|“||I wasn't thinking about those children. The important thing here is to get the medicine through, and that's just what I'm gonna do. (turns to Balto) And when I get back, I'm gonna fold you five ways and leave you for a cat toy.||„|
|~ Steele telling he's gonna retrieve the medicine for the glory.|
|“||I'LL get us back! I'M the lead dog! I'M IN CHARGE!||„|
|“||Touch that box, and I'll tear you apart!||„|
|~ Steele threatening Balto.|
Steele is the main antagonist of the animated 1995 Amblin Entertainment film, Balto. He is an Alaskan Malamute with a bad attitude and mean streak, taking excessive pride in his popularity amongst both the village humans and the dogs and liking to bully Balto over his wolf-heritage.
He was voiced by the legendary voice actor, Jim Cummings.
Role in Balto
Steele was the lead dog on the best dog racing team in Nome; he first encountered Balto (in the movie, Steele's behavior towards Balto is an obvious indication that they have met on prior occasions) after being defeated by the latter in a race while rescuing Rosy's hat.
Steele's behavior became much worse when Jenna starts to fall in love with Balto - as well as the fact Balto is faster, smarter and stronger than Steele.
Out of jealousy, Steele felt Balto was a threat so he bullied Balto. When the town became sick, there was a relay race to choose who would be on the sled dog team that would relay the medicine.
After successfully sabotaging Balto's attempts to enter the team of huskies that would deliver medicine to the village following a blizzard and an outbreak of illness, Steele became lost but refused to admit it, ultimately knocking out his master when he caused the sleigh to swerve uncontrollably in the snow, leaving him and his pack alone in the blizzard with no hope of returning home.
However, when Balto sought the team out and offered his aid, Steele had gone insane due to the ferocity of the blizzard; instead of being grateful, he became enraged and had a brief confrontation with Balto who refused to fight him.
|“||Go ahead, wolf-dog! You'll never get home! I'll make sure of that!||„|
|~ Steele revealing his true lack of empathy towards the sick children as he sabotages Balto's trail|
During this fight, Steele viciously grabbed Balto by the bandana Jenna lent him earlier, when the bandana came lose, causing Steele to lose his balance and fall off a steep cliff, but he managed to survive. As he climbed back up to the see Balto leading the sled team away, Steele vowed to stop them from getting home. Then, in an act of villainy, Steele deliberately tampered with the markings Balto had left on the trees so that they would not find their way back. This clearly proves he doesn't care that the children would die without the medicine, showing his true evil.
Steele returned to the village claiming innocence, even blaming Balto for the "accident". Jenna saw straight through his lies, but the other dogs saw him as a hero.
Until Balto embraced his wolf heritage and was able to smell the trees that he marked and he and his team eventually arrived back in the village with the medicine, much to Steele's surprise and horror.
Therefore, Steele was left an outcast when the other dogs realized the truth, knowing they'd been double-crossed and turned against him. Dixie, Steele's biggest fan dog, called him "positively...disposable!" and slapped him in the face. He nervously tries to explain, but the other dogs won't have any of it and angrily leave, slamming the boiler room door in the contemptible Malamute's face and telling him to "get lost". He finally loses the respect he once had with his fellow canines while Balto was hailed as a hero.
It is unknown what became of Steele after the events in Balto, for he was never seen or mentioned in the sequels, Wolf Quest or Wings of Change.
Steele is greedy, deceitful, and selfish, representing everything that Balto despises. His hatred for Balto is made out of pure jealousy (as Balto beat him to the finish line). And he is also proven to be sadistic, treacherous, emotionless, loathsome, extroverted, sturdy, temperamental, even-tempered (formerly), eccentric, lion-hearted and egotistical.
He also likes Jenna, but she sees through his lies and loves the pure-hearted Balto instead, which further strengthens Steele's hatred and jealousy towards Balto.
Underneath the exterior of a standard jerk and bully, however, he is shown to be completely heartless and utterly callous, as proven when Balto came to help, he instead attacks him savagely and keeps him from even taking the medicine, not caring that children needed it desperately. And finally, when Balto becomes leader of his sled team, Steele proves his lack of empathy for the children by making the sled team lose their way back to the village. All of those things prove him as a purely evil egomaniac. His sanity slippage during the blizzard didn't help matters.
