Cats inherit first? And I come after the cats? Me after... It's not fair! I mean, each cat will live about twelve years, and each cat has nine lives, that's four times twelve multiplied by nine times...Anyway, much longer than I'll ever live. I'll be gone...No, oh no, they will be gone.
~ Edgar after listening to Madame Adelaide's inheritance plans.
Edgar Balthazar is the main antagonist of Disney's 20th full-length animated feature film The Aristocats, which is based on the story of the same name by Tom McGowan and the late Tom Rowe. He is the pompous butler of Madame Adelaide de Bonfamile who plots to get rid of Duchess and her kittens in order to become the sole inheritor to the former's fortune. He is Thomas O'Malley's arch-nemesis.
After hearing that Madame Adelaide has stated in her will that she intends to give all of her fortune to her cats and he only can access to the fortune once they all die, Edgar plans to get rid of them. To ensure this, he puts sleeping pills in the cat's food. Delivering the food to the cats as their dinner, he leaves them until they have eaten it all. Roquefort the mouse (who is a friend of the cats) is also invited to eat and, being much smaller than the cats succumbs to the "Creme de la creme a la Edgar" as well, but is ignored by Edgar. At night, Edgar smuggles the Baudelaires out of the mansion and drives off with his motorcycle, so paranoid about his actions that he accidentally drives into a subway station on the way.
After Having left the city, Edgar drives by an old mill, planning on throwing them off the bridge into the river below. However, the two dogs Napoleon and Lafayette are attracted to him due to the noise of his motorcycle. To avoid the dogs, Edgar drives off the road and through a river, thereby losing the basket containing the cats. Unexpectedly, Edgar temporarily loses his motorcycle to the two dogs but eventually gets it back. Still pursued by the dogs, who have obtained the sidecar of the motorcycle and Edgar's hat, he eventually escapes, with crashing into the mill first. Edgar then heads back into the city.
When the cats awaken in the wilderness, Toulouse tells his mother that Edgar did this to them. However, she brushes him off, claiming that Edgar would never do such a thing.
The same night, Madame Adelaide wakes up to find her cats gone. Her screams awaken Roquefort, who sets out to find them. After an unsuccessful search, Roquefort enters the stable to tell Frou-Frou the horse the sad news. While Roquefort was talking to Frou-Frou, she witnesses Edgar entering the stable in high spirits. Unaware that Foru-Frou is an intelligent horse, Edgar brags about his act, showing her the newspaper headline, which disgusts her and Roquefort demotes that Edgar was the kidnapper, in which his kidnapping of the cats is called a work of a genius. While gloating about that the police will not find any evidence that could compromise him, Edgar vows that he will eat his hat if they do. However, his happiness is cut short when he realizes that he in fact lost his hat, umbrella, basket (which Duchess and Kittens were contained before the skirmish with Napoleon and Lafayette) and the motorcycle sidecar at the crime scene. Distraught, he plans to return to the mill at night to retrieve his lost things in order to eliminate all evidence of his crime.
Equipped with a fishing rod, Edgar then once again drives off at night, this time closely followed by Roquefort, who has hidden in Edgar's tail light. However, during the ride Roquefort is shaken out of the light and left in the streets of Paris. Edgar returns to the mill to find Napoleon and Lafayette asleep in the sidecar and the casket the cats were left in, with Napoleon wearing Edgar's head, The dogs are awoken by the squeaking of Edgar's shoes but decide they only heard a cricket. Edgar then tries to get the hat back by using his fishing pole but after failing two times, Napoleon holds the hat with his paws while asleep. To get to the hat, Edgar rubs the dog's belly while he is asleep and is indeed able to retrieve the hat.
He then tries to get the casket as well, but Napoleon wakes up to see the casket, with Lafayette inside, being lifted into the air. Edgar then drops Lafayette into the sidecar, but when he tries to get his umbrella as well, he accidentally activating the sidecar's horn and wakes up the dogs. Edgar then drives off, having successfully retrieved all of his possessions.
With the help of Thomas O'Malley, Duchess and her kittens return to Madame Adelaide's mansion. Roquefort sees them from a window and is delighted, but realizes that he has to do something about Edgar so he ties his shoelaces together. As the cat door is barred, the kittens start meowing. When Edgar hears this, he is shocked and quickly gets up, only to fall down. Using the opportunity that Roquefort runs to the window and tries to get the kitten's attention to tell them to run. However, although they see him that they do not understand what he is trying to say and Edgar traps Duchess and her kittens in a sack directly after letting them into the house.
