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Dean Hardscrabble

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DeanHardscrabble-MU
Dean Hardscrabble
Background information
Feature films Monsters University
Television programs
Video games
Park attractions
Portrayed by
Portrayed by
Animators
Voice Helen Mirren
Performance model
Designer
Inspiration Maleficent
Ursula
The Grand Councilwoman
Honors and awards Broke the All-Time Scare Record
Character information
Full name Dr. Abigail Hardscrabble
Other names
Personality Educated, intimidating, keen, expecting, judgmental, mysterious, strict, respectable
Appearance Red head with spiky hair, hidden red wings, red body with centipede legs and a brownish-maroon button-up shirt and white collar
Nationality
Species
Birthday
Occupation Dean of the M.U. Scaring School; Scarer (retired)
Alignment
Alignment Neutral, later good
Affiliation
Affiliations
Goal To train great students and "make them greater"
Home
Relatives
Pets
Allies Randy, Sulley, Mike, Oozma Kappa, Professor Knight
Minions
Enemies Johnny Worthington III, Roar Omega Roar
Likes Being a dean, scream power, fear, scary monsters, great monsters
Dislikes Non-scary monsters, her or other monsters getting scared, mediocre monsters
Powers and abilities Flight
Weapons
Fate Impressed by Sulley and Mike, and wishes them well while indirectly giving them a suggestion to work at MI's mailroom
Quote "If you're not scary, what kind of a monster are you?"
"But if you lose, you will leave Monsters University."
Scariness is the true measure of a monster. If you're not scary, what kind of a monster are you?
―Dean Hardscrabble[src]

Dean Abigail Hardscrabble is the dean of the School of Scaring faculty at Monsters University, and appears as a major character in the Pixar 2013 feature film of the same name.[1] She's a dark red dragon-like monster with millipede-like legs and red bat wings.

Official Bio

"To Dean Hardscrabble, there are scary monsters and there are all other monsters. It’s no surprise she feels this way—she is, after all, a legendary Scarer and Dean of the School of Scaring at Monsters University. Aspiring Scare students must be up for the challenge to impress her, though she is convinced that her assessment of who is truly scary and who is not is never wrong."[2]

Monsters University

Dean Hardscrabble is first seen flying into Professor Knight's classroom, causing all of the lights in the room to go out with a single flap of her wings. Hardscrabble then tells all of Prof. Knight's students (including Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan) that they all have to complete a final exam so that they can enter the Scaring Program or else they will be kicked out of the school. Unfortunately, Mike, despite wanting to be a scarer very badly, is unable to scare anyone. And Sulley, despite already being scary, never studies or completes his homework. Because of this, Hardscrabble sees Mike and Sulley get into a big roar-off, ending with both monsters accidentally breaking the dean's prized scream canister. Despite staying calm about it, Hardscrabble has the two both kicked out of the School of Scaring.

However, Mike and Sulley find out that the only way to get back into the School of Scaring is to compete in the Scare Games with a fraternity of rejected monsters called Oozma Kappa. And as a result, Mike makes a deal with the dean that if they and OK win the Games, he and Sulley will be readmitted to the program. But if they lose, they will have to leave the school forever. During the Scare Games, Dean Hardscrabble is secretly watching Mike and Sulley competing from afar, aware that they are both going to fail. But after OK wins the Games when they beat Roar Omega Roar in the final round with the scare simulators, Sulley tells Hardscrabble that he cheated by setting Mike's simulator level to easy just to make OK win since to him it's a no-win situation for them otherwise due to Mike's inability to scare. The dean orders him to leave the campus when all of a sudden, she is alerted that Mike had secretly snuck into the door lab, prompting Sulley to go there to save his friend. Hardscrabble then shuts down the door in question, which led to a cabin at a campsite until the authorities arrive, but Mike and Sulley manage to escape back by scaring several human adults in the form of a team of police officers.

Hardscrabble then has both Mike and Sulley expelled from Monsters University permanently, but was sad to let them go because their actions, while considered as a major offense to her school, ended up surprising her. Hardscrabble ultimately gives in and decides to give the two monsters a second chance at life by having them both work at Monsters, Inc., much to their delight.

Personality

Hardscrabble is tough and strict, and always thinks she's right.

Character Development and Design

MU-Hardscrabble-Male-enhanced-buzz-wide

Hardscrabble's first design as a male.

MU--male-concept

Another concept of the first design

The Dean was originally to be a male character, whose design was based on an alligator. However, late in the production, a few weeks before starting animation, Dan Scanlon decided the character had to be a female. Character Art Director Jason Deamer says Scanlon likes "to play things again type" and believes that was the trigger of the change, as "a male antagonist Dean is an accepted thing in the college movie genre, so the idea was that it would be more interesting to make her a female; it’s something new".[3] Story Supervisor Kelsey Mann says about Hardscarbble male version that "he just came in and did a lot of yelling and screaming and it didn’t really intimidate you. [With Hardscrabble's final version] It’s a kind of quiet reserved judgement that really sends the chills up your spine".[4]

