Hopper is the main antagonist of A Bug's Life. He is Flik's arch-nemesis, Molt's older brother, and the grasshoppers' leader and boss.
He was voiced by Kevin Spacey.
Ruthless and violent, but also sneaky and cunning, Hopper thinks nothing of killing ants, whom he considers lower than dirt and his manner of speaking to Atta is reminiscent of an abusive boyfriend mocking his terrified girlfriend. However, he is somewhat compassionate as seen when he gives the ants a second chance at providing food after they fail miserably. He also beats up his own gang members and has even killed Axel and Loco to keep control of his gang. He dislikes being thought of as weak in any way.
Hopper is also briefly depicted as a very anxious character. Indeed, during the Mexican bar scene, he expresses his gang the necessity of getting respect and obedience from the ants because they are far more numerous than them. He explains an only rebel ant is enough to cause entire colony's mutiny (which, ironically, will take place at the end of the film). It should reveal a huge fear toward ants, hidden by his ruthless and dictatorial manners toward ants and even his own troops.
In any case, Hopper sees mercy and compassion as weaknesses and relies mostly on fear to maintain control over both his own gang and the ants.
His only slightly redeeming quality is how he loves his mother enough to respect her request to Hopper to not kill Molt, whom he is incredibly annoyed by.
A Bug's Life
In the film, Hopper is a feared grasshopper who is blind in one eye due to a scratch caused by a recent encounter with a bird. He leads his gang of grasshoppers, including his brother Molt and a restless, ruthless Thumper, who keeps full control over the ants. Hopper, unlike his gang, does not underestimate the ants' strength; he knows that while weaker than the grasshoppers as individuals, the ants outnumber his gang a hundred to one.
During Hopper's first visit to the colony, the gang finds the food supply ruined, so he throws the blame on the ants and demands them to gather double the amount he has initially requested by the next season. When he is dissatisfied with the amount of offering the ants give him after a second chance, he usurps Ant Island and plots to kill the Queen after enough food has been gathered. After hearing from Dot about Hopper's plot, Flik and the circus troupe return to the island to rescue the Queen by putting his plan into motion. The circus bugs present their act in front of the grasshoppers to distract Hopper, who initially orders his henchmen to squish them, but later decides that they can use a little entertainment. After Manny takes the Queen for a magic trick, Hopper interrogates him to tell where she has went by strangling him, only to be cut off by a fake bird, that the ants have made earlier in the season, which comes down swooping toward him.
Hopper is initially terrified at the sight of the bird, due to his fear of birds, but soon discovers the bird is fake when P.T. Flea sets it on fire. Hopper takes Dot hostage again. Furious and embarrassed, Hopper interrogates the ants, including Princess Atta, to find out who is responsible for the ruse. Flik angrily yells at Hopper to leave Dot and her blueberry friends, especially Atta alone and then confesses that the fake bird was his idea. Hopper signals to Thumper to violently beat up Flik until he signals him to stop. Hopper then declares how dangerous ideas can be and that ants are mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this earth to serve the grasshoppers. But then, Flik manages to stand up to his feet and revolt against Hopper, revealing that ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers and are strong in number. Angered by Flik's defiance, Hopper advances toward Flik and eventually knocks him to the ground. He then tries to squish Flik's head, only to be thwarted by Atta, who also stands up to Hopper.
Inspired by Flik's speech, the entire colony of ants stands up against the grasshoppers. As the colony charges towards Hopper's gang, they abandon their leader and fly away, leaving Hopper to be seized by the ants and trapped in a circus cannon, right at the time when a thunderstorm starts. Hopper sees his chance to escape and shoots himself out of the cannon and activates his wings towards Flik, whom he takes hostage as he flies away with him in revenge of being humiliated.
The Circus Bugs chase after them to try to save Flik, but they only succeed in pulling off one of Hopper's antennae. Atta intervenes and swipes Flik away from him. Hopper chases after the two across the stream. He corners Flik near a bird's nest, strangles him, and declares how much time has been wasted by Flik's tricks and that he will get more grasshoppers and be back next season, but Flik won't. A Bird pops out from the nest, but Hopper, believing the bird to be another one of Flik's tricks and that there are little girls in that bird, taunts the bird until she shrieks at him. Now realizing that this bird is the real one, Hopper screams and tries to escape; however, the bird turns out to be faster than him as she blocks his path, snatches him in her beak in one swift move, and takes him to her nest as the bird slowly lowers him into the chicks he lets out piercing scream, where he is presumably eaten by the bird's chicks.
At the end of the movie, Tuck and Roll are shown jabbering on about their fight with Hopper while holding a piece of his antenna, which is all that is left of Hopper.
A Bug's Life (video game)
In the video game, even though Hopper is also the main antagonist, he only appears in the last three levels of the game. A cutscene from the movie, where he throws a big leaf with some food on it over the ants, also appears when it's game over for the player.
It's Tough to Be a Bug!
Hopper appears in It's Tough to Be a Bug!, despite his death in the movie.
In the show, Filk and Hopper compete with each other. While Flik believes that humans are the bugs' friends, Hopper believes that the humans are the bugs' enemies.
- Hopper's right eye got damaged after a bird nearly ate him.
- Hopper is considered to be one of Pixar's most evil and ruthless villains along with Ernesto de la Cruz, Syndrome, Lotso, Sir Miles Axlerod, and Professor Zündapp. He victimizes the ants with no reason or Freudian excuse, and has no obvious sympathetic qualities. That being said he does have one redeeming quality as he keeps his promise made to his mother not to kill Molt.
- Hopper apparently had a soft spot for his mother, as he honors her deathbed wish not to kill Molt, despite being quite tempted to on various occasions.
- Hopper is the first Pixar character to die.
- He is also the first Pixar character to be physically fought.
- His fate is similar to Scar's demise. It is also similar to the non-Disney defeats of Ozzy and Strut's from The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure and Dil and Ichy's from The Land Before time IV: Journey Through the Mists, as they all became prey to other animals (Scar to The Hyenas, Hopper to The Bird's Chicks, Ozzy and Strut to Chomper's Parents, and Dil and Ichy to the Swimming Sharptooth).
- In the bloopers of the film, Hopper is shown to be a very serious actor and gets annoyed or upset when Atta and Molt laugh at his acting.
- Kevin Spacey was not the first choice to voice Hopper. John Lasseter previously offered the role twice to Robert De Niro, who turned it down. Lasseter met Spacey at the 1995 Academy Awards (where Toy Story won for Best Original Song and Spacey for Best Supporting Actor) and offered him the role, which he accepted.