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Leela, you're obviously confused and aroused.

–Zapp Brannigan

Captain Zapp Brannigan (born June 30, 2973) is an egotistical military officer for the Democratic Order of Planets and Earth's Government and captain of at least a ship: usually of the Earth ship Nimbus, but briefly of the luxury liner Titanic. Later in the series, he is introduced as a Twenty-Five Star General or General Major Webelo.


Cast futurama zappbranigan

Zapp Brannigan.

Although Zapp Brannigan is considered a great military hero by many people, most who have met him are less impressed by his goofy, arrogant, incompetent, perverted, phallic, selfish, mean-spirited, egotistical, cowardly, chauvinistic, bossy, cocky, manipulative, supremely vain personality, as well as his incredible stupidity. Unlike Fry who has enough common sense about what is right or wrong, Zapp possesses none of this quality and always considers that all of his actions are right no matter how much it can endanger everyone around him or how immoral it is. However, due to the obliviousness and somewhat ineptitude of his superiors, he always gets away with his misdeeds and becomes a false hero. Few people, such as his own crew, soldiers, Kif and half of the Planet Express crew, know who he truly is.


I have made it with a woman! Inform the men!

–Zapp Brannigan, Love's Labours Lost in Space

Zapp considers himself a "ladies' man" and despite ample evidence to the contrary, acts as if he is irresistible to the female gender. He is seen flirting with a lot of women, including Leela.

Brannigan appears to lack any concept of romance and his strategies for wooing a woman include either using his status as a high-ranking member of the military or to say as many of his pickup lines in as little time as he can, not stopping for anything. Some examples of his brand of pickup lines include: "If I said you had a beautiful body would you take your pants off and dance around a little?" and "I find the most erotic part of the woman is the boobies." He is also very genderist and sexist.


Zapp "seduces" Leela.

When he is lucky enough to "score" (for example when Leela was guilted into having pity sex with him and tricked Amy into sex), he enjoys boasting about it to everyone, even at the most inappropriate moments. He was almost snu snued to death by the Amazonians and was very pleased by his near-death experience, despite suffering an injured pelvis.

Probably one of Brannigan's most well-known features is his lack of pants, which he deems "for the weak." Judging by Kif's disgusted reactions when following him up a ladder, he evidently eschews underwear as well.

On the other hand, Zapp does wear a girdle, which fails catastrophically upon setting foot on a high gravity planet, allowing his ample belly to flop out.

He is also known to be somewhat of a pervert as he once forced Leela to take off her shirt to expose her bare upper body while on Mars.


One aspect of Brannigan's sexuality which appears from time to time is his fondness for being hurt by women (BDSM). Aside from his frequent contact with Leela (who often rebuffs his advances with physical force) this is shown when he and the Planet Express Crew were stranded on the Planet Amazonia and were forced to have "snu-snu" with the natives. He was asking to be held tighter and even asked for a hard spanking. Despite the great physical trauma he sustained, Brannigan looks back on the event happily. Or when Brannigan joins the Planet Express Crew, he offers to take place of Fry and Bender if there is ever a "bare bottom spanking policy".


Brannigan highly prizes his singing, calling himself "the Velour Fog", a parody of "The Velvet Fog", Mel Tormé. He does a seemingly William Shatner-esque version of Lola, replacing the name Lola with Leela, to win back Leela's attention during an open-mic night on Le Palm D'Orbit.[1] The results of his singing are predictable, as everyone runs screaming to escape pods and leaves, including the crew. Zapp is able to ignore the fact his singing makes everyone run.

Speech Impediment

Brannigan's self-confident manner is also manifested in a speech impediment (which may or may not be intentional, but also possibly a result of his intense stupidity), several foreign loanwords which Zapp often has trouble with include:

  • Champagne ('sham-pagg-enn') (he pronounces the silent g)
  • Ado (adieu)
  • Bravo ('bray-vo')
  • Minestrone
  • Encore ('EN-korr', instead of 'ON-core')
  • Guacamole (gwack-ah-mol like 'whack-a-mole'),
  • Quesadilla (pronounces as 'kess-sa-dill-la' instead of 'kess-sa-dee-ya')
  • Coup (coop)
  • Parmesan (par-mee-see-an)
  • Finale (final-le)
  • Syllable (sill-ah-bull)
  • Won't (Willent)
  • Chinese
  • Tube
  • Matrimony (Macaroni)

Oddly enough, Zapp has no problem pronouncing other words such as:

  • Chutzpah
  • Karaoke

This may be due to his "very sexy" learning disability: Sexlexia.[2]


A Taste of Freedom (Main Episode) - 275

Lieutenant Kif Kroker and Zapp on the bridge of the Nimbus.


