Robert Callaghan (also known as Yokai) is the main antagonist of Disney's 2014 animated feature film Big Hero 6. He is the former head robotics professor at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and mentor to Tadashi Hamada. After suffering a personal tragedy, he became a silent, kabuki-masked supervillain bent on exacting vengeance, with an army of Microbots at his command.
- “He was such a good man... What happened?”
- ―Honey Lemon
Professor Robert Callaghan was an aspiring man; a world-renowned scientist praised for his innovations on the foundations of robotics, as well as the creation of Callaghan's Laws of Robotics. With such recognition and knowledge, Robert put himself to good use by teaching as the head professor at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, where he mentored such prodigies as the brilliant Tadashi Hamada, who admired him greatly. Although he was passionate about science and robotics, Robert's true love lay within his daughter Abigail, who was once a test pilot for Krei Tech Industries: The world's leading technology industry, owned and operated by San Fransokyo's own Alistair Krei. One of Krei's latest ambitions, at the time, was the desire to revolutionize transportation through the use of portals—a project dubbed "Silent Sparrow". Unfortunately, during the experimental test run, a malfunction occurred in the system, and Abigail was lost in the portal, eventually presumed to be deceased. The tragedy left Robert with a hardened heart, and since, he swore revenge on Krei, and eventually descended into villainous madness as time would pass and his lust for vengeance strengthened. This would ultimately lead to the "death" of Robert's former identity and the birth of Yokai.
- Professor Robert Callaghan heads up the robotics program at the prestigious San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and is Tadashi’s professor and mentor. When Hiro visits the university for the first time, he is star-struck by the world-renowned roboticist—while Callaghan immediately sees the potential in the 14-year-old prodigy, encouraging him to put his brain to better use.
- Yokai is the silent masked man behind the terrible tragedy that strikes San Fransokyo, turning Hiro’s world upside down. As a result, Hiro transforms a group of nerds into a team of high-tech crime fighters—Big Hero 6—with one mission: Track down Yokai and bring him to justice.
- “What makes Marvel villains interesting is that they are righteous. They think they are doing the right thing, or at least the necessary thing, which makes them more human and relatable. Yokai is not a villain in his own mind.”
- ―Tech supervisor Hank Driskill
Before the tragic incident involving his daughter Abigail, Robert was a good-hearted man, bent on changing the world for the better through the wonders of science and technology. He utilized his wisdom to guide young minds down a bright path, serving as a father-figure to his students, and specifically towards Tadashi. He was also passionate about the subject of science and resented those who used such technological advances for selfish gains, such as the pursuit of wealth and vain recognition as opposed to improving the world. Above all, however, his true love and concern were Abigail, whom he referred to at one point as everything to him. It was her disappearance and Mr. Krei's ignorance towards innovation that turned Robert into a murderous, vicious, and a rather uncaring man, bent on seeking revenge on the ones who wronged him. With Abigail's demise, Robert's morality seemed to have vanished, and his lengths to achieve vengeance had no bounds as he continuously made attempts to kill Hiro and his other students (originally because they were witnesses, and later as a result of them being a significant threat to his plans), in addition to performing such acts as rampaging through the streets, destroying parts of the city, and continuously endangering innocent lives to the point of indirectly killing his prodigy Tadashi, all with apparently no remorse.
Robert also seemed to have abandoned his code of respecting science. Once he got his hands on the Microbots, he immediately used them to further his selfish ambitions, in addition to repeatedly utilizing them as a weapon of mass destruction and homicide, despite their initial purpose is to further the well-being of humanity. Despite his self-assurance, Robert knew his power was limited to the strength of the Microbots and when that was stripped away from him, he became visibly fearful and submissive. Aside from brief moments of indecision, these were notably the only instances in which Robert showed any sort of vulnerability.
According to Baymax's scans, Robert is mentally ill, suffering from acute stress disorder, as well as emotional instability. This is probably a result of his tragic past and likely plays into his villainy as he spends a majority of the film in a deep state of either anger or sorrow, which can create deadly results when triggered. Even so, he is highly capable of concealing his true emotions since he masked his pain with a generally easy-going and level-headed persona. Even after becoming Yokai, Robert generally remained stoic amid his villainy, carrying out his plans in haunting silence, even during combat.
