- “Name's Hades, Lord of the Dead. Hi, how ya doin'?”
Hades is the Greek god of the Underworld and the main antagonist of the 1997 Disney animated feature film, Hercules. While the Hades of Greek mythology was not particularly malevolent, he is made into an evil figure in the Disney film, where he attempts to steal the Mount Olympus throne from his eldest brother, Zeus.
Hades is one of the most popular Disney Villains, in addition to being one of the franchise's primary members.
Hades is the ruler of the Underworld and younger brother of the mighty Zeus, king of Mount Olympus, who is also responsible for granting Hades' ownership of the Underworld. Unbeknownst to Zeus and the other deities, however, Hades despises the Underworld, as well as his job, finding them both gloomy, depressing, and overbearing. Because of this, Hades secretly plots to overthrow Zeus and rule Mount Olympus as the King of Deities, himself. Though powerful in his own right, Hades is considerably weaker than Zeus, and maybe Poseidon, if not equal to the latter. As such, he often allies himself with various beasts and creatures lurking through Greece, hiring them to do his bidding; the most notable example being the Titans, who were imprisoned by Zeus eons ago.
What Hades lacks in physical strength, he makes up for in meticulous planning, impressive manipulation, and an intimidating aura. Aside from that, Hades is best known for his uncontrollably hot temper, although he is fully aware of this and immediately tries to remain calm and maintain composure as much as he can. At times, the smallest inconveniences can send him over the edge, causing fiery fits and extreme damage to the area and people around him, depending on the situation. This quality makes him a feared figure among Greece and beyond, especially in the eyes of his minions, Pain and Panic. Despite their constant colossal failures and lies, he seems to have a surprising amount of faith in these imps as he continuously sends them out with various missions and tasks, most of which are rather major.
As mentioned earlier, Hades is a master manipulator and often resorts to making deals to get the best of his enemies. Even so, he's an honest god, and keeps his end of the bargain with every deal made, despite the stakes or importance - a rare quality found among the Disney villains.
He is also fairly comedic, often making jokes and pop-culture references during casual conversations, though they're usually played for his own, twisted amusement, and at the expense of others.
Hades appears as a blue-gray humanoid with flaming blue hair, wearing a black robe and a smoky base. When he gets angry, his skin turns red and he bursts into flames (especially his hair, which becomes a more accurate yellow-orange). He has yellow eyes and sharp teeth.
Hades is first seen in the film appearing on Mount Olympus during Hercules' christening. None of the gods are happy to see him. After greeting them, Hades goes up to Baby Hercules' crib and attempts to put a spiked skull-shaped pacifier into the baby's mouth. He almost succeeds, but then the baby grabs and squeezes his finger, causing him to drop the pacifier and he begins to insult Hercules under his breath. After Zeus fails to cheer him up, Hades leaves in pain. Humiliated by his brother in front of the other deities, he leaves Olympus to the Underworld to plan his takeover of Olympus.
Early in the film, Hades asks Pain and Panic if the Fates have arrived, before they reveal the Fates are waiting for him. Angered his minions had not previously alerted him, Hades goes and consults with the Fates on his plan to take over Mount Olympus. They tell him that when the planets align eighteen years later, Hades will be able to unleash the horrible Titans and that they would lead him to victory and power. However, if Hercules intervenes, this will all backfire.
Hades decides to nip the Hercules threat in the bud by having Pain and Panic feed the infant Hercules a potion that will make him mortal. When Hercules is mortal, Pain and Panic would kill the baby. However, Hercules doesn't drink the last drop of the potion, meaning he still retains his godlike strength, allowing Hercules to defend himself. Pain and Panic, to cover their failure, tell Hades they've successfully killed the boy when they return to the underworld. Believing their front, Hades continues forth with his plan for domination.
In the mix, he comes across a girl named Megara who sells her soul to him in order to save her boyfriend's life. However, once he's revived, the boy abandons Meg for another woman, breaking her heart and leaving her in Hades' hands. Since then, Meg has been working with Hades to rule Olympus, though she merely does so because she has no choice, and often mocks the god's temper and schemes with a sarcastic quip. Years later, Hades sends Meg to recruit Nessus. This backfires. However, when Hercules intervenes. When Hades discovers through this that Hercules was still alive, he takes matters into his own hands, by sending an army of monsters to defeat Hercules, beginning with the Hydra.
