Capt. Zapp Brannigan (voiced by Billy West1
) is the most commended twenty-five star general in the Democratic Order of Planets
(DOOP) in the Futurama
universe. From aboard his starship, the Nimbus
, Zapp has led a number of campaigns and missions for the DOOP including a magnificent triumph against the pacifist
s of the Ghandi
Nebula, a carpet bombing
of the planet Eden 7, and he was in command against the horde of rampaging killbots in the Octillian System (he defeated the killbots by sending wave after wave of his own men at them in order to force the killbots to reach their preset kill limit). Some of his other achievements include writing his own book, Zapp Brannigan's Big Book Of War
, piloting the space cruiser Titanic
to its destruction at the hands of a black hole
, and convincing the DOOP to make red miniskirt velour uniforms the organization's default officer's outfits.
Zapp was first seen in Futurama in the first season episode "Love's Labors Lost In Space" where he was charged with upholding DOOP Directive B10.81, also known as Brannigan's Law. Brannigan's Law is analagous to the Prime Directive of Star Trek in that the law orders that nobody interfere with underdeveloped planets. In this case he was patrolling Vergon 6, a planet on the brink of implosion, when Leela, Fry, and Bender showed up in order to save the animals of the planet from extinction. Zapp intervened and during the encounter he seduced Leela, something that she would forever try to live down. It was also during this encounter that Leela learned the truth about Zapp: he's a dimwitted wimp who avoids actual confrontations.
In season two's "Brannigan Begin Again" Zapp inadvertantly destroyed the new intergalactic DOOP headquarters by attempting to cut the ceremonial ribbon with the Nimbus's laser. Stripped of his rank, Zapp and his assistant Kif Kroaker were hired by Professor Farnsworth of Planet Express. Now working beside Leela and crew, Zapp led a mutiny during a delivery run and took command of this ship. His first order: declaring war on the Neutral Planet in a preemptive strike before the Neutrals could launch some kind of neutral plot. As the Planet Express Ship plummeted towards the Neutral Planet, Zapp and Kif fled the ship and returned to Earth. Leela managed to pull the ship away at the last minute, averting disaster. Due to his exaggerating his exploits during his downtime, Zapp was reinstated by the DOOP.
In "War is the H-Word" Zapp led Earth's army against the planet Sphereon 1 and the native Brainballs. Working alongside Earth President Richard Nixon, Zapp implanted a bomb inside Bender's body and sent him to negotiate with the Brainball leaders, then escaped from the planet. Disaster was averted, however, when Fry and Leela intervened before the bomb could detonate.
During an encounter against the Decapoidians (Dr. Zoidberg's species) in "A Taste of Freedom" the Nimbus was destroyed, although Zapp escaped harm and went on to come to a truce with the enemy. Time will tell what victorious campaigns Zapp will lead next.
1 Zapp was originally planned to be voiced by Phil Hartman who even insisted on auditioning for the role even though Futurama-creator Matt Groening promised him the role. Alas, Phil was murdered by his wife before production of the series began, but Billy West stepped into the role and made the character his own.