Zapp Brannigan is a fictional character in the animated sitcom Futurama. He is voiced by Billy West, but was originally intended to be voiced by Phil Hartman, with West taking over the role after Hartman's death. The character is based on the Star Trek captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. The show's executive producer David X. Cohen has described Brannigan as "half Captain Kirk, half actual William Shatner". Brannigan is a 25-Star General in the Democratic Order of Planets, and captain of its flagship, the Nimbus.
He is first introduced in the fourth episode of the series, "Love's Labours Lost in Space", in which he plays a major role. In the episode, Brannigan becomes enamoured with Leela, whom he attempts to woo for the remainder of the series. Brannigan is portrayed as a respected military hero in the eyes of his superiors and the general public, but strongly disliked by his own crew, most notably his long suffering second-in-command, Kif Kroker. Though famed for his bravery and strategic genius, it soon becomes very apparent that he is sexist, vain, and often very cowardly and inept. Most of his military battles were successful because of significantly weak or non-hostile enemies or even pacifists. Brannigan is also completely indifferent to military casualties, and it is implied that most of his victories have been pyrrhic, achieved only by sacrificing soldiers in vast numbers.