Alex (also known as Alex the Lion, or Alakay from his parents) is the main protagonist in Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. He is the king of New York, Marty's, Gloria', and Melman's best friend, and Zuba's and Florrie's son (as revealed in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa). He and Marty, Melman, and Gloria are now part of a circus family since Madagascar 3. He also appears in the Madagascar video game. In all of the media, he is voiced by Ben Stiller as an adult, while in the second film, as a cub, he is voiced by both Declan Swift and Quinn Dempsey-Stiller (Ben's real-life then-toddler son).
Alex, formerly named Alakay, was born in Africa, his father is Zuba, the alpha lion of his herd, his father tried to teach him how to be a hunter, although Alex showed more interest in dancing. When Makunga, the rival of Zuba, tried to take him out of his place as the alpha lion, Alex was trapped by a group of human hunters who had tamed the little lion. Zuba tried to rescue Alex but couldn't. Alex was in a crate and floated to New York City where he was taken in by the Central Park Zoo and befriended Marty, Melman, and Gloria and grew up together in the zoo.
In the first film, Alex is a full-of-himself, flamboyant performer to the people of New York, and he's loving the life he has in Central Park Zoo. He's not supportive of Marty's notions of going to the wild, and blames him for getting them all shipped off in a zoo transfer. He goes somewhat into despair and defiance when it turns out they end up on the shores of Madagascar (he initially tried to swim back to New York and even tried to make a pseudo-Lady Liberty for a fire signal). He eventually apologizes for being antagonistic to Marty, showing he can forgive and forget (to an extent). Alex regards himself as a monster and too dangerous to be near his friends when, after regressing somewhat to his primal instincts, bites Marty's butt. He goes off to seclusion and feel sorry for himself. When Marty tries to convince him to come back, he refuses, but is convinced when Marty tries to get him to singalong to "New York, New York," and when he saves his friends from the Fossa, their friendship strengthens.
In the second film, Alex is still set on going back to New York. When they end up in Africa and Alex is reunited with his parents, he and the others decide to stay. But after a ceremony goes wrong that results not only in his parents and himself being banished, and losing any respect he had from his father, Alex has second doubts about Africa, and it gets worse when he gets in an argument with Marty, who's having an identity crisis. He also reveals he never thought much of Marty's problems because to Alex, Marty never seemed the guy to have problems.
When Alex and his friends wake up they are glad to see each other but soon Alex and Marty argue and have a"crate fight". It isn't long before they get stranded and separated at sea. Soon, all four friends end up at Madagascar. They are then welcomed by King Julien, Maurice and Mort and many other lemurs just as Alex scares away the fossa, who have been terrorizing the lemurs. Alex and Marty have a brief fight but they later make up and Marty welcomes Alex to the "fun side of the island".
The next morning, Alex and Marty wake up and find themselves surrounded by lemurs who tell them they are in Madagascar. Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria enjoy themselves until Alex goes carnivorous and is sent to the carnivore side of the island. Marty sets out to find him and refuses to leave without him. Marty is chased by the fossa but Alex and his friends with a little help from the penguins defeat the fossa. Alex is then given fish from Rico one of the penguins instead of steak to sooth his meat craving. Alex and his friends then head back to New York with the ship the Penguins hijacked, but it turns out to be out of gas.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
In the next film, Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman, along with the Penguins and Chimps, have managed to fix up the old plane from the previous film. The Lemurs give them a heck of a farewell party, but they are joined by King Julien and Maurice.
The plane takes off and during the flight, Alex fell asleep but wakes up due to turbulence. He looks out his window and sees a creature on the wing of the plane, making him yell, "AUGH! Gremlin!"
But it turns out to be Mort, who had tried to board the plane, but Julien had locked him outside. He says waves hello to Mort, who does the same, but causes him to fall into the sea. He mentions to the others what he saw, but they shrug it off as some mild nostalgia to Madagascar.
