Twilight Saga Wiki

"No matter which side I'm on, if someone kisses you without your permission, you should be able to make your feelings clear without hurting yourself."
―Charlie to Bella on hitting Jacob.[src]

Charlie Swan is the father of Bella Swan, the ex-husband of Renee Dwyer, the maternal grandfather of Renesmee Cullen, and the father-in-law of Edward Cullen. He is the Chief of Police in Forks, Washington.

He is portrayed by Billy Burke in the movie adaptations.


Early life

Charlie was born and raised in Forks by his parents, Geoffrey and Helen Swan. Geoffrey and Helen were both in their mid-forties when Charlie was born; they had thought they were unable to have children, so Charlie was a huge, but very welcome, surprise. He remained an only child and stayed close to both his parents. Billy Black, Harry Clearwater, and Quil Ateara IV were his close friends since childhood. During his teenage years, Charlie always felt a little bit on the outside of his circle of friends. He attributed that distance to the fact that the others all belonged to the Quileute tribe and he did not. In reality, Billy, Harry and Quil were caught up in the secret world they were forbidden to tell Charlie about. As an adult, Charlie joined the Forks Police Department. He wanted to go to college, but his parents' health began deteriorating at the time and he felt that he needed to stay close to home. His mother was in the early stages of Alzheimer's and his father's mobility was being curtailed by severe arthritis. Charlie did everything he could to help care for them.

During Charlie's first summer as a cop, he met Renée Higginbotham. She was driving up the Pacific Highway with a group of her friends, and they stopped to camp at First Beach in La Push. Charlie was visiting Billy when he met Renée on the beach. There was an instant attraction between the two. They spent a few days together before her friends were ready to continue their journey. Renee promised to visit Charlie on the return trip. In her absence, Charlie realized just how much he had fallen for Renée. She returned as promised, and he convinced her to stay when her friends left. Renée was impetuous and romantic by nature, and she loved the passionate whirlwind relationship. Charlie quickly proposed and Renée accepted. They were married at the courthouse in Port Angeles, Washington, just a few weeks later. Charlie bought a small house down the street from his parents' home. For a little while, he and Renée were deliriously happy. Charlie was even happier when he found out Renée was pregnant with their first child a few months later.

Charlie and Renée with an infant Bella.

Charlie's life took a downturn during Renée's pregnancy. Both his parents' conditions worsened, and his father needed Charlie's help with his mother every day. At the same time, depression began to take a major toll on Renée. She wanted Charlie to leave Forks with her and start over somewhere sunnier, but Charlie couldn't do that. Renée had the baby, and her depression was only compounded by the postpartum hormones. A few months after Bella was born, Renée decided she couldn't live in Forks anymore. She left with Bella, leaving Charlie devastated. Charlie wanted to follow her, but he couldn't leave his parents. He didn't contest the divorce or the child support. All he asked for was time with Bella. He did not stop loving Renée.

Four years later, within six months of each other, Geoffrey and Helen Swan died. Charlie was alone, aside from his summer visits with Bella. He devoted himself to his job and worked his way up through the ranks to become chief of police in Forks. He maintained his longtime friendship with Billy Black and Harry Clearwater, and the three friends spent a lot of their free time fishing together. Billy in particular was a great support to Charlie during the difficult years following his divorce and the loss of his parents; they became even closer. Later, when Billy lost his wife, Sarah, to a car accident, Charlie was able to be there for Billy as Billy had been for him.

When the Cullens moved to town, Charlie found their quiet presence pleasant, but Billy thought the opposite and tried to warn him. When he found out that some local boys from the Quileute reservation boycotting the hospital, it caused a rift between Billy and Charlie for a few years.

He was excited when Bella decided to move back to Forks for the rest of her school years. Furthermore, she will be living with him.


Main article: Twilight

Charlie telling Bella about the Cullens.

