Francis is the main protagonist of the Felidae book series and the Felidae movie. He is a domestic cat living with a human (Gustav). Due to his exceptional intelligence and deductive mind, he's often involved in solving murder cases in the animal community: of his own admission, such activity is due to personal morality and instinctive curiosity. During the investigations Francis often faces the damage committed by humans on nature, animals, and other humans. This often lead to Francis' own moral and philosophical interpretations of the horror he witnesses. By the time of Das Duel he is already an aged cat, while in Schandtat he is said to be 17 years old.
In the movie he is shown as a black-and-white cat (with bluish tinge) while in the books he is never clearly described, due the fact that the books are written in the first person point of view. It can be guessed as a black-and-white coloration because in the book Junior is said to have such feature, and is described as almost identical to Francis (in Cave Canem) and to Francis' father (in Schandtat).
Many fans speculate he could be orange-pelted because of the original cover of the first book Felidae. However, the cover possibly features Claudandus (due "human-like" eyes, as Claudandus was mentioned to have them at one point). It is also worth to noting that in European literature book covers are sometimes loosely based on book descriptions.
However, an alternate appearence is presented in Felidae:Katzencomic. In the comic adaption Francis indeed has an orange/cream pelt, retaining the facial marks of the movie.
Francis has a pessimist mentality with great tenacity and morality, condemning the actions of many of the killers he has to face. This makes him a very complex being. He often shows witty moments of hilarity even when facing danger. Francis also has a complex view of right and wrong. He does not condone killing but will kill to save his own life. During investigations he often approaches to understand the mentality of the murderers and despite condemning their action, Francis often pities when a being is turned into a monster by human actions or the hardness of fate.
Francis is a very smart and cultured cat, very different from many other cats. He's involved in many adventures, because of his uncontrollable curiosity and desire to solve cases of murder that affect the cats community. Differently from many cats, Francis exhibits an exceptional intuit and intelligence that bring him to solve complicated cases to reveal the killer (or killers). One of his main features is that Francis doesn't hold back from personally facing the killer and has pointed how a true detective should ever have "sharp claws".
In addiction to his deductive investigative skills, Francis often receive help from mysterious dreams that provide direct and/or indirect clues to solve cases. The reason and the origin of these dreams are never clearly explained and remains a mystery for Francis himself.
Francis is an acculturate reader (according him, Francis's favorite human philosopher is Schopenhauer, even it seems that Francis doesn't fully behave according the dictates of the philosopher), he's also known to surf on Internet (in the seventh book his personal email is said to be "firstname.lastname@example.org".) He's a connoisseur of human culture and often quotes real or fictional humans (also from books, TV shows, etc.). Being an un-spayed tom, Francis is known to have had many lovers, siring at least a hundred of kits: while Francis' behavior toward females is polite and well-mannered, it follows natural instincts rather than human behavior and he kept no relationship or contact with the females he mate with. Only one of his children is known to have met him (Junior) while toward his last years Francis established a more stable and human-like affective relationship with Sancta.
In the English dub of the film, his voice actor is unknown but is thought to be John Hurt (other sources reports Cary Elwes, but he denied this (source)).
Childhood and First YearsEdit
The childhood and the first years of Francis are told in the sixth novel of the series by the author Akif Pirincci. The book (named "Schandtat", never translated in English), includes a number of flashback telling of the Francis's youth. His mother was a stray she-cat that mated with a black-and-white unnamed tom. Francis's father makes only one visit before keeping on his solitary life. Francis's mother finds hard to feed her kits and has to steal food from the humans. A hunting party search and find the cats and Francis's mother, brother, and sisters are all killed. A young Francis managed to survive falling into an empty well, where he finds an underground community of intellectual cats and Francis establishes a special relationship with Eloi, a Siamese cat that is both a father-figure and a teacher to him. After some time, Francis mate for the first time and then a number of mysterious murders start to happens. An un-experienced Francis wasn't able to solve his first case but managed to survive. The mysteries of the past will be later resolved at the present time.
First Adventure (novel and movie)Edit
Francis comes into the story, having been moved from his previous home due to his owner, Gustav. Gustav works writing romance articles in magazines, so whenever Gustav gets writer's block or if he wants inspiration, they move. Francis and Gustav move into an old, run down house that was originally a laboratory for the great Professor Preterius, a scientist who was determined of making a skin bonding adhesive, using cats as his subjects. These experiments are revealed to have awful side effects.
