While charismatic, commanding, influential and a bit unctuous, Tzekel-Kan is power-hungry, bloodthirsty, scheming, manipulative and even psychotic (much like Jafar in Disney's Aladdin). He has an extreme fondness for Ollamalitzli, the Meso-American ball game played by Tulio and Miguel.
Role in Film
Tzekel-Kan was first seen doing some kind magic trick when his acolyte came to him and tell him about the visitors (Tulio and Miguel). Tzekel-Kan calls out to everyone in El Dorado that the visitors were the gods who were to come and live among them just as he had prophesized.
However, he noticed that the "gods" weren't acting the way the ancient scrolls predicted. He was especially shocked when Miguel commanded no more sacrifices and that Tzekel-Kan is no longer needed to speak for them. Tzekel-Kan then spotted a bleeding cut on Miguel's forehead and realized that he and Tulio are not really gods because gods don't bleed. He then used a dark potion to take control of a giant stone jaguar to get rid of the false gods once and for all. However, it backfired on him when Miguel and Tulio tricked him with their fake argument and the stone jaguar caused him to fall into the huge whirl pool that is said to be an entrance to the spirit world.
However, Tzekel-Kan survived the water's currents and ends up far away from El Dorado where he encountered Cortes and his soldiers. Believing Cortes and his men to be the true gods, a vengeful Tzekel-Kan begins to lead them to El Dorado to steal all of the gold and kill all of the citizens (including Tulio and Miguel). But when they got there, the entrance to the city had been destroyed (thanks to Tulio's plan). An angry Cortes then accused Tzekel-Kan as a liar, kicked him to the ground, and ordered his men to seize him before moving onward. Before they left, Tzekel-Kan noticed Chel hiding behind the rocks and told the men to wait, but they didn't listen and dragged him away.
It is unknown what happened to Tzekel-Kan after that, but it is possible he was either killed, imprisoned, or sold as a slave.
- A song was originally planned for the scene where Tzekel-Kan takes control of the Jaguar statue. It was most likely 'Trust Me', which can be found on the official film soundtrack.
- In a deleted prologue for the film, Tzekel-Kan was about to sacrifice Chel, which made her escape from El Dorado.
- Armand Assante received an Annie Award nomination for his portrayal of Tzekel-Kan.
- Tzekel-Kan was animated by Duncan Marjoribanks who lent his voice to the character's acolyte.
- Tzekel-Kan might not be human. However, there were some hints of Tzekel making the statue Jaguar coming to life, and his fingernails turned into claws, and his eyes were glowing green.
- Tzekel-Kan may be a misanthrope. This is hinted during a conversation with Tulio when he says, "You do not know how imperfect humans' are," and he also says "They' are beyond disgusting!"
- Tzekel-Kan was the first DreamWorks villain to be arrested, the first to use magic, and the first to have an unknown fate.
- Tzekel-Kan has dark magic, and he knows that gods don't bleed.
- Tzekel-Kan uses a book, presumably a codex of some kind, to conduct his rituals to the Gods. There is an image that depicts the God he believes will "cleanse" the city, but confuses him because it looks nothing like Tulio or Miguel; it is later revealed that it looks like Cortes.
- The prophecy of "The Age of the Jaguar" might be meant to foreshadow the fall of the Aztec empire at the hands of Cortes and his conquistadors.
- It is never made clear whether the Gods actually exist and built El Dorado, or whether it was built by human hands. As Tzekel-Kan is able to use magic, this remains speculative.