Charlie first appears in the series when he picks up Bella, who is 17, at the airport, after deciding to move back in with him while her mother moves to Florida with her new husband. After a couple of months, Bella falls in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire who also lives in Forks. Charlie is surprised, and tentatively accepts Bella's choice, oblivious to the fact that Edward is a vampire. The couple believes that it is for the best that Charlie doesn't know the truth about Edward and his family. In the Twilight movie, Charlie is constantly making sure that Bella has pepper spray with her. When she goes to prom, he puts a new can of pepper spray in her bag, not trusting Edward after what happened when she went out with him previously. However, he is accepting of Edward being Bella's boyfriend.

New Moon

Main article: New Moon

Charlie holds Bella in his arms.

"I've never felt so helpless."

In New Moon, after Bella's accident on her 18th birthday, Edward leaves with his family, claiming that he no longer loves her, with the intention of keeping her safe. Bella subsequently falls into a long-lasting deep depression for several months, leaving Charlie hurt because of his inability to help her overcome it. He tries to move Bella to Jacksonville to live with her mother, to no avail. During this time, Charlie comes to really hate Edward for what he did, and encourages Bella to spend more time with Jacob Black, who seems to make her happier.

Later, Alice Cullen, believing that Bella was dead, had come back in confusion, and upon hearing that Edward is going to commit suicide Bella runs off with her, leaving Charlie worried sick for days. They return three days later, but Charlie bans Edward from the house, no longer trusting him, and forbids Bella from seeing him again. Bella threatens to move out if he doesn't retract his decisions, and Charlie grudgingly agrees though still grounds her in hopes of putting some distance between her and Edward. Charlie shows an obvious preference for Jacob, as he "stitched Bella up" after Edward left.

At the end of New Moon, Jacob hands in Bella's motorcycle hoping to get her grounded, not knowing that she is already grounded for leaving without explanation.


Main article: Eclipse

In Eclipse, Charlie still mistrusts Edward and worries that Bella's whole life is revolving around the Cullens. As a result, he agrees to end Bella's grounding under the condition that she spend time with her other friends, particularly Jacob. He tells her that Jake helped when she was hurting in a way of persuasion. Charlie makes it clear that he wants Bella to choose Jacob over Edward, especially when he approves of Jacob forcing a kiss on Bella.

Charlie watching Bella at graduation.

Throughout the book, Charlie is very worried about the mysterious and violent serial murders occurring in Seattle, which are being committed by members of the Seattle newborn army. Towards the end of the book, he spends time in La Push with Billy as a ploy by Bella and the werewolves to keep him safe during the fight against Victoria and her army of newborn vampires.

Near the end of the book, Charlie has a feeling that he is going to lose Bella, and tells her to give him a warning if she decides to run off. Sometime later, Bella comes home after visiting Jacob and tells Charlie that she had chosen Edward over him, and that they had broken off. Charlie is disappointed over it, and also disapproves of her telling Jacob while he was recovering from his injuries. Charlie is forced to accept her choice, pointing out that Edward seems to care for Bella's safety more than Jacob does. Bella and Edward later decide to tell him about their engagement, saying that it is highly dangerous, as he will probably be against it.

In both the book and the Eclipse film, Charlie awkwardly has "the talk" with Bella because he thinks that his daughter and Edward are sleeping together, but Bella ends the conversation by telling him that she is still a virgin, prompting him to like Edward a little better.

Breaking Dawn

Main article: Breaking Dawn

Charlie walks Bella down the aisle.

At the beginning of Breaking Dawn, Bella reminisces on the day she and Edward informed Charlie about their engagement. Charlie reacts with rage when he initially thinks Bella is pregnant, but calms down when told that this isn't the case. Knowing that Renée is strongly against early marriage, Charlie does not express his own disapproval, but tells Bella that she will have to inform her mother about it herself. It turns out, however, that Renee's feelings about marriage apply only to herself and Charlie, and she accepts Bella's choice wholeheartedly. After this, Charlie feels like there is nothing he can do, and begrudgingly accepts Bella's marriage to Edward. Meanwhile, Charlie also starts a search for Jacob who ran away after being rejected by Bella.

Bella returns home to find Charlie trying his tux by Alice's pester. He is assigned with bringing Mr. Weber and his family to the Cullen house as his only job. At the wedding, he is present to see Renée give Bella a pair of blue hair clips and later walk her down the aisle.

