- “Being a hero means fighting back even when it seems impossible.”
- ―Ford Pines
Stanford "Ford" Filbrick Pines, Ph.D., also known as The Author, is the writer of journals 1, 2 and 3, as well as the long-lost twin brother of Stanley Pines and a recurring character in last season in the series Gravity Falls.
BackgroundFord was born in the 1950s to Filbrick and Ma Pines in Glass Shard Beach, New Jersey, just 15 minutes before his twin brother Stanley. Caused by a rare birth defect, he was granted an extra finger on both his hands, along with an abnormally high I.Q. Since a young age, Ford had shown tremendous interest in science fiction and the supernatural. He spent most of his time with his polar-opposite twin, who was his sole friend, as the two often roamed the beach searching for adventure. Unfortunately, Ford was often teased for his six fingers, as Stan was teased for his wimpish characteristics, mainly by their childhood tormentor Crampelter. Eventually, their father decided to enlist them in boxing lessons to toughen them up.
As the years progressed, Ford's scientific achievements and knowledge expanded with every year, as his brother and himself continued their pet project, the Stan o' War, in hopes of fulfilling their childhood dreams of becoming national treasure hunters. As the two were nearing the end of high school, Ford's science fair project, a Perpetual Motion Machine, caught the attention of a prestigious college on the other side of the country, West Coast Tech. However, Stanley, fearing this scholarship would come between the brothers' plans to sail across the country on the Stan o' War, vented his frustration against Ford's science project, accidentally breaking it in the process-- ruining Ford's chances of being accepted into the college. Upon learning Stan was present during the incident, Ford sees the act as sabotage and accuses Stan of breaking his machine. After this incident, Ford watched as Stanley was disowned by his father and kicked out of the house.
Awhile later, Ford enrolled himself into a less than prestigious school, Backupsmore University. During his time there, he met Fiddleford McGucket, whom Ford perceived as an young but brilliant mechanic. Due to his tremendous work ethic, Ford got into the doctoral program three years ahead of schedule, was nationally ranked, and even won a grand award for his research.
In his senior years, Ford decided to major in studying anomalies, inspired by his own anomaly of having six fingers on each hand. During his research, he came to realize that the most concentrated point of mysterious anomalies in the United States was located in Gravity Falls, Oregon. Using his grand money for the construction of a large, isolated research lab in the towns forest, he began keeping the journals, where he cataloged the paranormal and strange things that occurred in the town. Eventually, expanding his work, he built another small bunker in the woods, where he kept his most dangerous experiments-- the Shape shifter being one of them. Along with other inventions, Ford created the mind-swapping Electron Carpet including a mind-control tie, designed for Ronald Reagan.
After six years, by the year 1981, Ford already had begun writing in his third journal and already had a wide array of encyclopedic knowledge cataloged about the town. Unfortunately, he eventually hit a roadblock in his research, unable to figure out why Gravity Falls was strange as it was. Finding a cave filled with cryptic hieroglyphics, the incantations spoke of an all-knowing demon named Bill Cipher with answers. While there, Ford also discovered the Cipher Wheel, prophesied by the ancient people of the town. The people believed that when these ten symbols were united together, it would create a force strong enough to defeat Bill. Ford dismissed the wheel as superstition, but read the incantations out-loud, desperate for answers. Ultimately, he summoned Bill into his mindscape. Introducing himself as a muse that inspired a genius intellectual every century, Bill lived on as a god-like figure to Ford, and the two eventually established a partnership-- Bill would give Stanford the answers he was looking for, while in exchange he was allowed to move freely in and out of his mind, taking control of his body whenever he wanted.
Under Bill's guidance, Ford learned of the dimensions leaking into each other and drew blueprints for a portal-- a gateway which could lead to these other dimensions. Calling up his college friend Fiddleford McGucket, the two began to construct the portal. Ford's partnership with Bill eventually grew to friendship, as he even began collecting things such as triangle shaped rugs and statues, even modeling his home's architecture in the light of inspiration from Bill. Along the way, Fiddleford began to feel uneasy of Ford's rather odd behavior, leading to a few confrontations between the two. Despite this, Fiddleford continued to remain suspicious, but helped Ford along with the project. However, when the two scientists attempted to test their machine, Fiddleford was accidentally partially sucked in through to the other side, where he apparently saw something horrifying, confirming his suspicions and prompting him to quit the project. Soon enough, Ford began to grasp the dangers of his research as well, eventually coming to realize Bill's malevolent nature. Ford then deactivated the device, as well as installing a metal plate into his head to prevent Bill from taking further possessions of his body. To further protect himself, Stanford created Project Mentem, a piece of machinery capable of bio-electrically encrypting one's thoughts and preventing Cipher from wreaking havoc in the mindscape. However, Ford's fear of Bill only grew worse, and he eventually started writing his research through invisible ink. As time went on, almost on the borderline of insanity, he abandoned his research and hid his journals, preventing anyone from ever reactivating the portal. Hiding his second and third journals and converting his laboratory into a shelter designed to survive Bill's apocalypse, his sanity nearly slipping away, Ford eventually sent a strangled message to Stanley for help.
