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A Ranking of Disney Villains, Based on How Stupid Their Plans Are

Updated September 24, 2019 3.3k votes 479 voters 15.9k views12 items

List RulesVote up the Disney villain plans that were doomed from the start.

The nefarious plots of Disney villains stand as the unquestioned model of evil for young viewers. As a child, challenging the validity of the bad guy's plans is far beyond the scope of engaged viewing. A sea witch who wants to rule the ocean or a fashion-obsessed woman who craves a dog-skin jacket presents an imminent threat to the safety of Disney's leading protagonists. That alone is enough to classify Disney villains as crazed monsters capable of upsetting the delicate balance of good and evil. 

However, if the evil plans of some of Disney's greatest animated villains are examined closely, the total absurdity of their schemes shine through. Not only are their plans riddled with plot holes, but some of their strategies are just plain stupid. While they may have opportunities to tip the scales in favor of evil, most schemes are hardly the work of criminal masterminds.  

From sinister queens to power-hungry lions, plenty of Disney villains leave a lot to be desired in their plots. Taking over the world might be on their agenda, but creating well thought-out plans certainly isn't.

  • Jafar's goal is nothing new in the realm of Disney villains' evil plans. Jafar wants power, pure and simple. Does he use his head and the application of logical thinking to attain it? After all, he made it quite far in his local government thanks to his smarts. But alas, he becomes overly obsessed with a lamp trapped in the magical Cave of Wonders. 

    Jafar's entire evil plan rests on obtaining the Genie and using his three wishes to establish himself as sultan to gain the ultimate power he's always craved. However, Jafar has the ability to hypnotize people, conveniently accompanied by direct access to the Sultan each and every day thanks to his position as grand vizier of the Sultan. In fact, he hypnotizes the Sultan when it suits his needs - so why doesn't he bewitch the ruler into passing over his power? Instead, Jafar wastes valuable time searching for a "diamond in the rough" in order to obtain the Genie's lamp. 

    Jafar continues to fall victim to his own poor plans by passing the duty of getting the lamp to another person. By this action, Jafar transfers control of his entire future to untrustworthy criminals and one particular "street rat." The idea of Aladdin using the lamp for his own purposes should have been a concern to Jafar. Put simply, Jafar opens up the door to his own demise.

    Aladdin would have never known about the lamp if it weren't for Jafar. And Jafar could have continued to hypnotize the Sultan for years with no one the wiser, obtaining power for himself. Furthermore, if he had kept his plan a secret, outside sources would have never been tempted to use the lamp for their own purposes.

    Of course, Jafar is likely caught up on the idea of a genie that grants his wishes, just as anyone would be. Unfortunately, his obsession and poor planning skills are the sources of his ultimate failure.

    Is this a bad plan?
  • Although later releases reveal more information about Maleficent's intentions, the original villain of the 1959 Sleeping Beauty is the epitome of petty. When Maleficent isn't invited to pay her respects after the birth of Princess Aurora, she responds by showing up anyway and cursing the new babe. She promises that by the time Aurora is 16, she'll prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and perish. And while the curse is later altered for the young princess to fall into a deep sleep instead, it doesn't change the fact that her actions are slightly excessive given the circumstances. 

    Let's take a look at this for a moment: Maleficent isn't invited to a party, so she decides to destroy the guest of honor and her family in retaliation. It's just a wild guess, but that may have been why she wasn't invited in the first place. In addition to her pettiness over an invite, the plan itself hinges on the curiosity of a teenager and the need for a spinning wheel, while Maleficent makes the mistake of dismissing the power of true love's kiss.

    Of course, Maleficent can't let her threat go. Even when the entire kingdom works to keep Aurora hidden, Maleficent spends the next 16 years searching for the princess in order to make good on her threat. All this because she wasn't invited to a party. 

    Is this a bad plan?
  • Like many Disney villains' evil plans, Hades's scheme revolves around seizing power from Zeus and ruling over all. Interestingly, he actually has a fairly foolproof plan to accomplish his goal. After the birth of Hercules, Hades meets with the Fates, who tell him that the planets will align in 18 years. At that time, Hades can release the Titans from their prison, allowing him to defeat Zeus and ascend from the Underworld to the throne. There's only one thing standing his is way: Hercules. Logically, Hades decides to end Hercules right then and there, eliminating any obstacles that would block his path to Mount Olympus. 

    All of that makes sense - Hades wants the throne, someone's standing in the way, and he chooses to get rid of them. What doesn't make sense, however, is Hades's choice to send Pain and Panic to carry out the task. Hades knows that this is his one chance to take out Zeus. He's well aware that he needs to take care of Hercules while he's still a baby, before he can truly fight back. Knowing all this, he still sends his two dopiest minions to secure his entire future. Pain and Panic are obviously far from the sharpest tools in the shed - so why would he trust them to effectively take out a god? 

    The real kicker is that Hades doesn't learn from his mistake. Pain and Panic fail to complete their task when Hercules is a baby. When Hades finds out, he still sends his incompetent minions out on important errands. He also sends the snarky femme fatale Meg, with the idea that she might be able to lead Hercules astray. But she, too, turns on Hades, as she falls for the son of Zeus.

    Hades is the god of the Underworld - why doesn't he just deal with Hercules himself? 

    Hades continually sends other people and creatures to do his dirty work, and then acts surprised when they fail. It may be that Hades knows he's incapable of beating Hercules himself, but he could have sent a more skillful team to complete the most important mission of his life. By sending his minions, Hades practically seals his own fate.

    Is this a bad plan?
  • In comparison to the evil plans of other Disney villains, Captain Hook's scheme actually makes a lot of sense. In truth, Peter Pan might be more of a miscreant than the fallible Captain Hook. Hook's quarrel with Pan stems from a fraught history between the two characters, culminating in Pan cutting off Hook's hand. Hook wants revenge on Pan for the loss of his limb, which by Disney standards, seems pretty fair. 

    Hook's approach to confronting Pan has some merit. He captures Princess Tiger Lily, hoping that she'll disclose the location of Pan's hideout. He also smartly recognizes Tinker Bell's jealousy of Wendy and uses her envious emotions to trick her into giving away the location of Pan's hideout. He also successfully captures the Lost Boys and the Darling children, but fails to end Pan due to Tinker Bell's intervention. 

    As twisted as it may sound, Hook's problem is that he isn't ruthless enough. His plans involve a sense of cold-blooded aggression to breed success, but Hook never moves fast enough to reach the more brutal elements of his schemes. He captures Tiger Lily, but fails to interrogate her effectively before she's saved by Pan. He tricks Tinker Bell, but doesn't dispose of her properly, ultimately leaving her free to save Pan from a disastrous demise. As much as Hook talks a big game, he tends to dawdle when it comes to carrying out his plans. Like many villains, he leaves just enough time for his hostages to be saved, ruining his ability to actually accomplish his goals. 

    Perhaps Hook doesn't have the stomach to dispose of his enemies in an effective way. If he embraced a more ruthless nature, he might be a successful villain. In his current state, however, he's quite the laughable crook.

    Is this a bad plan?