When Charlie hears that Bella and Edward are back from their honeymoon, he is forbidden to see her. He goes crazy with worry when Carlisle falsely tells him that Bella has contracted a rare illness in South America and has been taken to Atlanta for treatment. In reality, she was pregnant with a half-human/half-vampire baby, and it was growing at an abnormal rate.

Jacob introduces Charlie to the supernatural world.

A little over a month later, Bella gives birth to a girl named Renesmee. Jacob imprints on the baby, curing him from his broken heart over Bella. When Jacob learns about the Cullens' plans of moving, he believes that Charlie is the main reason. Unwilling to be separated from Renesmee, he informs Charlie about their world, in hopes that his new knowledge will keep the Cullens around for a while longer, going to the extent as to phase into his wolf-form in front of him. Charlie is shocked to discover the existence of supernatural forces, but orders Jacob and later Bella not to let him know any more than what is necessary. He talks to Bella (who by now had become a vampire), and meets his granddaughter for the first time. Edward says Renesmee is his niece, and that he and Bella are adopting her. Charlie, however, figures out the truth when he stares into Renesmee's chocolate brown eyes; his chocolate brown eyes. He agrees, however, to stick to the adoption as the public story to protect them. He coos over Renesmee constantly, and states that she is prettier than any baby he has ever seen, including Bella. He is also cheered by the fact that Renesmee's middle name is "Carlie", a combination of Carlisle and Charlie. He and Bella also agree not to tell Renée about the mythical world or about Renesmee, since they knew she wouldn't be able to handle it. He also makes Bella promise to visit when they decide to move away, knowing that they won't stay forever.

Charlie, Sue and Renesmee.

Between September and December, Charlie visits the Cullens daily to hang out with his daughter and granddaughter, with Sue Clearwater as company. Whenever Renesmee did something too advanced for her appearance, he would look to her and her family for moral support, but has otherwise grown very close to his new family.

During the crisis period of the Volturi's threat, Charlie is told to stay away from the Cullen house because of the "need-to-know company". He also notices that something is not right with Bella and her family, but doesn't push to find out what is going on. He is last seen celebrating Christmas at his house with Bella, Renesmee, Edward, Jacob, Sue, Sam, Emily and the rest of Jacob's pack. He receives a sonar system used for fishing from Edward (tickets to Frasier River fishing trip from Bella and Edward in the movie).

By the end of the Twilight Saga, he has developed a romantic relationship with Sue. His friendship with Billy Black, however, is not to be what it once was.

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

Main article: Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

In the alternate story of Twilight where most characters have swapped gender and names, Charlie is one of the few who remain the same. In this story, he and Renée have a son named Beaufort Swan instead of a daughter.

Similarly to Bella, Charlie rarely communicates with Beau but internally enjoy each other's company.

When Renée and her new husband move to Florida, Beau, now 17, decides to move back to Charlie's for his junior and senior high school years. After a couple of months, Beau falls in love with a local vampire named Edythe Cullen. Charlie is surprised, and tentatively accepts Beau's choice, oblivious to the fact that Edythe is a vampire.

When Beau unexpectedly becomes a vampire, the Cullens decide to fake his death. This crushes Charlie's heart completely. During Beau's funeral, he struggles to remain calm. Beau, heartbroken for his family, asks his best friend Bonnie Black to look after Charlie and tell him if there is anything he could do in secret.

Physical appearance

Charlie has a mustache and curly brown hair, which is passed down to Renesmee; chocolate brown eyes that both Bella and Renesmee inherited. He stands about 6'0" tall and has an average build. In the movies, he has straight dark brown hair. Like Bella, he has no interest in fashion, and prefers to wear regular jeans and shirts on a daily basis.

According to Bella in Breaking Dawn, his scent is more attractive to vampires than certain people, much like when she was human.

