Monsters, Inc. Sulley and Boo.jpg
Sulley: "I act scary, Mike. But most of the time, I'm terrified."
Mike: "How come you never told me that before?"
Sulley: "Because we weren't friends before."
―Sulley and Mike[src]

James P. "Sulley" Sullivan is the main protagonist of Monsters, Inc. and the deuteragonist of Monsters University, and overall the protagonist in the Monsters series. He was the Top Scarer at Monsters, Inc. prior to its change towards collecting laughs, when he replaced Henry J. Waternoose III as the CEO of the company.

He is best friends with and the roommate of Mike Wazowski, who he met while attending college at Monsters University. Though the two started of as enemies, they overcame their differences and became lifelong friends, serving together in the mailroom and the Scare Floor.


Early life

Sulley sits back and relaxes instead of paying attention.

James P. Sullivan was born to famous scarer Bill Sullivan and an unnamed mother. Sulley's father cared deeply about the family's reputation, and put a lot of pressure onto Sulley to live up to the family name as a scarer.

Events of Monsters University

Sulley was accepted into the popular college Monsters University at age 18. He was an arrogant, yet friendly, monster who thought that his family name was enough to get him into the scaring business. He was quick to clash with another monster named Mike Wazowski, who he considered to have lower chances of becoming a scarer than himself. He joined the fraternity Roar Omega Roar, only to be kicked out after his and Mike's rivalry caused them to be booted from the scaring program. He decided to join Oozma Kappa in order to get back into the scaring program, but he feared that Oozma Kappa will lose the Scare Games because they were not significantly scary.

He eventually developed from Mike's rival to his friend, although he didn't find Mike scary enough to win and tampered with the equipment so that Mike would register a good score. As a result, Oozma Kappa won, but Mike found out that Sulley cheated and entered the human world to prove himself a good scarer. Feeling guilty, Sulley confessed his cheating to Dean Hardscrabble and risked his life to get Mike back from the human world; however, the door was deactivated, stranding the duo. Together, Sulley and Mike generated enough energy from their side to power the door and scared the newly-arrived human camp rangers. They returned to the monster world, but were immediately expelled from Monsters University.

Despite this, they got to work at Monsters, Inc. in the mailroom and work their way up until Sulley became a scarer (with Mike as his assistant) and met their boss Henry J. Waternoose.

Events of Monsters, Inc.

In Monsters, Inc., Sulley and Mike have been employed at Monsters, Inc. for years, and Sulley is close to breaking the all-time scare record. Despite being at the top of his game, Monstropolis is fighting an energy crisis, as it is not as easy to collect screams from children as it used to be. Sulley is highly respected not only by his peers and coworkers, but also by his boss, Henry J. Waternoose.

While collecting paperwork as a favor for Mike, Sulley finds there is a lone door left activated on the Scare Floor. When he goes to investigate, he is startled by a human girl named Boo who escapes into the factory. Sulley hides her in a gym bag and interrupts Mike's date with Celia, needing immediate help. Boo gets out of the bag and causes havoc in the restaurant, causing the CDA to raid the building in search of Boo. Sulley and Mike escape and hide Boo in their apartment, and while Mike is frustrated over the situation, Sulley finds himself caring for Boo's safety. When he finds out that Randall, Sulley's rival, is the monster that scares Boo, he starts to realize that scaring human children for their own benefit is not fair to them.

With no one to care for Boo in the meantime, Sulley and Mike are forced to bring Boo to work with them in a costume, claiming she is Sulley's distant relative. Meanwhile, Randall and Fungus are trying to track Boo down, as they are the ones who left her door on the scare floor. Randall seeks to revolutionize the scaring industry with his Scream Extractor, hoping to one day become the leader of Monsters, Inc.

After struggling to find and keep track of Boo, Mr. Waternoose has Sulley perform a demonstration for some students in training, against his will. Sulley scares the training dummy, but also Boo, who realizes he has the same job as Randall does. Once the room clears, Sulley and Mike explain the entire situation to Mr. Waternoose, who promises they can trust him. Waternoose brings the duo to a door so they can return the child, but he instead opens a door to the Himalayas and banishes the pair, as he is in cohorts with Randall. Boo is given to Randall and brought to the scream extractor.

Stuck in a snowy wasteland, Mike and Sulley are helped by the Abominable Snowman, but Mike is angry at Sulley for repeatedly going against his wishes and not listening to him throughout the entire situation. Intent on saving Boo, Sulley dangerously rushes down to a human village so he can find a door and return to the monster world. He defeats Randall, saves Boo, and reconciles with Mike, who also found his way back. The trio are chased through the Door Warehouse by Randall, and they go through all kinds of locations. Ultimately, they defeat Randall and throw him into the Trailer Folks' door.

Sulley and Mike trick Waternoose by bringing Boo into the scare simulator, which is monitored by cameras. He confesses his plan to save his company at the expense of morality, and he is arrested by the CDA. Sulley is forced to say a heartfelt goodbye to Boo, whose door is then shredded. Realizing that laughs also create energy, Sulley reshapes the company to focus on collecting laughter from children, and he becomes the CEO. Meanwhile, Mike works on rebuilding Boo's door for Sulley. When Sulley puts the last piece into place, the door activates, and he is able to see Boo again.

