Star Swirl the Bearded is a male who is alluded to in various episodes and other media before making his first physical appearance in the season seven finale . He also appears in the and Budge Studios' mobile Harmony Quest. He is first mentioned by in as "the most important conjurer of the pre-classical era."
, the writer of , , and , selected the name Star Swirl out of a list of pre-approved locations and names by Hasbro, then added "the Bearded" because it didn't sound "quite old enough". Larson stated that "would be the kind who'd idolize the great minds of the past."
The name Star Swirl was given by Hasbro to in toy lines of previous My Little Pony generations, and has been used in Friendship is Magic's corresponding for another . A printable Twilight Sparkle paper cutout on The Hub's website, a post by The Hub's Facebook page, closed captions for Luna Eclipsed on the official HasbroEpisodes , different closed captions for Luna Eclipsed and closed captions for It's About Time both on the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures in the Crystal Empire, closed captions for Magical Mystery Cure on the DVD My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Princess Twilight Sparkle, and a post by 's Underwire blog have spelled it "Star Swirl" as this toy line has, though and Larson (both on Twitter), The Hub's Facebook app , and closed captions for and have spelled it "Starswirl"; Enterplay's have used both spellings, and an Enterplay checklist has listed "Starswirl the Bearded" with a trademark symbol.
A view of the Canterlot library Star Swirl the Bearded wing.Star Swirl the Bearded is first mentioned by Twilight in when she explains her costume to . She calls Star Swirl "the father of the amniomorphic spell", "the most important conjurer of the pre-classical era", and adds "he created more than 200 spells! He even has a shelf in the Canterlot library of magic named after him." Later in the episode, recognizes Twilight's costume as Star Swirl and compliments her for it, stating she "even got the bells right", but other ponies guess that Twilight is dressing as a "weirdo clown" or a "country music singer". In , a shows Twilight wearing the costume.
According to the pageant staged in , Star Swirl was the mentor of , one of the founders of . In , Twilight searches for time spells in a wing of the Canterlot library that is named after Star Swirl and displays part of his above its door. Twilight says that it is the most secure section of the archives, and is eventually let into the section by one of the guards patrolling the library.
Spike holding the book.At the end of , Princess Luna summons a spiral-bound book that has a dark cover which shows four stars and a swirly pattern. In , a flashback shows the book having been mailed to Twilight in a package with a letter from . The letter states that the last page of the book contains Star Swirl's "secret unfinished masterpiece", an abandoned spell which he was never able to get right. When Twilight finally fixes the spell Princess Celestia states that Twilight accomplished what even Star Swirl could not, because he did not understand friendship like Twilight does.
Star Swirl befriending Scorpan.In , Twilight and visit a traveling museum dedicated to Star Swirl the Bearded. Twilight wears her Star Swirl costume to the museum, and seven other ponies are seen wearing their own variations of the costume: , , "", , "", , and . At the museum, the two princesses spot a candlestick that was used by Star Swirl to light the way when he was exploring the caverns of .
Star Swirl is depicted in a storybook illustration in , addressed as "a young unicorn wizard" by Princess Celestia. He is shown to have befriended , leading him to turn against his evil brother .
In , modifies Star Swirl's time travel spell and uses it to travel into the past and change history. At the end of , the scroll containing the spell disappears through a time portal.
In , Twilight Sparkle says that "everypony knows that Star Swirl was an expert at everything from transfiguration, dimensional calibration, [and] teleportation".
In , a photo of Twilight dressed as Star Swirl is seen in Twilight's bedroom. Starlight also mentions one of Star Swirl's spells in a simulation made by Twilight.
Twilight's first meeting with her idol wasn't as she expected.In the season seven finale , Star Swirl is revealed to be one of the six "Pillars of Old Equestria" with , , , , and , representing the Element of Sorcery. Long ago, he and the other Pillars were brought together by the unicorn to battle a . When Stygian later turned into the Pony of Shadows, Star Swirl and the others sacrificed themselves to imprison him in limbo.
In present day, Twilight casts a spell to free Star Swirl and the Pillars from limbo, inadvertently freeing the Pony of Shadows along with them. Due to his lack of experience in friendship, Star Swirl initially dismisses Twilight's help and blames her for the Pony of Shadows' freedom. He eventually learns to recognize both Twilight and 's talents, and he and the other Pillars team up with the Mane Six to separate Stygian from the darkness and banish it to limbo once again. At the end of the episode, Star Swirl reunites with his old pupils Celestia and Luna and departs to see how much Equestria has changed in his absence.