The artists first tried to make minor changes to the male design they had to feminize it, but found it wasn't sufficient, and started over from scratch.[5] A team of character designers, comprising artists that worked on the original Monsters, Inc., was gathered.[3] They went through many designs, trying basing her on a crab, scorpion, snake, moth, bat and owl.[3][5] The biggest problem came from that her appearance had to reflect she is both the dean of the school and a legendary Scarer, two ideas that they found were not necessarily compatible.[5] As Deamer explains, "Some designs worked as the Dean of a school but maybe not as the best Scarer ever, and then others works as the most amazing Scarer but not convincing as a Dean, and it wasn’t until we came across this giant centipede that it happened."[3]

They finally settled on a type of centipede called Scolopendra Gigantea, also known as the Amazonian giant centipede, that combined the creepiness, authority and elegance they wanted Hardscrabble to have.[3] One was brought to Pixar for reference, and was called Kendra the Scolopendra by the MU crew.[6] An expert was also dispatched to manipulate the beast.[3] Hardscrabble's head takes from the crowns of horned lizards, and her wings are based on those of bats and designed to blend into her jacket when folded.[5]

Trivia

  • Hardscrabble bears some resemblance to Maleficent, the villainess of Disney's Sleeping Beauty, especially her dragon form. Curiously enough, the librarian also bears some resemblance to Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
  • In some ways, Hardscrabble appears to be the complete opposite of Waternoose: while Waternoose appears friendly and kind-natured but is actually cruel and evil, and is therefore the original film's main antagonist; Hardscrabble appears stern and unpleasant but is actually caring and benign, and therefore eventually became an ally to Mike and Sulley.
  • Hardscrabble's personality resembles Anton Ego's from Ratatouille and the Grand Councilwoman's from Disney's Lilo & Stitch.
  • When Hardscrabble sees Sulley go into the door leading to the girls' cabin to save Mike Wazowski from several human policemen by roaring at them she yells, "Don't go in there!" A similar line was said by Waternoose at the end of the original film when Sulley and Boo trick him into exposing his evil plans and being arrested by the CDA by luring him into the scare simulation room, which he yells, "Don't go in that room!"
  • Hardscrabble used to be a member of HSS.
  • Hardscrabble founded the Scare Games when she was a student, and won them four years in a row.
  • It is unknown of what happened to Dean Hardscrabble's career when Monsters, Inc. switched from scaring children to making them laugh. It's possible, however, that she still determines which monsters are scary and which ones aren't, since other companies may still be reliant on scaring, and the ones that aren't scary end up at Monsters, Inc.
  • "Hardscrabble" actually means "very poor reward, regardless of hard work," which appropriately describes how she treats her students: anyone who does not live up to her expectations cannot attend her school.

Quotes

  • "Very well. If you win, I will let your entire team into the Scare program. But if you lose, you will leave Monsters University."
  • "You will not be continuing in the scaring program."
  • "Mr. Wazowski, what are you doing?"
  • "Scariness is the true measurement of a monster. If you're not scary, than what kind of monster are you?"
  • "The two of you did something together that no one has ever done before. You surprised me."

Gallery

References

  1. Helen Mirren lends Voice to Dean Hardscrabble Character
  2. New Character Posters – Meet the Monsters of Monsters University
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The inspirations for Monsters University’s characters
  4. The Story Behind the Story of Monsters University
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The “Monsters University” Character Who Changed Gender At The Last Minute
  6. ‘MONSTERS UNIVERSITY’ FUN FACTS PART TWO
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Monsters, Inc.
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Media: Monsters, Inc. | Mike's New Car | Monsters University | Party Central

Park Attractions: Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek | Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! | Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

Video Games: Monsters, Inc. | Monsters, Inc. Scream Arena | Monsters, Inc. Scream Team | Monsters, Inc. Scream Team Training | Mike's Monstrous Adventure | Disney Universe | Disney Infinity

Monsters, Inc. Characters: Sulley | Mike Wazowski | Boo | Henry Waternoose | Randall Boggs | Fungus | Roz | Celia Mae | Needleman and Smitty | Flint | Thaddeus Bile | Jerry | Claws Ward | Lanky Schmidt | George Sanderson | Charlie Proctor | CDA | Ted | Sushi Chef | Baby Smitty | Yeti

Monsters University Characters: Frank McCay | Art | Terri and Terry Perry | Squishy | Don Carlton | Chet Alexander | Johnny Worthington III | Dean Hardscrabble | Professor Knight | Sheri Squibbles | Claire Wheeler | Brock Pearson | Archie the Scare Pig

Fraternities/Sororities: Oozma Kappa | Roar Omega Roar | Jaws Theta Chi | Slugma Slugma Kappa | Eta Hiss Hiss | Python Nu Kappa | Scare Games

Locations: Paris, France | Monstropolis | Monsters, Inc. | Harryhausen's | Himalayas | Boo's Room | Trailer Son and Mom | Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor | Monsters University | Fear Tech

Objects: Scarer's Leaderboard | Scream Canisters | Doors | Little Mikey | Pixar Ball | Pizza Planet truck

Songs: If I Didn't Have You | Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me | Monsters University (song)

Merchandise: Monsters, Inc. Laugh Factory

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