- “I need scarers who are confident, tenacious, tough, and intimidating. I need scarers like... like... James P. Sullivan.”
- ―Henry J. Waternoose, III, talking about Sulley
James "Jimmy" P. "Sulley" Sullivan is the main protagonist in the Disney/Pixar 2001 feature film Monsters, Inc. and the deuteragonist in the 2013 prequel, Monsters University. He is voiced by John Goodman in the movies.
Sulley is a top scarer under his boss Henry J. Waternoose, III, who is the CEO of Monsters, Inc. Sulley's best friend and sidekick is Mike Wazowski. His mother is Mrs. Sullivan (who is not seen in the movie, but mentioned by Mike) and his dad is the famous scarer Bill Sullivan. When he is first seen, Sulley is the top scarer at Monsters, Inc., responsible for generating the majority of scares that provide power for the city of Monstropolis.
Sulley is a large hairy blue monster with purple spots and periwinkle eyes. He has curved horns, white claws, razor sharp fangs, and white spikes that run down his backside to the end of his long dinosaur-like tail, and has a large furry belly. He has bushy eyebrows and a dark teal nose. In Monsters University, it is revealed he sheds and was thinner with mullet like hair.
In the movie, 18-year old Sulley was shown to be very different than he was later in life.
Being the son of Bill Sullivan, an accomplished Scarer, and having the natural talent that came from his family, Sulley was more laid-back, cocky, immature, and something of a party animal. Because of his talent and coming from a family with plenty of accomplished scarers, Sulley wasn't a model student, once stating "You don't need to study Scaring; you just do it!"
He developed a competitive rivalry with a fellow student in the Scaring Program, Mike Wazowski, who had the brains and intelligence for Scaring but not the natural talent. He was also chosen to join the Roar Omega Roar fraternity due to his Scaring talent. To his frustration however, Mike was beating him in class because of Mike's keen studying while Sulley wasn't doing well. Johnny Worthington III temporarily took his jacket unless Sulley passed the exam and not losing to Mike.
Sulley realized just having the talent wasn't enough when Dean Hardscrabble kicked him and Mike out of the Scare Program, for which he blamed Mike (evident by constantly glaring at him and crushing a scream-cannister in his hands). Roar Omega Roar also took the jacket away, which meant that he was kicked out of their group. But later, he was desperate enough to join Mike and the Oozma Kappa fraternity to get back in by winning the Scare Games when he overheard Mike and Hardscrabble's wager, that if OK won, the whole team would be allowed in the Scaring Program.
He smugly got himself on the team because Mike had no choice since he needed one more member. He came off as shallow, deeming Oozma Kappa to be lost causes (even suggesting to Mike the get a new team as well as cheating) but eventually came to appreciate them for their friendship. Even so, Sulley wanted so bad to get back into the Scaring Program he rigged the last event so that Mike would easily win, as he honestly didn't think Mike was scary.
At first, Sulley tried to justify his cheating but realized what it almost cost him, especially when Mike sought to prove himself by scaring actual children, and when an argument erupted between them, Sulley revealed that being a Sullivan made everyone expect him to be scary, and while he acted scary and confident, in truth, Sulley was terrified of the expectations he had to live up to.
The friendship between Mike and Sulley enabled them to surprise Dean Hardscrabble, who indirectly encouraged them to work as mailmen for Monsters Inc., where they worked together until at last they achieved their dream of becoming a Scare-Team.
In Monsters, Inc., James P. Sullivan, or Sulley as he prefers, is shown to be good-natured, hardworking, and confident, who loves his job as a Scarer and while he basked in the limelight of being Top Scarer, and was indeed going for the All-Time Scare Record, he had a humble side in that he was more interested in being a good employee for the company. This was most likely due to him having worked his way up through the ranks of the company from mailman to janitor to cafeteria work to can wrangler and finally to scarer.
One of the defining traits to his character was his friendship with his Scaring-Assistant, Mike Wazowski. They're best friends, room-mates, incredibly devoted to each other, and help each other out, as Sulley secured a reservation for Mike at Harryhausen's for his date with Celia Mae on her birthday, and covered for him in a paperwork concern.
Sulley's world, however, is turned upside-down when he discovers a human child, initially and frantically doing everything he can to get rid of her while trying not to get "infected" due to the Monsters' mistaken beliefs that human children are "toxic, deadly, that a single touch could kill them". When left with no choice, he involves Mike, who is more concerned with their career and their well-beings, but as Sulley spends time with the girl, he warms up to her and comes to disregard everything he's ever believed about human children, eventually giving her the name "Boo", and becomes attached to her, like a father.