Unfortuantely, the plane has some difficulties, causing the plane to crash-land into an unknown savannah. Alex has a brief argument with Skipper, who reassures him they'll fix the plane. Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman then see a jeep of tourists, and they chase after them to get help. But it turns out among the tourists is Nana, the old lady who beat Alex up in the previous film at Grand Central Station. The two engage in a fistfight, thi time proving to be equals, but Nana uses underhanded tricks to beat Alex, as kicks him in the crotch just like before. Alex, however, managed to steal her cell phone, but it turns out to be out of service. However, they come across a ridge to see the savannah with many animals and Marty correctly guesses they've arrived in Africa while Alex feels some familiarity with the landscape. The four friends approach the animals whereupon Alex makes a fool of himself trying to "communicate" with them, but it turns out the animals can speak just as well as they can. Suddenly, an elderly lion named Zuba, and his wife, Florrie, show up, and Zuba believes Alex is a rival lion, coming to challenge him for the title as Alpha Lion. But Florrie recognizes Alex as their son, Alakay, and their suspicions are confirmed when they see the birthmark on Alex's right paw which matches the one on Zuba's. They share a loving reunion, unaware that Zuba's rival, Makunga is plotting to take over.
Alex tells his folks and the pride that he's the "King of New York," which they take seriously, and they celebrate Alex's return with open arms. Makunga, however, reminds them that Alex has yet to become a formal member of the pride because he never passed a certain coming-of-age ceremony where young lions prove their skills. Alex mistakenly believes this ceremony is a talent show of sorts and eagerly accepts. That night, Zuba and Florrie show Alex a couple of his old things when he was a cub, and explain how he was lost. Apprently, when Alex was a young cub, Zuba was watching him, trying to teach him how to fight (though Alex was more interested in dancing). Makunga appeared and challenged Zuba, and while they tusseled, Alex was captured by poachers. Zuba and Florrie explain that Zuba chased after them for weeks, far off the preserve, but finally they felt they had to accept that Alex was killed. They bid Alex good night and leave him to sleep.
In the morning, Alex prepares with a few cubs for the ceremony, when Makunga, with his wicked scheme in mind, pretends to give Alex some advice by recommending a certain lion for his opponent, a lion named Teetsi.
When Alex faces Teetsi, who is in actuality a humungously brawny lion, Alex starts dancing, not knowing the ceremony is meant to be a fight, and easily loses. To avoid having to banish his own son, Zuba abdicates his role as the Alpha Lion, which Makunga takes. His first act is banishing Alex and his parents from the pride, and to make Alex wear a ridiculous hat of fruit.
In a dry location, Zuba snaps at Alex for not telling him he wasn't the fierce warrior he thought his son was. Alex blames Zuba for not warning him the ceremony was a fight, and Zuba hurts Alex by saying he isn't a real lion. His feelings hurt and feeling bad for ruining his parents' lives, Alex goes back to his friends where the plane is being reconstructed by the Penguins and Chimps, but they become split apart by their own respective problems, and the zebra Alex mistook for Marty is not Marty, who is hurt that Alex couldn't tell him from the other zebra, and mistakenly thinks Alex only cares about his own problems.
Problems arise, however, when the water hole and river dry up, and no one knows what to do. Alex volunteers to go find the source of the problem, hoping to repent for his parents, but Makunga laughs it off, but is angered when the animals make it clear they want Zuba back in power.
Before Alex leaves, he goes to the zebra herd where he tries to find Marty, who refuses to speak to him. Deciding to go, he turns to the herd and apologizes to Marty, and reveals he can see him. Marty goes along with Alex to fix the problem, off the reserve. As they make their way through the jungle, Alex explains the problems he's facing to Marty. They find the river is being dammed up by the tourists (whose jeeps were stolen by the Penguins to repair the plane) and they are being led by Nana. The tourists capture Alex but Marty escapes to warn the others.
Meanwhile, Florrie lectures Zuba and asks him why isn't it enough that their son has returned to them when Makunga shows up, pretending to be frantic about the dried-up river and tells them Alex went off to discover the problem, but he's really tricking Zuba to go after Alex, and hopefully be rid of both of them. Zuba does indeed go off to find Alex, who is about to be cooked alive by the Tourists when Zuba shows up and saves him, but one of the tourists has a gun. Luckily, Alex saves himself and Zuba by dancing to the tourists who are from New York and recognize Alex. Nana still tries to shoot them, but they are saved by the arrival of the Penguins, Chimps, Marty, Melman, and Gloria, the plane reconstructed into a helicopter powered by the chimps. The plane destroys the dam, while Alex and Zuba are in a large barrel, releasing the river, which the father and son float down back to the water hole. Makunga appears and still refuses to let them back, even after they give him a handbag. So, in retaliation, they sic Nana on Makunga, who attacks him for having her handbag, and drags him off the reserve.
