|“||We fight this battle not for ourselves, but for our children, and our children's children, which is why I'm forming a children's brigade.||„|
|~ Zapp Brannigan|
|“||Stop exploding, you cowards!||„|
|~ Zapp Brannigan|
Zapp Brannigan is the secondary antagonist (and sometimes an anti-hero) of the cartoon series Futurama.
He is considered one of the show's main recurring villains along with Richard Nixon, Lrrr & Mom - however unlike the drunk, upright Nixon, the tyrannical, power-hungry Lrrr, and the scheming, misanthropic and malevolent Mom, Zapp Brannigan is a pompous, naïve, duplicitous, extremely delusional, callous, empty-headed, entirely misogynistic and a very selfish villain: unfortunately he also seems to hold considerable power despite his idiocy and thus can cause trouble for the show's heroes. Most of the time his actions tend to get in the way of the heroes efforts. To the public at large he is largely recognized as a hero, but the reality is he is a fraud who does not represent the heroic qualities he is known for, to which only those who truly know him such as Turanga Leela and his personal assistant Kif Kroker can see just how potentially dangerous and incompetent Zapp is.
Zapp Brannigan is despised even by his own crew-mates because he has completely no respect for anyone other than himself - he is not necessarily much of a threat (unlike Mom) but is nevertheless a recurring problem for the Planet Express Crew - especially Leela (due to a rather unfortunate.. personal encounter.. he simply won't let her forget). Zapp Brannigan is dumber than Fry and he kills innocent people because he thinks he can get promoted and it's to save the world.
He is willing to use excessive tactics in battle that includes subduing weaker opponents or deliberately sacrificing his own troops such as the during "Bender's Big Score" he formed the Children's Brigade and the plan he drew out was to use them as a sacrifice in the battle against the scammer aliens, though his ship the Nimbus was taken out before the battle began. His incompetence is also the reason why the Earth Forces often lose in battle due to his poor leadership. So far, Zapp has only been an antagonist in three episodes, "Love's Labours Lost in Space", "Brannigan, Begin Again" and "Into the Wild Green Yonder". Leela stated that Zapp Brannigan is the "sorriest" captain she ever met.
Zapp also dated Leela's mother Turanga Munda in the episode "Zapp Dingbat" following her divorce from her husband Morris. Munda initially believed in the exaggerations of Zapp's heroic image and they later came to marrying, but after Zapp revealed their wedding was part of his plan to deliberately provoke war against the Carcaron race, Munda realized that Leela was right about Zapp and referred to him as being both a "bad man" and a "bad captain". After the situation was resolved Zapp performed the ceremony to remarry Leela's parents, after Morris came to win her back.
Much of Zapp Brannigan's humor comes from his continual use of innuendo as well as his sexist attitude and general idiocy - as stated before despite his general incompetence Zapp is somehow able to keep the official rank of Captain, a rank which provides him with great power that he seems to enjoy abusing. He disrespects his assistant Kif Kroker, who also despises Zapp, always insults or complains about him. However Kif showed himself taking a stand against Brannigan by punching him hard in the stomach in "The Beast With A Billion Backs" for sleeping with Amy when he was dead before his resurrection, and goes against him in "Into The Wild Green Yonder". While he is extremely unkind and sexist towards women, Kif is extremely shy and tries to only compliment his girlfriend, Amy. This was further discovered in the episode Amazon Women in the Mood.
The only reason why he keeps his rank because he once worked for Planet Express (most of the employees except Leela who doesn't see how incompetent and dangerous Zapp is) and he abused and almost killed them resulting Leela to lie in order for Brannigan to be reinstated and get rid of him much to the Professor's dismay.