- “You are one dynamite gal.”
- ―Felix to Calhoun
Calhoun serves as the non-playable protagonist in her first-person shooter arcade game, Hero's Duty, the newest arcade game in Litwak's Arcade. According to her fellow cohort, Kohut, Calhoun has been programmed with "the most tragic back story ever." On the day of her wedding to her true love Dr. Brad Scott, Calhoun forgot to complete one of her highly important perimeter checks. As a result, a Cy-Bug breaks into the wedding chapel as they're exchanging their vows and devours Brad, Calhoun screaming in anguish as she grabbed a mini-gun nearby and opened fire on the monster. The tragedy left Calhoun with a hardened heart and bitter outlook on life.
Unlike the other video game characters whose jobs are over once the arcade closes, Calhoun and her troops play a crucial role in the survival of their world: the Cy-Bugs in Hero's Duty have a defect in their programming that leads them to believe their roles in the game are real. As such, their only instincts are to kill and consume anything in their path. Should they ever escape Hero's Duty, the entire arcade would be put in grave danger. This nonstop struggle also plays a role in Calhoun's excessively serious demeanor.
- In the sci-fi battle zone of Hero's Duty, Sergeant Calhoun is more than just a pretty face — she is the tough-as-nails, take-charge leader who fights for humanity’s freedom. When she’s not offering in-game intel, she’s training her troops for the next attack wave. This unrelenting commander is driven by a personal vendetta and will stop at nothing to protect the player and the arcade from a virulent Cy-Bug invasion.
Calhoun is hardcore, tough, and incredibly strict. She commands her troops with a firm and domineering hand, and exhibits a fierce tenacity in which failure is never an option. She has no tolerance for shortcomings, and doesn't hesitate to roughly reprimand her soldiers, and additionally seems to enjoy goading them with taunts to increase their drive. Although Calhoun comes off at first as crass and callous, she is very serious and stoic when not engaged in gameplay. Her tragic backstory has left her heartbroken and untrusting, with a dry sense of humor. It is her backstory and her dedication to her job that she appears to consider herself a soldier first and woman second.
Against her programming, however, Calhoun is not entirely devoid of emotions such as sympathy and solicitude. For example, she is unwilling to perform acts of violence unless warranted as a form of punishment; she was uncomfortable with the idea of harming Felix in the Nesquik sand, due to the hero's innocence. Furthermore, her extreme devotion to duty is a partial result of her selflessness. She values the lives of video game characters, and carries a majority of the burden of protecting the arcade, brought upon her by the Cy-Bugs' defect programming. When danger arises, she works tirelessly to prevent as much damage as possible. During the climax, she was ultimately willing to sacrifice her own life in order to protect Vanellope von Schweetz; the glitch was unable to leave the game, prompting Calhoun to remain by her side for as long as possible. Though rarely in a situation in which she can't control, Calhoun is trusting towards others when urgency calls for an open mind. This is evidenced by her will to entrust Felix's plan to escape the Nesquik sand pit, and again when she entrusted Wreck-It Ralph's plans to save Sugar Rush from the Cy-Bug invasion, despite her initial (and completely validated) distrust towards the bad-guy, beforehand.
By the end of the film, Calhoun managed to open her heart to others once more. She moved passed her programming and found love, anew, in Fix-It Felix. Her expression during their wedding indicates that she's developed into a much happier individual.
She also seems to have a dark sense of humor, as after Vanellope jokingly ordered everyone who was mean to her to be executed, she smirked and said, "Oh, this place just got interesting." She also tends to use peculiar phrases in her speech that directly contrast her serious demeanor, such as, "Flattery don't charge these batteries, civilian." and, "The Cy-Bugs would chew up that game faster than a chicken hawk in a coop of crippled roosters."
