Disney Cancels Iconic Villain Song

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Frollo confronts his demons

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney Animation has brought to life some of the most incredible stories in modern fiction. From Snow White to Frozen, the studio has given fans some of their all-time favorite characters. But as colorful and charming as Disney’s heroes, heroines, and animal sidekicks are, the villains have their own separate fanbase.

Disney Villains
Credit: Disney

Sometimes, it’s good to be bad, and no one better represents that maxim than Disney’s rogues gallery. They have the best lines, costumes, and easily the best songs on the soundtrack. However, one such performance is on the brink of being canceled due to today’s social climate.

Disney Burns “Hellfire”

Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Credit: Disney

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is easily one of the darkest and most mature projects in Disney’s repertoire, dealing with themes of prejudice, lust, religious allegory, and corruption of power. Apart from the magnificent artistry and music, one of the biggest things modern audiences take away from the film is its villain, Judge Claude Frollo.

Related: Josh Gad Reveals Quasimodo Status

Frollo is the epitome of Disney’s most realistic villain, which is what makes him the company’s most terrifying creation. He’s a judge in a position of power who uses his authority to abuse and persecute others, and all while claiming to be a good christian.

(left to right) Judge Claude Frollo grabbing Quasimodo's face, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Credit: Disney

There are so many real-world examples that fall into Frollo’s camp. A person in a seat of power using his position to assert his twisted sense of morality certainly sounds familiar. However, what makes him so compelling is how he expresses himself through song.

Related: Fans Demand Sanctuary For ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ Remake

Written by Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, “Hellfire” isn’t just the perfect Disney villain song, it’s a perfect musical number all around. It moves the narrative forward by having one of the lead characters express complex internal emotions through song. Yet our modern culture might force Disney to erase it.

But Why?

menken performance tonight
Credit: The Walt Disney Family Museum/An Evening With Alan Menken

Disney has used the piece outside of Hunchback before, namely for villain-focused events. However, recent developments in our social and political climate have led it to being used less and less. In fact, the supposed live action adaptation of Quasimodo’s story hangs in the balance due to elimination of the original’s soundtrack, including “Hellfire.”

Alan Menken himself was quoted saying,

“It’s a tough one because the Hunchback movie, Hunchback story involves a lot of real, real issues that are important issues and should be explored to be discussed. And there has to be an agreement about how we deal with those issues. You know, do we do a Hunchback without “Hellfire?” I don’t think so…”

In the list of remakes Disney has the potential to carry out, they simply cannot do Hunchback without it being a major musical event.

Related: “Doctor Who” Cast as Disney’s Darkest Villain

“Hellfire” deals with dark and complex themes of religion, lust, and anguish, and that’s what makes Frollo such an interesting and complex character. Not only that, but the composition itself is perhaps the most iconic piece on the soundtrack, as elements from its chorus are heard throughout the film. If Disney does indeed let cancel culture take this away, they lose a crucial emotional and mature element to their story.

Do you think this is too dark for Disney? Tell us at Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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