Haematococcus pluvialis, as the best natural resource of astaxanthin, is widely used in nutraceuticals, aquaculture, and cosmetic industries. The purpose of this work was to compare the differences in astaxanthin accumulation between motile and nonmotile cells of H. pluvialis and to determine the relationship between the two cells and astaxanthin production. The experiment design was achieved by two different types of H. pluvialis cell and three different light intensities for an eight day induction period. The astaxanthin concentrations in nonmotile cell cultures were significantly increased compared to motile cell cultures. The increase of astaxanthin was closely associated with the enlargement of cell size, and the nonmotile cells were more conducive to the formation of large astaxanthin-rich cysts than motile cells. The cyst enlargement and astaxanthin accumulation of H. pluvialis were both affected by light intensity, and a general trend was that the higher the light intensity, the larger the cysts formed, and the larger the quantity of astaxanthin accumulated. In addition, the relatively low cell mortality rate in the nonmotile cell cultures indicated that the nonmotile cells have a stronger tolerance to photooxidative stress. We suggest that applying nonmotile cells as the major cell type of H. pluvialis to the induction period may help to enhance the content of astaxanthin and the stability of astaxanthin production.