However, his affection and protectiveness for Boo puts a strain on his friendship with Mike as he relies on Mike to help him in his madcap efforts to keep Boo safe from Randall and hide her (and their discretions) from the CDA. When Mike protests, Sulley chooses to help Boo over appeasing Mike's pride. It isn't until Sulley, at the demand of his boss, does a scare-demonstration and accidentally frightens Boo as he sees the images of the demonstration, showing Boo horrified and himself roaring, where Sulley finally realizes just how scared children are of monsters; his many years as a Scarer comes back to haunt him when Boo is so frightened of him that she shies from his touch, to his shame and regret.
Sulley's shame however is turned to shock when he realizes the boss, with whom he's always been on good terms with, is not the good man he thought he was, when Waternoose banishes him and Mike to the human world. Even so, Sulley does everything he can to get back to the monster world, even leaving Mike who refuses to come.
His actions however are justified when Mike follows back home, and they work together to foil Randall from getting his scaly hands on Boo, eventually stranding him in the human world.
After Roz of the CDA declares Boo's door must be destroyed, Sulley is brokenhearted and gives Boo a fond goodbye, and is more crestfallen since the entire fiasco will shut down the factory.
However, a stray remark by Mike, along with an observation he'd made, helps Sulley realize the human children's laughter is ten times more powerful than screams. He manages to not only save the company, but revolutionize it by having monsters make kids laugh instead of scaring them, solving Monstropolis' energy crisis, and Sulley becomes the company's new CEO.
While proud of his success and making things better not just for monsters but kids as well, Sulley sadly holds onto a piece of Boo's door and a drawing she made of him and her holding hands but Mike reveals to him that, after trial and error, he managed to restore Boo's door except for the piece Sulley still has (the door will not work unless it has every piece). Sulley places the piece in its place, reactivating Boo's door and steps through. To his joy, he is reunited with Boo.
By all his actions, Sulley proves himself to be a well-meaning person who strives to do the right thing. He was shown to be observant and keen-minded to Boo's laughs super-charging electronics in ways screams had never done although Sulley appears to be a little trusting in some cases although he was completely fooled by his own boss, Waternoose, and he has a strong moral compass - Appalled by Waternoose's plan to kidnap children to harvest their screams.
Even so, Sulley has a powerful devotion to those he cares for, risking his job, his life, and even his friendship with Mike to save Boo, and while he has his ups and downs with Mike they are true and loyal friends to each other, despite their differences.
My Disney Experience Official Description
Sulley gets the scream while Mike keeps an eye on the door. They're the best team on the scare floor at Monsters, Inc.
Sulley appears in the prequel, looking shorter, skinnier and shaggier.
He makes a ferocious debut by interrupting his first Scaring class with a roar, apologizng, saying he heard someone say "roar" and just went for it. Here, he reveals himself to be the son of Bill Sullivan, a famous Scarer, and asks a fellow student for a pencil since he forgot his stuff, but he just uses it as a toothpick. Sulley hardly put in any work in his classes and instead relied on his family legacy and natural skills, preferring to spend his time goofing off and playing pranks, such as kidnapping the mascot of rival college Fear Tech. Hiding the mascot, he accidentally sneaks into the room of a fellow scare student, Mike Wazowski, leading to a mad chase when the pig runs off. His skills and legacy get him recognized by and accepted into ROR, the premiere campus fraternity.
However, Sulley was soon upstaged by Mike in his classes (due to Sulley not putting real effort into his work), which lead to ROR considering revoking his membership. Eventually, Mike and Sulley's petty rivalry gets out of hand and causes a mistake during the final exam, when , while the two are trying to scare the other, Sulley accidentally knocks over and ruins Dean Hardscrabble's prized scream-cannister. Dean Hardscrabble tests them on the spot, first failing Mike before turning to Sulley.
He jumps the gun with a roar, and Hardscrabble explains how his method doesn't work to make the hypothetical child scream, noting his disregarding the improtance of the study, leading her to dismiss him from the program as well, and Sulley notices Worthington and his frat-boys leave without a word to him. Sulley tries to change Hardscrabble's mind by reminding her he's a Sullivan, but she simply says his family will be very disapointed. Sulley instantly blames Mike for his failure (even though Sulley was the one who started the argument) and storms off.
