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This article focuses on the Disney film.
For the Season Five character, see Hercules.

Hercules is a Disney animated film featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Ron Clements, John Musker, Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw, and Irene Cecchi and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. It was released on June 27, 1997.

Hercules is based on Greek Mythology.


After imprisoning the Titans beneath the ocean, the Greek gods gather to Mount Olympus for Zeus, and his wife Hera have a son named Hercules. While the other gods are joyful, Zeus' jealous brother Hades plots to overthrow Zeus and rule Mount Olympus. Turning to the Fates for help, Hades learns that in eighteen years, a planetary alignment will allow Hades to locate and free the Titans to conquer Olympus, but only if Hercules does not interfere. Hades sends his minions Pain and Panic to dispose of Hercules. The two succeed at kidnapping and feeding him a formula that turns him mortal, but fail to remove his superhuman strength before Hercules is found and adopted by the farmers Amphitryon and Alcmene.

Years later, the teenaged Hercules becomes an outcast due to his strength, and wonders where he came from. After his foster parents reveal the necklace they found him with, Hercules decides to visit the temple of Zeus for answers. The temple's statue of Zeus comes to life and reveals all to Hercules, telling him that he can regain his godhood by becoming a "true hero". Zeus sends Hercules and his forgotten infant-hood friend Pegasus to find the satyr Philoctetes—"Phil" for short—who is known for training heroes. The two meet Phil, who has retired from training heroes due to numerous disappointments, but Hercules inspires him to follow his dream to train a true hero who will be recognized by the gods. Phil trains Hercules into a potential hero, and when he is older, they fly for Thebes. On the way, they meet Megara—"Meg" for short—a sarcastic damsel whom Hercules saves from the centaur Nessus. However, after Hercules, Phil, and Pegasus leave, Meg is revealed to be Hades' minion, having sold her soul to him to save an unfaithful lover.

Arriving in Thebes, Hercules is turned down by the downtrodden citizens until Meg says that two boys are trapped in a gorge. Hercules saves them, unaware that they are Pain and Panic in disguise, allowing Hades to summon the Hydra to fight Hercules. Hercules continually cuts off its heads, but more heads replace them until Hercules kills the monster by causing a landslide. Hercules is seen as a hero and a celebrity, but Zeus tells Hercules he is not yet a true hero. Driven to depression, Hercules turns to Meg, who is falling in love with him. Hades learns of this and on the eve of his takeover, offers a deal that Hercules gives up his powers for twenty-four hours on the condition that Meg will be unharmed. Hercules accepts, losing his strength, and is heartbroken when Hades reveals that Meg is working for him.

Hades unleashes the Titans who climb Olympus and capture the gods, while a Cyclops goes to Thebes to kill Hercules. Phil inspires Hercules to fight and kill the cyclops, but Meg is crushed by a falling pillar saving Hercules from it, allowing him to regain his strength. Hercules and Pegasus fly to Olympus where they free the gods and launch the Titans into space where they explode, though Meg dies before he returns to her. With Meg's soul now Hades' property, Hercules breaks into the Underworld where he negotiates with Hades to free Meg from the Styx in exchange for his own life. His willingness to sacrifice his life restores his godhood and immortality before the life-draining river can kill him; he rescues Meg and punches Hades into the Styx. After reviving Meg, she and Hercules are summoned to Olympus where Zeus and Hera welcome their son home. However, Hercules chooses to remain on Earth with Meg. Hercules returns to Thebes where he is hailed as a true hero as Zeus creates a picture of Hercules in the stars commemorating his heroism.

Show Adaptation

  • Unlike in the movie, Hercules' mother is a mortal, like in mythology, instead of being Hera.
  • Hercules is killed by Cerberus, along with Megara.
  • Unlike in the movie, Hercules and Megara don't know each other until they meet shortly before being killed by Cerberus, and then meet again in the Underworld.
  • Hercules will be allowed to join his father Zeus on Mount Olympus specifically after completing twelve labors. In the film, it is to be after he has "proved himself a true hero".
  • As in the film, Hades can manifest blue fire in place of his hair.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
Hercules Hercules "Labor of Love"
Cerberus Cerberus "Labor of Love"
Megara Megara "Labor of Love"
Charon Charon "The Price"
Three Fates Three Fates (mentioned) "Street Rats"
Hades Hades "Souls of the Departed"
Zeus Zeus "Last Rites"
Poseidon Poseidon "Poor Unfortunate Soul"

Species Featured

Original Specie Adapted as First Featured in
Olympian Gods Deities "Souls of the Departed"
Nymphs Tree Nymphs "Flower Child"

Items Featured

Original Item Adapted as First Featured in
Fates' Shears Shears of Destiny "Street Rats"
Zeus' Thunderbolt Olympian Crystal "Last Rites"
Poseidon's Trident Poseidon's Trident "Poor Unfortunate Soul"

Locations Featured

Original Location Adapted as First Featured in
Mount Olympus Mount Olympus "Souls of the Departed"
Underworld Underworld "Souls of the Departed"
Styx Acheron "Souls of the Departed"
Tartarus Worse Place "Souls of the Departed"


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