Syndrome is a fictional character, the main antagonist in the 2004 film The Incredibles. Real name Buddy Pine (he calls himself Incredi-Boy earlier in the film), he is the archenemy of the Incredible Family. Wizard Magazine rated him the 64th greatest villain of all time.
"Misunderstood and a bit too smart and boastful for his own good, Buddy's life takes a turn for the worst when he reinvents himself as Syndrome and puts his talents and energy into a sinister plan."
- Official Pixar Website
Syndrome stands 6ft 1in (1.85 m) tall, not including the height of his hair. He is barrel-chested and weighs 185 lb (84 kg). His red hair extends straight up in a manner reminiscent of flames. Syndrome is "not a super," but he demonstrates exceptional ingenuity, technical knowledge and planning skill far beyond the science of his time.
Conception and creation
Syndrome was originally meant to be a throwaway character. In a deleted scene of the alternate opening, Syndrome broke into the Incredible family's home and used Bob as a battering ram to wreck the home. Syndrome was ultimately killed when the family's home was totaled in a gas main explosion sparked by flame in the fireplace. The scene was cut when the filmmakers decided that Syndrome made a better villain than their original choice.
Syndrome's real name is Buddy Pine. As a boy, he considered himself to be Mr. Incredible
's greatest fan, top of his fan club
and for all of a few minutes his self-appointed sidekick, "Incredi-Boy." His idol initially humored Buddy with autographs and similar considerations, but did not approve of a child showing up uninvited to announce that they're partners to begin with, much less repeatedly. Although Mr. Incredible eventually resorted to bluntly telling him that he would not tolerate such harassment, the boy was not deterred. Buddy even went as far as to interrupt Mr. Incredible's impending showdown with the supervillain Bomb Voyage
, placing himself in danger, forcing Mr. Incredible into a dangerous rescue and allowing Voyage to escape. 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.
Incredi-Boy showed advanced mechanical skill by creating his own rocket-boots, but they weren't nearly enough to convince Mr. Incredible, whose callous dismissals ("I can fly. Can you fly?" "Fly home, Buddy. I work alone.") left Buddy's fantasies crushed. This blow and his skewed interpretation of the event drove him to a venomous hatred and then to revenge.
Buddy used his skill with inventions to become a highly successful and wealthy weapons designer, abandoning his conscience in the process. No matter how rich and powerful he became, Buddy never forgot about Mr. Incredible, and formulated his plans for vengeance. 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, he contacted various retired superheroes, tasking them with the destruction of various prototypes of the enormous Omnidroid 9000 battle robots, leading to the demise of many of the old supers. Deciding that the robot was now good enough to fight his old idol, he had Mirage recruit Mr. Incredible, who was able to defeat the Omnidroid.
After repairing and improving the machine, Syndrome sent to fight Incredible. When the hero was outmatched, Syndrome revealed himself and declared that he would be his nemesis. Using his zero-point technology to throw Mr. Incredible over a waterfall, he tried to finish him off with an explosive device. Although this failed, he was able to capture Mr. Incredible when the hero 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 by shot down with 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?". Incredible retaliated by threatening to kill Mirage; 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 him, leading her to free Mr. Incredible from captivity, inform him of his family's survival and help him to escape and reunite with them.
Syndrome managed to recapture the super family and re-imprison them, taking the opportunity to elaborate on his plan. He intends to set the Omnidroid on Metroville and then stop it himself, taking the credit and setting himself up as the city's new hero. However, this plan failed, as the Omnidroid's ability to learn allowed it to identify Syndrome as a threat, disabling his remote control wristband and sending him flying into a building. He remained unconscious during the Incredibles and Frozone's battle with his Omnidroid, and was thus robbed of his victory.
With his assets frozen by the secret service, Syndrome made one final attempt at revenge by breaking into the Incredibles' house and abducting their baby, Jack-Jack. This effort too failed, when Jack-Jack's previously unforseen transforming superpower manifested and allowed him to escape Syndrome's clutches. Finally realising that he had lost, Syndrome leaned from the side door of his jet plane, vowing revenge and promising to return. However, Mr. Incredible threw his car at the plane, knocking Syndrome off balance. Echoing an earlier scene in the movie regarding the dangers of wearing a cape, Syndrome's cape gets caught in the jet engine, resulting in the apparent death of Syndrome.
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 Incredi-Boy, Buddy used makeshift rockets. As Syndrome, his rocket boots were modified to project flames of blue fire.
- 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 water-bomb. Worn in the right-hand gauntlet.
- Flame-throwing assault rifle - used to create force fields of flame that spread if anyone trapped inside tries to do anything about it. So far, this weapon has only been used once—by the now-congealed Syndrome robot.
- Mind control implants - Syndrome planted these into some of his footsoldiers for the Syndrome robot to control in Walt Disney World. However, these implants could be countered by a red bracelet worn by any one of some special guests. All that they had to do was press the orange button, which they would later press again to restore the magic and happiness of the Magic Kingdom.
- LASER prisons - The robot Syndrome was forced to imprison Mickey and Minnie into separate LASER prisons after the Incredibles attacked "him" in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, but after "he" was congealed by Frozone, they were freed when some special guests pressed the yellow button on their red bracelets.
- Omnidroid - To date, there have been eleven 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. The eleventh was used in the assault on Walt Disney World. All of them but the last were artificially intelligent, enabling it to solve any problem that it encounters; after Omnidroid #10 figured out that Syndrome used a remote device to control it and knocked him unconscious, Omnidroid #11 had to be built without the AI feature. Another feature of the Omnidroids is that they have colored eyes (e.g., #09 has a blue/green eye, #10 has a red eye). The Omnidroid's only weakness is itself: in the film, Mr. Incredible scrambles into Omnidroid #09's inner workings, causing the machine to pierce its own hull in a vain attempt to pry the hero free from inside, and later on, Mr. Incredible launches Omnidroid #10's claw at it and tears right through it, ripping out its power core. The 11th Omnidroid does not possess AI and is controlled by remote-control to avoid the same fate as the real Syndrome.