He is also a crafty, scheming, and mendacious liar, claiming that Balto and the rest of the team had died and at the end of the film; the undoing of his lies causes him to be shunned and hated by those who used to respect him. In addition, he was willing to cheat in order to win.
Steele had no chance of going back on the sled team, for it is possible that Balto had replaced him.
- Like Drake from The Pebble and the Penguin, Steele also shows several traits that were inspired by the Disney villain, Gaston.
- All three are very popular in the area they live in and are adored by many females, except the respective heroines, Belle, Marina and Jenna, all of who know that the villains are not right for them.
- They want to have the heroine simply because of their beauty.
- All three try to get rid of the hero to ensure they get the girl.
- All three are vain, muscular, arrogant, and believe themselves to be the best.
- However, unlike Drake and Gaston, Steele does not die as punishment for his crimes or cause his own demise. Instead, Steele loses his fame and respect he craves so much and is left hated by the other dogs. Also, Steele was possibly the worst of the three because after he failed to kill Balto, he tried to make sure Balto would be lost and not be able to deliver the medicine the children need. Gaston and Drake were evil, this is true, but neither have shown a willingness to sacrifice children. Luckily for the children, Jenna not only saw through Steele's lies but helped get Balto home by using broken bottles and a lamp to mimic the Northern Lights, helping the medicine get delivered and Steele losing his popularity. Also to note, Balto embraced his wolf heritage and was able to smell the trees he clawed. Along with this, Steele did not seem to care for the children, as he threatened Balto to keep away from the medicine by saying "Touch that box and I'll tear you apart."
- Also, unlike Drake and Gaston, Steele never once used threats or blackmail into getting the female to be his. And also unlike Gaston and Drake who were focused on getting the female to be theirs, Steele didn't exactly care about Jenna. All he focused on was his fame whilst Gaston and Drake seemed more focused on getting the female to be theirs.
- Steele was originally going to be voiced by Brendan Fraser but a last minute change meant that Jim Cummings would voice him instead.
- Phil Weinstein explained that in the original script for Wings of Change, Steele would be one of the volunteers who would help Balto on his search for Duke.
- Although he does not appear in any of the sequels, the character Niju is based on him.
- Steele is similar to the following villains:
- Buster: both in love with a heroine who don't love them, both are liars, both are betrayed by dogs who used to like them, both are leader of a team/group and both are jealous. Interestingly, both have been dubbed by German voice actor, Thomas Fritsch, other villains being Scar, Forte and Joe.
- King Candy: both are hungry for fame, both thought their own rivals (Balto and Wreck-It-Ralph) are losers, and worst. Both told a lie to protagonist/deuteragonist (Jenna and Wreck-It-Ralph), that protagonist/deuteragonist (Balto and Vanellope) are in trouble, also they both gave something what Balto and Vanellope have (Jenna's bandanna for Balto's case, and Medal for Vanellope's case). Ironically, Jenna recognized that Steele was lying, and Wreck-It Ralph didn't recognize that King Candy was lying. They're also mentally unstable.
- Arrow: Both are the rival of the protagonist (Balto and Rudolph and bully them for a reason (Steele bullied Balto because he was half wolf whilst Arrow bullied Rudolph because of his red nose). Both are in love with the main female character (Jenna and Zoey), who reject them and start a relationship with the protagonist. However, unlike Steele, Arrow redeems and goes on to respect Rudolph after he saves Christmas.
- In Nostalgia Critic's review of Balto, the Critic makes several jokes abut how Steele never seems to make a facial expression that doesn't cement him as a blatantly obvious villain, even commenting that "It's like he has ten different expressions and they all eat children." Later, when Steele lies about Balto trying to sabotage the medicine retrieval, the Critic comments "Wow, he's such an obvious, yet evil liar that he should probably be working in the White House." The video then cuts to a parody animation of Steele, called Steele Spicer, as the press secretary, in an obvious parody of Sean Spicer, telling blatant lies about the medicine retrieval and how his dogsled race had the most viewers out of every dogsled race in history. When questioned, Steele tells the man talking to him that his eyes are wrong and that it is an "Alternative Bark", which a spoof of the term, Alternative Fact". Then he is called Melissa (a reference to how Melissa McCarthy played Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live), but Steele Spicer gets angry and shouts at him not to call him that.