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Hopper

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It's not about food! It's about keeping those ants in line!
―Hopper

Hopper is the main antagonist of Disney/Pixar's 1998 film A Bug's Life.

Personality

Ruthless and violent, but also cunning, Hopper thinks nothing of killing ants, whom he considers lower than dirt, and his manner of speaking to Princess Atta is reminiscent of an abusive boyfriend mocking his terrified girlfriend. He also beats up his own gang members, and even presumably kills two of them to keep control of his gang. He dislikes being thought of as weak in any way.

Hopper is also briefly depicted as a very anxious character. Indeed, during the Mexican bar scene, he expresses his gang the necessity of getting respect and obedience from the ants because they are far more numerous than them. He explains one rebel ant is enough to cause an entire colony's mutiny (which, ironically, will take place at the end of the movie). It should reveal a huge fear toward ants, hidden by his ruthless and dictatorial manners toward ants and even his own troops.

In any case, Hopper sees mercy and compassion as weaknesses, and relies mostly on fear to maintain control over both his own gang and the ants.

Appearances

A Bug's Life

In the film, Hopper is a feared grasshopper who is blind in one eye due to a scratch caused by a recent encounter with a bird. He leads his gang of grasshoppers, including his brother Molt and a restless, ruthless Thumper, who keep full control over the ants. Hopper, unlike his gang, does not underestimate the ants' strength; he knows that while weaker than the grasshoppers as individuals, the ants outnumber his gang a hundred to one.

During Hopper's first visit to the colony, the gang finds the food supply ruined, so he throws the blame on the ants and demands them to gather double the amount he has initially requested by the next season. When he is dissatisfied with the amount of offering the ants give him after a second chance, he usurps Ant Island and plots to kill the Queen after enough food has been gathered. After hearing from Dot about Hopper's plot, Flik and the circus troupe return to the island to rescue the Queen by putting his plan into motion. The circus bugs present their act in front of the grasshoppers to distract Hopper, who initially orders his henchmen to squish them, but later decides that they can use a little entertainment. After Manny takes the Queen for a magic trick, Hopper interrogates him to tell where she has gone by strangling him, only to be cut off by a fake bird, that the ants have made earlier in the season, which comes down swooping toward him.

Hopper is initially terrified at the sight of the bird, due to his fear of birds, but soon discovers the bird is fake when P.T. Flea mistakenly helps him and sets it on fire. Hopper takes Dot hostage again, and interrogates the ants, including Princess Atta, to find out who is responsible for the ruse. Flik then confesses that he is the one behind the plot, and Hopper signals to Thumper to savagely beat up Flik until he orders him to stop. Hopper then declares how dangerous ideas can be and that ants are mindless, soil-shoving losers, who have put on this earth to serve the grasshoppers. But then, Flik manages to stand up to his feet and revolt against Hopper, revealing that ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers and are strong in number. Angered by Flik's defiance, Hopper advances toward Flik and knocks him to the ground. He then attempts to squish Flik's head, only to be thwarted by Atta, who also stands up to Hopper.

Inspired by Flik's speech, the entire colony of ants stands up against the grasshoppers. As the colony charges towards Hopper's gang, they abandon their leader and flee, leaving Hopper to be seized by the ants and trapped in a circus cannon, right at the time when it starts to rain. Hopper then sees his chance to escape and shoots himself out of the cannon towards Flik and takes hostage as he flies away with him in a plan to get revenge on the Ant for embarrassing him.

The circus bugs chase after them to try to save Flik, but they only succeed in pulling off one of Hopper's antennae. Atta intervenes and swipes Flik away from him. Hopper chases after the two across the stream. He corners Flik near a bird's nest, strangles him, and declares how so much time has been wasted by Flik's tricks and that he will rally more grasshoppers and return next season. But he never got the chance to do so, since at that moment, a bird pops out from the nest. Hopper, however, believing the bird to be another one of Flik's tricks, taunts the bird until it shrieks at him. Now realizing that this bird is the real one, Hopper screams and tries to flee, but the bird, however, turns out to be faster than him as it catches him in its beak in one swift move and takes him to its nest, where he is eaten by the bird's chicks, indicating that he is really the mindless soil-shoving loser and ending his reign of terror and insult on the ant colony.

At the end of the movie, Tuck and Roll are shown jabbering on about their fight with Hopper while holding a piece of his antenna, which is all that was left of the villainous grasshopper.

A Bug's Life (video game)

In the video game, even though Hopper is also the main antagonist, he only appears in the last three levels of the game. A cutscene from the movie, where he throws a big leaf with some food on it over the ants, also appears when it's game over for the player.

Disney Parks

It's Tough to Be a Bug!

Hopper DP

Hopper in the It's Tough to Be a Bug! show

Hopper appears in It's Tough to Be a Bug!, despite his death in the movie.

In the show, Filk and Hopper compete with each other. While Flik believes that humans are the bugs' friends, Hopper believes that the humans are the bugs' enemies.

Trivia

  • Hopper's right eye got damaged after a bird nearly ate him.
  • Hopper is considered among Pixar's most evil and ruthless villains along with Syndrome and Lotso. He victimizes the ants with no reason or Freudian excuse, and has no obvious sympathetic or comedic qualities.
  • Hopper apparently had a soft spot for his mother, as he honors her deathbed wish not to kill Molt, despite being quite tempted to on various occasions, although many have debated if this is actual love or him simply trying to prove he can keep a promise.
  • Hopper is the first Pixar character to die.
    • He is also the first Pixar character to be physically fought.
  • His fate is similar to Scar's demise.
  • In the bloopers of the film, Hopper is shown to be a very serious actor and gets annoyed or upset when Atta and Molt laugh at his acting.
  • Kevin Spacey was not the first choice to voice Hopper. John Lasseter previously offered the role twice to Robert De Niro, who turned it down. Lasseter met Spacey at the 1995 Academy Awards (where Toy Story won the Special Achievement award and was nominated for Best Original Song and Spacey won for Best Supporting Actor) and offered him the role, which he accepted.

Gallery

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