Sometime after the events of the film, Sulley announces Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me, a company play that stars Mike, who has also directed, produced, and written the play, in front of the audience and he appears in the play as a co-star.

Events of Monsters at Work

Monsters at Work takes place shortly after the first film, and Sulley is still the CEO of the newly reimagined Monsters, Inc. A new scarer named Tylor Tuskmon applies to become a scarer, only to find that the company no longer hires them anymore. Sulley and Mike both have supporting roles in the story.

Events of Mike's New Car

In the short, Mike shows his new car to Sulley and brings him outside while telling him not to peek. When Mike tells Sulley to open his eyes and asks him what he thinks of the car, Sulley asks him what was wrong with the old car, to which Mike replied, "That's 3 little words, Sulley: 6-wheel drive!", then they both got in. Unfortunately for Mike, Sulley accidentally ruins the car by doing various different things, and Mike eventually told Sulley to get out, but ruined the car himself when he sped off.

Description From Official Website

When it comes to Scaring, Sulley’s a natural—his abundant size, fierce roar and family legacy of a long line of high-achieving Scarers make him a shoo-in for the esteemed Scare Program at Monsters University. But from the moment the overly confident monster steps his big furry feet on campus, it’s clear he’d rather crack jokes than books — and he learns the hard way that his unfettered talent and family ties can only get him so far. With his ego bruised and future in jeopardy, a stubborn Sulley must put his pride aside, team up with an odd bunch of misfit monsters and actually work if he wants to live up to his true Scaring potential.

Scare Stats

  • Score: 100,021
  • Scaring Techniques: Letting out a Jumanji Lion Roar
  • Height: 7'8"
  • Weight: 766 lbs.

Personality and description

Sulley is nice, outgoing, brave, intelligent, selfless, humble, even-tempered, confident, and caring. He appears to be popular among the other employees. In the first film, although his job is to scare children, Sulley makes efforts to befriend Boo and then goes to extreme measures to protect her from Randall and trick Mr. Waternoose into confessing to attempting to kidnap children. It is Sulley who realizes that making children laugh is a far better way to produce energy than making them scream, thus solving Monstropolis' energy crisis.

Sulley is also very loyal to Mike, going so far as to lend him "odorant" and making reservations for him at an exclusive restaurant on Celia's birthday. Sulley also tries to cover for Mike when he realizes he forgot to turn in his paperwork. In return, he relies on Mike to help him in his madcap efforts to keep Boo safe. When Mike protests, Sulley chooses to help Boo over appeasing Mike's pride; his choice is justified when Mike later changes his mind and comes to help him and Boo.

Comparison between Sulley from Monsters, Inc., and Monsters University

Sulley is a huge monster, measuring 7’8" and weighing 766 lbs according to both of his Scare Cards.

He physically resembles a humanoid bear, and his body is covered in light teal fur, with the stomach area’s fur being a light shade of blue. He also has purple polka dots, which are part of his fur’s colour scheme. It is not known what color Sulley’s skin is, but his palms imply that his skin is generally the same color as his fur.

On both sides of Sulley’s temple lay a pair of whitish beige, demon and cow horns. and two zebra ears His limbs are muscular, and his two arms are significantly longer than his two legs. Sulley has four fingers on each hand, and three toes on each foot, with thick and sharp brown lion claws being present on all of his digits. He has a pair of blue eyes, with eyebrows of a darker teal to compliment them. Sulley’s mouth hides a set of large, pig teeth and sharp lion teeth. He also has a big reptilian tail with a line of brownish spikes that starts from his stubby neck. Sulley is also one of the few monsters with a visible nose; in his case, it is a stretched out, cone-like nose with a similar colour to his eyebrows. It overall resembles the nose of a bull and lion and bear and t rex mouth and hippo teeth .

While Sulley’s physical traits are overall the same between both movies, he is noticeably thinner and shaggier in Monsters University, with a mullet-like cowlick on the top of his head.

List of appearances


Click here to see more images of James P. Sullivan.


  • Sulley appears in the end credits of Cars as a giant monster truck. He is also seen in Tokyo Mater with a car version of Mike.
  • He bears resemblance to Bowser, the villain from Nintendo's Mario franchise.
  • Originally, Sulley was going to be a janitor and not a scarer in one early version of the first film. This is referenced in Monsters University in a montage of Sulley and Mike's jobs climbing the ranks to become scarers, one of the jobs being a janitor.
  • According to the original treatment from the DVD, Sulley's working name was Johnson and instead of being the best scarer as seen in the first film, he was a clumsy monster who was very bad at his job. Ultimately, this persona was instead given to Thaddeus Bile.
  • In another early draft, one of his original names was Hob, and instead of working as a scarer, he actually worked for a TV show.
  • One prototype drawing of Sulley showed him with brown fur, while another showed him wearing glasses, and a third showed him with tentacles. The reason for Sulley to be drawn with legs for his final design is due to the fact that the animators were afraid that the viewers would focus too much on the tentacles instead of his face had he be drawn with such.
  • A drawing of Sulley appears on a wood carving in the Witch's house in the Pixar film Brave.
  • The toilet cover that resembles Sulley's fur in Partysaurus Rex.

