|“||After all, I am your biggest fan.||”|
Buddy Pine, commonly known as Syndrome, and formerly Incrediboy, is the main antagonist of The Incredibles. He is the arch-nemesis of Mr. Incredible, as well as his former fan and an evil megalomaniacal tech genius supervillain.
Syndrome is an evil genius with buckteeth, a long chin and big hair that sticks upward.
As a young boy, Buddy proclaimed himself to be a huge fan of Mr. Incredible and wanted to be his sidekick, "IncrediBoy". However, Mr. Incredible kept telling Buddy that he doesn't need his help.
Eventually, Buddy went as far as to interrupt Mr. Incredible and Bomb Voyage's showdown and introduced his new rocket boots to Mr. Incredible. However, Mr. Incredible still told Buddy to leave, telling him that he works alone. Still determined to impress his hero, Buddy left to get the police to arrest Bomb Voyage, but then Bomb Voyage placed a bomb on Buddy's cape, forcing Mr. Incredible to release Bomb Voyage in order to save the ignorant boy. Mr. Incredible managed to remove the bomb from Buddy's cape; however, he and the bomb fell and landed on a set of train tracks. The bomb immediately detonated afterwards, and destroyed a large portion of the tracks as an oncoming train was approaching. Thankfully, Mr. Incredible was able to stop the train before it reached the destroyed track, although the force of the impact between the train and Mr. Incredible injured several of the passengers. Having had enough of Buddy's carelessness, Mr. Incredible handed Buddy over to the police and tells them to make sure that his mom knows what he's been doing. Buddy's feelings of being rejected and betrayed by Mr. Incredible caused him to snap out of his morality, turn on his former idol, and eventually get his revenge.
Now, a young man, Buddy used his skill with inventions to become a highly successful and wealthy weapons designer and arms dealer, becoming a super-villain and abandoning his conscience in the process. Although not stated in the film, it was implied that he made much money and became rich selling his weaponry to terrorist groups, foreign dictators, and organized crime families.
No matter how rich and powerful Buddy became, he never forgot about Mr. Incredible, and formulated his plans for revenge on Mr. Incredible and other supers for shunning him.
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, reasoning that "when everyone's super, no one will be".
Operating through his agent Mirage, Syndrome contacted various retired superheroes, tasking them with the destruction of various prototypes of the enormous Omnidroid battle robots, leading to the demise of dozens of old supers. Deciding that the robot was now good enough to fight Mr. Incredible, he had Mirage recruit Mr. Incredible, who was able to defeat the Omnidroid.
After repairing and improving the machine, Syndrome was sent to fight Mr. Incredible. When Mr. Incredible was outmatched, the super-villain revealed himself and declared himself to be Mr. Incredible's nemesis. Using his zero-point technology, he immobilized Mr. Incredible and threw him around. Syndrome inadvertently threw Mr. Incredible too far, causing the latter to fall over a waterfall. Syndrome then tried to kill Mr. Incredible with an explosive device, then sent his Bio-Probe to verify that Mr. Incredible has been terminated. The Bio-Probe eventually made it into the cavern (where Mr. Incredible has ended up after being blasted by a force of water from the aforementioned explosive device), scanned its surrounding for signs of life, and returned to Syndrome, telling him that Mr. Incredible had been terminated (unaware that Mr. Incredible actually hid behind the remains of Gazerbeam, who learned about Syndrome's plot before losing his life). Despite that, Syndrome 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 be shot down with surface-to-air 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'?". Enraged by Syndrome's witty remark and evildoing, Mr. Incredible attempted to grab him, but instead grabbed Mirage (after she intervened) and angrily demanded that he be released or else he would kill her by snapping her back. Syndrome was unimpressed and called his bluff, knowing that even with nothing to lose, Mr. Incredible would not kill an enemy. This callous disregard for life eventually turns Mirage against Syndrome, leading her to free Mr. Incredible from captivity, inform him of his family's survival, and help him to escape and reunite with them.
