Buddy Pine, commonly known as Syndrome (and formerly known as Incrediboy), is Mr. Incredible's former fan and Mirage's former boss in the Pixar animated movie The Incredibles. He also appears in the short film Jack-Jack Attack.
He was voiced by Jason Lee in all appearances.
Syndrome is barrel-chested with red hair that extends straight up in a manner reminiscent of flames. Syndrome is "not a super," but he demonstrates exceptional ingenuity, technical knowledge and planning skill far beyond the science of his time.
Conception and creation
Syndrome was originally meant to be a throwaway character - a minor villain who appears at the beginning in revelation that the family are Supers. He was shown as just Mr. Incredible's nemesis, without the back story in the official movie. In the alternate opening, Syndrome escaped from prison and broke into the Smith family's home, seeking revenge of Bob (Mr. Incredible) and threw him around the house with his zero-point energy ray (which he claimed to have developed during his imprisonment). Syndrome was ultimately killed when the family's home was totaled in a gas main explosion sparked by flame in the fireplace. The scene was cut when the filmmakers decided that Syndrome made a better villain than their original choice, Xerek (who would eventually appear in the Incredibles comic series).
Syndrome's real name is Buddy Pine.
As an 8-year-old, he considered himself to be Mr. Incredible's greatest fan, top of his fan club, and his sidekick "IncrediBoy". His idol initially humored Buddy with autographs and similar considerations, but he didn't approve of a kid showing up uninvited to say they're partners now. Even though Mr. Incredible eventually resorted to bluntly telling him that he wouldn't tolerate such harassment, the boy wasn't deterred.
Later, Buddy went as far as to interrupt Mr. Incredible's impending showdown with Bomb Voyage, placing himself in danger, forcing Mr. Incredible into a dangerous rescue and allowing Bomb Voyage to escape. Mr. Incredible struggles to reach the bomb as he holds onto Buddy's cape while he flies around, trying to get him off. Eventually, Mr. Incredible finally grabs the bomb and lets go, dropping the bomb and making it explode on top of a building. Mr. Incredible then sees a train coming by and he realizes that the tracks are out, so he uses his strength to stop the train and save the people from inside.
Tired and sick of Buddy, Mr. Incredible hands him over to the police, telling them to make sure his mom knows what he's been doing. As Buddy tries to tell Mr. Incredible that he's making a mistake since he can help him, the officers arrest him, push him into his seat, and quickly close the door shut. Mr. Incredible informs the cops of Bomb Voyage's escape and that "Skippy" [Buddy] made sure of that, to which Buddy corrects him and Buddy angrily yelled at Mr. Incredible that his name is "IncrediBoy!", to which makes Mr. Incredible responds by saying he's not affiliated with him.
After being scolded by his mom and sent to his room as punishment, Buddy realizes his dreams have been crushed and he blames Mr. Incredible for this. Afterwards, he'd lost all respect for his old idol and his anger drove him to hatred, and finally to dangerous revenge.
Buddy used his skill with inventions to become a highly successful and wealthy weapons designer, abandoning his conscience in the process. No matter how rich and powerful he became, Buddy never forgot about Mr. Incredible, and formulated his plans for vengeance. Using his best inventions to simulate super powers, he took on the costumed identity of Syndrome and set up Operation Kronos, aimed at eliminating other supers and then portraying himself as their successor. He also explains that he also plans to sell his inventions in the future to not only enrich himself, but also to condemn society to an inescapable mediocrity, reasoning that "when everyone's super, no one will be."
Operating through his agent Mirage, he contacted various retired superheroes, tasking them with the destruction of various prototypes of the enormous Omnidroid battle robots, leading to the demise of many of the old supers. Deciding that the robot was now good enough to fight his old idol, he had Mirage recruit Mr. Incredible, who was able to defeat the Omnidroid.
