I’ve read a lot of fan fiction for this movie (and trust me when I say a lot) so it disturbs me that I’ve seen a repeating pattern in many stories. The fact that Chel was only using Tulio to get out of El Dorado, and that once they got back to Spain she stole most of their belongings and took off in the middle of the night. It occurs most often in Migulio stories that take place after the events of the movie and they want some way to get rid of Chel, so they make her some evil villain who breaks Tulio’s heart and therefore forces the two men together.
This just does not make much sense to me.
Alright, let’s start with the facts.
We know that Chel wants to leave El Dorado. This is made apparent by the conversation she has with Miguel and Tulio. Because, as we all know:
“You’ve got your reasons… and I’ve got mine.”
Now, many speculate on what those reasons are exactly. In the director commentary with Don Paul and Bibo Bergeron, Bergeron says this:
“So when Chel says ‘I’ve got mine’ that actually was about what happened to her in the prologue because she was about to get sacrificed by Tzekal-Kan in the prologue. But without it, she’s got something hidden, you know, in her and you don’t need to know. You just know that she’s got one reason.”
So now we know that Chel wants to leave El Dorado because she’s afraid of being killed. However, before they leave everyone believes Tzekal-Kan is dead. If he was the only one trying to kill her, and that was her only reason not to stay, then obviously there’s no reason to leave anymore, right?
Except that there is another reason.
“You think you’re the only ones who dream of better things? Of adventure?”
Chel wants an adventure. Who better to do that with than Miguel and Tulio, the explorers who found El Dorado? After all, they’re not only her saviors, they’re her dorky best friends and she would never betray them like that.
And as for the people who say she’s a slut, that’s not true either.
“I’m sure you know the proper rituals for blessing a tribute, the holiest days on the calendar, oh and of course you know all about Xibalba?”
She doesn’t need to sleep with Tulio just to ensure her passage to Spain. She’s essentially already done so by reminding them that they will die without her.
“See you at the execution.”
So when she does get down to it with Tulio, she’s only doing so because she likes him so much.
Last time I checked isn’t that what you do when you show affection? Everyone shows it differently, doesn’t mean it makes her a whore.
In conclusion, Chel is an amazing character. She’s strong, sensitive, and clever, and I will not stand to have people pin her as the villain without sticking up for her.