For 3 generations, Monsters, Inc. has been in Mr. Waternoose's family and was inherited from his father at age 142.
Upon meeting Sulley and Mike, Mr. Waternoose was pleased and welcomed them to their new workplace, taking them in as his new scarers and proteges. Personally, Mr. Waternoose has always believed that all human children were poisonous and deadly and was convinced that a single touch from a child could kill a monster.
Years later, Mr. Waternoose was recently troubled, disappointed, and stressed out that Monsters, Inc. was starting to fail because children were increasingly no longer scared of monsters like they used to. Therefore, the energy used to power the city was being decreased and forcing Mr. Waternoose to desperately look for ways to save the company before it is too late.
Whenever a child was let loose into the monster world or has touched a monster, he would tell his people to have the specific door destroyed with a shredder immediately.
Afterwards Waternoose becomes so desperate to save his company that he believes that the only way to do so is to kidnap children and use the scream extractor to extract their screams for power. He later recruits Randall and his assistant Fungus to aid him in his scheme.
One day, Randall begins to work overtime for his mission and accidentally leaves the door to the child that he had intended to steal. By accident, Sulley opens the door and the young girl (Boo) is let into the monster world for the first time, unbeknownst to everyone else.
In Monsters, Inc.Edit
Mr. Waternoose first appears when Thaddeus guesses that leaving a door open could let in a draft, correcting him and saying that it could let in a child. Everyone is surprised to see that their somewhat intimidating boss has arrived. Waternoose warns them there is nothing more toxic or deadly than a human child since they could get killed if it touches them even once. One of the monsters get scared and tell Mr. Waternoose that he can't make them go in a child's room, but the boss tells him he will because they need power for the screams as he uncorks a can and lets a scream split the air. Waternoose proceeds to explain that their city is counting on the monsters to collect the children's screams as without them, they have no power, and since it is dangerous work, they really need to do their best. He also tells them that he needs scarers who are, as he describes, "confident, tenacious, tough, and intimidating" like his top scarer James P. Sullivan.
When Sulley and Mike disguise Boo in a monster costume, they make up a lie to Mr. Waternoose, claiming that it is "Bring an Obscure Relative to Work Day" and Waternoose obviously believes them, saying that he must have missed the memo. Then he and the CDA agents leave to go to an audition for monsters practicing their scare tactics.
Afterwards, when Sulley and Mike were carrying Boo, they try to report to Mr. Waternoose and tell him about Randall's evil plan to kill them when he is attending a training session for new monsters. However, Waternoose asks Sulley to demonstrate his scare tactics, and when Sulley roars at the simulation child, he accidentally scares Boo, who reveals herself as a human child. After Mike tells Mr. Waternoose about Randall's plan, he is shocked to learn that Sulley was partly the reason Boo was let into the monster world; regardless, he takes Boo and promises to set things right for them. Instead, he brings a door (not Boo's) and lets Randall, who is revealed to be Waternoose's henchman, open the door for Sulley and Mike. Then Waternoose — revealing that he is lying to them and is in fact the one behind everything — pushes Sulley and Mike into the door and quickly closes it before Sulley can run back in, trapping the duo in the Himalayas (where they end up having a falling out over Sulley listening to Mr. Waternoose rather than Mike). Only worried about going back to Monsters, Inc. and saving Boo, Sulley quickly scavenges parts from stockpiles from the Abominable Snowman, abandons an upset Mike, and goes to the nearest village to use a door and return to Monsters, Inc. to stop Waternoose.
Inside the secret lair, Mr. Waternoose has second thoughts about recruiting Randall, ultimately regretting being forced to banish Sulley and Mike earlier (most likely due to his former friendship with the duo and the loss of his star employee). As Randall straps a scared Boo into his seat to extract her screams, Waternoose approaches his henchman and tells him that he shouldn't have trusted him with the plan since it led up to having to exile his own scarers all because of Randall. He nonchalantly brushes it off telling his boss they will not need scarers with the Scream Extractor, adding that Sulley got what he deserved anyway. Angered with Randall, Mr. Waternoose defensively tells him that Sulley was twice the scarer he will ever be. This makes Randall lowly growl in frustration and anger at Mr. Waternoose. Fungus tests the Scream Extractor on Boo as Randall watches in amusement. Before it can get to her mouth, a roaring Sulley intervenes at the last moment and pushes the Scream Extractor away with his strength, to which the villains are surprised to see his sudden return. Sulley destroys the machine and throws it at Randall and his boss, pinning Mr. Waternoose against the wall and causing him a bit of pain. After Sulley rescues Boo, Waternoose yells at Randall to get Sulley and Boo and an already-enraged Randall does so. As well, Waternoose tells his henchman to finish Sulley off (which Randall had already intended to do as well). However, Mike — who has followed Sulley back into the monster world — accidentally gives away Randall's cloaking abilities by throwing a snowball at him instead of Sulley, who then punches Randall in the face and knocks him out. After the three escape, Mr. Waternoose tells Randall to go after them and says that there can't be any witnesses, to which Randall replies that there won't be.
While Sulley and Mike lead Randall on a wild chase through a large chamber where thousands of doors to the human world are kept, Waternoose rallies the CDA to arrest Sulley and Mike, believing them to be responsible for the entire incident. He also tells them to arrest anyone who comes out of the door, thus betraying Randall as well.