But when his monsters fail to defeat Hercules, he sends Megara to seduce Hercules and find his weakness. She falls in love with Hercules on their following date and forgets about the mission, simply saying that he has no weakness when he asks. Hades deduces that Hercules' love for Megara is his weakness and uses her to trick Hercules into giving up his godlike strength for a day for Meg's safety. Hercules agrees and Hades, knowing Hercules will not interfere, not only unleashes the Titans at last, but also sends the Cyclops to kill Hercules while he is powerless. Meanwhile, Hades ignites an attack on Mount Olympus, successfully imprisoning Zeus and the others deities in the process, thus allowing the throne to fall into his hands.
During the Cyclops' attack on Hercules, a pillar falls on Meg, severely injuring her. This breaks Hades' promise that Meg would not be hurt, causing Hercules to regain his strength. Hercules proceeds to go to Mount Olympus, where he engages the Titans and eventually defeats them, thwarting Hades's invasion. However, Meg has died because of her injuries (thanks to the Fates clipping her life thread) and Hades claims her soul as his consolation prize, knowing how much her death will hurt Hercules.
Hercules storms into the Underworld subdues Cerberus and confronts Hades, demanding he returns Meg to him. Hades smugly explains to Hercules that Meg is dead and he can't have her back. Hercules offers his soul in exchange for Meg's and Hades displays a moment of being genre savvy, seeing the deal as almost too good to be true. However, he decides to agree on the condition that Hercules must retrieve her himself. It is not until Hercules has already dived into the River Styx that Hades shouts that the former will be dead before he can reach Meg. The Fates attempt to cut Hercules' life thread, but are unable to. Hercules' genuinely heroic sacrifice causes him to become a god, making him immortal. Hercules emerges from the river, carrying Meg's soul. Hades, astounded, attempts to smooth-talk Hercules again, who angrily punches him, sending Hades into the river, where he is swarmed by the souls trapped inside and dragged into its depths. It is unknown what happened to him afterward, though Pain and Panic's commentary implies that Hades may be trapped within the river for quite some time, if not eternity.
During the end credits when the thanks to the staff are shown, Hades' voice is heard saying that everyone's got a happy ending but him. Then asks if anyone's listening and if he's talking to hyperspace.
Contrary to film canon, where Hades was unaware of Hercules' survival until the demigod was 18, the animated series shows that Hades often faces off against a teenage Hercules. Hades tries many different schemes to destroy Hercules and take over Olympus, plans including exposing the other gods to water from the river Lethe- thus making them all forget their original roles and leaving him free to take over -diverting the River Styx into Greece, or killing Zeus when he temporarily made himself mortal to prove a point to Hercules. Despite all these transgressions, he is never expelled from godhood, frequently being summoned to Mount Olympus for job-related matters afterward.
Hades is shown to have a very poor working relationship with those in his service, primarily the witch Hecate, who frequently attempts to usurp control of the underworld out from under him. Despite Hades attempts to frequently abandon the underworld for Mount Olympus, he seems protective of the job when it's threatened to be taken away from him.
In one episode, he notably teamed up with Aladdin's deceased arch-enemy Jafar and used subsequent attempts to defeat each other's enemies. They didn't always get along however and sometimes argued. Hades found Jafar annoying because he hated his puns and evil laugh, thinking of him as a freak. Their evil plans failed when they underestimated the value of Hercules's strength and Aladdin's ingenuity, culminating in the two teaming up to stop Hades and send Jafar back to the Underworld for good.
Thanks to meddling by the Fates, Hades did technically become King of Olympus in an alternate reality, while Zeus became Lord of the Underworld in one of the episodes. They eventually got into a fight nearing the end of the episode, and the reality was undone after Hercules destroyed the tapestry binding the reality together (which also resulted in Hercules getting tickets to a canceled concert that he had earlier not been able to get due to the prince beating him out of it).
Hades has several notable appearances on the series. In one episode, "Halloween With Hades", Hades had a crush on Maleficent. His first attempt to woo Maleficent fails, so he goes to Mickey Mouse for advice. Mickey tells Hades to try to be nice, but this fails too. Hades attempts to take his anger out on Mickey until Maleficent discovers how cruel he is towards Mickey and decides to date him.