However, before he can do anything he is forced to hide the sack in the cold oven, as Madame Adelaide enters the hall, having heard their cats as well. Believing the cats to be outside, Adelaide orders Edgar to open the door to let them in, but sees that no one is waiting outside. After a moment, Adelaide is forced to admit that no one is outside. While Edgar is occupied with Adelaide, Duchess is able to communicate with Roquefort, who sends him to find Thomas O'Malley.
Edgar then locks himself into the stable and locks the cats into a chest, planning to send them to Timbuktu. But before Edgar could start taking the chest outside, O’Malley immediately attacks him, and he and Frou-Frou desperately try to stop Edgar. Furiously, Edgar chases O'Malley with a pitchfork, but soon gets attacked by Scat Cat and his gang as well.
After Roquefort has managed to unlock the cage (after temporarily getting the fighting to stop by shouting at everyone to be quiet), Thomas O'Malley jumps into the crate to help Duchess and her kittens but Edgar closes it again, still intending to ship them to Timbuktu. To prevent this, the alley cats with help from Frou-Frou keep Edgar occupied long enough to be able to open the crate and after Thomas and the other cat's have jumped out, Frou-Frou kicks Edgar into the crate, shutting it close and trapping him inside. The shipping company then arrives and, seeing only one possible crate, take the crate containing Edgar, who is apparently unable to call for help due still being dazed for the cats' attack, to ship him to Timbuktu. It's completely unknown what happened to Edgar after this, but it's likely that he starved to death or suffocated inside the crate, as there was no food nor holes to breathe, although he could also have been discovered inside the crate and released from it, albeit already far from France. However, it turns out that he currently lives in Timbuktu as his punishment.
The next day, Madame Adelaide finds that Edgar is gone and, believing that he has left her service, writes him out of her will. While this doesn't confirm anything, this implies that Madame Adelaide possibly ultimately planned to distribute her fortune between the cats and Edgar, something that Edgar, either alive or dead, would never know.
Edgar is portrayed as a sophisticated and polite butler, yet underneath his exterior belies a scheming, greedy, impatient, and egotistical man (though this attitude only sparks because Madame Bonfamille's fortune is mentioned; otherwise, he would have willingly remained loyal to his mistress, thus eliminating his antagonistic role).
While Edgar is highly manipulative and selfish, he seems to have some degree of empathy. It would have been easy for him to just kill Duchess and her kittens, but instead, he chose only to kidnap them and release them into the wild; and when that did not work so well, he decided to ship them to Timbuktu as well as when he fought Thomas O'Malley with a pitchfork, he used it to restrain the cat instead of impaling or killing him. This means that Edgar clearly has a better sense of morality than villains like Cruella De Vil and is far more clumsy than villainous, as evidenced from his bumbling antics, from stumbling over a trash can to mistaking a tree branch for a gun to his back, making a clumsy u-turn on his motorcycle away from the police station to riding his motorcycle down the subway stairs by mistake, spitting out a mouthful of wine in shock when he hears the kittens meowing loudly at the door, getting his shoelaces tied together by Roquefort the mouse and tripping on them, and (most comical of all) getting in a situation involving Napoleon and Lafayette (two farm dogs) attacking him.
Edgar is also shown to be an extremely irrational and unintelligent imbecile. He seems to take the expression that cats have nine lives literally, explaining his belief that he would be dead long before the cats pass away. He also doesn't seem to realize that even if Duchess and her kittens could outlive him, he would still have control over their inherited wealth, since, as cats, they obviously can't use money by themselves. However, one explanation may be that Edgar might have had to use some of the money on the cats, when he really just wants it all for himself.
He is referred to onscreen as Edgar, but he is only credited as Butler.
In the storybook adaptation, instead of being shipped to Timbuktu, Edgar gets fired by Madame Adelaide and subsequently written out from her will after she discovers what he did with Duchess and her kittens. In the German storybook adaptation, in which Edgar was shipped to Timbuktu like in the film, it is revealed that he was released from the crate once at Equatorial Africa and was arrested for illegal immigration.
Originally, Edgar was going to be accompanied by a scheming maid named Elvira, who was supposed to be his partner-in-crime.