We're all familiar with the big players in the Disney universe: Simba, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Pocahontas, etc. You get the idea. But I want to focus on the "little people"; the secondary characters who may not get as much screen time as the big stars, but are always there to help the hero defeat the bad guy, get the girl and live happily ever after. Enjoy!
I will be going into detail about the outcome of several classic Disney movies. Not being one to want to steal the magic and joy of seeing said classics for the first time, I give you this chance to stop reading. Still here? Onward!
#1 - Angus MacBadger, The Wind in the Willows
While he's from a lesser-known movie, this grizzly Scot holds a cozy corner in the heart of every die-hard Disney fan. This long-suffering soul not only handles the finances for the neighborhood's richest - and most foolish - occupant, but is the one to bring news of Mr. Winky's treachery to Rat and Mole, enabling them to storm Toad Hall, retrieve the deed from Winky and his dastardly weasel gang, and exonerate Toad.
Toad's finances would have continued to deteriorate until he was left penniless and overwhelmed with debt. He would have been forced to declare bankruptcy, losing Toad Hall and, in accordance with the times, been sent to debtor's prison to await the payment of his debt. His friends would visit him, while the neighborhood at large would avoid any mention of him. Thus Toad's life would have ended in poverty and obscurity.
#2 - B.E.N., Treasure Planet
B.E.N. - Bio-Electric Navigator - is the marooned robot that Jim and Morph discover living on the wild Treasure Planet. Although B.E.N.'s memory chip is missing, he remembers traveling with Captain Flint and agrees to help Jim on his quest to find Flint's treasure. He provides a hideout for the fugitive crew members, shows Jim secret paths that intersect throughout the planet, and he helps them escape when the planet self-destructs.
After crash landing on the unfamiliar planet, Jim, Dr. Doppler, Captain Amelia and Morph would have had nowhere to hide before being captured by the pirates. Without B.E.N.'s fragmented memories of Captain Flint, Jim wouldn't have been able to figure out how the map worked, which would have prevented them from finding the treasure quickly, if at all. Captain Amelia would have died of her wounds, probably just in time to avoid being blown up with the rest of the crew when the planet self-destructed, and Jim's mother would have spent the rest of her life watching the stars, waiting for her son to come home.
#3 - Chicha, The Emperor's New Groove
Known for her opinionated and spunky attitude, this lady deals with a whole lotta crazy. From talking llamas to old ladies and their lovable bodyguards, she handles it all with grace and poise. When her husband comes home to beg her to help him and Kuzco escape from Yzma and Kronk, Chicha doesn't hesitate to pull every trick in the book. With the help of her kids, she successfully distracts the llama-hunters long enough for Pacha and Kuzco to get a head start to the palace.
Without enough time for Pacha and Kuzco to get away, Yzma would have successfully captured the duo and made sure that they were out of the picture...permanently. Then the reign of Empress Yzma would have begun, dooming the entire kingdom to the rule of a vain and ruthless woman.
#4 - David Kawena, Lilo and Stitch
This Hawaiian heartthrob plays a key role in Nani and Lilo's lives after their parents are killed in a car accident. His love and support are a bastion for the sisters, even when they don't realize it. Add a couple of friendly (and not-so friendly) aliens to the mix and David doesn't even blink. He firmly stands by his friends and defends them selflessly.
Without someone to lean on, Nani would have become hardened and bitter, preventing her from connecting with Lilo. Lilo would have acted out so badly that Cobra Bubbles would have been forced to put Lilo into foster care. Without Lilo to adopt him, Stitch would never become good and would have been eventually recaptured by Jumba and Plinkley and exiled to life on a barren asteroid.
#5 - Fa Zhou, Mulan
Mulan's relationship with her dad varies throughout the story, but it's her love for him that causes her to join the army disguised as a man. Fa Zhou tries to guide Mulan, and when he discovers her missing, he wisely does nothing, protecting her from the punishment for her deception. When she returns home a heroine, Zhou welcomes her with open arms and arguably one of the sweetest lines ever said in a Disney film: "The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter." Right in the feels.