Another notable appearance by Hades in House of Mouse is "Suddenly Hades", where Pete destroys the House's thermostat and all the guests leave due to the heat, except for Hades, who enjoys the heat. Mickey and friends then try their best to keep Hades in the House (since Mickey's contract states that the House stays open as long as the show goes on, he would be obliged to close the House down if there were no guests whatsoever). One way in which Mickey tried to keep Hades included an act from Chernabog, a sort of fast-forward version of Night on Bald Mountain. Hades loved it ("Hey! It's the old act! I love this guy!"). Hades eventually left when Pete flooded the House, but this allowed the Little Mermaid characters to enter the House instead.
In the episode "House Ghosts", his bloopers reel was shown on the big screen, humiliating him so badly that he tortures his minions Pain and Panic for no particular reason.
Hades is one of the main villains in Mickey's House of Villains as well, though he does not take part in the initial scheming at the beginning of the film. Hades was also seen in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, alongside Jafar and Captain Hook during the finale song.
Hades makes his debut in the twelfth episode of the fifth season, "Souls of the Departed", played by Greg Germann. Hades is the ruler of the Underworld, a purgatory-like place where the souls of those with unfinished business on Earth go after their death. His lair resides in the caves beneath the Underworld library, accessible by taking an elevator.
Years before the first Dark Curse was cast, Hades appears to Liam Jones (brother of Captain Hook), and persuades him to let the ship they are on sink so that Hades can get new souls for the Underworld. He offers Liam the coveted Eye of the Storm stone as well as the safety of Liam and his brother if he agrees. Liam takes his offer, causing all of the crew to die in the shipwreck. Liam and Hook survive, becoming members of the Royal Navy.
When Hook is killed as the Dark One and Emma and the rest of the group arrive in the Underworld searching for him, Hades sends Cora to persuade Regina to leave the Underworld with Robin and Henry, or risk sending her father to Hell. Cora's repeated attempts to get rid of her husband actually help him to complete his unfinished business with Regina, allowing him to pass on to Heaven. His departure from the Underworld causes the hand on the fallen town clock to tick forward one minute. Later, Cora meets Hades in his lair insisting she receives her end of their bargain (which involves Regina's well-being), despite her failure of her mission. Hades makes a point to mention how much she cares for Regina despite abandoning her other daughter to become royalty, and as punishment, he reverts her to her peasant status, forcing her to deliver mill flour bags for all of eternity.
After Megara escapes from the dungeon, she happens to be discovered by Emma and Regina. Megara leads them to the Underworld mines, as they are the entrance to the dungeon. Hades stops them, and shows Emma Hook's bloody hook removed from his body. Later, after Megara and Hercules pass on, Hades tells Hook that for every soul that leaves the Underworld, he will keep one of Hook's friends behind as a replacement. Giving Hook a carving instrument, Hades tells him that Hook will get to pick three friends to stay behind since three souls moved on. Hook refuses, and Hades sends him down the River of Lost Souls, to be chained up and slowly lowered into the river to kill him.
After Rumplestiltskin, Milah and Emma arrive to where Hook is being imprisoned, Emma goes in to save him while Milah guards the boat to make sure Rumple doesn't take it. Hades appears, freezes Milah in her place, and brings Rumplestiltskin back to his lair to offer him a deal: burn the boat and he will let Rumple return to Storybrooke. Rumple agrees to the deal and returns to the dock burning the boat. Hades then manipulates Rumple's magic to blast Milah into the River, killing her.
Later, Hades decides which of the heroes get to stay behind, since Hook refused. He chooses Regina, Emma and Snow White, foiling Emma's plan to split her heart with Hook, so they can both return to Storybrooke.
At some point, Hades discovers the crystal ball that Rumple had previously used, and repairs it. He spends hours trying to figure out why Rumple was affected by the image of Belle. After some investigating he found out that Rumple was trying to find out where Baelfire went. As Baelfire is dead, the crystal ball instead showed Rumple his new, unborn child, that Belle is pregnant with. Hades also discovers a healer that Rumple had previously killed in the Enchanted Forest had a contract with the Dark One about taking his second-born child. Realizing that this can force Rumple to do his bidding, he has the healer sign over the contract to him. When Rumple approaches, asking Hades to send him home, he pretends to comply, but then tells him he is going to delay his return. He then shows Rumple the crystal ball, explaining that Belle is with child and that Hades now has the power to take the baby at any point, unless Rumple decides to work for him.
