Maxwell "Max" Tennyson, or Grandpa Max as his grandchildren call him, is the paternal grandfather of cousins Ben Tennyson and Gwen Tennyson. He is in his 60's, rather overweight and a bit slow at times, but
with a keen sense for adventure and a strange taste in food -- the only topic on which Ben and Gwen never argue. Max ends up taking the kids on an interesting Summer Vacation Roadtrip across the United States and back.

As soon as school lets out, Ben looks forward to going on a traditional summer road trip with Max. Much to Ben's annoyance, Ben discovers that his cousin Gwen is joining them as well. Max travels in a motorhome 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 potrayed 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 sister, Vera Tennyson is introduced; it was never mentioned who was the oldest, and 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 younger 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.

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 watertower" and 'scared the fear' right out of him.


as an adult

In They Lurk Below, it was shown that Max had a childhood friend was called Donovan Grand Smith, 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 oppotunity which he turned down. Max later became a Plumber(Donovan thought Max was an actual plumber), 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 aquired from his adventures to other planets during his career
as a Plumber, or if its root can be found in his childhood.

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
Ultra max

ultra grandpa

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 Force Edit

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 alien force

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 "DeVoid". 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.

In Above and Beyond, it is revealed by Pierce that Max is now the earth's Magister (an equivalent to 'Colonel', likely assigned as earth's Magister after the Highbreed conflict, during which the former Magister Lambrid was

max sacrifices his life

killed). In the episode, Max set up a scenario in which Ben was to go on a rampage onboard an orbiting Plumbers' spacestation. He then calls the Plumbers' Helpers to come and save him. They manage to defeat Ben, but the battle had caused the spacestation to fall out of orbit towards the city of London. The Plumbers' Helpers decide to activate the station's self-destruct, which would mean sacrificing their lives in the process. However, the spacestation doesn't explode. Instead, Max appears along with Ben, who reveals to the Plumbers' Helpers that the spacestation is a Plumber Training Facility and that Ben's "rampage" was set up to test them. Max also states that by putting "the safety of others ahead of their own lives", the Helpers will be admitted to Plumbers' Academy.

In the series finale, The Final Battle, Max takes part in the fight against Vilgax. When Kevin returns to his human form, Max states that the Omnitrix (now destroyed) kept him in his mutated form. Max aids Gwen in trying to stop the ship from crashing into Bellwood. After Ben escapes from Vilgax, he, Gwen, and Kevin share a group hug with Max.

Ben 10: Ultimate AlienEdit

Max has grown his full potential in him and more wisely than any other series. Since Alien Force he's been trying to be protective around Ben and Gwen especially Kevin. And now he's been more protective around Ben. Obviously because Ben has the Ultimatrix, the new version Azmuth created. He makes his first appearence in

max in magister suit

the episode Hit 'Em Where They Live, it is revealed that Max has been protecting Ben's parents from being attacked by Ben's old enemies(due to Ben's secret being revealed to the world). However he is injured while protect his daughter-in-law, Sandra Tennyson from Sevenseven and is forced to inform Ben and his team of the problem.

He appeared again in Ultimate Aggregor and Map of Infinity, where he helps Ben, Gwen and Kevin stop Aggregor. However, in the beginning of Map of Infinity, Aggregor's electrical shock damaged his entire nervous system, and must be replaced. Azmuth brings him along side with Ben and his team to Galvan Mark II, where Max is placed in a tube that would repair his nervous system after a few weeks.


  • 4 inch Alien Collection Max Tennyson(Alien Force)

Possible Future Edit

By the age of 80, Max has further modified his RV, grown a beard, and replaced one of his arms with a

ken 10 future


ben 10000 future

cybernetic prosthetic. Further in the future(now 92), he has lost much of his weight due to his age and a steady diet of futuristic health food, but this is non-canon.

Ben 10: Alien SwarmEdit

In the movie Ben 10: Alien Swarm, Max is the leader of Earth's Plumbers. When Elena Validus, seeks Ben's help in find her father Victor Validus, Max tells Ben that Plumber regulations forbid them from assocatiating with Elena or her father because Victor Validus was expelled from the Plumbers after he was caught stealing alien technology. He also states before Validus' betrayal that he had planned to turn leadership over to him.

Gwen and Kevin later discover a video of Validus being interogated by Max. They discover that Max mistakenly believed that Validus was stealing the tech, when in reality he was just studying the alien tech, which Validus

in alien swarm

believe to be an alien race called the Hive.

Ben and Elena eventually convince Max that Validus was right about the alien chips. While studying the alien chips, one escapes and infects Max. Max becomes a slave to the Hive, but is freed after Ben destroy the Hive Queen(who had infected Validus). He later apologizes to Victor for not trusting him and allows Victor rejoin the Plumbers, along with his daughter, Elena. He also tries to hand leadership of the Earth's Plumbers to Ben, but tells him he is not ready to take his place. He is last seen wondering where Hive/zombie-self did with his motorcycle.

Love interestsEdit


Xylene is an Uxorite from the planet Ringa Morr. She, like her other species has the incredible power and ability of telepathy and 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.

Verdona TennysonEdit

Although she was stated dead in Ben 10: Race Against Time, Verdona Tennyson is the grandmother of Ben, Gwen and Ken Tennyson, she is an Anodite. Verdona left Anodine in an unspecified time long before the series even began to go to Earth for unknown reasons. She landed in St. Louis 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.


  • He had the same shirt in all the episodes of Ben 10 at years of 10, 60, 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).
  • As stated by Azmuth in the series finale of Ben 10: Alien Force, Max is widely considered the greatest plumber in the Milky Way galaxy.
  • In Ken 10, he looks a lot thinner then he did in all of the other episode. This is because of futuristic healthy 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. Also, in the non-canon episode, Gwen 10, when Heatblast was Ben and Gwen's first transformation, Max's first transformation was Upgrade.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Swarm, the kids call him "Max" instead of "Grandpa Max" or just "Grandpa." It is unknown where or why this change occurred. It is most likely an error in script.