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Top 10 Surprise Disney Villains

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Looks can be deceiving, as demonstrated through these surprise Disney villains. We’ll be going over the villains from Disney and Pixar films whose status as the villain came as a surprise to the audience. We won’t be ranking them based on the surprise itself, but rather the quality of the villains. MsMojo ranks the best surprise Disney villains. Which Disney villain took you by surprise? Let us know in the comments!
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We never saw these villains coming! Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 SURPRISE! Disney Villains.

For this list, we’ll be going over the villains from Disney and Pixar films whose status as the villain came as a surprise to the audience. We won’t be ranking them based on the surprise itself, but rather the quality of the villains. Also, because some of these are fairly recent films, there will be spoilers ahead.

#10: Henry J. Waternoose
“Monsters, Inc.” (2001)


The kind, paternal CEO of the film’s eponymous company, Henry J. Waternoose at first seems like anything but a villain. Rather, the movie’s primary villain is the sneaky Randall, Sulley and Mike’s rival, who plans to use a device to extract screams, the monsters’ energy source, directly from kidnapped children. It’s ultimately revealed that Waternoose is in on the scheme, though, having been driven to desperation by the energy crisis. While his actions are definitely evil, his desire to provide energy for his people and jobs for his employees is an understandable one.

#9: Evelyn Deavor
“Incredibles 2” (2018)


We were tempted to include Syndrome from the first “Incredibles” instead, but his identity is more of a revelation to the characters, rather than the audience. Granted, with a name that sounds almost like “evil endeavor,” we all should have probably seen this coming. Evelyn and her brother Winston both lost their parents after their father’s call to superheroes went unanswered due to the government cracking down on supers. While Winston inherited their dad’s love of heroes, Evelyn saw his reliance on them as the cause of his death, leading her to create a supervillain persona/avatar to control supers remotely to tarnish their name.

#8: Charles F. Muntz
“Up” (2009)


The childhood hero of Carl Fredricksen, Charles F. Muntz is a famed explorer and adventurer. Carl retains his hero worship as an elderly man and is thrilled to meet Muntz on his adventure to Paradise Falls. However, it’s soon revealed that Muntz has been ostracized by society, due to scientists doubting the veracity of a bird skeleton he brought back. Determined to prove the bird, which has befriended Carl and company, is real, Muntz’s obsessed, paranoid personality is a dark mirror to Carl’s; since both are haunted by the past. While Carl is able to let go, Muntz cannot, which leads to his undoing.

#7: Te Kā / Te Fiti
“Moana” (2016)


Te Fiti is a benevolent life goddess whose life-giving heart was stolen by the demigod Maui. Te Fiti’s heart is sought by many during the film, but it is eventually returned by Maui and Moana to Te Fiti’s island, which is guarded by the fiery Te Kā. Unable to locate Te Fiti on the island, Moana eventually realizes that Te Kā is actually Te Fiti; made, quite literally, heartless. Te Kā/Te Fiti’s gorgeous designs and ties to the film’s themes of compassion and identity make her a great and surprising antagonist.

#6: Yokai / Robert Callaghan
“Big Hero 6” (2014)


Professor Robert Callaghan is introduced as a teacher at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, and the mentor of the young protagonist Hiro; giving him helpful advice and warning him against those who would use his inventions for unsavory reasons, like Alistair Krei. Callaghan appears to die in a fire along with Hiro’s brother. Soon after, the masked villain Yokai appears, using Hiro’s invention for destruction and violence. While they initially suspect Krei, Yokai is revealed to be Callaghan, whose desire for vengeance on the former is driven by the loss of his daughter; compromising his principles for the sake of revenge.

#5: Ernesto de la Cruz
“Coco” (2017)


As we’ve seen already, it can be tough to meet your heroes. The apparent great-great grandfather of the young hero, Miguel, Ernesto de la Cruz is famed guitarist, singer, and actor. Miguel makes it his mission to find his ancestor in the Land of the Dead, finding help from Ernesto’s friend Héctor. However, it comes to light that Ernesto actually stole Héctor’s songs and guitar to achieve fame and glory after murdering him. Ernesto is a villain who shows that while pursuing your dreams is admirable, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your humanity.

#4: King Candy / Turbo
“Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)


Trusting those in power can be a tricky proposition. King Candy is the ruler of “Sugar Rush,” a sweets-themed racing arcade game. While he comes across as harsh in his treatment of Vanellope von Schweetz, his apparent desire to prevent her glitch from driving away players and leading to the end of his people’s game cabinet seems justified. In truth, Candy is a usurper, having stolen Vanellope’s place in the game and only wanting to prevent her from taking it back, should she enter a race. Candy’s true identity, as the infamous rogue game character Turbo, is nicely foreshadowed, and parallels Ralph’s desire to find purpose and acceptance.

#3: Stinky Pete
“Toy Story 2” (1999)


The “Toy Story” franchise has several great, deceptive villains, and while it was tempting to choose Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear instead, Stinky Pete had to be our pick. A toy from the same TV show as Woody, Stinky Pete is an apparently unopened prospector toy, whose wisdom and mentor-like attitude lead Woody to trust him. However, it’s soon seen that Pete has actually been sabotaging Woody’s attempts to return to Andy in the hopes that they’ll become museum pieces. Having never been played with, and knowing what that rejection feels like, his draconian attempts to remain appreciated forever are logical, if a bit too much.

#2: Prince Hans
“Frozen” (2013)


Handsome is as handsome does. Prince Hans seems the perfect Disney prince throughout most of the film, beloved by both the people and by the heroine Anna, though he has a few detractors. Hans only reveals his true colors towards the film’s end, though, as he unveils his plan to take over the kingdom while leaving Anna to die and setting out to kill her sister Elsa, too. Ambitious and highly manipulative, Hans is a deceptive and murderous villain whose plans are very nearly effective.

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

AUTO
“WALL-E” (2008)

Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)

#1: Dawn Bellwether
“Zootopia” (2016)


Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing! The diligent and downtrodden assistant mayor of Zootopia, Bellwether is a seemingly meek sheep whose actual nature is quite sinister. When an outbreak of rabid predators is covered up by her boss, Bellwether takes the reigns of the animal metropolis. Yet, she eventually reveals that she is responsible for the crisis among the predators; having dosed them to create panic to take power and get revenge on predators, whom she views as walking all over prey animals. While her personal experiences are somewhat relatable, Bellwether’s actions are also an excellent allegory for race relations.
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