"Yep, I like to think I'm always there to stand up for the little guy. Especially if that little guy can help this guy become a bigger guy."
|Chronological and political information|
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Early life and career
Varrick was born to a poor seal-hunter. As he grew up in the Southern Water Tribe, he managed to expand his business from a single canoe into a global enterprise, until he finally controlled the entire global shipping business. A consummate deal maker, he is always looking for opportunities to expand his business empire.
Business deal with Asami Sato
In 171 AG, Varrick met with Asami Sato during the Glacier Spirits Festival in order to discuss business arrangements to save her company, Future Industries, from bankruptcy. While in the middle of attempting to impress an audience with what he believed to be a levitation trick, Bolin and Asami entered his yacht, and Bolin noted that Varrick was not levitating, to the shock of the people surrounding the billionaire much to Asami's embarrassment. Though he was angry for a moment, Varrick quickly became grateful that Bolin had pointed it out and fired his employee, Swami, for tricking him into believing he was levitating. He quickly took a liking to the young earthbender and showed him a moving picture of an ostrich horse. He subsequently brought out the show girl Ginger to strike poses, because he believed moving pictures to be old news. Asami tried getting Varrick's attention to remind him of their business arrangement. Varrick soon entered into a brief but tense stare-down with Asami before agreeing to finalize the details of their agreement. He took his guests on a rocket-boat ride.
Varrick later attended the banquet held in honor of Chief Unalaq of the Northern Water Tribe. After the chief gave his speech regarding his disappointment in the absence of spirituality in the South Pole, during which Varrick was not paying attention because he was picking his teeth, he took the stage to cheer up the audience by calling on Wacky Wushu's dancing otter penguins to perform.
The next day, Varrick provided Bolin with a snowmobile with a two-person side compartment and a snow-suit equipped with a variety of emergency provisions and equipment, including a flotation device, internal heater, emergency beacon, and food ration pouch, for his friend's journey with Avatar Korra to the Everstorm.
Rebellion and escape from the South
After Unalaq's battleships arrived at the Southern Water Tribe, a disgusted Varrick joined several tribesmen in a meeting at Tonraq and Senna's house. Alarmed at the possibility of Unalaq forcing his views on the South and potential shipping losses resulting from the Northern blockade, Varrick called for a rebellion against the chief. Unalaq later suspected Varrick of being involved in an attempt to remove him from power, calling for his arrest and trial. Varrick managed to escape capture by hiding himself and Zhu Li inside a stuffed platypus bear, Ping Ping, in his residence in the capital city. After Desna and Eska's search of the room turned up nothing, Varrick revealed himself to Mako, Bolin, and Asami after overhearing Bolin's unsuccessful attempts to break up with Eska. He told his friend that he should instead run away. He refused to come out until he was absolutely sure it was safe. The billionaire had Zhu Li give Bolin a bunch of yuans, deposited from the statue's tail, to bribe any guards to release their captive rebels, suspecting that Unalaq rigged the trial. However, Bolin failed to understand the meaning of a bribe, giving the money to two complete strangers who failed to understand his subtle instruction.
Sometime later, Avatar Korra came by, explaining that she had found out that Unalaq had masterminded Tonraq's banishment and imprisonment, and resolved to free her father. At the same time, Bolin and Pabu entered the room, formally dressed, as Eska intended to forcibly marry him. Varrick maintained his advice about running away, before discussing how to free Tonraq and break the blockade. While Korra, Mako and Asami went to free Tonraq, Bolin took Varrick and Zhu Li in their disguise to get to his ship. When questioned whether the "platypus bear" is licensed, Varrick instructed Zhu Li to cause a distraction by scattering money about. As bystanders started grabbing all the money they could, the party was able to make it onto Varrick's boat. However, Korra's group arrived to reveal that Tonraq and the other prisoners were being shipped to the north. With the next obstacle being the blockade, Varrick brought out a biplane so Korra could get into the air and waterbend the Northern ships out of the way. However, Asami noted there was no runway for the plane to take off, but Korra and Mako were able to firebend to give the aircraft an extra boost as Asami piloted it. Korra was able to break the blockade, allowing them to catch up with the prison ship and free the prisoners. After dropping off Tonraq and the rebels so they could start a resistance against Unalaq, Korra agreed with her father's advice to get help from the United Forces. However, Varrick spotted Eska advancing on their position, determined to get Bolin back. At the urging of his friend, Varrick set full speed away from the enraged waterbender.
