- “Yeah, I had a dream once. I dreamed I was gonna train the greatest hero there ever was. So great, the gods would hang a picture of him in the stars... all across the sky... and people would say, "That's Phil's boy." That's right.”
- ―Phil on his dream
Philoctetes (better known as Phil) is the tritagonist in Disney's 1997 animated feature film, Hercules. He is a crotchety, old Satyr (half-human, half-goat) who is best known as the trainer of Hercules.
Although he has a big heart, Phil is easily annoyed. He dislikes and becomes angry at others who ignore him or refuse to grant him respect. When not busy training heroes, he spends his time watching beautiful women and flirting with them, only to usually face rejection. He also has a rare condition called Pica, characterized by eating things that are not considered edible. For example, Phil eats a bowl (without fruit) and flowers. This is probably due to him being half goat.
Phil is likely based on the satyr Pan, half-man, and half-goat. He has two goat-like horns on his head, a beard, and a round red nose, and he is also bald and short.
At the command of his father, Hercules travels to Phil's island with Pegasus to begin his training. He stumbles upon Phil watching Nymphs bathing, angering the Satyr when they flee at his arrival. Hercules introduces himself and his purpose, though Phil refuses to hear his plea, insisting he had retired with the many failures he had trained in the past. Even with a tremendous display of strength and the claim that he is the son of Zeus, Phil refuses to believe him or train him. It isn't until a lightning bolt comically strikes Phil that he settles on taking the young teenager into his hands.
Years of training pass under Phil's counsel before he declares Hercules ready to begin his work. They begin flying to Thebes, a rough city in Greece, before being sidetracked by the cry of a damsel in distress. After Megara is rescued, Phil flirts with her but is rejected, distrusting her immediately. The trio of Pegasus, Hercules, and Phil then continue their flight to the unfortunate city, where Phil loses his patience with the disrespect shown by the citizens there. It isn't until Hercules defeats Hades' Hydra that Phil receives recognition for his efforts. From there on, Phil keeps Hercules on a strict schedule while enjoying the benefits of wealth and glory.
When Hercules goes off to train and accidentally leaves his mentor behind in a garden, Phil witnesses Meg speaking with Hades, who had Meg seduce Hercules in order to learn of a possible weakness. Phil hurries to the stadium in which Hercules is training and insists that Meg is tricking him. Hercules ignores him the first few times before becoming so overcome with anger that, to his own horror, he slaps and knocks back Phil. At this, a saddened Phil gives up on Hercules and attempts to return home to his island during Hercules' most vulnerable hour. It takes Meg to convince Phil to forgive his student and help as the Titans attacked.
Hercules prevails in the end, and instead of becoming a god as he had often dreamed, he stays on Earth with Phil, Pegasus, and Meg. He is overcome by a sense of unrivaled pride when the stars form a constellation in the shape of Hercules and a man shouts, "That's Phil's boy!", giving him a true sense of fulfillment as a trainer.
Phil was a main character in the series that took place during Hercules training. He and Hercules would regularly go on adventures often stopping legendary beast or training to become the true hero he will eventually be.
Phil served major roles in a few episodes of the series. In "Hercules and the Living Legend", Achilles returns after his infamous injury rendered him unemployed. He reunites with Phil and secretly manipulates the satyr to rejoin his side as his personal trainer, thus abandoning Hercules. Unbeknownst to Hercules and Phil, Achilles was actually working for Hades, who wanted Phil out of Hercules life, knowing the hero was (at the time) nothing without his trainer. In the end, when Hercules and Phil are attacked by one of Hades' hired henchman, Achilles arrives, reformed, and saves the duo, learning his lesson after his deal with Hades became void.
In "Hercules and the Caledonian Boar", Phil takes Hercules on a hunting trip, where his old friends are introduced, as well as his old rival, Chiron, a much larger, hero-training satyr with a far grander track record, having trained some of the most legendary heroes of all time, much to Phil's dismay.
In "Hercules and the King For a Day", Phil was tricked into briefly accepting the throne of Satyrville by King Pan, who was seeking to avoid punishment by the Goddess Demeter for building a temple of worship to himself. This episode reveals Phil's overbearing Mother Cacophone, who perpetually drives Phil nuts through her endless praising of his brother Sal. Driven to accept the throne in an effort to impress his Mother, Phil's life is endangered when Demeter sends the the Demigoddess of Revenge Nemesis to smite the King of the Satyrs. While Hercules manages to return Pan to the throne and save his mentor's life, Sal returns home to spend an evening with his family, and reveals to Phil Cacophone's endless praise of him, revealing she intentionally play up one's achievements to the other to further drive their efforts to succeed.
Phil is also a major character in the special crossover episode, "Hercules and the Arabian Night". He is first seen training Hercules when the duo are attacked by the evil sorcerer Jafar, who has teamed up with Hades in a domination plot. Jafar conjures up a few giant monsters to destroy Hercules, but the hero defeats them, sending Jafar to the Underworld. Later on, Hercules receives word that his friend Icarus has been kidnapped by a boy named Aladdin. Hercules, Phil, and Pegasus travel to Agrabah to save Icarus. There, Hercules and Aladdin battle, as Aladdin thinks Hercules kidnapped his monkey Abu. While Hercules and Aladdin fight against each other, Phil meets Jasmine and attempts to flirt with her until Jasmine reveals she is married. Eventually, the heroes realize that neither of them is the kidnappers. Upon mentioning Jafar's revival, Phil realizes that Jafar had to have teamed up with Hades. Hercules and Aladdin travel to the Underworld where they eliminate Jafar, leaving Hades to simply give up.
