- “We're on the same team, Judy! Underestimated, underappreciated....Aren't you sick of it?! Predators - they may be strong and loud, but prey outnumber predators ten to one. Think of it; 90% of the population, united against a common enemy. We'll be unstoppable!”
- ―Bellwether to Judy Hopps
- "Assistant Mayor Bellwether is a sweet sheep with a little voice and a lot of wool, who constantly finds herself under foot of the larger-than-life Mayor Lionheart."
Bellwether is a small, fragile sheep. She wears red glasses over her big green eyes. She has her fluffy white wool styled up in a pom-pom shape on her head. Bellwether also has big, floppy ears, and hooves for hands and feet. She wears a deep blue coat over a dress with a leaf-like design on it.
At first glance, Bellwether appears to be a meek, shy, sweet and energetic, albeit overworked, sheep. She sympathizes with Judy Hopps as she feels the two are both under-appreciated and underestimated and claimed herself as Judy's friend in City Hall. She is eager to help and excited she could be of use since she feels her job as assistant mayor is more of a glorified secretary job. It is obvious throughout the film that she mostly does paperwork and menial jobs while Lionheart is somewhat of a glory hound who dumps the work on her and gets all the attention.
However, this is actually a mere facade to disguise her true nature: A deceptive and cunningly diabolical mastermind. Bellwether is deeply prejudiced against predators because they are only 10% of the population, and she seems to view them as dangerous and unintelligent in comparison to the prey. She is ruthless and power-hungry, perfectly willing to kill anyone who gets in her way or simply refuses to agree with her beliefs. She is also willing to let prey animals get injured or even killed by the predators she turns savage in order to maintain power and turn the population against the predator minority (showing that despite claiming she cares for prey, she ultimately thinks nothing of sacrificing a few for her cause). Her racism doesn't seem to be limited to predators; although she claims
that all prey animals are superior to predators, she seems to favor sheep as her entourage is entirely consisted of such from her hit-man Doug to several corrupt guards.
Bellwether is highly intelligent and manipulative, orchestrating Judy's exposure of Lionheart's illegal imprisonment of the savage predators from behind the scenes in order to take over as Mayor, in addition to staging everything to look as if predators had gone savage through "natural instinct". However, she does prove to be a show off once her true colors are revealed, arrogantly bragging about her plan before trying to finish off Judy and Nick, which proved to be her downfall.
Role in the Film
Bellwether first appears alongside Mayor Lionheart awarding Judy Hopps for being valedictorian of her class and tells the young rabbit that it is a big deal for the "little guys" (the smaller mammals). Before her words can go any further, Lionheart rather rudely pushes Bellwether aside and takes photos with Judy.
Later, when Judy tries to take on the case of finding Mr. Otterton, Chief Bogo is about to fire her for "insubordination" as she took on the job before consulting him, and Bellwether hears and texted it to Mayor Lionheart, forcing Chief Bogo to give her a chance.
Then, when Judy and Nick realize they could look at the traffic cams to find where a jaguar named Manchas (who had gone savage and attacked them but they managed to escape) went, Judy goes to Bellwether to help since Judy doesn't have access to the cameras. Bellwether helps them look at camera records and explains she feels good helping them since she is more of a "glorified secretary" than an actual assistant mayor.
After Lionheart is arrested for illegally imprisoning the savage predators, Bellwether becomes the new mayor and tries to convince Judy to be the role model for the frightened prey populace by being the public face of the ZPD, but Judy refuses and, to Bellwether's shock, resigns from the ZPD.
Later, however, Judy discovers that the predators were not turned savage through "natural instinct", but through a psychotropic serum concocted by a ram scientist named Doug from unique flowers called "Night Howlers". Judy and Nick race to the ZPD with the evidence, but Bellwether intercepts them at the Natural History Museum and tries to take it from them, making Judy realize that Bellwether is behind everything.
As Bellwether and her ram henchmen close in on Judy and Nick, Bellwether tries to convince Judy that prey are superior to predators and she should join her cause, but Judy refuses. After the pair are knocked into a pit exhibit by one of the rams, Bellwether takes back the evidence (a gun used to shoot predators with paintball-like pellets containing the Night Howler serum) and reveals her plans of darting every predator in the city to maintain power and eliminate the predator minority before shooting Nick in the hopes of killing off Judy and making her a martyr while putting the blame on Nick, the only other witness.
However, it is revealed that Judy and Nick switched the serum pellets in the gun with blueberries. Despite this, Bellwether furiously threatens to frame Judy and Nick for her crimes, like she framed Lionheart, but Judy reveals that she recorded Bellwether's crazed speech with her carrot pen. Before Bellwether has a chance to run, Chief Bogo and the ZPD prey and predator reunited because of the confession, arrive and surround her, having heard everything, and she is arrested for conspiracy and fraud along with her henchrams. Lionheart denies knowledge of her plot, but he admits he locked the savaged predators to protect the city, claiming it was for "the right reasons".
Bellwether is last seen in her prison cell watching Gazelle's concert with contempt while her inmates clap their hands. Later, she notices one of her inmates touching her wool; she then angrily swats his hand away before continuing to brood.
- While designing Bellwether, the animators took inspiration by looking at sheep and lambs from classic Disney films, like Make Mine Music and Melody Time.
- The term "bellwether" refers to the sheep that leads the flock. This fits with Bellwether, considering the fact that she is the leader of a team of sheep; Doug, Woolter, Jesse, the Sheep Thug, and two other unnamed sheep in her private security force.
- All of Bellwether's clothes are made of wool.
- There is a foreshadowing to Bellwether's connection with the night howlers; in her office, a sticky note with Doug's name and phone number written on it can be seen: (805) 555-0127. Doug is the sniper that darted Otterton and Manchas, and all the other predators that went savage.
- Bellwether's name is often misspelled as "Bellweather" in merchandise.
- Bellwether's final statement, "Fear always works! And I'll dart every predator in Zootopia to keep it that way", is very similar to Mr. Waternoose's (Monsters, Inc.) final statement: "I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die, and I'll silence ANYONE who gets in my way!".
- Additionally, when the antagonists are exposed, Judy records and plays back Bellwether's scheme with her carrot pen, and Mike Wazowski records and plays back Waternoose's plot with a video camera.