After the trio defeat Randall and go back to Scare Floor F, Mike distracts the CDA by driving them away into a room while Waternoose catches sight of Sulley with Boo and her door and chases them into the simulation room. Waternoose breaks into a room where Sulley has went into and confronts him. Defending Boo, Sulley yells at Waternoose to leave her alone since she is home now. In response, Waternoose says he can't do that since she and Sulley have seen too much of his plan. Sulley tries to reason with Mr. Waternoose by telling him things don't have to be the way they are, only for Waternoose to say that he has no choice since scaring isn't enough anymore as the times have changed. A shocked and enraged Sulley asks Waternoose about kidnapping children, with Waternoose declaring he will kidnap a thousand children before letting the company die and will silence anyone who gets in his way. After knocking his former friend aside, Mr. Waternoose tries to grab Boo from her bed, but he instead grabs the simulation child, leaving him shocked and confused. Just then, the wall goes up to reveal that Mike was behind the controls this whole time. Mike, who has recorded the entire confrontation, plays back his favorite part to where Mr. Waternoose reveals his plan and as he watches in shock and bewilderment. With this incriminating evidence, the CDA turns on Waternoose and arrests him. As he is being dragged away, Mr. Waternoose angrily blames Sulley for "destroying" Monsters, Inc., saying that the energy crisis will only get worse because of him. However, this eventually proves to be wrong as Sulley replaces Waternoose as the CEO and makes children laugh instead, thus generating even more power than screams and finally fixing the problem.
It is unknown what happened to Mr. Waternoose afterwards, but he most likely remained in prison for many years for him being in cahoots with Randall.
In Monsters UniversityEdit
In the prequel, Waternoose doesn't physically appear, but is seen making a cameo appearance in a photo greeting teenaged Sulley and Mike when they arrive at Monsters, Inc. and shaking hands with them.
In the photo, he is seen as a younger, middle-aged monster with an Afro and facial hair.
Originally, Mr. Waternoose had a gentle, fatherly facade with Sulley and he believed he was the best scarer. He used to be Sulley's father-like mentor and he liked him as his top scarer, only to turn on him and Mike and banish them later on. Since that day, Sulley, Mike, and Mr. Waternoose have been enemies.
Despite being Randall's boss, Mr. Waternoose is a bit more sophisticated, well-mannered, and civil than his boss.
Though he genuinely liked Sulley and Mike, he was only driven to villainy out of desperation to keep Monsters, Inc. afloat in the midst of the energy crisis, as well as due to stressful money problems and his constant hard work of being the (former) CEO. Mr. Waternoose became more villainous as this drive and desperation stripped away his morals and was determined to not let anything stop what he believed would be the best way for the company to keep going and getting Randall to help him in his mission, never bothering to look for other energy resources. One example is when Sulley tried to reason with him and told it did not have to be that way, Mr. Waternoose responded that he had no choice since scaring children was no longer working.
At the end of the first film, Mr. Waternoose gets taken to jail by the CDA after his plan is exposed. While being dragged away, he yells at Sulley and blames him for "destroying" Monsters, Inc. and that it is his fault that the crisis will now get worse, believing screams were the only solution. However, it was revealed that Sulley ended up making it better for good, as well as replacing Mr. Waternoose as the CEO of Monsters, Inc.
Mr. Waternoose is completely bald and has green eyes. He has 5 eyes, 7 fingers, and 6 crab-like legs and has the ability to crawl on walls like a spider and make himself taller.
In a photo at the end of Monsters University, it is revealed that he used to have an Afro and mustache in his earlier years.
- Because Mr. Waternoose said "I never should've trusted you with this" to Randall, Randall is often believed to be Waternoose's boss however this is not true. Waternoose was in no way implying that he was following any kind of plan of Randall's but that he regrets assigning Randall the task of aiding him in his scheme which especially makes the most sense since Waternoose is the CEO of Monsters Inc and as CEO he holds authority over all workers of the company (including Randall).Scenes that prove that Waternoose is the mastermind and not Randall include
- When Sulley saves Boo from The Scream Extractor shortly after he says that he is shown ordering Randall to stop them from escaping displaying that he's the one who holds the authority.
- During the scene where Mike is trying to explain everything to Celia as he, Sulley and Boo are being pursued by Randall at one point he says "Waternoose had this secret plot" specifically stating that the whole thing was Waternoose's idea not Randall's.
- He is the last character to be voiced by James Coburn before his death.
- In Monsters University, Mr. Waternoose was going to be voiced by Kelsey Grammer after Coburn's death, but he dropped out at the last minute for an unknown reason. Grammer previously voiced another Pixar villain: Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2, who coincidentally had a similar motive, regarding his villainy as Mr. Waternoose did in Monsters, Inc., being driven to go become a museum exhibit in Japan regardless of whether the rest of the Roundup Gang wanted to or not because of his being unloved and unnoticed at a toy store. As well, Grammer also voiced Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons.
- It is currently unknown what Mr. Waternoose's middle name stands for as it was never told in the first film. It was once rumored that it stood for James, but no one knows for sure.
- Mr. Waternoose is also similar to Miles Axlerod: They both appear to be friendly at first, but in the end, they are really selfish and greedy jerks. As well, they both get arrested and they are both the main antagonists of their films.