The Emperor's New Groove isn't the most popular Disney movie of all time, but it's certainly one of the most charming. The story is simple enough - a vapid emperor is transformed into a llama and must rely on a humble subject to regain his throne - but dedicated fans have peered between the lines to uncover new perspectives on the film.
There are tons of fan theories about The Emperor's New Groove out there, and some of them are more convincing than others. Whether they're about Kronk's true origins or the morality of turning people into animals, these entertaining conjectures will change the way you look at this Disney classic.
This theory from a former Redditor attempts to answer the baffling question of why anyone, especially Yzma, would employ Kronk in their service. They believe it is his dull wits that landed him the job in the first place.
Kronk may also be the only person dumb enough to put up with Yzma's constant ridicule. He's willing to follow her into the worst situations with no questions asked - a valuable asset in a henchman.
Redditor /u/twerking_nine2five has a theory about Kronk's nonhuman origins. They believe that Kronk used to be a squirrel or monkey before he was a human, and that Yzma transformed him using one of her potions.
The post lays out a lot of evidence for this theory, including the fact Kronk can speak to and understand squirrels. At the end of the film, Kronk is even seen teaching a bunch of boy scouts how to speak squirrel. Yzma also refers to him as a "monkey," and she tells Kuzco she has no idea how old Kronk is.
This theory from Redditor /u/lish_94 puts a sinister twist on a seemingly innocuous joke. There's a moment in the film when Kuzko witnesses a fly being eaten by a spider. The fly screams, "Help me!" just before it's eaten, and here lies the root of the theory.
The only animals in the movie that are shown to talk are those that were transformed by Yzma's potion. The fly having the ability to talk leads one to believe it must have been a human trapped in the body of a fly. Rather than a tongue-in-cheek nod to the 1958 film The Fly, this little detail makes the insect's demise more of a Kafkaesque nightmare.
According to Redditor /u/yay855's theory, Yzma might not be as bad as she seems. She's advised the royal familiy for generations, and her alchemical skills suggest she's using some sort of potion to make herself effectively immortal.
In comes Kuzco, the brattiest, most egotistical emperor to ever take the throne. It's stated that Yzma effectively raised Kuzco for most of his life, but he treats her like total garbage. She even tries to convince him not to build his ridiculous water park, but Kuzco fires her for it without a second thought. In fact, it's quite likely Kuzco would have torn down Pacha's home if Yzma hadn't turned him into a llama. Sure, she tries to off him, but mostly for the good of the empire.
Arguably, it's Yzma's actions that make Kuzco a better person in the end. He would have ruined the whole empire if she hadn't done something.