Kif Kroker

Well, Kif, stand by to take the blame. Steady, steady ... now!

–Zapp Brannigan, When Aliens Attack

Kif, the beleaguered lieutenant and personal assistant, is usually at Brannigan's side and is often given the blame when things go wrong, which is more often than not. Zapp is unconsciously very abusive to Kif. Zapp usually treats Kif like a slave and very often bullies him. Although Brannigan is often unconcernedly and unknowingly cruel towards him, Kif is also the closest thing Zapp has to a friend. He was seemingly sad at Kif's death but that didn't stop him from having sex with his widow Amy.

After Kif was resurrected, Zapp boasted about the sexual encounter while Kif wasn't too surprised but angry. However, he finally worked up the strength to give Zapp a well-deserved punch to the gut.[3]


Turanga Leela

... you're the only woman who ever loved me!

–Zapp Brannigan, Brannigan, Begin Again

Leela was once tricked into having pity sex with Zapp[4] and after that, Zapp kept trying to date or sleep with her even though Leela always said no, sometimes with violence involved. He was even attracted to her while she was disguised as a man but this worried him on his sexuality. However, he was more than pleased to see her after she beat him up and he rejoiced at making sense of his attraction.

Despite her rejections, he was willing to risk his life to save her during a fire in "Three Hundred Big Boys", showing he also cares for her well-being.

Zapp nearly successfully seduce her and the two made out until Leela realized his game. However, she was forced to have sex with him when V-GINY went out to destroy Earth, for its lack of censorship. Zapp was hesitant but was forced to go through with it. She also threw herself at him to prevent Zapp from dating her mother, but he successfully refused. Leela was surprised that he rejected her.

Amy Wong

Give the poor girl a break, Kif. It's not like she had a dictionary. She was butt naked, for God's sakes!

–Zapp Brannigan, The Beast with a Billion Backs

Zapp previously flirted with Amy in Amazon Women in the Mood despite knowing of her affections to Kif. Her wealthy parents also believed that he was a better match for her because he was a captain.

In The Beast with a Billion Backs, he comforted her after her Fonfon Ru, Kif, died before he took advantage of her grief to have sex and they were found in bed by Leela. Zapp did not hesitate to gloat to Leela and even flirted with her in front of Amy. The chances of a relationship didn't last when Kif came back to life, though this broke apart Kif and Amy's relationship when Zapp revealed it. While Amy was ashamed, Zapp boasted about this to Kif who finally worked up the strength to give him a well-deserved punch to the gut.[3]

Several Amazonian Women

Amazon Women in the Mood (Main Episode) - 194

Zapp Brannigan trying to seduce the Amazonians.

" We need rest ! The spirit is willing but the flesh is too spongy and bruised."
Zapp to the Amazonians while exhausted from Snu-Snu Amazon Women in the Mood

Zapp was a man on their planet, which was forbidden. Because of his sexist and bad comments, he was sent to be executed by the Amazonians by snu-snu (the term for sex on Amazonia). Zapp was both terrified and delighted by this near-death experience as he had made advances on them. He was released from the "torture" and left with a broken pelvis, while being happy about his experience.

As seen in "The Beast with a Billion Backs", he was still delighted by snu-snu while being dragged away by Kug.

Turanga Munda

I love Munda. I love everything about her: her laugh, her maturity, the cold lifeless touch of her tentacle on my body. She is one juicy calamari..

–Zapp Brannigan, Zapp Dingbat

He fell in love with Leela's mother after being impressed with her linguistic skills.

Zapp recruited her into the army, and she served as his translator, exciting her as she got to see the universe like she always dreamed of. Soon he and Munda started dating, much to the ire of Leela. He also rejected Leela's sexual advances on him by voicing his love of her mother, while showing their relationship was not only based on sex but genuine interest. Munda was touched and they got engaged, only for it to fall apart after she discovers his true nature. At the end, she returns to her first husband.

Military History

A Taste of Freedom (Main Episode) - 223

Zapp Brannigan leads his troops.

