Justin Vincenzo Pepe Russo is a fictional character on the Disney Channel sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place, portrayed by David Henrie. He is typically the erudite and mature older brother who gets straight "A"s. He often tries to stop his younger sister Alex's crazy schemes (that often involve magic) from becoming complete disasters, and sometimes unwittingly gets involved in these schemes because of Alex's sneaky conniving manipulation tactics that are all in good fun. Justin is often the subject of sarcastic remarks made by Alex, due to his intelligence, his love of science fiction and other quirks, and is a frequent victim of Alex's pranks.
David Henrie is one of only two cast members to have appeared in all episodes of the series to date; the only other cast member to have appeared in all episodes that have aired so far is Selena Gomez, who portrays Alex Russo.
Justin Russo like his brother and sister, is part-Hispanic, part-Italian (in real life, David Henrie is exclusively of Italian heritage). He is sometimes seen as very close to his mother. One time when he complained about not having a friend that was a girl and still just a friend, Alex (Selena Gomez) replied "Oh relax, you still have Mom!" and in some episodes he is overprotected by Theresa, his mom (Maria Canals Barrera).
Justin is, out of the three, the most responsible He is very critical and highly intelligent, and is, in many respects, the polar opposite of the rebellious and mischievous Alex. He shows awareness of being the most advanced wizard student, and often acts modest because of it, but flaunts it to Alex's face in a show of good older brother humor, and quite a bit of good-matured cockiness towards her. He also desperately tries to look cool, especially in front of girls, but it almost always comically ends up with the girl he's interested in actually liking things he thought would have made them think of him as a nerd, and at school he is known as everybody's friend, including the teachers and his parents. He likes opera, drinks tea, thin crust pizza, taking baths with only candles lit, but loves comics and action figures, or as Alex calls it, his "Doll collection." Justin can also be quite defensive over his hobbies. He is allergic to cinnamon and nuts, he also claims to be allergic to sadness, which is why he was crying once.
Despite his intelligence, Justin has shown to have less common sense and deceptive abilities than Alex. For example, in "Three Monsters", he reports the presence of Juliet Van Heusen and her parents (a family of vampires) to the Monster Hunter Council and failed to realize his mistake, even after Alex pointed it out to him, until Juliet visited and set off his monster detector.
Justin truly cares about his siblings. This is seen when he risks losing his own powers just to save Alex's in season one's "Report Card". He hates breaking rules and only on one occasion has he used magic without permission, with Alex convincing him. One other peculiar case was with when he cast a spell on Frankie, a creature he created to guard his room from Alex yet still having her manage to slip through his defenses by natural cunning, to be Alex's best friend to get back at her for managing to shut it down, and then again for Frankie to also like cheer-leading and force Alex to join, which succeeds. Though without permission, it seems that his parents didn't mind, especially when Alex finally got an extracurricular (cheerleading) in the end. He sometimes uses his magic for more simplistic things, such as reading books in the dark.
Justin's urge for efficiency also has him over-complicating some special tasks he has, to which he tends to overlook important details that Alex always has to point out to him, unconsciously showing him her hidden intelligence and keen observance with her hidden sense of responsibility that only came up when Justin himself slipped up under all that reckless behavior that most failed to see when she used it as cunning and ways of manipulation, sometimes making him feel insecure, an explanation given in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. Although he had dated a pretty goth girl named Miranda (Lucy Hale) during the first season, this appears to have ended as he tries to impress other girls later in the series. In "Smarty Pants", it is revealed that Justin has a blog, which in the show is alluded to as a beloved outlet for informing the world of events that he considers important in his life.
