Let's be real: The best part of any Disney movie is the villain. Case in point? "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," a film we've been waiting for all year that finally arrives in theaters on Oct. 18, 2019. The "Maleficent" sequel starring Angelina Jolie in the title role as well as Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor and more, is all about a misunderstood, incredibly powerful faerie driven to seek revenge against the humans who betrayed her. In anticipation of the film's release, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at Disney's best villains. Keep reading for more…
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Is there anyone more vicious than a treacherous grand vizier who's vying to overthrow his king to steal his throne and his daughter? Disney's "Aladdin" showcases the best evil has to offer courtesy of its No. 1 villain, Jafar. Also, can we all admit that the actor who played the character, Marwan Kenzari, in the 2019 live-action remake of "Aladdin" is a total snack? Being bad never looked so good.
As far as villains go, Ursula from Disney's 1989 classic "The Little Mermaid" is one of the baddest and we love her for it. This tentacled would-be queen who rocks a full, feminine form, a "no trident-wielding king is gonna tell me what to do" attitude and the ambition to the rule the Seven Seas might have tricked Ariel and caused ships to sink to their doom, but sometimes, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
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Scar from "The Lion King" is undoubtedly the cruelest, coldest villain in the Disney playbook. Not only does he scheme to get his brother, King Mufasa, killed, but he tries to kill his own nephew, Simba. When that doesn't work, he pins his evil deed on the young cub, sentencing him to a life of banishment. And we thought uncles were supposed to be fun! We have to give actor Chiwetel Ejiofor props for bringing this ultimate bad guy to life in the 2019 remake of the animated film.
Trying to kill puppies is the quickest way to become one of the most hated villains in Disney history. Glenn Close's portrayal of the wicked Cruella de Vil in "101 Dalmatians" put a frightening human touch on the madwoman who's driven to steal as many pretty pups as she can in order to wear their soft, silky black-and-white fur.
In Disney's epic Day of the Dead tribute, "Coco," the villain turns out to be the most famous man in Mexico and the underworld, the musician Ernesto de la Cruz (back center). As Miguel (front) travels through the land of the dead searching for a blessing from the man he believes is his grandfather, he discovers the truth: Ernesto — voiced by actor Benjamin Bratt — is a fraud who murdered his real grandfather and will gladly keep Miguel trapped in the underworld, preventing him from returning home to his living family.
She might not have the biggest part in Disney's "Finding Nemo," but there is no character more terrifying than young Darla Sherman. She's the niece of dentist Philip Sherman — the guy who has Nemo trapped in his fish tank — who has a frightening habit of accidentally murdering every fish her uncle gives her.
There's a poetic duality in the villainess of Disney's 2016 adventure "Moana." Not only is Te Kā the fiery, volcanic demon who lashes out at travelers who come to close to her island oasis, but she is also Te Fiti — the very goddess of life who created the Hawaiian islands. Her spiral into fiery madness happens after she's violated by the film's true villain (although he's treated more like a funny sidekick), Maui, a demigod who stole Te Fiti's heart and doomed humanity in the process.
"Cinderella" officially made it hard for stepmoms everywhere thanks to the evil Lady Tremaine, a stepmother of the worst order who steals her dead husband's riches and turns her sweet stepdaughter into a servant. One of our favorite incarnations of this time-honored villain comes courtesy of Cate Blanchett, whose carefully placed sneers and powerful voice made the 2015 version of this legendary character feel dangerously new.
Syndrome is a villain born out of crazed superfandom. In Disney's "The Incredibles," a boy named Buddy Pine becomes obsessed with his favorite superhero, Mr. Incredible. His adoration hits peak creepy when he starts showing up at the scene of crimes, hoping to be his hero's sidekick. Of course, rejection leads Buddy down a dark path of revenge, turning him from an optimistic crime fighter to an evil criminal nemesis who's hoping to destroy the hero he once loved.
Disney, in all its wisdom, knew there could be no greater villain to a room full of living toys than an unsupervised preteen boy with a bad attitude. Enter Sid Phillips, the maniacal tween who gets his kicks blowing up, cutting and otherwise destroying the helpless playthings in "Toy Story."
In 1998's "Mulan," Shan-Yu is the ferocious leader of the Hun Army who marches through China like the plague, bringing death and destruction wherever he goes. Thankfully, our girl Mulan has the martial art skills to take down this behemoth and save her country. Fun fact: Shan-Yu won't return in the 2020 live-action remake of "Mulan." This time, there are two ultimate baddies: a powerful witch named Xian Lang and a vengeful warrior named Bori Khan.
