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Villain Overview
You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one, and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It's not about food, it's about keeping those ants in line. That's why we're going back! Does anybody else want to stay?
~ Hopper rallying his grasshoppers

Hopper is the main antagonist of Pixar's 2nd full-length animated feature film, A Bug's Life. He is the cunning leader of a gang of grasshoppers, including his younger brother Molt, and a feral grasshopper named Thumper. He is Flik's arch-nemesis until Flik led him to his death by a bird.

He was voiced by the legendary actor, Kevin Spacey, who also played John Doe, Lex Luthor, Clyde Northcutt, Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze, Jonathan Irons, and David Harken.

History

A Bug's Life

Introduction

It seems to me that you ants are forgetting your place. So, let's double the order of food. We'll be back at the end of the season... when the last leaf falls. You ants have a nice summer. LET'S RIDE!
~ Hopper to the ants

At the beginning of the film, Flik accidentally destroys the offering of food the ants prepared for the grasshoppers. When they arrive, Hopper is angry to find the food all gone, but is willing enough to give the ants a second chance. Flik stands up to Hopper, and Hopper doubles the order of food that the ants must prepare.

Hopper's Speech

You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It's not about food, it's about keepin' those ants in line. That's why we're goin' back! Does anybody else wanna stay?
~ Hopper's speech to the grasshoppers

After a while, Hopper is seen again at his hangout in the desert. Molt suggests to Hopper that they do not collect food from the ants due to them having enough food to get them through the winter as it is. As Hopper is about to punch him for suggesting this, Molt frantically tells him that it wasn't his idea, causing him to direct his attention towards the two grasshoppers, Axel and Loco, that had told him to tell him this. Hopper kills the two goons and then explains that it was never about food but "keeping the ants in line." And he and his goons fly out of the hangout towards Ant Island.

Rise to Power

NOT ONE ANT SLEEPS UNTIL WE GET EVERY SCRAP OF FOOD ON THIS ISLAND!
~ Hopper yelling at the ants

When he is dissatisfied with the amount of offering the ants give him after a second chance, Hopper takes over Ant Island and plots to kill the Queen. After hearing from Dot about Hopper's plot, Flik and the circus troupe return to the island and rescue the Queen, with the help of the fake bird that they made earlier in the season. Hopper had a fear of birds, but he soon discovers that the bird is a fake after it is set on fire by P.T. Flea, and has Thumper beat up Flik upon realizing that it was his idea.

Flik's Bird Brained Idea

You piece of dirt! No, I'm wrong. You're lower than dirt. You're an ANT! Let this be a lesson to all of you ants: Ideas are very dangerous things! You are mindless, soil-shoving losers! Put on this Earth to serve us!
~ Hopper insulting the ants after having Thumper beat up Flik

Flik makes his heartfelt and assertive speech about how his colony is strong in number. Hopper swats Flik to the ground and raises his foot to squish him, but Atta intervenes. Hopper then turns to see all the ants and the circus bugs ready to fight and bombard him. After being ditched by his own minions, Hopper is trapped in the circus cannon, at the time when it starts to rain. Seeking revenge on Flik for embarrassing him, Hopper shoots himself toward Flik and flies away with him. The circus bugs give chase to save Flik and Heimlich commands Rosie to fling Tuck and Roll at Hopper and she does so. Tuck and Roll jump on Hopper and try to stop him, only for the mad grasshopper to fly through a small hole to get them off of him. As they watched him fly off with Flik, one of the brothers gets mad at the other, only for the other to reveal he has ripped off Hopper's left antennae. Hopper notices this and gets angry and continues to fly off, only for Atta to intervene and swipe Flik away from him. Hopper immediately pursues them across the river.

The End of Hopper

((Hopper lands before him) Flik: Hopper!) You think it's over? (Flik: No, no, no. No, I can explain--) All your little stunt did was buy them time! (Flik: No, please! Please, Hopper--) I'll get more grasshoppers and be back next season. But, you won't! (the bird appears above them; Hopper looks up and notices the bird) Well, what's this, another one of your little bird tricks? (Filk: Yep) Are there a bunch of little girls in this one, too? Hello, girls!
~ Hopper's last words.

