- The Spy Kids franchise is centered on the Cortez family, with multiple generations of spies taking on the family legacy of espionage.
- Juni Cortez, the youngest member of the family, goes from a weak kid to a world-saving protector throughout the Spy Kids movies.
- Carmen Cortez, the responsible sibling, starts off watching over by her brother, Juni, but ends up being rescued by him in later films.
The Spy Kids franchise follows several generations of one family, and the movies may raise questions about how the characters are connected to one another. Set in a world full of espionage, Spy Kids sees siblings Juni and Carmen taking on their family legacy of being spies. Despite their destiny being hidden from them for most of their childhood, Juni and Carmen eventually take on the career path that their entire extended family — parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents — has taken part in throughout their lives.
At the start of the first Spy Kids movie, Juni and Carmen are living quite normal lives with an above average amount of sibling rivalry. After their mother and father are taken captive, the two discover their parents’ secret lives and head out on their own mission to find them. With the help of their family, they find their parents and join the OSS, the franchise’s spy agency. This pattern of family participation continues throughout every film. Each one introduces a new member to grow the complicated Cortex family tree. Spanning generations, there’s a lot to know about the Spy Kids franchise and the family it revolves around.
One of the original members of the Cortez family in the Spy Kid movies, Juni is the youngest member of the family from the first few films and is played by Daryl Sabara. He is Carmen’s younger brother and the son of Ingrid and Gregorio. Juni has a lot of character development throughout Spy Kids, going from a kid everyone believes to be weak to a protector who saves the world on multiple occasions. He even comes back during the fourth film to help the next generation of Spy Kids despite being in retirement.
Carmen Cortez is the older sister of Juni and daughter of Ingrid and Gregorio in Spy Kids. Played by Alexa Pena-Vega, she’s considered the responsible sibling and makes much more collected decisions. She’s often charged with watching her younger brother, but as the films go on, Juni ends up rescuing her from several situations. Carmen also appears in the fourth Spy Kids movie, but her role is much larger. She’s a leading member of the OSS and helps train new recruits. Neither original Spy Kid returns in the Netflix reboot.
Gregorio is the father of Juni and Carmen Cortez and is married to Ingrid. At the beginning of the Spy Kids franchise, he is a partially retired spy. He hides his career from his children for most of their childhood before he gets kidnapped in the first film. His brother, Machete, also makes an appearance to help rescue him. Their sister, Marissa, shows up in the franchise as well. Gregorio appears in the first two Spy Kids sequels, though he isn’t in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World.
Married to Gregorio, Ingrid is the mother of Juni and Carmen. She is also a retired spy, and much like her husband, she keeps this life a secret from her children. She’s kidnapped alongside Gregorio in the first Spy Kids movie, which gives her kids the motivation to find them. Ingrid’s character appears in subsequent Spy Kids films as a supporting role. She’s seen back at the OSS, working to help train new recruits. In the third film, she helps her family defeat the villains summoned to the real world. Unlike her children, Ingrid doesn’t return in the fourth Spy Kids movie.
Isador “Machete” Cortez
Isador — more casually known Machete — is Gregorio and Marissa’s oldest sibling in the Spy Kids franchise. He is also an uncle to Juni and Carmen. He’s a gruff character on the exterior, but all of his interactions with his family are quite sweet in nature. While Machete only has a major role in the first Spy Kids movie, he does have cameos in the following installments. He helps his niece and nephew rescue his brother, and they mend their relationship because of it. Although he appears in the four main movies in the franchise, Danny Trejo’s Machete is not in Spy Kids: Armageddon.
Marissa Cortez Wilson
Marissa Wilson only appears in the Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. She’s never really mentioned in the original trilogy, but her relation is confirmed by the children in the most recent movie. She is the youngest sibling of Gregorio and Isadora and the aunt of Juni and Carmen. Her main appearance in the franchise is after her retirement. She shows up while pregnant to help defeat The Timekeeper — the movie’s villain — because of a long history between them. She desperately wants to keep her step-children and the child she’s carrying safe.
Valentin Avellan is Ingrid’s father, making him Juni and Carmen’s grandfather. He was an OSS agent in the prime of his life, but he is retired by the time he appears in the Spy Kids movies. Valentin plays a role in both the second and third Spy Kids movies, tracking them down with a necklace and traveling with them into a video game. Played by Ricardo Montalbán, Valentin’s role is prominent in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, as he attempts to make peace with the Toymaker, the movie’s big bad.
Helga is Ingrid’s mother and Juni and Carmen’s grandmother. Her character is a fierce protector and caretaker, always wanting to make sure her family is as safe as possible. She’s along for the ride in Spy Kids 2, when she and Valentin go looking for their grandkids in a submarine. She also appears in the third film to help her family fight the Toymaker. She shows up to protect her grandchildren but also her husband who is in the direct line of fire during this battle in Spy Kids 3.
Felix Gumm isn’t technically a part of the Cortez family tree, but he’s an unofficial uncle to Juni and Carmen in the Spy Kids franchise. In fact, he pretends to be their real uncle in the first Spy Kids movie before the kids discover that their parents — and Felix — are part of the OSS. Felix reappears in Spy Kids 2, and he has a cameo in Spy Kids 3.