A character hell-bent on getting revenge who happens to be an evil sorceress is the perfect recipe for a villain in 2000's "The Emperor's New Groove." Of course, we're talking about Yzma, the smoky-voiced witch (brought to life by singer Eartha Kitt) who tried but failed, time and time again, to end the life of the self-centered emperor she once served.
For as much as we love Colin Firth in films like "Nanny McPhee," we sure do hate him as Mr. Wilkins in Disney's "Mary Poppins Returns." In the film, Wilkins is a corrupt banker who'll stop at nothing to repossess the Banks' family home. Why? Because he can. Wilkins oozes the slippery charm of a poisonous snake right before it strikes.
Poor Rapunzel. In Disney's "Tangled," the long-haired beauty is condemned to life as a prisoner due to her mother's stories of danger beyond her tower walls. But a chance encounter with a thief leads Rapunzel to learn that Mother Gothel isn't her mother at all, but a vain and greedy kidnapping villain whose only mission in life is to stay young and beautiful by helping herself to Rapunzel's magical hair.
We can all understand being hangry. But for Shere Khan, missing out on a meal of a human child is infuriating enough to send him on a lifelong mission for vengeance in "The Jungle Book." While the tiger was busy trying to snack on Mowgli in the 2016 live-action remake, we were too busy enjoying the villain's sexy voice, which belongs to hunky British actor Idris Elba.
It's the voodoo that Dr. Facilier (aka The Shadowman) does in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" that makes him so deliciously evil. From turning a prince into a frog to tricking the movie's heroine, Tiana, into believing her dreams have come true, Dr. Facilier (voiced by actor Keith David) makes the villainous art of the con look like pure magic.
When ego and self-entitlement collide, you have Gaston, the antagonist of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." In the 2017 live-action remake, Luke Evans stars as this traitorous character, a man determined to marry Belle even if it means murdering the one she truly loves: The Beast.
Before we came to love Maleficent, we had the Evil Queen in Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Jealous of her stepdaughter's beauty and connection with nature, Evil Queen kicked Snow White out of the castle then remained hostile about her very existence. So, like any evil stepmother would do, she disguises herself as a kind, elderly woman eager to share a tasty — albeit poisonous — apple, sentencing Snow to what the queen hoped would be an eternal slumber.
In Disney's "Peter Pan" — an endearing story of innocence and childhood wonder — Captain Hook serves as the symbol for all things evil. Not only does he single-handedly (see what we did there?) seek to destroy Peter, but he also wants to annihilate youth, making him a crusty, curmudgeonly villain who makes us cheer each time he gets defeated.
Disney's heroic adventure "Hercules" took sibling rivalry to a supernatural level. When Zeus, the god of Mount Olympus, welcomes a half-human heir to the world, his jealous brother Hades (left) sets into motion an evil plan to kill Zeus and his son Hercules in order to take the mantle as god of all creation. Of course, evil uncles always lose (ahem, Scar from "The Lion King") but they sure do make things more exciting.
What made Hans Westergaard from Disney's "Frozen" such a good villain was his impeccable charm. Underneath his heart-emoji eyes for Anna, Hans was a master manipulator pretending to love and care for the queen's sister as much as he pretended to care about the kingdom of Arendelle. Of course once Queen Elsa was out of the picture and Anna was on the brink of death, we learned about the truly evil plot motivating Hans — a desire to rule a kingdom of his own, at any cost. Exciting news: The evil Hans is set to return in "Frozen 2," which arrives in theaters on Nov. 22, 2019!
In 2010's "Alice in Wonderland," Helena Bonham Carter stars as the evil Iracebeth of Crims, aka The Red Queen. The queen is bossy, callous, demanding and impatient, all made worse by her penchant for having her foes (even imagined ones) beheaded for the smallest slight. In 2016's "Alice Through the Looking Glass," The Red Queen returns, but she isn't half as bad as another villain: Time.
Speaking of time, one villain we can't forget is Red, played by Michael Pena in 2018's fantasy adventure "A Wrinkle in Time." Red (who technically is possessed by the evil IT) is the entity who's trapped Dr. Alex Murry and hypnotized Charles Wallace in a dimension outside of Earth, forcing the film's heroine, Meg, to overcome his powerful control with a force stronger than hatred: Love.
We're sensing a theme with the color red and evil villains. In Disney's "The Rescuers," red-headed villain Madame Medusa will stop at nothing to get her hands on the world's largest diamond, even if means risking the life of a young orphan girl. Fun fact: Madame Medusa's character was based on another villainess on our list: "101 Dalmatians" antagonist Cruella De Vil. But — wanting to avoid the appearance of a film sequel — animators gave Madame a different physical appearance, although they left some of her personality traits (like greed, selfishness and frightening driving skills) intact.