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Willard Tweedy, or better known as Mr. Tweedy, is the secondary antagonist of DreamWorks' 4th full-length animated feature film Chicken Run, which is also Aardman's 1st feature film and Pathe's 1st animated feature film.
He is Mrs. Tweedy's abused husband who helps her run the farm and is often sent to check on the chickens. While more reasonable, he can also be as violent as his wife to due his desire to please her as much as possible.
Mr. Tweedy is a bumbling, clumsy, obstinate, pertinacious and ill-tempered individual. He is dominated by his abusive wife named Melisha Tweedy, whom he is in terror of due to her verbal abuse and sometimes physical outrages against her husband. There is certainly no love lost between the two of them (though at a random moment in the film, Mr. Tweedy does call his wife by the term of endearment "love", indicating that there may be some love between them, though not much). Mrs. Tweedy treats him more as if a servant than an equal partner and repeatedly undermines his self-worth, as well as references to his ancestors as poor worthless nothings. Meanwhile, Mr. Tweedy resents her and only lets her get her way because he is too loyal to call her out until the end.
While he is generally absentminded, Tweedy is rather "simple, not stupid" instead of outwardly dumb. It was this lack of wits that allowed him to understand that the chickens were actually very plotting and organized whereas his wife disregarded them as "the most stupid creatures on this planet". Tweedy appears to have more mechanical skills, as he was able to rebuild the pie machine himself, albeit with some complications initially.
He also appears to have a genuine dislike for the chickens that he usually farms, as he shouted aggressively towards the onlooking hens after he trapped Ginger in a coal bin, similar to a prison warden demoralizing his inmates who attempted an escape. He is also shown to be especially disparaging and contemptuous towards Ginger, the leader of the flock as she repeatedly embarrassed him in front of his wife and likely caused the abuse to get worse. This grudge was evident when he vengefully chose her to demonstrate the pie machine, claiming "I've got a score to settle with you.". Despite his obnoxious and abusive nature, he eventually turned out to be a happy and calm man when in a pleasant mood. He also shows that he can stand up to his wife, but only after becoming fed up with her abuse.
Mr. Tweedy wears a dark green shirt and dark green pants, a brown vest, a yellow dress shirt, and a blue scarf around his neck. He also has a tan hat and black boots. He is also has short brunette hair and has brown eyes. He is also short and slightly overweight, compared to his wife who is taller and thinner.
Mr. Tweedy is one of the two owners and the main worker om Tweedy's farm, North England. He and his wife, Mrs. Melisha Tweedy run their egg farm more akin to a prison or prisoner of war camp, with Mr. Tweedy acting like the prison warder and his wife the warden. Mr. Tweedy is terrified of his wife and her short temper. For this reason, he follows her orders no matter how unreasonable or foolish they may seem. It is Mr. Tweedy who suspects/knows that the chickens are planning to escape, but Mrs. Tweedy refuses to listen to him.
At the start of the film, Mr. Tweedy and his two dogs are shown patrolling the fence around the chicken coop like prison officers, looking for signs of trouble. They soon catch Ginger and some of the other hens attempting to escape. Since Ginger is the only one outside the fence, the dogs chase her whilst Mr. Tweedy watches. Unfortunately, the commotion catches the attention of his wife, who is not happy and orders him to deal with the matter immediately. Angered, Mr. Tweedy locks Ginger in a coal bunker, then tells the other hens that "NO CHICKEN ESCAPES FROM TWEEDY'S FARM!" This threat did not stop the chickens from trying to make several more escape attempts. Each was systematically foiled by Mr. Tweedy and his canines, culminating in Ginger being locked in the bunker again.
One night, Mr. Tweedy observed the chickens making yet another plot to escape. Talking to himself, he declared that Ginger was the groups leader and that they were well organised. These delcarations were dismissed by his wife who told him to drop the matter. Calling him stupid and delusional, she told him to drop the matter and forced him to say that he was imagining things. From that point on, whenever Mr. Tweedy noticed any of the chickens suspicious behaviour or activities, he usually did as his wife had instructed and told himself "It's all in your head." When Rocky the Rooster escaped from the circus, he landed at the Tweedy's residence, but thanks to the chickens efforts, he escaped detection.
Without the input of her husband, Mrs Tweedy purchased a pie making machine intending to turn their failing egg business into a more lucrative industry called Mrs Tweedy's Chicken Pies. Mr. Tweedy was suprised by this, having come from a long line of egg farmers, but nevertheless complied. He put the machine together single handed without any assistance. Once it was finished, he asked how the machine worked. When Mrs Tweedy said she would show him if he provided a chicken, Mr. Tweedy said he knew just the one.
Heading over to the coop, he retrieved Ginger, both to deprive the chickens of their leader and take revenge for all the times she had embarrassed him. Strapping her to the machine he then turned it on and waited for it to turn out the produce. Unbeknownst to the Tweedy's, Rocky had followed the farmer into the barn. Thanks to the roosters efforts, he and Ginger managed to escape unharmed, damaging the pie machine in the process. This earnt Mr. Tweedy, who was blamed by his wife, a pie to the face and bought the chickens enough time to come up with another escape plan.
Over the next several days, Mr. Tweedy tried to fix the pie machine. His attempts were foiled somewhat by Nick and Fletcher the rats, who stole his tools so that the chickens could build a plane or old crate as they called it. After several failed attempts and a boot up the backside from Mrs Tweedy, Mr. Tweedy finally managed to get the machine working again. Entering the barn, Mrs Tweedy told her husband to fetch the chickens, all of them!
