Sadness was the price to see it end. It's been two years since they told me that.
- —Marlene in the prologue to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Marlene is a bright and intelligent child who is more mature than most children her age.
As a four-year old girl in Final Fantasy VII, Marlene has shoulder-length brown hair cut in a bob with a straight fringe, and wears a pink dress with a yellow bow on the front, and brown boots with white socks. In Advent Children, six-year old Marlene wears her hair in a plait at the back of her head, tied with a pink ribbon, though she has kept the fringe, and her outfit consists of a white turtleneck and knee-length skirt of the same color, patterned with stripes.
Marlene is quiet and shy the first time the player meets her, but she takes a liking to Aeris, calling her "Flower Lady". Oddly, despite her age, she seems to be trusted behind a bar. As an older girl in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, she has become caring and thoughtful, showing incredible maturity for her tender years. She dearly loves her father and wishes he were around more, a feeling he reciprocates.
Marlene is the daughter of Barret's friends Dyne and Eleanor. Barret had taken Marlene in as his own daughter after his friend Dyne, his hometown Corel, and loved ones were destroyed by Shinra troops. As Marlene was less than a year old when her town was burned to the ground and her mother was killed, she has no memory of her biological parents.
In the game's storyline Marlene is four years old. She takes it upon herself to care for Tifa Lockhart's 7th Heaven bar when Tifa joins Cloud Strife and Barret on an AVALANCHE mission. Later, Shinra destroys Sector 7 and Aeris Gainsborough takes Marlene to safety while the AVALANCHE fights to defend the pillar that supports the plate above. Shinra follow her and Aeris gives herself to the Turks in exchange for Marlene's safety. During this time, Aeris asked Marlene questions regarding Cloud's personality, suggesting she had developed a crush on him.
Marlene is then left with Elmyra, Aeris's adoptive mother, and is later held hostage by the Shinra spy Cait Sith to force Cloud to cooperate with him on their journey to the Temple of the Ancients. She later receives the news of Aeris's death at Sephiroth's hands by Reeve. Marlene appears one last time at the end of the game, sensing Aeris's presence just before the Lifestream emerges to aid in the conflict between Holy and Meteor.
How are you supposed to look after your family if you can't even look after yourself?
- —Marlene impersonating Barret to Cloud
Marlene appears in the CG film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children as a major character, now six years old. Unlike many of the other children in the film, she is unaffected by Geostigma. It can be noticed that in the film she is wearing her hair similar to the way Aerith wore hers.
Her role in the film is fairly large. Marlene recounts the story of Sephiroth and the events of Final Fantasy VII to the viewer at the beginning of the film. She is close to Denzel, caring for him when he is afflicted by Geostigma. She goes with Tifa to Aerith's church to look for Cloud, and is subsequently abducted by Loz and taken, with the other children, to the Forgotten Capital. There, she witnesses Kadaj's manipulation of the Geostigmatic children, including Denzel, and is forced to watch as Cloud takes on Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo. She manages to escape from her abductors to Cloud and Vincent. By the end, she is safely back in Edge with Denzel. In the last scene she is seen holding Barret's hand, symbolizing that their bond is still strong.
In Advent Children Complete, Marlene's role is expanded upon. After Loz takes her to the Forgotten Capital, she attempts to escape but Kadaj takes down a tree and blocks her off. When Cloud takes her back to 7th Heaven, they talk about why he left, which according to her, was either because he failed to find a cure for Denzel's Geostigma, or because he got the stigma as well. After Cloud replies that he could not care for himself let alone anyone else, Marlene impersonates Barret and tells Cloud not to give up. She also travels with Denzel and the other children of Edge after Aerith calls him on the bar upper floor's phone telling everyone to go to her church and wait for Cloud.
Creation and developmentEdit
Marlene was originally supposed to be Barret's biological daughter and not Dyne's and Barret would have saved her from the Corel disaster. Concept art also exists for "Marlene's friends", which are nonetheless never seen in the final game.
In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the idea to begin the film with an opening narration of Marlene describing the events of the game grew out of a more generic idea of a child describing events they were too young to fully understand. Marlene's bangs were difficult to animate due to them being so fine and brushing over her eyebrows to create unwanted shadows, and motion capture work was found to be difficult as young children were hard to direct.
Tetsuya Nomura has said of Marlene that due to her time with Tifa, she has been taken under her wing and is a "mini-Tifa" in personality, but also shares a physical similarity to Aerith and could sense her presence near the climax of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, giving her aspects of both women in her character.
Marlene appears in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game with an Earth-elemental card. She's also depicted on one of Barret's cards.
Marlene comes from German (there pronounced [/maɐ̯ˈleːnə/]), where it was originally coined as a portmanteau of Maria and Magdalene, and essentially hearkens to Mary Magdalene. In English, Marlene is also associated by folk etymology as a variation of the name Marilyn.
Wallace is a Scottish surname derived from the Anglo-Norman French waleis, which is in turn derived from a cognate of the Old English wylisc meaning "foreigner" or "Welshman".