Alex's best friend Harper (Jennifer Stone) has a huge (and often obsessive) crush on him, gets very nervous around him, and often mentions doing odd things like watching him sleep. Although in one episode, Harper and Justin share a love of silent movies, and they bond over it, but then Alex ruins it out of jealousy as she wanted her best friend back, but ultimately tries to fix it in the end to only end with more disaster, until Harper and Justin get revenge on her by being chased around by her in a silent movie of their own through magic, making her feel at peace in the end by believing that made up for everything by their laughter and cheer caused by the silent movie they were in, telling them that since it was finally over, she would take a nap after proclaiming her back hurt. In season one's "The Supernatural", he used magic to impress Kari Landsdorf (Chelsea Staub), a pretty, yet not-very-bright girl—who only dated baseball players and apparently also only liked movies about cats—by making himself look like a gifted baseball player, a plan which backfired when Jerry discovered this (Justin was manipulated by Alex to do the spell in order to make the baseball team win in order to make it seem that she is the good luck charm for her then-crush Riley) and again after Justin and Alex both used the "Tomnoonan kenesis" spell (a spell used to magically move objects) on the baseball. In the end, despite Justin and Jerry's attempts, magical or not, Alex still got her way in the end like the cunning and naturally gifted wizard she was (despite how reckless and lacking in theory-wise she was at magic, which Justin is, making them somewhat equal as they each lacked a thing or two the other had). Jerry and Justin got their way in the end by not letting her go with Riley as his date, and this is one of the very few episodes Justin's parent or both parents reprimand him for using magic without supervision, under Alex's manipulation or not. He's left-handed but plays guitar right-handed, which is also due to his actor (David Henrie).
In the season one episode "Credit Check", he also harbored a crush on Millie (Sara Paxton), a new Sub Station employee (who was hired after Alex accepted a job as an intern at a fashion design company), and Justin sets up what he thinks is a date with her, but really turns out to be her going out on a date with her boyfriend and him staying at her apartment and baby-sitting her younger cousin Benji. In the season two four-part episode"Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place", Justin has fallen in love with a vampire named Juliet Van Heusen (Bridgit Mendler), whose parents (Anne Ramsay and JD Cullum) own a very successful sandwich shop called "The Late Nite Bite" four blocks down from the Waverly Sub Station. Justin is also very muscular, which is one of the things Justin inherits from his portrayer, David Henrie.
It is shown sometimes that Justin can be protective of Alex. When she first started liking Dean and later dating him, he was worried about her well being. At the end of "Racing" when Alex announces to him she's officially dating Dean, he says that he always thought that if a boy ever did anything to her, he'd be able to beat him up.
Alex often refers to Justin as a dork, geek, nerd, or dweeb because he is very highly intelligent and extremely organized, as he tends to try very hard to be better than her -something she had never learned, realized or thought until he had confessed it to her in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. She also criticizes that Justin is the only one in the family who still takes a bath instead of a shower. He is also now known that he is a sockless person like Harper because he wanted to play barefoot in a band as shown in the season two episode "Make It Happen". It was revealed in "Movies" that Justin is taking advanced chemistry in school. In season two, he has grown very close to another gifted student, Zeke Rosenblatt. Being so mature (minus his geeky, and sometimes weird love for alien language and robots, along with his amusing way of playing with his action figures that showed his immature side), most of his friends are adults and he has a close bond with all of his teachers. He is also a fan of a heavy metal rock band called T.O.B. (Tears of Blood) and has a crush on the weather lady from Channel 9.
In Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, Justin and Alex go on a journey together to find the "Stone of Dreams" in order to reverse a spell Alex caused that made it as though their parents have never met. During their journey, Justin admits that he is jealous of how things come so easy to Alex, which is why he struggles so hard to be perfect with all his studying, and can't help but flaunt over things at Alex's face, and spout random facts about magic when she goes and does something so overly complicated with no effort at all in magic, the one thing he cares about the most and never wants to lose. In return, Alex admits that she is jealous of how smart and nice Justin is and secretly wants to be like him. One of the major -if not the biggest- reasons why she pretends that she doesn't care and teases him mercilessly, is that she is acting like that because the Russo pride they both inherited was just too big to ignore and outright stubborn to try to act like him, which is the same for Justin.
