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|“||Attention, Springfield. Your government has realized that sealing you inside this dome was a terrible mistake. Therefore, we are commencing with Operation Soaring Eagle. [crowd cheers]... which involves killing you all.||„|
|~ Russ Cargill revealing his true nature, before planting a bomb inside the domed city of Springfield.|
|“||Well, always leave 'em laughing. Goodbye, sir.||„|
|~ Russ Cargill's last words to kill Homer.|
Russ Cargill is the main antagonist of the 2007 animated film The Simpsons Movie, which is based on the long-running TV series The Simpsons. He later makes a cameo appearance in one of the comics and a Halloween special (although both of these entries are considered non-canon). He is also the second archenemy of Homer Simpson after Mr. Burns.
He is the head of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the commander of the Dome operation. He imprisons all of Springfield inside a glass dome when the lake reaches impossible pollution levels. He also purposely plots to destroy all of Springfield to make money for a new Grand Canyon plan.
At first, Russ Cargill appears as a very professional but still sinister figure, keeping the idea of continuing his job and finishing it in a more professional manner. However, after the Simpsons escape the dome, Cargill goes mad with power and forgets about his job and orders, only focusing on destroying Springfield and capturing the family.
He also can be quite manipulative as he tricked the President into authorizing a plan to demolish Springfield and replace it with a new Grand Canyon, as he exploits the President's idiocy into approving it. Aside from almost killing at least several hundred of them in his scheme, he is willing to kill children as he would have shot Bart along with Homer.
Despite mostly being serious, Russ also has some comical moments such as falling for Bart's last words prank. Furthermore, while mostly a heartless madman, he did convince the President not to choose document five. While one could think that it wasn't as extreme as the fourth pick, one could also argue that the fifth solution was worse than blowing up Springfield.
On the other hand, Russ is nothing more than an insane madman. He would have done everything he could to maintain his power even if it meant killing kids.
Before The Simpsons Movie
Before the events of the film, Russ studied at Harvard, attending its business school. While there he noted that they "don't teach you how to cope with loss, and handle a shotgun". He became a successful man who was eventually appointed the head of the EPA by the President.
The Simpsons Movie
Russ first appears during his visit to the White House where he presented a mutant squirrel to President Schwarzenegger. Cargill explains that the pollution levels at the lake of Springfield are very high (which caused the mutation) and that they need to be contained. Cargill manages to provide five options on how to deal with the contamination, and President Schwarzenegger randomly chooses one of them, which is to encase Springfield in a huge glass dome (referred to as "Trappuccino" by the citizens) to contain the high pollution levels.
Appearing on a giant LCD screen in the dome, Cargill explains about the pollution levels and why the EPA is forced to take action by trapping the city, which obviously enrages the Springfield citizens. Eventually, the townspeople except for Ned Flanders and his kids found out that Homer Simpson was responsible for causing the pollution by dumping his pig silo into the lake in the first place, so they attempt to kill him and his family in revenge. This forces the Simpson family to escape through a sinkhole, which eventually destroys the Simpson residence.
With the news behind the cause of the pollution revealed, Cargill becomes mad with power, vowing to capture the Simpsons and confine them back in the dome, which forces the Simpsons to escape to Alaska. His next scene shows him tricking the President into choosing "Operation: Soaring Eagle", which involves killing everyone in Springfield and creating a "New Grand Canyon" (advertised by actor Tom Hanks). After Marge watches the advertisement in the television, she tries to get Homer to come with her and the kids to save Springfield, but he stubbornly refuses to help the townspeople who tried to kill him. This force makes Marge to go alone with Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Later, Homer watches a tearful message that Marge recorded over their marriage tape. Having a change of heart with the help of the boob lady, he goes to help his family save Springfield.