Despite the merciless nature of his actions, Robert is not a villain in his own mind as his plans were motivated by the loss of his daughter. At certain points in the film, most notably just before the final battle ensued, he would fall into a state of morality and regret before returning to his plan. During his final scene, Robert makes a penitent expression, showing an understanding of the consequences of his actions and the emptiness of revenge. The events of Big Hero 6: The Series confirms that Robert is at the very least remorseful for having indirectly killed Tadashi and went as far as to apologize to Hiro for having done so.
In short, while Yokai is undeniably ruthless and relentless in his pursuit of revenge, he is capable of realizing the damages caused by his actions, and facing moral dilemmas, such as remorse and guilt, making him one of the most human Disney villains.
Robert is a tall, middle-aged man with a generally warm appearance. With his gray hair, sweater vests, and slacks, he donned the appearance of a kindly grandfather; matching his relationship with his students at the institute. He also has somewhat wrinkled skin, that's fair in color, with blue eyes, and a rather large nose.
Under the guise of Yokai, Robert was taller, darker, with a brooding appearance that gave off an ominous aura. His face was entirely covered by a kabuki mask, which was mostly colored in white, with red markings—symbolizing his anger and hate. The eyes of the kabuki mask were colored a piercing yellow. He also wore a black trench coat, black gloves, leg wraps, and ankle-length ninja boots.
Powers and abilities
Yokai's primary source of power was Hiro's Microbots. With the transmitter created to gain control over the miniature robotic army, Yokai was able to transform the robots into a deadly force, capable of immensely dangerous acts. To control them, the headband of a transmitter was inserted within his kabuki mask and without the said mask, control over his Microbots would cease, thus rendering him powerless. Though he generally lacks physical strength, Yokai has been shown to have a considerable amount of physical attributions, as seen during the car chase through the San Fransokyo streets. Even so, such attributes were not utilized in other scenes since he heavily relied on his Microbots and intelligence to do away with his enemies.
The Microbots were capable of forming into anything the mind could conceive. When in battle, Yokai's typical course of action would be to form the Microbots into a giant, spear-like shape, which would swiftly strike at his enemies in hopes of impaling them. He would also use the strength of the Microbots to utilize heavy surrounding objects to crush his enemies, such as a cargo container, a car, or a massive piece of concrete.
The Microbots could also be used as Yokai's source of transportation on multiple terrains since they were capable of being used on both solid land and sea. During travel, Yokai would usually stand at the high center of the Microbots, which would be formed into a mountainous form during such occasions.
It should be noted that Yokai's secondary source of power was his intellect. With such power over the mind, Yokai was able to carry out his plot to solely rebuild Mr. Krei's portal (which is an example of his vast intelligence, in and of itself), steal Hiro's Microbots, and duplicate said inventions without having law enforcement catch on. If it were not for the unintentional interference of Baymax, Yokai's plan would have very well succeeded.
Robert Callaghan is first introduced at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, where he is introduced to Hiro. Tadashi reveals Robert is the renowned creator of the very technology Hiro uses for bot-fighting purposes and the cunning professor subtly reprimands the boy's actions, cleverly convincing him to join the school alongside his brother, to use his brains for greater purposes. To gain acceptance, Hiro builds the Microbots, a robotic army of miniature bots capable of becoming anything the mind can conceive, through the use of a neurotransmitter. Hiro takes his invention to the school's annual student showcase, where they impress Robert. However, they also catch Alistair Krei's attention as he looks to purchase Hiro's inventions for Krei Tech Industries. Robert intervenes, warning Hiro to steer clear of the tech-guru as—according to Robert—he only uses the science for personal gain. Mr. Krei tells Robert that he knows how he feels about him. After some consideration, Hiro takes Robert's advice and refuses to sell his creation. And with that, Robert grants Hiro acceptance into the school.
