- "We're not going anywhere! Now, you and I are the only thing standing between that ugly bastard and a city of ten million people. Now we have a choice here: we either sit and wait, or we take these flare guns and do something really stupid!"
- —Herc Hansen
Herc and his younger brother Scott are born in Sydney, Australia to parents Donovan and Tess Hansen. Prior to the events that trigger the Kaiju War, Herc was an Royal Australian Air Force pilot. At some point he meets a woman named Angela and marries her. August 14, 2003, Angela gives birth to their son, Chuck.
August 2013 marks the attack of Trespasser in San Francisco. A year later, September 2, 2014, Sydney is attacked by Scissure. The military warns the populace in the downtown district that they have one hour to evacuate. On duty, Herc uses a Bell Kiowa to enter the city.
With only enough time to reach one person, Herc heads for Chuck's school. The two are able to escape the city before the second nuclear missile strike occurs. Afterward, his friend, Stacker Pentecost, tells him the Kaiju killed his wife. However, Herc remains uncertain about her fate.
Pan Pacific Defense Corps.
Following Scissure's attack on Sydney in 2014, Herc and Scott join the Jaeger Academy. Herc, Scott and Pentecost are the among first generation of Rangers trained to fight the Kaiju. During that time he raises his son, Chuck. The lifestyle of the Rangers instills a desire to become a Jaeger pilot in his son at a very young age.
Herc's first Jaeger assignment is Lucky Seven, with his brother. During a deployment with his brother, Herc glimpses something in his brother mind during the Drift that's strong enough to rattle their connection and their Jaeger, Lucky Seven, is almost destroyed in combat. Herc chooses to report his brother to the Defense Corps. higher ups and Scott is dismissed from the Jaeger Program as the Mark-5 Jaeger, Striker Eureka is deployed for active duty. The brothers part ways and Herc is left feeling guilty over the situation. In 2019, Herc is deployed in Manila with the Beckets, Yancy and Raleigh, and Horizon Brave to fight a Category IV Kaiju. Herc fought alongside the likes of Stacker Pentecost and piloted every Mark series Jaeger produced. On October 2021, Chuck is assigned to pilot Striker Eureka with his father. Together the two would assist other Jaeger teams in multiple counterattacks against the Kaiju for the next five years.
The aftermath of the increase of Kaiju attacks left the structure of the Jaeger Program devastated; with only four Jaegers left, the United Nations began losing hope in the program and shut down over seven Shatterdomes, Sydney's chief among them. Striker Eureka is retired from active duty until Mutavore attacks the Anti-Kaiju Wall. Herc and his son use Striker to fight and kill Mutavore. The incident brings into the question the effectiveness of the wall and the wisdom of ending the Jaeger Program.
Herc and Chuck are relocated to Hong Kong, China's Shatterdome. There, Pentecost recruits them for the assault on the Breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Herc and Chuck would be responsible for carrying the thermonuclear bomb into the Breach while the Jaeger's Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon would act as back up. He reunites with likes of Raleigh Becket, whom he expresses his condolences in regards to his brother Yancy's death. Herc continues to extend his generosity to Raleigh, but Chuck is quick to dismiss him with derisive comments.
Herc accompanied Pentecost to K-Science Lab, where Dr. Hermann Gottlieb voiced his theory over the increased frequency of Kaiju attacks. He believed that the increased traffic would force the Breach to stabilize so they could drop the bomb to destroy it. However, his colleague Dr. Newton Geiszler suggested that they try to Drift with a Kaiju brain to find exactly how to enter the Breach, but Herc believed that the neural surge would overwhelm his brain, a sentiment Pentecost shared.
Tensions between his son and Raleigh come to a head when Pentecost's daughter, Mako Mori, attempts to Drift with Raleigh during a test run in Gipsy Danger and latches onto the memory of Onibaba's attack in Tokyo in 2016. Herc and Pentecost break up the fight between Chuck and Raleigh after his son provokes Raleigh by insulting both him and Mako.
When the Double Event occurs in Hong Kong, Herc and Chuck are sent out in the Striker Eureka with Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon. The two are given orders to protect the coastline while the Mark-1 and Mark-4 Jaeger teams fight Otachi and Leatherback. When Otachi kills Crimson Typhoon's pilots and Cherno Alpha is ambushed by Leatherback, the two disregard Pentecost's orders and engage the Kaiju. Herc and Chuck manage to do well against Otachi until Leatherback disables Striker Eureka with its EMP organ.
Herc's arm is broken during the attack, after he disconnects from his Conn-Pod harness. They decide as a last ditch effort to shoot flares at the Kaiju to keep it distracted and away from the city for as long as possible. As Leatherback prepares to smash the Striker Eureka, Gipsy Danger arrives on the scene to fight it and Otachi.
Given Herc's injuries, he is unable to pilot the Jaeger for the mission to destroy the Breach. His replacement is Pentecost, who is confident that he'll able to Drift with Chuck in spite of his ego because he is related to Herc. He manages to say a farewell to his son before they leave, doubtful he'll survive should the mission either succeed or fail.
