With every great Disney, there is an even greater villain. Without an antagonist, our protagonist wouldn’t be very, well… protagonistic. They are the reason we have an exciting narrative in the first place. To celebrate the place these unforgettable characters have within our beloved kid’s films, we wanted to present you with 10 of the best Disney villains!
Disney villains often transcend past their own narratives and become iconic within culture. They are often funny, stylish, edgy, mysterious, in other words, cool as heck. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to be as sassy as Cruella?
As kids, we tend to hate these villains because of the pain they cause to our beloved characters. As we grow, many of us develop a newfound love for them instead. Their unapologetic confidence is something many of us strive for. With that said, there are some villains we just hate. Pure evil in cartoon form.
In this review, we’ll take a look at some of the most iconic and hated villains of them all! Be sure to stay until the end to catch the most villainous villain in Disney history.
Let’s get into it, who is the best Disney villain?
Dr. Facilier, also known as the Shadow Man, is the main villain in The Princess And The Frog. He’s basically the Papa Legba of Disney. His powers are extensive and well-rounded with a big dose of intelligence. He dabbles in voodoo, controls darkness and is a pro-trickster at conning people out of money.
His main villainous trait is making binding deals with his victims. Despite his malicious intend, he never lies to any of the people he deals with. He tells them the details of the contract exactly, but it is human stupidity and greed that is his greatest asset. People rush into his contract and don’t read between the lines, giving Dr. Facilier everything he needs to manipulate them.
One disturbing fact about this villain is that he keeps his mothers shrunken head with him, implying he is his own mother’s murderer. Despite his intent towards people, he’s actually quite a respectable character.
He understands the power of nature and knows animals are living thinking beings. He also sympathises with the poor and his main targets are the rich and greedy. The Robin Hood of Disney villains.
Our next spot is taken by non-other than the God of the Dead and King of the Underworld; Hades. Not only is he the main antagonist of Hercules but also the secondary villain in Mickey’s House of Villains and a recurring villain in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
This fast-talking Olympus god has some serious anger management issues. A lot of which can be attributed to his hate for his brother, Zeus. If you got banished to the underworld and your brother remained as the king of gods, we’re sure you wouldn’t be too happy about it either. Overlook his temperament and you can see a laid-back, sarcastic character.
His mood swings are quite relatable. Upon finding out Hurcules’ destiny of destroying him, he burst into flames saying “WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!?! *inhales* Okay, fine, fine, I’m cool, I’m fine.”. Let’s be honest, we can all relate to Hades from time to time.
The one who started it all. The OG Disney villain.
The Evil Queen is the first of all Disney villains. She is the main antagonist in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs released in 1937. Her motivation for her actions is her desire to be the fairest of them all, a title deserving of Snow White. Her status as the first Disney villain makes her one of the most famous Disney villains ever.
Once the Evil Queen was voted as one of the top 10 villains in cinematic history. She is undoubtedly very evil and devises cunning plans, but does in legendary style. She is the first femme fatale to capture audiences and opened up the amazing world of female villains that are so loved within Disney. Originally she was designed to be a plump comedic queen and we couldn’t be happier that Disney went with the complete opposite.
She is obsessed with one of the most iconic things in any Disney, the magic mirror. “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” is one of the most famous quotes in history.
Again, there is something very relatable about the Evil Queen. Her vanity and desire to be beautiful is the motivation for her actions. In the modern world of social media, many of us are as insecure about our looks as the iconic Queen is also.
Certainly one of the most powerful Disney villains, Jafar is the main antagonist in Aladdin. Once defeated by Aladdin, but later resurrected by Hades.
Jafar, the trusted advisor to the Sultan, desires the magic the Genie’s lamp holds for himself. Unlike other villains, his motives aren’t looks, money or trickery, but pure power. His goal, eventually, was to take over the whole world. He also comes hand in hand with another evil character, his parrot Lago. Originally, their character traits were swapped around with Jafar being more agitated with a bad temperament.
When he gets his hands on the lamp, Jafar becomes one of the most powerful beings ever seen in the Disney universe. This alone makes him one of the top Disney villains.
If you don’t remember Sid from Toy Story, you will surely remember his sadistic inventions. He performs surgery on his abused toys to create multiple Frankenstein style monster toys. The most prominent being the one eyes, hairless dolls head attached to metallic spider legs. Truly terrifying.
What makes Sid so evil is the pain and suffering he inflicts on his Toys. Of course, we get justice when Sid’s toy retaliate against him after what he has inflicted on them. It’s the moment we realise his toys are not evil themselves, but just tormented.
He is one of those villains that we don’t secretly like, he is pure evil and we very much are terrified of him. He is not stylish, sassy or cool, just that kid everyone used to be scared of in school.
Sid actually went on to become an almost boogie man in the Monsters Inc. comics. Sulley and Mike are pursuing him because he has been using the monster’s doors to steal kids toys. We all know what going to happen to those poor toys. This terrifying character deserved a spot among the greatest Disney villains.
