Disney princess villains are an important part of any Disney princess movie! I mean, they’re so awful that it just makes us root for our favorite princesses even more, right. From Malificent to Ursula, we’ve got the complete list of villains that bring all the drama!
No Disney princess movie would be complete without at least one villain. Poor Cinderella and Moana even got stuck with several. The good part about it is that it just makes our happy endings even happier, right?
I’ve already made a Disney princess list but it’s high time I put together a list of the Disney princess villains. From the first Disney princess movie in 1938 to the most recent one with Moana, here’s every evil Disney villain you love to hate!
Disney Princess Villains
- The Evil Queen (a.k.a. Queen Grimhilde) – Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
- Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella – Cinderella
- Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty
- Ursula – The Little Mermaid
- Gaston – Beauty And The Beast
- Jafar – Aladdin
- Governor Ratcliffe – Pocahontas
- Shan Yu – Mulan
- Dr. Facilier – The Princess And The Frog
- Mother Gothel – Tangled
- Mor’du – Brave
- Te Ka and Tamatoa – Moana
- Namaari – Raya And The Last Dragon
The Evil Queen
The Evil Queen, also known as Queen Grimhilde, was our first Disney Villain. The character, inspired by the villain from the original Brother’s Grimm story, was originally Snow White’s mother. However, Walt Disney decided that she should be Snow White’s stepmother instead.
Why does she hate Snow White so much? Her magic mirror made her insecure…she wants to be the fairest one of all. Talk about vanity! Along with Maleficent, the Evil Queen is a popular Disney villain that people just can’t get enough of.
Just for fun: How well do you know your Disney movies? Do you know the names of the seven dwarfs? Can you name all the princesses on the official Disney princess list?
Lady Tremaine (with Anastasia and Drizella)
Here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know about Lady Tremaine (at least I didn’t). The actress that voiced Lady Tremaine, Eleanor Audley, was also the voice of Maleficent.
Not only that, listen closely next time you tour Disney’s Haunted Mansion and you’ll notice that she’s also the voice of Madame Leota.
As Cinderella’s evil stepmother, she’s one of those classic villains that everybody loves to hate!
Maleficent’s name is pretty appropriate, considering that in Latin it means evil-doing. Fittingly, she’s also known as the Mistress Of Evil (and I think Disney animation made a look that fits).
The flamelike shapes of her cape were based on a Czechoslovakian art book, her horns were inspired by goat horns and the neck of her cape was drawn with bat wings in mind.
I think Maleficent may be the scariest looking of all the Disney villains and she’s also one of the most iconic villains. Plus, she has the most magical powers, making her pretty cool overall! Even the live action movie with Angelina Jolie is pretty awesome! Overall, Maleficent is probably considered the favorite Disney villain overall and even has her own franchise.
Fun Fact: When the sound effects engineer was looking for just the right sound to represent a dragon (Maleficent) breathing fire, he asked the army to send film of flame throwers in action. It turned out to be just the sound he needed and that’s what was used in the Disney film.
The next Disney princess villain was Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Disney originally wanted Bea Arthur to voice the sea witch but her agent recommended against it and the part eventually went to Pat Carroll.
Ursula’s looks were inspired by the famous drag queen Divine. While at first glance she may look like an octopus, Ursula is actually a cecaelia, a mythical creature that’s part human, part octopus. She uses her creepy eel sidekicks Flotsam and Jetsam to get what she wants and good luck to any poor unfortunate souls that get in her way!
The next Disney princess movie to be released was Beauty And The Beast, starring who I personally think is the best villain, Gaston. Though the movie is based on a classic fairy tale, Gaston’s character was created differently for the Disney version. Originally the villain was supposed be one of Belle’s female relatives…imagine how different that movie would have been!
Another major change was that Gaston was to have survive the fall at the end of the movie, getting eaten by a pack of wolves. That idea was scrapped but then later used for Scar in The Lion King.
Aladdin, released in 1992, introduced us to the villain Jafar. He’s loosely based the character on Persian vizier Ja’far ibn Yahya, though the main inspiration came from the 1940 film The Thief Of Bagdad.
Disney originally had Patrick Stewart in mind for the role of Jafar but he had to turn it down due to Star Trek obligations. Eventually the role went to Jonathan Freeman who has been playing Jafar in movies, video games and even on Broadway ever since.
When casting this Pocahontas villain, Disney originally planned to use Richard White as Governor Ratcliff. Since he was also the voice of Gaston, they worried that it might be distracting for the audience to hear Gaston from Beauty And The Beast as they watched the movie.
Ultimately he was replaced with David Ogden Stiers, who also happened to be the voice of Cogsworth the Clock in Beauty And The Beast. It IS a small world after all!
In the Chinese version of Mulan, Shan Yu was voiced by Jackie Chan. Chan even made a music video for the song “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You”. Apparently, he’s not only known for his martial arts abilities, he’s also well known for his singing in Asia.
We all know Dr. Facilier as the bad guy in the Princess And The Frog and he’s a trickster of the highest order. The name Facilier is derived from the word facile, a French word meaning easy. It seems fitting since he was known for tempting folks to take the easy way out in life without having to earn it.
Fun Fact: In order to make Mother Gothel more relatable, Tangled creators interviewed female Disney employees in the real world and asked them what their own mothers did or said that annoyed them and made them feel restricted.
The phrase “you’re getting kind of chubby” in the song Mother Knows Best came from these interviews. It seems that sometimes Disney princess villains come in the form of passive aggressive mothers! I do have to admit, Mother’s Knows Best is my favorite villain song.
If she looks familiar, it may be because Mother Gothel’s physical appearance was inspired by the singer Cher. With her exotic looks and wild black hair, she embodied the gothic look they were going for.
When the Brave DVD was released in 2012, it included a short film titled The Legend Of Mor’du. This short tells the full story of Mor’du the bear and how he became the villain that we see in the movie.
Te Ka, Tamatoa and the Kakamora
The coconuts that make up the kakamora tribe are almost too cute to be villains. Directors created the chase scene as an homage to the Mad Max films but if you look closely, you’ll see a reference to another Disney movie too. One of the kakamora looks just like Baymax from Big Hero Six.
Another villain from Moana was Te Ka, whose name means “fiery” in Polynesian languages. Towards the end of the movie, Moana touches her forehead to Te Ka, which is a traditional Maori greeting of mutual respect.
Finally there’s the evil crab Tamatoa. Lin Manual Miranda, the man behind the music of Moana, has said that the character and his signature song Shiny was inspired by musician David Bowie. Tamatoa is also a coconut crab, who are also known as robber crabs because they apparently like shiny things.
The latest addition to the list of Disney villains is Namaari from Raya And The Last Dragon. In the beginning she bonds with Raya over their love of dragons but we quickly see that she has ulterior motives.
Her strength is in her martial arts skills, inspired by Muay Thai Kickboxing and Krabi Krabong. She’s a princess in her own right, making her the first princess in Disney history to also be a villain.
We love to hate them and our favorite Disney movies just wouldn’t be the same without the villains. I mean, if they actually changed their evil ways, that would take all the fun out of it.
From the Evil Queen to Gaston, it’s because of them we root for the princesses even more! Who’s your favorite Disney Princess Villain?
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