Men, you're lucky men. Soon, you'll all be fighting for your planet. many of you will be dying for your planet. A few of you will be put through a fine mesh screen for your planet. They will be the luckiest of all.

–Zapp Brannigan, War is the H-Word

While perhaps not the best leader of men, Zapp is a dedicated soldier who does his duty despite not always understanding what that means. When asked by one of his men why they were expected to fight and die for a planet with no value to earth whatsoever, he responds: “'Don't ask me: it's you who'll be dying!” Brannigan also values the law more than friendship, such as when he pursues the Planet Express crew into a wormhole.[5]

A Charismatic Leader

While not the most inspirational leader, Brannigan is able to motivate his troops if he needs to. For example, before sending his men onto Spheron I, he tells them, "We can only assume this: they stand for everything we don't stand for. Also, they told me you guys look like dorks!" However, Zapp usually conjures up war strategies that even a child could easily conjure up and they are usually poorly thought out.

On the other hand, his troops are not always particularly fond of him. During a meal in the Nimbus mess hall when he raised a glass and called for support, met only by a stony silence and one anonymous crewman yelling "You suck!"[2]


...And like all my plans, it's so simple an idiot could have devised it!

–Zapp Brannigan, When Aliens Attack

These examples show a consistent approach to battles in Brannigan's tactics. He generally triumphs over weaker foes that often lack the ability to fight back.

He doesn't seem to make any attempt to understand his enemy, their culture, tactics, or any other aspects of his foes before engaging them. Instead he sends waves of cannon fodder to overwhelm the enemy and when this fails he gives up.

He has written at least one book about military tactics, titled Zapp Brannigan's Big Book of War,[4] based heavily on Sun Tzu's The Art of War and looks like a Dr. Seuss book with his face on it.

Battle with the Kill-bots

At some point before the beginning of the series, Zapp defeated a foe known as killbots, by sending wave after wave of his own men at them until the killbots reached their pre-programmed kill limit and shut down.[4]

Vergon 6

Upon meeting the Planet Express crew over Vergon 6, Zapp arrests them for violating Brannigan's Law, but later releases them after scoring with Leela.[4]

As Captain of the Titanic

Zapp is given the honorific command of the maiden voyage of the luxury liner the Titanic. Unfortunately, the simple and safe route planned for the voyage was not exciting enough for Brannigan, so he altered the flight plan to a more challenging one. The new route brought the ship dangerously close to comets and black holes, but it was only when the ship flew into a black hole that Zapp realized his mistake. After leaving Kif in charge, Zapp fled the Titanic and left its passengers to their fates.[6]

War Against Omicron Persei 8

If we can hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

–Zapp Brannigan, When Aliens Attack

Zapp's tactical deficiencies are shown when enemies actually fight back. When the Omicronians invade Earth, Brannigan is put in charge of the defense of Earth. He orders his forces to "line up and fly directly at the enemy death cannons, clogging them with wreckage", and amid heavy losses, his forces succeed in destroying what turned out to be the Hubble Space Telescope. When the Omicronian forces actually engaged the DOOP fleet, Zapp's forces are effortlessly decimated and Earth is defeated.[7]

Dismissal from the DOOP

Brannigan, Begin Again (Main Episode) - 126

Zapp and Kif after being dismissed from the Democratic Order of Planets.

"What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?"

–Zapp Brannigan, Brannigan, Begin Again

As the great hero of DOOP military forces, Brannigan is given the honor of cutting the ribbon at the opening of the new $400 billion DOOP space station. Zapp is distracted by the arrival of the Planet Express crew who were delivering the ceremonial scissors for the ribbon cutting and promptly arrests and detains them in his flagship, charging them with conspiring with the neutral people. When the time comes, he opts to cut the ribbon by using the tactical laser, on its highest setting Hyperdeath™, from the Nimbus rather than returning to the station. After Zapp arrogantly ignores Kif's warning about using the laser, He accidentally cuts not only the ribbon, but the entire station in two pieces. After this, DOOP's commander was willing to dismiss and also gave his dismissal speech at that time and in the midst of it, frames Kif for masterminding the destruction of DOOP headquarters, giving Kif a dishonorable discharge as well.