Scar is a legend within Disney villains. In The Lion King, he caused one of the most tear-jerking scenes out of all of the films. As Mufasa risks his life to save Simba, Scar sees an opportunity to rid him of his brother for good. Scar digs his claws into Mufasa’s hands as he clings to the edge of the cliff. As Mufasa falls into the stampede below, Scar looks him in the eyes and says, “long live the king.”. A moment none of us can forget.
Once again, we have a villain whose hate comes from a place of jealousy. We may have even felt a bit sorry for him until he became Disneys most famous murderer.
Scar wouldn’t be the character he is without his sidekicks. The three hyenas, terrifying in themselves, make Scar ever scarier because of the way they fear him. We can’t not mention the iconic appearance of Whoopi Goldberg as one of the hyenas, Shenzi.
Ursula is one of the elites out of the best female Disney villains. A sea witch with tentacles is as evil as you can get. She prays on Aerials naiveness and ticks her into signing a contract. Her backstory, however, is more interesting than you might realise.
She once held a place at King Triton’s palace. After being banished, she decides to attempt to harness the power of the King’s trident and became the queen of the seas.
Many don’t know the original inspiration for Ursula. She is loosely based on the drag queen, Divine. Knowing this, it is clear where the ideas for her personality came from. Divine was a very controversial queen, proclaiming herself as the filthiest queen of all. Let’s just say, Ursula is the PG-rated version of Divine!
Many recognise Ursula as the first plus-size style icon. She’s sassy, provocative, confident and an all-around strong female character that knows what she wants. Disney may have been trying to portray this character in a bad light, but this backfired. She is one of the most loved characters to come out of any Disney, villain or hero.
Some Disney villains are evil, but we secretly love them. This is certainly not one of those cases. If we’re talking about the most popular Disney villains, this is certainly not one.
Toy Story 3 brought us one of the most hated villains of all. Who knew you could develop such hate for a seemingly cute purple teddy bear.
Also known as Lotso, he first appears as a loving grandfather-like character that smells of strawberries. The way we were deceived into thinking he was a sweet loving teddy makes us hate him even more. Lotso causes Buzz, Woody and the rest of the toys to end up in landfill, facing being incinerated. Even after this, Woody and Buzz forgive Lotso and help him reach the emergency stop button for him to abandon them anyways. Even when forgiven, he still is as evil as ever.
Lotso did get an appropriate ending. He is found by a truck driver and tied to the front grill, not the ending he planned for.
Out of our top ten Disney villains, it was hard to not pick Maleficent. She’s the villain we all truly love.
Our first perceptions of Maleficent were not so positive. In the 1959s Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is eviler than her modern revamp. Despite this, she still only curses Aurora after not being invited to her christening. This was the first sign that her intent is not so simple.
She was originally designed to represent a giant vampire bat. Although dark, her character is still undeniably campy. This is due to the inspiration used to create her. She is based on Malia Nurmi, a camp icon of the 50s best known for her role as Vampira.
Now we know Maleficent as the misunderstood character played by Angelina Jolie. Her evil intent is a response to the greed of men. Once we understand her backstory better, we can’t help but take her side. Her elegance and grace are legendary among villains.
We’ve made it to our number one spot! The one who beats them all, the style icon, the queen of fur; Cruella de Vil.
ICONIC! She really is. An overly confident, sassy, heavy smoker who knows what she wants. She is a femme fatale to be reckoned with. She makes up for her lack of powers in her character and determination. On the hunt to make dalmatian puppies into fur coats, she really is evil. There’s one thing worse than an antagonist trying to kill the protagonist, killing puppies!
You guessed it, Cruella is another Disney villain based on a queer icon. Tallulah Bankhead was the inspiration for Cruella. If you know who Tallulah is, we can guarantee you’re shocked with how you didn’t realise this before. What a perfect person to base this character on.
Cruella is now following the steps of Maleficent with her own live-action feature film. Being a success, we finally get to delve into her background which has intrigued us for years. We won’t reveal too much in case you haven’t seen it yet, but Emma Stone did this fictional icon justice.
What better way to celebrate Cruella than giving her her own makeup line. We’re not kidding, MAC has released a Cruella inspired makeup range! Still, nobody can recreate the image of Cruella better than herself.
That was the best Disney villains ranked. You might agree or disagree with our ranking, but you can’t deny the significance of these characters.
Often, Disney villains are misunderstood. They tend to have complicated pasts and their true motivation for their actions is never fully revealed. It also tends to be the female villains we celebrate more, maybe because in reality, women are less likely to be villains in the male-dominated world we live in. Another common factor is the influence of queer people within Disney villains. Ursula, Cruella and Maleficent are all based on queer icons. The original intent behind this might not be so pure but is the reason we have such amazing characters.
Villains are just as, if not more, significant than the protagonist. They have interesting backstories, often amazing powers and add excitement to the films. There’s one thing for sure, never banish any shady characters, they will 100% come back to seek revenge on you!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and are feeling extra villainous. If you’re looking for some other film buff information, Best Disney Movie Quotes, What Are The Best Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time? and What Is The Best Movie Studio In The World? should be right up your street!
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