    In the Toy Story Toons short Partysaurus Rex, the toilet cover in the bathroom has the same design as Sulley's fur.
  • Sulley is the first Pixar protagonist who doesn't have a love interest, followed by Remy and Merida.
  • In the prequel, it is said that he is 18, so in the first film, he is probably 28.
  • John Goodman, Sulley's voice actor, also voiced Pacha from The Emperor's New Groove, Baloo from The Jungle Book 2, and Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff from The Princess and the Frog.
  • Sulley's design was said to be based on that of a prehistoric giant ground sloth.
  • Sulley has 5.5 million rendered hairs in Monsters University, 5 times as many as in Monsters, Inc.
    • Physically, Sulley has 5,475,458 hairs on his body. He weighs 985 pounds.
  • It is revealed in Monsters University that Sulley's father is actually named Bill Sullivan.
  • At one point, they made Sulley wear glasses, which was a bad idea because it was hard to see the eye expressions of the character.
  • In France, Sulley's name is spelled Sulli.
  • Due to the fact that Monster's University came after Monsters Inc. by 12 years, Sully sounds 12 years older than his later self.
  • In sense, Sulley roars like a lion so he is also a lion. So James P. Sullivan (aka Sulley) is both a monster and a lion.
  • His roar originated from the lion scene from the 1995 live-action film Jumanji. see at
  • Before John Goodman was cast, Bill Murray was initially considered for the voice role of James P. "Sulley" Sullivan. He screen tested for the role and was interested, but when Pete Docter was unable to make contact with him, he took it as a "no". In addition to Murray, George Wendt, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, and Robin Wiliams also auditioned for the role of Sulley.


  • "I'm gonna wipe the floor with that little know-it-all."
  • "I don't believe I ordered a wake-up call, Mikey!"
  • "Hey, Randall. Save it for the scarefloor, will ya?"
  • "You... go... to... sleep."
  • "That's... what I decided to call her. Is there a problem?"
  • "BOO!!!"
  • "I think we stopped him, Boo. You're safe now. You be a good girl, okay?"
  • "Laughs..."
  • "Hey you're good."
  • "Don't you ever run away from me again, young lady. But I'm so glad you're safe.
  • "Kitty has to go."

Monsters, Inc. characters
Main characters
James P. SullivanMike WazowskiBooRandall BoggsHenry J. Waternoose
Supporting characters
RozCelia MaeGeorge SandersonAbominable SnowmanThaddeus BileClawsNeedleman and SmittyJerryCharlieWaxfordFungusMs. FlintMrs. Nesbitt
Minor characters
Bob PetersonJoe RanftPupilsBennyNick SchmidtTiny Monster CoupleStreet KidsHidden City Café PatronsGarbage MonsterSneezing MonsterTonyBlobbyTedMargeHarry LuckeyHarley P. GersonCDATrailer FolkFrankAugustus JonesRicky PlesuskiRicky's AssistantTed PauleyHarley's AssistantChuckChaloobyJosh RiveraChefWaiterPhoto CoupleNews AnchorIntervieweesDr FrasenbergerTongue MonsterKidsBigfootRex
Monsters University characters
Main characters
Mike WazowskiJames P. SullivanRandall BoggsDean HardscrabbleScott SquibblesDon CarltonTerri and Terry PerryArt
Supporting characters
Professor KnightBrock PearsonJohnny Worthington IIIClaire WheelerChet AlexanderSheri SquibblesKaren GravesFrank McCayRefereeSlugCarrie WilliamsRozAbominable Snowman
Minor characters
RussellEmmetBus DriverArchie the Scare PigMargaret GesnerProfessor BrandywineJavier RiosReggie JacobsChip GoffNaomi JacksonHeather OlsonCrystal Du BoisBritney DavisTaylor HolbrookGeorge SandersonOmar HarrisPercy BoleslawRoy O'GrowlahanBaboso GoretegaDirk PrattRosie LevinNadya PetrovSonia LewisSusan JensenRhonda BoydNancy KimCarla DelgadoDebbie GablerMaria GarciaViolet SteslickiDonna SoohooBrynn LarsonTrenton HicksEarl ThompsonHank KnappWalter FriedmanBetty StevensonTommy GillRaj KapoorDarryl PayneWilly NowickiThe Kowalski SistersBob GundersonCarla BenitezCarl JohnsonJerry JeblonskiClive CarverDorothy NewbernRufus RamirezJason ChiangCarol DallmarBob PetersonJoe RanftRicky PlesuskiNick SchmidtPete WardTed PauleyHarry LuckeyAugustus JonesJosh Rivera