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Whether we make it or not, we can't let that Thing freeze again. Maybe we'll just warm things up a little around here. We're not gettin' outta here alive. But neither is that Thing.
~ R.J MacReady
Yeah, F*** you too!
~ Macready's famous quote, as he throws a dynamite at the Blair-Thing

R.J MacReady is the main protagonist of the 1982 film, The Thing, and an American loner scientist who quickly becomes a leader and fighter after a shapeshifting alien starts killing his crew.

He is played by Kurt Russell, who also played Dexter Reilly in the 1969 film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, followed by the 1972 sequel Now You See Him, Now You Don't and the 1975 sequel The Strongest Man in the World, Copper in the 1981 animated film The Fox and the Hound, Snake Plissken in the 1981 hit film Escape from New York and the 1996 sequel Escape from L.A., Gabriel Cash in the 1989 film Tango & Cash, Wyatt Earp in the 1993 western film Tombstone, Sgt. Todd 3465 in the 1998 sci-fi action film Soldier, The Commander in the 2005 film Sky High, Mr. Nobody in the 2015 film Furious 7 and the 2017 sequel The Fate of the Furious.

The Thing

A Norwegian helicopter with two Norwegians aboard pursue an Alaskan Malamute to an American Antarctic research station. As the Americans run out, a Norwegian rifleman attempts to throw a thermite charge at the dog, but accidentally drops it- which destroys the helicopter and kills the pilot in the process. The rifleman keeps firing at the dog until he is killed by Lt. Garry, the station commander. Helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady and Dr. Copper fly to the Norwegian camp for answers, but find only a burned ruin, with the body of a man who committed suicide and a large block of ice with a hollowed cavity. Outside they discover the burned remains of a humanoid corpse with two faces. Back at the station, the biologist Blair performs an autopsy on the creature, but finds only a normal set of internal organs.

Clark kennels the Malamute with the station's sled dogs, where it begins to metamorphose and attacks them. MacReady pulls the fire alarm when he hears the commotion, gathers everybody to the kennel, brings a shotgun, and calls for a flamethrower. Childs incinerates half of the creature, but the other half escapes. Blair's analysis leads him to believe it is capable of perfectly imitating other lifeforms, and he withdraws from the others. The Norwegians' records lead the team to a crater containing a flying saucer and a hole left by the block of ice from which they suspect the creature came. Fuchs tells MacReady that according to Blair's journal, the creature's "dead" remains are still active on a cellular level. Blair calculates that if the alien escapes to a civilized area, all life on Earth will be assimilated in three years.

Bennings is killed by the creature but he is caught outside by the team before his metamorphosis is complete, and MacReady burns him before he can escape. Garry realizes Blair was absent. MacReady sees Blair running inside and discovers he has wrecked the helicopter; Childs confirms that Blair also destroyed the other transports and killed the remaining sled dogs. The team corners him as he is destroying the radio, then locks him in the tool shed. Determined to learn who is infected, they discover the blood stores have been sabotaged before they can perform the blood-serum test Copper recommends, and the men begin to turn on each other.

MacReady takes charge and orders Fuchs to continue Blair's work, but Fuchs disappears when the power goes out. As a storm closes in, MacReady, Windows, and Nauls continue the search for Fuchs outside where they eventually find his burned body. Windows goes back to tell the others, and MacReady takes Nauls to check out his shack, where the lights have mysteriously come on. On the way back, Nauls cuts MacReady loose from the tow line, assuming he has been assimilated when he finds a torn shirt with MacReady's name on it. As the team debates MacReady's fate, he breaks in and threatens to destroy the station with a bundle of dynamite if they attack him, and Norris suffers a heart attack.

When Copper attempts to revive Norris by defibrillation, his chest gapes open and closes like a giant mouth, biting off Copper's arms, who quickly dies from the injuries. MacReady incinerates the creature and orders Windows to tie up everyone for a new test, killing Clark when he tries to resist. MacReady explains his theory that every piece of the alien is an individual organism with its own survival instinct that will react defensively when threatened. One by one he tests everyone's blood with a heated piece of copper wire. They are all still human except Palmer, who begins to metamorphose and attacks Windows, forcing MacReady to burn them both.

Leaving Childs on guard, the others head out to test Blair, only to find that he has tunneled under the tool shed. They realize that Blair is an alien who has scavenged the equipment he appeared to destroy in order to build a small escape craft. MacReady speculates that the alien intends to freeze itself until a rescue team arrives in the spring. They decide to dynamite the complex hoping to destroy the alien but Garry and Nauls are killed by Blair before they finish setting the explosives underground. Blair transforms into a larger monster and attacks, but MacReady dynamites the monster and the base explodes as he escapes.

Stumbling through the burning ruins, MacReady finds Childs, who claims he got lost in the storm while pursuing Blair. MacReady does not trust Child's, but suggests that the two wait a while and see what happens. Exhausted, exposed and facing imminent death from the cold, they acknowledge the futility of their distrust, sharing a bottle as the camp burns and the cold returns.

Video Game

Three months after the events of the film, a team of U.S. special forces arrived to investigate both the U.S. camp and the Norwegian camp. The protagonist of the game, Captain J.F. Blake, the leader of Beta Team, investigate the U.S. camp, whilst Alpha Team investigates the Norwegian camp. When Blake encounters a helicopter pilot, who helps him defeat the Thing, the helicopter flies away from the base, the pilot reveals himself to be R.J. MacReady.

Gallery

Trivia

  • It is never explained how MacReady survived exposure to the Antarctic cold after the destruction of Outpost 31 in the events of the game, nor how he managed to acquire a functioning helicopter after three months (the time-frame between the conclusion of the film, and the beginning of the game).

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