After Hiro's departure, Robert steals the Microbots for his own nefarious purposes in seeking revenge on Mr. Krei, and to cover his tracks, the professor sparks a fire, setting the showcase hall ablaze. As panicked attendants barely escape the disaster with their lives, Tadashi gets word that Robert is still in the building and rushes inside to rescue him, losing his life in the process once the building violently explodes. Meanwhile, Robert is presumed dead. Unbeknownst to anyone, however, Robert used the Microbots to save himself and proceeded with his plot to get revenge on Alistair, under the guise of a mysterious and elusive masked figure known as Yokai. Yokai sets up a base of operation within an abandoned warehouse near the city's harbor, where the Microbots are massed produced to create an overwhelming army. One day, Baymax stumbles upon the warehouse and discovers the Microbots being mass-produced. Yokai notices their presence and uses the bots to attack, though they manage to escape.
Realizing the fire that killed Tadashi was no accident, and was merely used as a means to cover the tracks of the Microbot theft, Hiro turns Baymax into a crime-fighting robot and heads out to the warehouse in the middle of the night in hopes of capturing Yokai and bringing him to justice. They use the only Microbot left in their possession to track down the masked villain, leading them to the trading post. There, Yokai emerges from the foggy bay, with a piece to the dismantled Silent Sparrow portal, prompting Hiro and Baymax to take cover in silence. They remain hidden until Honey Lemon, Wasabi, Fred, and Go Go Tomago arrive, causing enough noise to catch Yokai's attention. Once spotted, the masked villain attacks the group and tries to kill them, believing they've seen too much (according to Fred). Using the Microbots, Yokai rampages through the city, after the team's vehicle, making several attempts to destroy them before they can escape. Though Yokai's attempts nearly succeed, the team eventually manages to evade him by accidentally driving their car into the sea and drowning. Yokai looks upon the damage and believes them to be dead, thus prompting him to depart.
However, the team survives and safely return to dry land. Afterward, under the guidance of Hiro, they use their technological advances to become a superhero team known as Big Hero 6, with hopes of stopping Yokai's plan and avenging Tadashi. Meanwhile, Yokai continues onward with his revenge plan of recollecting the missing pieces to the Silent Sparrow portal and does so by infiltrating an abandoned facility on Akuma Island. Notably, the facility once belonged to Krei and was the area in which both Silent Sparrow and Abigail's supposed death took place. Baymax can track the villain's whereabouts and the team infiltrates the facility for another battle. Before Yokai arrives, they find a recording that reveals what happened to Abigail. They also learn that the incident resulted in the closure of Krei's facility. This leads the group to believe Krei is the man behind the mask. Just then, Yokai finds the team and attacks them. A battle ensues and each member tries to remove the mask, knowing the mask is the true source of Yokai's power.
After many failed attempts, Hiro manages to accidentally knock off the villain's mask and Yokai's true identity is revealed to be Robert Callaghan. A shocked and confused Hiro asks the circumstances of Robert's survival, and the latter reveals his use of the Microbots to shield himself from the flames and escape his death. Saddened by the fact that Tadashi died for nothing, Hiro explains how the former died trying to save the professor, only for Robert to savagely claim that Tadashi running into the burning school was his own mistake. Angered by these words, Hiro orders Baymax to kill Robert; though the robot refuses at first, Hiro removes the bot's healthcare chip, leaving only his battle programming, turning him into a mindless killing machine. Baymax then proceeds to attack a powerless and fearful Robert, but fortunately for the latter, the other team members intervene to protect him, knowing that killing him won't bring Tadashi back. During the chaos, Robert manages to retrieve his mask and flees the scene, along with the remaining piece of the portal.
The following day, Yokai interrupts Mr. Krei's latest ceremony, immediately capturing the tech-guru. After revealing his true identity, Robert confronts Alistair on his daughter's demise, blaming Krei for the preventable tragedy, before announcing his plot to use the newly rebuilt Silent Sparrow portal to destroy all Krei has ever built, before killing Krei, himself. Despite Krei's pleads for mercy, the portal is raised high above Krei Tech headquarters and activated by the Microbots. Just then, Big Hero 6 arrives to confront Robert, demanding that he call off his plan. When this fails, Hiro tries to reason with Robert by explaining that revenge won't change anything, having learned this through personal experience. Realizing what Hiro says may be true, Robert briefly reflects on his decisions, only to be drawn back into a murderous state once Krei makes a sleazy attempt to escape the situation, igniting a battle against Big Hero 6 and Yokai.
