―Henry J. Waternoose, III, talking about Sulley
James "Jimmy" P. "Sulley" Sullivan is the protagonist in the Disney/Pixar 2001 feature film Monsters, Inc., and the deuteragonist in the 2013 prequel Monsters University. He is voiced by John Goodman.
Sulley is a top scarer under his boss Henry J. Waternoose, III, who is the CEO of Monsters, Inc. Sulley's best friend and sidekick is Mike Wazowski. His mother is Mrs. Sullivan (who is not seen in the movie, but mentioned by Mike) and his dad is the famous scarer Bill Sullivan. When he is first seen, Sulley is the top scarer at Monsters, Inc., responsible for generating the majority of scares that provide power for the city of Monstropolis.
In the movie, 18-year-old Sulley was shown to be very different than he was later in life.
Being the son of Bill Sullivan, an accomplished Scarer, and having the natural talent that came from his family, Sulley was more laid-back, arrogant, cocky, immature, and something of a party animal. Because of his talent and coming from a family with plenty of accomplished scarers, Sulley wasn't a model student, once stating "You don't need to study Scaring; you just do it!"
He developed a competitive rivalry with a fellow student in the Scaring Program, Mike Wazowski, who had the brains and intelligence for Scaring but not the natural talent. He was also chosen to join the Roar Omega Roar fraternity due to his Scaring talent. To his frustration however, Mike was beating him in class because of Mike's keen studying while Sulley wasn't doing well. Johnny Worthington III temporarily took his jacket unless Sulley passed the exam and not losing to Mike.
Sulley realized just having the talent wasn't enough when Dean Hardscrabble kicked him and Mike out of the Scare Program, for which he blamed Mike (evident by constantly glaring at him and crushing a scream-cannister in his hands). Roar Omega Roar also took the jacket away, which meant that he was kicked out of their group. But later, he was desperate enough to join Mike and the Oozma Kappa fraternity to get back in by winning the Scare Games when he overheard Mike and Hardscrabble's wager, that if OK won, the whole team would be allowed in the Scaring Program.
He smugly got himself on the team because Mike had no choice since he needed one more member. He came off as shallow, deeming Oozma Kappa to be lost causes (even suggesting to Mike the get a new team as well as cheating) but eventually came to appreciate them for their friendship. Even so, Sulley wanted so bad to get back into the Scaring Program he rigged the last event so that Mike would easily win, as he honestly didn't think Mike was scary.
At first, Sulley tried to justify his cheating but realized what it almost cost him, especially when Mike sought to prove himself by scaring actual children, and when an argument erupted between them, Sulley revealed that being a Sullivan made everyone expect him to be scary, and while he acted scary and confident, in truth, Sulley was terrified of the expectations he had to live up to.
The friendship between Mike and Sulley enabled them to surprise Dean Hardscrabble, who indirectly encouraged them to work as mailmen for Monsters Inc., where they worked together until at last they achieved their dream of becoming a Scare-Team.
In Monsters, Inc., James P. Sullivan, or Sulley as he prefers, is shown to be good-natured, hardworking, and confident, who loves his job as a Scarer and while he basked in the limelight of being Top Scarer, and was indeed going for the All-Time Scare Record, he had a humble side in that he was more interested in being a good employee for the company. This was most likely due to him having worked his way up through the ranks of the company from mailman to janitor to cafeteria work to can wrangler and finally to scarer.
One of the defining traits to his character was his friendship with his Scaring-Assistant, Mike Wazowski. They're best friends, room-mates, incredibly devoted to each other, and help each other out, as Sulley secured a reservation for Mike at Harryhausen's for his date with Celia Mae on her birthday, and covered for him in a paperwork concern.
Sulley's world, however, is turned upside-down when he discovers a human child, initially and frantically doing everything he can to get rid of her while trying not to get "infected" due to the Monsters' mistaken beliefs that human children are "toxic, deadly, that a single touch could kill them". When left with no choice, he involves Mike, who is more concerned with their career and their well-beings, but as Sulley spends time with the girl, he warms up to her and comes to disregard everything he's ever believed about human children, eventually giving her the name "Boo", and becomes attached to her, like a father.
However, his affection and protectiveness for Boo puts a strain on his friendship with Mike as he relies on Mike to help him in his madcap efforts to keep Boo safe from Randall and hide her (and their discretions) from the CDA. When Mike protests, Sulley chooses to help Boo over appeasing Mike's pride. It isn't until Sulley, at the demand of his boss, does a scare-demonstration and accidentally frightens Boo as he sees the images of the demonstration, showing Boo horrified and himself roaring, where Sulley finally realizes just how scared children are of monsters; his many years as a Scarer comes back to haunt him when Boo is so frightened of him that she shies from his touch, to his shame and regret.
Sulley's shame however is turned to shock when he realizes the boss, with whom he's always been on good terms with, is not the good man he thought he was, when Waternoose banishes him and Mike to the human world. Even so, Sulley does everything he can to get back to the monster world, even leaving Mike who refuses to come, due to thinking Sulley was reverting back to the guy he met back in college.
His actions however are justified when Mike follows back home, and they work together to foil Randall from getting his scaly hands on Boo, eventually stranding him in the human world.
After Roz of the CDA declares Boo's door must be destroyed, Sulley is brokenhearted and gives Boo a fond goodbye, and is more crestfallen since the entire fiasco will shut down the factory.
However, a stray remark by Mike, along with an observation he'd made, helps Sulley realize the human children's laughter is ten times more powerful than screams. He manages to not only save the company, but revolutionize it by having monsters make kids laugh instead of scaring them, solving Monstropolis' energy crisis, and Sulley becomes the company's new CEO.
While proud of his success and making things better not just for monsters but kids as well, Sulley sadly holds onto a piece of Boo's door and a drawing she made of him and her holding hands but Mike reveals to him that, after trial and error, he managed to restore Boo's door except for the piece Sulley still has (the door will not work unless it has every piece). Sulley places the piece in its place, reactivating Boo's door and steps through. To his joy, he is reunited with Boo.
By all his actions, Sulley proves himself to be a well-meaning person who strives to do the right thing. He was shown to be observant and keen-minded to Boo's laughs super-charging electronics in ways screams had never done although Sulley appears to be a little trusting in some cases although he was completely fooled by his own boss, Waternoose, and he has a strong moral compass - Appalled by Waternoose's plan to kidnap children to harvest their screams.
Even so, Sulley has a powerful devotion to those he cares for, risking his job, his life, and even his friendship with Mike to save Boo, and while he has his ups and downs with Mike they are true and loyal friends to each other, despite their differences.
Physical appearance Edit
Sulley is a large hairy blue monster with purple spots and periwinkle eyes. He has curved horns, white claws, razor sharp fangs, and white spikes that run down his backside to the end of his long dinosaur-like tail, and has a large furry belly. He has bushy eyebrows and a dark teal nose. In Monsters University, it is revealed he sheds and was thinner with mullet like hair.