Sergeant Calhoun is a tall, beautiful woman wearing heavy, form-fitting black and red armor. She has a large bust, slim waist, and long, shapely legs. Calhoun has fair skin and her golden blonde hair is cut into a short bob plus choppy pixie cut style with side bangs. Her eyes are a bright blue and she wears coral-colored eye shadow, thick black eyeliner, and has long, dark lashes. Her lips are a deep rosy pink. Of all the main characters, Calhoun retains the most realistic appearance and resemblance to a real human being.
Her general article of clothing is a suit of heavy, black armor that covers every inch of her skin, excluding her neck, face, and head. Several points throughout the suit are illuminated with red lights. A metal belt containing her blaster is held around her waist.
At her wedding, she wore a white wedding dress and veil or gown.
One week after Hero's Duty's installation, Sergeant Calhoun and the soldiers are ready for another day of eradicating the deadly Cy-Bugs. Unknown to Calhoun, video game bad guy Wreck-It Ralph has game jumped into her game, disguised in th armor of troop member Markowski. When the game is over due to Ralph's oafishness, Calhoun aggressively reprimands the "soldier" for interfering with a first-person shooter. She then orders her troopers back to their start positions for the next round. After the arcade is closed for the day, Calhoun and her troopers hear a strange noise and immediately fire away upon spotting a figure. The figure turns out to be Fix-It Felix, Jr. from the game of the same name. Calhoun demands to know why Felix has arrived, and the bashful hero tells her that his cohort, Ralph, has entered her game. Calhoun brushes it off as nonsense until an escape shuttle flies by with Ralph and a baby Cy-Bug aboard.
Calhoun and Felix head to the Game Central Station, where the Surge Protector tells them that Ralph went firing into Sugar Rush. Though Felix sees it as a simple mishap, Calhoun worries for Sugar Rushs safety, due to the fact that it is now inhabiting a Cy-Bug. According to Calhoun, Cy-Bugs are viruses, as they are unaware of the fact that they're living in a fictional game. In her words, all they know is "eat, kill, multiply", and without a beacon to stop them, they'll consume both Sugar Rush and the entire arcade. Calhoun prepares to enter Sugar Rush before such a tragedy can unfold, though Felix asks to join. Calhoun refuses, but the handy man is unwilling to let her risk her life to fix Ralph's mistakes alone, as it is his job to fix what Ralph wrecks. Calhoun eventually allows him to join and the duo enter the game. They soon find the shuttle that Ralph crashed, only to find both Ralph and the Cy-Bug to be absent. Calhoun uses her Cy-Bug tracking device to find the bug, but the sugar particles in the atmosphere interferes with the signal.
While searching in Candy Tree Forest, Calhoun asks Felix why Ralph has gone AWOL. Though he has no clue, Felix voices his fear that Ralph may have "gone Turbo". Unaware of the phrase, Felix explains that back when the arcade first opened, TurboTime was the most popular game by far, and Turbo the lead character of the game, enjoyed being the center of attention. However, when the new racing game, RoadBlasters arrived and stole Turbo's thunder, an extremely jealous Turbo game-jumped into the new game and tried to take it over, causing it to crash. As a result, both games, and Turbo, were unplugged for good. Calhoun was openly disgusted by Turbo's story, but now had an understanding of Felix's situation.
Meanwhile, Calhoun's scanner leads them across a large double-striped candy branch over Nesquik-Sand, but the branch suddenly dissolves, causing them to fall into the sand below. Felix, feeling despaired, goes into panic, causing himself and Calhoun to sink faster. Calhoun slaps the hero to calm him down, throwing the sentient Laffy Taffy vines above them into fits of laughter; the more they laugh, the lower the vines stretch down. Felix gets the idea to have Calhoun continue slapping him so that they can grab hold of the vines and free themselves. Calhoun is notably uncomfortable with the idea of abusing the innocent Felix, but he reassures his safety as his magic hammer has the ability to heal him instantly. With this information, Calhoun repeatedly punches Felix, causing the vines to laugh and lower. Felix is soon able to grab hold of one, as well as Calhoun, lifting them out of the sand and towards safety. Calhoun is briefly taken aback by Felix's dashing heroism, and the two stars a gaze of mutual affection. Upon noticing the vines' attempt to serenade the duo, Calhoun fires her gun to scare them off so that she can get back with the mission.