Hiro orders his teammates to aim for the villain's mask, but Robert quickly imprisons each of them in a cluster of Microbots to face slow and painful deaths. However, unknown to Robert, some of the Microbots are being sucked into the portal, giving Hiro the idea to break apart the bots, allowing them to be sucked into the portal and leaving Robert powerless. As the teammates carry out the plan from below, Hiro and Baymax distract Callaghan from above. However, Hiro and Baymax are both eventually captured, and Robert prepares to make the killing strike, only to find that he has run out of the remaining Microbots, thus rendering him powerless and vulnerable. With their plan having succeeded, Hiro and Baymax break free of their confinement and thrust towards the masked villain. Robert cowers in fear, but instead of killing him, Hiro decides to spare his life, explaining that he and Baymax refuse to harm a human being. Nevertheless, Baymax destroys Robert's mask, thus eliminating his remaining Microbots and descending the portal.
As a result of the battle, the portal becomes unstable and threatens to explode. Before everyone can escape, Baymax senses life within the portal: a female in hyper-sleep. Hiro correctly deduces it to be Abigail and decides to journey inside the portal to rescue her. Meanwhile, Robert stays behind—while being physically restrained by Fred—with the team members and Mr. Krei, awaiting Abigail's return. Hiro manages to bring Abigail to safety, and police and paramedics soon arrive onto the scene. A now conscious Abigail is wheeled towards a waiting ambulance, ignorant to the events of her father's actions and presence, while the police apprehend Robert for his crimes and shove him into the back of a patrol car. Before being taken into custody, Robert manages to see his daughter one last time from a distance, and subsequently hangs his head down.
In the animated series taking place directly after the film, Robert is referenced and mentioned by name in "Baymax Returns". He makes his first, physical appearance in "Mini-Max", where it is shown that he now resides in solitary confinement within a maximum-security prison serving life in prison without parole. Hiro visits Robert while researching information about Professor Granville, one of Robert's former coworkers and the current replacement for Robert ever since he got arrested. Robert explains that Granville resigned after an accident occurred on school grounds, supposedly on her account. Hiro thanks Robert for the information, but before he takes his leave, Robert thanks him for saving his daughter Abigail. Robert then apologizes for what happened to Hiro's brother Tadashi, and with a heavy heart, takes full responsibility for his death. Robert also admits that he understands that his apology is not enough for Hiro to forgive him just yet, though Hiro stated he does feel that Tadashi would have forgiven him and that he also will someday although the tone of his words implies he never will.
In "Hiro the Villain", Chief Cruz visits Robert in prison and interrogates him about Big Hero 6. Robert only tells Cruz that Big Hero 6 saved two lives, Krei and Abigail, and he is paying for his past horrendous unforgivable mistakes. When Chief Cruz mentions the fire incident at SFIT, Robert tells the chief that he is wrong about Big Hero 6.
Yokai's kabuki mask appears in the deleted Zootopia scene "Detective Work," seen on a shelf in Officer Bob's office.
Yokai makes an appearance in the San Fransokyo circuit of the Toy Box Speedway feature, as a non-playable character. After the first lap, the Microbots begin attacking and taking control over the city, eventually revealing the Silent Sparrow portal looming over the city, as well as Yokai, who ominously watches as the racers pass by while standing atop a towering cluster of Microbots.
On December 31, 2015, Yokai made his debut as a meet-and-greet character in the Disney theme parks during a private event held at Disneyland Paris. He later reappeared in 2017 during the announcement of Disneyland Paris' FanDaze, alongside Hiro. For the park's 2017 Halloween season, Yokai was amongst the Disney villains to appear during the Halloween Soirée event.