Hades learns of the mutiny being planned by Liam, Hook and the rest of the heroes. Realizing they could discover his weakness, he pays a visit to Liam who is a bartender in the Underworld. Hades tells Liam that he needs him to find the storybook that is hidden in the Underworld Sorcerer's mansion, and rip out the last few pages that contain the story of Hades. When Liam asks why he should agree to help him, Hades threatens him with divulging his secret to Hook: that Liam lets the sailors aboard the ship drown so he and his brother could get the jobs in the navy.
When Hook and Liam arrive at the cross-over point with the rest of the ships' crew, Hades appears, blowing Captain Silver over the edge of the cliff, sending him to Hell. He then explains to the rest of them that Liam will get to live because he held up the bargain he had with Hades, while Hook will die because he escaped from Hades' lair. Liam refuses to let Hades kill Hook, so Hades decides to kill Liam instead, knocking him off the edge of the cliff. Hook manages to grab his hand before pulling Liam decides he needs to make amends for his actions and lets go. As he falls, Hades watches in shock as the fiery surroundings change to a peaceful ocean, with a ship in the distance. Hades tells Hook he will pay for this before disappearing.
Back in his lair, the discarded pages of the storybook appear in one of the rivers. Hades takes them, searching through the pages and stopping on one with a picture of Zelena and himself, whispering that their secret is safe.
Hades later took Zelena for a ride where he wants Zelena to love him in order to restart his heart and proposes an offer to make chaos with him, but before that could happen, Hades learns that Gold and Peter Pan kidnapped Zelena in order to tear up the contract, which forced him to turn to Emma to help him. When he meets with Gold and Pan at the diner, he gives in and tears up the contract and is reunited with Zelena, whose true love kiss freed him of being confined to the Underworld and offers Emma and the outsiders a portal back to Storybrooke. However he left out the part of deceiving everyone by turning over the Underworld to Cruella De Vil and the Blind Witch, and destroying the ambrosia tree that Emma needed to restore Hook's soul back to the living. He and Zelena leave for Storybrooke before the others.
It turns out Hades didn't change, though he loves Zelena. He kills King Arthur with his abilities after he escaped from the Storybrooke Sheriff Department. Hades was later contacted by Mr. Gold who offers to make a deal with him as Hades is in Mr. Gold's kingdom. Hades declines the offer. After rebuilding the Olympian Crystal, Hades attempts to use it to murder Regina. However, Robin Hood takes the fatal stab and Zelena kills Hades with the Olympian Crystal where he is reduced to ash. Mr. Gold later visits the remains of Hades stating that he should've accepted his deal. He then takes the fragment of the Olympian Crystal out of the sand where he states that Storybrooke is his kingdom.
Cameos and other appearances
Hades appears to be an antagonist in the series, although his role is limited to the world he came from. In Birth by Sleep, Hades' first interaction with the Keyblade wielders begins when Terra arrives to test his strength, prompting Hades to convince him to enter the Games to use against Zeus. But when Terra doesn't use his darkness, Hades decides to use Zack instead, only for Zack to lose against Terra anyway. When Aqua arrives, Hades reappears as her opponent and nicknames her "little bluebird" due to her hair color. After he calls Terra a coward for not using his darkness, Aqua battles him so Hades fights with the aid of a copy of Hydros called the Ice Colossus. Hades ends up losing and retreats but vows to return.