Phil made recurring cameo appearances in this animated series, usually seen sitting alongside Hercules and Megara.
In the episode "Salute To Sports", Phil had his own advertisement at the end of the show promoting a training program where he promised to have people go from zero to hero in twelve weeks.
In Hades Challenge, Hercules has gone off to battle a giant, leaving Greece devoid of a hero. With Hades cooking up trouble, Zeus orders Phil to find and train a new hero to substitute for Herc. Phil takes in the player, but Hades tries to sabotage their training and eventually kidnaps Phil as a last resort. By that point, the player has proved his might as a hero and manages to defeat Hades, thus rescuing Phil just in time for Hercules' return.
Phil is a recurring series in the game featured in his homeworld Olympus Coliseum. Like the film, he's featured as the grumpy trainer for Hercules and once he encounters Sora, Donald, and Goofy, he shares their passion in wanting them to succeed and become true heroes.
He first appears in the original Kingdom Hearts, set after Hercules becomes a true hero, where he refuses Sora access to the coliseum games on account of the fact that he isn't a true hero. Sora challenges Phil and offers to show his skills, and nearly succeeds until Cerberus arrives and attacks. Phil escapes, leaving Hercules to defeat the beast, but upon hearing of Phil's anxiety, Sora, Donald, and Goofy enter the arena and defeat Cerberus, proving to Phil what they're capable of. As a reward, Phil dubs the trio junior heroes.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Phil reunites with Sora and friends, happy to see them, but claims they still haven't got what it takes. At this time, Hercules has been fighting beast after beast without much rest, rendering him weak and upon eventual defeat. To help, Phil goes into the Underworld to find an "understudy" of sorts for the hero, wanting him to take a break from the action to rest up. He's instead attacked by Demyx, a member of an evil group known as Organization XIII. During the climax of the visit, Phil assists in the battle against the bloodthirsty Hydra. During the world's second visit, Sora and company finally earn their titles as true heroes, much to Phil's joy, though he tries to hide the proud tears.
Phil makes a larger appearance in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Set ten years before Sora, Phil is trainer a juvenile Hercules when he meets the wisecracking young fighter, Zack, who wishes to become a hero, begging Phil to train him. Phil claims he'll watch the two students (being Zack and Hercules) battle and decide from there. In the end, though, it's revealed that Phil never intended on leaving Herc in the dust, as he merely felt the young Demi-god had been slacking lately and used Zack as a way to boost his effort.
In Kingdom Hearts III, Phil plays a minor non-speaking role in the game than his previous appearances (due to the passing of his Japanese actor, Ichirō Nagai). He is first seen riding on Pegasus with Megs and see Thebes set ablaze from the Heartless attack. Hercules tells Phil to take care of Meg to which he nodly responds and flies off on Pegasus. Later after Sora, Donald, Goofy and Hercules defeat the Rock Troll Heartless, Phil is present with Meg and Pegasus and grows concerned when the clouds on Mt. Olympus darken before Pegasus flies off again. In the game's credits, Phil is present in Thebes and is seen waving to the townsfolk cheering for Hercules with a reconstruction of the Hercules statue.
Phil appears in the form of a costumed townsperson in the game in which he serves as a host in the toy box, teaching players how to use various attacks.
Though Phil was once a regular at the Disney theme parks, his appearances became less frequent in the 2000s and are now extremely rare.
Phil currently makes no appearances in California, though he has appeared in the Hercules Victory Parade in the late 1990s, as well as Disneyland's version of Fantasmic! in 1997, riding the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Phil also has a small cameo appearance in the bubble montage during Disney's Hollywood Studios' version of Fantasmic!.
Phil also played a role in the former DisneyQuest attraction, Hercules in the Underworld.
In France, Phil continues to make occasional appearances at Disneyland Paris.
- Animator Eric Goldberg used the character Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a basis for Phil during creation.
- Phil bears a striking resemblance to his voice actor, Danny DeVito.
- Phil's character is somewhat inspired by Pan, the God of Nature. Pan is the same species as Phil, and they have a tendency to chase after Nymphs, like what Phil was doing when Hercules first met him. However, the Nymphs would always run from Pan due to his hideous face, with some even being turned into trees to keep them away from Pan. This also happened to Phil.
- Though being a rather slow mover (occasionally), he is occasionally seen to be very skilled in acrobatic actions and agility both in the film and the animated series. In the animated series, it was noted that his agility even exceeds young Hercules.
- Phil's function as a satyr comic sidekick references the ancient Greek theatrical tradition of satyr plays, farcical retellings of myths throwing in satyr characters for comic relief.
- Although Phil and Hades are enemies and have noticed each other for a bit (Phil when he discovers Meg works for him, Hades saying "Geez Louise, what's got HIS goat, huh?"), they never interact.
- Apparently the residents of Thebes remember Phil as they recall him the one who trained Achilles.
- Phil is based heavily on Chiron, the centaur who trained many heroes, such as Heracles/Hercules.