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Disney Villains Who Should Get Their Own Origin Film

Legendary film producer Alfred Hitchcock once famously noted that the more successful the villain, the more successful the picture. As it turns out, the cinematic mastermind was actually even more spot-on than he could have possibly known at the time. In this day and age, the more successful the villain, the more likely that the character will receive an entire prequel film dedicated to his or her origin. Movies like 2014's "Maleficent" and 2019's "Joker" proved that audiences will shell out boatloads of money for good bad guys, with the former earning over $750 million at the worldwide box office and the latter topping $1 billion.

At the time of this writing, Disney's "Cruella," the Emma Stone-led backstory for everyone's favorite Dalmatian murderer, sits at a whopping 97% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. With that kind of warm reception, you have to assume that the House of Mouse is going to continue delving into its decades-spanning rogue's gallery to revisit iconic baddies, shedding light on the events that led them to become the heinous characters that fans love to hate today. With a film catalog of over 60 animated classics, there's truly no shortage of iconic Disney villains to give the "Cruella" treatment to next. Here are some of the most compelling options.

The Little Mermaid's Ursula would be a spellbinder

Although Emma Stone may have just played Cruella de Vil, she's already got an opinion on which classic Disney villain should get their own origin movie next. When speaking to Variety, the Oscar-winning actress explained why Ursula, the nautical nemesis from 1989's "The Little Mermaid," deserves some big-screen representation. "She's an octopus and the world you would get to live in, like Ursula's parents and what happened there ... You've never really seen a non-human Disney villain be explored in that way."

As it turns out, the infamous sea witch will again be gracing the big screen once the highly-anticipated "Little Mermaid" live-action remake hits theaters in the near future, portrayed by none other than Melissa McCarthy. However, since that film will presumably focus more on Halle Bailey's Ariel than Ursula's backstory, it would definitely be interesting to find out more about what led Ursula down the path of sea sorcery.

If Disney is struggling to develop a script for an Ursula origin film, popular illustrator and comic book artist Yohann Antoine might be able to help out. In fact, he has already created a beautifully drawn backstory for the character, theorizing that she was actually King Triton's younger sister whose unquenchable lust for power eventually turned her evil. Could this be what Ursula meant when she claims that she used to live in Triton's palace?

The saga of The Incredibles' Syndrome

Pixar's "The Incredibles" was a major hit for Disney in 2004, pulling in over $600 million at the worldwide box office. Although the superhero flick featured a super-powered core cast of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, and Samuel L. Jackson voicing its iconic do-gooders, the film wouldn't have worked nearly as well without the shadowy Syndrome, voiced by longtime "My Name Is Earl" standout Jason Lee and pulling all of the villainous strings.

In the movie's opening scenes, audiences get a glimpse into the golden crime-fighting era of Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible, including his continuous run-ins with obsessive child fanboy Buddy Pine, or as he called himself, Incrediboy. After Buddy accidentally causes a near-disaster, Mr. Incredible officially breaks ties with the young superhero wannabe, inadvertently sending him down a lifelong path of scorned vengeance. The next time we see Buddy, years later, he's now a brainy, full-grown man with a plan to officially defeat his former idol once and for all. Impressively, he actually has the resources to do it.

This begs the question: what exactly did Buddy do to become so rich? The dude literally has an evil volcano lair on his own private island, equipped with missile-launching defenses, an army of henchmen, and a freaking monorail! Who is he, Jeff Bezos? He's obviously a tech whiz, so maybe he was secretly a defense contractor for the government, as Redditor u/shehryar46 theorizes. Regardless, we'd definitely watch an entire movie that explored these lost years in the saga of Syndrome.

Gaston: someone give this meathead a movie

No one's slick as Gaston, no one's quick as Gaston. No one deserves their own origin flick like Gaston! In all honesty, Gaston LeGume, the lady-lovin', hunky hunter from the 1991 Oscar-winning animated masterpiece, "Beauty and the Beast," is perhaps Disney's scariest villain of all time. He's hyper masculine, machinating, and just downright mean. But while "Beauty" does a magnificent job painting Gaston as a scum-of-the-Earth bully, there's a whole lot about his upbringing that we still have no idea about.

As it turns out, Disney has apparently already realized the potential of a Gaston backstory, officially greenlighting a "Beauty and the Beast" prequel series that, as reported by Deadline, "will follow Gaston and LeFou as they set off with LeFou's stepsister, Tilly, after a surprising revelation from her past comes to light." While seeing how Gaston originally met his longtime buffoonish bestie sounds interesting and all, there's still a lot of unexplored ground in the history of the self-proclaimed "man among men." Perhaps a full-length movie is the perfect medium in which to explore it.

