This article is about the 2010 live-action character. For 1951 animated character, see Mad Hatter.
Tarrant Hightopp, also known as the Mad Hatter or simply The Hatter, is the deuteragonist of the 2010 film, Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. He is a hat maker that has been poisoned by mercury, hence his orange hair. He is part of the resistance to bring down the Red Queen's command of Underland and thus end her bloody rule. He is portrayed by Johnny Depp.
Tarrant's origins involve him with the Hightopp Clan, a family of hatters, which was supposedly destroyed by the Jabberwock, sent by the Red Queen during a visit by the White Queen to their village on the "Horevendush Day". The Hightopps did not indeed perish though, as it turns out they were actually captured and imprisoned by the Red Queen out of revenge. Though the White Queen was safely spirited away, the Vorpal Sword (as well as her crown) was lost in the confusion. Tarrant was thought to be the only member of his clan left- everybody and everything else was supposedly killed or burned to the ground. Tarrant only escaped the destruction because he led the White queen's panicked horse away from the initial attack. He returns after to find the village burnt to the ground, a shocked look on his face he bends down to pick up his trademark hat. When we next see his face it is clear from the half-smile that his sanity has shattered. A scene of Tarrant's past can be seen-the Jabberwock blowing fire down on the clan, when he and Alice are traveling and they pass through the remains of his home, causing him to briefly flashback to the destruction.
The destruction of his clan broke something in Tarrant's mind - causing him to become detached from reality and also develop a slight split personality. When he becomes upset his eyes change from green to a golden yellow and he begins speaking in a noticeable Scottish brogue. Tarrant can become violent in this state unless someone snaps him out of it. Mallymkun the Dormouse snaps him out of it the first time by shouting, "Hatter!!" when he is about to attack the Chesire cat who he blames for the attack on his clan. Alice later snaps him out of one of his episodes when he is imprisoned at the Red Queen's castle making hats. Tarrant himself is vaguely aware of his personality problem telling Alice that he has to get out of the Red Queen's castle saying its getting harder for him to think clearly there.
Tarrant Hightopp first met Alice Kingsleigh when she was a young child at the age of nine. They became friends quickly, even enjoying tea together. Alice forgot these memories while she was away from Underland, but at the age of nineteen, Alice fell down the rabbit hole once again. She had no recollection of Tarrant when she rediscovered his tea table of friends and joined them in their rebellion against the Red Queen.
Tarrant quickly tries to help Alice, especially when the Red Queen's minions came to him looking for her. He gave Alice a potion that shrinks her, then hid her in a teapot and pretended that he'd never seen her, even after being choked by the Red Queen's Knave of Hearts, Stayne.
After Stayne leaves, Tarrant took Alice on a journey to Marmoreal and explained the Red Queen's reign of terror over Underland on the way. Soon, the Red Queen's minions picked up Alice's scent and start chasing them. With no other options, and the enemy approaching, Tarrant put Alice atop his hat and threw it across a river to the opposite side (saving her from the Red Knights), but then draws attention to himself and got captured in the process. He is taken away as Alice watches on.
Stayne tried to torture him for information on Alice's location but his insanity protected him from the torture methods. When Alice arrived in Crims, Tarrant was brought into the throne room, and decided to distract the Red Queen from executing him by hatting her. During his time as her prisoner, he makes many hats for her to try on. However, when the Queen tried them on, she hated all of them.
After Alice was discovered and escaped, Tarrant was ordered to be executed. However, at the execution, he and the Cheshire Cat worked together to help him escape. The cat disguised himself as Tarrant using his shapeshifting abilities and his hat, thus leaving Tarrant free. After the ruse is discovered, Tarrant angered the Red Queen by turning her people against her, then retreated to Marmoreal. There, the White Queen decided that they must have a champion to destroy the Jabberwock. When Alice, the prophesied slayer of the beast, doesn't step up, Tarrant is the first to say that he will do it. Alice, however, is the only one that can defeat the Jabberwock, and no one else can take the position. Alice shockingly arrives and is ready for battle against the foul beast. They marched towards battle together.
