NOTE: This article is about Hal from the 2020 adaptation The Call of the Wild. The mainstream version can be found here: Hal, Mercedes and Charles.

Villain Overview

I came all the way out here! You knew something, didn't you? You wanted it all for yourself! Where is it? Where's the gold?
~ Hal interrogating Thornton after shooting him.

Hal is the main antagonist of the 2020 live-action adaptation of Jack London's The Call of the Wild.

He is a wealthy gold seeker who mistreats Buck and plans to kill John Thornton. While the original novel depicted Hal as a minor antagonist, he was nothing more than an ignorant jerk. However, in the film adaptation, Hal proves to be more evil than his original counterpart and becomes the arch-nemesis of Buck and John Thornton.

He was portrayed by Dan Stevens, who also played David Collins in The Guest, David Haller in Legion, Sir Lancelot in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and the Beast in the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Personality

Hal is an extremely egotistical, greedy, ruthless, abusive and hot-tempered man who only cares about gold. Like his book counterpart and family, he is very inexperienced at surviving in the wilds of the Klondike. He didn't care about his family nor his dogs' safety of the dangers ahead, even ignoring Thornton's advice about the thin ice over the pond. When Buck and the other dogs refused to cross the ice, he still insisted on crossing it and tried to kill Buck until Thornton stopped him.

After his family, dogs and fortune were lost, he became obsessed with getting revenge on Thornton and trying to kill him and Buck, although he himself was responsible for their disappearances. When he found out about Thornton's journey to find gold, he believed that he was out to find it for himself and keep it away from other prospectors.

Biography

When Hal comes across Buck and his team after Perrault and Francoise sold them off, Pike barks at him. He then picks them up and takes them to his family. Hal and his family try to get Buck and his team to mush, but they struggle to pull the sled. Mercedes asks if they're broken, but Hal tells her that they're just lazy and orders Charles to hit Buck. As Charles prepares to strike Buck, John Thornton intervenes and stops him. Thornton tells Hal that the sled is frozen under the ice and breaks it free. Thornton asks Hal where they're going, but Hal tells him that it's none of his business. Thornton then tells Hal about an abandoned cabin near a river of gold and warns them about the dangers on their journey, but Hal ignores him. Charles orders the dogs to mush and they leave Dawson.

Throughout the journey, Buck and the team struggle to keep up as they climb up a mountain. Dolly slips and the entire sled slides down until Buck stops it. Hal gets back up and whips the team to get them to go further, unaware of the danger that lies ahead. They eventually arrive at a frozen lake and the team stops dead on their tracks, but Hal continues to push Buck, in spite of Mercedes' warnings. Hal pulls out his gun to shoot Buck, but Thornton arrives in the nick of time to stop him and holds him at gunpoint. Thornton confronts Hal and explains that he's trying to save their lives as he pushes him down onto the frozen lake. Thornton frees Buck and Hal threatens him as the other dogs snarl at him. Mercedes warns him that they shouldn't cross the lake, but he refuses to listen to her and pushes the dogs to walk over the frozen lake. Thornton warns him not to do it, but Hal again ignores him as he and his family walk over the ice.

One night, Thornton walks to a bar and Buck follows him after recovering. Hal walks in and punches Thornton in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. Hal blames him for letting his dogs run off and for making him lose his fortune as he kicks Thornton. Buck bolts into the bar and attacks Hal until two men hold him back. Hal tries to explain what happened and Buck lashes out at him. Hal decides to have Buck put down now, but a man named Edenshaw confronts him and pulls out his gun, resulting in him getting thrown out of the bar.

While Buck and Thornton are on their journey to find gold at the abandoned cabin in the uncharted wilderness, Hal comes to Thornton's cabin and breaks in. He knocks down some stuff off a desk and notices a map leading to the cabin, so he sets out to find him.

When Thornton decides to go back home and parts ways with Buck, he notices a flock of birds flying out of the trees in the distance. Unbeknownst to him, Hal has followed him and arrived at his cabin. The following night, Thornton senses Hal's presence and sets out to investigate. However, Hal fires a shot and Thornton accidentally drops his lantern, setting the cabin on fire. As Hal tries to enter the cabin, Thornton blocks the door and grabs hold of his rifle. Thornton comes out and they fight until Hal manages to mortally wound him. Hal demands Thornton to tell him where the gold is and he tosses his gold to him. As he prepares to kill Thornton, Buck leaps from the roof of the cabin onto Hal and knocks the rifle from his hands. Hal grabs his club and Buck cowers. As Hal swings his club, Buck manages to grab it and yank it out of his hands. Buck then pushes Hal into the burning cabin and it collapses on him, killing him.

