Hercules went from zero to hero 20 years ago when the Disney animated film of the same name was released on June 13, 1997. The movie introduced us to a Hercules that had to undergo a hero’s journey (and overcome some rather arrogant qualities) to regain his place in Mount Olympus. He went the distance, but to me, he’s beside the point. The real star of Hercules is Megara.
Was Megara entirely upfront and honest about anything with Hercules? No, not so much. Did she work alongside Hades to take Hercules down? Yeah. However, she was a heroine in her own right and went on a journey of her own—one that wasn’t as straightforward as punching monsters in the face. Here are seven reasons Megara is the MVP of Hercules:
Survival of the strongest
“I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this.” With those words, my admiration for Megara was cemented. She did what it takes to get by, whether it was trying to capture a centaur or sussing out Hercules weakness in exchange for freedom from Hades.
Hercules jumped in to “save” Megara from Nessus, even though she didn’t ask him to, and showed off all his heroic moves and muscles. When he tried to charm her, she all but rolled her eyes and gave him one of those small, tight smiles damn near every woman is familiar with. #notimpressedwithyouhercules
A side of sarcasm
My vocabulary of snark was bolstered by Megara’s biting remarks. It’s rare for any Disney character to be sarcastic, much less the female lead. I can still hear her on point delivery of, “It’s been a real slice,” in my head.
As someone who keeps her hair long because of all the styling options and yet rarely does much with it, I marvel at swept and sculpted ‘dos. Megara’s ponytail is practical and like a moving piece of art. It’s not easy to hold up that much hair (she probably always had a headache or bobby pins rubbing against her scalp), so for that, I salute her.
Megara makes mistakes. We watched her make a huge one in the movie when she betrayed Hercules. Sure, she did it to get out from under Hades’ thumb (and I kind of respect that?), but it’s not a decision most heroines would make. She misstepped, and we saw how she recovers from her error.
Putting herself out there
Being burned by a loved one is one of the most painful experiences in the world. Megara sold her soul to save her ex-boyfriend’s life, and then he left her. Ouch. But despite her past and her hesitation about romantic entanglements, she put her vulnerability out there and loved again—which is a scary thing to do when you’ve been hurt.
Sacrificing it all
People do crazy things when they’re in love, like leaping under giant, falling columns to save the life of the person they love. Megara put her life on the line in order to protect Hercules. She was selfless, and I don’t need to tell you why that’s admirable.
We’ve established why Megara is the real winner of Hercules, but another character deserves an honorable mention: Pegasus! The winged horse is Herc’s loyal companion and steed. Plus, he was the cutest thing ever as a baby.