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Disney Animated Villains Too Evil To Get A Sympathetic Origin Story

July 14, 2021 5.4k votes 709 voters 64.2k views12 items

List RulesVote up the villains who are too evil to feel bad for.

Nothing makes an animated film from the House of Mouse more fun than those purely evil Disney villains. Would The Little Mermaid be as memorable without Ursula? Would Aladdin have been as exciting without Jafar pulling the strings in the background? Would there even be any other animated Disney movies if it weren't for the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?

And though the entertainment giant has shown a desire to mine their old films for new villain-based stories like Maleficent and Cruella, there are plenty of antagonists in the company's history this just wouldn't work with. Some villains are just too evil to get a sympathetic origin story.

  • Photo: The Rescuers Down Under / Buena Vista Pictures

    You probably forgot The Rescuers Down Under was even made. And if you did know it was made, you probably thought it was a straight-to-video sequel of the 1977 original. And if you did know it was a theatrical release, you probably forgot it technically was released during the "Disney Renaissance," sandwiched between The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. It doesn't reach the lofty heights of those films, but The Rescuers Down Under is a solid little flick with some incredible animation and a bad guy you can't help but hate.

    That bad guy happens to be Percival C. McLeach, a cruel poacher with a bad temperament and worse morals. The plot of the movie sees McLeach snatch a kid and eventually try to slay that kid to cover his tracks. Seems pretty evil to us.

    Too evil to rehabilitate?
  • 6

    Professor Ratigan

    Photo: The Great Mouse Detective / Buena Vista Distribution

    Looking to take over London, it's pretty clear Professor Ratigan is an evil dude right from the jump. Early on in The Great Mouse Detective, the wannabe ruler lets his pet cat, Felicia (don't ask), eat one of his hench-mice as punishment for insulting him. Not a good guy. He wants to put heavy taxes on those he sees as parasitic to society (i.e., those who are unhealthy or cannot help themselves). Not a good guy. He tries to slay his right-hand man - er, bat - in the midst of a temper tantrum. Not a good guy!

    Also, he's a rat, so a film featuring a sympathetic origin story for Ratigan seems highly unlikely.

    Too evil to rehabilitate?
  • 7

    William Clayton

    Photo: Tarzan / Buena Vista Pictures

    Moviegoers could tell William Clayton would end up being the antagonist of Tarzan the first time he showed up on screen in 1999. Look at his mustache! Good guys don't have that kind of mustache. Brought to life with aplomb by Brian Blessed, Clayton is a duplicitous hunter with a penchant for lying and double-barreled rifles.

    It is unclear how Disney would go about humanizing Clayton if they decided to give him a sympathetic origin story. He tries to capture a bunch of gorillas to sell them into captivity for a fortune. Oh, and he tries to terminate Tarzan. Fun note: He also is present in one of the most harrowing images ever seen in an animated Disney film!

    Too evil to rehabilitate?
  • Photo: Aladdin / Buena Vista Pictures

    In a true triumph of character design, Aladdin's Jafar oozes villainy from the very second he slithers on screen. This sorcerer is about as evil as they come in Disney animation, and the family entertainment giant clearly meant for him to be that way.

    How can you tell? Well, they already remade Aladdin into a live-action film, and they didn't really do anything to change Jafar's character at all. He's a power-hungry villain. It's as simple as that. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Too evil to rehabilitate?