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|“||Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.||„|
|~ Wardaddy to Norman.|
Staff Sergeant Don Collier (nicknamed "Wardaddy" by his tank crew) is the main protagonist of the 2014 war movie Fury. He is a battle-hardened soldier in the 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division.
Although it is true that Wardaddy is a hero, and with that, the main hero of the movie; but he is more of an antihero. Wardaddy is a ruthless soldier with extreme brutality that almost knows no bounds, even to his own men if they don't comply with his orders. He shows a great hatred for Nazi Germans, particularly the SS, and orders his men to kill every armed German they see, no matter how young they may be. Wardaddy has also ordered his men to run over German soldiers with their tank. Along with near-total war brutality, Wardaddy has also committed illegal war crimes, such as executing an unarmed prisoner of war, one who had a family. Nonetheless, Wardaddy's brutality did get to him, as he is shown in a few occasions having trouble living with himself for what he has done. Wardaddy would smoke to take the edge off, but it didn't seem to help much, although he tried to remain calm and collected for his crew at all times. Wardaddy didn't hate Germans in general, but only the SS, who were the more loyal and fanatic Nazi troops, and as such, did everything he could to kill them. There is sympathy to the character. Director David Ayer claims that Fury is a father-son story and that Wardaddy was a mentor to Norman. Producer John Lesher claims that Wardaddy is a damaged soul. It can be argued that Wardaddy does not like killing people, but does it to save his own life and the life of others, or perhaps to just finally finish the war the Nazis started. Wardaddy has an extremely complex personality, at one point mocking the Bible and another quoting it right down to the verse, at one point shooting an unarmed POW and at another defending two German women from his own men by threatening to "kick in [their] teeth". What makes the character even more complex and enigmatic is ths he is strongly hinted to be of German descent, and can even speak the language, and his brutality towards Germans may be explained because he hates how the Nazis have destroyed the country. In the script, Wardaddy flat out mentions to Norman that his mother was born in Germany, in a village that the Nazis destroyed.
As the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany, Collier commands an M4A3E8 Sherman tank named Fury and its five-man, all-veteran crew: Boyd "Bible" Swan, gunner; Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, loader; and Trini "Gordo" Garcia, driver. The tank's original assistant driver/bow gunner has been killed in a battle that has killed all the rest of Fury's platoon (3rd (platoon) of 2nd Armoured Devision US Army). Wardaddy hides on top of Fury and sees a Nazi SS officer riding on horseback through the ruins of the battle, looking for survivors. Wardaddy jumps on him, knocks him off the horse and stabs him in his eye socket viciously several times until he dies. Wardaddy then lets the horse go. Wardaddy returns to the tank and kicks Coon-Ass until he gets the broken tank fixed enough to drive them back to their camp. There, Wardaddy sees that his gunner's replacement is a recently enlisted Army typist, Norman Ellison who has neither seen the inside of a tank nor experienced the ravages of war. Norman eventually earns the nickname "Machine", given to him by Grady Travis. While at a forward operating base, it is revealed that Wardaddy greatly despises the Waffen-SS, shown when he harasses an injured captive SS officer before telling Norman to kill every one of them he sees.
The surviving crew, who have been together since the North African Campaign, belittle the new recruit upon meeting him, for both his lack of experience and for his reluctance to kill Germans, especially the children of the Hitlerjugend; a decision which results in the destruction of Lieutenant Parker's tank and its crew. Wardaddy is furious and, enraged, forces Norman to look at an American soldier who committed suicide while burning alive. Wardaddy angrily screams to Norman that this is his fault. Later, in an effort to 'educate' him to the realities of war, he violently attempts to force Norman to take his weapon and kill a captive German artilleryman, who is wearing a looted American trenchcoat. When Norman refuses to do so, Wardaddy forces the gun into his hand and makes him execute the prisoner.
The bond between Norman and Wardaddy becomes stronger after capturing a small German town which is riddled with hanged children displaying signs. Wardaddy reads the signs and translates them. They say that the dead children were "cowards" for not fighting for Germany. Wardaddy and the rest of the crew kill all the Nazi soldiers that have taken it over and Wardaddy realizes that most of the surviving soldiers who are surrendering are merely children being forced to fight. Wardaddy lets the children live but sees an SS officer and asks if he was the one hanging children in the town. The townsfolk identify him as the murderer and Wardaddy promptly has him executed. Later, Wardaddy and Norman meet a German woman, Irma, and her cousin Emma. Norman presumably sleeps with Emma, then joins Wardaddy and Emma's cousin for breakfast, during which time Norman discovers that Wardaddy has horrific, severe burn scars on his back. The rest of the crew barge in and cause tensions while at the table, (all of whom but Bible were looting the town and enjoying the spoils of war) but Wardaddy stops them from harming the two women. Coon-Ass continues to be rude, taking Emma's eggs and licking them before putting them back on her plate. Wardaddy switches plates with her and eats the eggs Coon-Ass licked instead. Shortly afterwards, a German bombardment hits the town, killing Emma and some of the American forces. This, coupled with observing the retreating Germans burning their own towns and the cruelty they show to those who do not fight for the Wehrmacht, hardens Norman.
