- “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.
In "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons," Ford emerges from the basement, fighting a Cycloptopus, which he quickly defeats. Dipper tries to ask him questions, but Ford tells him not to get involved with his work. Later, when Dipper falls into the basement with his 38 sided die, Ford becomes excited, saying that he loves to play Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons. They begin playing in the basement, and their session gradually takes over the house, including the living room where Stan, Mabel, and Grenda are going to watch the Duck-tective season finale. After Stan accidentally rolls the infinity sided die and releases Probabilitor the Annoying, Ford and Dipper are captured by the wizard and taken to the forest. When the others arrive, Probabilitor shrinks Ford and Dipper, turning them into playing pieces. With Stan and Mabel's help, they defeat Probabilitor. After that, Ford shows Dipper what he's been doing in the basement—not only did he destroy the portal, but he has also contained the interdimensional rift produced by the portal in a small case. He makes Dipper promise not to tell anyone about its existence before putting the rift away. In "The Stanchurian Candidate," Ford is seen replacing a broken light bulb with one of his own inventions that will last for one thousand years and make everyone's skin softer. Later in the episode, Ford gives Dipper a mind-control tie to help Stan win the election for mayor of Gravity Falls against Bud Gleeful.
S2e15 - hair ruffle: Ford reunites with his greatest enemy. In "The Last Mabelcorn," Ford is shown having a dream with Bill Cipher in it, wherein Bill greets him as an old pal and tells him that he's been preparing for "the big day," going on to say that Ford will slip up and "things change." Ford warns the family and sends Mabel on a quest to obtain unicorn hair to Bill-proof the shack while he and Dipper go into Ford's research room. While having his mind read, Dipper decides to see what Ford is hiding about Bill and discovers that Ford made a deal with Bill and used to be friends with him. When Ford wakes up, he tells Dipper he "shouldn't have done that" and proceeds to try and take the rift from Dipper. Dipper, thinking Ford is Bill, fires the gun, it ricochets off Ford's glasses and destroys the machine. Dipper apologizes and Ford forgives him, and proceeds to explain his past with Bill, revealing that Bill had tricked Ford into thinking he was a friend, until Fiddleford McGucket discovered that Bill had tricked them into building a portal between the real world and the realm of nightmares. Ford and Dipper then form a partnership and, by using the unicorn hair that Mabel had retrieved they form a protective shield around the Mystery Shack, protecting their minds from Bill. S2e17 work with me: Ford offers to make Dipper his apprentice. In "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future," Ford realized that the rift case is slowly cracking. He asks Dipper to assist him in sealing the rift to prevent what he calls a "Weirdmageddon." They venture to the weird-shaped cliff in Gravity Falls and Ford reveals it was formed by a UFO which is now buried under Gravity Falls. Ford takes Dipper inside the UFO, with Ford explaining that they are searching for an extraterrestrial adhesive to seal the rift. As they venture further to find the adhesive, Ford questions Dipper about his future plans, eventually offering his great nephew to become his apprentice. Dipper worries about school and Ford tells him he has 12 Ph.Ds and can offer better education. Dipper then worries about Mabel but Ford seemed positive that Mabel will do well on her own due to her personality. Ford tells Dipper that he has the potential to become something better and as Dipper worries about his potential, Ford realizes that Dipper's magnetic gun revealed the alien adhesive. They soon get discovered by the UFO security system and Ford gets caught. Before the security droid could ship Ford somewhere unknown, Dipper manages to save him. Ford once again offers his nephew to become his apprentice and Dipper finally decides to accept the offer. After Dipper talks to Mabel about his decision to stay with Ford, Dipper returns to Ford's lab to seal the rift. However, Mabel has taken Dipper's bag by accident and Bill manages to trick Mabel into giving him the rift. As Bill destroys the case and opens the rift, Ford and Dipper watch in horror as Bill fulfills his plans. S2e18: this is what happends to heroes. Bill turns Ford into a golden statue. In "Weirdmageddon Part 1," Ford and Dipper witness more of Weirdmageddon as all of the creatures in Gravity Falls escape the area. Ford tells Dipper that Bill is getting stronger the longer the rift is open and the two set out to defeat Bill once more. Ford takes Dipper to the town's clock tower and prepares his quantum destabilizer to shoot Bill. However, Ford gets distracted when a weirdness wave hits the bell, causing him to miss his shot. Bill confronts Ford and informs his fellow beings about Ford building the portal. Ford is offered to join to be a member of Bill's gang of weird creatures but Ford instantly declines. Bill then gives Ford a riddle and when Ford poses the same as Bill, Bill turns Ford into gold and uses him as a backscratcher. In "Weirdmageddon 2: Escape From Reality," Bill notices that a force-field prevents him and his forces from spreading their chaos worldwide. So he thinks of turning to Ford and make him "come out of retirement."