Mulan would have grown up and, without a father to be called up for battle, would not have joined the army. When the Huns came, the Chinese army would have quickly fallen. Ling, Yao, Chien Po and General Shang would have all been killed in battle and Shan Yu would have conquered China, forcing her citizens to live under his tyrannical rule.
#6 - Helga Sinclair, Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Helga is the beautiful lieutenant who works for Commander Rourke on the expedition to Atlantis. She follows his orders to the letter, helping him steal the ancient crystal from Atlantis so that they can sell it to the highest bidder. When Rourke betrays her and throws her from a rising blimp, she makes one final shot before she dies, puncturing the blimp and giving Milo and his friends time to secure the crystal/Kida and bring them back to the city just before the volcano erupts.
Rourke would have killed Milo and ascended to the surface, selling the crystal at the first opportunity. Bereft of their life source, the Atlanteans would have died rapidly. Milo's friends would have been overcome by the volcano and any trace of Atlantis would have been eradicated.
#7 - Jim Crow, Dumbo
This cool crow is not only a snazzy singer, but also plays a huge part in Dumbo's story. He gives Timothy the "magic feather" that is just the self-confidence boost Dumbo needs to actually fly! Even though it's just a plain crow feather, Jim weaves such a magical web around it that it becomes exactly what Timothy needs to motivate the little elephant.
Without a smooth talking crow to convince him, Dumbo wouldn't have had the confidence to attempt flying again. He would have spent his days putting on clown makeup and falling into vats of pie filling. His mother would have spent the rest of her life locked up, and Timothy would have become a washed-up performer telling anyone who would listen about the "amazing flying elephant".
#8 - Kocoum, Pocahontas
This fierce brave is viewed by Pocahontas as a stern, no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, but Kocoum is much more than that. He genuinely cares about Pocahontas and only wants to keep her safe from the strange white men. When Nakoma comes to him with the news that Pocahontas has snuck out of the village, Kocoum doesn't hesitate to go after her. When he sees her locked in the embrace of a white man, his only thought is to save her from what he thinks is a dangerous situation, but is tragically gunned down by Thomas.
Thomas, who followed John Smith when he sneaked out of the fort, would have seen his captain caught by a savage girl. Thinking to save him, he would have shot Pocahontas, killing her before John could explain what was going on. Chief Powhatan, consumed by grief, would have immediately killed John and led a bitter war against the white men. This war would have changed the way the Indians viewed the white men and they would have been forever hostile to any new settlers arriving on their shores.
#9 - Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast
This flamboyant candelabra plays a significant role in Belle's life while she lives at the castle. He brings her to Maurice, who is imprisoned by the Beast in his dungeons. He is the first one to make Belle feel truly at home after she agrees to trade places with her father. He gently guides the Beast as he begins to befriend Belle and organizes one of the most iconic romantic nights ever. When Gaston and the villagers storm the castle, Lumiere leads the defense of the castle, eventually driving most of the villagers away.
The Beast would have struggled to connect with Belle, his feral ways being more animal than human. His attempts to woo her having fallen flat, the magic flower would have wilted and doomed all of the castle's occupants to life in their enchanted forms. Gaston would have attacked the castle, killed the Beast and dragged Belle back to the village, where she would have lived in fear of Gaston for the rest of her life, the Beast's head mounted on the tavern wall.
#10 - Pascal, Tangled
While this charming chameleon doesn't speak a word throughout the entire movie, his impact on Rapunzel cannot be denied. Pascal is the only friend Rapunzel has during her years in the tower. He models dresses, plays games, and lends a sympathetic ear whenever necessary. In short, he keeps Rapunzel sane. After leaving the tower, he keeps a suspicious eye on Flynn and is instrumental in the defeat of Mother Gothel.
Without a friend to talk to or play with, Rapunzel would have eventually lost her mind. Mother Gothel would have been able to completely manipulate her and twist her mind to be completely subservient to her will. When Flynn arrived, Rapunzel would have captured him and given him over to Mother Gothel, who would have killed him to prevent anyone learning about the secret tower. The king and queen wouldn't have found their daughter and the royal line would have ended.
All in all, these characters are proof that no one person can do something amazing by themselves. Everyone needs a little help now and then - even Disney heroes.