- This page refers to the main character known as Trillian. If you are looking for the alternate Tricia McMillan from Mostly Harmless and the Quintessential Phase, see Tricia McMillan.
Trillian eventually left the party with Zaphod Beeblebrox, who was directly responsible for her nickname. The next time she and Arthur met was on a spaceship in deep space, six months after their first encounter and shortly after the Earth had been destroyed by the Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
She was carried off and forcibly married to the President of the Algolian Chapter of the Galactic Rotary Club, though this actually occurred in the artificial universe within the Guide offices. Trillian then saved the universe from the Krikketers and later became a Sub-Etha Radio reporter under the name Trillian Astra.
In the novel, Trillian was described as slim, darkish, and humanoid. She had long waves of black hair, a full mouth, an odd little knob of a nose and ridiculously brown eyes. In her first appearance, she was wearing a red headscarf (knotted in a particular way) and a long flowing silky brown dress, which makes her look 'vaguely Arabic'. She was one of the only characters to receive a detailed physical description.
In the show, Trillian was portrayed by Sandra Dickinson and appeared as a slim, white female, with blue eyes and partly crimped white-blonde hair in a ponytail. She wore pale blue eyeshadow and a dark red coloured lipstick. Her signature outfit was a bright red leotard-style bodysuit which had a deep v-cut neckline, accessorised with a silver belt, silver bracelets and thin high heels, an outfit that has been criticised by fans as unnecessarily sexualised and impractical for space travel. At other times in the series a long red skirt was added over this one-piece bodysuit, and, when the characters explored Magrathea, she wore a red plastic, stylish rain-mac type jacket, with a high collar and red leggings which was, again, low cut down the chest.
In the film, Trillian was portrayed by Zooey Deschanel, and appeared as a slim, white female, with blue eyes and dark brown, curly hair tied in a bun. She also wore red lipstick. This was the only adaption where she was seen as wearing spectacles. She wore a baggy pale blue jumpsuit, with a large white collar and cuffs and off-white trainers. At one point in the film, she was seen in a white blouse, short blue shorts and knee-high brown argyll socks, and later, on Magrathea, she wore a dark jacket.
Personality and traits
Compared to the other main characters, Trillian's personality and characteristics were less developed and explored. In the radio series and book, she was described as 'a rather nicely descended ape-person' and Arthur said she was 'beautiful, charming, devastatingly intelligent'. She was indeed highly intelligent, having a degree in maths and another in astrophysics, and she often offered clever and insightful suggestions throughout the story. Even though she had only been in space for a few short years, and despite only being on the stolen starship for a short amount of time, she had already figured out several aspects of the Heart of Gold, such as reading the instruments, by the time Ford and Arthur arrived on board due to the Infinite Improbability Drive, which she also had a good understanding of, despite its complex nature.
Seeing as Zaphod is 'mechanically inept' and 'could easily blow up the ship with an extravagant gesture', Ford was immediately familiar with 'only a few' of the ship's controls, and Arthur's only prior experience with spacecraft was getting ejected out of one, Trillian was easily the one with the most knowledge and expertise with regards to the Heart of Gold. The others on board the starship often turned to her for answers or information: "Trillian... is this sort of thing going to happen every time we use the Improbability Drive?." She was the person who had the most patience for Marvin and showed the most kindness towards him, despite not being sure how much longer she could stand his presence.
She was a sensible and patient individual, repeatedly finding herself as the voice of reason amongst others, especially Zaphod. One example of her ability to act rationally was when the Heart of Gold was under threat of missiles. While Ford and Arthur decided they were going to die, Trillian was taking Arthur's suggestion of using the Infinite Improbability Drive into consideration, ignoring Zaphod's wariness of the idea, and trying to ask the others if anyone actually knew a good reason why Arthur couldn't turn on the drive. Another example of her level-headed and thoughtful behaviour was when she was first introduced on the Heart of Gold when she was calmly explaining to Zaphod just how improbable it was that Ford and Arthur had been picked up by their ship.
