River Butterfly (né Johansen) is the former king of the Kingdom of Mewni, ruling alongside his wife Moon Butterfly, and Star Butterfly's father. Born into the Johansen clan of barbarians, River was crowned King of Mewni through his marriage to Queen Moon Butterfly.
After Eclipsa assumes the throne of Mewni, River now helps his wife in maintaining a society of Mewman refugees.
River is a short, stout, light-skinned man with blond hair (with a bald spot under his crown) and light blue eyes. The crown atop his head is golden with a large pink jewel on the top. He also has a thick, large mustache and a beard that splits in two ways. River's attire usually consists of a blue ruffled coat with gold shoulder pads and periwinkle tufts, periwinkle cuffs at the end of the sleeves, a blue cape with periwinkle fur, gray pants, and black boots.
In "Moon the Undaunted", teenage River has a full head of hair, with bangs styled in a similar fashion to Star and Moon's. He wears a blue shirt with light-blue trim and sleeve cuffs, a purple belt, a gray and white ruffled collar, large gray trousers, white boots with black soles, and a small gold crown on top of his head.
As of "Cornonation", River takes to wearing a full-body bear costume, with only his face visible.
Although seeming just as formal and strict as his wife, it is revealed in "Diaz Family Vacation" that River enjoys going off to fight monsters like Star does when his duties as king bore him. Like his daughter, River is belligerent, headstrong, and prefers battle to diplomacy. Despite this, however, he is a skilled warrior, a dedicated king, and a loving father.
In his youth, River was timid and very shy, being nervous about speaking up around others and easily unnerved when his opinions were rejected. However, he would occasionally speak out against others in defense of Moon, such as toward Count Mildrew.
River is a loving, caring, and concerned father toward his daughter Star, wanting only the best for her. They share a common love for fighting monsters in "Diaz Family Vacation" and having fun in "Royal Pain", and River mentions in "Camping Trip" that he taught Star how to camp and used to give her piggyback rides. They have their disagreements at times, such as when River first finds out that Star uses dimensional scissors without permission, but the two love each other dearly nonetheless. In "Game of Flags", River is proud to see Star participate in the Butterfly-Johansen family tradition of Flags, and in "Baby", he has reservations about bringing her back to Mewni while she's still in school.
River is Moon's husband. The two have their differences and disagreements due to being raised by drastically different families, but they are still a very loving couple. In "Face the Music", River worries about Moon going to the Forest of Certain Death by herself, and he misses her a lot during her prolonged absence from the castle in "Marco and the King". He also has a pet name for her: "Moon Pie".
In "Moon the Undaunted" and Deep Trouble Issue #2, River is shown to have been very shy and awkward around Moon when they were teenagers. He tries to stick up for Moon during a war meeting and gives her an "apology meat" afterward, nervously calling her "pal". He would often put himself in harm's way in an attempt to impress her.
River is shown to be on very good terms with the Diazes, especially Marco. In "Diaz Family Vacation", Rafael and Angie invite him to join them in a hot spring, and in "Royal Pain", Rafael considers River to be a member of his "familia". In "Camping Trip", River goes through a midlife crisis and feels threatened by Marco, believing him to be Star's boyfriend, but the two have grown to be good friends by "Marco and the King"; Marco encourages River to lead the kingdom in its time of need and tries to free him from the dungeon in "King Ludo". In "Scent of a Hoodie", River gives Marco a cape as thanks for helping save the kingdom from Toffee and invites him to be a knight of Mewni.
In "Cornonation", River feels an instant connection and kinship with Globgor upon learning that Globgor is a loving father, just like him. When Rhombulus attempts to re-imprison Globgor, River comes to Globgor's defense, arguing that Globgor deserves his freedom to be with his family. In "Here to Help", after Globgor gets wounded by a Solarian Warrior, River looks after him, offering him meat. In "Pizza Party" and "The Tavern at the End of the Multiverse", when Mina Loveberry hunts for Globgor to finish him off, River hides Globgor from her, and he and Eddie carry Globgor to the Magic Sanctuary to heal him before his wound destroys him.
Powers and abilities
- Physical prowess: River possesses above-average physical prowess. He is able to fight monsters and wield a spear in "Diaz Family Vacation", wield a club in "Royal Pain", and survive for extended periods of time in the wilderness and run ten miles in five minutes in "Camping Trip".
- Magical staff: River wields a staff with a crescent moon-shaped crystal ornament at the tip that is capable of firing off lightning blasts.
Click here to view the gallery.
- River's pre-marriage surname, "Johansen" is a Scandinavian patronymic surname meaning "son of Johan".
- "Camping Trip" reveals that River is very strong and athletic, able to run ten miles in five minutes while carrying Star and Marco (equivalent to 120 miles per hour), and he claims he "used to be able to do it in four" (equivalent to 150 miles per hour). "Game of Flags" reveals that his family, the Johansens, are just as strong and physically capable as he is.
- Like most Mewmans, he has a fondness for corn, to the extent where he goes into a crazed frenzy should he see his supply threatened.
- According to Dominic Bisignano, the Johansen family uses a calendar based on felled stags, and River is 17 "felled stags" old.
- He has a powerful dislike for the Pie Folk, due to their con artist ways. As such, he violently rejects the Pie King's claim that Moon is descended from them.
- Amelia Lorenz (2017-07-19). Young Moon and Young River voices. Tumblr. Retrieved on 2017 July 19.
- Dominic Bisignano (2017-06-18). What about Moon and River, how old are king and.... Tumblr. Retrieved on 2017 September 26.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: The Magic Book of Spells by Daron Nefcy and Amber Benson. September 11, 2018. Published by Disney Press. ISBN: 978-1368020503.
- Dominic Bisignano (2017-08-23). What is the name of Moon's mother And why do you.... Tumblr. Retrieved on 2017 August 23.
- River in "Royal Pain": "He ruins every party and is completely oblivious about it!"
- Season 1, episode 24: "Storm the Castle"
- Season 2, episode 15: "Game of Flags"