Propaganda for the South
Upon arriving at Republic City, Varrick had Zhu Li set up a meeting with President Raiko the next day. As everyone but Bolin had other preoccupations for the day, Varrick decided to take his friend for a special night on the town, treating him to a VIP session at the Pro-bending Arena.
The next day, Varrick brought Korra to meet with Raiko and had to nudge the Avatar when she and the President had to pose for a photo. Unfortunately, the meeting did not go in their favor, as Raiko refused to send the United Forces to aid the civil war, preferring to resolve it diplomatically.
Varrick returned to his yacht, where he attempted to show off for Bolin by firing arrows blindfolded, narrowly missing Asami as she and Korra arrived on the bridge. The two girls explained their respective dilemmas of striking a profit for Future Industries and getting military aid. Varrick did some brainstorming by eating a hot pepper and hanging himself upside-down. He told Asami that she could sell her mecha tanks to the South and Korra could go directly to General Iroh for aid. He also proposed using his moving pictures as propaganda against Unalaq, with Bolin starring as Nuktuk, the hero character in his film. However, as they began filming, Korra came in asking for a boat to travel to the Fire Nation, revealing that Raiko had been tipped off by someone about their plan and subsequently barred Iroh from assisting them.
Around this time, Varrick began cooperating with the Agni Kai Triad to stage a bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center, and to intentionally sabotage some of his shipments. Varrick did this with the intent of placing more blame during the war onto the North's shoulders.
Shortly afterward, the first of Varrick's propaganda films was published, and Zhu Li informed Varrick that one of his shipments had been stolen: a shipment he had done in a partnership with Future Industries. Varrick went to the Police headquarters where he found Asami and expressed his sorrow over the stolen shipment. He listened in on the interrogation of the ship's captain and Mako's claim that the crime had a connection to the bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center. When Mako was ordered to silence, Varrick and Asami entered the interrogation room as well, coming to the firebender's aid. However, they were soon all ordered out by Lin Beifong. Outside, Varrick overheard Mako and Asami's plans for a sting operation, and promptly offered one of his ships, although he gave off the impression that he did not know what it was for. However, after Asami and Mako had turned to the Triple Threat Triad for help, Varrick hired them as well via a middleman to keep them busy, which would enable him to rob a Future Industries warehouse. To provide himself with an alibi, he occupied himself with shooting another episode for The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South mover. After a successful execution of his plan, Varrick met up with Asami at Future Industries, where he officially bought a controlling share in the company. Right after signing, Mako came in, announcing that he figured out who was behind the thefts, though when he noticed Varrick, he decided not to share his findings. However, the firebender's initial outburst had been enough to alert Varrick that Mako was investigating him.
A week later, Varrick ordered two men to bring Mako before him in order for them to talk. In his usual light-hearted manner, he attempted to get Mako off his back by offering him a job on his security team, but was refused, even after implying that something might befall Asami or Bolin if Mako kept refusing. Realizing that Mako would not yield to his influence and would risk implicating him, Varrick planted yuans and explosives in Mako's apartment, and had the Triple Threat Triad claim to the police that Mako assisted them with robbing Future Industries.
Kidnapping attempt, arrest, and escape
Later at night, Varrick premiered the final installment of his movie series, inviting the president and his wife in an attempt to kidnap him and blame it on the Northern Water Tribe. However, Varrick's complicity was outed for a packed Pro-bending Arena to hear when Bolin foiled the attempt and forced a confession out of one of the kidnappers. The businessman attempted to leave, but was thwarted and swiftly arrested by Chief Beifong and her officers.
Because his company had built the prison, Varrick had commissioned a luxurious jail cell to be included in the design, as he predicted he would end up there one day. As such, he was imprisoned surrounded by wealth, as well as with Zhu Li, who never left his side and continued to serve him. He was approached by Team Avatar, who was seeking transportation to the South. Although they were initially hostile toward him, he pointed out that although he had done some bad things, he had also done commendable things, like warning Korra about Unalaq, making Bolin famous, and saving Asami's company. When asked what he did with the stolen Future Industries machinery, he revealed he had it stashed away on his battleship, the Zhu Li. To make up for the mess he caused for everyone, he offered his battleship as a peace offering.
