Skipper is the leader of the penguins in the Madagascar franchise, and appears in Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Madagascar 4: Asia Getaway and the main character of Penguins of Madagascar.
He is voiced by Dreamworks mainstay Tom McGrath (who also directed the movies).
Personality and Traits
Skipper is a hardened commando-type, and the leader of the squad of penguins. He often acts like a 'Nam veteran with regards to some kind of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, especially with regards to his raving paranoia (which even the other penguins sometimes consider as being over-the-top) and conflicting stories of past events. He believes that a friend is just an enemy who hasn't attacked you yet. Thanks to his training in commando skills, he seems to have absolutely no idea of how to act like a real penguin, with Private having to give him advice when he's under close observation by humans.
Skipper is very suspicious, and usually mistrusts those whom the other penguins have all fallen for. He is often proven correct. He can sometimes be a bit cold and often does things only because the other penguins, especially Private, want him to.
Of the four penguins, Skipper is the best at hand-to-hand combat, generally able to take down even their surprise attacks. However he has a tendency to overestimate his own abilities, taking on opponents many times his own size, and continuing the attack even when it's shown to be totally ineffective. He claims to not know the meaning of the word 'surrender' and always has trouble admitting fear of anything.
Skipper cannot stand hippies, as seen in Night and Dazed, It's About Time and Hello, Dollface, and would very much like to either beat them up or make them get jobs. He also has Trypanophobia (Fear of needles) as shown in Needle Point and Love Hurts. In King Me he wasn't able to knit because of this fear.
He's a 50's style male chauvinist, believing women are weak and need protecting. He's also rather xenophobic, with the opinion that any species other than avian (especially mammals) is inferior. All of this ties in with his raving paranoia, and the other penguins don't always back him up on these points. It has also been stated that he has a fragile ego. In Madgascar 3, Skipper buys dentures and gets them sprayed gold and eats an apple but realizes he hates the taste of apples meaning that penguins don't like apples.
Skipper is the official leader of a band of penguins bent on a secret agenda of escaping the confines of the zoo and being free in Antarctica. He is voiced by Tom McGrath in all his appearances, making McGrath the only actor to have appeared in every Madagascar franchise. He has dark, sapphire-blue eyes. It is revealed that he, as well as the others, have no idea what is expected of the penguin species by humans aside from "smile and wave." It comes to the point where Private needs a bird biology book to tell the others how to act, even though it's not addressed how he, nor Kowalski, has been able to read the English language and yet still need Phil and Mason to translate in most instances.
As leader, Skipper was the mastermind behind a plot to escape the confines of the zoo and leave for Antarctica with Kowalski, Rico, and Private as his accomplices. Skipper and his troupe dug under their enclosure until they reached the enclosure of Marty the zebra, thinking it to be the South Pole. Skipper explained to Marty that they would escape the zoo on the grounds that penguins do not belong in captivity and with that, ordered his accomplices to continue tunneling. Late that night, Skipper and the other penguins were caught by a SWAT team, as were six other animals found outside the zoo. The penguins were tranquilized and put into a crate to be transferred.
When they awoke, Skipper was confused at the lettering on the crate where they were held and ordered a nearby chimpanzee named Mason to read it, with Mason's companion Phil reading it: they were all bound for a wildlife preserve in Africa. Skipper ordered Rico to pick the lock on the crate where they were held, whereupon the four penguins knocked out the crew and took command of the ship, commandeering it to reach Antarctica. Skipper and his mates finally reached Antarctica and were sorely disappointed by the barren, desolate terrain (as evidenced by Private's exclamation, "Well, this sucks...").
Skipper had the ship return quickly from the South Pole, where it crashed into the beaches of Madagascar and a much warmer climate. Upon arriving, he and the other three encountered Gloria and Melman, and saw that Alex and Marty (known as their "monochromatic friend") were gone. Skipper decided to help rescue Marty from the grim fate of being eaten by the native fossa (possibly as gratitude for his silence regarding the escape). It was Skipper who helped to distract the fossa while Marty was recovered and then helped fight off a number of them.