After repairing and improving the machine, Syndrome sent it to fight Mr. Incredible. When the hero was outmatched, Syndrome revealed himself by saying despite his difficult attempts to make major modifications after Mr. Incredible trashed the last tone, he is his biggest fan. This triggers Mr. Incredible's memory and he is shocked to realize that Syndrome is Buddy, to which an angered Syndrome yells, "My name is not BUDDY! And it's not IncrediBoy either! That ship has sailed!". He tells Mr. Incredible he just wanted to help him, but he didn't give him a chance and rejected him. Syndrome explains it tore him apart, but he learned an important lesson to not trust anyone anymore, especially his heroes. A guilty Incredible says he was wrong to treat him that way and offers an apology, but Syndrome believes he respects now only because he's a threat since he claims that's the way it works. As the super villain explains there are lots of people and countries who will pay through the nose to get respect and how he got rich, Mr. Incredible spots a nearby rock and he slowly sneaks over to it and finally throws it at Syndrome, who ducks and shoots his zero-point energy ray at the hero as he was about to run toward him to fight him. Laughing, Syndrome called him a "sly dog" and he got him monologuing, which he can't believe and he throws the hero around while declaring that he would be his new nemesis. However, he accidentally throws Mr. Incredible out of sight and over a waterfall. As he flies over to it, he tries to finish him off with an explosive device. Although this failed, he was able to capture Mr. Incredible when he tried to infiltrate his base.
When the rest of the Incredible family followed, Syndrome assumed his prisoner had sent for reinforcements and ordered the plane to by shot down with missiles, taking cruel pleasure in the knowledge that he had killed his enemy's family, taunting, "You'll get over it. I seem to recall you prefer to work alone?". Mr. Incredible retaliated by threatening to kill Mirage; Syndrome was unimpressed and called his bluff, knowing that even with nothing to lose, Mr. Incredible wouldn't kill an enemy. This callous disregard for life eventually turns Mirage against him, leading her to free Mr. Incredible from captivity, inform him of his family's survival, and help him to escape and reunite with them.
Syndrome managed to recapture the super family and re-imprison them, taking the opportunity to elaborate on his plan. He intends to set the Omnidroid on Metroville and then stop it himself, taking the credit and setting himself up as the city's new hero. He then plans to sell all of his inventions so that everyone will have powers, so that no one can technically be referred to as "super" anymore. However, this plan failed, as the Omnidroid's ability to learn allowed it to identify Syndrome as a threat, disabling his remote control wristband and sending him flying into a building. He remained unconscious during the Incredibles and Frozone's battle with his Omnidroid, and was thus robbed of his victory.
Now a wanted fugitive from the law with his assets frozen by the secret service, Syndrome makes one final attempt at revenge by breaking into the Incredibles' house (but not before tricking the babysitter Kari into thinking he's her "replacement" and that the S on his suit stands for "sitter") and abducting Jack-Jack. But this effort also failed, when Jack-Jack's secret powers manifested. Helen tells Bob to throw her at Jack-Jack, to which he does and Helen rescues her baby and transforms into a parachute to glide back down. Realizing he's lost, Syndrome leans from the side door of his plane and shouts out to the Incredibles that this isn't the end since he'll get their son eventually and laughs evilly. Mr. Incredible looks around for something to throw at Syndrome and he spots his car, which he throws at Syndrome's plane, destroying half of it and knocking the villain off-balance and making him slide toward the left turbine. Echoing an earlier scene in the movie regarding the dangers of wearing a cape, Syndrome's cape gets tangled in the turbine's spinning blades, pulling him in and shredding him to pieces, thus killing him and making his plane explode.
- Genius Level Intellect -
- Leadership -
- Expert Scientist -
- Expert Hacker and Technician -
- Expert Tacictian -
Weaponry and gadgets
- Utility gauntlets - Using zero-point energy, Syndrome was able to create a field of quantum energy that inhibits the majority of a victim's body movement. If the victim's skin was exposed, the range of motion of the victim's face was also taken to the minimum (only their eyes could move), and the ability to speak was also inhibited. The field was moved by his fingers and it could be fired in the forms of energy blasts and concentrated beams. Like the trigger for Spider-Man's web-shooters, the trigger for these weapons was located high on the palm of each hand to prevent most unwanted firings. The left-hand gauntlet also held the remote control for the Omnidroid. A communicator was likely built into the right-hand gauntlet.
- Aero-boots - In his short days as IncrediBoy, Buddy used makeshift rockets. As Syndrome, his rocket boots were modified to project flames of blue fire.
- Probe - Used to locate temperature, atmosphere, and life signals in various locations. Worn in the left-hand gauntlet.
- Miniature "I"-bomb - Small, but exceedingly powerful, water-bomb. Worn in the right-hand gauntlet.
- Flame-throwing assault rifle - Used to create forcefields of flame that spread if anyone trapped inside tries to do anything about it. So far, this weapon has only been used once—by the now-congealed Syndrome robot.