The Incredibles are able to quickly defeat the guards. However, Syndrome comes along and captures the whole family with his zero-point energy rays—during which he is surprised to find that Mr. Incredible had married Elastigirl and raised a family with her—and imprisons them, taking the opportunity to elaborate on his plan. He intends to set the Omnidroid v.10 on Metroville and then stop it himself, taking the credit and setting himself up as the city's new hero. Syndrome also revealed that after many years of being hailed as a super, he would then make money by selling his inventions (such as his rocket boots) to any paying customer in order to enjoy powers similar to his, and gradually become superheroes. Syndrome echoes a similar earlier comment of Dash's that "when everyone is super, no one will be", hinting that he planned to continue Operation Kronos on future superheroes for his own benefit and glory. He then left for Metroville in his manta jet.
Arriving at Metroville, where the Omnidroid was on a rampage, Syndrome introduced himself as a new superhero to the public, then utilized his remote to "teach this hunk of metal a few manners." However, Syndrome underestimated the Omnidroid's ability to learn, which allowed the robot to identify Syndrome as a threat and blasted his remote control wristband from his wrist before sending him flying uncontrollably into a building. Knocked out from the impact, he remained unconscious during the battle in which the Incredibles, with help from Frozone, finally destroyed the Omnidroid, robbing Syndrome of his victory. Rick Dicker, government agent of National Supers Agency, then froze all of Syndrome's assets, adding that he and his colleagues would stop him if he were to be spotted anywhere.
After his plans to fraudulently become a superhero and replace the supers that he had killed off were foiled by the combined efforts of the Incredibles and Frozone, Syndrome went over to the Parr family residence, where he planned to abduct Jack-Jack (the baby and youngest child of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl) and raise him as a sidekick. Carrying the baby in his arms, Syndrome made his way back up to his jet, but Jack-Jack used his powers against him and disabled one of Syndrome's rocket boots, causing him to fly uncontrollably and crash into his jet. The impact made him drop Jack-Jack, who is rescued by Elastigirl. Realizing that he had lost, but refusing to admit defeat, Syndrome leaned from the side door of his jet, vowing to return and get Jack-Jack. However, Mr. Incredible threw his car at the jet, knocking Syndrome off balance. Ending up on the jet's left wing in front of its turbine, Syndrome, as he was wearing a cape, frantically tried to climb away from the turbine that was pulling him by his cape, desperate to save himself, but his cape then got caught in the turbine that sucked him in (echoing an earlier scene regarding the dangers of wearing a cape told by Edna), killing the super-villain (similar to what happened to Stratogale) and destroying his jet in a resulting explosion.
Early lifeAs a 10-year old boy, he was Mr. Incredible's #1 fan, and considered himself to be Mr. Incredible's self-appointed sidekick, "IncrediBoy". Mr. Incredible initially humored Buddy with autographs and similar considerations, but didn't approve of a child showing up uninvited to announce that they're partners to begin with, much less repeatedly. Even though Mr. Incredible eventually resorted to bluntly telling Buddy that he wouldn't tolerate such harassment, Buddy wasn't deterred. Buddy even went as far as to interrupt Mr. Incredible's impending showdown with Bomb Voyage (who apparently stole some money from the bank), placing himself in danger. When Bomb Voyage placed a bomb on Buddy's cape (unbeknownst to Buddy), Mr. Incredible was forced to relase Bomb Voyage in order to save Buddy. However, the rescue ended up causing one of the two lawsuits that Mr. Incredible faced and lost, thus opening a floodgate of other lawsuits against supers and thus, abolishing supers altogether. Fed up with Buddy's carelessness, Mr. Incredible handed him over to the police. However, the cops don't press criminal charges against Buddy, but act upon Mr. Incredible's recommendation that they let Buddy's mother know what her son's been doing, and it'll be up to the Pine family to determine the appropriate punishment for Buddy for interfering in Mr. Incredible's duties. Buddy's punishment at the hands of his family was not revealed, but a flashback of him angrily looking up at a Mr. Incredible poster and then tearing it down suggests that he was grounded and sent to his room.
