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A Futurama Fan Theory Turns the Shows Biggest Idiot Into a Tragic Figure

One of Futuramas most oafish characters might secretly have a tragic backstory if this fan theory is accurate.

Futurama Zapp Brannigan Theory 3
In the world of Futurama there are seriously powerful figures who have gained their authority despite their own inept leadership qualities. This extends throughout the government and militaries of the world best exemplified by the oafish Zapp Brannigan but like many other characters from the series Brannigan might have a secretly tragic origin. A fan theory for Futurama suggests that the consistent blowhard Zapp Brannigan might have actually been a talented commander before the events of the television series and that some form of trauma is what resulted in the character as he became.

By the time hes introduced in Futuramas fourth episode Loves Labors Lost in Space Zapp Brannigan is one of Futuramas most powerful figures. The highly decorated military commander is frequently relied on for important matters of global importance leading armies into various armed conflicts. This is all despite his idiocy instability and cowardice. Brannigan also often causes problems while finding ways to fail upwards and avoid consequences for his actions. While his secondincommand and Amy Wongs eventual main love interest Kif Kroker realizes how shortsighted he is a sentiment shared by Leela and the rest of the Planet Express Crew the Earth government continues to put their trust in him.

Its often been asked in the fandom how Brannigan could have reached such a level of importance. Its certainly bolstered by his victories over easy targets such as his overwhelming assault against the ball race in Season 2s War is the HWord and the peaceful Spiderians from Season 4s Three Hundred Big Boys. However a fan theory from Reddit user Bingram argues that Brannigan may have once genuinely been a capable commander. As mentioned in Loves Labors Lost in Space Brannigans greatest claim to fame is how he helped save the Octillian System from an army of Killbots. He did this by sacrificing waves of his own soldiers ultimately causing the Killbots to reach their killlimit and shut down.

Futurama Zapp Brannigan Theory 1
This action likely saved untold civilian lives albeit at the cost of scores of soldiers. The theory argues that its possible Brannigan was at the battle and at the time regarded as a gifted commander but a blow to the head left him with mental damage resulting in his brutal but effective plan to overcome the Killbots. In recognition of his achievement the universal peacekeeping force known as DOOP instituted him as a leader in recognition to his unlikely victory. Its possible this blow to the head and the resulting guilt over his decisions pushed Brannigan even further into selfdelusion and selfdenial convincing himself that he was truly a military genius when in reality he was just a ruthlessly pragmatic commander.

Its an interesting idea and one that repositions one of the shows most consistent jerks. Throughout the shows eightseason run Brannigan was frequently shown to be among the handful of characters seemingly incapable or uninterested with changing for the better. By the end of the seris he was still the shortsighted blowhard hed been since his introduction.

Perhaps its possible he wasnt always that way giving a wellmeaning military commander a genuinely tragic element to his history that highlights the sheer danger of the Futruama setting. The absurdities of the alien and technological culture in the 31st century likely make it easier to accept someone so seemingly inept as Brannigan especially in light of his early career and technical victories. It transforms one of the shows most insufferable antagonists into a tragic figure in a way that fits the shows frequent dramatic turns with characters.

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