two major appearances beginning with "Princess Quasar Caterpillar and the Magic Bell" where he attempts to revert back to old habits by taking on similar people to Star and Marco. This ultimately sends him back and he reunites with Dennis who has been hard at work trying to rebuild his castle. When Ludo discovers that the person Dennis signed the deal with to rebuild the castle has been swindling him, Ludo comes to his senses and gets the deed back. Now sober and free from wanting to steal anything or harming anyone, Ludo happily rejoins his family. He makes one final appearance in the finale playing basketball with Dennis while seeing Star attempting to reunite with Marco.
- Ludo is the fourth Disney character voiced by Alan Tudyk. The first three are King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph, the Duke of Weselton from Frozen, and Alistair Krei from Big Hero 6.
- Tudyk also provides the voice of River Butterfly in the series.
- Ludo resembles a Kappa, an aquatic yokai from Japanese mythology which is often said to resemble a turtle with a beaked mouth full of sharp teeth and a water bowl on its head. In the episode "Quest Buy", a water bowl-like patch can be seen briefly on his head.
- (March 7, 2017) Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension. Disney Press. ISBN 1-4847-7419-9.