Francis first meets Bluebeard early in the story, and also finds a nasty surprise in his back garden. Sascha, a victim of the killings was apparently killed by a 'can-opener' (human) according to Bluebeard. His new friend reveals that other cats were killed recently. Driven by curiosity and a sense of morality and piety for the victims, Francis start to investigate with the help of Bluebeard. Soon he realize (after having found the body of another victim, Deep Purple) that the victims were all caught before mating. Francis discover in one of the houses in the new neighborhood, a sect of cats lead by Joker, worshipping the prophet Claudandus. Francis is chased from the scene and meets a blind female cat named Felicity. She gives him more information, but after meeting a friend of Bluebeard's, Pascal (an old cat who uses his owner's computer to list the cats in the neighborhood, which he intends to use to help find the killer.), Francis returns to Felicity only to find her murdered. The investigations are then influenced by a number of factors as the disappearance of Joker (revealed to be killed by a still alive Claudandus on his own will), the discovery of Jesaja that show how the number of victims was larger and that kept taking care of the bodies for years and years, and the meeting with the beautiful she-cat Nhozemphtekh that was part of the breed selected by Claudandus himself. Finally Francis finds out the truth behind the killer who turns out to be the murderous Claudandus who took the new name "Pascal" to disguise himself. He was one of the many cats tortured in the scientific laboratory of Dr. Preterius years ago, but he managed to escape, killing Preterius and freeing the other cats (including Bluebeard and Felicity). Then for years Claudandus had kept selecting and breeding the cats of the city to create the "Felidae", a "new and old" breed that resembles the ancient Egyptian cats: to make this it was of primary importance for him to prevent mating that could result in an alteration of the "Felidae". Knowing he was close to die due to health, Claudandus had left clues to Francis (such as letting him meet and mate with Nhozemphtekh, to make him fascinated by such a breed) and finally asks Francis to follow his path and take his place as the one that directed the Felidae project. Francis, realizing how the search of a racial purity had caused so much deaths and suffering, rather than accepting Claudandus's offer, proceeds to eliminate the program from the computer causing Claudandus's anger.
After a grueling fight, Claudandus is killed when Francis rips him down his abdomen, spilling his organs out. He dies and his owner (Ziebold)'s house burns to the ground due to Ziebold's computer monitor falling and bursting into flames. In the movie, Francis escapes with a heavily injured Bluebeard who was almost killed by Claudandus (differently from the book, where Bluebeard never got involved in the last fight and was not wounded).
Francis on the Road (Felidae 2)Edit
After the surprising love affair of Gustav with a woman, Francis decide to escape when this woman keeps to clash with Francis and making his life almost impossible to bear (his decision is even stronger discovering that the woman planned to spay him). The cat ran away and after a meeting with a community of blind cats in sewers (initially violent), he discovers a series of mass murders in the countryside around the city. Francis starts to investigate in the woods, initially focusing on the report of the strange pair of a cat and a dog that became obscure friends. He meet a number of characters such as Ambrosius (a smart but stuttering cat that offer his help), Mandrake an attractive wild she-cat that mates with Francis, and a lynx that almost kills Francis.
(SPOILER): With the development of the plot (and the death of a number of characters) Francis discover how the deaths were caused by the community of wild she-cats that live in the wood. A species reintroduced by men known alongside the lynx, but while the lynxes reduced their number or moved away, the wild cats rallied together after the death of all the males due to illness. It's revealed how Ambrosius actually tried to help them, with the only result to fuel their anger and despair causing the wild she-cats to perpetrate mass killings of domestic cats and even cannibalism in order to survive at a wild nature that was no longer suited to them. After the death of Amrbosius by the claws of the same she-cats, they decide to move away and leave the woods trying to reach Scandinavia while the same Francis is almost killed by human bullets of a woman that was aware of the danger of the rogue wild-cats. In the end Francis recovers and his return at home is helped by the accidental death of the woman that threatened the tomcat's malehood.
Return at Home (before Cave Canem)Edit
An year before the events of Cave Canem, Francis mated with a stray she-cat without meeting her again after.
She gave birth to a litter of four kits. Cold winter took away the life of one of them, another was killed by a truck, while the mother died because of an infection. Apart an unnamed sibling (both name and survival are unknown), the only confirmed survived kit was Junior that decided to search for his father.