Felix repairs the crashed shuttle, and he and Calhoun take air to search for Ralph and the bug. During this time, Felix becomes smitten with Calhoun and tries to compliment her by calling her "one dynamite gal". This triggers Calhoun, who is bombarded with memories of her deceased fiancé (he also called her a "dynamite gal"). After a panic attack, she lowers the shuttle in front of the castle of King Candy (ruler of Sugar Rush), where she orders Felix to remove himself.
Later on, a lone Calhoun stumbles upon an underground Cy-Bug nest, which holds thousands of eggs to hatch. The eggs eventually do and the Cy-Bugs begin to ravage through Sugar Rush. Calhoun finds Ralph on the Sugar Rush Speedway and blames him for bringing about the game's destruction. Ralph insists that he saw the Cy-Bug die in a taffy swamp, only for swarms of the monsters to suddenly burst out of the ground. Calhoun then evacuates the game's citizens and prepares to destroy the entrance. However, a little girl named Vanellope who has befriended Ralph is unable leave her game because she is a glitch. After the citizens desert the game, Calhoun hesitates to destroy the portal due to Vanellope's inability to escape, but informs Felix that without a beacon, the Cy-Bugs can't be stopped.
Ralph quickly formulates an idea to erupt the Diet Cola Mountain, hoping to have the lava act as a beacon. He borrows Calhoun's hoverboard to fly to the top of the mountain, where he begins to smash its crater of mentos, but then Turbo (who has become a Cy-Bug after being eaten by one) attacks him and flies him into the air. Calhoun and Felix protect Vanellope from the Cy-Bugs that begin to advance on the portal. Unfortunately, Calhoun soon runs out of ammunition, forcing the trio back into the portal but a forcefield barred Vanellope from leaving. Calhoun then drew her combat knife as Vanellope glitches to save Ralph as he breaks free from Turbo's grasps and brings the entire crater of mentos plunging into the lava, causing a massive eruption that produces a beacon, which attracts all the Cy-Bugs and vaporizes them, along with Turbo, for good.
As Felix congratulates Ralph for saving Sugar Rush, he kisses Calhoun on the cheek. Calhoun becomes surprised, and as she yanks Felix up, she initially appears to strangle him, but then she kisses him back, showing that her heavy heart has softened. After Sugar Rush is restored, Calhoun watches in amusement as Vanellope, who has transformed into a princess, jokingly decrees to have everyone who has bullied her to be executed. Calhoun then calls for Felix and Ralph that the arcade is about to open. So Calhoun, Felix and Ralph return to their respective games, just in time for Felix and Ralph to save Fix-It Felix, Jr. Afterwards, Felix and Calhoun marry with Ralph serving as Felix's best man and Vanellope as Calhoun's maid of honor. And this time, all her men were standing watch for a potential Cy-Bug attack just in case. During the end credits, Calhoun is shown to continually join Felix, Ralph, and Vanellope on a series of game-jumping adventures.
Calhoun plays a major role in the spin-off comic that takes place before the film, revealing the sergeant's programmed backstory. It begins with a mission. Calhoun and her troops were assigned to travel to a planet with no name, a wasteland ravaged by a new robotic enemy known as the Cy-Bugs, to rescue the surviving civilians of the planet's apocalypse. The troops immediately storm out after landing, but the bugs quickly prove to be an invincible force. In the midst of battle, Calhoun and her second-in-command, Kohut, are accidentally separated from the rest of the troops, and are nearly killed by an overwhelming amount of bugs, only to be saved by a man named Brad Scott.
Brad takes the two back to his refuge, where he introduces himself as one of the original creators of the Cy-Bugs. He explains that the bugs started out as a concept for a toy, but by the time production was nearly complete, scientists realized they had created a powerful weapon instead—weapons armies around the world would want. Brad warned them not to go through with the mass production, but the scientists didn't listen. Unfortunately, the bugs eventually went berserk, and dominated the planet. The scientists escaped, but Brad voluntarily stayed behind to keep the creatures at bay.