When the Dark Avatar was laying waste to the city, the wall of Varrick's cell was destroyed by one of the huge vines. Seeing his chance to escape, Varrick ordered Zhu Li to commence operation "Winged Freedom", which meant that she was to strap a backpack containing wings to her back and hold on to him, enabling them both to soar out of the prison to freedom during the chaos.
Life in Zaofu
Varrick took refuge in Zaofu, where his friend, Suyin Beifong, granted him a position as head of her technology department. A few weeks after Harmonic Convergence, Zaofu was visited by Team Avatar and Lin, who sought Suyin's airbending daughter, Opal. As Varrick joined his current and former associates for dinner, Bolin was the first to acknowledge him. Asami wanted to know what Varrick was doing there, but he mostly dodged the question, wondrously asking what anyone was doing there. He subsequently asked Asami about how "their" company was doing, only for Asami to remind him that she regained full ownership because of Varrick's conspiracy to kidnap Raiko. The industrialist pointed out that technically he was never convicted, to which Mako pointed out that it was because he escaped, but the businessman reasoned that the universe saw fit to liberate him. He explained to Mako that he looked up Suyin, pitched her some ideas, and entered into business with her as the head of the city's technology division. He quickly began pitching his plans for a high-speed train to revolutionize transportation and shipping, but was interrupted by Lin, who was angry that her half-sister would give refuge to a fugitive. Su defended that she believed Varrick was deserving of a chance at redemption, prompting Lin to storm out. The next morning, Varrick was testing a new suit composed of magnetic materials. The drill was a success as he caught the family's and Team Avatar's dishes before having Zhu Li unplug it and clean up the resulting mess.
At Opal's farewell dinner, Varrick tried to offer a saddened Bolin relationship advice, but the earthbender declined, prompting Varrick to comment it was his loss. He subsequently had Zhu Li bring him his new device, an airbender finder, which he showed to Asami and Korra. When Asami could not get it to register as she pointed it at Korra, believing it was broken, the industrialist told them it needed to be airbent into for it to work. He raised his glass in a toast to Opal a short time later.
After the estate was penetrated by the Red Lotus, who attempted to kidnap Korra, Varrick was among those questioned by Aiwei as it was concluded only someone with inside information could have helped the criminals into the estate. He explained he was doing his nightly routine, checking his body for ticks, performing his "Varri-calisthenics", and thirty minutes of holding his breath. He also had the routine filmed and asked if they wanted to see, but an annoyed Aiwei told him it was not necessary. Varrick and Zhu Li subsequently left.
Later, Varrick was scouring the scene of the previous night's battle for pumice stones when he overheard Team Avatar talking about the betrayal of Zaofu and the guard suspected to be the culprit. While having Zhu Li rub the stones on his feet to prevent calluses, Varrick explained that he could smell a conspiracy when he saw one, saying he too would say someone was guilty and plant evidence as proof, exactly the same thing he did to frame Mako for the theft of Future Industries' equipment. The industrialist's suggestion led the team to who was truly the traitor, the only man who could keep a secret, namely Aiwei.
By 174 AG, Varrick joined Kuvira and her army on her quest to reunite the Earth Kingdom and obtained the rank of corporal. When Bolin reported that two more states had joined their cause and Baatar Jr. reported that the addition brought their goal to a state of near completion, Varrick ordered Zhu Li to provide everyone with a cup of celebratory tea. However, they all digressed to consume the beverage when Kuvira announced that she would not celebrate until the entire kingdom was united, which caused them all to spill their drink on their clothes when the train came to a sudden halt due to a road block.
Kuvira's train made it to Republic City a day before Prince Wu's coronation, giving Varrick and the other officers the time to check in to the Republic City Four Elements. While waiting in the lobby for Zhu Li to catch up to him with all his luggage, Varrick amusedly mused that President Raiko must have turned purple when Kuvira forced him to pardon the industrialist of his crimes. When Zhu Li called him an upstanding citizen, Varrick readily agreed with her, before whispering to his assistant that she needed to fill his extra bag with as many little, lavender-scented soaps as she could find.
The next day, Varrick sat between Bolin and Zhu Li on the bleachers facing the podium on which Wu was crowned the fifty-fourth earth monarch with the Royal Brooch. When Kuvira denounced Wu's authority and usurped power over the Earth Kingdom, which she renamed "Earth Empire", for herself, Varrick stood up and loudly applauded and cheered for the army leader.
