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Bastian Balthasar Bux is the main protagonist of the book The Neverending Story by German writer Michael Ende, and its film adaption of the same name, and it's sequels The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter and The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia, and both of its television series. His father, Barney Bux, is a widower, but in the third film, he marries a divorced woman who has a daughter named Nicole, who becomes Bastian's stepsister.
He is portrayed by Barret Oliver in the first film, the late Jonathan Brandis in the second film, Jason James Richter in the third film, Mark Rendall in the single-season series, and voiced by Christopher Bell in the animated series.
The NeverEnding Story (1984)
In the first of the NeverEnding Story trilogy, Bastian is played by Barret Oliver, who also played D.A.R.Y.L in the 1985 film D.A.R.Y.L.
Bastian is a 10-year-old boy living in De Forest, Washington. He is a bibliophile, has been suffering at school, and has recently lost his mother.
At the beginning of the movie, Bastian wakes up, having had a dream about his late mother. At breakfast with his workaholic father, Bastian tells him that he had another dream about his mom. Also during breakfast, Bastian's father tells Bastian about receiving his grades: they are poor because he hasn't turned in his homework on time, he has been drawing horses (Bastian corrects him with "unicorns") in his math book, he hasn't tried for the swim team due to his fear of heights, and he wanted to ride a horse, but appears to be to afraid to get on one. He tells Bastian to stop daydreaming, and to face his problems. As he leaves, he also tells Bastian "not to be late again", even though he wasn't yesterday.
While walking to school, Bastian is chased down an alley by bullies who frequently torment him. When they catch up with him, they dump him into a garbage dumpster when they realize he has no money. When he gets out, he runs into them again, and they chase him away again. Bastian outwits them by hiding in a bookstore.
As he does this, he interrupts the bookseller, who tells him to get out because he doesn't like kids. Bastian is curious about the place, so he walks to the bookseller: Carl Conrad Coreander. Coreander thinks that he is searching for the video arcade, but Bastian tells him about the 186 books that he has read, including Treasure Island, Last of the Mohicans, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Tarzan. Coreander notices that Bastian was running from something, and he confesses that he was running away from the bullies; Coreander suggests that he punch them in the nose.
Bastian notices a book Coreander has, entitled "The Neverending Story", but Coreander tells Bastian that his own books are safe, and that when he reads them, he gets to be the characters in the stories, and that this specific book is not for Bastian. When Coreander takes a call, Bastian steals the book and leaves behind a note promising to return it.
Bastian runs to school, only to find that he has missed the math test he was preparing for. Deciding to read the book instead, he runs to the attic of the school and begins reading the book: it is about the adventures of Atreyu, a young warrior who is sent on a quest to save Fantasia, the world they live in, from a perilous force called "The Nothing". In addition, he has to save the Childlike Empress from dying, because if she dies, the world will be destroyed.
Bastian notices that Atreyu is an adolescent warrior, and also notices that the AURYN (the medallion that Atreyu wears while on his journey) appears at the front of the book. Upon reaching the part of the story where Atreyu and his horse Artax stop to eat, Bastian takes a break and eats a sandwich from his lunch box.
Bastian then reads the scene for where Artax dies after surrendering to the power of the Swamps of Sadness; he is clearly heartbroken about Artax's death.
After this, Bastian reads the scene where Atreyu climbs Shell Mountain to find Morla, The Ancient One. The mountain then shakes, and Atreyu falls off. Atreyu sees that Morla is a giant turtle, and that Shell Mountain is her shell. Morla's sudden appearance spooks Bastian so much that he screams loudly; his scream can actually be heard by Morla and Atreyu. Bastian is shocked by this, thinking that it is impossible that fictional characters could have heard him.
After reading the scene where Atreyu talks with Morla, The Ancient One, Bastian hears the school bell going off, and sees everyone else in the school leaving before returning to the attic. Just then, a thunderstorm hits, and Bastian is visibly spooked by the animal accessories in the attic. He remembers Atreyu and Morla telling him to give up, saying "Atreyu wouldn't quit now". He then trips and falls to the floor as a wolf puppet falls on top of him, causing him to scream.
Bastian then reads the scene where Atreyu almost drowns in the Swamps of Sadness, and is relieved when Atreyu is rescued by Falkor the flying luckdragon. Continuing to read, Bastian comes up to the scene where Atreyu has to prove his true worth to the Sphinx Gate. He shouts for Atreyu to run as the sphinxes fire lasers out of their eyes; Atreyu jumps out of the way just in time.
As Atreyu reaches the Mirror Gate, he sees Bastian reading a book. Bastian is surprised by this, and throws the book aside. He then starts to wonder if the fictional characters actually know about him.