By the events of Kingdom Hearts, Hades has become a member of Maleficent's council, and has been supplied with Heartless to use in Olympus Coliseum. Like before, he had managed to gain another warrior, Cloud, by promising him a lead to Sephiroth if Cloud kills Hercules and later Sora when the latter begins winning in the Coliseum. When the plan fails, Hades sends Cerberus after them, who also loses. He is seen later speaking with Maleficent and Riku after Jafar's defeat at the hands of Sora, and Maleficent warns him about letting the darkness consume him. Much later, when Maleficent and the rest of her allies have also been defeated, Hades decides to defeat Sora and Hercules personally in a long tournament with a battle with him near the end. Ultimately, he is defeated by Sora. However, Hades retaliates by unleashing two of the Titans upon the world like the events in Hercules. Upon Lythos' defeat, however, Hades disappears.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Hades' planning and actions occur within the Underworld instead of the Coliseum. This time, he revives Auron, the "Mother of All Bad Guys", to destroy Hercules, only for the swordsman to refuse this. Hades tries to strike him, but Auron departs with Sora when the Keyblade wielder arrives wishing to talk to Hades (which proves unsuccessful due to Hades' invincibility within the Underworld. However, after Pete reveals that the Keyblade can open any lock, Hades decides to use Sora to reopen an ancient coliseum known as the Underdrome by kidnapping Megara and bringing her to the Underdrome. Sora rescues her, but unseals it as a result. Due to his victory, Hades decides to hold the Hades Cup to try to kill the weakened Hercules, who was filled with guilt after failing to stop the Hydra. Hades creates a statue of Auron to control him and fight Hercules. However, Sora steals the statue back and destroys it, freeing Auron. Like the conclusion within the film, Hades tries to throw Meg into the River Styx, forcing Hercules to dive in and save her, causing Hercules' power to be restored by his willing to risk his life to save Meg. Hades is quickly defeated and falls down into the River Styx, though he manages to escape, but does not continue to cause trouble for the group.
Hades is set to return in Kingdom Hearts III, where he will be reunited with Maleficent and Pete.
In recent years, despite not having too many live appearances, Hades has become quite the common Disney villain in several spots, mostly for entertainment purposes.
Hades is also used in promos for the Disney theme parks along with other major Disney villains as part of Halloween celebrations, including animated commercials and the live-action Christmas/Halloween promo that premiered October, 2013.
In 2013, Hades appeared with Megara, Pain, Panic and several Disney villains onstage for the "Unleash the Villains" Halloween stage event at Disney's Hollywood Studios. He would return for the renamed Villains Unleashed event in 2014.
In the interactive attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Hades serves as the main antagonist again. In this attraction, Hades sets his eyes on the Magic Kingdom for his new summer vacation spot and plans on turning it into a post-apocalyptic wasteland but Merlin's powerful Crystal of the Magic Kingdom prevents him from doing so, as it is powered to keep all evil at bay at the park. When Hades sends Pain and Panic to steal it, the crystal is accidentally shattered into several pieces with four of them getting scattered around the park. Hades then recruits several Disney Villains to help retrieve them, but in the end, Hades and the villains are trapped and imprisoned in the newly-reconstructed crystal by Merlin and the park guests that helped him on the adventure.
In Fantasmic!, Hades is one of the villains summoned by The Evil Queen to destroy Mickey Mouse in the Florida version of Fantasmic!. Once Hades is summoned, he then summons Chernabog. Hades is defeated with the other villains at the end.
Hades does not appear in the Mickey's Philharmagic show itself, but on a poster in the queue area where he sings "Torch Songs".
Hades is the starring character for Villains Tonight!. In this show, Hades has "gone soft" in recent years and if he doesn't regain his evil nature, he will lose control over the Underworld. Hades visits the most powerful Disney Villains to help recapture his infamous cruelty.
- Hades is said to be based off of Jeffrey Katzenberg (a former employee of Disney who left the company on bad terms to start DreamWorks Animation).
- It is also unknown why Hades himself didn't go to convince Nessus himself and sent Megara instead even though Hades must have a high authority; most likely he preferred to delegate.
- Unlike most villains from Disney films, Hades is 100% sane, aside from a fiery temper.
- Hades is often regarded as one of Disney's funniest villains, alongside Captain Hook, Madam Mim, Jafar, Pete, Yzma and Prince John.
- Hades is one of the few classic villains without a memorable song. However, he does have an recurring instrumental theme, which may be found as "Speak of the Devil" on the Hercules Soundtrack. And in the Hercules tv series, he sings "My Town" when he takes over Athens.
- It is unclear as to why Hades wasn't aware that Hercules hadn't been killed by Pain and Panic back when Hercules was a baby, seeing that he is the Lord of the Dead; the most likely explanation is that he doesn't keep track of specific details about his role and simply assumed that all had gone according to plan. But in the series Hades claimed that if someone was dead, he would know about it.