Stanley complied with Ford's wishes and headed up to Gravity Falls. However, eventually learning that his brother only called him up to serve in his insanic plan on hiding his journals and not to reconcile, the two began to fight through Stanford's laboratory. During it, the portal was re-activated and Ford was thrusted into the portal to the other dimension, becoming trapped on the other side, while Stanley was left alone in the research center with only the first of the three journals, lacking two-thirds of the knowledge needed to work the machine and bring his brother back.
With no other option, Stan took his brothers home and faked a car crash under his own name, in order to prevent any further complications with his goal to bring Ford back. In order to make an income, Stanley, now known by the Gravity Falls locals as Stanford Pines (or by his pseudonym "Mr. Mystery"), turned the research center into a tourist attraction, the Mystery Shack. Through 30 years, Ford traveled throughout countless dimensions, where he began to pull himself back together.
Ford is extremely intelligent, often perceived as a rather nerdy person, as he enjoys board games such as Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons because they have high-levels of thinking to them. Ford has a rather "playful personality," he has a tremendous work ethic and serious nature, but is no less of a jokester than his brother Stanley. Despite his intelligence, it's shown he's rather naive when it comes to the modern world and technology, as he demonstrates little to no worry in giving his great niece a crossbow. Before the incident with the portal and in the light of Bill's betrayal, it was shown that he had trust issues and was extremely careful, even bordering up the windows in his house. Ford doesn't value himself highly and often thinks of himself as less, as more then once he was willing to sacrifice his own life for the protection of others.
It was shown at least later that Ford in fact values his family highly, to the point of being willing to give Bill what he wanted if it meant the protection of Dipper, Mabel, and Stan
Role in the series
The identity of the Author was hinted at throughout the series, from the moment Dipper discovered journal #3 hidden in a metal compartment in the woods near the Mystery Shack. The Author also made small appearances in "Gideon Rises" in Li'l Gideon's flashbacks.
Ford makes a cameo in the episode "The Time Traveler's Pig". When Dipper and Mabel are running around with the time travel measuring tape, they briefly appear in front of the Mystery Shack during the time when Ford lived there. Right after they disappear, a younger Ford can be seen sticking his head out of the snowy shack, though the viewers cannot see his six-fingered hands.
In "Scary-oke", during the Zombie attack, Dipper realized that some notes and even entire pages of Journal #3 were written in invisible ink which could only be seen through ultraviolet light, leading him to discover the Author's hidden underground bunker and the Shape Shifter trapped within in "Into the Bunker." While in the bunker, a laptop brief case belonging to the Author was discovered by Soos, which revealed that the Author's name starts with the letter "F." In the "Society of the Blind Eye", it was revealed that Old Man McGucket was the Author's assistant, and in "Not What He Seems", it was finally revealed that the Author is in fact the twin brother of Stanley Pines.
Many years after becoming Mr. Mystery, Stanley's grand niece and nephew Dipper and Mabel Pines came over one year to spend their summer break at the Mystery Shack. During this time, Dipper discovered Journal #3 in the woods, and quickly became enthralled by the information it presented, using it to learn more about the supernatural occurrences of Gravity Falls. After taking back Journal #2 from Li'l Gideon, Stanley finally had all three journals back and used them to open the portal hidden under the Shack, successfully rescuing Ford. However, once Ford returned, he immediately chastised Stan for re-activating the portal and risking untold danger. Stanford met his grand niece and nephew Dipper and Mabel for the first time the day he returned through the portal from the alternate dimension. After some prompting from Dipper, Mabel, and Mystery Shack employee Soos, Stanford and Stanley explained their story to the three. Later that night, Ford tells Stan that he plans on giving him until the end of the summer to move out of the Shack.
- Ford's condition is polydactyly (specifically postaxial polydactyly), a hereditary disorder in which someone has an extra digit on their hands or feet.