In RWBY, he is first mentioned in the episode "The Stray" and makes a brief non-speaking appearance in "End of the Beginning". He also appears briefly in the Manga. His first speaking appearance is in "Remembrance".
However in "As Above, So Below", after his alliance with Arthur Watts and rigging the election for the Council seat against Robyn Hill is exposed to the Atlas Council by his daughter Weiss, he is stripped of his title as Councilman and arrested.
Jacques is fair-skinned with white, slicked-back hair. He has a large, thick mustache and cold blue eyes.
He is seen wearing a pure white double-breasted blazer with a red handkerchief in the breast pocket. Underneath, he wears a light-blue dress shirt, vest and a white clip-on tie, printed with the same emblem on his shoes and above his study. He has a silver-colored ring on his right hand.
On the back wall behind his desk is a portrait, depicting a younger him with black hair and a thinner mustache.
Jacques is callous, arrogant, vindictive and overbearing. He entered a loveless marriage into the Schnee family in order to take control of the Schnee Dust Company. Weiss states that it was her father's leadership of the company that saw its reputation sullied by unethical practices. He is an authoritarian and controlling father who's on poor terms with both Winter and Weiss, having disinherited Winter after she decided to join Atlas military against his will, and the nature of his marriage drove his wife into alcoholism. When Weiss refuses to answer his calls, he cuts her off from the family fortune in order to force her to talk to him. A similar situation is said to have occurred between him and Winter upon her enlistment to the military. Jacques is shown to be sarcastic and egotistical, joking with peers that he is repeatedly the good guy when it comes to the Faunus situation when in reality he is apathetic.
Jacques also seems to be a cold and calculating person, more concerned with reputation and wealth than the people close to him, or the ethics of a situation. However, his cold and calculating facade quickly evaporate to reveal his true short temper when someone questions his authority or criticizes him as he snapped at his wife and openly revealed the true reasons why he married her after she called him out for missing Weiss' birthday dinner, or when he slapped Weiss after she said that the Schnee family legacy was more hers than his. His wife is suggested to have suspected the true motivations of their marriage long before Jacques admitted to them himself. James Ironwood clearly saw through Jacques' attempts to convince him that the Dust embargo he placed would hurt Atlas and should be removed, only for Jacques to accidentally reveal his altruism to be a front when mentioning that the embargo has caused the SDC to lose millions of lien in exports. When alone, Jacques showed his true contempt for Ironwood and anger over having his business ruined by the Dust embargo ordered by the general, presenting himself to the elections for a seat on Atlas council only to put an end to the embargo and restart his business.
Despite Jacques' poor relationship with his daughters, the fact that he personally fetched Weiss after the Battle of Beacon indicates some sense of worry for her safety. However, his actions during "Remembrance" show him to be more concerned with the SDC and the Schnee name, rather than Weiss herself. His controlling nature is made clear when he forces Weiss to sing at the SDC charity concert with an implied threat of consequences if she refused, and when he restricts Weiss' freedom of movement after the incident at the fundraiser. He also follows through with consequences for refusing his commands, such as when Weiss challenges him in "Punished". When Weiss returned to Atlas, he showed signs of frustration when Weiss refused to return with him and when her teammates defended her, showing that despite everything he still genuinely cares for his daughters to a certain degree. However, his own controlling nature causes him to instead try keeping them under his thumb, due to believing that him and only him knows what is truly best for them.
Jacques has also shown himself to be extremely petty and vindictive, as seen when he unapologetically brought up his wife's diminishing/worsening emotional stability due to their daughter leaving the family to Weiss in order to get back at her for talking back to him. Knowing full well of how guilty his daughter would feel for causing her mother grief, showing just how far he would go to get back at someone for defying him.
Later, Jacques' true vulnerable and pathetic side is shown when his plans and schemes backfired on him. As seen in "As Above, So Below" where Weiss revealed his true character, amorality, and apathy to others by showing videoed evidence of Jacques agreeing to Arthur Watts’ proposal to the Atlas Council and General Ironwood. Where it was shown that Jacques agreed to give Arthur his high level clearance as a councilman after having Arthur rig the elections to his favor, showing Jacques' extreme arrogance, short-sightedness and contempt for both the people of Atlas and Ironwood. This revelation completely shatters Jacques’ typical arrogant and controlled behavior and reducing him to his true cowardly nature. Given his attempts to run away from the other councilmen, reject and deny his involvement, and finally pleading to obtain sympathy from both Ironwood and his own daughters despite all of his malicious actions towards them. Showing Jacques’ complete lack of shame or regret at the prospect of having to beg to his enemies to save his own skin when faced with the disastrous backlash of his failed schemes.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
In addition to Jacques' considerable personal wealth, as the President of the Schnee Dust Company, he is a highly influential individual in Remnant. He has connections not only to the upper echelons of high society in Atlas but close connections to the brass of the Atlesian Military, calling Ironwood a longtime friend and "trusted ally". It is also implied that he has some significant influence with the Atlesian Council, undoubtedly more so after being elected as it's newest member. However, after his collaboration with Arthur Watts and scheming nature is exposed to the council, he lost the council's respect and with it practically all his power and influence with the people in Atlas.
- Jacques alludes to Jack Frost. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Jacques Schnee/Behind the Scenes.
- His first name is the French equivalent of the name James, which originates from Jacob. This name means "someone who grasps at the heels" or "supplanter", which fits him well given his backstory.
- His pre-marriage surname, Gelé, means 'frozen' in French.
- Like the rest of his family, his married surname means "snow" in German.
- A picture of Weiss and her father from "End of the Beginning" was used to promote the Father's Day sales at the Rooster Teeth Store on June 19th, 2016.
- Weiss' father was originally intended to appear in the Volume 1 Opening. He can be seen as a mysterious figure in the original storyboards featured as extras on the DVD release of Volume 1.
- It was confirmed Jacques wears a clip-on tie in a tweet.