Disney has been doing a lot of remakes over the last several years.
The surge in live-action remakes has included plenty of nostalgia-driven picks, like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Lady and the Tramp, and most recently, Cruella.
Not all remakes are good. Sometimes they turn out amazing, and sometimes they leave you wishing they hadn’t bothered with a remake. Despite the occasional flop, though, Disney has been doing an okay job with ‘em. This is especially true when they take a walk on the dark side.
I’m talking about the villains! With Disney villains like Cruella and Maleficent getting their own movies, they finally get to shine in all their deliciously evil glory. All too often, they don’t have much of a backstory included. They’re just evil, and they’re supposed to lose.
It’s also worth mentioning that I have a soft spot for a good villain. And there are some Disney villains that I think deserve their own movie!
We’ve seen different iterations of Peter Pan over the years, so we’ve seen our fair share of his arch-nemesis, Captain Hook. There was even the 1991 film Hook, in which Steven Spielberg gave us a fresh take on the familiar tale. Despite the name, it didn’t really give us much insight into the man behind the hook. Instead, it focused more on an adult Peter Pan and his self-discovery.
Think about how much you actually know about this pirate villain. Do you even know what his name was, before his hand was replaced with a hook? And is he really all that evil for hating Pan, considering Pan is the reason Hook lost his hand to the crocodile to begin with? He’s one of the most recognizable Disney villains, and I think it’s about time that Captain Hook got his own backstory.
The man who wants to rule New Orleans with help from his “friends on the other side,” I find Dr. Facilier fascinating. Also known as the Shadow Man, he’s an evil bokor (witch doctor) with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Since The Princess and the Frog came out in 2009, Dr. Facilier has become pretty popular with Disney fans and is one of Disney’s most popular villains.
Popularity or not, Facilier is pretty mysterious. We don’t know where he came from, although he does sympathize with the downtrodden and poor, so maybe he came from a similar past. Paired with his smooth-talking, charismatic nature and ruthless quest for power, I think Facilier has plenty to offer in a starring role.
In The Emperor’s New Groove, Yzma is a sorceress and advisor to Emperor Kuzco – at least, until he abruptly gives her the axe. But it kind of seems like this old lady has been around for a really long time and raised Kuzco instead of his parents. After being fired from that longstanding position, she’s bent on revenge and usurping Kuzco’s throne. Of course, things always go hilariously wrong, mostly because she fails to pay attention to minor details, and she’s got a dimwitted assistant.
Again, it seems like she’s been around, and possibly the advisor and sorcerer, for the royal family for a really long time. She probably held that role before Kuzco was born. Can we talk about all the hilarious situations and madcap potions that her past is probably riddled with? Where in the world did she find Kronk, and where does she get her fashion from?
Lady Tremaine is another very well-known Disney villain that we don’t know much about. We don’t know her first name or maiden name – she is only ever referred to by her title of Lady in the original film. Plus, it wasn’t until 2015’s live-action remake of Cinderella that we were even given a reason as to why Lady Tremaine is so awful to her step-daughter.
By the time she appears in the storyline of Cinderella, she’s a bitter – yet calm and calculated – woman. But with the brief backstory we’ve been given, we know that she was a widow who married Cinderella’s father for the sake of her daughters’ futures. It wasn’t until she was hurt that she was filled with jealousy and spite. Would it be too much to finally get a glimpse into her past that made her the cruel and manipulative villain we know her as?
Jafar is easily one of the most recognizable Disney villains. He’s also one of the only villains who doesn’t meet some sort of violent end. He not only survives but becomes more powerful – though with a few heavy restrictions. We all know that someone is bound to find that genie lamp, right? Imagine all that pent-up anger that’s just simmering while he’s being held prisoner in a lamp. Disney made the somewhat unofficial sequel Return of Jafar, but it’s forgettable, and Jafar deserves better.
That’s not to say that an origin story for Jafar wouldn’t also work. After all, he mentions that he used to be a common thief just like Aladdin. According to him, he preferred to think bigger – working his way toward stealing an entire kingdom. And if we’re being honest here, he’s hoping to replace the sultan who sucks at his job to begin with. Jafar is fed up with the sultan not taking his job seriously, poverty and homelessness are rampant, and the princess is antagonizing suitors. Perhaps he doesn’t seem so villainous when the story comes from his perspective.
There are hints in The Little Mermaid that there is quite the robust history between Ursula and King Triton. However, Disney has never given us the deets! All we know is that Ursula mentioned once living in the royal palace, but now banished from Atlantica, she lives in isolation. Despite there being the original, a prequel, and a sequel, we never learn anything more about their prior relationship.
Other animated villains from my childhood have landed their own origin story movies, like Cruella and Maleficent. Why not give Ursula the same treatment? There would be tons of interesting stories to tell in her life before exile.
If you couldn’t tell, Disney’s Hercules is based on the legendary Greek hero Heracles, the son of Zeus. Disney went ahead and called him by his Roman name, Hercules, for the film. He’s the demigod with super-strength trying to earn his place in Mount Olympus, while his evil uncle (and god of the Underworld) Hades plots his downfall. Except, of course, the whole thing got the animated Disney treatment, so it’s not exactly true to the original Greek myth, and it’s been sanitized for kids.
To be completely honest, I want a Hades-centered story because he’s hilariously entertaining in Hercules. In the real myth, Hades is a rather passive character. In the Disney film, he’s a hot-headed, scheming fast talker who hates ruling the Underworld and dreams of taking over Mount Olympus, He’s got a couple of incompetent lackeys who usually fumble the tasks he assigns them, and he can also have indebted people serving as minions, too. Tell me he wouldn’t make for an interesting spin-off!
Since Disney owns Star Wars now, that technically makes Palpatine a Disney villain, right? Right.
So Palpatine starts as a senator who is secretly a Sith Lord, except he has managed to hide all traces of this. He schemes his way into becoming the Emperor of the Galactic Empire, manipulates Anakin into joining the Dark Side, and orchestrates the fall of both the Republic and the Jedi Order. Sure, he’s got the Dark Side, but he basically does all this on his own, which is pretty impressive.
With all that power and such a huge influence over an entire galaxy, we still don’t know a whole lot about the guy. We know he trained under his Sith Master Darth Plagueis, and then killed him so he could train his own apprentice. Can we talk about a film focused on Palpatine’s past? A movie that delves into his secret relationship with his predecessor (and eventual betrayal) would have Star Wars fans flocking to the theaters.
If we’re including Star Wars as Disney properties, we get to include the Marvel Cinematic Universe too! And you know what that means: Thanos.
Sure, Thanos has seen a good bit of screen time in the broader MCU. Considered one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, he appears in Guardians of the Galaxy, plus three Avengers flicks. Plus, several versions of Thanos appear in Endgame, the series What If…?, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Okay, but he’s always there to be the colossal villain. He causes the entire universe of heroes to unite so they can defeat him. The thing that’s so interesting about Thanos, though, is that his bad deeds were done for a pretty selfless reason. He wasn’t just murdering out of anger or selfishness, it’s because he genuinely believed he was doing something good for the world. What if there was a storyline told from his point of view and showed what drove him to snap?