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Top 10 Disney Characters Who Are Actually the Villain

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Who’s the real villain here? For this list, we’re looking at characters from Disney and Pixar films whose actions are more villainous or at least less heroic than they first appear to be. Our list includes “Aladdin,” “Toy Story,” “Frozen,” “Dumbo,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Disney Characters Who Are Actually the Villain.
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Top 10 Disney Characters Who Are Actually the Villain


Who’s the real villain here? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top Top 10 Disney Characters Who Are Actually the Villain.

For this list, we’re looking at characters from Disney and Pixar films whose actions are more villainous or at least less heroic than they first appear to be.

#10: Aladdin
“Aladdin” (1992)


Not a lot of characters in “Aladdin” come off well upon reflection, and while it was tempting to give this entry to the Sultan, given that his incompetent rule leads to many of the other characters’ problems, we had to ultimately choose the title character himself. While he’s a lovable rogue, Aladdin is also a thief - although for the most part, that’s forgivable. More importantly though, Aladdin attempts to deceive Jasmine and the entire kingdom in order to get what he wants, which is basically exactly what Jafar is doing. Granted, his motives are slightly better, since they’re out of a desire for love rather than power, but he’s still not exactly a paragon of virtue.

#9: Woody
“Toy Story” (1995)


Listen, we love Woody, but we have to admit that he can come across as kind of a jerk, particularly in the first “Toy Story” film. The cowboy toy bosses the other toys around by virtue of being Andy’s favorite. When he feels his position is threatened, he tries to take Buzz out of the picture and ends up creating even more problems for himself. Then there’s the fact that he traumatizes Sid, a nominal antagonist, who’s just a kid doing what kids do to toys. He had no way of knowing they were intelligent, sentient beings because of their need to keep the fact that they’re alive a secret… unless they need to scare children, apparently. No, you play nice Woody!

#8: King Triton
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)


Disney movies feature plenty of overprotective parents, and arguably one of the worst examples of one who isn’t overtly an antagonist, is King Triton. Father of Ariel and the ruler of Atlantica, Triton displays a callous hatred for and prejudice towards humans. This causes conflict between him and his daughter, who is fascinated by them. His draconian rule pushes Ariel towards reckless acts of rebellion to pursue her passions and escape his ever-tightening hold over her life. Additionally, had Triton not exiled Ursula for unspecified reasons, it’s likely that Ariel would not have been able to turn to the sea witch for help; though we’ll grant that it may have been the villainess’ lack of trustworthiness that led to her exile in the first place.

#7: Emperor Kuzco
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)


The eponymous monarch of “The Emperor’s New Groove,” Kuzco is a spoiled, callous ruler before the story begins and during much of the film. Kuzco treats everyone around him as though they’re beneath him, without regard for their feelings, since he frequently insults them. He also doesn’t seem to care about their lives, like when he plans to build his new palace on Pacha’s land. Given that Yzma practically raised him, we can see why he turned out the way he did, and why she tried to overthrow him, but that still doesn’t excuse his appalling behavior.

#6: Elsa & Anna’s Parents
“Frozen” (2013)


Elsa and Anna’s parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle, both love their daughters, but their attempts at helping them cause much of the film’s conflict. Following Elsa inadvertently injuring Anna with her powers, the monarchs take Anna to some trolls to be healed. Although the trolls’ solution and cryptic advice also factor into the unfortunate events that follow, the King and Queen’s misinterpretation of their advice leads them to isolate their daughters from one another. It also causes Elsa to feel like there’s something wrong with her, which is definitely something that should be avoided when parenting.

#5: Joy
“Inside Out” (2015)


The perpetually peppy leader of the personified emotions of a young girl named Riley, Joy has the best interests of her human at heart. But her methods are what ultimately cause most of the issues dealt with in the movie. Joy wants Riley to be happy, but her need to monopolize control leads her to exclude the other emotions, especially Sadness; whose neglect leaves Riley unable to process how she feels about moving to a new city. Joy’s quest also leads her on an obsessive journey that ultimately leads to the “death” of an imaginary friend. Although she learns a costly lesson, she could have saved everyone some heartache if she had been more willing to cede control or the spotlight to others.

#4: The Elephants
“Dumbo” (1941)


The titular young, big-eared elephant faces plenty of adversities throughout the film, almost from the moment of his birth; due to being different than his peers. His fellow circus pachyderms mock him for his oversized lobes, as does nearly everyone else he encounters. Although at first protected by his mother, they are separated when her protective nature is mistaken for general aggression. Despite being practically orphaned, Dumbo is not taken in by his fellow elephants, who continue ridiculing him for a quirk of his genetics. This leaves him without a support system and causes him to endure further embarrassment and hardships.

#3: Peter Pan
“Peter Pan” (1953)


Tinker Bell may be an attempted murderer, but Peter Pan himself doesn’t exactly have a spotless track record. Although he battles pirates, Peter doesn’t really have the moral high ground when he does stuff like cut off his enemy’s hand and feed it to a crocodile. Even worse, if you think about it, Peter is an adult in the body of a child, who lures a group of kids away from their parents’ house in the middle of the night to put them in dangerous, life-threatening situations. Not exactly heroic behavior!

#2: The Enchantress
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)


While we were tempted to choose the eponymous Beast for this entry, given how many of his actions mirror the actual villain Gaston’s, ultimately we found that the true villain of the story is the Enchantress, who curses the Beast in the first place. After the prince rejects her request to spend the night in his castle based on her appearance (which is a disguise by the way), the Enchantress condemns not only him to spend years as a monster, but also curses his servants to spend years as inanimate objects for literally no reason! Sounds like entrapment and cruel and unusual punishment to us…

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Zeus
“Hercules” (1997)

King Stefan & Queen Leah
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959)

Troy Bolton & Gabriella Montez
“High School Musical” (2006)

Merida
“Brave” (2012)

Simba
“The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride” (1998)

#1: The Nicelanders & Fix-It Felix Jr.
“Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)


Sometimes people don’t live up to their names. The Nicelanders, the inhabitants of the town that the title video game villain continuously wrecks, consistently exclude Ralph from their lives, as they believe that his role in the game defines who he is. Similarly, they treat Fix-It Felix Jr. as a good guy, because that’s his “job.” Speaking of which, while Felix is generally more kind to Ralph than the others, he’s still rather ignorant of Ralph’s feelings and prioritizes the needs of the Nicelanders over Ralph. While all of them end up treating Ralph better eventually, most of the film’s events wouldn’t have happened if they were just nice to someone they’ve known for ages!
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