Maxwell "Max" Tennyson aka Grandpa Max as his grandchildren call him, is the paternal grandfather of Ben, Gwen, Kenny and Sunny and father of Carl Tennyson and Frank Tennyson. He is in his late 50's to early 60's to mid 60's (64-65 in Alien Force and 65-66 in Ultimate Alien), rather overweight and a bit slow at times, but with a keen sense for adventure and a strange taste in food. Max ends up taking the kids on a Summer Vacation Roadtrip across the United States. Much to Ben's annoyance, Ben discovers that Gwen is joining them. Max travels in a motor home nicknamed the Rust Bucket, which he has modified with advanced technology. The Rust Bucket is a replica of a GMC Classic Motor home.

In the live-action films, Max Tennyson is portrayed by veteran actor Lee Majors in Ben 10: Race Against Time, and by Barry Corbin in Ben 10: Alien Swarm.

Backstory Edit

Not many details are given on Max Tennyson's childhood and background: In Permanent Retirement, Max's older sister, Vera Tennyson is introduced; she is seen as having her own weird taste in food, and is hinted as having knowledge that aliens are real. In Big Fat Alien Wedding, Max's older brother, Gordon Tennyson is introduced; in the events of the episode Gordon is also a Plumber, still on active duty, as is his wife, Betty Jean Tennyson, and their son, Joel Tennyson. A ten-year old version of Max was seen in the episode Don't Drink the Water.

In Under Wraps, Max mentions having spent his childhood summers on his Uncle Jedediah's farm, where he learned about the merits of hard work.

In Last Laugh, a 'not-quite-all-there' Max, under the effects of Zombozo's happiness-draining, mentions having been afraid of heights as a kid and then, when "enough was enough", Max "climbed up to the top of the water tower" and 'scared the fear' right out of him.

In They Lurk Below, it was shown that Max had a childhood friend was called Donovan Grandsmith, who sums Max up as; "growing up he always was the worrywort...never the risk-taker", like himself. 30-years earlier, Donovan and Max had both been broke when Donovan offered Max a business opportunity which he turned down. Max later became a Plumber (Donovan thought Max was a plumber that works with plumbing), establishing that Max's career as a Plumber lasted for about 28 years before he retired (Max mentioned that after 28-years on the job, he'd never figured out who was behind the Bermuda Triangle).

In the episode The Return, it was revealed that Max had been an astronaut and would have been the first man on the moon, but left the program before the Apollo Moon mission. In his own words, Max said he just 'took his step for mankind in other ways'. It is later revealed that he did in fact go into space, just not with NASA.

It is unknown if Max's strange taste in food was acquired from his adventures to other planets during his career as a Plumber, or if its root can be found in his childhood.

It was revealed in Moonstruck that Max met Verdona when she was held captive by a Synthroid (a species of robotic aliens) that wants to use her Anodite powers as fuel for their planet. Max saved Vendona who went on as his wife.

Ben 10Edit

Grandpa Max is a Plumber, who takes his grandchildren Ben and Gwen on a cross-country trip, during which Ben discovers an alien watch, the Omnitrix. His grandson uses the watch to become the superhero "Ben 10". Max helps his grandchild fight bad guys and aliens, he also teaches Ben to use the watch responsibly.

During their adventures, Gwen and Ben question Max's uncanny knowledge and the fact he doesn't seem to be bothered by all the weirdness they encounter. It is eventually revealed that Max and the alien warlord Vilgax are old enemies.

In the episode Truth, Max reveals he is part of inter-galactic police force known as The Plumbers and that he had fought and defeat Vilgax years before. During the episode he meets his old partner Phil. He discovers Phil stole the Null Void Projector, using it to make easy money, by freeing the aliens who the Plumbers had already captured, then fighting and catching them for profit.

In the episode Perfect Day, Max has received a wedgie from Cash and JT.

In the episode The Visitor, it is revealed the Omnitrix was originally sent to Max by the alien Xylene (who was Max's old flame) and accidentally ended up in the possession of his grandson, Ben.

Ben 10: Alien ForceEdit

In Ben 10: Alien Force, Max looks mostly the same, save for more wrinkles and a darker red shirt with whiter hair. In the episode Ben 10 Returns, he leaves a transmission for Ben stating that he is investigating renewed alien activity on Earth and claims that he has the Omnitrix. An image of a DNAlien flickers at the end of the transmission. It is conceivable from this, that Max was wearing an ID-Mask and that the DNAlien in the teaser was actually Max (the voice of the DNAlien is confirmed as Paul Eiding), implicating himself as a mole to distract the Highbreed from Ben (whom, with the Omnitrix, poses a greater threat). The message was probably in code, telling Ben to put on the Omnitrix once more. An earlier theory suggested that the hologram might have been that of a DNAlien who wanted to keep Ben out of their business, but instead made a big mistake.