After Flik and Atta hide and Flik runs off to find Hopper (with Atta begging him not to), the grasshopper lands in front of him. He gets increasingly angry at Flik and tells him the fight is not over as he corners a scared Flik into a bird's nest. Flik begs Hopper not to finish him, but he ignores him and strangles Flik in an attempt to kill him and tells him next season, he will be back with more grasshoppers, but Flik won't. Suddenly, the sparrow (the same one that attacked Flik and his friends earlier) pops out of her nest and notices Flik and Hopper. Believing this to be another one of Flik's "bird tricks", Hopper teases the bird by greeting the "girls" in the bird's mouth until she shrieks at him. Realizing it is a real bird and that Flik had led him to a trap, Hopper screams in terror and tries to run away, only for the bird to block his path and quickly catch him in her beak, before taking the panicking Hopper over to her nest and feeding him to her newborn chicks, where he finally meets his end and indicating that he is the real mindless soil shoving loser. At the end of the film, Tuck and Roll are seen playing with Hopper's antennae, which is all that is left of him. 

It's Tough to Be a Bug!

Despite his death in the film, Hopper somehow reappeared in the short film.

A Bug's Life (The Video Game)

Though Hopper is the main antagonist in the respective Nintendo 64 and Playstation versions of A Bug's Life, he doesn't officially appear until the game's final three levels (Anthill Part 2, Riverbed Flight, and Canyon Showdown). He makes an appearance in the game over screen (in the N64 version of the game). Though in the Playstation version, the scene where he furiously throws the leaf of food at the ants plays when it's game over.

Personality

Hopper is a ruthless, violent, cunning, manipulative, and egotistical dictator who thinks nothing of killing ants, whom he considers lower than dirt, and dislikes being thought of as weak in any way. His manner of speaking to Princess Atta is reminiscent of an abusive and argumentative boyfriend mocking his terrified and pusillanimous girlfriend. He also beats up his own henchmen and even kills three of them. However, he is somewhat compassionate and merciful, as seen when he gives the ants a second chance at providing food after they fail miserably. Otherwise, Hopper sees mercy and compassion as weaknesses and relies mostly on fear to maintain authority.

Hopper was the only grasshopper who realized the ants outnumbered them 100 to 1. He realized that the ants are like simple-minded sheep and can't really think for themselves, therefore taking advantage of them. In one event of the film, Hopper expresses concern that Flik stands up to him, because one rebel ant is enough to cause a whole colony's mutiny. Deep down, Hopper knows the ants are stronger than they appear; for this reason, he actually fears them, but he hides it with his ruthless and dictatorial demeanor.

His only slightly redeeming quality is that he seemed to love his mother given that he refused to kill Molt due to a promise he made to her on her deathbed. Hopper was more knowledgeable than the other grasshoppers, and also, by his manipulative and serious personality, was more of a magisterial and oppressive leader.

Appearance

Hopper is a slender gold grasshopper who is very tall (at least, for an insect). He is also blind in his right eye, because of a scratch from a blue jay that almost ate him. He towers over Flik and the ants in the movie. His legs are long, good for long ranged kick attacks.

Trivia

  • Hopper was voiced by Kevin Spacey in A Bug's Life, and by Andrew Stanton (the film's co-director) in It's Tough to be a Bug and in the video game. John Lasseter had offered the role twice to Robert De Niro, who declined both times.
  • Hopper is the first main Pixar movie villain to be physically fought.
    • He is also the first main Pixar movie villain to die in his movie.
  • Next to Syndrome and Lotso, Hopper is considered one of Pixar's most evil and ruthless villains.
  • Hopper's death is similar to Peter Ludlow's, where they are fed to the babies of, in their eyes, a ferocious animal.

Navigation

           Pixar Villains

Animated Features
Sid Phillips | Scud | One-Eyed Bart | Attack Dog with Built-in-force-field | Hopper | Thumper | Stinky Pete | Al McWhiggin | Emperor Zurg | Zurg Empire (Zurg Bots, Warp Darkmatter, Hornets, Brain Pods & Grubs) | Dr. Porkchop | Henry James Waternoose | Randall Boggs | Syndrome | Omnidroids | Mirage | The Underminer | Bomb Voyage | Chick Hicks | Chef Skinner | AUTO | GO-4 | Axiom's Stewards | Charles Muntz | Alpha | Beta & Gamma | Lotso | Lotso's Gang (Ken, Big Baby, Stretch, Chunk, Sparks, Twitch & Monkey) | One-Eyed Betty | Little Green Men | The Witch | Miles Axlerod | Professor Zundapp | Grem | Acer | Mor'du | Johnny Worthington III | Roar Omega Roar (Chet Alexander) | Thunderclap | Thunderclap's Flock | Bubbha | Velociraptors

Shorts/TV Specials
Ronald Tompkins | Mr. Jones | The Cleric | Goliathon | Reptillus Maximus | Battlesaurs