S2e20 insane: Ford refuses to tell Bill the equation needed to break the barrier surrounding the town. In "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls," Ford is brought out of his golden state by Bill to find himself chained in a strange room. Bill makes an entrance playing the piano before making a drink appear in Ford's hand, who then sits down on the couch he is chained to. When Bill mentions the couch is made of live animal skin and multiple facial features emerge from the cushions, Ford leaps up in shock and drops his drink. Quickly recovering, he insists Bill quits the games, stating he wouldn't be alive if Bill didn't want something from him. Bill gives a brief demonstration of his power before explaining his inability to escape Gravity Falls. Ford incredulously states it is a property to Gravity Falls weirdness magnetism which he studied years ago. Bill asks if he learned how to deactivate it, to which Ford admits knowing the simple formula capable of collapsing the barrier before spitefully yelling he would never tell Bill. At first, Bill tries persuasion, revealing his intentions of "liberating" the third dimension and offering to make Ford an all-powerful being if he helped. Ford denied this immediately, calling Bill insane. Bill then declared he would invade Ford's mind to get the code, but Ford called him out on his claim, reminding him of the rules of the mindscape. Ford declared that despite Bill's abilities with dreams, he couldn't enter Ford's mind without Ford shaking on a deal and letting him in. Bill, seemingly weary, claims Ford was making things harder than they needed to be and has Ford magically re-chained around both his legs and neck. As Ford struggled with the chains, Bill insisted everyone had a weakness and it was only a matter of time before Stanford would talk. The scene fades with Ford screaming as Bill begins trying to torture Ford into giving him the equation. Meanwhile, Ford was unaware that Dipper, Mabel, Stan, and the others were planning to rescue him in hopes that his knowledge of how to defeat Bill could get rid of him once and for all. The main objective of their mission was to rescue Ford, who was hailed as a hero in the rebels' eyes to the point where his six-fingered hand was a prominent sign on their trademark flag. Everyone was keen on the plan except for Grunkle Stan, who was still angry for never receiving a thank-you for saving his brother's life the first time. Still, the plan went through, and an armored robot Mystery Shack stormed to the Fearamid to rescue Ford.
S2e20 Ford puppy dog eyes: Ford is subjected to torture by Bill until he agrees to his deal. The rescue began as Ford was continually tortured by Bill. Chained hand and foot, he was shocked by a 500 watt jolt from Bill's eyeball before the dream demon gave Ford another chance to give him the equation. Ford, despite his injuries and shock, was still vigorously resistant to Bill's demands. Just before Bill began shocking him again, the kids broke into the Fearamid. Bill sent out his henchmen to fight while he and Ford stayed behind, watching the battle. When the henchmaniacs were defeated, Bill was frustrated but noticed Ford's pride in Dipper and Mabel's success. When the demon stated how much the kids cared for Ford and visa versa, Ford realized his grave mistake as Bill now intended to torture the kids to get Ford to talk. When Ford tried resisting Bill, he was again turned to gold as the evil triangle went to take care of the heroes himself. When Bill's eye was torn out in the battle, a rescue team composed of Mabel (armed with her grappling hook), Dipper (bringing his magic flashlight), Soos (carrying the memory eraser), Wendy, Stan, McGucket, Pacifica, and Sheriff Blubs shot into action, landing in the pyramid with Mabel's knit parachutes. They approached the throne of agony and Mabel used her grappling hook to scale it, finding Ford frozen solid on the arm of the chair. Per Gideon's instructions, Dipper and Mabel pulled Mayor Tyler Cutebiker from the bottom of the structure, causing everyone to unfreeze, including Ford. After the proud uncle congratulated his grandniece and grandnephew, he turned to face McGucket, stating they hadn't seen each other since they parted ways and realizing his old partner must hate him. However, McGucket said he had tried forgetting and now would try forgiving, patching things up with Ford, who ignored his brother Stanley's presence completely.