In the episode Max Out, Max destroys a Xenocyte hatchery by detonating a Null Void Projector, which- after removing its focusing lens- makes a "pretty good imitation of a hand grenade" and produces an explosion that covers over half a mile wide. Max appeared to have been killed in the blast, but was instead sent to the Null Void (episode: Voided), where he, calling himself "The Wrench", fought Dr. Animo, who was calling himself "D'Void". He has since appeared in the two-part episode War of the Worlds to aid Ben in his battle with the Highbreed along with the "Plumber Helpers". At the end he takes on the Plumber kids who fought with Ben as his apprentices. He and the Plumber Kids also appear in the two part episode Vengeance of Vilgax.

In the episode If All Else Fails, it is revealed that the Highbreed had infected him with a dormant seed which was part of a failsafe plan of the Highbreed. It is mistakenly activated by a Highbreed Officer, who was unaware that the Highbreed has called-off the war. Max is freed from the seeds' control by Ben, Gwen and Kevin. Also during the episode, he mentions he knew Kevin's father, Devin Levin.

Hanging TenEdit

In Hanging Ten, we learn that Max was a close friend of James Ridgemount, even have been responsible for James and Gloria first meeting. This, coupled with the Forever Knights scoping out for ben, is enough insenitive to have Max ask Ridgemount to hire Ben as a bellhop at Surfers Paradise. Although, Mr. Ridgemount in unaware of Ben and Max's "Plumber" job.

Max appears in Chapter 5, coming to check on Ben, having heared of his Alien rescue's, and to catch up with James and Gloria. Promptly blowing up both the kitchen and Lo's mind, the first one in testing his new "Tennyson Tex-Mex Meltdown Chili." And opening Lo's eyes to the nasty behavior of her so called "BFF" Heidi, leading to her to discover Heidi was no longer her friend, now that she didn't have all her money and was working in the DR. Making her more appreciative of Emma and Fin, who are her own friends, and closer to Ben who comforts her afterwards.

It's learned that Grandpa Max is actually THE Madcap, who discovered the Office and invented the Zero-G, the Ultimate Surfing technique. Which incur's Reef and Fin to bug Ben constantly to get Max to teach them, the Zero-G.

Hanging Ten: It Came From Room 1313Edit

Love interestsEdit

Verdona TennysonEdit

Although she was stated dead in Ben 10: Race Against Time (probably because Ben and Gwen weren't ready to know that their grandmother is an alien), Verdona is the paternal grandmother of Ben, Gwen and Ken Tennyson. She is an Anodite, a free-spirited alien race from the distant planet Anodyne. Verdona left her home world in an unspecified time long before the original series even began to go to Earth for unknown reasons. She landed in St. Louis, Missouri where she met and fell deeply in love with Max Tennyson and the two courted each other and married, during this time she hid her Anodite heritage very well and blended in with society. They had bore children, Carl, Frank, and someone who must of had the spark and became full Anodite. She then returned to Anodyne to reconnect with her Anodite background, but later returned to Earth to see if her grandchildren had inherited her powers and abilities. Only years later she realized that her granddaughter, Gwen had inherited her Anodite abilities. She loved Max for his adventurous and rebellious nature, stating it was similar to Kevin. She also stated he had a "spark" all his own, however, this could simply be a reference to his personality and charm that attracted Verdona.


Xylene is an Uxorite from the planet Ringa Morr. She has the incredible power of telekinesis. During Xylene's early years she met Max Tennyson, who at the time was a Plumber. She wanted Max to go back to Ringa Morr with her, but Max denied it.


  • He also the only main character to age during the actual span of any series (e.g goes from 64 to 65 in Alien Force) due to his birthday being in the summer.
  • He's the only character to have a near full description of his life ranging from Childhood, to Teen years, to adult life, and to his senior years.
  • As of Moonstruck, Max was born in the Summer of 1945 because his birthday took place during the Summer (Ben 10,000) and John F Kennedy was president during the time Max was 17 (atleased 1962). More evidence can be found on the last post of here.
  • Max had the same shirt in all the episodes of Ben 10 at years of 10,17, 59, 60, 64, 65, 66, 80, and 92.
  • His son, Carl, appears to resent Max's work as a Plumber because it kept him away from home. However he seems to have come accept and be proud of his father's heroism (thanks to Ben).
  • According to Azmuth, Max is widely considered the greatest plumber in the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • In Ken 10, Max looks a lot thinner then he did in all of the other episode. This is because of futuristic health food as stated in this episode during Ben 10 week.
  • According to Xylene and Azmuth, Max was supposed to get the Omnitrix, but when Ben found it, his DNA was so close to Max that it attached to his wrist.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Swarm, the kids call him "Max" instead of "Grandpa Max" or just "Grandpa." It is most likely an error in the script.
  • Max seems to have a knack with enamoring alien women; Xylene and Verdona, are both a testament to this.
  • Max has a pair of blue pajamas with lightning symbols on it.
  • Grandpa Max is the only main character, who's primary voice actor is the same is in all three series.
  • In Ben 10: Race Against Time, Max tells Ben the reason he never told him and his family about his work because he never wanted that life for him, but his bad plan failed and he had to accept Ben and Gwen as heroes.
  • Max is the oldest human Plumber to be seen to far.
  • Max has the same voice actor as Colnel Campbell, a character in the Metal Gear Solid franchise.