Earlier this week, Disney gave us the first trailer for Moana, which has all the makings of a Disney classic. It's got music from the creator of Hamilton, a magical fishhook, and it even boasts Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson!
But let's face it, there was one part of this trailer that drew us all in: THAT PIG! No one with a heart could possibly resist that little face. Yep, that pot-bellied critter is one of the cutest animated animal sidekicks I've ever seen:
That's actually saying a lot, because Moana's cute little piggy buddy Pua is definitely not the first. Disney has a long history of beloved sidekicks, but Pua comes from a long line of brilliant animals that help our favorite heroes on their epic adventures.
Kyle — Despicable Me
Gru and his odd little family may be the focus of Despicable Me, but what family would be complete without a family pet? Kyle is one of my favorite creatures, and it's all because of his attitude.
He's feisty and angry — not to mention terrifying — and yet Gru's kids turn him into a semi-respectable plaything. Keep freaking us out, Kyle!
Maximus — Tangled
For a character with not one line of dialogue in the film, Maximus has the maximum amount of personality. He doesn't talk, yet we know everything he's thinking.
His boldness, determination and expressiveness all come together to form one unforgettable horse. If my mother goes insane and tries to keep me locked up so she can have eternal youth, I want Maximus by my side, no matter what.
Toothless — How To Train Your Dragon
What if you took the innocent stupidity of your dog, mixed it with the sassy disobedience of your cat, and then put all of that inside a giant, deadly, fire-breathing monster?
Yes, Toothless may be scary at first glance, but after some time together, he will become your best friend and your greatest ally.
Slinky Dog — Toy Story
OK, so he's not technically a real dog. Nonetheless, Slinky is one of Andy's favorites and to me that makes him a perfect candidate for this list.
He might have a Southern drawl, but Slinky Dog is no hick. He's gotten our favorite toys out of some sticky situations. On top of that, he's getting his own themed rollercoaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios! Yep, you've gotta love Slinky Dog.
Mushu — Mulan
This will not be the last time you see Eddie Murphy on this list. The comedian's Mushu brought the perfect comedic balance to a movie with very serious themes.
Mulan was determined and courageous as well as scared and vulnerable. Mushu's comedy lightened the mood and was part of the reason Mulan was such a hit.
Dug — Up
Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking? Up's lovable canine sidekick Dug taught us that it's most likely: "Squirrel!"
Dug is lovable, endearing and loyal. He may seem a little ditzy, and that's probably because he's an airhead, but you could trust him with your life.
Puss In Boots — Shrek 2
What if Zorro were a cat? If this is a question you often ask yourself, then you haven't seen Shrek 2. Puss in Boots may have started out as a villain, but we've come to know him as one of the greatest heroes of the Shrek franchise.
He's nimble and skilled with a sword, but above all, he has morals. Puss in Boots strives to do the honorable thing, and that makes him a very valuable ally.
Unikitty — The Lego Movie
Unikitty may be the combination of a princess, a unicorn and a pink kitty, but her looks deceive. Under the surface is a deranged, anger-filled rage beast. Don't get on her bad side, for fear she'll rip you to shreds.
However, any friend of hers can count on her in their time of need. She may have some anger management issues, but I'm willing to overlook those when they come from such a formidable heroine.
Perry The Platypus — Phineas And Ferb
Secret agents and beloved pets come in all shapes and sizes. And Perry is both. He's the perfect loyal pet and the most skilled secret (animal) agent in the world. He's endlessly humble and never takes credit for saving the city. He's intelligent and a quick thinker, which helps him repeatedly defeat Doctor Doofenshmirtz, his nemesis. Perry is a fearless hero on all counts.
Donkey — Shrek
I told you Eddie Murphy would be back! His character Donkey is the reason we all love Shrek. He's a little crazy and definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he refuses to leave his best friend's side.
Never underestimate a stupid donkey's love for his buddies. Donkey would go anywhere and do anything for Shrek, and he would make us laugh doing it.
Dory — Finding Nemo
She may have her own movie now, but Dory started out as a sidekick. Despite suffering from short-term memory loss, Dory shows wisdom in the simplest forms. While Marlin tends to have a negative view of situations, Dory remains wholeheartedly optimistic. Her resolve and unwavering loyalty is infectious.
Though many see her as simple minded, Dory teaches everyone she meets some of the most important life lessons a person can learn. She schools others in how to remain hopeful, persevere, have faith in themselves, and to never let life beat you. Dory is the perfect example of a sidekick, but even more than that, she's the perfect example of a friend.
Animation has brought us some of the most inspirational and lovable characters in film. Though they may not have been central characters, everyone on this list is important to the movie or show they originate from.
Finding Dory hits cinema screens this week on June 17. Look out for Moana in theaters on November 23.
What do you think? Are these the best animated animal sidekicks? Who is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!