- "I'm the Captain of the Axiom. We are going home TODAY!"
- —Captain B. McCrea
Captain B. McCrea is one of the more important characters of WALL•E. He was a human male of indeterminate age who was in command of the Axiom from 2775 to 2805 (30 years). Like the rest of humanity, his body had adapted to extended life in low gravity and extreme inactivity, appearing to be obese, suffering from reduced muscle mass and almost always confined to a hoverchair.
Most of the day-to-day management of the ship was handled by AUTO and the ship's computer, but Captain McCrea made a point to do the ship's daily morning announcements, once going so far as to rewind the ship's time settings so he could do the "morning" announcement, despite having slept through it.
It becomes apparent that McCrea is not merely a figurehead that can only push buttons, but was trained to at least understand electronics. This allows him to bypass the conventional, user-friendly controls to work directly with the systems underneath.
One day, a probe ship returns with evidence of life on Earth, and the Captain wishes to return to Earth immediately and bring humanity home. Without explanation, the plant that has been inside EVE's chest cavity goes missing, and without it, the Captain is forced to resume life as usual. Suddenly encountering a travel-worn WALL•E on the bridge, he asks that the robot be cleaned up. Noticing a bit of dirt that came off WALL•E, Captain McCrea takes a keen interest in Earth and begins to research their home world, becoming fascinated by a terrestrial life the humans on the Axiom no longer knew.
Later, EVE, with help from WALL•E, returns the plant sample, which GO-4 has stolen earlier by AUTO's command. Looking at the plant, Captain McCrea deduces that he and everyone aboard the Axiom can return to Earth for the first time. McCrea then sees some images that were taken during EVE's time on Earth and is shocked to see the current conditions on the planet. Deciding that he and everyone else have to go back so that they can tend to the Earth, the Captain then summons AUTO and orders the autopilot to fire up the holo-detector, but AUTO refuses and insists him to hand over the plant, stating that going home is impossible. The Captain demands AUTO to tell him the reason behind the impossibility, and AUTO reveals a footage of Directive A-113, a command from then-Buy n Large Global CEO Shelby Forthright that Operation Cleanup had been deemed a failure and that all ships were not to return to Earth. After viewing the footage, the Captain asks the Computer when the message regarding Directive A113 was sent to the Axiom, learning that it was nearly 700 years ago. Realizing that the information is outdated, McCrea then argues with AUTO, stating that the plant sample is a proof that Earth is still habitable, but AUTO insists on following the directive of not returning to Earth. AUTO. McCrea argues that the Earth needs the people on the Axiom to take care of it, and that everyone on the Axiom, including himself, has spent their entire lives doing nothing, but AUTO refuses to back down. Frustrated, the Captain looks away and catches sight of portraits of all the captains from generations down, with AUTO in each and every portrait; this signifies that AUTO is the true captain of the Axiom, all the others were mere figureheads. Determined to return to Earth, McCrea declares to AUTO that he is the Captain of the Axiom and everyone is returning home, to which AUTO, having become fed up with the Captain's defiance, responds by summoning GO-4, who snatches the plant away. EVE tries to help the Captain by ordering GO-4 to put the plant into her chest cavity, but GO-4 tosses the plant into a nearby garbage chute. Just as it seems as if all hope is lost, WALL•E then appears, having caught the plant while climbing up the garbage chute to the Captain's quarters, to the Captain's joy and relief. The Captain tells WALL•E to toss him the plant, but AUTO retaliates by tasering WALL•E (who has stored the plant into his storage chest), deactivating EVE, and sending the two robots down the garbage chute. AUTO then shuts down all communications and confines the Captain in his quarters, leaving him shouting about mutiny as he retreats back to the bridge.
Hours later, Captain McCrea is still shouting mutiny and banging futilely on the door, cursing AUTO as a "stupid wheel!". Just as he is about to give up, he hears the ship's computer warning about rogue robots aboard the Axiom. He looks through a window of his quarters to see an image of EVE and WALL•E being identified as those rogue robots and, upon taking a closer look at the image, notices the plant in WALL•E's hands, filling him again with hope. With his determination renewed, he resourcefully rewires the communications panel in his quarters and instructs EVE and WALL•E to bring the plant to the Lido Deck. Using a previously taken holographic image of WALL•E holding the plant sample, McCrea then creates a diversion by tricking AUTO into thinking he has the plant, challenging him with the words "Come and get it, Blinky!". When AUTO enters the Captain's quarters to investigate, Captain McCrea (having cleverly posed as his holographic self) lunges at AUTO and holds the autopilot long enough to be pulled up into the bridge above his quarters. During the struggle, McCrea accidentally kicks GO-4 out of the bridge and impressively manages to activate the holo-detector while resisting all of AUTO's attempts to shake him off. However, AUTO notices WALL•E and EVE making their way towards the holo-detector and wrenches the captain off by spinning its wheel, causing the Axiom to tilt. AUTO then proceeds to close the holo-detector while WALL•E wedges himself under the the upper lip of the holo-detector, trying to keep it open. The Captain watches a scene of WALL•E sacrificing himself to keep the holo-detector open through a Lido Deck security camera view that AUTO has brought up. AUTO then uses his taser to shut down the holo-detector, crushing WALL•E in the process. Seeing poor WALL•E getting crushed, McCrea summons the strength to stand up on his own two feet, becoming the first human to do so in over 700 years, and gains on AUTO. He then calls out to AUTO, who prepares its taser, and the two engage in another struggle. As the Captain wrestles with AUTO, he inadvertently opens a cover above the wheel that reveals AUTO's auto-manual switch. Noticing the switch while trying to restrain AUTO, McCrea then declares that AUTO is "relieved of duty" as he reaches up to the switch and flicks it to manual, finally shutting down the autopilot. Captain McCrea then rights the Axiom, finally allowing WALL•E and EVE to use the holo-detector. He keeps holding onto the now deactivated AUTO as the Axiom makes a hyperjump to Earth.
After the Axiom returns to Earth, Captain McCrea is seen instructing the Axiom's children how to become farmers as the plant – the same plant that WALL•E has discovered earlier and EVE has brought to Axiom – is newly planted in the earth.
- This is the first character to be voiced and/or played by Jeff Garlin. It was this character that officially established Garlin's friendship with Pixar.
- When he confronts Auto, the "Sunrise" fanfare from the opening of Richard Strauss' tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra plays, an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. This snippet is also played in Toy Story 2 when Buzz Lightyear hops across the floating discs.