"IncrediBoy" showed advanced mechanical skill by creating his own rocket boots, but they weren't nearly enough to convince Mr. Incredible, whose callous dismissals left Buddy's fantasies crushed. This blow and his skewed interpretation of the event, shown in a later distorted flashback where Bomb Voyage wasn't even present, drove Buddy to a venomous hatred, and then to revenge.
Buddy is now around twenty-five years of age and has turned into a supervillain. He wears his hair in a tall wavy Jimmy Neutron-esque do. Despite being a villain, he is still a child at heart, and is prone to geek-out moments and monologuing.
After his assets are frozen by the United States Secret Service, Syndrome made one final attempt at revenge by breaking into the Incredibles' house and abducting their baby, Jack-Jack. Syndrome then flew up into the sky and headed for his jet plane. However, Syndrome failed once again due to Jack-Jack's emerged superpowers and Elastigirl saving Jack-Jack (and then using her body as a parachute). Syndrome then leaned from the side door of his plane, beginning to vow vengeance next time. However, Mr. Incredible threw his car at Syndrome's plane, knocking Syndrome off balance. Syndrome's cape then gets caught in the jet engine. He was killed either by the engine's blades, by the intense heat of the engine, or by the explosion of the plane.
Taking place in the same day Syndrome attempts to establish himself as a "Superhero" and his plans fail, right after he regains consciousness he rushes over to the Parr's residence to abduct Jack-Jack. At the same time Kari was babysitting Jack-Jack, but due to her encounters with Jack-Jack's superpowers she was looking insane, as well as mistaking Syndrome for a replacement. The very next thing she noticed is Syndrome's "S" on the front of his costume, Syndrome tries to cover it up by saying it stands for "Sitter", then trying to further that disguise by telling Kari that his original idea was that he had initials for "BabySitter", but then he'd be flying around with a big "B.S." and claiming it would have been embarrassing.
Syndrome stands six feet and one inch tall (not including the height of his hair). He is barrel-chested and weighs 185 lb. His red hair extends straight up with a widow's peak in a manner reminiscent of flames. Syndrome is supposedly "not a super", but he demonstrates exceptional ingenuity, technical knowledge and planning skill far beyond the science of his time. The animators had intended Syndrome to be a caricaturization of director Brad Bird, but it had been debated as to whether they should spoof Bird in their drawing of Mr. Incredible. Ultimately, both Syndrome and Mr. Incredible are a pastiche of Brad Bird.
Weaponry and gadgets
- Utility Gauntlets - Using zero-point energy, Syndrome is able to create a field of quantum energy that inhibits the majority of a victim's body movement. If the victim's skin is exposed, the range of motion of the victim's face is also taken to the minimum (only their eyes can move), and the ability to speak is also inhibited. The field is moved by his fingers and can 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 is located high on the palm of each hand to prevent most unwanted firings. The left-hand gauntlet also holds the remote control for the Omnidroid. A communicator is 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.
- Bio-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 bomb. Worn in the right-hand gauntlet. Unknown if it is exclusively a water bomb.
- Omnidroid - To date, there have been ten known versions of this battle robot. The first nine were prototypes designed to fight and kill supers. The tenth was used in the foiled Operation Kronos. All of them were artificially intelligent, enabling it to solve any problem that it encounters; Omnidroid v.10 figured out that Syndrome used a remote device to control it and knocked him unconscious. Another feature of the Omnidroids is that they have colored eyes (e.g., 08 has a blue/green eye, v.10 has a red eye). The Omnidroid's only weakness is itself: in the film, 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 v.10's claw at it and tears right through it, ripping out its power core.
- Viper - Helicopter-like, VTOL vehicles with ducted fans attached that twist and turn to control the vehicle's altitude and movement. The ducted fans tend to decrease lift when changing independent blade pitch.