- Mind control implants - Syndrome planted these into some of his footsoldiers for the Syndrome robot to control in Walt Disney World. However, these implants could be countered by a red bracelet worn by anyone of some special guests. All that they had to do was press the orange button, which they would later press again to restore the magic and happiness of the Magic Kingdom.
- Laser prisons - The robot Syndrome was forced to imprison Mickey and Minnie into separate laser prisons after the Incredibles attacked "him" in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, but after "he" was congealed by Frozone, they were freed when some special guests pressed the yellow button on their red bracelets.
- Omnidroid - To date, there have been eleven versions of this battle robot. The first nine were prototypes designed to fight and kill supers. The 10th was used in the foiled Operation Kronos. The 11th was used in the assault on Walt Disney World. All of them but the last were artificially intelligent, enabling it to solve any problem that it encounters; after Omnidroid #10 figured out that Syndrome used a remote device to control it and knocked him out, Omnidroid #11 had to be built without the AI feature. Another feature of the Omnidroids is that they have colored eyes (e.g., #08 has a blue eye, #9 has a red/orange eye, #10 has a red eye). The Omnidroid's only weakness is itself: In the movie, Mr. Incredible scrambles into Omnidroid #08's inner workings, making the machine pierce its own hull in a vain attempt to pry the hero free from inside, and later on, Mr. Incredible launches Omnidroid #10's claw at it and tears right through it, ripping out its power core. The 10th Omnidroid doesn't possess AI and is controlled by remote-control to avoid the same fate as the real Syndrome.
- It's bigger! It's badder! Ladies and gentlemen, it's too much for Mr. Incredible!
- All right, try this one on for size, big boy.
- Shh. The baby's sleeping. (maniacal laugh)
- This isn't the end of it! I will get your son eventually. I'll get your son! (laughs, then gasps) Oh, no.
- Above Lotso and Hopper, and tied with Sir Miles Axlerod, and Professor Zündapp, Syndrome is considered to be among Pixar's darkest, ruthless, and most evil villains to date.
- He is the first Pixar villain to be pure evil.
- He is by far the most evil of the whole tire Incredibles franchise.
- According to official sources, Syndrome is in his mid 20's, is 6'1" (184 cm), and weighs 185 lbs (83 kg).
- In style, Syndrome resembles Batman or Iron Man, in that he is a standard model human who made himself super by inventing and using high technology.
- His hairdo is similar to that of Jimmy Neutron from Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius or Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z.
- When Edna Mode refuses to design a cape for Mr. Incredible, deeming capes as hazardous to superheroes, she recalls a number of past accidents that involved their interference. This foreshadows Syndrome's fate.
- In another bit of foreshadowing, as Incrediboy, Bomb Voyage placed a bomb on his cape before Mr. Incredible got it off, leading to the string of events that brought down costumed superheroes in the first place.
- As a young boy, his hair was blond. However, as an adult, it is red. He could have either dyed his hair red, or it could have grown that color naturally.
- In Jack-Jack Attack, his mask is not on, and he still has his cape.
- He is more evil in the Dark Horse adaptation, as Mr. Incredible treats him better in this version and he designs the Omnidroid to specifically target civilians.
- Syndrome is one of the few characters whose voice actor also voiced his juvenile counterpart, another being Terk from Disney's Tarzan.
- When Buddy sneaks into Mr. Incredible's car, Mr. Incredible goes through several names trying to remember Buddy's name. One of the names he says is "Brodie", possibly a reference to Syndrome's voice actor Jason Lee's breakout character from the movie Mallrats.
- Syndrome bears some resemblance to Kent Mansley, the villain from The Iron Giant, another film Brad Bird worked on.
- Syndrome is similar to Professor Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective in many ways:
- Both are revealed to be murderers. Syndrome killed a dozen superheroes to get rid of competition, and Ratigan drowned several widows and orphans as revealed in the song "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind".
- Both have a famous nemesis. Syndrome's nemesis was the once-famous Mr. Incredible before he retired, while Ratigan's nemesis is Basil of Baker Street, the famous mouse detective.
- Both trap the heroes before heading out to carry their evil plan.
- Both have a flying vehicle of transportation that eventually gets destroyed (Syndrome has a jet; Ratigan has a blimp).
- Both kidnap a young child before trying to escape (Jack-Jack for Syndrome; Olivia for Ratigan).
- Both get their capes caught in machinery.