|~ Marty's catchphrase|
Marty the Zebra is the deuteragonist of the Madagascar franchise, serving as the protagonist in Madagascar, the tritagonist of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and the deuteragonist of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. He also serves as the major character of the specials and a minor character of the short films and the Penguins of Madagascar movie. He also serves as a protagonist in the online prequel series Madagascar: A Little Wild.
He is a zebra who lived at the Central Park Zoo, and a best friend of Alex. In the beginning, Marty lived a life of comfort in the zoo, but comfort led to boredom and Marty soon saw that his tenth birthday came and went and with that, his life was halfway in. Marty decided, then, that he must travel to the wild, for at least a short time, never having seen the wild. At one point in the movie, Alex says he's black with white stripes, as he has 30 black, and only 29 white, but this was partly due to the fact that Alex had to give an explanation as to why he was licking Marty, as he thought he was the steak in his dream.
He is voiced by Thomas Stanley (in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) and Amir O'Neil as a child (in Madagascar: A Little Wild) and Chris Rock as an adult.
The movie opens on Marty’s 10th birthday (middle-aged for a zebra). His friends try to give him a great birthday, but somehow, Marty wants more. He escapes the Central Park Zoo, in which he lives, and makes a dash for the wild. His friends, Alex the Lion, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippopotamus flag him down, but as they're about to take him back to the zoo, police officers appear in all directions, tranquilize the animals, and send them on a ship to Kenya. However, the penguins take over the ship and the four friends are washed up on the shores of Madagascar.
Once on the island, the animals begin to panic except for Marty, who has had his dream fulfilled. Marty sets up a "bar" on the island, known as Casa del Wild (in English Home of the Wild). Alex is mad at Marty for getting them shipped to the wild, but he later apologizes to Marty and actually begins to enjoy himself on the island. Unfortunately, his enjoyment brings on his killer instincts, causing him to attack the resident lemurs and his friends, including Marty. King Julien banishes Alex to the far side of the island with the fossa. Marty begins to regret seeing what Alex has turned into.
The penguins, having been to Antarctica and finding it not to their liking, land the boat on Madagascar. Seeing this as a chance to return Alex to New York, Marty, with Gloria and Melman, goes to find Alex. Marty finds a very despondent Alex telling him the news, but Alex refuses to leave and harm his friends and sulks in the cave. Marty tells Alex that he won't leave without him, but Alex continues to mope. Marty decides to sing the song that Alex used on him earlier to cheer him up. But just then, the fossa climb from the walls and surround Marty. Marty, terrified runs for his life, screaming HELP!!"
The fossa corner Marty and leap on him but Melman and Gloria save him and they and the Penguins try to fight the Fossa off but are outnumbered. Suddenly a roaring echo and Alex shows up advancing on him Marty closes his eyes ready for death...when Alex whispers...it's showtime!" The Fossas are defeated by Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman, and the penguins and driven into their territory, never to bother the lemurs again.
Marty, along with his friends has only a few small cameos in "The Madagascar Penguins in A Christmas Caper". He, Alex, and Gloria are seen at the beginning of decorating Melman's neck with Christmas lights. In the end, he, his friends, and almost all the other zoo animals are seen singing their own version of "Jingle Bells".
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Marty (along with the other animals) finds himself stranded in Africa. There, he joins a herd of zebra that all look and sound exactly like him. While he enjoys this new lifestyle at first, he quickly becomes depressed when it becomes evident that he has no individuality in a herd. Marty also becomes sad when Alex is unable to tell him apart from the other zebras. Ultimately, Alex is able to make amends by picking Marty out of the herd (later revealed to be due to the bite mark left on his backside from the previous film) and Marty accompanies his friend to unblock a dam set by stranded New Yorkers in the jungle (which causes the watering hole to dry up). When Alex is caught, Marty gets the other animals to help rescue him.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
When the Zoosters decide that the penguins have taken long enough to return back to pick them up, Marty and his friends go to Monte Carlo in order to try and find them. Unfortunately, they find themselves spotted by the humans in the casino as well as finding the penguins. As a result, Marty and pals find themselves being chased after by animal control. In order to hide, Marty, Melman, Gloria, and Alex decide to hide with Circus Zaragoza in order to stay away from the animal control. While hiding they find that this particular circus could earn a contract for an American tour with a stop in New York City, when the group finds that this circus is not going to earn that contract without a serious makeover, Marty and pals take it upon themselves to refresh the circus with some new acts. Marty ends up finding his calling in doing a routine with Stefano in which they are shot out of cannons. When the group ends up getting the contract and reaching New York City, Marty and his friends end up realizing that the zoo is not all it is cracked up to be and decide to instead run off with the circus and continue performing in their acts... but then Dubois ambushes them. The circus animals come to the rescue where Vitaly frees Marty from his cage by jumping through the keyhole. After telling their new friends they've changed their minds, Marty, Melman, and Gloria were happy seeing Alex and Gia together as a couple. Marty sees that he and his friends are finally where they belong, which is truly crack-a-lacking.
Madagascar: A Little Wild
Marty appears as a protagonist in this online prequel series, which takes place many years before the events of the films and depicts Marty's childhood adventures in Central Park Zoo.
- Marty's "Afro Circus" meme was actually ad-libbed by Chris Rock. Co-Writer/Director Eric Darnell states "We came up with this idea that Marty would dance around humming the classic circus tune while he danced with a big wig on his head. And Chris came up with this song that's just...amazing! And that's the kinda thing you'll only get when bringing someone like Chris Rock in."
- Cheech Martin, Don Cheadle, Donald Faison, Donal Logue, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Heavy D, Cole Hauser, Michael Biehn, John Carroll Lynch, Shawn Ashmore and Will Ferrell were all considered to voice Marty before Chris Rock was cast.