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You're a hundred percent right, Jenna. I- I - wasn't thinking about those children. The important thing here is to get the medicine through and that's just what I'm gonna do. (turns to Balto) And when I get back, I'm gonna fold you five ways and leave you for a cat toy.
~ Steele telling Jenna that he intends to retrieve the medicine only for the glory.
Go ahead, wolf-dog! You'll never get home! I'll make sure of that!
~ Steele sabotaging Balto's trail to prevent him from returning (revealing he is willing to let the sick children die).
Steele is the main antagonist of the defunct Amblimation's 3rd and final animated feature film Balto. He is an egotistical Alaskan Malamute with an extremely mean streak, taking excessive pride in his popularity amongst both the village humans and the dogs. He is Balto's arch-nemesis as he has a liking to bully Balto over his part-wolf heritage.
Steele is a very sneaky, scornful and manipulative dog who represents everything that Balto despises. His hatred for Balto is made out of resentment (as Balto beat him to the finish line) as well as fear of losing his fame.
What’s more, he likes Jenna, but she sees through his lies and loves the pure-hearted Balto instead, which further strengthens Steele's loathing and resentment towards Balto. But unlike Balto, Steele objectives Jenna as he doesn't care if Jenna is in the mood and being a pervert whenever no one's watching him as he also forces Jenna to do what he wants and not caring about her feelings in addition.
Underneath the exterior of a conceited jerk and bully, however, he is shown to be completely heartless and utterly callous, as proven when Balto came to help, he assaults him savagely and keeps him from even taking the medicine instead, not caring that children needed it desperately. And last but not least, when Balto becomes the leader of his sled team, Steele proves his lack of empathy for the children by making the sled team lose their way back to the village. Both of those things prove him to be a true villain. His sanity slippage during the blizzard didn't help matters as his fear of losing his fame ended up twisting his mind.
He is also a crafty, scheming and mendacious liar, claiming that Balto and the rest of the team passed away and at the end of the film; the undoing of his lies causes him to be shunned and despised by those who used to respect him. In addition, he was willing to cheat in order to win. Even when his former followers find out about his lies, he tries to justify his lies and regain their respect, to obviously no avail.
Steele had no chance of going back on the sled team, for it is possible that Balto would have replaced him since the latter beat Steele at the finish line; plus, because of his actions, all the other dogs turned their backs on Steele at the climax for his deception.
Steele was the lead dog on the best dog racing team in Nome; he first encountered Balto (in the movie, Steele's behavior towards Balto is an obvious indication that they have met on prior occasions) after being defeated by the latter in a race while rescuing Rosy's hat.
Steele's behavior became much worse when Jenna starts to fall in love with Balto - as well as the fact Balto is faster, smarter and stronger than Steele.
Out of jealousy, Steele felt Balto was a threat so he bullied Balto. When the town became sick, there was a relay race to choose who would be on the sled dog team that would relay the medicine.
After successfully sabotaging Balto's attempts to enter the team of huskies that would deliver medicine to the village following a blizzard and an outbreak of illness, Steele became lost but refused to admit it, ultimately knocking out his master when he caused the sleigh to swerve uncontrollably in the snow, leaving him and his pack alone in the blizzard with no hope of returning home.
However, when Balto sought the team out and offered his aid, the arrogant Steele had gone insane due to the ferocity of the blizzard; instead of being grateful, he became enraged and had a brief confrontation with Balto who refused to fight him.
During this fight, Steele viciously grabbed Balto by the bandanna Jenna lent him earlier. When the bandanna came loose, Steele lost his balance and fell off a steep cliff, but he managed to survive. As he climbed back up to see Balto leading the sled team away, Steele vowed to stop them from getting home. Then, in an act of villainy, Steele deliberately tampered with the markings Balto had left on the trees so that they would not find their way back, proving he didn't care that the children would die without the medicine.
Steele returned to the village claiming innocence, saying that Balto died in the "accident" and uses Jenna's bandana as fake proof and told Jenna that Balto wanted Steele to take care of her. Knowing that Balto would never say such a thing, Jenna saw straight through his lies, but the other dogs saw him as a hero. Balto embraced his wolf heritage and was able to smell the trees that he marked and he and his team eventually arrived back in the village with the medicine, much to Steele's surprise and horror. At the film's epilogue, Steele is left as a hated outcast when the other dogs realized the truth, knowing they'd been double-crossed and turned against him. Dixie, Steele's biggest fan dog, calls him "positively...disposable!" and slaps him in the face. He nervously tries to explain, but the other dogs won't have any of it and angrily leave, slamming the boiler room door in the contemptible Malamute's face and telling him to "get lost". He finally loses the respect he never deserved while Balto was hailed as a hero. Some cuts feature Steele congratulating Balto for returning with the medicine with Jenna, Boris, Muk, and Luk. But that scene was cut from the final film.
