In a surprise announcement that initially appeared to be an April fools joke, Gilbert announced that he'd been working on a new Monkey Island game for several years. Better still, Return to Monkey Island is set for release at some point prior to the end of 2022, meaning fans won't have to wait too much longer before they can return to the series' whimsical world. When that moment finally arrives, these iconic Monkey Island characters are all but certain to be joining them on their journey.
Having served as the main protagonist in every Monkey Island game so far, the chances of Guybrush not appearing in Return to Monkey Island are about as slim as they come. A lovable leader with a passion for piracy, his dry wit and fourth-wall-breaking antics are what made so many people fall in love with the franchise back in the nineties, and will be needed once again if Return is to find any real measure of success.
Guybrush has many skills and expertise, all of which make him a great pirate. He's a master of insult sword-fighting, a contemptible sneak, and can even hold his breath for a mind-boggling ten minutes. This expert skillset, together with his humorous narration, makes him the perfect point-and-click protagonist, with only George Stobbart from the Broken Sword series even coming close to matching his longevity and brilliance.
For a hero to really show their strength, there needs to be an equally exceptional villain with whom they can butt heads. Thankfully, the Monkey Island series has this covered, with the evil ghost pirate LeChuck serving as the big bad in all of the Monkey Island games to date. With that in mind, he too seems like a shoo-in for Return to Monkey Island, which will likely lead to more voodoo-related antics somewhere down the line.
Interestingly, the ending of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (to which Return to Monkey Island will apparently be a direct sequel) reveals that LeChuck is actually Guybrush's long-lost brother Chuckie and that the pair are both still children. In The Curse of Monkey Island, this is shown to have been nothing more than a ruse from LeChuck, though it's possible that Return will explore this idea further if it picks up right where LeChuck's Revenge left off.
Since appearing in the first Monkey Island game back in 1990, Elaine has returned for every subsequent outing. During that time, she's been the governor of numerous islands, including Melee Island, Booty Island, and Plunder Island, though, despite her passion for politics, she's more than capable of taking care of herself and is an exceptional swordfighter in her own right.
Elaine typically serves as the love interest for Guybrush, with the hapless hero often attempting to rescue her even when it's him who really needs help. The pair even got married at the end of The Curse of Monkey Island, though as returning series creator Ron Gilbert played no part in that game, it's unclear whether the pair's union will remain intact at this time.
Of the many lovable goofballs that Guybrush interacts with throughout the Monkey Island games, few are as memorable as Stan. Players first meet him in the series' debut installment, in which he serves as a used ship salesman. By the following game, however, he'd shut up shop and opened up a pre-owned coffin store, and has continued to bounce between increasingly bizarre business ventures ever since.
Stan often serves as the series' comic relief, with LeChuc sending him flying into the air after an unsuccessful sales pitch at the end of the first game and Guybrush nailing him into one of his own coffins in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Though his return in Return is far from a given, it would be fairly surprising not to see him show up in some capacity.
Herman Toothrot is a hermit who Guybrush first encounters during his initial visit to the titular Monkey Island. He'd been stranded there for years by that time and whiled away his days bickering with the island's natives over banana pickers and proper island etiquette. In future games, however, it's revealed that there's actually a lot more to Herman than first meets the eye.
In Escape from Monkey Island, Guybrush helps Herman to recover his lost memories, which reveal that he is actually Elaine's great grandfather Horatio. After recovering from his amnesia, he returns to Melee, with Elaine stepping down as governor so that he can take his rightful place. He also starts wearing pants again at this time, something that Guybrush and those around him are more than a little thankful for.
Return to Monkey Island will release in 2022.