The Red Queen quickly sent forth her champion, so Alice stood forward, and the battle between the two began. However, Tarrant quickly interfered with Alice's battle with the Jabberwock by pricking its tail with his sword when it threw Alice down rather forcefully. There is noticeable fury in his eyes. This starts a war between the Red Queen and the White Queen's armies.
Stayne drew his sword, and he and Tarrant quickly engaged in a sword fight. Not long after, Tarrant disarmed Stayne and knocked him to the ground, raising his sword above his head, and ready to impale Stayne. At this point it is recognizable that he is in a state of madness because his eyes are yellow.
Tarrant nearly kills the Knave, but is stopped when he notices Alice slaying the Jabberwocky. He then threw the sword aside, disgusted. After the battle, and victory, Tarrant celebrated with his famous dance, the Futterwhacken. Alice chose to leave Underland later, to the sadness of Tarrant. He bid her farewell, and she left Underland.
Tarrant Hightopp returns in the sequel to the Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, still with Johnny Depp reprising his role.
Alice encounters Tarrant in his house after listening to Bayard's story about his tragic flashback, reminding Alice to meet the Hatter once again. As she encounters him, the Hatter explains to Alice that he misses his family. Discovering his terrible state, he explains to Alice that the only way to save him is to find his missing family, to which she believes that his family died under the clutches of the Red Queen. Alice later notices that the Hatter is in risk of dying, causing her to warn her friends about this tragic thing that happened to her. Alice's friends then take her to Time's castle so that Alice can travel back in time, borrow the Chronosphere, travel back to Horunvendish Day where the Hatter's family is alive, and save the Hatter's family from being killed in order to save the Hatter.
Boarding the Chronosphere and escaping from Time on the Ocean of Time, Alice encounters a past version of the Hatter who is present on Toomalie Day during the failed coronation of Iracebeth to which after the coronation failed, Tarrant's father scolds his son for causing a disappointment to the Hightopp family much to his family's disappointment. Time later encounters another past version of Tarrant himself just as Time introduces the past versions of Alice's friends himself as the personification of time, seeking for Alice with the Chronosphere which he is seeking to return to his castle.
As Alice travels to the past Fell Day event, she encounters a younger Tarrant who explains to her that his father makes the best hats in Witzend. He later brings Alice to his father Zanik's workshop just as Tarrant's father explains that in order to make a hat like him, it must be done properly and very carefully to which after a short conversation, she leaves his workshop.
As Alice travels back to Underland, she notices the Hatter in the risk of dying as she explains to him the evidence of his family to which she gets no response from him, still near death. However, the Hatter wakes himself up, with Alice happy to see him alive again because Alice believed in him. Alice tells him the evidence about what the Red Queen did to his family to which he and Alice plan to reach the Red Queen's castle and save his family, with the help of Alice's friends.
Entering, Alice sees the Red Queen's ant farm with the outline of a hat, linked to Tarrant's missing family just as Alice finds his missing family members who are all shrunk in diminutive size. The moment, however, is disrupted when the Red Queen summons two Vegetable Soldiers to seize her and the Hatter. Tarrant and the rest of Alice's friends are later captured by the Vegetable Guards, just as Alice tries to stop the Red Queen from using the Chronosphere to prevent further catastrophe to which the Red Queen refuses refuses, just as she boards the Chronosphere, causing a catastrophe in all of Underland.
Tarrant, the White Queen, and the Red Queen (who was turned into rust) board the Chronosphere with Alice boarding it and travel through the Ocean of Time back to Time's castle as the time rust continues engulfing across Underland. As the time rust continues engulfing across Underland, the Hatter and the ant farm he his holding still with his family trapped inside are turned into rust. Later as the Chronosphere is put back in place to restore Underland, Tarrant and the ant farm he his holding still with his family trapped inside are restored back to life along with everyone in Underland. The White Queen gives the Hatter a piece of Upelkuchen to restore his family back to normal size to which Tarrant's family is happy to see their son back. With Underland restored back to normal, the Hatter allows Alice to return to the real world as a farewell.