Despite Hal's death, the wound he inflicted on Thornton proves to be fatal and Thornton passes away shortly afterwards, thanking Buck for his company and asking him to live for himself. Buck does so and fully embraces the call of the wild, becoming the leader of a wolf pack, finding a mate named Carol and fathering offspring, finally getting a new home.

Quotes

I promised you, didn't I? And here we are. (Mercedes: You promised me gold. Where is it? In the dogs?) [Mercedes laughs.] Let's get this sled loaded. Time to state our claim. Let's go. And... mush! [Buck and the team struggle to pull the sled.] Mush! (Mercedes: Are they broken?) No, they're just lazy.
~ Hal buying Buck and the team and trying to have them pull their sled.
Charles, persuade him, please. (Mercedes: Not the pup. Charles, put that down or I'll... I won't go a step! Charles!) [Charles raises his club until Thornton comes by.] (John Thornton: Remember me? Yeah, I know.) [Thornton walks over to Hal.] (John Thornton: Your rudders are frozen. If you help your dogs, it might allow you to take the gee pole and break them out.) Gee pole?
~ Hal ordering Charles to hit Buck until Thornton stops him.
(John Thornton: Where are you heading, mister?) None of your concern. (John Thornton: You didn't buy that map in Skagway, did you?) No. (John Thornton: An old fairy tale, lost cabin. [Thornton lifts up the sled.] (John Thornton: River of gold. It's not too far into the spring. Half that trail is on the river.) Well, that leaves half the trail fit for travel. (John Thornton: No, that means the ice is gonna break up with your companions and the dogs on it. Why don't you lay over until the spring will thaw? Save your dogs and your companions are suffering.) And let some old prospector lead us to the gold. (John Thornton: I'm not a prospector.) No, thank you. I paid a fortune for this team. They'll pull my sled. (John Thornton: Your dogs will pull your sled, pull your sled until they die.) Thank you. Let's go. Alright, let's go! (Charles: And... mush!)
~ Hal ignoring Thornton's warnings about the danger on their journey.
(Charles: Lazy mutts!) (Mercedes: I'm not so sure about those dogs. Maybe we should have bought a different team.) (Charles: Maybe we should feed them.) (Mercedes: Maybe we should have stayed on the trail.) MUSH! [Dolly slips and the sled goes downhill.] (Mercedes: Ah! No! Make it stop!) [Hal manages to stop the sled and falls to the ground. Hal gets up and grunts in anger as he throws his hat to the ground.] Gaaah! [Buck and the team struggle to pull the sled.] Maybe a little encouragement. [Hal whips the team and the dogs yelp.] Mush! [Hal whips again.] Mush!
~ Hal forcing the dogs to carry the sled up hill with his whip.
Oh no. We're going across. Move! I say you go! (Mercedes: Hal, he can't!) Move. [Hal pushes Buck. The dogs bark at him and Hal pulls out his gun.] (Mercedes: Don't you dare!) [Hal aims his gun at Buck.] (John Thornton: HEY!) [Hal stops and everyone looks at him holding him at gunpoint.] (John Thornton: The river ice is gonna break up any minute, you fool! That dog is trying to help you keep your life!) [Thornton pushes Hal down a hill onto the ice and he points his gun at Mercedes and Charles.] Why are you so keen to stop us? Oh, you know where the gold is, don't you? [Hal searches in the snow for his gun as Thornton cuts Buck from the harnesses and Hal fires a shot.] You keep your filthy hands off of my dogs! (Mercedes: Hal.) [Sol-leks growls and the other dogs bark at him.] (Mercedes: Hal, he said we shouldn't cross.) (Charles: Hal, are you sure that maybe we couldn't just leave the dogs.) No! I can do it! MUSH! [The dogs get up and continue moving forward as they look at Buck in sadness.] MUSH! (John Thornton: Don't do this! Not to them.) [Hal rides down onto the ice with Mercedes and Charles following him.] Mush!
~ Hal attempting to shoot Buck and confronting Thornton as he crosses the frozen lake.
[Hal walks into the bar and punches Thornton, causing him to fall to the ground.] They're all gone! My dogs ran off! My fortune lost! You call it a fairy tale? [Hal kicks Thornton.] One won't be finding the gold! [Buck bolts into the bar and attacks Hal as he screams. Two men hold him back as Buck continues to bark at Hal.] (John Thornton: Easy, Buck! Easy! Buck! Easy.) Now, you all saw! This man and I had business and the dog went for my throat. Probably rabid. [Buck lashes out at Hal and he falls to the ground.] (John Thornton: Leave that dog alone!) I say he gets put down here and now. (John Thornton: You don't touch him!) (Edenshaw: No one puts any creature down... 'til we hear all the facts.) (John Thornton: The man sucker punched me!) [Buck barks at Hal and he backs away in fear.] (John Thornton: Buck, easy.) (Edenshaw: What might you have on that belt, friend?) [Edenshaw examines Hal's belt and pulls out his gun. Edenshaw shows it to the entire crowd and the bartender carries Hal outside.] (Bartender: No guns allowed, BRUNT!) [The bartender throws Hal out onto the snow.]
~ Hal punching Thornton and blaming him for letting him lose his fortune before getting kicked out of the bar.
Oh, you know this, do you? Good. You see it, boy? You see it? Good.
~ Hal's last words as he tries to hit Buck, only to be stopped and pushed into the burning cabin, causing it to collapse and crush him.

