Héctor is the deuteragonist of the Disney/Pixar film, Coco. He is the spirit of a Mexican musician who died and became a resident of the Land of the Dead. Héctor helps Miguel in his quest to find the missing singer Ernesto de la Cruz and escape the Land of the Dead.
Many years ago, Héctor was a passionate musician from Santa Cecilia, born there in 1900. When Héctor was 18 years old, he met a woman named Imelda. Their shared talent in music sparked a romance, and they fell in love, married, and had a daughter named Coco. Héctor loved Coco dearly and wrote the song "Remember Me" for her. While Imelda was ready to settle down and plant roots for their family, Héctor still wanted to give his songs to the world. So he set out on tour with his best friend Ernesto de la Cruz. Héctor wrote the songs and Ernesto sang them. During the tour, Héctor began to feel homesick to the point where he came around to Imelda's way of thinking and decided to go home to his family. When he told Ernesto, they had an argument where Ernesto begged him to stay as he needed his songs but Héctor was unmoved. Ernesto seemingly accepted his friend‘s decision and offered to send him off with a toast saying he would move heaven and earth for his amigo. On his way to the train station, Héctor suddenly collapsed and died as Ernesto spiked his toast with poison earlier.
During his time in the Land of the Dead, Héctor learned how Ernesto took credit for his songs. When Imelda died, she refused to welcome Héctor back to the Riveras. Estranged from his family, Héctor spent his years trying to cross over to the Land of the Living to see Coco but he was rejected as his family wouldn't put his picture up.
- Héctor is a charming trickster in the Land of the Dead who is forced to enlist help from Miguel to visit the Land of the Living.
Role in the film
Héctor first appears trying to cross over to the Land of the Living disguised as Frida Kahlo. The agent quickly checks that he isn't recognized on his family's ofrenda, leading Héctor to make a run for it. But his hopes are in vain, as he ends up sinking into the marigold petals and is arrested. At the Grand Central Station, Héctor is left off with a warning by the officer. After leaving, Héctor meets a living boy named Miguel who, having overheard that Héctor knows Ernesto de la Cruz, asks Héctor to take him to Ernesto to receive his blessing so he can go home. Héctor tells him he will get him to de la Cruz if he puts his portrait up on an ofrenda so he can cross over and Miguel agrees.
Héctor takes Miguel to Frida Kahlo's studio, where he assumed de la Cruz would be rehearsing. While being chewed out by a seamstress for losing the dress he used in his fail attempt to cross the bridge, Miguel wanders off with Dante and ends up talking to Frida Kahlo herself. Héctor soon catches up to him and receives disappointment from the boy, having just learned that de la Cruz was hosting a party at his mansion and no one was allowed in without an invitation. After being teased by a group of musicians over his death, the pair were told that there was a music contest in Plaza de la Cruz where the winner gets access to de la Cruz's mansion.
Seeing as Miguel needs a guitar, Héctor takes him to the shanty town where spirits who are being forgotten live, to acquire Chicharrón's guitar. After some banter, Héctor agrees to sing "Everyone Knows Juanita" for Chicharrón, changing one of the verses because there were children (Miguel) present. Satisfied, Chicharrón fades away. Héctor explained to Miguel that unless there's a relative in the living world who remembers their ancestor, their spirit passes onto what they call the final death, the same fate that awaits him if Miguel doesn't take his photo home.
Having succeeded in their mission to acquire an instrument, Miguel enters the contest. Héctor objects to Miguel's plan to sing "Remember Me" due to its popularity, as evidenced by other contestants rehearsing around them, so Miguel decides to sing "Un Poco Loco". But upon learning that Miguel possesses little to no experience in performing, Héctor insists he take his place on stage, but is refused, as Miguel was determined to prove himself as a musician. While Miguel sings, Dante pushes Héctor in to perform alongside Miguel, receiving applause from the crowd. Then suddenly, Miguel dragged Héctor off the stage as the master of ceremonies announced to the crowd that Miguel's family was looking for him and wanted to send him home. Hearing this, Héctor learns that Miguel lied to him about de la Cruz being his only family and that he could've gone home any time. Héctor scolds Miguel for leaving his family and attempts to bring Miguel to them, but this makes Miguel go off to find Ernesto himself.
