Russell is an eight-year old Wilderness Explorer.
Russell was missing the "Assisting the Elderly" Wilderness Patch, the last one to put him in the rank of Senior Wilderness Explorer.
He showed up at Carl's doorstep, hoping to help him in crossing something to assist him. Unfortunately, Carl tries to get rid of Russell by saying that there was a "snipe" bothering him and tells Russell to look two blocks down to capture it. When Carl sends his home (and him), in the air with 10,000 colorful helium balloons, Carl finds Russell holding on for dear life waiting for Carl (whom he kindly calls "Mr. Fredricksen") to let him in. He tells him no, and Russell is forced to wait 5 seconds before Carl finally decides to let him in.
Russell makes friends with an exotic bird which he names Kevin, and then finds out that Kevin is really a girl, searching for her eggs (though he continues to call it Kevin even after the discovery). He also makes friends with Dug, a dog who can literally speak his mind, using a collar that his old master, Charles F. Muntz, made for him.
Russell gets weary easily, and can't climb, showing that he is physically weak. He showed braveness when he went to save Kevin from Muntz. He is then captured and tied to a chair, then is sliding down the walkway to his end. Luckily, Carl saves him and sets him back in the house. But Russell falls all the way to the end of the garden hose. He then has the strength to climb when he sees Charles attack Carl. When attacked by Dog Fighters (dogs in planes), he yells out, "Squirrel!", and each dog hits each other after looking for the squirrel. When Muntz falls to his doom and dies, the house is still on the garden hose. Russell, Kevin, and Dug are all still on it. When the house falls, all three of them jump to the hose, which Carl still has hold of. He sees them swing on it, and Russell screams out, "That was cool!".
At the end of the film, Russell gets his "Assisting the Elderly" Wilderness merit badge, presented by Carl. Then, he and Carl go and have some ice cream, just like he and his dad used to do. Muntz's airship, the Spirit of Adventure, is hovering above both of them, and it seems that they have kept Dug, since he appeared at the Wilderness Explorer ceremony with Russell's mother.
Dug's Special Mission
Russell appears in Dug's short as a supporting character.
George & A.J.
Russell appears in this animated short as a minor character.
Russell is a loud, hyperactive, anxious, high-strung, and curious boy. His behavior and personality often annoyed Carl thoughout the movie. That fact that he had chocolate with him suggests that he may like candy, that could also explain why he is overweight.
Russell beholds a spirit that somewhat reminded Carl of Ellie in Russell's curious nature, and determination to do the right thing in helping Kevin, and they bonded in a grandfather/grandson-like relationship.
Russell is apparently an overweight kid, since his shirt does not cover his whole stomach. He is always seen wearing a Wilderness Explorer uniform and his merit badges. He also appears to be of Asian descent. Russell has short, spiked hair, which is normally covered by a hat.
- Carl Fredricksen: "Hey, let's play a game. It's called See Who Can Be Quiet the Longest."
Russell: "Cool! My mom loves that game!"
- —Carl and Russell walking the house together
- Russell (whining): "I'm tired! And my knee hurts!"
Carl Fredricksen: "Which knee?"
Russell (after a pause): "My elbow hurts, and I have to go to the bathroom!"
Carl Fredricksen: I asked you about that five minutes ago!"
Russell: Well I didn't have to go then!
- —Russell complaining about walking
- Carl Fredricksen: "Russell! If you don't hurry up the tigers will eat you."
Russell: "There are no tigers in South America. Zoology."
- —Carl telling Russell to get up
- Russell (off-screen in the jungle): "Mr. Fredricksen? Am I supposed to dig the hole before or after?"
Carl Fredricksen: "Nyaa! None of my concern!"
Russell (after a pause): "Oh, it's before!"
Carl Fredricksen (covers his ears and shakes his head): Nyaa!
- —Russell going to the bathroom
- Russell: "An explorer is a friend to all, be a plant or fish or tiny mole!"
Carl Fredricksen: "That doesn't even rhyme!"
Russell (offended): "Yeah, it does."
- —Russell singing a rhyming song, and then Carl telling Russell that it doesn't rhyme
- Russell (to Carl, referencing Kevin): "This was her favorite candy bar. Because you sent her away, there's more for you."
- —Russell to Carl, about Kevin's favorite chocolate bar
- That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.
- —Russell's thoughts on life
- Russell: "But I want to help!"
Carl Fredricksen: "I don't want your help... I want you safe."
- —Carl after rescuing Russell from Muntz
- "Hahaha, that was so cool! Let's do that again, Mr. Fredricksen. But next time, I wanna steer!"
- —Russell in the short George & A.J.
- Russell's appearance is apparently based off that of Peter Sohn's when he was young.
- Russell's parents are separated (as stated in the Russell: Wilderness Explorer documentary on the Up Blu-ray release).
- Russell is revealed to have a talent for making campfires on his badge but he doesn't know how to put up a tent.
- One of his merit badges has the Luxo Ball on it.