Reinstatement to DOOP

After joining the Planet Express crew, Brannigan instigated a mutiny and used his new position as captain to attack the homeworld of his hated enemies: the Neutral Planet. During the resulting trial, Leela lies for Zapp so he won't return to Planet Express[8]

Invasion of Spheron I

During the war for Spheron I, “a barren wasteland with no natural resources or any strategic value,” Zapp displays his foolhardy type of tactics, by sending his men on suicidal attacks on the ball-people. He ultimately succeeds in negotiating the surrender of his foes after installing a powerful bomb in the chest cavity of a brave soldier i.e. Bender.

Defense of Earth from Decapodians

After the political friction between Earth and Decapod 10, the Decapodians invade Earth. Brannigan unwisely trusts a barely disguised Decapodian spy, Hugh Man, with the command codes for Earth's global defense system and Earth falls to the invaders with ease, though Zapp predictably blames Kif for the debacle.

Brannigan also plays a minor role in the resistance to the Decapodian occupation.[9] N

Court-Martial of the Planet Express Crew

Upon finding the Planet Express crew in the middle of a battle with Melllvar, Brannigan arrests and court-martials them for setting foot on the forbidden planet Omega 3, even though Melllvar hasn't stopped attacking.[10]

War for Tarantulon 6

After his victorious conquest of the "weak and womanlike" Spiderians of Tarantulon 6, the resulting plunder was split up between Earth's inhabitants, $300 for each person. It is one of the only known military campaign that Zapp had won[11]

Battle for Earth Against the Scammers

After the entire Earth was scammed out of their belongings by the Nude Alien Scammers, the exiled Earthlings, as well as several other factions, eventually decided to fight back and assembled a fleet to engage the Scammers’ solid gold Death Stars. Although Brannigan initially took command of the attack, his suicidal tactics led to high casualties and he was soon succeeded in command by the Planet Express Ship.[12]

Operation Against The Anomaly

After a tear in the universe, the anomaly appears, to which the Earth President, Richard Nixon, decides to send a military expedition to destroy the anomaly, led by Zapp Brannigan. When the Nimbus reached the anomaly, Brannigan ordered a missile to be fired into it, but the missile malfunctioned. Zapp ordered Kif to unjam the ordinance, but caused him to become stuck to it when he repeatedly pressed the launch button. The resulting event brings about Kif's death, although Yivo eventually brings Kif back to life.[3] When Kif learns that Amy slept with Zapp, he is infuriated and this allows him to finally give a mocking Zapp a well deserved punch in the gut.

Other Operations

Zapp Brannigan is also known to have been involved in the following military engagements:

  • Carpet Bombed Eden 7.[8]
  • Defeated the Pacifists of Gandhi Nebula.[7]
  • Conquered the Retiree People of the Assisted Living Nebula.[6]
  • Failed to stop invaders from Nintenduu 64 in an alternate reality.[13]
  • Tried to orchestrate a war against the Carcaron species.[14]


Note: Zapp Brannigan appears in all episodes (not counting film episodes), due to being visible in the Opening Sequence. The list below consists of appearances outside of the theme only.





  • His favorite fabric is velour.[15]
  • Originally, Zapp Brannigan was going to be voiced by Phil Hartman. However, Hartman died on May 28, 1998 before production began on Futurama. Billy West's characterization of Zapp is based, in part, on Phil Hartman's voice.[16]
  • Zapp is intended to be a representation of William Shatner himself as captain rather than Shatner's character Kirk.
  • The skirt (or kilt) and boots of Zapp's uniform are a tribute/parody of the outfit worn by the titular character of Russ Manning's comic book Magnus, Robot Fighter.
  • He's considered to be the most idiotic character on the show, to the point of where he makes Fry look like a genius by comparison.
  • He is one of only two characters to have had sex with both Amy and Leela (the other being Fry).
    • Like Fry, he was almost snu-snued to death.
  • He is at least partially bald, as his hairpiece can be seen flapping during the decompression scene in "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch".
  • He was charged and found guilty for blowing up DOOP headquarters in "Brannigan, Begin Again".
  • He was crushed while riding in an army tank with Kif, trying to destroy a giant version of Bender in "Anthology of Interest I".
  • It is most likely that Zapp Brannigan died when the Nimbus got destroyed by crashing into New New York, after he went through the wormhole in attempt to damage the Planet Express Ship. Although he can be seen becoming skeletal with his body ruined and his skeleton showed, he falls into the birth machine and gets his skin back on his body in the end.[17]


Sources and References