A platoon of four tanks, led by Wardaddy, gets a mission to hold a vital crossroads from advancing Germans, protecting a clear way to supply trains and a camp full of army doctors and cooks. If the Germans were to reach the camp, all those people would likely be killed and the whole unit may be in jeopardy. After encountering and engaging a heavily-armored German Tiger I tank, only Fury remains, the other three vehicles being outgunned and annihilated by the Tiger. Wardaddy's vehicle is then immobilized after hitting a landmine; shortly afterwards, a battalion of three hundred Waffen-SS infantry approaches. Wardaddy refuses to leave, and the rest of the crew, initially reluctant, decide to stay and plan an ambush, as Bible believes God has kept them alive to keep the camp past the crossroads safe.
Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men nevertheless inflict heavy losses on the Germans using both the tank's and the crews' weapons. Although virtually hundreds of the SS officers are killed by the crew, gradually, one by one, Grady, Gordo and Bible are all killed and Wardaddy is wounded twice by a sniper. Norman and Wardaddy retreat back into Fury where they share their last words. When two stick grenades are unexpectedly dropped into the tank by the SS soldiers, the heavily wounded Wardaddy, unable to move, orders Norman to escape through the bottom emergency hatch of the tank, which Norman immediately obeys. Right as Norman escapes, two German stick grenades are dropped into the hatch and detonate, killing Wardaddy. Norman hides in the crater made by the landmine explosion which originally disabled the tank. A young German Waffen-SS trooper discovers Norman beneath the destroyed tank but does not turn him in. The few surviving German soldiers move on.
The next morning, U.S. Army medical units discover Norman, and it is inveighed to Norman that the German offensive failed because of the crew's last stand. As Norman is being transported to safety, he looks back at the carnage of the many dozens of dead German SS troops surrounding the remains of the destroyed Fury.
- Wardaddy knew German before serving in WWII. Some fans have suggested that, due to Wardaddy's age (Wardaddy is in his fifties, unlike most other World War II soldiers, who are usually in their twenties.) he really served in WWI previously before reinlisting to fight the Germans again in WWII. Wardaddy being a WWI veteran also makes since because of his extensive knowledge on German warfare. Considering his age, choice of sidearm, and long service record mentioned in the film, it's entirely possible that his character is also a WWI veteran. Wardaddy also mentioned that his mother was born in Germany, so being a second-generation German also explains his knowledge of German.
- Wardaddy has severe third-degree burn scars all up and down his back. The script explains Wardaddy's burns. After Norman asks if the Germans did it, and it turns out that it wasn't from combat. Earlier in the script, he talks about how drinking doesn't solve anything. Later, Wardaddy explains he once was an alcoholic and drove drunk with his girlfriend and brother. He got into a wreck, killing them both. His back was then burned badly when the car lit on fire and it burned until help arrived. The whole county hated him for it. Wardaddy was then given the choice of jail or serving in the military and dying for his country. Wardaddy claims it's the best advice he ever got. The film left this backstory out because it would make the character more enigmatic.
- Wardaddy is German by descent. He reveals in the script that his mother was born in Germany, in a town they saw burned to the ground by the SS.
- Wardaddy carries an StG 44 asault rifle as his main weapon in the film, which is a Nazi German weapon, the first assault rifle ever made and considered by many to be the main inspiration for the AK-47. Some suggest that Wardaddy took the weapon off a German he killed.
- Wardaddy also carries a Smith & Wesson M1917 revolver chambered in .45 ACP. This was issued to many soldiers in WWII when quantities of the M1911A1 pistol were low. If Wardaddy was a WWI veteran, it's also possible that he just used the same weapon he was issued in WWI. Wardaddy's M1917 has custom plexiglass grips with a picture of a girl underneath. These are called "sweetheart" grips and were often fashioned by homesick soldiers. If the Wardaddy of the script is the Wardaddy of the movie, it's entirely plausible that the photo of the girl is Don's girlfriend he killed years earlier.