- Velocipod - Round open cars with four surrounding blades that spin at exceedlingly high speeds to keep them airborne.
- Manta Jets - Specially designed transporters resembling manta rays that have a translucent holographic monitor inside, and are able to travel underwater.
- Energy Prisons - Prisons in which the victim is obtained inside a powerful electric field and unable to escape due to hard metal mineballs.
Syndrome's personality (namely his callous disregard of others and lack of conscience or morality) all stem back to psychopathy. He is a mad scientist destined to make himself a hero even if it meant creating a killer robot to murder various retired ones. Due to Mr. Incredible making him believe that he could count on nobody except for himself, he has no value of human life which was shown when he let loose the Omnidroid on a populated area to pretend to be a superhero, allowed missiles to fire on Helen, Dash and Violet's plane even after discovering the two were children and was willing to risk Mirage's safety to call Mr. Incredible's bluff, alhough he decided not to kill Jack-Jack's babysitter and instead deceive her into giving her custody of Jack-Jack, (though this may in part have to due to the fact that she was easily persuaded due to her being incapable of handling Jack-Jack's powers).
Syndrome was a scientific, technological, technical and mechanical genius, and possessed the intelligence and resourcefulness sufficient to create an incredible variety of weaponry and equipment. He was also capable of creating a sentient, self-aware, incredibly powerful and intelligent being that ultimately defeated him.
Aside from his derangement Syndrome is cynical, he thinks that the only way to get respect was to become a threat. He is sadistic as well, as shown when after realizing that Bob knew Helen from the transmission he instantly set missiles on their plane and then mocked them on their apparent deaths after recalling how Bob had told him that he worked alone.
Like many sociopaths, Syndrome holds a firm belief that mercy is a weakness and disregarding life is strength which was pointed out by Mirage. Syndrome himself is a very calm, level-headed and laid-back young man, rarely if ever expressing his temper. When Mister Incredible had just destroyed his ninth Omnidroid instead of initial anger, simply compliments the feat by saying it was "impressive." This also shows when Bob had taken Mirage hostage and Syndrome shows no concern when he threatens to crush her after he realizes that Bob was too noble to do such a thing, though he was clearly upset when Mirage decided to leave him.
Syndrome is an extremely spiteful and vindictive individual; after being rejected by his former idol it turned him into a megalomaniacal super villain. However he was still intelligent enough not to make his hatred allow him to be arrogant and realized that the Omnidroid would have to be worthy before fighting Bob.
Despite his evil personality, Syndrome is also shown to have a comedic side, remarking that he and Mrs. Incredible "had gotten busy" after being married, and accidentally tossing Mr. Incredible off a cliff while attempting to explain his plan to him. He also told Kari that wearing a "BS" on shirt was below him while explaining why he had an S on his shirt.
However it's needless to say that Syndrome wasn't always like this; Buddy Pine was cheerful, inventive optimistic and intelligent if not a little pestering and obnoxious. He was somewhat obsessed with Mister Incredible as he was a member of the fan club, knows his favorite catchphrases and fighting styles and his self-proclaimed number one fan. He is a child prodigy, creating rocket boots which allow him to fly; sadly, however, his intrusions caused his idol to lose Bomb Voyage. After being rejected by Mister Incredible twice this led Buddy down a dark path until it became a desire for vengeance. However, even as a child, Syndrome believed being a superhero was about wearing cool outfits and getting to beat people up, showing no real desire to help others. This suggests that he could have potentially become an anti-hero even if Bob hadn't turned him down. To be fair, he was a child at the time, so he may not have understood what being a superhero really meant.