She often acted quite nonchalant and no-nonsense, for example (in the novel), only giving Zaphod a 'tight smile' and then looking away when he singled her out in a crowd and greeted her. However, she did later smile more warmly at him, although he was looking away at the time. She was often irritated and indifferent towards Zaphod at various times, sometimes thinking him a 'terrible showoff', at other times outright ignoring him. Despite being the person who she was the least patient towards, she was also seen to reassure Zaphod and be friendly and caring towards him, so it seemed she did enjoy his company to some degree, even if he did often interrupt her focus and observations.
One of Trillian's most evident traits was her confidence and her independence. This was immediately shown with the fact that she took it upon herself to join Zaphod and travel in space instead of returning to the dole queue on Monday. She seemed aware of her intelligence and abilities and realised that exploring the universe was a good way to get as much out of life as she truly wanted. She was rarely hesitant to speak her mind - (to Zaphod) "Can we drop your ego for a moment?"- to question the men in her group - (again, to Zaphod) "You'd have been happy to let them die?" - and had no trouble getting her voice heard - "an electric pencil flew across the cabin and through the radio's on/off-sensitive airspace... she [Trillian] had thrown the pencil" (again, to get Zaphod to listen). She seemed to have some of the best morals out of the group, especially compared to Zaphod and Ford's often careless nature. She also had quite a sarcastic and unapologetic sense of humour, evidenced in the novel when she says "we have normality... anything you can't cope with is, therefore, your own problem" and with her comment to Arthur from Fit the Second: "Oh, I’m sorry I missed that Wednesday lunch date, but I was in a black hole all morning."
Featuring Susan Sheridan as Trillian and Sandra Dickinson as Tricia McMillan and Trillian
- Fit the Twenty-Seventh
- Fit the Twenty-Eighth
- Fit the Twenty-Ninth
- Fit the Thirtieth
- Fit the Thirty-First
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- Life, the Universe and Everything
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (mentioned only)
- Mostly Harmless (also Alternate Tricia McMillan)
- And Another Thing... (also Alternate Tricia McMillan)
Featuring Sandra Dickinson as Trillian
Featuring Cindy Oswin as Trillian
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Part Two: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Featuring Zooey Deschanel as Trillian
Behind the scenes
- Some drafts of the movie's screenplay, and Robbie Stamp's "making of" book covering the movie, state that Trillian was to be revealed as half-human. This would have been done in order to underline the loneliness of Arthur Dent, thus the only pure human remaining in the universe, after Earth's demolition. This idea was scrapped after the "making of" book was written, and the scene revealing Trillian's heritage (by the mice, to Arthur, on the Earth Mark II) was re-written.
- In the original radio series, she is portrayed with a British accent — in both the TV series and movie she is played as an American. The Quintessential Phase of the radio series features Sandra Dickinson in the role of the alternate version of Tricia McMillan as a "blonder and more American" Trillian — the radio series indicates that the character is identical to the first Trillian and was born in the United Kingdom. In the book Mostly Harmless, it is said that both the alternate Tricia McMillan and Trillian have a British accent.
- In the Hexgonal Phase of the radio series, Sandra Dickinson played Tricia McMillan and Susan Sheridan played Trillian for the section in Stavro Mueller Beta, which is how it had worked for the previous five Phases. However, due to the sad death of Susan Sheridan, Sandra Dickinson played Trillian for the rest of the first fit (episode) and Hexagonal Phase.
- The Trillian instant messaging software was named after this character, as was the Astra instant messaging network.
- Sigourney Weaver's character in the science fiction parody film Galaxy Quest may have been somewhat inspired by Trillian, as she laments that most of her speech is merely repeating the spaceship's computer, and how she wishes for a more substantial role.
- According the 2005 film, Trillian's middle name is Marie.
- Trillian comes closest of all female characters to appear in the entire "Hitchhiker's" saga.