It is unknown what became of Steele after the events of the film, for he was never seen or mentioned in the sequels, Wolf Quest or Wings of Change. It can be assumed that he either froze or starved to death from being stranded.
Steele: Didn't make the team, Bingo? Boris: [to Balto] Don't listen to him. Don't look at him. Live a long life. Balto: My name's BALTO. Boris: But you can call him "idiot." Steele: I'm sorry, Balto. Balto the half-breed. (Steele's thugs begin to agree as he turns to Boris.) Steele: Hey, old goose? You a half-breed, too, huh? Part turkey? (Boris, terrified, falls onto a huge plate, the dome trapping him.) Nikki: Wow, good wordplay there, boss. Kaltag: You are the wittiest, the drollest, the cleverest, the sharpest! You are the hilariousest! Star: You crack me up! (He laughs, but Kaltag knocks him out with a single blow. Balto glares at his rival. Balto: Steele, just leave him out of this. (Steele's goons jeer at Balto.) Steele: Oh, Balto. I've got a message for your mother. (As soon as he says this, he and his thugs raise their muzzles to the sky and howl.) Nikki: Hey, Balto, translate for me, would you? (Balto's eyes narrow with rage and he walks up to Steele and his cronies; Boris tries to pull him away by his tail.) Star: What's wolf for "Go chase your tail?" Boris: Balto, stop! (Balto approaches Steele and his goons, who stop howling.) Steele: Get him. (Steele's thugs ferociously bark at Balto.) Steele: Get out of here, wolf-dog. You better get back to your pack. Boris: [tries leading Balto away] Maybe it's the unrelenting fear, but I'm seeing wisdom in this advice. Maybe we go now, huh? Now! (Steele and his gang, laughing, kick snow at Balto.) Kaltag: I think Balto's friend got his feathers ruffled! Star: (cackling) Goose! Ha! I get it! (Steele's men knock down Balto with a stone. (Nikki: Half-wolf in the side pocket there! Kaltag: That was the most dead-center, on-target, down-the-middle... Star: (with a laugh) Ya hit him! (But then, noticing Kaltag, he sighs and gulps before a big box to the jaw. Steele walks off, chuckling evilly.)
~ Steele insulting and mocking Balto for his part-wolf heritage.
Steele: Okay, Nikki, Kaltag, Star, move it. We're strapping up! Balto: Hey, now, just a second here, Steele. I was the fastest dog! Steele: (sneers) You were the fastest what? (chuckles) Do you honestly think any musher would put you on his team? You're even more mixed up than I thought.
~ Steele telling Balto he'll never be a sled dog (despite the latter winning the race).
I AM NOT LOST!
~ Steele yelling at Star's face, refusing to admit that he is indeed lost.
Everyone... is... fine!
~ Steele driven insane by the blizzard.
I'LL get us back! I'M the lead dog! I'M IN CHARGE!
~ Steele showing harassment to the other sled dogs.
Touch that box and I'll tear you apart!
~ Steele threatening Balto with an outright death threat.
(In the Nome boiler room...) Wild Joe: I don't get it. How could Balto hope to find Steele and his team? They were off the trail.) Jenna: Well, he's tracking them. Morse: That mutt? Tracking a championship team in a blizzard?! (He laughs; a couple others join in; their laughter is cut short when suddenly, the door swings open and everyone gasps when they see a dog covered in ice and snow. Jenna: Balto? (Her hope disappears when everyone recognizes the dog.) Dogs: Steele! You're back! You're alive! Where've you been? Are ya okay?) (They toss Steele a bone. He chews on it savagely.) Doc: Steele, where are the others? Steele: Well... one by one, they fell. Frozen. Barely alive. (He shakes the icicles off him and the other dogs duck and they impale the wall above them) I pulled four onto the sled... and three more on my back. (counts his fingers) And, uh, I walked... and I walked. But it was just... it was too late. They were... (pretends to sob) Doc: What about the medicine? Steele: Well, uh, I went on, dragging the medicine alone, all alone and... and then suddenly... that wolf-dog appeared, Balto! He demanded I let him take the medicine. You know, he just wanted so much to be a hero in your eyes. And he grabbed the crate... but he couldn't handle it. He couldn't see the patch of ice... The snow, the wind and... And then the log and the cliff... Well, he just didn't have a chance... He just... (pretends to sob) I'm sorry. And then... (pulls out Jenna's bandana he wrestled from Balto earlier) Jenna: (gasps) My bandana! Steele: He made me promise to take care of you, Jenna. (Jenna takes a sniff from her bandana then looks back at Steele. Her eyes harden, knowing that Balto would never tell Steele to do such a thing.) Jenna: You're lying. (Steele nervously looks at the others) Jenna: STEELE'S LYING! Balto's alive! And he's coming home! (Jenna leaves out the door; Steele watches her leave; then turns to the others.) Steele: Uh... Well, you know, she needs a little time.