Behind the Scenes
Conception and creation
Syndrome was originally meant to be a throwaway character. In a deleted scene (the alternate opening), Syndrome, after learning from an agent of his that Mr. Incredible had recently moved into [the agent's] neighborhood (after an incident where Mr. Incredible accidentally cleaved his hand with a butcher knife and, due to his superhuman durability, dented it in the process without injury to himself, and was forced to fake injury and hide the incriminating knife.), broke into the Incredible Family's home (the Incredibles used the last name "Smith" instead of "Parr"), disguising himself as a burglar and making enough noise to lure Bob to him, and then used Bob as a battering ram to wreck the home. He also tried to capture Violet while she was still in her infancy, but she, in her invisible state, regurgitated saliva onto his eyes (apparently, the baby Violet had a problem with this, as earlier in the scene, she regurgitated saliva onto her mother's shirt, much to the disgust of one of their neighbors), making him drop the parents. In response, Syndrome immobilized both Helen and Violet, but became immobilized himself when Bob rolled a mirror between them and lodged him into the ceiling of Violet's room. Syndrome was ultimately killed when the family's home was totaled in a gas main explosion sparked by flame in the fireplace (the Incredibles, however, managed to escape in time). In the same scene, Syndrome, upon discovering Violet, also hinted that Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl essentially broke the law by marrying and having children, although this concept was cut in the final version, as when a similarly scripted revelation occurred, he does not mention the legality of whether Supers should breed or not.
The main villain was originally intended to be Xerek, a man who physically resembled the archetypal James Bond villain and had a much more conventional evil plot (whereas Syndrome would've been an old villain seeking revenge, and would've been killed in the first scene). However, in terms of popularity with the creators, he was bested and replaced by Syndrome.
- Mr. Incredible: "Bomb Voyage!"
Bomb Voyage: "Oh! Monsieur Incroyable!" ("Mr. Incredible!")
Young Buddy: "And IncrediBoy!"
(Buddy has broke through the window)
Bomb Voyage (not French, but with an accent): "IncrediBoy?"
(Buddy flies over to Mr. Incredible)
Young Buddy: "Hey, hey! Aren't you curious about how I get around so fast? See? I have these rocket boots!"
Mr. Incredible: "Go home, Buddy."
Young Buddy: "What?"
Mr. Incredible: "Now."
Bomb Voyage: "Petit mufle va..." ("Little oaf...")
Young Buddy: "Can we talk?"
(Buddy pulls Mr. Incredible off to the side)
Young Buddy: "You always, *always* say, "Be true to yourself," but you never say which part of yourself to be true *to*! Well, I've *finally* figured out who I am!"
(Buddy walks over to Mr. Incredible)
Young Buddy: "I am your ward... IncrediBoy!"
Mr. Incredible: "And now, you have officially carried it too far, Buddy."
(Mr. Incredible grabs Bomb Voyage before he can escape)
Bomb Voyage: "OHH!"
Young Buddy: "This is because I don't have powers, isn't it? Well, not every superhero has powers, ya know! You *can* be super without them! I *invented* these. (points to his rocket boots) I can fly! Can *you* fly?"
Mr. Incredible: "Fly home, Buddy. I work alone."
Bomb Voyage: "Oui, et ta tenue est complètement ridicule!" ("And your outfit is totally ridiculous!")
Young Buddy: "Ju ju-- just give me one chance! I-- I'll show you! I'll go get the police!"
(Bomb Voyage has attached a bomb to Buddy's cape; Mr. Incredible notices it)
Mr. Incredible: "Buddy, don't!"
Young Buddy: "It'll only take a second, really."
Mr. Incredible: "No, stop!"
(Mr. Incredible lets go of Bomb Voyage)
Mr. Incredible: "There's a bomb!"
(Mr. Incredible grabs onto Buddy's cape)
- —Young Buddy interrupts Mr. Incredible and Bomb Voyage's showdown
- Mr. Incredible (hands Buddy to the police): "Take this one home. And make sure his mom knows what he's been doing."
Young Buddy: "I can help you! You're making a mista--"
(Buddy is shoved into a police car)
Young Buddy: "Hey!"
Mr. Incredible: "The jumper. You sent paramedics?"
