disney-villains-maleficent

(Walt Disney Pictures)

This summer sees the release of Disney’s live-action film Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the titular villain from Sleeping Beauty.

In line with Wicked, there’s clearly much potential in revisiting classic stories for new perspectives on the villains contained therein. Since Disney has some of the most popular and iconic villains in its rogues gallery, this offers them the chance to revitalize their most famous franchises, drawing on established fan bases still passionate about films they grew up with.

We at Pop Mythology feel there are other Disney villains who, like Maleficent, are capable of carrying films of their own. The following list represents some of the strongest candidates.

6. JAFAR

disney-villains-jafar

(Walt Disney Pictures)

Jafar was the power-hungry, megalomanical villain of Aladdin. With sidekick Iago, Jafar pursued the throne of Agrabah with fierce cunning, eventually taking charge of Genie and reaching his goal of “most powerful sorcerer in the world.”

What a backstory he must have. Imagine his rise to prominence alongside the Sultan. What backstabbings led to power? How did he meet Iago? Aladdin opens with Jafar in close pursuit of the Genie, finally finding the Cave of Wonders. It doesn’t take too creative a writer to see the potential in that adventure.

And how fun would it be to visit Agrabah again? Those fine desert landscapes and that looping, curving architecture.

5. SCAR

disney-villains-scar

(Walt Disney Pictures)

Scar was the jaded and jealous villain of The Lion King. He murdered his own brother to steal the throne of Pride Rock, ousting his nephew Simba, the rightful heir, along the way.

His motivations derive from some very complex emotions – no surprise, as The Lion King is a direct adaptation of Hamlet. There’s jealousy, disappointment and resentment. A backstory of two brothers with hopes of one day ruling could be Shakespearean enough on its own. There’s a whole relationship there between Scar and Musfasa, one that could be explored to powerful effect.

It could be heart-warming. It could be fun. It could be heart-breaking.

4. CAPTAIN HOOK

disney-villains-captain-hook

(Walt Disney Co.)

Captain James Hook had it out for Peter Pan. Pan was responsible for Hook losing his hand to the crocodile, prompting Hook’s adoption of a sharp prosthetic and a fearsome moniker.

According to JM Barrie, the creator of the character, Hook was educated in England at Eton College. How neat, huh? He was obviously born in the “real world,” so how did he come to Neverland? Did he think happy thoughts and fly there? Maybe. Work with it, Disney. That’s great material for a screenwriter to work with. What if he started out as a Lost Boy, even? There could be a terrific fall from grace.

Disney’s animated film had Hook as an oaf, a whiny child meant more for comedic relief than fear. And though he’s been brought to life before through Dustin Hoffman and Jason Isaacs, Hook deserves something more than all of the above. A powerful pirate bent on destroying the life of a forever-youth offers significant opportunities for character development. His attack on youth has powerful thematic potential.

3. CRUELLA DE VIL

disney-villains-cruella-de-vil

(fan art by Justin McTwisp, http://justin-mctwisp.deviantart.com/ )

Perhaps the only villain here to match Maleficent’s sinister charisma is Ms. de Vil, who wanted to skin a bunch of puppies (101 of them) to make a coat. Though we’ve seen her in the flesh already (played by the glorious Glenn Close), the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians was a film made for children, and Cruella de Vil was as an appropriately shallow character.

Think about it though. Few things are more awful and villainous than the idea of skinning puppies. That’s quite the mind to explore for a brave screenwriter.

Neither the animated nor the live-action film delved too deeply into her motivations. It might seem shallow that all she wanted was a coat, but much more could be made of this (and her). Perhaps that coat could be the cherry on top of a greater, darker aim, symbolic of something deeper. Perhaps she never felt the warmth of puppy love. What happened to her that made her so dark? Audiences would love to learn and be terrified along the way.

2. CHERNABOG

disney-villains-chernabog

(Walt Disney Pictures)

Is there any villain in Disney’s rogue gallery whose very physical presence is so gargantuan, so diabolical, so… evil? No, there isn’t.

Chernabog, from Disney’s 1940 animated musical Fantasia, was created at a time when the company was a bit more daring and willing to be experiment. Today, a character like this would be hard-pressed to play a major role in an actual Disney movie because he’s just so, well, scary and evil. Nowhere else in the Disney canon is there a villain as Satanic as Chernabog who was very closely based on Chernobog (spelled with an “o”), the Slavic god of evil, who exists for no other reason than to wreck disaster and ill fortune on all human life – like the Joker, a true nihilist. Now, this is some heavy s**t and I don’t think the Disney of today would know what to do with a villain like this who is not only as evil as can be but who also has the power to realize hell on earth.

