Protagonists like Buzz Lightyear, WALL-E, and Nemo all have stories we know and love, having been the primary focus of Pixar films over the years. But how about those Pixar villain origin stories? After all, they say a story is only as good as its antagonist, and Pixar has had some great baddies we've loved to hate since the studio burst onto the scene in 1995 with Toy Story.
And while villains like Ratatouille's Skinner and Coco's Ernesto de la Cruz have basically zero redeeming qualities whatsoever, Pixar has also given us a few villains we can't help but feel a bit sorry for from time to time. Syndrome idolized Mr. Incredible as a kid only to be rejected by his hero in the end. Lotso ended up being unceremoniously replaced after being accidentally abandoned at a picnic. Stinky Pete was left to collect dust on shelves for literal decades. We don't always see eye-to-eye with Pixar villains, but sometimes we can sympathize with their plight.
- Photo: Toy Story 3 / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Lotso, the villainous bear from Toy Story 3, is not exactly the most beloved character in the Pixar canon. In fact, it's hard not to feel a sense of satisfaction when he gets strapped to the grill of a truck at the end of the movie. After everything he put our beloved toys through? And all the other countless toys before that? That strawberry-scented bear got what he deserved.
But that doesn't mean his backstory isn't tragic. After being accidentally left behind on a picnic by his original owner Daisy, Lotso and Daisy's other toys Big Baby and Chuckles trekked all the way back to her house, only to see that Lotso had been replaced by another Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear. Well, this sparked an angry fire in that pink bear, and Daisy's betrayal changed him into the kind of toy that would deliberately cause harm to others in order to get what he wants. Lotso's origin is an interesting corollary to Jessie's from Toy Story 2; both backstories do a solid job of highlighting the deep traumas such a betrayal can cause in one's life.6710Tragic backstory?
- Photo: Ratatouille / Buena Vista Pictures
With a name like "Anton Ego," it's not surprising this food critic ended up being one of the primary antagonists in 2007's Ratatouille. That's a name that just screams, "I'm a self-entitled villain!" And though Ego clearly reveled in coming down hard on restaurants in his vocation - his writing room is shaped like a coffin, after all - by the end of the film, he ends up remembering what began his love affair with food in the first place.
Ego is a great example of a well-done film villain. For much of the runtime, he's a scary figure who can ruin the reputation of a restaurant with his pen. By the end, he ends up investing in a restaurant with Remy and Linguini, and the audience has genuinely seen his demeanor change over time. He begins the film by claiming, "I... take cooking seriously, and no, I don't think anyone can do it." But by the end, his attitude has changed as he states, "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."6817Tragic backstory?
Evelyn Deavor Was A True Childhood Believer In Superheroes, But Lost Her Faith When Her Parents DiedPhoto: Incredibles 2 / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
It's hard not to wonder what Evelyn Deavor would've done with her life had she not turned to supervillainy and terrorism in Incredibles 2. While her brother Winston Deavor is clearly a nice guy, Evelyn is the obvious brains behind their company, DevTech. All those brains and she had to use them for evil. Well, with a name like Evelyn Deavor (cough, cough... evil endeavor) it seemed inevitable.
When Evelyn and Winston were kids, burglars broke into their family home one night. Even though the Deavors had a safe room - and this is the exact situation in which a safe room comes in handy - their father decided it would be a good idea to call superheroes Gazerbeam and Fironic for help. That help never arrived and Mr. Deavor was fatally shot. Shortly after, Evelyn and Winston's mother died from heartbreak, leaving them all alone. This loss marked the siblings for life, but Evelyn used it as fuel to become the mastermind behind Screenslaver.5514Tragic backstory?
- Photo: The Incredibles / Buena Vista Pictures
As the old saying goes, you never want to meet your heroes. Young Buddy Pine, Mr. Incredible's No. 1 fan, learned this the hard way. Buddy was so obsessed with Mr. Incredible's amazing feats of derring-do, he wanted to join him as a sidekick called "IncrediBoy." Although Buddy was a technical genius even at that young age, bringing a child along to fight supervillains seems like a pretty bad idea from the jump - we're looking at you, Batman - and Mr. Incredible promptly shut Buddy down.
And it's hard to blame him! The battlefield is no place for a child. But, good old Robert Parr could've let the kid down a little bit easier. Sure, he was a bit annoying and didn't know how to take no for an answer, but he was an impressionable kid. The fact that Buddy Pine ended up becoming the villainous Syndrome later in life due to this childhood rejection only solidifies the unavoidable truth that Mr. Incredible could've handled the whole situation a lot better than he did.6524Tragic backstory?