It has been 19 years since the release of Hercules, and a lot has changed in Disney studios. Star Wars and Marvel franchises have been added to the roster, and the production company has been enjoying continued success. But even with the likes of Captain America and Rey introduced, no one can deny that Hercules is the greatest hero ever brought to life through stunning animation.
In celebration of the 19th-year anniversary of this stunning (and sometimes overlooked) classic Disney has brought to us, here are some interesting facts that you might have not known about Disney’s Hercules.
1. Hercules was not derived from a fairy tale
Disney is notorious for making animated and lighter versions of well-known fairy tales. A lot of you may be aware that the original stories were not kid friendly at all. The original Cinderella, for example, involved self-mutilation and other violent acts, while the evil queen in the Grimm’s version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs met quite a sinister end.
The same thing can be said for Hercules, except the movie was actually adapted from a Greek myth and not a fairy tale. In the original text, Heracles (his Greek name) was the son of Zeus and Alcmene (in the film, they changed this to Hera, Zeus’s wife). Though they shared the same power and strength, Hercules did not get the same happy ending as his movie counterpart since he died a tragic death. But don’t worry, there is a little light at the end, as his father Zeus carried him to the heavens and he ended up being a star.
2. The Spice Girls were considered to be the Muses
Face it, the three Muses absolutely stole the show with their sassy song numbers. But before they cast the talented voices behind them, the production team actually considered the Spice Girls first. Although that would have been epic, it is hard to imagine someone taking the place of LaChanze, Roz Ryan, and the rest of the team.
3. Hercules and Ariel are cousins
This was not mentioned or acknowledged in the story, but if you trace it to the actual mythology, they are actually related by blood. Hercules is the son of Zeus, the brother of Hades (the god of the underworld) and Poseidon (the god of the sea). Even if they are all involved in some sort of feud with each other, they’re still one big dysfunctional family.
So how is your favorite redhead mermaid and the demigod related? Well, Poseidon is actually Triton’s father, and Triton is the father of Ariel. They might not be direct cousins, but first cousins, once removed. Now who wants to see a crossover happening in the future?
4. Hades is actor James Woods’s favorite character of all time
James Woods has played a number of villainous roles, but Hades was his favorite. He loved the role so much that he volunteered to voice the character for both the animated series and the Disney/Square Enix role playing game Kingdom Hearts.
5. The movie needed 72,000 pencils and 1,000,000 sheets of paper
Digital animation may be a huge trend now, but twenty years ago, the animators behind Hercules stuck predominantly with pen and pencil. For the 90-minute duration of the film, the team needed 72,000 pencils and a staggering 1,000,000 sheets of paper to create the whole story line. Talk about dedication!
6. The Hydra was the biggest challenge for animators
If you may recall, the Hercules had to figure out a way to defeat the monstrous Hydra, but the task seemed fairly impossible since its impaled head kept spawning back again. Thankfully, our hero was able to pull through by causing a landslide to destroy it permanently.
Apparently,the Hydra did not just cause a lot of trouble for Hercules, but for the animators as well. It took around six to fourteen hours for them to generate each frame using their animation program. To take things to another level, the task became even more difficult as the Hydra heads continued to increase in numbers.
7. Ricky Martin played the Spanish Hercules!
In the film’s English version, Hercules was voiced by actor Tate Donovan. But for the Spanish version of the film, it was singer Ricky Martin. Needless to say, Martin was great in the role, and even though Donovan’s singing voice was iconic, Martin injected his signature heartthrob tone to the role.