Afterward, Zuba and Alex return, and Florrie hugs them both. Zuba and Alex decide to share the title as Alpha-Lion, and later Zuba marries Skipper to a bobble-head hula girl, and as they bid the Penguins and Chimps farewell, Zuba tricks Alex with one of Alex's own stunts, and they share a brief laugh as they all head back to the herd, and Alex reveals to the audience he was able to recognize Marty from all the other zebras by the bite marks which scarred Marty's butt (from when Alex but Marty in the butt in the previous film), setting the stage for Madagascar 3.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The film begins on Alex's birthday in Africa. He and his friends decide that it is high time that they returned home to New York, as they are tired of waiting for the penguins to return from Monte Carlo.
The group ends up going to Monte Carlo on their own in hopes of finding the penguins and convincing them to take them home. Unfortunately, they are spotted by the humans in the casino where the penguins are hiding and end up becoming a target for animal control. Luckily, they end up finding Circus Zaragoza and decide to purchase the circus so that they could use it to get a contract for an American tour so that they could return to New York City. In the process, Alex meets Gia the jaguar, and develops an interesting partnership with her when it becomes apparent, the circus is not a very good one and he and his friends have to revamp it in order to win the contract. Alex and his friends each come up with new acts.
Alex ends up doing trapeze tricks with Gia for his act, and finds himself falling in love with the beautiful exotic jaguar. When they do get the contract, the group returns to New York, upsetting their new friends in the process, Alex ends up deeply hurting Gia when she finds out that he is a zoo animal. When they actually get back to the zoo, The gang finds that it is not as great as they remembered and that, quite frankly, they miss their new friends and decide that they would much rather join the circus and live with their new friends.
The Zoosters, however, are ambushed and knocked out by Captain Chantel DuBois and the animal control and put back in the zoo. The circus animals, the penguins, the lemurs and the chimpanzees come and break them out however, and then Alex grabs Gia during her trapize and releases the ballons to the children the two of them sharing a loving look. Alex and his friends end up joining Circus Zaragoza from now on.
Appearances in other media
Alex makes a small appearance in The Penguins of Madagascar. He is voiced by Wally Wingert.
- Here come the people, Marty! I love the people! It's fun-people-fun-time!
- We can't call the people. They'll be really mad! They'll get Marty transferred for good! You don't bite the hand that feeds ya!
- Come on now, baby. My little fillet. My little fillet mignon with a little fat around those edges. I like that. I like a little fat on my steak, my sweet, juicy steak. You are a rare delicacy...
- Did he just say "Grand Central Station" or "My aunt's constipation"?
- I feel like a mile-high pastrami on rye, on the fly from the deli in the sky! Let's go WILD!
- [as he is beaten up by an old woman] Lady! What is wrong with you?!
- Giraffe, corner pocket!
- Shut up, Spalding.
- You bit the hand, Marty! You bit the hand!
- I'M GONNA KILL YOU! I'm gonna strangle you, then bury you, then dig you up and clone you and kill all your clones! And then I'll never talk to you AGAIN!
- [in the middle of an argument with Marty] And your black and white stripes? They cancel each other out! You're nothing!
- [to Marty, after the island is divided between them and Marty calls his side the fun side] This is the fun side! This is where we are gonna have a great time surviving until we go home! Your side stinks! You're on the Jersey side of this cesspool!
- [mocking Marty] I don't know who I am! I don't know who I am? I gotta go find myself in the WILD!
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
- My Name is Alex. ix! Like New York Knicks!
- How! We offer only happiness and good greetings.
- Apparently, lions don't dance.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)
- [responding to Marty] No, you're Sucky-O Andretti!
- [begging Vitaly to let them on the train] Oh! Come on, man, you need to do one cat to solid. Cat to cat, do a solid here buddy, come on.
- [to Gia] I don't want you to find me as some authority figure.
- [while defeating DuBois] Your days of chasing animals are over, DuBois, cause you've just messed with the King!
- [last lines in the film] Hey Skipper, what did you end up doing with the crazy woman anyway?