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No one wanted to adopt me anymore. I was too old. I was being replaced. Every kid in town wanted a young rabbit like the one in that book. So, I tracked you down. I was just gonna use you as bait for a few fake and takes. But then I saw how good you were and I figured we could do something a lot bigger together.
~ Barnabas revealing his plot to Peter Rabbit
It’s not hard to lie to someone who wants to believe. But one thing is dead true: we are a great team. That’s why you’re in this truck with us instead of in a cage with them. This is where you belong, Peter. We’re your family now.
~ Barnabas’ most famous quote, as he reveals his true nature.
Barnabas is the main antagonist of the 2021 family film, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, the sequel to the 2018 family film Peter Rabbit. He is a professional animal thief, the leader of animal thieves.
He was voiced by Lennie James, who also played Zateb Kazim in Saraha.
At first glance, Barnabas comes off as a shady yet kind mentor to Peter, as he appears to understand how Peter feels over being portrayed as a villain in Bea's books. He is also shown to enjoy having fun, given how he and Peter escape from being chased from shop-owners in comedic-like fashion.
However, it soon revealed that this was just a mask in order to gain Peter’s trust as a way to get him to help him steal food while hiding his true nature of a traitorous, sinister, selfish, greedy, manipulative, and cold-hearted thief. He had primarily been using Peter to get all the fruit he wished to steal, but he did, however, feel like Peter would’ve made a great partner-in-crime because of his thieving skills.
This personality was formed because he was an elder who felt neglected by people because he was old and like he was ultimately being starved for not having a more youth-like appearance. Barnabas also thinks that animals should look after themselves and was willing to let Peter’s friends and family take the fall.
Barnabas is an elderly rabbit who has the same fur colour as Peter. He also has slightly shorter ears than most of the other rabbits as well as one ear having a notch. He has hazel green eyes matching the colour of his fur. He wears a grey buttoned shirt covered on the inside and a dark green jacket on the outside.
Barnabas grew up in town and eventually met other rodents, whom he would form a team with. Together, they would pull off heists that would involve Barnabas staying in a pet shop until he would be adopted. After being brought to his "home" and was left alone, they would steal all of the food and bring it back to their hideout.
However as time went on, the people visiting the pet shop wanted the younger rabbits since they were more cute, leading to Barnabas becoming jealous and bitter from being rejected. He eventually resorted to reading books in his spare time, some of which were written by Bea and were about a rabbit named Peter and his family and friends. Barnabas then decided to pose as a friend of Peter's deceased father to trick him into lowering his guard so he would then take the fall for his gang's next heist at a house.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Barnabas first appeared trying to a vegetable until he saw Peter come walking by.
Despite being his successor, Barnabas proved to be more dangerous and evil, as well as irredeemable than McGregor. Whereas McGregor was only trying to defend his estate and eventually redeemed himself, Barnabas actually commits crimes such as sabotage and robbery.
Barnabas serves as a dark counterpart to Peter. He represents what Peter could’ve become if he had become bitter and resentful for the way people treat him. While Peter stays true to himself and cares for his friends and family, Barnabas doesn't care for anyone but himself and allowed his jealousy and bitterness to consume him.
Barnabas is presumably based off the title character from The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.