I know we're all pumped for Hercules and July 25th feels like an awfully long time until we get to see The Rock battle some gods in gold armor. While we're waiting, I thought we should get the real scoop on Hercules and how he came to be. So we're going way back before the '97 Disney film - all the way to ancient Greece, for the myth behind the myth of Hercules:
It all started when Zeus got the hots for Alcmene, a happily married mortal who wasn't interested. Since Zeus always gets what he wants, he disguised himself as Alcmene's husband and made love to her, and Heracles (yes, that's his real name) was conceived.
Hera, wife of Zeus and, not to mention, goddess of marriage, was NOT pleased. When Heracles was eight months old, she sent two snakes to his bedroom to kill him. Much to her frustration, little Heracles woke up and strangled a snake in each hand.
So not only is Heracles still alive, but now everyone knows he's got this crazy super strength. Determined to seek revenge, Hera waited until Heracles was grown up to brainwash him into killing his wife, Megara, and all their children.
Heracles regained his senses and was, obviously, devastated. He fled to the Oracle to seek atonement and was assigned 12 labors to complete in servitude to King Eurystheus.
Turns out this was also a scheme of Hera's to keep Heracles off the throne. But she seemed to forget his super strength, and he ended up doing a really good job on even the CRAZIEST of labors, like slaying a lion with bare hands,
...slaying the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra,
and capturing Cerberus (aka "Hellhound"), a three-headed dog with a serpent's tail, mane of snakes and lion claws.
Unfortunately for Heracles, his troubles didn't end there. The rest of his life was a constant cycle of being brainwashed by Hera into committing some horrendous act, seeking atonement through a bunch of crazy tasks, earning recognition and respect, and bouncing right back to infuriating Hera.
It wasn't until his death that Heracles finally received the respect - and peace - he long deserved. When his body was burned, Zeus raised his soul to Olympus where he achieved immortal God status as a constellation.
Well...if anyone can slay a lion, nine-headed beast and three-headed dog, it's definitely The Rock. I am...beyond excitement.