What Is The Disney Theory?
Basically, the Disney Theory is an attempt to show that all (or at least a large number of) Disney movies take place within the same shared universe. It accomplishes this mostly through the use of Easter Eggs, some of which, I'll admit, can be pretty hard to swallow. (No, not every pig is Pumbaa and not every deer is Bambi's mother.)
Now, let me say in advance that I'm not arguing for the validity of this theory. That can come another day. Rather, I am introducing a new layer to the theory by using it to uncover the dark heritage of one of Disney's most famous and iconic villains: Maleficent.
The Race Dilemma
I can't be the only one who has always thought Maleficent's appearance was a bit off. Seriously, what is she supposed to be?
Her skin is deathly pale, her eyes are bright yellow and she may or may not have a pair of horns. According to the lore, she's supposed to be a fairy, but does that creature look even remotely like a fairy to you? She doesn't even have wings! And if she is a fairy, then we have to deal with the fact that it's established pretty early on that she's somehow more powerful than others of her kind, even though no explanation for this is given.
Something else I find interesting is the way she still has followers. Why are these magical creatures so willing to sign up for her army when she regularly uses them for lightning-bolt target practice? Moreover, where does she even find an army of magical creatures to begin with?
What if I told you that the answers to all of these questions and more might reside not in Sleeping Beauty, or even in that time period, but a series taking place in modern day New York?
How American Dragon Connects With The Disney Theory
For those that don't know, American Dragon: Jake Long was a short-lived animated series on Disney Channel which started in 2005 and ended after only two seasons. It followed a teenage boy, Jake Long, having to balance school, dating and turning into a fire-breathing dragon to protect the magical world from the forces of evil.
It also, until today with the writing of this article, has never been officially connected with the Disney Theory. Even when it very clearly shares the same universe as a certain Hawaiian girl and her six-legged, blue dog.
The Lilo & Stitch cartoon focused on Lilo and Stitch trying to find the one place each of the other 625 experiments truly belonged. It also featured four crossovers with other Disney Channel shows, placing each one of them firmly in the same universe. These series were Recess, Proud Family, Kim Possible and, of course, American Dragon: Jake Long. If we accept Lilo & Stitch are part of the Disney universe Canon, then we also have to accept Jake Long is as well.
Now that we've established the connections, it's time to fulfill my promise and answer the questions regarding Maleficent's past. For starters, let's deal with the fact that...
She's Not A Fairy
Or, I should say, she's not a full-blooded fairy. I believe that Maleficent is a half-fairy. We already know that fairies in the Disney Universe can grow to human size, both from Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty itself, so one having a child with a human isn't entirely out of the question. This would explain why we never see her fairy wings or see her shrink down to a normal fairy size. She doesn't have any and she can't.
Of course, when describing her father, I'm using the term "human" pretty loosely. Remember, Maleficent is still stated to have stronger magic than full-blooded fairies. That's not going to come from a normal human. This is what leads me to believe that Maleficent's father is none other than the Dark Dragon.
For people who aren't fans of the series, the Dark Dragon is the #1 enemy of the Magical Community. No one knows who he really is or where he came from, but it's implied that he's older than all of the other dragons.
Now, just take a moment to compare his appearance to Maleficent's. Particularly the spines on their backs.
Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting the Dark Dragon, in his dragon form, had a child with a human-sized fairy. Remember, all dragons, just like Jake and Maleficent, have a human form. While the Dark Dragon's human form is never actually shown, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have one.
While I was researching this theory, I ended up rewatching Dragon Summit, the episode where the Dark Dragon made his first appearance. In this episode, Jake had to perform a number of tests to prove his worth to the Dragon Council, the ruling body of all the dragons. If he failed, it was implied that his grandfather, Lao Shi, would no longer be allowed to teach him. This is because the Dragon Council ALREADY had a rule against family teaching family.
Logically, a rule like this would only get implemented if the Council had problems with this before. Perhaps the Dark Dragon was his daughter's teacher. It couldn't just be a coincidence this rule just happened to be mentioned for the first time during the first appearance of the Dark Dragon, could it? And it would help to explain why Maleficent turned out as evil as she did. She wasn't born evil, just taught it from a very young age.
It also didn't help that she was an outcast among her mother's people. Remember how the fairies talked about her? They didn't simply hate maleficent. They were DISGUSTED by her. And why wouldn't they be? She was a hideous monster, and one born of a pairing which never should have happened. The Dragon Council, on the other hand, likely did respect her abilities somewhat. They might have even thought that her heritage would make her able to more easily relate to other fairies. And I believe this, mixed with a level of pity, led the Council to make one of its greatest mistakes ever...
Was Maleficent The German Dragon?
I'm using Germany as an example here. Aurora's country is never named, though, given the architecture and naming systems, if it wasn't ancient Germany, it was at least based on it.
Each country has a single dragon responsible for protecting its magical creatures. Jake Long is the American Dragon, Lao Shi was the Chinese Dragon, etc. It is, of course, possible to be a dragon in a country without necessarily being that country's dragon (such as Jake's sister). And this could be the case with Maleficent. I just don't believe it. For one thing, we know she commands the respect of magical creatures in the same way a country's Dragon might.
It's often assumed that her goons are all part of a single species, but take a closer look at them. One has a bird beak, one looks like it has an alligator jaw, two are some type of pig creatures and another is a monkey. She doesn't command an army of one species, but a mixed coalition of several. This alone means she must be in a respected position within the magical community. Another piece of evidence is the queen referring to Maleficent as "your excellence", implying that she had some type of official title (No, Mistress of Evil doesn't count).
Being the German Dragon would also explain why she was so furious about being snubbed an invite to the celebration. Everyone always disrespected Maleficent for how she was born (and, you know, the whole evil thing) and even becoming the German Dragon wasn't enough to make anyone care about her. She couldn't even get an invite to a party that literally everyone else in the kingdom was invited to.
When the Dragon Council found out about how she abused her powers, they probably tried to revoke her position, maybe even kill her, but she was too powerful. She even used her title of German Dragon to coax the German Magical Community into joining with her against the Council. For all we know, had it not been for Prince Phillip and the fairies, Maleficent's reign of terror might have even stretched into the 21st century, resulting in her coming into conflict with the first American Dragon.
Does Maleficent exist in the same universe as American Dragon: Jake Long? Was the Dark Dragon her father? Was she chosen by the Dragon Council to be the German Dragon (If not, did she usurp the position by force)? And what other implications does the inclusion of shows like American Dragon and Kim Possible have on the Disney Shared Universe?