Skipper noticed later on that Alex was still hungry, not being able to eat steak, and had Rico prepare sushi for Alex. Skipper then relinquished control of the ship to Alex, as he no longer needed it, and proceeded to sunbathe on the tropical beaches in comfort. Skipper was asked by Private if they should tell Alex and his friends that the ship was out of gas. Skipper declined, telling his troupe to "Just smile and wave, boys, smile and wave."
In the sequel, Skipper leads the penguins in first salvaging a crashed airplane to fly back to New York, then fixing the plane when it crashes at Africa with the help of "more thumbs" (Mason and Phil, who also escaped). At the end of the movie, he marries a bobble head. In The Penguins of Madagascar, the bobble head is nowhere to be seen.
In "Tangled in the Web" and "Crown Fools" it is shown that Skipper knows karate and is an exceptionally capable fighter, he's also very strong as seen in "Launchtime" and in "Crown Fools" he said that he had taken down an angry walrus with "a wing and a prayer and another wing", but was revealed that he is terrified of needles, in the episode, "Needle Point." In "Eclipsed" he mentioned that he has a dolphin enemy named "Dr. Blowhole", he apparently had a plan to extinguish the Sun, as when Private told him that the sun went dark. Skipper believed that Dr. Blowhole had succeeded in his plan. Skipper's plans and theories serve a lot as jokes (however sometimes his most out there theories are proven true, since the Blowhole existence is the most extreme example of this.), such as to him there are not 7 but "8" continents as he counts Atlantis, (and appears to believe it is off the coast of Brazil), once telling Maurice that if he had Skipper's security clearance he would to, as well as thinking the new arrivals to the zoo could be flying piranha. He takes his missions very seriously and is highly skilled in hand to hand combat. In the episode "Launchtime" when he asked Kowalski to search for a place where nearly no lemurs can be found, he stated that he cannot set foot in Denmark and instead chose the moon; when Private questioned him on this, he replied by saying "well that's private, Private, between me and the Danes." Skipper has mentioned that there used to be two more penguins in addition to himself and the other three; this has been unconfirmed, as these claims have been and never fully explained. In "The Hidden," he mentioned that they supposedly died during a mission when they were attacked by "flying piranhas," as he said "we had to bury what was left of them with a tea spoon". Later, in "Roger Dodger," he told Rico that he would take him out if he had to and told him "just ask Manfredi and Johnson". He told of them in "An Elephant Never Forgets" while he was training Private that they "fell for the exploding elephant foot". They are also mentioned by Private, who claims that they mistook the hind end of a beluga whale for an escape tunnel, while in "Maurice at Peace" it was implied that they were accidentally smothered by the others due to a misinterpretation of a message which actually said to smother them with affection (Manfredi and Johnson are two ill-fated characters in the World War II prisoner-of-war saga Stalag 17).
Although Skipper tends to try to show no emotion most of the time, whenever Private or any other member of his team is in danger or thought to be dead he becomes very upset (although he once told Private he was always bait because "is naive and expendable" but then became upset when he was eaten).
In The Penguins of Madagascar he uses some Italian words such as "Sempre all'erta" (in "Haunted Habitat"), "Bravissimo" (in "The Hidden"), "Attenzione" (in "Crown Fools"), "Eccellente" (in "Kingdom Come"), "Finito!" (in "Popcorn Panic") and "Perfetto" (in "An Elephant Never Forgets"). Sometimes, his Italian pronunciation is not perfect. In "The Falcon and the Snow Job," Skipper fell for a female falcon named Kitka and she felt the same way about him, so they dated for a while. However, Skipper broke up with her after it was revealed that she had swallowed Fred.
In "Huffin and Puffin," it is revealed Skipper cannot go to Denmark because a little incident with his arch enemy Hans (Who had appeared in that episode), a puffin, made him public enemy number one.
Skipper reappears in Madagascar 3, Madagascar 4 and the 2014 movie as a supporting character.
- Skipper is the only penguin to have the same voice actor (Tom McGrath) throughout every Madagascar adaptation.
- Tom McGrath did what was supposed to be a temporary voice track for Skipper. Robert Stack was originally cast in the role, but after his death, Co-director Eric Darnell decided to keep Tom's voice in because he liked it.