By next semester, Mike and Sulley are both now in a boring class for scream-cannister handling, but Suley still blames Mike, evident by his constantly glaring at him and crushing a cannister in his hand. But later on, he sees Mike hurry off to add Oozma Kappa for the Scare Games, making a bet with Hardscrabble and they agree on the following terms: If OK wins, Hardscrabble will allow the whole team into the Scaring Program, but if they lose, Mike will leave Monsters University. But then Hardscrabble brings up he's short one member to qualify, and Sulley seizes this opportunity and smugly gets himself on the team because Mike has no choice, qualifying OK for the games. But after meeting the OK members, Sulley is concerned, as Oozma Kappa is not known for being scary, but Mike trains them for the games.
However, Sulley and Mike's rivalry with each other almost costs them losing the first round of the games; they luck out when it turns out Jaws Theta Chi had cheated, disqualifying them and getting OK back in the games. In the next round, they almost lose when Mike insists the team follow his lead alone, and it is only when the other members of OK work together do they advance. But after the event, they're told by Python Nu Kappa about a party, asking them if they're coming. Mike insists they go, believing they're getting recognized. During the party, which is at ROR house, the ROR pranks Oozma Kappa and humiliates them in front of the whole university. When the rest of the team are dispirited, Mike takes them on a "field trip" them into Monsters Inc. to lift their spirits, causing Mike and Sulley to understand each other, and begin to become friends.
Thanks to Mike and Sulley, Oozma Kappa makes it to the final round against ROR. But the night before the final round, Sulley speaks with Hardscrabble, hoping, if OK wins and they're in the Scaring Program, there won't be any hard feelings. But Hardscrabble tells him in order to win, each member of OK must prove, in front of the entire school, that they are undeniably scary - and, in her professional opinion, she tells him one of them is not. Sulley realizes she's talking about Mike, and tries to defend Mike's worthiness but Hardscrabble demandingly asks him if he, himself, thinks if Mike is scary, leaving Sulley speechless because honestly he doesn't. Before the two of them go to bed, Sulley tries to coach Mike in roaring, to "dig deep down and let the scary out", and despite Mike's efforts, Sulley doesn't believe Mike can be scary although he doesn't say so to Mike.
So, in the final round, he tampers with the scare simulator settings, putting it on easy, so that Mike can register a perfect score and make Oozma Kappa win the tournament, but when Mike realizes this, he is heartbroken and furious, accusing Sulley of being just like Hardscrabble. Sulley tries to defend his actions but the rest of OK are ashamed that they won because Sulley cheated and leave behind the trophy.
Rebuffing ROR's attempt to get him back into their fraternity, Sulley, feeling guilty, confesses to Dean Hardscrabble about the cheating, leading a furious Hardscrabble to demand he leave campus by tomorrow, calling him a disgrace to MU and his family name.
At that moment, they hear an alert that someone broke into the door lab, and Sulley quickly realizes that Mike had entered the human world to prove himself scary.
Sulley enters the door and arrives at the camp looking for Mike. At the camp, the police have arrived looking for intruders and Sulley is mistaken for a bear, chased into the woods. Sulley finds Mike by the lake, and he apologizes for what he did but Mike accuses him of not understanding how he feels, saying that monsters like Sulley, a Sullivan, have it easy. It is here Sulley admits his faults, his failing and getting kicked out of the Program, and was so afraid of letting everyone down he resorted to cheating and lying. Sulley then tells Mike he's not the only failure, that he (Sulley) acts scary because he's terrified of the expectations he's had to live up to. When Mike asks why he never said that before, Sulley says "Because... [they] weren't friends before."
Seeing the cops coming, they both run back to the camp to go back to the university. However, Dean Hardscrabble deactivates the door until the authorities arrive, trapping Mike and Sulley in the human world.
Mike devises a plan to create so much scream energy, that they can power the door from their side. Combining Sulley's natural abilities with Mike's technical knowledge, the two manage to scare the park rangers so much, that not only they are able to power the door, the door blasts off from the surplus energy. This causes Mike and Sulley to be detained by the CDA, thus expelling them from MU.
While they are leaving MU, Dean Hardscrabble encourages them to keep "surprising" and indirectly giving them a means of working at a scare company. The movie ends with Mike and Sulley taking jobs at Monsters, Inc. as mailmen. During credits, it is shown that both of them rise from being mailmen to an efficient scare team, thus establishing the story for Monsters, Inc.
- “You're the boss. You're the boss. You're the big hairy boss.”
- ―Mike, as Sulley enters through the first door of the day
Sulley was top scarer of Monsters, Inc., and was naturally afraid of humans, due to their rumored "toxic touch" that could kill the biggest monsters in an instant... until he met Boo, a human girl who found her way into the monster world and into the factory. Sulley, who was initially hesitant, became Boo's protector and obtained a fatherly role to the human. Constantly worrying about her and protecting her from harm while at the same time unlocking the secrets that humans were not as deadly as rumored.