Personality and traits

Twilight Charlie2.jpg

"Charlie wasn't comfortable with expressing his feelings out loud. I inherited that from him."
―Bella on Charlie[src]

Charlie is a naturally responsible person and a loner and doesn't enjoy to be in big crowds; these traits were passed on to Bella, who was quite the loner herself before meeting the Cullens. It is also stated that Bella got her clumsiness from Charlie. At times, he could be depicted as being funny by accident. During free time, he mostly spends his time watching baseball or fishing.

Bella has said that her relationship with her father is quite odd, but she finds Charlie easier to live with since he respects her privacy when she needs it even though he is protective of her. Charlie has also been described as overbearing at times but loving. It is made obvious in the book, that Charlie has a hard time trying to be involved in Bella's life because he is shyer than her mother.

When Bella got in a near-car accident in Twilight/Midnight Sun, Edward senses that Charlie loves and cares for Bella much more than he would like her to know.

In Midnight Sun, he seems to show some defense against psychic powers, as Edward finds his thoughts hard to read, and he feels the emotional direction behind his thoughts is opposed to the words. This indicates that Bella had inherited her power from him, but made it much more powerful. His granddaughter Renesmee, however, shows an opposite power, which makes her capable of penetrating a psychic barrier.


Charlie is the father of Bella Swan, the ex-husband of Renée Dwyer, the father-in-law of Edward Cullen and the maternal grandfather of Renesmee Cullen.

Bella Swan

Charlie's daughter: Bella Swan.

"One of the best things about Charlie―he doesn't hover."
―Bella on Charlie[src]

Bella Swan is Charlie's daughter. He loves her deeply even though they don't speak often. In truth, Bella loves him just as much. When Charlie got a divorce from his wife, Renée, she moved to California, taking Bella with her and leaving him alone and depressed. In the early years following the divorce, Bella would visit him in Forks every summer, until it became apparent that Bella hated Forks. While she was there, they would go fishing, among other things such as eating together at his favorite diner and watching television with him, which Bella also didn't care for. Eventually it became Charlie who went to visit her. At the age of seventeen, in her junior year of high school, Bella moved back to Forks in order to allow her mother to travel with her new husband, Phil Dwyer. Charlie respects her privacy, and they often spend comfortable moments of silence together.

Charlie embraces a now-vampire Bella.

After moving in, Bella began to do the cooking around the house, which Charlie seemed to appreciate, even though he doesn't say anything. He is very protective over her, rushing to her school when he heard there was an accident, and even distrusting Edward after the fight they had. He was sad when Bella told him she was leaving, being reminded how Renée had left him. Later, when Edward returns after having left Bella for months, Charlie seems increasingly displeased with their getting back together and for a time feels that Jacob would be a more appropriate choice. However, it seems he does come to realize that not only are Bella's affections for Edward unyielding, he also begins to accept him more in regards to Edward taking Bella's safety as seriously as he himself does. At Bella's wedding, he walks her down the aisle.

After Bella has become a vampire, Jacob tells him about the underlying supernatural world and Bella's involvement with it, although without informing him directly that she has become a vampire. Despite the shock caused by the change, he learns to cope with it and ultimately remains a part of her new life.

Renée Dwyer

Main article: Charlie Swan and Renée Dwyer

Charlie's ex-wife: Renée Dwyer.

"She seems different, she seems happy. Phil sounds like an alright guy."
―Charlie on Renée[src]

Renée Dwyer is Charlie's ex-wife, who divorced him after having Bella, since she realized she had rushed into marriage too early and too young. He begged her to stay, but she refused and left with Bella, who was still a baby at the time. Charlie still cares about Renée and expresses to Bella his contentment in her happiness with Phil, her second husband. Renée remains in touch with Charlie occasionally.

After he learned that Bella has become involved with the supernatural and gone through a "change", he agrees to keep Renée in the dark to protect her, and makes her think that Bella has contracted an illness that prohibits her from visiting. He also keeps her in the dark about their grandchild, Renesmee.

Sue Clearwater

Main article: Charlie Swan and Sue Clearwater

Charlie's newfound romance: Sue Clearwater.

"I'm so glad Charlie's found someone to take care of him."

Sue Clearwater is the mother of Leah and Seth Clearwater, and Harry Clearwater's wife.