Mr. Tweedy did as instructed, but upon lifting the lid of one of the huts, he found the chickens hard at work, using his missing tools. Making his presence known, Mr. Tweedy's shock soon faded. Now with the confirmation that he had been right all along, there was a brief stand off between himself and the fowl. However Ginger had finally had enough of living under her cruel owners and refused to give up when they were so close to escaping. Before Mr. Tweedy knew what was happening, Ginger ordered an all out attack on his person. A few seconds later, nearly every chicken in the facility had pounced upon the helpless farmer. Mr. Tweedy tried to warn his wife about what was happening, but she took his declaration that the chickens were "revolting" literally. Within no time, the farmer had been restrained with a length of rope and gagged by his own hat which was shoved into his mouth.
In retaliation for all the times he had locked her in the bunker, Ginger had Mr. Tweedy shoved unceremoniously under the hut. Having just taken their first steps towards freedom, Ginger told the others that the time had finally come, they were all going to escape, right then and there. Mr. Tweedy looked on in amazement as the flock prepared the plane for take off, once again trying and failing to notify his wife as to what was happening. With Fowler at the helm, Mac at the engines and the rest of the flock providing power, the chickens began their take off sequence. Unfortunately, Mr. Tweedy managed to wriggle out from under the hut and kicked over the take off ramp. This forced Fowler to swerve sharply, the planes tail landing a glancing blow to Mr. Tweedy's head. The farmer fell to the ground and remained uncouncious for the remainder of the event.
By the time Mr. Tweedy came around, both the chickens and their plane were skyborn. Managing to untie himself, he rushed into the barn, in order to inform his wife about the situation, unaware that she had already tried and failed to thwart the chickens escape. However, upon opening the door, Mr. Tweedy saw that his wife was stuck, head first, in the machines safety valve. Looking at the instruments, Mr. Tweedy saw the warning lights were flashing and that the machines gravy pressure was dangerously high. Knowing what was about to happen, Mr. Tweedy chose not to help his wife or risk his safety by attempting to turn off the machine. Instead, he just quietly stepped back out of the barn and shut the door.
Moments later, an explosion rocked the area, showering the entire area in gravy. Unhurt, Mr. Tweedy once again opens the door to the factory. There he finds that Mrs. Tweedy had survived, but was now covered in gravy and thar the machinery has been completely destroyed. With nothing better to say, Mr. Tweedy berates his wife, telling her that he was right about the chickens and that she should have listened to him. This only angers Mrs. Tweedy who is furious that, amongst other things, her husband was right all along. Growling menacingly, she prepares to shout at him again.
Before she can though, Mr. Tweedy decided that he had finally had enough of his wife's abuse. Without a word, Mr. Tweedy pushes the barn door down on top of her, hesitates for a second, then moves off in the direction of the house, leaving Mrs. Tweedy where she is. It is unknown what happened to Mr. Tweedy after this, with fans speculating that he may have moved off the farm and started a new life or found a new job, since both him and his wife are poor and lost everything. Whilst it is not clear if Mrs. Tweedy survived having the door pushed on her, fans also believe that if she did, then following this incident the Tweedy's divorced or at the very least, separated.
Mr. Tweedy guarding the fence to the chicken coops.
Mr. Tweedy spotting Ginger who got out of the fence.
Mr. Tweedy grabbing Ginger as he's confronted by his wife.
Mr. Tweedy being told by his wife to deal with Ginger.
Mr. Tweedy glaring at Ginger.
Mr. Tweedy taking Ginger to a box.
Mr. Tweedy about to throw Ginger in the box.
Mr. Tweedy locking Ginger in solitary confinement.
"Now let that be a lesson to the lot of you! No chicken escapes from Tweedy's farm!"
"This is what we'll be doing now, Mr. Tweedy."
Both Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy's management on their chicken farm, as well as chicken farm itself somewhat equivalent with typical prison (or rather super-maximum security prison) for humans in real life than normal real-life chicken farms for the following reason:
Fences around Tweedy's family are covered with barbed wire in a similar manner with real-life prisons.
It is said that all chickens must lay eggs properly as well as never did any attempt to escape or punished via either locked within coal bin or death penalty via butchering. This somewhat similar to the real-life prison where all inmates must obey the rules within the prison or receiving severe punishment.
Mr. Tweedy's job, along with his hounds in the movie is also comparable with security guards in real-life prison, while Mrs. Tweedy herself on the other hand, is comparable with prison wardens.
Ironically, in real life, chickens will voluntarily stay near farms without fencing, even if they end up slaughtered, as selective breeding had removed their fear of humans.
Mr. Tweedy is the only human male full-length Aardman animated movie antagonist who speaks with a Northern English accent, While Victor Quartermaine from Wallace and Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, who speaks with a received pronunciation, and Lord Nooth from Early Man, who speaks with a French accent.
His first name, "Willard", is never mentioned in the film.
Mr. Tweedy carries a double barrel shotgun throughout the film when he patrols the farm. However, he hardly ever uses it.
While it is unclear whether Mr. Tweedy pushed the heavy barn door on Mrs. Tweedy on purpose or accidentally, the initial depiction of the scene had Mrs. Tweedy insulting him for his incompetence after he tells her that she should have listened him about the chickens, leading Mr. Tweedy to get angry and push the door to get back on her. The scene was edited, most likely because these actions are not in-character for Mr. Tweedy, but even in the final cut it can still be seen that Mr. Tweedy has his hands near the door when it falls, either implying he deliberately pushed it or he was reaching to stop it falling. Either way, he does show that he dislikes his wife's treatment of him even if he didn't show it until the ending.
According to the tie-in book Cutting Loose: Behind the Fences at Tweedy's Farm, after the chickens escaped the farm, Mr. Tweedy and his wife moved to Scotland and started a seaweed farm. In another tie-in book called Chicken Pies For The Soul, it is said that the reason Mr. Tweedy is suspicious of the chickens was because his Uncle Jimmy was killed by a big rooster named Brute.