Zaphod Beeblebrox

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Zaphod Beeblebrox is a fictional character in the various versions of the humorous science fiction story The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams who based him on his Cambridge contemporary, Johnny Simpson.[1]

He is from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and is a "semi-half-cousin" of Ford Prefect, with whom he "shares three of the same mothers". Because of "an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine", his direct ancestors from his father are also his direct descendants (see Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth).



This character is described across all versions as having two heads and three arms, though explanations of how he came to receive the extra appendages differed between versions. The original radio version never explained the second head, but did explain that Zaphod "grew" the third arm in the six months between meeting the character of Trillian on Earth, and the start of the series. The third radio series implies that he had a third arm whilst growing up — the fifth has him offer to Trillian that "I'd grow my third arm back for you, baby", when they first meet. In the novel, he said the third arm was "recently [...] fitted just beneath his right one to help improve his ski-boxing." According to the original Hitchhiker's radio series script book, an ad libbed comment by Mark Wing-Davey in the eighth radio episode ("Put it there, and there, and there, and there! Whoa!") would suggest that Zaphod had grown a fourth arm. In the television series, Ford Prefect simply remarks to Zaphod that "the extra arm suits you." Eoin Colfer wrote and published an official 6th book for the Hitchhiker's series, in which it is implied Zaphod's third arm may have originally been grown so that he would have one hand for each of Eccentrica Galumbits' breasts.

In the Infocom game version of the story and TV adaptation, Zaphod blends in on Earth by hiding his second head in a covered bird cage (an alternate Trillian also refers to this in Mostly Harmless). In the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the ghost of Zaphod's great-grandfather also has two heads. This and other information presented in the narrative prose seem to indicate that having two heads is a common—possibly even universal—trait of Zaphod's species. For the 2005 movie, it's hinted that Zaphod "created" the second head himself when shutting off the parts of his mind that contain portions of his personality that "are not presidential," but he wanted to keep these traits, so he hid his second head under his neck and wears a large collar or scarf to keep it hidden. As such, the movie is also the only version that explains the second head. In this filmed version, the second head appears underneath the first, roughly between his chin and the top of his chest, popping up when the first head is flipped backwards. The third arm is hidden underneath Zaphod's clothing, appears to be controlled by the second head, and only appears a few times, such as for tormenting Arthur Dent, piloting the spaceship Heart of Gold, or preparing a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. In "And Another Thing...", Colfer's addition to the book series, a photo is mentioned which shows Zaphod with the second head replaced by that of a woman. It is implied that Zaphod may have surgically attached this woman's head to himself, before realising he liked the idea of a second head better than he liked her, and swapping her for a reproduction of his original head.

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