After Bella married Edward and became a vampire, Sue started visiting Charlie to keep him company and help him adjust to the supernatural. She becomes his personal cook, and is always at his house to make dinner for him, mostly due to his lack of cooking skills.

It has often been assumed that a romantic relationship exists between the two of them. In The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, it was officially confirmed that they are in fact dating. This is also hinted at in Breaking Dawn - Part 1 at the wedding when Charlie offers Sue a drink but Billy interrupts with a drink order of his own and hits Charlie's foot with his wheelchair. In Breaking Dawn - Part 2, Charlie and Sue are already dating and appear to be heavily in love.

Renesmee Cullen

Charlie's granddaughter: Renesmee Cullen.

"I could see it in his face―I could watch it growing there. Charlie was just as helpless against her magic as the rest of us. Two seconds in his arms, and already she owned him."
―Bella's notice on Charlie's fondness of Renesmee[src]

Renesmee Cullen is Charlie's granddaughter. Bella gave birth to her one month after marrying Edward. He first meets her after Jacob told him about the mythical world.

Although Edward and Bella tell him that Renesmee is an orphan that they've adopted, he discovers their biological relation when he looks into her eyes (which he recognizes as his own), but decides to stick to the adoption as their public story for their safety.

He instantly comes to love her, and by the end of the year, they have grown very close to each other. He also calls her by the nickname "Nessie", and sometimes "Ness", much to Bella's annoyance. Bella and Edward have prohibited Renesmee from using her powers around Charlie, biting him, or even speaking aloud, since she appears physically too young to be able to speak. Nevertheless, she still unintentionally startles him by doing things too advanced for her apparent age and her unprecedented growth rate, though he sees past all the awkwardness.

Edward Cullen

Charlie's son-in-law: Edward Cullen.

"His thoughts were partially concealed, not absent. I could only make out the tenor, the tone of them…"
―Edward's realization of Bella and Charlie's similar defense.[src]

Edward Cullen is Charlie's son-in-law. Even though Charlie liked the Cullens, he became a little defensive when Edward started dating his daughter Bella. His dislike grows into hatred when Edward and his family leave Forks on unexpected notice, leaving Bella in an emotional depression that lasted for half a year. Though his return made her normal again, Charlie's dislike of him continued and even wanted her to be as separate from him as possible, but he came to respect his daughter's choice, even walking her down the aisle to marry Edward.

In Breaking Dawn - Part 1, Charlie makes a threatening yet comedic speech about Edward being a good husband for his daughter because he knows how to use a gun and how to hunt someone to the ends of the Earth.

They grew closer to each other after he was introduced to the supernatural world, now being able to see Edward, Bella, and Renesmee more often.

Alice Cullen

Charlie's in-law: Alice Cullen.

"Me, he likes."
―Alice to Bella on Charlie's fondness of her[src]

Alice Cullen is Charlie's in-law-family member, Edward's adoptive sister. Despite the fact that he doesn't like Edward, he is rather fond of Alice. This is shown multiple times during New Moon by the nickname he has taken to calling her 'Angel' after she helped Bella recover from her injuries in Twilight, and when she visits Bella near the end of New Moon. This fondness is even stronger in Eclipse, as she has unlimited visitation rights to the Swan house while Edward is limited to 7-9:30. He also admits in the movie version that he likes her better than Edward, to the point telling her not to be a stranger when visiting the Swan .

At the beginning of Breaking Dawn, she is the one to design his tuxedo for Bella and Edward's wedding, and persuades him to try it on. Despite his complaints, he complies. Since finding out about her family being supernatural, his friendly relationship with Alice remains a mystery.

Jacob Black

Jacob Black.

"I just watched a kid I'd known his entire life turn into a very large dog…"
―Charlie's comment on Jacob.[src]

Jacob Black is the son of Charlie's best friend, Billy Black. Charlie had always thought of Jacob as a good kid, but after Jacob helped Bella become happier and normal after Edward's departure, Charlie began to like him even more. Charlie also states that he'd prefer Bella being with Jacob rather than Edward, saying that it wouldn't hurt for Edward to have a little competition. But after believing Jacob was injured in a motorcycle accident, he realizes that Edward does care for Bella's safety a bit more than Jacob does. When Jacob disappeared, Charlie set out the force to find him to no avail, even though Billy and Bella didn't bother looking for Jacob. When Bella chose Edward over Jacob, Charlie was a little disappointed but quickly respected her choice.