S2e20 hold hands: Ford instructs everyone to hold hands in order to complete the Zodiac ritual and defeat Bill. Dipper then interrupted the happy reunions, turning their attention to the matter at hand (Bill was still currently occupied outside, fighting the Mystery Shack and those still controlling it). Ford pulls on a pair of six-fingered gloves and uses Robbie's can of spray paint to make a circle on the ground, causing the others to be bewildered and Grunkle Stan to think his nerdy brother had lost his mind. Ford insisted he was fine as he finished a drawing of Bill's zodiac wheel. Ford explained that the symbols were a prophecy about how Bill could be defeated by a mystical power and the town could be saved. Stanford began piecing together the puzzle, directing Dipper and Mabel to their rightful places on the wheel as Soos took his question mark, Wendy put Robbie in his place, and Gideon took his spot next to Mabel. Ford then explained how the symbols were also metaphorical, claiming that ice referred to someone cool in the face of danger and the spectacles referred to someone scholarly. These positions were taken by Wendy and McGucket respectfully as Pacifica reluctantly took her place next to McGucket and held his hand per Ford's instructions. After directing everyone to leave, Ford called to Stanley, who stood near the "door" staring at the losing battle between the Mystery Shack and Bill. The others yelled at Stan and his reluctance, to which he angrily pointed fingers at Ford, claiming he was a reason there even was an end of the world. Ford apologized and asked for Stanley's help. Stanley then agreed on the condition that Ford would say thank you after Stan spent thirty years trying to save him from the power and had never been thanked. Ford reluctantly agreed and thanked his brother, at which point Stan completed the magical glowing circle and took Ford's hand, claiming he wasn't always the bad brother. But when Ford corrected a grammatical error in his brother's sentence, the two broke out in fighting again with Dipper and Mabel attempting to separate them. This is when Bill returned. The demon mocked the group for not holding hands before thanking them for gathering all threats to his power in one place as he burned the circle. Ford and Stanley were both tied in glowing red arms with hands and raised up to watch as everyone but Dipper and Mabel were horrifyingly turned into hanging tapestries. Bill insisted it wasn't too late for Ford's family and demanded the equation again as he locked Dipper and Mabel in the three-sided cage. When Dipper and Mabel insisted Ford not take the deal and drew his attention to them, Mabel sprayed spray paint in Bill's eye, making him momentarily blind and subconsciously release the two old twins. Dipper grew the cage until he and Mabel could escape, insisting that Ford and Grunkle Stan run while they take care of Bill. Ford is opposed, claiming its a suicide mission and too dangerous, but before he and Stan can follow the kids as they head deeper into the Fearamid, Bill grabs both of them in a telepathic choke hold before locking them in a cage, leaving the twins behind and unable to help Dipper and Mabel as he transformed into an even more monstrous version of himself and pursued the twelve-year-olds.
