It's hard to be a secondary character in a children's film. Everyone wants to be Buzz Lightyear, no one wants to be Hamm. Aladdin is a cool Halloween costume, his monkey is just the lesser of the offensive Apus.
This goes double for any sidekick baddies in the Disney landscape. Ursula gets to be an octo-witch with magic aural super powers, but her lackies, Flotsam and Jetsam, mainly just serve to flip over the canoe during the "Kiss the Girl" number.
So you got to wonder: what's in it for the villainous sidekicks in these films, who are constantly being berated by their (literally evil) bosses, stuck doing the grunt work and not making scale. Some henchmen (or women!) do it because they too are evil, some do it because they want to ascend the ranks past their own meager position in life, and some...well, some just don't know any better, having developed a form of Stockholm's Syndrome with their boss/master/owner/whatever. Those are the thirsty sidekicks, and they can be redeemed. Others, like the hyenas in The Lion King, are only out for themselves, and are therefore fit more in the "chaotic evil" section of the alignment chart.
Below, the Disney villain sidekicks ranked from thirstiest to worstiest.
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, 'The Lion King'
Shenzi, Banzai and Ed definitely win the least thirsty award for actually killing and eating their master, Scar, when he doesn't make good on his promise of bountiful food he made during his (very Nazi-inspired) pitch to have them kill Mufasa and Simba.
Which just goes to show: bad help, like good, is hard to find.
Dr. Jumba and Agent Pleakley, 'Lilo and Stitch''
To refresh: Dr. Jumba Jookiba (the many-eyed walrus thing) and Agent Pleakley (the stalk with an eye at the top) are not as bad as they look. Yes, they are both working under orders from the Galatic Confederation to bring Stitch back from Earth and send (what they dub) "Experiment 626" to a deserted asteroid, don't forget that Dr. Jumba created Stitch himself, secretly, in almost outright rebellion of the Confederation, which is why he is in jail in the first part of the film.
These two are both more comedic foils than villains or even henchmen, and it's no surprise that they swap over to Team Good Guys by the third act. Are they thirsty? Hell yeah! (Especially Agent Pleakley.) But eventually they're thirsty for good things like ʻohana,' or 'family.' By the end of the movie (and into the sequels), both Dr. Jumba and Agent Pleakley are both steadfastly on the side of the good guys. But does that make them less thirsty?
These are the thirstiest side-wenches in all the land, although the Disney version cuts out the part of the original Grimm's tale that would show you just how far these step-sisters were willing to go to marry Prince Charming. No spoilers, but if you want to know, Into the Woods includes a non-gory version of that adaptation.
But besides thirsting for that sweet prince action, are these sisters truly villain loyalists, or could either of them ever switch sides and be redeemed? The Disney version says no, Drew Barrymore's Ever After claims at least one for the side of good, and the aforementioned Into the Woods shows a step-family so thirsty to stand next to the crown they immediately start sucking up to their former kitchen wench the moment she marries into royalty. So essentially, these ladies are the Kardashians of Disney. Take that as you will.
Has there been a lackey in history more thirsty than LeFou? He literally has an entire song dedicated to how virile and masculine his...boss?...best friend?...childhood chum who still takes him out to shoot geese once in awhile?...is. And look, Gaston is a very handsome guy, what with that butt-chin and his diet of 60 eggs a day.
But LeFou is a terrible influence on Gaston, even more so than those three swooning village girls, because he doesn't just take his orders from rural France's prototype for toxic masculinity, he actually encourages his bad behavior:
Who does she think she is? That girl has tangled with the wrong man! No one says "no" to Gaston!
Heh heh. Darn right.
Dismissed! Rejected! Publicly humiliated! Why, it's more than I can bear.
These two belong in a Neil LaBute play, not roaming around our childhood imagination.
Appears In: Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast