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- “It's Weaselton! Duke Weaselton!”
- ―Duke Weaselton
The proclaimed "Duke of Bootleg", Duke's main source of income is the sale of pirated DVDs. He is also a career criminal, though, and will just as quickly pick pockets or work for clientèle, as his allegiance is to money before anything else.
He appears to be an affiliate of Zootopia's underworld, having known Mr. Big and Nick Wilde prior to the events of the film. He receives little respect, however, and uses his sharp-tongue as a defense mechanism. Nevertheless, he utilizes his size and swiftness to become an elusive criminal.
Tufts of fur can be seen missing from the pelt over his stomach, indicating scars. This suggests he's been stabbed or otherwise wounded in fights with other members of Zootopia's underworld.
As his name suggests, Weaselton is snide, conniving, and greedy, and is perfectly willing to betray others or engage in illegal activities for a few bucks more. However, compared to the ruthless Bellwether and morally ambiguous Mayor Lionheart, Weaselton's crimes are considerably more small time and the worst action he commits are bootlegging and petty theft, making him more of a crook than a mastermind. He doesn't seem to engage in harmful activities, but stole toxic flowers to assist his employer's goals (as he was a hired hand, however, it's highly likely he was told nothing of the dangerous capabilities) solely because he was promised money, which he himself claims is "the one thing he can't refuse".
Weaselton is shown to have a dry and insulting sense of humour, referring to Judy Hopps in degrading terms throughout their chase such as "cottontail" and telling her to "have a donut" while kicking a large donut in her path as a reference towards the stereotypes of cops loving donuts. He carries himself in a prideful manner, arrogantly correcting Judy when she mispronounced his name. Like most criminals, Weaselton has a strong dislike towards police officers as he refused to say anything to Judy about the case she was working on, and chastised Nick and Mr. Big simply for helping a cop.
It is also implied that he is cowardly, shown by the way he frantically and rather desperately ran away when he was being chased by Judy throughout Little Rodentia. This may not be true, however as he found the courage to continuously gloat towards the rabbit when he had the upper hand or seemingly lost her, but this trait only surfaces when he is certain he is superior in a situation. He also had the defiance to berate the fearsome Mr. Big for working with a cop, even going so far as to call him a "dirty rat", despite being threatened with death at the time.
Role in the Film
the opportunity to show her talent at being an actual police officer. Judy chases after the suspect, revealing himself to be Duke Weaselton. Needing to escape, Duke heads into Little Rodentia, successfully getting away with his duffle bag. Nevertheless, Judy continues the chase. After a brief getaway, Judy manages to hurl Duke backwards, making him lose his momentum.
Judy successfully saves the shrew from getting crushed, and uses the donut sign to capture Duke, and turning him in at the ZPD. Unfortunately, Chief Bogo isn't pleased with Judy, since he believed the items Duke stole were just moldy onions, helped little by the fact she abandoned her post and caused a panic in Little Rodentia over the "onions". His irritation over the incident was so great that he blew up at her when Judy tried to correct him in the true nature of the stolen items as flower bulbs that her family uses on their farm.
Later in the film, Judy learns that the flowers Duke stole are nicknamed "night howlers", and the flowers contain a toxin that, when exposed to or consumed by mammals, turns them savage. Realizing that person Duke stole them for was likely using them deliberately on predators, Judy and Nick Wilde confront Duke, who is selling bootlegged films to pedestrians. Judy and Nick demand answers as to why he stole night howlers from the store.
When he refuses to cooperate, the duo take Duke to Tundratown's most feared crime boss, Mr. Big, to interrogate him. On the verge of getting iced, Duke admits he was trying to give the night howlers to a ram named Doug in exchange for something he couldn't refuse - money. He tells him about the subway where they meet and warns Judy and Nick that Doug is "the opposite of friendly; he's unfriendly".
- Duke's name is a pun on the Duke of Weselton from Frozen, another character voiced by Tudyk, and the mispronunciation "Weasel-Town" the Duke was often called by.
- Additionally, Duke hates being called "Weselton" instead of his actual name.
- The pirated DVDs that Duke sells are all "Zootopia"-ed versions of various Disney animated movies:
- Wrangled (Tangled)
- Wreck-It Rhino (Wreck-It Ralph)
- Pig Hero 6 (Big Hero 6)
- Meowana (Moana)
- Floatzen 2 (Frozen 2)
- Giraffic (Gigantic)
- Among the many cartoon weasels in Disney history, Duke is the first one to be CGI animated, live in the 21st century, and have red eyes. He also has the biggest eyes out of all the Disney weasels.
- Duke is the only weasel ever to be seen in the film.
- Despite being called a weasel, Duke is actually too large to be one, and is instead more similar in size and appearance to a ferret or stoat. This makes him one of the few animals in the film who isn't up to scale.
- Another trait that sets him apart from real-world weasels is the fact that Duke has a long tail with a black tip. Real weasels do not have this, but stoats do.
- Also, while a real weasel's snout is short, Duke's snout is longer and narrower, giving him a slightly more canine appearance. This feature, however, is also sometimes seen in various species of martens.
- He bears a resemblance to Scrat from the Ice Age franchise, who is also designed by Peter de Sève.
- Coincidentally, his voice actor, Alan Tudyk, also played various characters in the Ice Age franchise.
- The scene that depicts Weaselton kicking the donut sculpture at Judy and says, "Have a donut, copper!" is likely a reference to the cliche of cops often eating donuts.
- Duke bears a striking resemblance to Dribs; it is highly possible that Duke's design influenced Dribs'.