Meanwhile, the NSA tracks Marge's location in Seattle through a train conductor robot, who then reveals her location to Cargill, who captures the remaining Simpsons at a train station and traps them inside the dome again. When the family are brought back after Homer's failed attempt to rescue them, Cargill contacts the town once again via the screen and tells them that the EPA is going to destroy Springfield and kill everybody contained in the dome. A helicopter arrives, lifts a plug off the top of the dome, and lowers a nuclear bomb on a rope in front of the now-destroyed City Hall. Russ impatiently oversees the countdown, and Cletus Spuckler distracts him so the townspeople can escape up the rope.
Homer, who has climbed the outside of the dome, jumps through the hole and knocks everyone off of the rope, accidentally knocking the bomb inside in the process (as well as accidentally cutting the bomb's remaining countdown in half), much to the city's anger, prompting an annoyed Cargill to disappear at this point. However, Homer gets a motorcycle and, with the help of Bart, throws the bomb through the dome's "ceiling," which explodes and destroys the dome, saving Springfield from destruction and leaving Cargill's plan in vain.
While Homer and Bart land safely after jumping over Springfield Gorge, a furious Cargill suddenly appears with a shotgun and confronts the two. Cargill admits that he will accept his defeat, but only after he kills Homer as revenge for foiling his plans. Just when Cargill is about to fire, Bart distracts him with a prank name, which allows Maggie to throw a boulder on Cargill's head from behind, instantly knocking him unconscious. It’s likely that President Schwarzenegger fired him as EPA administrator and had him arrested after the events of the movie (if he survived). As he is never seen again by the Simpsons or anyone else again in Springfield.
It is unknown where he is now since he was never shown in Springfield Penitentiary after the movie. He appears in "The Walking Ned" (non-canon to the series) as one of the deceased characters from the show, now a zombie, which could possibly prove that he died from the boulder.
Russ briefly appears in the opening sequence of the episode of season 19 called "He Loves To Fly And He D'ohs", his only appearance outside the movie so far. He was also seen in The Simpsons Comics on "The Death of Comic Book Guy Part 2", giving President Arnold Schwarzenegger the news that people will not be insulted on the internet anymore.
The president then says that he thought that he had fired him and does so after he's finished telling him. Later in the same comic, he is seen working for Mayor Quimby and telling him about the fight between the nerds and geeks. This appearance is non-canon.
Russ also appears as a limited-time character in The Simpsons: Tapped Out. He was only available during the Secret Agents 2017 event.
- The late Kirk Douglas, Jeff Daniels, John Malkovich, Liam Neeson, Robert De Niro, J.K. Simmons, Steve Carell, Christopher Lloyd, and the late Robin Williams were all considered for the role before Albert Brooks was cast.
- When Cargill meets Homer and Bart at the gorge, his clothes are completely worn out and tattered, but it's never explained how his clothes stayed that way. It may be possible, however, that he could be standing near the dome when it shattered to pieces. Another possibility is that he climbed up the gorge, ripping his clothes in the process.
- Russ Cargill aiming his double-barreled shotgun at Homer Simpson contains a stock footage of Mr. Burns aiming his double-barreled pump action shotgun at Comic Book Guy is from Treehouse of Horror XVI.
- Cargill was not the original villain for The Simpsons Movie. The original villain was Hank Scorpio from The Simpsons season 8 episode "You Only Move Twice". It was changed because Scorpio was found too likable to be an all out villain, his friendship with Homer, and it would've confused the audience members who didn't see the episode he was featured in.
- Russ Cargill is the only villain in the series whose fate is ambiguous as his death was never confirmed. His appearance in "The Walking Ned" is non-canon.
- Despite Homer making a mistake in the movie that made everyone hate him but after he saved everyone, they probably hate Cargil more than Homer now since he made a much bigger mistake, but they didn't try kill him because it's possible they've seen what monsters they were trying to kill Homer, and had Cargil arrested instead.
- He is the fifth male human cartoon villain to only appear in a theatrically released movie based on the TV series, the first being Dr. Phillium Benedict from Recess: School's Out, the second being Sloan Blackburn from The Wild Thornberrys Movie, the third being Alphonse Perrier du von Scheck from Hey Arnold: The Movie, and the fourth being Dr. Ivan Krank from Teacher's Pet.