~ Steele lying to the other dogs that Balto and the sled team died in the snowstorm. Only Jenna sees straight through his lies.
Steele: I swam and I swam. It was freezing cold. And finally, I said, "Steele, you just have to gnaw your way to the surface", so I- (hears Balto's howl) What? Doc: It's Balto, with the medicine! Dixie: Steele, you are positively... DISPOSABLE! (Dixie slaps Steele in the face and the other dogs glare madly at him) Steele: Okay, okay. I can explain. (The other dogs angrily turn to leave and Dixie gives an angry puff) Steele: See, you guys weren't there, so you don't... Wait! Guys! Wait just a second! Please?! Dog: GET LOST!!
~ Steele to the other dogs when he is exposed as the dirty liar he truly is before they angrily leave him behind and slam the door in his face during the film's epilogue.
Phil Weinstein explained that in the original script for Wings of Change, Steele would be one of the volunteers who would help Balto on his search for Duke.
Although he does not appear in any of the sequels, the character Niju is based on him.
Some people think Steele was a supporting protagonist in the movie (so the role of the main antagonist is given to the bear), because he was not a dangerous villain. He is one of Balto's friends and a bully instead of his rival. But he has a bossy attitude, making him the film's main antagonist.
There has been an alternate deleted scene where Steele was originally going to die by hanging himself with his collar, but was scrapped due to how dark it is. Steele refused to give up the golden collar to Balto (which didn't appear in the film) and attack him in anger. After doing so, the other dogs, including the sled team, Nikki, Kaltag and Star turned on him to protect Balto. Steele tries to attack Balto once more, but Star warns Balto to look out allowing him to duck, Steele missed him and ends up getting his collar caught on a lever that opens a coal hatch beneath him. Steele ends up being hanging for a while, slipping out of his collar and falls down the hatch and ends up being buried alive in coal as Balto and the others looked in horror. This scene probably happened between the first and second film, which would explain why he never appeared in the sequels.
Steele is mistakenly thought to be a mix between a malamute and a husky (due to his blue eyes and malamutes have brown). This is not true; According to the filmmakers, Steele is a purebred malamute who has pale blue eyes to reflect his evil and deceptive nature.
In Nostalgia Critic's review of Balto, the Critic makes several jokes about how Steele never seems to make a facial expression that doesn't cement him as a blatantly obvious villain, even commenting that "It's like he has ten different expressions and they all eat children." Later, when Steele lies about Balto trying to sabotage the medicine retrieval, the Critic comments, "Wow, he's such an obvious, yet evil liar that he should probably be working in the White House."
The video then cuts to a parody animation of Steele, called "Steele Spicer", as the press secretary, in an obvious parody of Sean Spicer, telling blatant lies about the medicine retrieval and how his dogsled race had the most viewers out of every dogsled race in history. When questioned, Steele tells the man talking to him that his eyes are wrong and that it is an "Alternative Bark", which a spoof of the term, "Alternative Fact". Then he is called Melissa (a reference to how Melissa McCarthy played Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live), but Steele Spicer gets angry and shouts at him to not call him that.
Steele is widely considered to be one of the most hateable and ruthless villains alongside Sharptooth from The Land Before Time and Botticelli Remorso from The Tale of Despereaux in the Universal animated franchise.
In the Japanese dub, Steele is voiced Isao Sasaki, who is known for singing many retro anime and tokusatsu openings such as Daiku Maryu Gaiking, UFO Grendizer and Kamen Rider.
Some fans speculate that Steele is a much more evil version of Togo, a real life dog who was lead dog in most of the 1925 serum run. Yet in real life, Balto received majority of the credit despite only running the final 55 mile run to Nome, Alaska.
Steele is also notable for being the final Amblimation villain before the studio shut down in 1997, two years after the film's release.