Sure would make for some fun cinema, though.

1. BOBA FETT

disney-villains-boba-fett

(Walt Disney Pictures)

Yes, he’s a Disney villain now, and no, we’re not the first to say he deserves his own movie. But since Disney loves a bankable franchise, this is now a feasible idea for the first time.

Behind Darth Vader himself, Fett is probably the most famous villain from the entire Star Wars universe. Despite having less than thirty minutes of screen time in the entire original trilogy, he managed to win the favor of fanboys everywhere with that badass mask and that f-ing jetpack.

We saw his youth, sure, but man, what if we could watch his bounty hunting career come to life? From his first kill, to catching word of Darth Vader’s warrant for a certain troublesome ship. There could be training sequences like the ones in Batman Begins. There’s that rivalry with Bossk. His maiden voyage on the Slave I. Glorious!

*****

So which Disney villains do you think deserve their own movie?

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Anthony Nowicke the author

Anthony Nowicke is a literary nut, most often buried deep inside a book, whose interests range from pop culture and graphic design to philosophy and mathematics.

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  1. Nikia on November 16, 2013
    You forgot Ursula.
    • Anthony Nowicke on November 16, 2013
      Hiya Nikia :) Ursula, huh? What about her makes you think she'd hold her own movie? How do you see that movie working out? Oh, if she had one similar to Ariel...a life on land, hope and love on land...a turn to darkness and witchcraft... Hey...you just might be right, Nikia!
      • Koen Verheyden on November 16, 2013
        Well Ursula used to live in the palace. Why was she banned? what was her relationship with Triton? Was she an advisor? Or was she Queen and did Triton overtrow her? I would like to see that.
        • Anthony Nowicke on November 16, 2013
          That would definitely be neat, Koen!
          • Meg Elkes on November 16, 2013
            According to Disney lore she was Triton's sister.
  2. Ozie Christian on November 17, 2013
    Chernabog would be nice to see. Gives you chance to learn why he is confined to the mountain and who did it. And give him a voice make him an intelligent evil. Heck I will write it if they pay me enough.
  3. Daemona on November 17, 2013
    I think Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog would be a fantastic story. How did he get into voodoo? I got the feeling he was already in debt to his Friends On The Other Side before Naveen came along; what did he do to get himself so buried in debt? He's one of my favorite villains because he's not evil for evil's sake, he is just chasing power. It'd be interesting to watch the chase.
    • Ben Ulrich
      PopMythology.com on December 2, 2013
      Indeed, it *would* be interesting, @d931c3ecd1f97af6ad1f23c37ac803b0:disqus, thanks!
  4. Megan on November 29, 2013
    Ah, you mentioned Jafar! I've got good news. A musical has just been released on YouTube that takes Disney's Aladdin and gives it the Wicked treatment. Jafar is the protagonist whose story's been...twisted. Team StarKid (of A Very Potter Musical fame) has created Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier. It completely throws out everything you thought you knew about the story and causes you to sympathize with a misunderstood Jafar who isn't really evil at all, but everyone still hates him. I had the good fortune to be able to see the show live back in July and it was amazing. But don't take my word for it, I am biased. I'm a huge fan of Team StarKid. Now that it's released for everyone to see, I recommend it to anyone with an affinity for Disney, Wicked, or musical parodies. Keep in mind that it is a mature show that really shouldn't be seen by young children. Its definitely StarKid's most profanity-filled show to date. But it's absolutely worth it, in my opinion.
    • Ben Ulrich
      PopMythology.com on December 2, 2013
      Ah, so Jafar is the victim of a bad PR job! Haha. This is an interesting update, @disqus_23Bqk2XZo0:disqus, and we thank you for letting us know about this new show. It sounds really cool. Feel free to post the YouTube link here! :)
    • Ketrinna Hammell on December 27, 2013
      Also I love the back story they gave him in the show Once upon a time in Wonderland!
  5. Brooke on December 2, 2013
    Loki should have his own movie. Since Disney bought Marvel and Loki is getting his own comic, I think a movie would be a hit. Especially how the fans appreciated his scenes so much in the Dark World.