S2e20 what happened to us: Ford and Stan reflect on their failings. Left alone, Stan was upset that the kids would now die because of him and claimed their dad was right and he was nothing but a screw up. Ford accepted some of the blame as being the one to make a deal with Bill in the first place, claiming Stanley would have immediately seen through Bill's scam. The two brothers contemplate on how far apart they are and reflect on their childhood relationship like that of Mabel and Dipper. Again recognizing the young age of his niece and nephew, Ford sadly resolves that he will let Bill into his mind, fully knowing that he would destroy the world and the universe, in hopes of saving the kids. When Stanley desperately asks if there's nothing they can do, Ford reveals they could wipe Bill from the mind while he is weakened in the mindscape if Ford didn't have the metal plate in his head. Grunkle Stan then suggests Bill entering his mind, but Ford dismisses this, saying his brother has nothing Bill wants and it has to be him, hoping that he can somehow save Stan and the kids. Stan doubts Bill would follow through with that deal, but Ford asks what other choice they have. When Bill catches Mabel and Dipper, he brings them back to the caged brothers, saying time was up and he would kill one of them, flashing their symbols before them to decide which one to kill. Just before he snaps his fingers and kills Mabel, Ford stops him and surrenders. Bill drops the kids as Stan tries to dissuade his brother unsuccessfully, and Bill is amused by their constant bickering. As Stan is tied down by red glowing hands, Ford claims he will agree to a deal if his brother and the kids will go free. The kids try unsuccessfully to stop Ford, but the deal is made and Bill giddily abandons his physical form to possess Ford.
S2e20 memory erasing gun still on: Ford uses the Memory Gun on Stan to erase Bill from existence. However, Bill was tricked. While the two twins had been left alone, they swapped clothes and did impressions of one another so Bill accidentally invaded Stan's mind instead. The real Ford pulled out his memory eraser and hesitantly used it on his brother, erasing the memory of his entire mind, therefore destroying Bill but also Stan in the process. When it was done, Ford dropped the gun in despair as the world reverted back to its original form. Finding Stan in the forest, Mabel tried in vain to make Stan remember her, to which Ford explained that everything in Stan's mind was gone. Ford claimed that although Stan didn't know it he had saved the world, their family, and himself as he embraced his amnesiac brother and finally truly forgave him. Stan and Ford changed back clothes before going back to the ruined Mystery Shack, saddened that their victory came at the price of Stan's memories. Desperate, Mabel asked what could be done, but Ford sullenly admitting nothing could be done. Mabel was resistant, however, and started desperately reading out of her scrapbook. At first it seemed hopeless, but when Stan suddenly remember Waddles and Soos, Ford excitedly claimed it was working and urged Mabel to continue. The entire family sat together and read through Mabel's scrapbook, laughing. S2e20 happy stan twins: Ford and his brother on the Stan o' War II. A few days later on Dipper and Mabel's birthday, Stan had completely recovered his memory and the family was celebrating with the whole town. During the opening of presents, Ford pulled his brother aside, claiming that although Weirdmageddon was over, he detected anomalies in the Arctic Ocean and wanted to investigate. However, he claimed he was too old to do it alone; Stan pieced together the pieces as Ford gave him a picture of their childhood project, asking him for a second chance and offering to fulfill their childhood dream together. When the issue of the Mystery Shack came up, Stan believed there had been enough mystery and decided to close it until Soos inspired him and became the new manager of the Mystery Shack. Later that day at the bus stop, Ford accompanied the others as they said goodbye to the kids, saying "Can it, Soos!" in sync with his brother when Soos tried to rationalize Stan wearing Mabel's goodbye sweater. When Mabel tried unsuccessfully to part with Waddles, Stan broke and forced the bus driver to take the pig with the kids to California, threatening him with Ford backing the threat by showing his gun. The great uncle ran after the bus with the others when it pulled away before putting an arm around his sad brother. In the ending clips, the two Stans are seen aboard the Stan-O-War II battling a sea monster. As Stan punched it, Ford threw a spear at it, causing it to retreat and the two happy twins to laugh.
- Ford's condition is polydactyly (specifically postaxial polydactyly), a hereditary disorder in which someone has an extra digit on their hands or feet.
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