In and , a bust of Star Swirl appears in the . In , portrays Star Swirl in Twilight's stage play, which depicts how he and five other unicorns would raise the sun in the days before Celestia took on the responsibility.
Star Swirl confronts Flim and Flam about their scam.In , Star Swirl enrolls at 's titular school to learn more about friendship after spending some time traveling Equestria and helping ponies. When Twilight shows distrust toward Flim and Flam and their true motives for opening the school, Star Swirl expresses disappointment at her apparent jealousy. However, Flim and Flam are eventually revealed to have been scamming ponies out of their bits in order to fund the expansion of their resort, and Star Swirl forces the two to refund their students' money and close the school.
In , mentions that Star Swirl is still learning about friendship. In , Star Swirl sends a message to the princesses in Canterlot explaining that magic is disappearing all across Equestria and will be completely gone in three days.
Star Swirl the Bearded in Rainbow Rocks.
In Rainbow Rocks, discovers through research that Star Swirl banished from to the , believing that their would have no effect there. Once again, he is only seen in storybook illustrations.In , a statue of Star Swirl's human counterpart is on display at the Canterlot Planetarium.
From a faded-color flashback.On page 19 of , Mr. Starswirl physically appears dressed as Gandalf the Grey in 's bubble reality. Of , says "Behold the Secrets of Star Swirl the Bearded", and Star Swirl the Bearded physically appears on the .
In the issue, Star Swirl appears in flashbacks of 's past. Having discovered the secrets of cross-dimensional travel, he creates a magical mirror that allows travel to other universes. Star Swirl and Celestia spend decades visiting these worlds and learning about them. However, when he finds out that Celestia has been using the mirror to travel to one specific world numerous times, he closes the mirror before Celestia's actions endanger two kingdoms.
In , Star Swirl the Bearded appears in a stained glass window and in several flashbacks with Princess Celestia.
In , he appears again in various flashbacks and Twilight Sparkle briefly imagines him as an Alicorn.
In , he appears in a flashback with Princess Celestia and the alternate universe versions of King Sombra and Princess Luna and in another where he forgives Princess Celestia's actions.
of involves two editions of Starswirl's "Guide to Magical Pedantry" with different publication dates.
A poster of Starswirl is shown on pages 7 and 14 of .
Starswirl the Bearded appears in , in which he engages in several musical battles against the and banishes them to the human world via the .
In , Star Swirl the Bearded pulls his cart up to an underground lake. Upon being bitten by a fly, he turns and sees that the tree in the middle of the lake is clutching a bone in its roots. Believing that the lake possesses evil magic, Star Swirl nails a warning sign to the tree. The crack left by the nail in the bark widens after he leaves, inadvertently enabling the to emerge.
On page 14, Pinkie Pie mentions that Sugarcube Corner is "where Star Swirl the Bearded bought his favorite cookies", which Twilight Sparkle states is historically untrue.
In , uses the records inside Star Swirl's private study in his research into the history of Equestria. Star Swirl also appears in flashback instructing young princesses Celestia and Luna in magic. He also appears on the covers and and in , in which he first meets Stygian and the legendary ponies. In , he disregards Stygian's advice on how to confront the Sirens and banishes them, and Sunburst questions whether or not Star Swirl should be considered a villain. In , he again joins forces with Stygian and the other Pillars to rescue Celestia and Luna from the Pony of Shadows of an alternate universe.
In chapter 10 "Dyeing to Please", Twilight Sparkle gets to take some extra books about Star Swirl the Bearded. Star Swirl the Bearded is also mentioned in .
In , mentions the spell "Star Swirl's Seven Safeguards".
Star Swirl the Bearded is mentioned several times in The Journal of the Two Sisters.
Celestia and Luna meet him at their Princess Coronation. Celestia reveals that initially, the responsibility of the sun and the moon fell to him and five other unicorns before Luna and Celestia. In the journal, Star Swirl's beard is brown, becoming shorter when he becomes younger due to a time travel spell gone wrong; later in the journal, his beard turns gray after his magic is depleted by a failed attempt to lower the moon by himself, but turns brown again after his magic is returned to him.
Star Swirl the Bearded is[specify] in Budge Studios' mobile game Harmony Quest.
Star Swirl is a character in Gameloft's mobile game. The game's description of him states, "Celestia's magic tutor and a wizard of great renown, Starswirl's reputation is as grand as his beard. Some ponies still dress up as him for Nightmare Night!"