- Hades' appearance in the series contradicts the film as he believed that Hercules was dead when he was a teenager during the film.
- The Greek god Hades was not evil - in fact, he was one of the more personable deities of Ancient Greece, despite his job as lord of the dead. However, many other versions (for instance Clash of Titans) depict him as a villain, like the Disney version. While in Rick Riordan's novels like Percy Jackson and the Olympians, he is adept to bargains and holds a slight, brotherly spite over Zeus that he does not act upon at least not in an villainous fashion.
- Another detail regarding Hades that was left out of the film was that he was married to Persephone, the goddess of spring. In addition to this, Hades and Persephone were said to genuinely love one another; Persephone helped govern the job of ruling the Underworld when she was with him and in turn Hades was fiercely loyal to her and hated seeing her sad.
- In the original myths, Hades was one of the six children of the Titan Kronos and the grandson of Gaia, the Earth. The Disney version does not implicate his relationship to Hera, Demeter or Hestia (who were his sisters in the myth), but it is shown that he, Zeus and Poseidon are brothers like in mythology (although the myths had Hades being older than Zeus, whereas the Disney version has this the other way around).
- Jack Nicholson and John Lithgow were once considered for the role of Hades. Nicholson left because he demanded $10-$15 million, plus a 50% cut of all the proceeds from Hades merchandise and Disney declined. Lithgow was released from the role because the directors thought he didn't work.
- Originally, Hades was going to be portrayed as being less comedic and acting more like a serious and dark villain similar to Ursula. It wasn't until James Woods' auditioning for the role that Hades was rewritten as a comic-relief villain with a huge sense of humor.
- In all of his appearances, Hades has smoke emitting from the base of his robe; however, this trait is missing in the Kingdom Hearts series. Most likely because it would be hard to animate.
- In all of his appearances in the Kingdom Hearts series, Hades tries using a character from Final Fantasy to get rid of Hercules. In Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts coded, it is Cloud, in Kingdom Hearts II, it is Auron. In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, he does use Zack in this manner, as well as to display the power of darkness to Terra.
- He seems to have a strong hatred for the Goddess of the Night, Hecate, calling her a "witch" at the conference of the Olympians. She in turn wants his throne and steals his power.
- Hades is one of the few villains with historic significance. Others include John Ratcliffe, Chernabog, Arawn and the Hun Army.
- The fact that he is a god and Lord of the Dead makes him one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, Disney villain ever, as he is immortal, can teleport, control fire and rule the dead.
- Hades is the only villain to meet another Disney villain in media canon to his film of origin. This is debatable, however, as the TV series have a plot hole where Hades is aware of Hercules's survival, when this would be set before Hercules defeats Nessus and Hades learns that Pain and Panic didn't kill Hercules.
- The world in Kingdom Hearts II, based on the animated film Hercules entitled Olympus Coliseum, contains an attribute very similar to that of the world in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep based on the animated classic Sleeping Beauty entitled Enchanted Dominion. The similarity is the villain area of the worlds which belong to Maleficent and Hades have a same pathway infrastructure leading onto the antagonist's lair.
- In the film, Hades is also the only deity that lacks the shining aura in his body (all others have an aura with the color matching their skin's) so as the only one with that smoke aspect; this may be because the others are not evil in any way.
- Hades is depicted in the Disney movie with control over fire, pyromancy, where the fire is actually an element not related with Hades, being earth and gold, actually the closest element to Hades; the fire is probably to give him some association with the common idea of the Devil, augmenting the ideal of villain and comically with his "hot-head" personality.
- Because blue flame burns at higher temperature than red/orange flame, the implication that when Hades gets angry he "heats-up" and turns red is inaccurate. Technically, Hades is hotter when he is calm than when he is angry. However, blue means calm and red means angry, so it could simply be the color scheme.
- Hades is probably the oldest of the Disney Villains. Mother Gothel, however, would probably be the oldest human villain so far.
- Due to him being immortal, Hades, along with Governor Ratcliffe (who is a human), is the only Disney Renaissance villain that does not die at the end of his film. Jafar, although he did not die at the end of Aladdin, actually dies at the end of The Return of Jafar.).