Clayton (full name "John Clayton") is the main antagonist of Disney's 1999 film Tarzan. He was shown as a minor antagonist in the Deep Jungle in Kingdom Hearts.
He was voiced by Brian Blessed.
Clayton puts on the facade of a calm gentleman, but in truth, he lacks self-control and is violent, ruthless, and selfish. His lack of self-control is what leads to his downfall. He also believes that all animals are nothing more than savage beasts which lack the capacity for any emotion whatsoever.
He is a very intelligent tracker and skilled hunter, and at the beginning of the first film, he does seem concerned about the well-being of the Porters (Archimedes and his daughter Jane).
In Tarzan, Clayton, a veteran hunter and guide, serves as guide for Jane and her father Archimedes Q. Porter 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. Clayton is arrogant and totally convinced in his own abilities and his 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. Kerchak returns unexpectedly though, and is angered by the trespassers and attacks Clayton, considering him the greatest threat. 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 when they board the ship by Clayton and some pirates working for him. 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).
The heroes manage to escape, scare Clayton's henchmen (trapping them in the same cages they intended to trap the gorillas in), and free the gorillas and Kala, Tarzan's adoptive mother. After knocking Jane aside with his shotgun, Clayton confronts Tarzan and takes the battle to the treetops. Tarzan then takes Clayton's shotgun and points it at him, and pretends to shoot him to scare the hunter (with Clayton teasing Tarzan by telling him to "be a man" and shoot him, which angered the ape man), and then Tarzan smashes his shotgun. Becoming tangled in a mass of vines, Clayton, in an animalistic fury, hacks his way at them with his machete in an attempt to kill Tarzan, not noticing that there's one vine tangled like a noose around his own neck. Tarzan tries to warn him, but Clayton doesn't listen and in his rage, accidentally cuts the vine he's holding onto. He then Tarzan then fall, but while Tarzan lands safely, Clayton dies when the vine around him snaps his neck. His corpse swaying in the breeze. Despite the fact that he killed his adoptive father, Tarzan can feel nothing but pity for his enemy.
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 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). 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
In The Legend of Tarzan, it is revealed that Clayton has a sister named Lady Watham who plots revenge on Tarzan (whom she thinks killed Clayton on purpose). Lady Watham has her butler kidnap Jane, Professer 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 Watham shoots him with a dart, causing Tarzan to be poisoned, giving Tarzan a choice to suffer the way she did have 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.
Clayton also appears in one of Tarzan's hulusinations in one episode.
In Kingdom Hearts, Clayton finds Donald and Goofy in a bamboo thicket after they landed in the Deep Jungle. Suspicion over Clayton's activity arose when Clayton said that Donald and Goofy were "not much use for hunting gorillas", when he and Jane actually came there for research. He questioned Tarzan about the gorillas' nesting grounds, secretly desiring to hunt them down. Eventually, Tarzan agreed to take him to the nesting grounds, but on their way there, Clayton tried to shoot Terk. He was stopped by Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Tarzan, and Clayton was forbidden by a furious Jane from approaching the gorillas. His anger and determination to hunt the gorillas lured the Heartless to him, and the darkness in his heart took him over. He kidnapped Jane and Terk and imprisoned them in the jungle. Then, he hunted out the location of the gorillas, with the help of the Heartless. Just as he was about to kill them, Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Tarzan arrived, finding that Clayton had nearly lost his heart. Sora and company did battle with him and his Heartless. Even though he proved to be proficient at using a shotgun at long range and even close range (swinging it like a club), Clayton and his Heartless were easily defeated. Clayton, outnumbered, summoned a Heartless called the Stealth Sneak, mounting it and starting a boss battle. When Clayton was thrown from his steed, Sora defeated him. Afterward, the Stealth Sneak fell and ultimately crushed Clayton to death; the whereabouts of his body after the battle is unknown, although it may have disappeared with the Heartless.
- When the lightning flashes in the original movie, viewers can see Clayton's shadow in the flash, dangling from the vine-turned-noose for a brief moment. This makes Clayton's death scene one of the most graphic in Disney's animated history -- characters are rarely shown to be dead because of injuries; they usually fall and are never seen again (Gaston), or lie dead, but without a scratch on them (Mufasa and Megara).
- Clayton is shown to be a braver villain than Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, Scar from the Lion King and Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame not fearing death when Tarzan's about to kill him but doesn't.
- Clayton's death is considered the most horrifying deaths in disney history, since hanging is such a gruesome image. The crunch as his neck gets snapped is also very haunting.
- Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were both considered for the role of Clayton.