In Season 3, Justin completes his basic wizard training, after learning five-thousand spells, and moves on to independent studies, in which he chooses the Monster Hunting course. This puts Justin so far ahead in his destiny to become the family wizard that it forces Alex into actually studying in order to catch up out of insecurity, though impressively she managed to learn a large quantity of spells in that episode alone, two of which she used to save his life when Max had caused all of the monsters out of Justin's monster book to come to life. It is also revealed by Harper in the episode "Monster Hunter" that Justin constantly studies using various activities to remember spells, such as texting spells and sending them to himself to memorize. The monster hunting, however, puts his vampire girlfriend, Juliet in danger when Justin accidentally reports her and her parents to the Monster Hunter Council but it was resolved. Later, when Justin takes Juliet with him on a mission to capture a mummy at the Museum of Natural History, they both get stuck in the exhibit which had a skylight, which Juliet would be killed from the upcoming sunrise. Justin then makes the sacrifice to let her become the mummy's minion in order to save her life.
As seen in "Wizards vs. Werewolves" and "Western Show", Justin appears to have some martial arts skills, being able to physically hold his own against Mason in his full-werewolf form, and against a cowboy gang after Alex casts a spell in attempt to keep Mr. Laritate. In "Detention Election", Justin becomes student body president. Justin graduates from high school in "Delinquent Justin".
Justin's love interestsEdit
- Miranda (Lucy Hale): They dated in the episode "First Kiss" but eventually they broke up sometime later.
- Millie (Sara Paxton) - A new employee at hired at the Sub Station in "Credit Check". Justin sets up what he thinks is a date with her, but really turns out to be her going out on a date with her boyfriend and him staying at her apartment and baby-sitting her younger cousin Benji. She is a fan of "Tears of Blood".
- Isabella (Sarah Ramos): Justin dated her in the episode "Beware Wolf" but she turned him into a werewolf because she kissed him and he ran away with her, later breaking up with her.(In "Wizards vs. Werewolves" Mason kisses Alex when he is a werewolf but, it is said that she can't turn into a werewolf because he is a purebred while Isabella was a mutt).
- Kari Landsdorf (Chelsea Staub) - In "The Supernatural", he dates her when he joins the baseball team to impress her, because she only dates baseball players. When he asks her out to see a movie, she says she only watches movies with cats, which freaked him out.
- Centaur Girl - A centaur Justin took to WizTech prom.
- Harper Finkle (Jennifer Stone) - Alex's best friend. Harper has a very obsessive crush on Justin, but Justin doesn't return her feelings, except in the season two episode "Baby Cupid" after Justin accidentally gets shot with Cupid's love arrow. In "Justin's New Girlfriend", Harper and Justin start to become good friends.
- Daphne (Christa B. Allen) - In "Family Game Night", she loves Justin and goes to think that they are already dating, even though Justin doesn't return her feelings.
- Tutor (Paulina Olszynski) - Max's wizard tutor seen in "My Tutor, Tutor". She and Justin date for a bit up until she has to move on to her next student, in which he later finds out she's a elf, and has a magical quality that elves have that makes people like them.
- London Tipton (Brenda Song) - They meet in the episode "Cast Away (to Another Show)" (part of the Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana crossover trilogy), after Justin wins a trip upon the S.S. Tipton for an essay he wrote. Justin tries to impress her by pretending to be a doctor, and they go out. He starts to lose interest after finding out how dumb she is. When Bailey starts choking, London dumps Justin (still thinking he's a doctor) for not helping her. Justin hypothetically asks her if she would still like him if he was who he really is, which London thinks he is referring to "Justin Russo", who she decides to look for.
- Juliet Van Heusen (Bridgit Mendler) - In "Wizards vs. Vampires", Justin goes over a new sandwich shop for spying the restaurant taking away his family's business' customers called The Late Nite Bite and finds this beautiful Vampire named Juliet who is the daughter of Alucard and Cindy Van Heusen. Justin ends up falling in love with her and her the same. In "Wizards vs. Werewolves", Mason, Alex's werewolf boyfriend, scratches Juliet and loses her vampire powers and reveals her real age which is 2,193 years old. They end up breaking up and Justin said that he would keep her in his heart forever. In 'Moving On' Harper has Alex turn her into Juliet so Justin can get his closure and move on. At the end of the episode while Justin on his date with Sara, Juliet can be seen smiling
- Sara (Laura Samuels) - She flirted with Justin in the restaurant in the Moving On episode. After Justin finally move on with Juliet, she becomes his new love interest.