- Wardaddy has been compared by many to Aldo Raine, Brad Pitt's character from Inglorious Basterds.
- Wardaddy's famous line "ideals are peaceful, history is violent" was ad-libbed by Brad Pitt.
- In a opening scene, a superior says he thought he'd never see Wardaddy alive again. He responds "The devil watches over his own" perhaps a reference to one of Pitt's past movies "The devil's own".
- In the script for Fury, Wardaddy is described like this: "This is DON "WARDADDY" COLLIER. Late twenties he looks middle aged. A light beard and hollow cheeks. Years of combat have ground him into something hard and sharp." This was not the final description of Wardaddy, though, since he is really middle-aged and lacked a beard in the film.
- Wardaddy loved horses. This may be attributed to the script mentioning that he grew up in a rural county, where he mostlikely worked with horses.
- Wardaddy has been with his crew since 1942 in the North Africa campaign.
- In the script, Wardaddy and Norman have a much stronger bond. The two have more heartfelt discussions and it is revealed that Wardaddy's dead brother was named Norman.
- In the script, Wardaddy was a gambling addict.
- According to the script, Wardaddy asks Norman if he didn't mind killing Nazis to give himself absolution for all the people he's killed. In a way, Wardaddy needs Norman to agree with him and give him some peace and reassurance.
- Wardaddy's hair style is not GI standard. This is likely because he cuts it himself.
- In the script, Wardaddy is vastly more brutal than in the film, where he is more sympathetic. In the script, Wardaddy stabs and kills the SS POW in the script after he belittlingly "questions" him. Other soldiers don't do anything about it because Coon-Ass is aiming his Thompson submachine gun at them. Wardaddy then scratches another notch in his blade.
- There is an added scene in the script where Wardaddy reloads his assault rifle after killing the other two Hitler Youth and goes up to the injured third one. He kicks the child, belittles him, and then shoots him dead. This was cut from the film likely for being too graphic and disturbing.
- In the script, there is a stage direction that reads: "Norman opens the hatch, scared of Wardaddy. Who wouldn't be?"
- "I started this war killing Germans in Africa. Then France. Then Belgium. Now I'm killing Germans in Germany."
- (In German to the Nazis) "Shut up and send me more pigs to kill!"
- "It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people gotta die."
- (Referring to Fury) "It's my home."
- "Best job I ever had."
- "See that? That's a whole city on fire. I bet that's where those bombers were heading. The dying's not done. The killing's not done."
- "Wars are not going anywhere, Sir."
- (To Norman) "I had the best Assistant Driver in the entire Ninth Army in that seat. Now I got you. I promised my crew a long time ago I'd keep them alive. You're getting in the way of that. It ain't like the newsreels up front."
- (To Norman) "See what a kid can do? That's your fault. Next fucking German with a weapon you see, rake the dog shit out of him. I don't care if it's a baby with a butter knife in one hand and mama's left titty in the other. You chop him up."
- "We ain't never run before. Why we goona run now?"
- "You think it can't get worse? It can. And it will."
- (To Norman about Fury) "That's home. Do what you're told. And don't get too close to no one."
- (To SS Prisoner of War) "I'll question him. (in fluent German) What's your favorite color? You like chicken or beef? You a good dancer? You like fat girls?"
- "Norman, open this goddamn hatch, you cocksucker!"
- (To Coon-Ass) "You're an animal. A dog. All you understand is the fist and boot."
- (To Gordo) "Wanna talk Mexican? Find another tank. A Mexican tank. This is an American tank. We talk American."
- (To Norman) "I'm scared too, son."
- (In the script) "Take good care of him. Or I'll take good care of you."
- "I'm sorry, son. I did my best."
- (After Norman says that he is the new assistant gunner) "No you are not."
- "Done much killing?"
- "What happened back there, that's every day. That's every day."
- "Keep doing what I say. You do that and you'll get through this thing."
- "Button up!"
- "We ain't here to ask them questions."
- "I know what I did. He's an SS. They're real assholes. I kill every SS I can. You'd seen what I seen you would too."
- (To Norman) "Why are you here? You're here to kill him! Know why he's here? He's here to kill you! He's here to kill YOU, Norman!"
- (After Sergeant Miles asks why they are rescuing low-level soldiers) "Why are you such an asshole?"
- (In German to German refugees) "Keep walking. American lines are that way. Keep moving. Hands up high. There you go. Move."
- (After Norman mentions wanting to surrender) "Please don't. They'll hurt you real bad. And kill you real bad."
- "The Devil watches over his own."