Trivia

  • Unlike the book, Hal survived drowning in the frozen lake and wanted revenge on Thornton. In the book, Hal and his family were simply incompetent and were inexperienced in surviving the Northland. The dogs of the sled team also perished in the frozen lake.
  • Hal's confrontation with Thornton at the bar was inspired by Black Burton from the original book.
  • Thornton was murdered by a fictional Native American tribe known as the Yeehats in the book. The reason for this change was because it would have been too violent for younger audiences and possibly because it would be deemed racist.
  • In the novel, Hal was cruel to Buck and the team, but he was rather ignorant than malicious.
  • In an alternate version of the film, when Hal confronts Thornton, he tells him that the dogs and his family have perished in the ice: "I lost everything because of you! My dogs, my sister...". However, this was changed to keep the children from being upset.

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See Also
24 Villains | Alien vs Predator Villains | American Dad! Villains | American Horror Story Villains | Archer Villains | Blue Sky Villains | Buffyverse Vilains | Daredevil Villains | Die Hard Villains | Elektra Villains | Family Guy Villains | Fantastic Four Villains | Futurama Villains | Garfield Villains | Home Alone Villains | Kingsman Villains | Narnia Villains | Planet of the Apes Villains | Rick Riordan Villains | Silver Surfer Villains | The Cleveland Show Villains | The Simpsons Villains | X-Files Villains | X-Men Movie Villains

           JackLondonTitle.png Villains

Books
The Cruise of the Dazzler: French Pete | Red Nelson
The Call of the Wild: Spitz † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles † | Manuel | Yeehats † | Black Burton † | Dolly † | The Man in the Red Sweater | Wild Huskies | The Baggage Man
The Sea-Wolf: Wolf Larsen
White Fang: Beauty Smith | Lip-Lip † | Jim Hall † | The Lynx † | Tim Keenan | Cherokee

Short Stories
Bâtard: Bâtard † | Black Leclère
The Leopard Man's Story: De Ville
Moon-Face: The Protagonist

Movies
White Fang (1925): Beauty Smith
The Sea-Wolf (1926): Wolf Larsen
The Sea-Wolf (1930): Wolf Larsen
The Call of the Wild (1935): Mr. Smith † | Smith's henchmen
White Fang (1936): Beauty Smith
The Sea-Wolf (1941): Wolf Larsen
White Fang (1946): Handsome Smith
Wolf Larsen: Wolf Larsen
The Call of the Wild (1972): Black Burton | Spitz † | Dutch Harry | Francois and Perrault † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles † | Manuel | Yeehats † | The Baggage Man
White Wolf (1973): Beauty Smith † | Jim Hall | Chester | Corrupt Mountie
The Call of the Wild (1976): Spitz † | Francois | Manuel | The Man in the Red Sweater | The Baggage Man
Klonkdike Fever (1980): Soapy Smith † | Will Ryan † | Soap Gang
The Call of the Wild: Howl Buck (1981): Spitz † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles† | Manuel | Wild Huskies | Murderers
Shiroi Kiba Monogatari (1982): Beauty Smith | Kuuti | The Lynx | Kooch | Lip-Lip | Tim Keenan | Cherokee
White Fang (1991): Beauty Smith | Luke & Tinker | Sykes | Cherokee
The Call of the Wild (1993): Spitz † | Hal, Mercedes & Charles † | Yeehats
White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf (1994): Reverend Leland Drury † | Mr. Heath | Miners | Lloyd Halverson | Lip-Lip
Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon (1996): Spitz† | Hal, Mercedes & Charles† | Manuel | Yeehats | Wild Huskies | The Man in the Red Sweater | The Baggage Man
White Fang (1997): Beauty Smith | Lip-Lip
White Fang (2018): Beauty Smith | Curtis | Jim Hall | Ned | The Lynx
Into the Void: Wolf Larsen
The Call of the Wild (2020): Hal † | Spitz

Television
Spitz | Hal, Mercedes & Charles | Wolf Larsen | Beauty Smith | David | Jake | Sam Calman | Uncle Jay

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