William Cecil Clayton is the main antagonist of Disney's 1999 film, Tarzan. He was Tarzan's arch-nemesis.
He is voiced by Brian Blessed.
Role in the filmEdit
In Tarzan, Clayton, a veteran hunter and guide, serves as the guide for Jane and her father Archimedes Q. Porteron on an expedition to Africa in search for gorillas, but his secret agenda is to use the trip as a means to hunt gorillas to sell on the black market at £300 Sterling each (a substantial amount of money in those times). Clayton is arrogant and totally convinced in his own abilities and invulnerability.
With the introduction of Tarzan to the expedition, Clayton makes several attempts (all unsuccessful) to get the location of the gorillas from Tarzan, who is far more fascinated by what Jane has to teach him about humans.
With both his and his employers' goals thwarted, Clayton prepares to leave Africa with Jane and Professor Porter. Manipulating Tarzan's feelings for Jane, he tells the ape man that they'll stay if he takes them to the gorillas. This is of course, not true—Jane would have had to return to England at some point anyway. Tarzan, however, is convinced, and has Kerchak, the head gorilla, distracted so that he can lead Jane to the gorillas. Upon arrival Clayton secretly forges a map to the troop's home. Kerchak returns unexpectedly though, and is angered by the trespassers and attacks Clayton, after the hunter threatens one of the family during a skirmish.
Luckily for Clayton, Tarzan manages to pin down Kerchak. Disowned from the family by Kerchak, he agrees to return to England with Jane and the professor, only to be surprised and imprisoned with them by Clayton and the captain's crew (who working for him after turning on the captain and his officers) when they board the ship. Now that the villain no longer needs them, he wants them all out of the way so that he and his cronies can capture the gorillas and sell them to a zoo for three hundred pounds each (a substantial amount of money in the days when the movie was set). In order to further emotionally damage Tarzan's spirit, Clayton sadistically reminds him that only by his own unknowing efforts would he have succeeded and orders him to be imprisoned with the other captives. Afterwards, Clayton and his men then leave in a small boat loaded with large cages and make way for the gorilla's nests.
The poachers eventually reach the nests and begin capturing the gorillas, netting them, forcing them in the cages, and throwing the babies into burlap sacks. Kerchak attempts to rescue his group but is captured as well. Clayton slowly approaches the restrained ape leader and prepares to shoot him in revenge for having been attacked by him earlier but is interrupted when he hears Tarzan's trademark yell. Tarzan and his friends, who had escaped imprisonment earlier, ambush and frighten Clayton's henchmen (trapping some of them in the same cages they intended to trap the gorillas in), and free the gorillas, including Kala, Tarzan's adoptive mother. Clayton is forced to take cover during the scuffle but soon sets out to kill Tarzan for interfering in his plans.
From the undergrowth, Clayton shoots at Tarzan, but the bullet only grazes his arm. Kerchak is fatally shot when he charges Clayton. Then, in a fit of rage, Tarzan aggressively attacks him, but is forced back by Clayton's shots. Realizing he doesn't have the advantage over Clayton, he moves up to the trees. After knocking Jane aside savagely with his rifle, putting her out of the fight, Clayton follows Tarzan to the trees. On the trees branches, Tarzan and Clayton engage in a struggle in which the two are equally matched, but in which Tarzan causes Clayton to drop his rifle. Tarzan then takes the rifle and points it at him. Clayton mocks Tarzan by telling him to "be a man" and shoot him,
But Tarzan realizes he'd only be stooping to Clayton's level. Tarzan says he's not a man like him, and smashes the rifle. After watching the pieces of his beloved gun fall to the ground, Clayton flies into a rage and draws his machete. Tarzan jumps back into a mass of vines to escape Clayton's furious swipes. He manages to entangle Clayton in the vines, but Clayton mindlessly hacks at them with his machete in an attempt to free himself, not noticing that one vine has slipped like a noose around his own neck. Tarzan tries to warn him, but in his rage, Clayton accidentally cuts the vine he's holding on to, causing him and Tarzan to plummet towards the ground. Tarzan lands safely, but Clayton is hanged by the vine and dies when it snaps his neck. A flash of lightning briefly illuminates the shadow of his hanged corpse, swaying ever so slightly in the breeze.
Alternate Ending Edit
There was an alternate ending to the original movie where Clayton and Tarzan fight on a boat where Clayton has some gorillas in cages and is trying to make an escape along with his henchmen.
In this version, Clayton battles Tarzan with a machine gun and a dagger while making references to Tarzan being a savage and not a real man, which is reminiscent of the statement made in the actual ending. In this version, he dies when some barrels of oil catch fire and blow up the boat. Both Tarzan and Clayton are trapped on the boat, but Clayton meets his end when support ropes tie up his legs and bring him down with the boat, making him drown.
This ending was dropped because it was too dark and violent for young viewers and was felt that it was more appropriate to have the final fight in the jungle and allow the jungle to play a part in Clayton’s downfall (the vine around his neck). Another reason for it being dropped was because it also contradicted Tarzan's remark that he won't kill as a "man like [Clayton]." They also wanted Clayton to appear more animalistic and rely more on brute force in his battle with Tarzan. Hence, he has a lot less dialogue in the final version, except for his xenophobic remark, and is a lot more violent in his attacks. This alternate ending can be found on the Special Edition 2-Disc DVD.
The Legend of Tarzan Edit
In The Legend of Tarzan episode The Gauntlet of Vengeance, It is revealed that Clayton has a sister named Lady Waltham who plots revenge on Tarzan (whom she thinks killed Clayton on purpose). Lady Waltham has her butler kidnap Jane, Professor Porter, Terk, and Tantor, hiding them in places all over the jungle with dangerous traps set to kill them. Before Tarzan can go to save them,Lady Waltham shoots him with a dart, causing Tarzan to be poisoned, giving Tarzan a choice to suffer the way she did by having someone he loves die or suffer the way Clayton did and die.
However after Tarzan saves her life, she gives him the antidote for the poison and finally understands that Tarzan never killed her brother.
In the episode Tarzan and the Race Against Time, After Tarzan is bitten by a venomous spider, Jane and the others learn that the only cure is the Mububu flower, found on the top of a waterfall. Terk begins to feel jealous of Jane and thinks that she is not suited for jungle life, so Terk makes a bet that she cannot make it. But as Tarzan's condition worsens, one of Tarzan's hallucinations was of Clayton.
- Currently, it is unknown what Clayton's real name is as he was simply referred to as Clayton in the first film. However, it can be assumed that his first name could be Cecil, John, or Casper.