Disney's dynamic, devious, groovy duo

Is 2000's "The Emperor's New Groove" the most underrated Disney movie to date? You could certainly make the argument that it is. Although it may not have excelled at the box office when it was originally released, the hilarious animated flick has only grown more popular with age, and with a star-studded voice cast led by David Spade and John Goodman, it's not hard to see why.

While Spade and Goodman are each magnificent as Kuzco and Pacha, the lasting impact of "New Groove" truly rests on the shoulders of the film's terrible twosome, Kuzco's scorned former advisor, Yzma (Eartha Kitt), and her meathead henchman, Kronk (Patrick Warburton). Every scene involving this zany pair is ripe with laugh-out-loud interchanges, both for kids and adults alike. They were so likeable, in fact, that Disney made a direct-to-video spinoff titled "Kronk's New Groove" in 2005. But why stop there?

If we're talking fan-favorite Disney villains, Yzma and Kronk have to be near the top of the list. An origin movie about the devious duo would undoubtedly be a big hit with the movie's cult following. We'd love to find out how the two met. Or how Yzma discovered how to brew potions that turn humans into animals. Or how Kronk learned how to talk to squirrels. It might be better suited for a Disney+ original, but if you asked us if we'd be up for more Yzma and Kronk, we'd affirmatively declare: "squeak, squeakin', squeak, squeakity!"

Fans want to see more of the Shadow Man

There might not be a more mysterious Disney villain than the shadowy voodoo master of "The Princess and the Frog," Dr. Facilier, voiced by the uber-talented Keith David. The Shadow Man has big aspirations to take over the city of New Orleans, and he comes pretty darn close to doing so before ultimately being stopped by Tiana.

Aside from a few throwaway lines about his ancestors being of royalty, Facilier's past is essentially a blank slate, making his backstory one that Disney fans most want to see on screen. Perhaps he was a street rat a la Aladdin, only in the Big Easy, or perhaps he was taught the ways of the witch doctor by his mother or something like that. The possibilities are endless. We know that he's got friends on the other side – what we don't know is how he got them!

Hades got a bum rap in Hercules

Let's face it: even those who consider themselves well-versed in Greek mythology most likely believe at least a few false facts about it. A great deal of this confusion can probably be blamed on Hollywood, which for years has skewed historical facts in order to better fit movie plotlines. Disney's "Hercules" is particularly guilty of this, with perhaps no better example than its depiction of Hades, who, despite being the film's antagonist, honestly wasn't so bad in real Greek mythology.

In Disney's animated hero tale, Hades — perfectly voiced by James Woods — is portrayed as a fiery, vengeful outcast hell-bent on overthrowing Zeus' rule of Mount Olympus by releasing the Titans. This really doesn't align with actual Greek mythology, where Hades fought alongside his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, against the Titans. In fact, Hades only rules over the Underworld because he drew the shortest straw when he and his brothers were dividing up the universe — not because he's evil.

Perhaps being such a misunderstood mythological figure makes Hades an ideal candidate to get his own spin-off prequel. Disney could easily re-enlist Woods for the vocal cast (assuming they go the animated route), or try out a younger actor who kind of sounds like him. Given his storied history in Greek mythology, there's no shortage of potential plotlines. Maybe they could portray the transformation of young Hades into the sardonic God of Death we know from "Hercules" by creating a new twist on the infamous Persephone story.

Who is Jafar really?

While it was undoubtedly Robin Williams' unforgettable Genie that stole the show in 1992's Oscar-winning animated classic, "Aladdin," you'd be hard-pressed to find a better Disney villain than the film's antagonist, the sinister sorcerer Jafar. As the Sultan's advisor, Jafar sought after a mysterious magical lamp, secretly plotting to use it to take control of Agrabah. He was everything a good villain should be: conniving, conceited, and just downright creepy!

Although Marwan Kenzari's take on the character in Guy Ritchie's 2019 live-action remake struggled to resonate with most fans, that shouldn't diminish Jafar's box office potential. In both versions of "Aladdin," Jafar is immediately introduced as the evil-doer we all know him to be. We have essentially no idea what happened in his past to make him that way.

This leaves a lot of gray area should Disney want to explore what happened in Agrabah in the years leading up to the events of "Aladdin." How exactly did Jafar work his way up to becoming the Sultan's right-hand man? How did he acquire his shadowy snake-headed staff, or learn how to use it to hypnotize people? Perhaps most intriguing, how did he know about the Genie's lamp and the Cave of Wonders in the first place?