Starting by treating Boo like a pet, he eventually grew to care for her, the attention drawing away from a jealous Mike. Randall Boggs, Sulley's rival who also wants to be top scarer, tries to use Boo in an experiment to forcibly extract screams for the growing energy crisis that relies on their cries to provide, and risking his friendship with Mike, Sulley comes to her rescue and in the process discovers that a child's laughter is 10 times more powerful than scream. Sometime after Mr. Waternoose, the CEO of Monsters, Inc., is arrested by the CDA, Sulley becomes the new CEO and changes the policy to obtain children's laughter instead, apparently turning the energy crisis around. However, it is show in Monsters, Inc. Scream Team Training that the company still uses scream on occasion.
Sometime after the events of the film, Sulley announces Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me, a company play that stars Mike, who has also directed, written, and produced the play, in front of the audience, and he appears in the play as a co-star.
In the short, Sulley is featured as the secondary protagonist. When he sees Mike's new car, he asks Mike what was wrong with the old car, to which Mike replied, "That's three little words, Sulley: Six-wheel drive!", then they both got in. Unfortunately for Mike, Sulley accidentally ruins the car by doing various things, and Mike eventually told Sulley to get out, but ruined the car himself when he sped off.
Disney ParksSulley is a walk around character at the Disney Parks. Since 2013, he wears his MU jacket. He also appears in several parades and also appears in the attractions Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! at Disney California Adventure and Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek at Tokyo Disneyland.
- Sulley appears in the end credits of Cars as a giant monster truck. He is also seen in Tokyo Mater with a car version of Mike.
- His design was based off of The Beast.
- Sulley was originally going to be a janitor and not a scarer in one early version. Ironically, it turns out he (along with Mike) was a janitor at MI at some point between the two movies.
- According to the original treatment from the DVD, Sulley's working name was Johnson and instead of being the best scarer as seen in the movie, he was a clumsy monster who was very bad at his job.
- In another early draft, one of his original names was Hob, and instead of working as a scarer, he actually worked for a TV show.
- One prototype drawing of Sulley showed him with brown fur, while another showed him wearing glasses, and a third showed him with tentacles. The reason for Sulley to be drawn with legs for his final design is due to the fact that the animators were afraid that the viewers would focus too much on the tentacles instead of his face had he be drawn with such.
- A drawing of Sulley appears on a wood carving in the Witch's house in Brave.
- Dean Hardscrabble scolding Sulley that his roar would make a child with a fear of reptiles cry instead of scream and not only producing no scream energy would also tell him/her parents and therefore endangering the monster world foreshadows the fact that Sulley accidentally scaring Boo and making her cry before Waternoose and Randall banish him and Mike to the Himalayas, causing him to realize that scaring is bad, and the fact that Boo was seriously afraid of Randall, a reptilian monster.
- In the Toy Story Toons short Partysaurus Rex, the toilet cover in the bathroom has the same design as Sulley's fur.
- Sulley is the first main protagonist in the Pixar films who doesn't have a love interest, followed by Remy and Merida.
- Sulley is the second protagonist from a Pixar film to be become the deuteragonist in his sequel or prequel. The first is Lightning McQueen from Cars.
- In the prequel Monsters University, it is said that he is 18, so in Monsters, Inc., he is probably 28.
- John Goodman, Sulley's voice actor, also voiced Pacha from The Emperor's New Groove, Baloo from The Jungle Book 2, and Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff from The Princess and the Frog.
- Sulley's design was said to be based on that of a prehistoric giant ground sloth.
- Sulley has 5.5 million rendered hairs in Monsters University, 5 times as many as in Monsters, Inc.
- Physically, Sulley has 5,475,458 hairs on his body. He weighs 985 pounds.
- It's revealed in Monsters University that Sulley's father is actually named Bill Sullivan.
- At one point, they were going to make Sulley wear glasses which turned out to be a bad idea because it was hard to see the eye expressions of the character.
- In France, Sulley's name is spelled Sulli.
- In the prequel, Sulley' s plan to get Mike into the Scaring Program wouldn't have worked in the long run, as the teachers would make them do another simulator to test their scariness, and as Mike is "not scary" according to Hardscrabble, he would get a low score and be kicked out again.
- ↑ Episode 13 of the Pixar Post Podcast - Monsters University Press Day Part 3 of 3
- ↑ http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-monsters-university-fun-facts-63189/