In Breaking Dawn when Jacob reveals to Charlie that he can transform into a giant wolf, Charlie becomes a bit frightened and tense around him. However, they remain on good terms, and Charlie begins to cope, becoming more relaxed and comfortable around him. He also notices the special bond that Jacob shares with his granddaughter, Renesmee.

Billy Black

Charlie's best friend: Billy Black.

Billy Black is Charlie's best friend, and a disabled Quileute elder. They have always been close to each other. Both of them enjoy watching baseball and fishing. Because of this relationship, Billy kindly warned Bella about being involved with the Cullens.

Billy drags Charlie to go fishing in Eclipse during the newborn crisis to keep him safe, but he himself is constantly distracted by his worries over his son's safety.

However, after he found out about the supernatural in Breaking Dawn, Bella notices that their friendship is not as it used to be, though this change seems more connected to his newfound relationship with Sue.

Harry Clearwater

Charlie's deceased best friend: Harry Clearwater.

"Those bears won't get their claw on me, Bella. My kung-fu is strong."

Harry Clearwater was Charlie's childhood friend, along with Billy Black, and the deceased husband of Sue. The three of them enjoyed fishing and hunting together. Though they were best friends, Charlie always felt left out of their involvement with each other due to them being members of the Quileute tribe.

When Harry died of heart attack, Charlie visited his family daily and helped arrange his funeral. He personally witnessed Harry's death in the movie of New Moon.

Waylon Forge

Charlie's deceased friend: Waylon Forge.

"Bella, you remember me? I played Santa one year."
"Yeah! Waylon, she hasn't had Christmas here since she was four."
"I bet I'd made an impression though, didn't I?"
"You always do."
"Buttcrack Santa."
―Waylon, Charlie and Cora.[src]

Waylon Forge was Charlie's longtime friend in the Twilight film. They had known each other for almost 30 years.

He was murdered by James's coven while they were passing through town. Charlie was devastated by the unexpected death of his friend, which Carlisle reported to be an animal attack, covering up that it was in fact the work of vampires.

Beau Swan

Beau Swan is Charlie's son in the gender-swapped novel, Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, where he has a son instead of a daughter.

Like Bella, Renée took Beau away at infancy and raised him alone. Despite their lack of communication, Charlie and Beau care for each other deeply, which became apparent when Beau moved back to Forks in his junior year of high school, to let his mother travel with Phil, and took over kitchen duty. Charlie respects his son's privacy, and they often spend comfortable moments of silence together. When Beau was hunted by the vicious nomad Joss, he said hurtful things to Charlie to keep him safe and to keep him from stopping him from leaving.

When Beau unexpectedly became a vampire, he had no choice but to fake his death to keep his family safe. This news devastates both Charlie and Renée. Knowing Charlie has no one to turn to for comfort, Beau asks his best friend Bonnie to take care of him. Beau's one regret was never being able to tell Charlie how much he regretted the things he said.

Bonnie Black

Bonnie Black is Charlie's best friend in Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, and a disabled Quileute elder. Like with Billy, Charlie had always been close to Bonnie for a long time. Both of them enjoy watching baseball and fishing. Because of this relationship, Bonnie kindly warned Beau about being involved with the Cullens.

With Charlie reeling from the pain of losing his son, Beau asks Bonnie to take care of him in his stead.

Film portrayal

Billy Burke

Billy Burke was given the role of Charlie Swan in Twilight. He then reprised his role for the rest of the series.

He is often given most of the jokes in the first three films, and has been acclaimed as the saga's most lovable character.

Billy also starred in a new hit television program called Revolution, along with J.D. Pardo, who portrays Nahuel in Breaking Dawn - Part 2, before it was cancelled after two seasons.


External links