He monitors the progress of the mission at LOCCENT. When Striker and Gipsy arrive at the Breach, Pentecost hesitates to jump while Scunner and Raiju hold their position near the Breach. Herc orders Striker Eureka to "take the leap" and deploy the bomb, however, Newton and Hermann arrive at the LOCCENT and reveal that only something with the DNA of a Kaiju can enter the Breach as the Category V Kaiju emerges.
Herc is able to pass a warning to a damaged Gipsy Danger that Raiju was bearing on them at full speed, prompting Gipsy Danger to cleave the Kaiju in half. As Striker Eureka was left incapable of delivering the nuclear payload, they decide to sacrifice themselves to destroy the two remaining Kaiju. Herc is able to hear his son's final words before he and Pentecost detonate the thermonuclear bomb.
Their efforts buy Gipsy Danger time to get the Jaeger into the Breach and detonate its nuclear reactor. He sends helicopters to retrieve Raleigh and Mako. After confirming that both Rangers were alive, Herc announces to the Shatterdome personnel the end of the Kaiju War and orders the War Clock to stopped as everyone celebrates. Despite losing his son, Herc takes over as the new Marshal of the Shatterdome.
Herc is described as fearless; a "born fighter" and "career soldier". Of the surviving pilots, Herc has the longest service record in the Defense Corps as its most experienced Jaeger pilot. However, Defense Corps. analysis suggests that Herc's age is beginning to affect his efficiency in combat and his ability to maintain a Neural Handshake.
Partnered with his son, Herc and Chuck work together seamlessly when engaged in combat. Outside of the Conn-Podd, however, their relationship is tumultuous. Where Chuck thinks of pilots like Raleigh Becket as liabilities, Herc respects all his fellow Rangers, which causes him to butt heads with his son, whose competitive nature and short temper causes problems. The strain in his relationship with Chuck is brought into question by the Defense Corps. under the speculation that his ability to hold a Neural Handshake with his son may weaken over time because of their conflict. Herc struggles to keep his son's temper reigned in at the same time he works to be a better father.
Like Stacker Pentecost, Herc's previous history as an Air Force pilot, makes him both an experienced pilot and soldier among the many who've train to become Rangers. His status as one of the most experienced Jaeger pilots in the Defense Corps history marks him as one of the world's elite Jaeger pilots. Herc, is willing to concede to the orders of his superiors, but break them when he feels it is necessary, regardless of the dangers it poses to a mission.
Herc's tenure as a experienced soldier trained in unarmed combat, allows Herc to utilize his learned skills in the Jaeger Academy as a student of "Jaeger Bushido" against the Kaiju. Striker's status as a "dirty boxer" suggests that he is trained traditional boxing or kickboxing.
- According to Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters, Herc's only next of kin is Chuck, suggesting his immediate family may have died or been killed during the Kaiju War. Herc's dossier in the novelization lists his parents (Tess and Donovan) and brother (Scott) as his and Chuck's their next of kin.
- According to Robert Kazinsky, Chuck was born and raised by his family in Melbourne where Herc lost his wife in the Kaiju attack described in Tales From Year Zero. According to Man, Machines & Monsters, Tales From Year Zero, the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. website, and the novelization, the Hansens lived in Sydney where Herc's wife died during the Scissure attack.
- Pacific Rim cites in that Herc has piloted every Mark series Jaeger produced. The assertion is supported by Pentecost's reference Herc as pilot of the Mark-1 era and subsequent novelization citing them as partners. However, Travis Beacham states Herc only piloted one Jaeger before Striker Eureka, contradicting the news feed shown during the interview in Sydney after Mutavore's attack in the film. Beacham believes the news feed may refer to his status as test pilot during the beginning of the Jaeger Program.
- In the novelization of Pacific Rim, Herc holds the rank of Sergeant. In an interview with Max Martini the partial rank of Lieutenant can be seen on the left side of his jacket.
- According to Travis Beacham, Herc's brother, Scott, piloted with Herc during the Kaiju attack in Manila on December 16 2019, contradicting his earlier assertion that he was dismissed from the Jaeger Program as Striker Eureka was deployed.
- According to the Novelization, Striker Eureka was Jaeger Herc piloted in Manila. However, Travis Beacham states it was Lucky Seven.
- According to Robert Kazinsky, Herc was a retiring soldier prior to the events of the film.
- Herc broke his collarbone before playing football when he was younger.
- According to the novelization of Pacific Rim, Herc's first Jaeger assignment was the Lucky Seven.
- Herc's Japanese voice actor, Shuuichi Ikeda, provided the voice of Char Aznable in the original Mobile Suit Gundam series.
- The crowned and winged seven on Herc's vest is believed to be the decal of Lucky Seven.
- Ron Perlman was initially cast to play Herc Hansen, however, Guillermo del Toro eventually decided against it, feeling that scenes between Raleigh and Herc would invoke a feeling of "Sons of Anarchy 2.0".