According to in , Star Swirl the Bearded did not understand friendship like does, and as a result, his secret last spell remained unfinished.
In Friendship is Magic Issue #17, describes Star Swirl as having a similar personality to . Flashbacks in the issue depict him as being eccentric and carefree, like Pinkie Pie. Like Twilight, he is shown to have a deep passion for magic and learning and a thirst for knowledge, as well as being very adventurous. He appeared to have a friendly relationship with Celestia, as she confides in him about her concerns about Luna and he encourages her to join him on his otherworldly escapades.
Despite his cheery demeanor, however, Star Swirl is also shown to have a serious side, as he puts his foot down for the good of and seals the portal to the other dimension that Celestia had been visiting without his knowledge. He is said to carry huge grudges, as Celestia states her friendship with him was never the same after she lied to him. However, in Issue #20, he forgives Celestia and suggests they forget the whole thing ever happened.
In the season seven finale, Star Swirl is portrayed as slightly egotistical and narrow-minded, initially bitter toward Twilight for releasing the Pony of Shadows from limbo and believing that villains are incapable of befriending others, putting him at odds with Starlight Glimmer. With both Twilight and Starlight's help, however, he recognizes his prior pettiness and poor judgment, and he reconciles with Stygian after the darkness inside him is banished.
In season eight, Star Swirl has become more humble and easygoing since the battle with the Pony of Shadows, befriending and helping several ponies during his travels and regularly sending Twilight postcards of his experiences. He has also become more trusting and idealistic, even giving Flim and Flam the benefit of the doubt.
Series 2 of Enterplay's includes Equestrian Magic cards featuring "Starswirl the Bearded's Book" and "Starswirl's Time Travel Spell", respectively cards #52 and #56. The back of card #52 includes the description "MANY HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO, Starswirl the Bearded used this book to scrawl notes about his most amazing works. The last page contained the most important spell of all: his secret unfinished masterpiece! Even Starswirl was unable to finish this spell, and the book was passed down through the ages to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. Finally, this book landed in Twilight Sparkle's hooves, and her understanding of friendship allowed her to finish the spell and prove she was ready to become an alicorn... and a princess!" The back of card #56 includes the description "ONLY STARSWIRL THE BEARDED has ever whipped up magic strong enough to send a pony back in time! But, even his magic has limits. A pony can only use the spell once, and then only for a few moments. As Twilight Sparkle learned, using Starswirl's Time Travel Spell to warn the past about the future can have drastic results, so one should be very careful casting this spell! Maybe she should have gone back in time to warn Past Spike about Future Spike's tummy ache instead? Nah..."
Series 3 of the trading cards includes Character card #F4 of Star Swirl the Bearded. The back of the card includes the description "Star Swirl the Bearded may have been the most magical unicorn of all time—maybe even more magical than Twilight Sparkle herself! Star Swirl created many of the magic spells still used to this day, including dangerous time magic and the mysterious amniomorphic spell. He was the personal tutor of Clover the Clever, who helped found Equestria, and some say he even mentored Princess Celestia and Princess Luna before they learned how to move the Sun and the Moon!" Enterplay series 4 card #F26 gives Nightmare Star the description "While visiting alternate worlds, Star Swirl the Bearded found one where Celestia ruled Equestria in eternal day as the terrifying Nightmare Star. He destroyed the mirror to that world and never told a single pony about it."
sells an with a fan-design of Star Swirl the Bearded, a T-shirt showing Twilight Sparkle dressed up as Star Swirl the Bearded, and a T-shirt called "Mythical Star Swirl". Star Swirl the Bearded is also shown on Acidfree's art print.
Twilight dressed as Star Swirl the Bearded, from a promotional image for .In The Hub's Facebook app , of the horoscopes for January 8, 2013, attributed to Twilight Sparkle, the Sagittarius horoscope is "It's time to restock supplies! I always carry extra quills, scrolls, ink, books, and Starswirl the Bearded's tenants at all times."
In and The Hub's interview with Twilight Sparkle, she responds to the prompt "Favorite hobby" with the answer "Spending time with my friends. And this pony can never read enough about the bold and brilliant Star Swirl the Bearded."A promotional image showing Twilight Sparkle at the and attributing to her the quote "Star Swirl the Bearded never had an adventure like this before" was posted by Hasbro's My Little Pony Facebook page on June 20, 2013, months in advance of .