As Samuel L. Jackson joins Chris Pratt in Garfield, could his Marvel, Pulp Fiction roles shape his new dad cat character?

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury aboard the Helicarrier.
Samuel L. Jackson (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

In a case of incredibly inspired casting, The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray star, Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast of Sony Pictures’ upcoming animated feature Garfield, based on Jim Davis’ iconic comic strip cat. With Chris Pratt set to voice the charismatic feline, the Jackson-Pratt partnership is more than a purrfect match.  

The movie is still in the early stages of development, but it’s never too early to imagine how Jackson might bring his role in the movie to life. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson will play Vic, Garfield’s father. Vic is an entirely new character created specifically for the movie, giving Jackson the chance to develop the character as he sees fit.

One of the most endearing aspects of the Garfield comic strip is Garfield’s personality, a flawless blend of feline superiority and pure cynicism, peppered with an appreciation of naps and lasagna. But where did his personality come from? Was his father responsible for shaping him into the cat we all know and love? There’s plenty of room for Jackson to make Vic a legend in the Garfield universe!

With an actor like Jackson breathing life into a new character, there’s no telling what might happen. On the one hand, Jackson’s Vic could play it straight, suave or sophisticated, or he could be the feline that inspired Garfield at a young age to be the cat that we all know and love.

Jackson has left an indelible mark in past roles like Marvel’s Nick Fury, Snakes on a Plane’s Neville Flynn, Jurassic Park’s Ray Arnold and Pulp Fiction’s Jules Winnfield. There’s every reason to believe that Vic inspired the ginger tabby to become the cat that made him famous and it’s more than likely that Jackson’s previous roles might influence how Jackson plays Garfield’s father in the movie. 

Nick Fury, Marvel

From the moment Jackson appeared on screen as Nick Fury back in 2008’s Iron Man, he owned the role. It was the dawn of the Marvel era, a time when no one knew what the future held for the comic book franchise that was making a run on the movie industry. Just over a decade later, Jackson is one of the most prolific Marvel actors and he's soon to star in the new series Secret Invasion on Disney Plus.  

Jackson’s Nick Fury has always been cool as a cucumber in the most stressful situations, with just enough sarcasm and wit to defuse tense situations. 

Garfield, too, is calm under pressure. Whether it’s putting up with owner Jon Arbuckle’s lack of respect or Odie’s relentless slobber, he always has a witty comeback and he’s ready for a fight. If Vic is anything like Nick Fury, it’s easy to see how Garfield would have learned a thing or two from him.

Neville Flynn, Snakes on a Plane

Who doesn’t remember Jackson’s memorable turn as Neville Flynn in 2006’s Snakes on a Plane? The movie’s premise was patently absurd and yet so delightfully brilliant. It’s one thing to be stuck in an enclosed space with no exit, but add in snakes, lots and lots of snakes, and it’s a whole other thing. 

Like Nick Fury, Neville is quick-minded and clever, but Neville is also supremely snarky.  (We all remember that NSFW catchphrase, right? “Get these [darn] snakes off this [darn] plane!”) 

If Vic is anything like Neville Flynn, then it’s possible that he influenced Garfield’s uncanny ability to find a way out of any situation. Not only is he a good escape artist, but he knows how to make other people (or cats) disappear. Yes, Nermal, we’re thinking of you and those one-way trips to Abu Dhabi.

Ray Arnold, Jurassic Park

Jackson had been in Hollywood for years by the time his role as chief engineer Ray Arnold came around, but Jurassic Park was a breakthrough role that introduced the talented actor to a wide audience of young and older fans alike. 

When things start going south in the futuristic dinosaur theme park, it’s Ray who stays calm enough to put plans into motion to save the day. Though his role was relatively minor, his “hold onto your butts” line is one that every Jurassic Park fan remembers well. There’s also Ray’s memorably tragic demise in one of the more disturbing jump-scare scenes of the movie.

Garfield is known for being cynical and downright acerbic at times and if Vic derives any influence from Ray Arnold it could explain a whole lot about where Garfield got it from.

Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction

With so many memorable roles over his illustrious career, it’s hard to really pinpoint any one standout moment for Jackson. However, it was his role in 1994’s Pulp Fiction that led to an Academy Award nomination and made him a permanent part of the cultural fabric. 

Jackson’s Jules Winnfield is a hitman who likes to quote biblical passages before he takes out his intended targets. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and he lives by his own moral code. 

This isn’t to say that Garfield’s dad is a hitman, or even a criminal, for that matter. But he could be a con man or a reformed con man and this might explain how Garfield has learned to manipulate situations in his favor over the years. (It’s no secret that all felines have con man tendencies…it’s what they do best)

The Garfield feature film is based on a script by David Reynolds, under the direction of Mark Dindal. The comic strip, which debuted in 1978, has always appealed to a wide audience and with Pratt and Jackson on board, the new movie is likely to introduce Garfield to a whole new audience.

Sarabeth Pollock
Editorial Content Producer


Sarabeth joined the What to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.  

When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.