Starting with 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney has been all about the villains. In the last 78 years, they have given cinema some of the most depraved, quotable, fashionable, and confusingly lovable bad guys and gals. But while you might be able to recite Scar’s soliloquies by heart, or you sing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” every time you shower, can you say that you know all of these (slightly morbid) Disney villain facts?
1. How many are we dealing with?
Of Disney’s 54 animated feature films (starting with Snow White and ending with their most recent, Big Hero 6), only 46 have distinct antagonist figures. And with some films, like Bolt and Dumbo, that definition is flimsy at best. (The villain-less films are Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Winnie the Pooh.)
2. Who run the world? (Girls!)
While the first Disney animated feature starred the Evil Queen as the big bad, only ten of the aforementioned 46 films have villainesses as the primary antagonist. It's worth noting that Si and Am (the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp) may or may not be female, although the fact that they were voiced by a woman points to the former.
3. Survival rate? Not bad.
Being bad could be worse: only 19 villains (fewer than half) have had definite on-screen deaths. This is not counting any deaths that may occur in sequels or video games.
4. No need to fall all over yourselves.
Everyone knows that the leading cause of death for Disney villains is falling, but do you know how many baddies actually plummet to their dooms? The number is nine, which accounts for almost half of villain deaths. The fatal flyers are: the Evil Queen, Ratigan, Percival McLeach (The Rescuers Down Under), Gaston, Frollo, Clayton*, the Jack-in-the-Box (Fantasia 2000), a carnataurus (Dinosaur), and Mother Gothel (sorta).
Other popular ways of dying include “deal with the devil gone bad,” as seen with Dr. Facilier and the Horned King, and death by mode of transportation (a la Ursula).
*Yes, I know his cause of death is hanging, but he still falls, okay?
5. The greatest mystery.
There are at least two villains whose fates are left uncertain, although it is suggested that they were highly unpleasant – more unpleasant than some of the on-screen demises.
One is Madame Medusa, who it is implied never escapes her pet crocodiles at the end of The Rescuers, and instead becomes a tasty snack (and you thought Scar's death was gruesome). The other is Man from Bambi. According to a “making of” feature on the Bambi DVD, Walt Disney wanted to show that Man burned to death in the forest fire he started. Talk about karma.
6. Looking to hire murderers, schemers, & blackmailers.
The most popular profession for Disney villains is, unsurprisingly, royalty. There are seven kings, queens, and princes within the rogues’ gallery. There are also five hunters, two pirates, and two royal viziers, among others.
7. I've got the magic in me...
Female villains are more likely to be magic users, with over half of Disney villainesses possessing some magical skill (compare that to a sixth of the men).
8. Worst of the worst.
Only eight Disney villains have ever committed murders, and this number shrinks when you take animals out of the equation (sorry, Bambi’s mom). They seem to be more about manipulation, fortune-seeking, and attempted murder. The actual killers are Bambi's Man, Scar, Judge Frollo, Shan Yu, Clayton, Commander Rourke, Dr. Facilier, and Yokai from Big Hero 6.
And there you have it: eight stats you might not have known about Disney's fantastic villains. Did I miss anything? Do you know any more fascinating tidbits? Share in the comments below!