He then informs Calhoun that there is a way to defeat an immense infusion of bugs, but it'll take much work. To defeat them, he'd have to reach the 99th floor of Hero's Duty Tower to activate a beacon, but with the bugs ravaging throughout the tower, it'll take weapons capable of great power to hold them off. Brad takes the time to hand over specially designed weapons to Calhoun and Kohut, specifically built for the Cy-Bug's destruction. The plan is set in motion, and Calhoun is able to reunite with her troops (who had reached the trapped civilians), handing over the special blasters to them, evacuating the civilians, and keeping the Cy-Bugs out of Brad's path in the process. Eventually, the beacon is created, and the bugs are destroyed.
During celebration, Calhoun and Brad realize they highly admire each others' efforts and actions during the mission, and soon fall in love. And with the Cy-Bugs sure to return, Calhoun and Brad team up to stay on the planet and keep the creatures at bay for the sake of humanity, the troops loyally following along.
Disney Comic Zone
Calhoun appears in two comic stories of the single-issue magazine. In the first, Calhoun makes a brief appearance at the end of the comic attending Ralph's "Wrecking Party".
In the second story, a narcissistic bully wrongfully hogs the turns of meeker players in an attempt to beat the Hero's Duty game. Displeased with the bully's attitude, Calhoun ignites the game's "Anti-Bully Boss", which sparks an unbeatable battle at the very end of the game. The plan results in the bully's ultimate failure and embarrassment.
Calhoun plays a minor role in the game, taking place after the events of the film. She appears in the opening and ending cutscenes alongside Felix, and makes a few vocal cameos during the Hero's Duty stage of the game.
Calhoun has three of her own power discs in the second installment to the series. "Cy-Bug Swarm", which allows the map to have swarm of Cy-Bugs fly about, "Calhoun's Command", which decorates the Toy Box map in the style of Hero's Duty and "Sergeant Calhoun's Blaster", which gives the player Calhoun's blaster as a weapon against enemies.
- According to director Rich Moore, Sergeant Calhoun was initially written as a male character. The gender flip occurred because Moore felt that a male action hero was boring. Additionally, Moore wanted to give Fix-It Felix, Jr. a love interest.
- Her harshness and manner of speech (with lots of obscure metaphors) is very similar to the Glee character Sue Sylvester, that Jane Lynch plays.
- Also, her facial appearance is similar to that of Jane Lynch.
- It is possible that her first name is a reference to Tamora, the Queen of the Goths in William Shakespeare's play Titus Andronicus. Calhoun's middle name, Jean, may be a reference to Saint Joan of Arc, an armored young commander who was the only female member of her 15th-Century French army and who led them to several victories.
- Jane Lynch also voiced Queen Neptuna, the leader of the Discarded Fun Meal toy support group in the Toy Story short Small Fry, as well as a part-time role as Mrs. Johnson from Phineas and Ferb. Lynch is famous for her role as Sue Sylvester from the musical TV series, Glee.
- Jane Lynch appeared in costume as Calhoun on the Halloween 2012 episode of The Ellen Show.
- Her outfit strongly resembles Commander Shepard's N7 armor from Mass Effect.
- She was likely inspired by such characters as Samus Aran of Metroid fame and the female version of the aforementioned Commander Shepard.
- Sergeant Calhoun's name is not mentioned on camera until the epilogue told by Ralph. She's only referred to by "she" or "her" by her soldiers, and "Ma'am" or "one dynamite gal" by Felix.
- Calhoun's first name, Tamora, was only mentioned on her bio on the official website for the film.
- In early drafts, Calhoun was going to have skin camouflage. This was cut out because the creators felt the audience would have a hard time relating to her.
- Calhoun is the only female in her own game, Hero's Duty.
- A Limited Edition doll was available at Disney Store in 2013.