There are definitely enough interesting questions in Jafar's backstory to make for a fascinating full-length film, which, as it turns out, just might be in the cards after all. It could be a real diamond in the rough...

Disney should explore this Up explorer's background

It seems that the only thing most people remember about 2009's "Up" is the film's tear-jerking first 10 minutes. In fact, the intro is so darn impactful that you probably almost completely forgot that the movie's main villain was a deranged former explorer with his own freaking platoon of talking dogs!

Charles F. Muntz, voiced by Oscar-winning star Christopher Plummer, was a one-time famous adventurer known for taking his zeppelin on journeys of discovery. After one particular quest to South America, he returns with the bones of a large bird that he dubs "The Monster of Paradise Falls" (which, as moviegoers will eventually learn, is the creature Russell names Kevin). Unfortunately for Muntz, the scientific community rejects his findings and labels him as a fraud. Vowing to prove himself, Muntz and his technologically-collared canines fly back to Paradise Falls where they spend the rest of their lives ruthlessly hunting a living specimen of the bird.

So why would a Muntz movie make for a must-see? Well, for one, it would presumably include Dug, the scene-stealing "goodest boy" who was one of the brightest spots of the entire "Up" film. You can't go wrong with more Dug! Also, at one point during his surprisingly dastardly monologue, Muntz hints at the fact that he had previously murdered two explorers. Needless to say, there's quite a bit about the crazy old kook's past that Disney fans would probably like to see.

How Tangled's Gothel got her groove back

2010's "Tangled" truly had it all — a perfectly-voiced heroine, an impossible not-to-love leading man, and a story that both oozed humor and tugged on the heartstrings. But we would be remiss to not mention the film's vile villainess, Mother Gothel. Hiding a secret agenda for keeping her "daughter" tucked away from the world for years, Gothel guarded Rapunzel like a helicopter parent on steroids. We know that she only did it because Rapunzel's magical hair kept her eternally young, but aside from that, we really don't know anything else about the wicked old crone.

For example, how exactly did Gothel know about the magical flower before it was uprooted to help baby Rapunzel? How did she know about the secret tower hidden in the thick of the woods? Perhaps most importantly, just how old is she? All of these questions could be explored in a potential Mother Gothel origin flick. After all, mother knows best.

How about a Turbo-tastic origin for this Wreck-It Ralph villain?

In 2012's "Wreck-It Ralph," building-crushing bad guy Ralph (John C. Reilly), fed up of playing the heel to Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) in their vintage 8-bit arcade game, decides to go rogue and attempt to earn a medal in another game. You might recall that when the other game programs throughout Litwak's Arcade learned of Ralph's game abandonment, they asked him if he was "going Turbo." It seems a previous fictional arcade game character named Turbo had notoriously left his own racing game to join another more popular one, ultimately resulting in both games getting their plugs pulled.

While it's eventually revealed that Turbo was actually King Candy in disguise, the film doesn't really go into much detail as to what happened to the "turbo-tastic" racer between the de-plugging of RoadBlasters and his eventual landing in Sugar Rush. Given how successful the two "Wreck-It Ralph" films have been thus far, you could certainly argue that audiences really like the virtual world the franchise has built and would love to see more of it. Maybe an original Disney+ film (or series) exploring what happened to Turbo before he found his way into Sugar Rush would be a satisfying double-dip into the arcade world.

This Aristocats butler deserves some shine

If Disney managed to give a sympathetic backstory to Cruella de Vil, a fashionista hell-bent on skinning Dalmatian puppies for clothing material, there's no reason why they couldn't do the same for Edgar Balthazar, Madame Bonfamille's longtime butler in 1970's "The Aristocats." True Disney fans will recall that Balthazar is the main antagonist in this early-Parisian cat tale, but in retrospect, he really wasn't all that bad.

In a nutshell, Balthazar decides to cat-nap his rich boss's pets after he learns that she was planning on bequeathing her entire fortune to, yep, you guessed it, her cats. Let's be honest here: Edgar's plot may not have been exactly righteous, but it's not like he didn't have a good reason to do it. He didn't kill the cats or anything — he just simply wanted to be the one to inherit Madame Bonfamille's money and estate. What would the cats have done with it anyway?

With the right casting, an origin story showing how Edgar initially became the Bonfamille's loyal butler could make for an intriguing watch. You could throw in his early interactions with a kitten version of Duchess, the feline matriarch in "The Aristocats," for good measure. Maybe this wasn't the first time Edgar had tried to get rid of Duchess ... now might be the time to find out.