Later, Héctor (disguised as Frida again) sneaks into his old partner's mansion and finds Miguel with Ernesto. Héctor reveals to Miguel that he wrote the songs Ernesto is famous for and reminds him of their deal. As Héctor reminds Ernesto of the heaven and earth statement, Miguel points to one of the films Ernesto brought back from one of his trips to the Land of the Living which has the same line. Watching the film, Héctor remembers his last night alive and realizes that Ernesto murdered him and stole his song book and guitar. Ernesto takes Héctor's portrait and has Miguel and Héctor thrown into a cenote.
As he starts to fade, Héctor laments about his daughter, Coco - Miguel realizes that the picture he is carrying was Coco with Héctor, and they discover that Héctor is Miguel's great-great-grandfather, not Ernesto. They rejoice the revelation and proud of being part of a family, although it seems they remain trapped in the cenote; at that second, they are discovered by Dante and saved by Imelda, Pepita and the other Riveras. Héctor also sees Imelda among them and tries to apologize to her, however he starts fading again, as Coco is in danger of forgetting about Héctor. Imelda, Miguel, and the other Riveras learn that they need to get Héctor's portrait back from Ernesto or he will be lost.
At the concert Ernesto is performing at, the Riveras get the portrait back. Héctor manages to finally reconcile with Imelda and together they prepare to give Miguel her blessing to return home, however Ernesto interrupts the ceremony to drop Miguel from the building. Héctor tries to stop him, but collapses on the verge of disappearing. Miguel is saved at the last minute by Pepita, but the photo is lost in the water. However, Ernesto's crimes are exposed to the Land of the Dead. As sunrise approaches, Héctor starts to fade away and Miguel is almost a skeleton himself. Miguel refuses to leave Héctor behind until he is forced to accept Imelda's blessing, which sends Miguel home.
Thanks to Miguel, Coco remembers Héctor through "Remember Me", saving Héctor. Coco also reveals Héctor's letters he wrote to her, proving he was the true author of Ernesto's songs, along with the picture of Héctor Imelda tore from the ofrenda, restoring his place among the Rivera family. The following year, Héctor has at last received the recognition he deserves and has reunited with a recently deceased Coco. Together with the other Riveras, Héctor finally crosses over to the Land of the Living during Día de los Muertos, where he joins Miguel in a guitar duet using a spiritual version of his guitar.
- In terms of actual age, Héctor is a year younger than Imelda, and four years younger than Ernesto.
- Héctor is one of the six characters in the movie to be voiced by the same actor in both the English and Latin American Spanish dubs of the film, the others being Julio Rivera, the Departure Agent, the Security Guard, Tío Berto, and Luisa Rivera.
- Héctor was 21 years old when he died.
- There are some hints to Héctor's identity and death:
- The guitar earned by Ernesto has a gold tooth painted on the handle, just like Héctor's gold tooth.
- The toast he shared with Chicharrón involved him finishing his drink while Chicharrón's remained full, hinting to how Héctor was murdered by poisoned alcohol.
- Héctor claiming he died from food poisoning further alludes to his murder.
- Héctor's portrait was with him when he died, hence why his spirit owned one.
- ↑ Unkrich, Lee (December 5, 2017). "1900 (reply to @amyblack1256 @leeunkrich when was Hector born? (exact date if u can, please) 😊)". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Unkrich, Lee (December 5, 2017). "Hector was 18 when he had Coco. Coco was 3 - 4 when Hector left. Sorry for any previous errors.". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Lema, Michelle (June 6, 2017). "Meet the Characters and Voice Cast of Disney Pixar's Coco and See the Beautiful New Poster". Oh My Disney. Disney. Retrieved on June 6, 2017.
- ↑ Unkrich, Lee (December 5, 2017). "Correction: Imelda was 19 when Coco was born. Imelda was born in 1899 (a year older than Hector!)". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Unkrich, Lee (December 3, 2017). "1896 (reply to @Aleprettycat Dear @leeunkrich , when was Ernesto de la Cruz born?". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Unkrich, Lee (December 5, 2017). "21 (reply to @EllenBecker95 Love this movie so much ♥️♥️ I have a question...what age did Héctor die? He’s so young 🤔". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Unkrich, Lee (December 3, 2017). "He had it with him when he died. 😊". (Tweet) Twitter.