After the ceremony, Varrick retired with the other officers to the Presidential Suite in the Four Elements, where he was enjoying a cold beverage while talking to a nervous Bolin. Upon being asked if Kuvira's declaration would not turn all the world leaders against them, Varrick brushed off the lavabender's worries, stating that there was nothing the other nations could do since the nation was under Kuvira's control and Republic City was desperate for the metal they were mining. The conversation was cut short when Zhu Li entered the room, presenting a spirit vine to the industrialist. Varrick inspected the vegetation and, approving it, ordered for it to be taken back to their lab and stabilized immediately.
By the time the army train was back en route, Varrick had cut off a piece of the spirit vine and put it in a container, hooked and wired to a machine in order to experiment. He was ordered by Kuvira to make the development of the technology, which he claimed would change everything, his top priority.
As one of the wealthiest people in the world, Varrick is used to having his every need catered to. Since no one is willing to disagree with him, he sometimes comes to believe his own stories, such as when he thought he was levitating, a belief that everyone went along with. He is also a good judge of character, prepares for any issue well, and can quickly come up with a plan to avoid danger. However, at times he can also be impulsive, not thinking through all the consequences of his actions, like when he started a rebellion against Unalaq. This does not mean, however, that he is always incorrect about there being a need for action. Varrick loves being able to do what he pleases on his own terms, and as such, does not like to date clingy women, even going as far as building a yacht to escape from them.
Varrick has been shown to be rude at times, such as barging in right after Unalaq's speech or rudely interrupting a serious conversation between Korra and Suyin with one of his experiments.
Varrick's eccentricities also masks his more dubious nature, as a sly and slick businessman who uses underhanded means to get what he wants, even if it means breaking the law. As such, he is not above being unfettered and charismatic, and is able to orchestrate large scale operations to buy out other companies just to increase his own wealth.
Despite this, Varrick does have redeeming features. He considers hurting others to be beneath him and felt guilty upon realizing that his actions had brought harm to some of his allies. As a result, he helped Team Avatar, readily aiding them despite there being no monetary benefit.
Varrick is very dependent on Zhu Li, requiring her for many different tasks, such as preparing his tea, scratching an irritable rash or to cater to him within prison. He frequently uses the phrase, "Do the thing!" to prompt Zhu Li to take whatever action is necessary at any given time. In addition, he mostly relies on his men and associates to do his dirty work, as he rarely participates in any of his planned schemes in order to keep a low profile.
Varrick is an innovative thinker and aggressive businessman, having been able to expand his company from one canoe to a global network. As an entrepreneur, Varrick is also keen on identifying and capitalizing on the needs of those around him. Similarly, he is able to convince others to work for his betterment, essentially convincing the rebels to incite war against the North in order to benefit his business. Partly due to his company's technological advances, Varrick is capable of piloting ships and commandeering a yacht. Varrick is also physically fit, usually ending his brainstorming sessions by performing an elaborate flip off a bar he uses to hang himself upside down.
Varrick has shown himself to be charismatic and a master of deception, using the Avatar to help in instigating a civil war, rob Asami blind of her assets, and drive a wedge between the brothers Mako and Bolin, all the while maintaining sympathy for the South but only to profit from the war. He is also a master strategist, being able to plan false flag operations that his men or associates would execute at key moments. It was only by process of elimination that Mako realized Varrick's culpability in the acts of terrorism on Republic City while the masses simply assumed the Northern Tribe was guilty.
- Varrick is described as being "equal parts Howard Hughes and Richard Branson".
- His eccentric mannerisms and quick temper are also reminiscent of William Randolph Hearst, and his use of openly filmed footage of the civil war spliced with additional fake footage in his propaganda movers is similar to a practice Hearst used during World War I.
- Varrick has been referred to as a "captain of industry".
- There were rumors that Varrick was willing to deal with underworld characters and gangsters if he thinks it will turn a profit. These rumors were confirmed by Mako after investigations of recent bombings and the theft of Future Industries' entire supply of weaponry.
- Varrick is a self-proclaimed "biz-bender".
- Varrick invented the moving picture, which he calls "movers", and his first "mover" is a reference to Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, one of the first photographic experiments which led to the development of motion pictures.
- Varrick has a habit of using his name as a prefix in almost every product he advertises, such as Varri-dye and Varri-cakes.