Bastian appears again, staring out of a window; Atreyu has to find an Earthling child to give the Childlike Empress a new name. Bastian utters that his mother had "such a wonderful name", and returns to reading. As Atreyu falls into the Sea of Possibilities, another thunderstorm blows open the windows, which Bastian then shuts before returning to reading.
Bastian then reaches the climax of the book, where Atreyu and the Childlike Empress talk. The Empress reveals that Atreyu (who thought he had failed) has brought the Earthling with him: Bastian. Bastian is clearly shocked by this, and starts to wonder if it really is him who has to name the Childlike Empress.
Bastian initially dismisses this, saying, "It's only a story, it's not real!" At the same moment he says this, the tower partially cracks, knocking Atreyu out. The Empress pleads for Bastian to save whatever remains of Fantasia, and, although intially reluctant, he runs to the window and screams out her new name: Moonchild.
The candlelight goes out, and Bastian wakes up in blackness, with the Childlike Empress holding a tiny grain of sand in her palm: all that remains of Fantasia. She gives it to Bastian, telling him that he now has the power to restore Fantasia, creating as many wishes as he wants. Bastian uses this power to restore Fantasia and its inhabitants.
While riding on Falkor, Bastian sees all of the characters in the book have returned to normal; Artax is even alive. Falkor asks Bastian what he would like to wish for next, and Bastian he whispers it in Falkor's ear.
In the real world, Falkor appears out of the sky, chasing down the bullies from the beginning of the movie. They are so terrified that they run down the exact same alley and hide in the exact same dumpster, while Bastian and Falkor fly away laughing.
The narrator of the movie finishes the movie by saying that Bastian had many more wishes and adventures before finally returning to the normal world.
The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990)
Two years after the first movie, Bastian is now 12 years old and is attending swim school, but is suffering from acrophobia, which prevents him from jumping from the high board. To overcome his fear of heights, he confides in Coreander, but is once again drawn to The NeverEnding Story. Coreander once again advises against it, but Bastian takes it anyway.
At home, Bastian takes the AURYN off the book cover and teleports into the world of Fantasia, where he appears on a boat heading towards Silver City. He is accompanied by Nimbly, a bird-like creature, who, unknown to Bastian, is sent by the evil sorceress Xayide to coax Bastian into making a wish so that he can lose his memories. Arriving in Silver City, Bastian is attacked by crustacean-like creatures called Giants, also sent by Xayide. Bastian escapes to safety and learns that the Childlike Empress is once again in danger, and that Bastian is the only one who can save Fantasia.
Rendezvousing with Atreyu, Bastian uses the AURYN to create a giant dragon to attack Horok Castle, where Xayide lives. The dragon, however, sets fire to the city before flying to Horok, where it is destroyed by the castle's defensive weapon system. Bastian and Atreyu meet the Rock Biter and his son Junior, and plan to infiltrate Horok. Bastian is caught in one of the spotlight beams, and Atreyu deflects the beam, destroying the weapons system. Bastian then makes wishes to create steps to ascend the castle tower while Atreyu is captured. Upon entry, Bastian saves Atreyu, defeats a few of the giants, and confronts Xayide, taking her hostage as they travel to the Ivory Tower.
During the journey, Xayide slowly starts to manipulate Bastian into believing that his friends are turning against him, and at one point, Bastian overhears a conversation between Atreyu and Falkor about the AURYN. Later that night, Bastian confronts Atreyu, believing he is trying to steal the AURYN from him. A fight breaks out, which ends when Bastian throws Atreyu off a cliff, killing him. When Bastian returns to Xayide, he soon learns that Atreyu was telling the truth. After seeing Falkor flying away with Atreyu's corpse, Bastian gives chase on Artax, only to be struck off by Xayide's magic, and fall into a canyon river. After almost going over a waterfall, Bastian walks through the desert and once again meets Nimbly. Bastian at first doesn't believe Nimbly, who claims he is on Bastian's side now, and Nimbly tells Bastian that Falkor is at Silver City, and that if Bastian lets Xayide win, Fantasia will cease to exist.
Arriving at the now-destroyed Silver City, Bastian gives the memory of his mom to bring Atreyu back to life. Xayide arrives, and Bastian gives his final memory - the memory of his father - to make Xayide have a heart. This ultimately destroys her and the Giants, restoring Fantasia back to its original glory. In gratitude, the Childlike Empress shows Bastian the way home: by jumping off a high cliff into water. Although initially hesitant, Bastian receives encouragement from his dad and Atreyu, and jumps off, returning home safely.
The NeverEnding Story III: Escape to Fantasia (1994)
In the third movie, Bastian is played by Jason James Richter, who played Jesse Greenwood in the Free Willy movies.
Tales From The Neverending Story (2001)
In the 2001 series, Bastian is played by Mark Rendall.