Remember the story of Icarus, whose father gave him wings made of wax, and warned him not to fly too close to the sun. But the exhilaration was too great, so he flew higher and higher until the sun melted his wings and he fell into the sea. But the United States Army is not an irresponsible father. So they gave us wings of white-hot, cold-rolled Pennsylvania steel. Guaranteed not to melt.
~ Preston Packard mentioning the tale of Icarus to his men.
It's time to show Kong that man is king!
~ Preston Packard
Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, also simply known as Colonel Packard, is the central antagonist of the 2017 action adventure film Kong: Skull Island, the second installment in Legendary's MonsterVerse franchise. He is a veteran soldier who leads the military group - the Sky Devils Helicopter Squadron - to explore Skull Island, who later becomes obsessed with killing King Kong out of revenge for the deaths of his comrades.
Packard was in Vietnam when contacted by William "Bill" Randa, a Monarch representative to be the military escort to an unexplored island in the South Pacific, this when seeing the opportunity accepts the mission and prepares with his team.
Exploring Skull Island
After crossing the storm to Skull Island, Randa gives them the green light to use the seismic bombs and map the island, this angers Kong and begins to attack the helicopters. He becomes filled with anger as he watched Kong kill his comrades. After he regroups with the remaining soldiers, he confronts Randa at gunpoint to tell him everything he doesn't know, he then swears to not leave the island before killing Kong and avenge his men.
The Search for Bombs
Packard heads towards the helicopter crash site that had the seismic bombs and where Chapman found himself, after a long walk for the search of Chapman are attacked by a giant spider, which kills one of the members, and later they manage to reunite with James Conrad and the remaining survivors. Valley of the Dead, where they were attacked by one of the Skullcrawlers, after the confrontation, during a heated and acrimonious discussion, and confirm Chapman had been devoured by the same Skullcrawler from earlier, Packard decides to go for those bombs with his team regardless and hunt down Kong.
Hunting Kong and Final Showdown
Die, you motherfu--
~ Preston Packard's last words before he is crushed by Kong with his fist.
After having the seismic bombs, he ambushes Kong, who was reunited with James Conrad, later this activates the bombs attracting his attention, Conrad to seeing this decides to go towards Packard to stop it, Kong goes towards the place of the ambush had Packard who had previously thrown oil in the lake, after a face-to-face confrontation, Packard sets fire to the lake, thus burning and injuring Kong, who falls unconscious on the ground. Putting explosive charges and about to detonate them, Conrad appears and confronts Packard telling him that there were more things to worry about and Kong was not the threat, but after a brief discussion, the largest Skullcrawler, Skull Devil, appears. Conrad with the other soldiers and the survivors run from the creature, while Packard stays behind, remaining determined to finish Kong, who has just awakened, off in a suicide bombing. Before he can detonate the explosives to kill off Kong, the ape crushes Packard to death with his fist.
Packard is a sly, fearsome, manipulative and obsessive soldier. He is intensely affectionate and loyal to his troops. He always jumps at a chance for another mission and thought little of people like Mason Weaver, whom he felt cost America the war in Vietnam, where he was stationed. He also has an insatiable desire for vengeance after the death of his men at Kong's hands in their first encounter. Though Kong was only trying to stop Packard and his squad from waking the Skullcrawlers, Packard sees him as the enemy and will not stop at anything to kill Kong, even when told otherwise. For Packard, Kong is an enemy simply because Packard sees him as one, and he willingly risked his men's safety to fulfill the desire for revenge. His desire to wreak vengeance on Kong eventually drives him extremely psychopathic and insane, and leads to his own literal death at Kong's hand.
It's time to show Kong that Man is King!
~ Preston Packard's famous line.
This thing brought us down! It killed my men! (Conrad: Kong was just defending his territory.) We are soldiers! We do the dirty work, so that our families and our countrymen don't have to be afraid! They shouldn't even know a thing like this exists!
~ Preston Packard's goal to kill King Kong.
Preston Packard's angry glare as he stares up at Kong killing his comrades.
Preston Packard with his men.
Packard facing Kong.
Before his self-betrayal Packard noticing Skull Devil coming towards him and Kong.
Packard's death as Kong crushes him with his fist before he can detonate the explosives to kill him with his self-betrayal.
J.K. Simmons, who had played a similar role as General Wade Eiling from Justice League Unlimited, originally attached to the film as Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Samuel L. Jackson replaced Simmons' role as Packard.
Jackson compared his character Ahab from Moby-Dick, stating, "He does have to exact some measure of revenge for the people he's lost. That's just the nature of how we operate—eye for an eye!". Packard's character is similar to Ahab, as they both similarly develop insanity combined with the desire to kill; though Ahab can be seen as being far more ruthless and cruel than Packard.
Though Skull Devil is the main antagonist of the film, Packard's quest to kill Kong is what ultimately drove the plot forward.
Packard is the first human villain in the MonsterVerse franchise, followed by Alan Jonah.
He is currently one of the seven characters in the MonsterVerse portrayed by an actor with a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being played by Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury). The others are Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), John C. Reilly (Rhomann Dey), and Corey Hawkins (Navy Op).
His quote "Hold on to your butts!" as the helicopters traverse the storm is a direct reference to Samuel L. Jackson's line in Jurassic Park.