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 Wallace is a non-playable character in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII Remake who also appears in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, where she narrates the beginning. She is the adopted daughter of Barret Wallace. In the remake, she is friends with an older girl called Betty who also lives in the Sector 7 Slums.
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 tied with a pink ribbon and her outfit consists of a white turtleneck and knee-length skirt of the same color, patterned with stripes.
Marlene is bright and intelligent and more mature than most children her age. She's quiet and shy at first, but takes a liking to Aerith, calling her "Flower Lady". Despite her age, Marlene is trusted behind a bar. She is caring and thoughtful and dearly loves her father, wishing he was 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 Dyne, his hometown Corel, and loved ones were destroyed by Shinra Electric Power Company troops. As Marlene was less than a year old when the town was burned and her mother was killed, she has no memory of her biological parents.
Life in Midgar
The four-year-old Marlene takes it upon herself to care for Tifa Lockhart's 7th Heaven bar when Tifa joins Cloud Strife and Barret on an Avalanche mission. When Shinra destroys Sector 7, Aerith Gainsborough—whom Cloud had befriended in the slums—takes Marlene to safety while the Avalanche defends the pillar that supports the plate above. Shinra follows her and Aerith gives herself to the Turks in exchange for Marlene's safety. During this time, Aerith asked Marlene questions regarding Cloud's personality, suggesting she had developed a crush on him.
Marlene is left with Elmyra, Aerith's adoptive mother, where Cloud, Tifa, and Barret find her on their quest to save Aerith from Shinra. Though Elmyra chastises Barret for leaving Marlene alone so much, she agrees to take care of the girl and to flee town. Marlene is later taken hostage by the Shinra spy Cait Sith to force Cloud to cooperate with him on their journey to the Temple of the Ancients. She receives the news of Aerith's death at Sephiroth's hands by Reeve Tuesti (Cait Sith's handler). At what point Marlene is released is unknown, but when Midgar is evacuated and the Meteor is approaching, she witnesses the events from the watchtower of Kalm, a town near Midgar. She senses Aerith'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
During Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the six-year-old Marlene is unaffected by Geostigma, unlike many other children living in Edge, the town built on the outskirts of the ruined Midgar. She has adopted Aerith's hairstyle. She is close to Denzel, a boy taken in by Cloud and Tifa, and the four used to live in Tifa's new bar in Edge until Cloud left without saying a word. Denzel suffers from Geostigma and Marlene cares for him. She goes with Tifa to Aerith's church to look for Cloud, but ends up abducted by Loz. Marlene was taken with other abducted children to the Forgotten City where she witnesses Kadaj's manipulation of the Geostigmatic children, including Denzel. When Cloud comes to the children's rescue, Marlene escapes from her abductors to Cloud and Vincent, Cloud's old comrade who is helping him. She returns safely in Edge with Denzel and when everyone congregates in Aerith's church, she holds Barret's hand.
In Advent Children Complete, Marlene's role is expanded upon. After Loz takes her to the Forgotten City, 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 claims he cannot care for himself let alone anyone else, Marlene impersonates Barret and tells Cloud not to give up. She also runs alongside 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.
Marlene is Barret's four-year-old daughter who lives with him in Seventh Heaven. She is oblivious to the existence of Avalanche, believing that Barret hands out flyers as a member of the neighborhood watch. Marlene and Tifa wait at the Seventh Heaven bar for Barret, Jessie, Wedge, Biggs and Cloud to return from the Mako Reactor 1 bombing mission, which has been all over the news. Cloud is a stranger to the group, a mercenary who had only recently been hired at Tifa's behest. When the group arrives Barret hurries to her and they have a joyous reunion, but Marlene is scared of Cloud, and says that dad had told her not to talk to strangers.
When the Whispers attack the bar later, Barret and the others defend it while Marlene is hiding inside. Barret, Tifa and Cloud head to the next Avalanche mission afterward while Wedge is tasked with looking after Marlene and the injured Jessie. Barret and Tifa return from the mission without Cloud, and Tifa heads out alone for an espionage mission. When Shinra attacks the pillar that supports the sector above the slums Barret and the others rush out to defend it, leaving Marlene alone at the bar.
Tifa has reunited with Cloud and a friend they made at the slums, Aerith, and rush back to Sector 7 through the Train Graveyard, during which Tifa recalls Marlene talk about children being carried away by a black wind if they come to the graveyard. Tifa thinks about Marlene and her safety, and after they get to the pillar under attack by Shinra, she asks Aerith to go get Marlene to safety, but she already knew what she was going to ask.
A Shinra helicopter crashes into the middle of the slums, setting them ablaze, and Aerith must make her way through the panicked crowds and blazing wreckage to the bar where she finds Marlene hiding behind the counter. Aerith comforts Marlene and the two have an instant connection. As Aerith takes Marlene's hand to lead her out, they are stopped by Tseng of the Turks who has come to kidnap Aerith. She promises to go with him in exchange for Marlene's safety, and Marlene is taken to Elmyra Gainsborough's house in the Sector 5 slums where Barret, Tifa and Cloud later find her. Marlene is asleep upstairs where a relieved Barret looks over her.
Barret, Cloud and Tifa return to the Sector 7 ruins and find Wedge alive, bringing him back to the house as well. They get permission from Elmyra, Aerith's adoptive mother, to go rescue Aerith from the Shinra Building, and though Marlene is sad that Barret is leaving again, she wants Aerith freed from Shinra. Barret says that his motivation to save the planet is for her sake.
Barret and friends get into the Shinra Building, rescue Aerith, and escape via the expressway to the outskirts of Midgar where they end up defeating the Whispers that have since then been guiding their destiny. Now knowing that the true threat to the planet is Sephiroth, Cloud leads the group to hunt him down. Barret looks back to Midgar while Marlene looks out the window, thinking of him, and Barret promises that he will return to her.
Marlene appears in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game with an Earth-elemental card. She's also depicted on one of Barret's cards.
Behind the scenes
Marlene was supposed to be Barret's biological daughter rather than Dyne's and Barret would have saved her from the Corel disaster. Concept art also exists for "Marlene's friends" who are not included 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.
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".