Police Officer: "They already picked him up."
Mr. Incredible: "The blast in that building was caused by Bomb Voyage who I caught robbing the vault. Now, we might be able to nab him if we set up a perimeter."
Police Officer: "You mean he got away?"
Mr. Incredible: "Well, yeah. Skippy here made sure of that."
Young Buddy: "IncrediBoy!"
Mr. Incredible: "You're not affiliated with me!"
- —Mr. Incredible, handing Buddy over to the police and telling them about what happened
- Syndrome: "It's finally ready! You know, I went through quite a few supers to make it worthy to fight you, but man, it wasn't good enough! After you trashed the last one, I had to make some major modifications. Sure, it was difficult, but you are worth it. I mean, after all... I am your biggest fan."
Mr. Incredible (recognizing that last line): "Buddy?"
Syndrome: "My name is not Buddy!"
(The Omnidroid lets go of Mr. Incredible)
Syndrome: "And it's not IncrediBoy either! That ship has sailed! All I wanted was to help you. *shouting* I only wanted to help! And what did you say to me?!
(cuts to flashback of Mr. Incredible telling Young Buddy, "Fly home, Buddy. I work alone."; then cuts to a furious young Buddy staring up at a Mr. Incredible poster in his room, then tearing it off)
Syndrome (narrating): "It tore me apart. But I learned an important lesson: You can't count on *anyone*, especially your heroes."
Mr. Incredible: "I was wrong to treat you that way. I'm sorry."
Syndrome: "See? *Now* you respect me. Because I'm a threat. That's the way it works. Turns out there are lots of people, whole countries, that want respect, and will pay through the nose to get it."
(Mr. Incredible spots a log near a rock and slowly goes over to it)
Syndrome: "How do you think I got rich? I invented weapons, and now I have a weapon that only I can defeat, and when I unleash it--"
(Mr. Incredible throws the log at Syndrome, who dodges it and hits Mr. Incredible with his zero-point energy ray as Mr. Incredible was about to charge at him)
Syndrome: "Oh, ho ho! You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can't believe it."
(he slams Mr. Incredible against the ground)
Syndrome: "It's cool, huh? Zero-point energy. I save the best inventions for myself."
(he lifts Mr. Incredible again)
Syndrome: "Am I good enough now?"
(he slams Mr. Incredible again)
Syndrome: "Who's super now? I'm Syndrome, your nemesis and..."
(he accidentally throws Mr. Incredible out of sight)
Syndrome: "Oh, brilliant."
- —Syndrome confronts Mr. Incredible
Syndrome: "What have we here? Matching uniforms?"
Syndrome: "Oh no. Elastigirl! You married Elastigirl!"
(laughs, then notices Violet and Dash)
Syndrome: "And got busy! It's a whole family of supers! Looks like I've hit the jackpot! Oh, this is just too good!"
- —Syndrome upon immobilizing the Incredibles and discovering the whole family is supers
- (the Incredibles enter their house, only to find Syndrome holding Jack-Jack. Syndrome hits them with his zero-point energy ray)
Syndrome: "Shhh. The baby's sleeping."
(Syndrome gets up, with Jack-Jack still in his arms, preparing to leave)
Syndrome: "You took away my future. I'm simply returning the favor. Oh, don't worry. I'll be a good mentor: supportive, encouraging..."
(he glares at Mr. Incredible)
Syndrome: "Everything you *weren't*. And in time, who knows? He might make a good sidekick."
- "This isn't the end of it! I will get your son eventually! I will get your son!"
- —Syndrome, vowing to return after he failed to capture Jack-Jack
- "...And when everyone's a super, no one will be..."
- —Syndrome, referring to selling technology to make everyone super-esque.
- According to official sources, Syndrome is in his mid 20's, is 6'1" (184 cm), and weighs 185 lbs (83 kg).
- 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.
- Syndrome is one of the few characters whose voice actor also voiced his juvenile counterpart.
- 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.