On October 31, 2018, he was the star of his live stage show titled Yokai's Revenge. During the show (which was in the style of kabuki theatre), Yokai used laser projections as blades for extended performance. He was later accompanied by two underlings, whom he temporarily lent the blades. Towards the end, Yokai is confronted by Big Hero 6. He encases Wasabi, Go Go, Fred and Honey Lemon in laser fields, but Hiro eventually comes to the rescue. Yokai prepares to confront his foe, but at the arrival of Baymax, the kabuki-masked villain flees the stage.
During the Baymax Super Exercise Expo in Tomorrowland, Yokai is briefly seen in clips of Big Hero 6 that are displayed on the background screen.
- Yokai (妖怪) means "spirit" or "phantom" in Japanese.
- The alias "Yokai" is never mentioned in the film, with the masked villain instead being referred to as the "Guy in the Kabuki Mask", "Masked Man", or the "Man in the Mask".
- Robert Callaghan serves as a dark parallel to Hiro: both individuals are brilliant scientists who suffer a tragic loss of a loved one. This leads both Robert and Hiro down a dark path, driven by a lust for vengeance against those they deem responsible for their suffering. However, unlike Hiro, who eventually accepts his loss and finds the strength to move on, Robert fails to learn the errors of his destructive ways, ultimately leading to his descent into madness and downfall. With these factors, Robert is an example of what Hiro would have become if the latter had allowed his anger and despair to consume him.
- Interestingly, however, both express regret for what they had done. While Hiro expressed regret for nearly dishonoring his brother's memory in trying to kill Robert via Baymax, the crestfallen look on Robert's face at the end strongly implies that he feels remorse for all his crimes upon seeing that his plan for revenge had ultimately been for nothing, after seeing his daughter alive.
- His name may have originally been Dr. Martin Lebur according to the 2013 Rotoscopers video and early information. As Lebur, Robert was not a big fan of Hiro's intelligence.
- Originally, during the early stages of the film's development, Yokai was the leader of a nefarious gang consisting of San Fransokyo's criminals whom assisted in his plot. The group of henchmen included deleted villains such as the Fujitas, Mr. Sparkles, and the Bonsai Bombers (as seen in the Art of Big Hero 6 book).
- In one of the first drafts of the script, Yokai would have been Alistair Krei, who would have become Yokai to create a menace to the city, so he could promote a defense project he created. He would have brainwashed and used Professor Robert Callaghan and Tadashi, who would have survived the explosion as scapegoats. This idea was scrapped as the production team felt that Krei being the villain would not have enough impact on the story and would be too obvious.
- Several clues hint at the true identity of Yokai:
- Robert Callaghan's remarks about Krei are made with underlying anger, suggesting that he has a secret vendetta against Krei's work.
- The fire at the university started immediately after Hiro's Microbot presentation, and Robert was the only individual to be unaccounted for.
- Though he lacks a musical number, Yokai has a recurring, instrumental theme that plays throughout most of his scenes. The leimotif can be found as "The Masked Man" on the official soundtrack.
- Yokai never speaks until after his identity is revealed.
- According to Baymax's scan, his blood type is AB- and he weighs 173 pounds (78 kg). Diagnosis: acute stress disorder, high risk of cardiovascular disease & emotional instability.
- When first introduced, Robert is wearing a blue shirt, but when he raises his hand out for a moment to see Hiro's bot, his shirt is red.
- The red markings on Yokai's mask symbolize anger.
- Interestingly, according to Big Hero 6: The Junior Novelization, Robert Callaghan was the last person Tadashi saw before the latter's death.
- According to character designer Shiyoon Kim, Robert Callaghan has a military background.
- In the Big Hero 6 manga version of the film, it shows a flashback of him meeting Sarah, his late wife and the mother of his daughter.
- Robert is one of only three main antagonists in the Disney animated canon to be a biological parent, being father to his daughter, Abigail, with the others being Lady Tremaine (mother to Drizella and Anastasia) in Cinderella, and King Runeard (father to Prince Agnarr) in Frozen II.
- Disney. The Art of Big Hero 6. Chronicle Books, 2014. Print.
- Diagnosis of Callaghan's health
- Hero 6 Characters Disneyland Paris
- Disney. The Art of Big Hero 6. Chronicle Books, 2014. Print.