Some of the most memorable characters to be seen on the big screen, have been created in animation and live-action by Walt Disney Studios. They have created a variety of Disney Princesses and faithful side-kicks that symbolize joy, beauty and strength. However, with every hero there is always a sinister villain that symbolizes jealousy, greed and fear. Some are more physically threatening than others; some are more brains than brawn. But all are valuable, sinister presences in the land of animated fairy tales, and if you’re not careful, they’ll get you!
With so many of these iconic villains coming back to AMC Theatres with various upcoming Disney live-action remakes, we’d like to share our list of 10 of the most dastardly and unforgettable baddies to ever show up in a production by the “House of Mouse.”
Simba’s scheming uncle, THE LION KING’s Scar, had designs on the royal throne of Pride Rock. He not only used a stampede of wildebeests to achieve them, but he also guilted Simba into thinking he killed his own father through his careless actions. That is truly a high mark of Disney villainy, no question about it. The power-hungry and devious brother of the one-time king of Pride Lands will be further explored in the 2024 prequel film MUFASA: THE LION KING, where he’ll go by his birth-name, Taka.
Framing your nephew for murder is horrific — leading a naive girl to a voiceless fate is pretty ruthless, too. On top of her evil deeds, THE LITTLE MERMAID’S Ursula has one of the best villain songs of all time, and she keeps eels – Flotsam and Jetsam – as pets! The treacherous witch will get the live-action treatment in Disney’s upcoming remake of THE LITTLE MERMAID, which will see Melissa McCarthy introduce the scheming and remorseless villain to a new generation of moviegoers.
Cruella de Vil
Fashion is Cruella de Vil’s passion, and throughout Disney history, she has tried to take 101 dalmatians to make the perfect coat, which lands her a spot on this list of baddies. Though it’s hard not to admire the fact that the woman knows how to dress, we'd prefer if her "materials" were a bit more humane. And while she doesn’t have a memorable song of her own to sing, Cruella’s obsession with dalmatian print, and blowing smoke in people’s faces, is reason enough for her inclusion.
Obviously, anyone who can shape-shift into various creatures is bound to use their skills for evil at some point. But Maleficent of SLEEPING BEAUTY – and MALEFICENT – fame probably uses her powers in the best, most evil way. Turning oneself into a gigantic dragon and getting the job done yourself is something that not all villains are qualified to do, but Maleficent is, and she’s a rock star for it. With qualities like that, it’s not hard to figure out why Maleficent has remained such an iconic and complex villain the past 64 years.
Mystical powers are certainly a trump card that Disney’s villainous stable has cornered the market on. But ALADDIN’s Jafar has something even better to go along with his mind-control abilities: He’s one hell of a political operative. Smooth talk gets him most of the way, but his entrancing staff certainly seals the deal. It’s a bold strategy, and it pays off almost every time.