Movies & TV / Columns

Who is the Greatest Disney Villain?

May 25, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Maleficent - Angelina Jolie Maleficent 2

I don’t know about you but my viewing habits have changed considerably since mid-March. For one, I’ve sat down with my kids and watched some Disney+ way more. You know what? I kind of dig it. Call me cheesy but I’ve gotten into the Disney magic and it’s been nice to go back and see some old school stuff that I’ve forgotten about in all the hustle and bustle. 

Disney+ has been the number one streaming service in the house since the pandemic hit and I can safely say I’ve never watched more Disney movies and shows in such a short amount of time in my life. It’s been fun. Which got me thinking…just who is the greatest villain?

Before we get into things let me say this only covers the animated offerings from Disney. Don’t start dropping Darth Vader in the comments.

I’m going for the big guns to start off. In fact, we just finished up the live-action Lion King and Scar is definitely up there. While I enjoy the animated version immensely, there was something about seeing Scar as a real lion that gave him a darker edge. Putting a Disney movie into the Hamlet storyline has made for a great product and it gives Scar’s presence added weight. As far as villainy, the dude killed his own brother and targeted his own nephew for death. That’s cold blooded and puts this lion in the top bad guy spot in my book. While I preferred Jeremy Irons’ voice in the animated version, Chiwetel Ejiofor is no slouch. 

Over the years Maleficent has really taken on a new life with kids and audiences, thanks to Angelina Jolie’s theatrical offerings. From look to deeds, Maleficent is no joke in the villainous department. When you look at her, she’s a miserable person who holds a grudge. I mean, really holds a grudge. She wasn’t invited to a party and decides to curse a kid. Still, you can’t overlook that she has classic look and some impressive power that means trouble for anyone foolish enough to cross her. 

Speaking of look, Ursula fromThe Little Mermaid has no choice but be evil. She has a larger-than-life persona and powers to back it up. She pretty much won against Ariel, Eric, and King Triton, but let up right before she crossed the finish line in the movie. Like any good baddie, she had some impressive help with her minions, Flotsam and Jetsam. Ursula was cerebral and preyed on people’s weaknesses, which would make her an ideal televangelist. 

The Evil Queen from Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs is a natural because…she has “Evil” in her name. Plus, like Maleficent, she’s petty. Her problems stem from not being the fairest of them all. And yes, I know her real name is Queen Grimhilde but ask most people and they wouldn’t know that. 

Ask PETA and they’ll tell you that Cruella De Vil is the worst of the worst. When you look at it, she was pretty bad. You have to be if your goal is to skin a bunch of puppies in order to have a fur coat. Add on that she was willing to steal/kidnap them and also involved in a wild road rage scene, Cruella live up to her name.

When it comes to a bad guy with revenge on the mind, the iconic Captain Hook stands tall. The pairing of Captain Hook and Peter Pan is a classic on and while he’s portrayed as the bad guy, I’ve seen some theories that he’s really the good guy, just looking to even the score with Peter since he lost his hand because of him. I’m not going to delve into that but you can mention the name of Hook and people know right away who you’re talking about. 

If I had to pick the most underrated villain that Disney has, it would be Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I’m not sure why he’s not mentioned more but this guy is scary. Frollo is a religious man and used his faith to commit some horrible acts. He’s never shown in a good light and we see what happens when some gets power and allows it to corrupt their soul. Not only that, his desires fro Esmeralda are pretty intense for a Disney movie. If you haven’t seen Hunchback in a while, check it out. 

While Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is somewhat charming, he really sticks out with his ability to form a mob and commit murder to take out the Beast. Incredibly selfish and self-centered, Gaston doesn’t care about anyone but himself. If he had a computer and access to the internet, he’d be in heaven. 

Alright, I’ve left plenty of low hanging fruit for you. Who’s the best in your book? Maybe Jafar from Aladdin? How about Lady Tremaine in Cinderella? Or how about Shere Khan from The Jungle Book? Let us know below!