Op-Ed: Audiences Can’t Handle Disney Villains

in Movies, Op-Ed

Frollo confronts his demons

Credit: Disney

Disney Villains like Maleficent, Hades, Captain Hook, Ursula, and Jafar are some of the most infamous characters in popular culture. Still, the studio has changed how they do their classic antagonists, and fans aren’t happy.

King Magnifico in Wish trailer
Credit: Disney

Disney’s upcoming Wish (2023) has been making headlines on social media due to the introduction of its new villain, played by Chris Pine. King Magnifico might have a quality similar to Gaston of Beauty and the Beast (1992), but his recently revealed song is getting absolutely ripped to shreds.


I guess it’s writters strike or som @Disney #disney100 #wish #wishdisney #hellfire #thehunchbackofnotredame #thelionking #scar #frollo #mothergothel #tangled #drfacilier #princessandthefrog #fyp #fy #viral

♬ original sound – Pelonpeloriko

A common complaint, as seen in the TikTok above, is that older audiences are accustomed to getting some absolutely wicked characters in earlier works from Walt Disney Animation Studio, and Magnifico doesn’t hold a candle to characters like Frollo or Scar. Although we’ve only seen a small segment of the character’s persona, he’s lacking a few features shared by some of his peers.

Let Disney Villains Be Evil

Credit: Disney Parks

The criticisms facing King Magnifico are warranted but also a little unfair. While he definitely appears more like a Lin-Manuel Miranda stand-in than  a traditional Disney bad guy, it’s also difficult to compare him to other, more developed characters based on what we have at this point in the game.

Related: Queen of Hearts Desserts Reign at Disney Villains After Hours

Disney Animation needs to address the real issue with King Magnifico and the rest of the studio’s rogues gallery. Magnifico is presumably a self-centered, vain, and power-hungry magical monarch who can grant his subject’s wishes; only he uses his power to only grant those which benefit him or his kingdom.

simba and scar the lion king
Credit: Disney

That’s shady, but is it as evil as kidnapping a baby for her magical hair, killing your own brother for the throne, or attempting to eradicate an entire culture of people because they live outside the social or religious norms? There’s definitely a reason many fans say Disney has lost its edge.

Related: The Evil Queen Saved Snow White, Theory States

Not only does Magnifico’s motivation take away some of his character value, but it also makes him appear incredibly weak compared to others in his position. Disney has had more than its fair share of wretched royalty, ranging from the Queen of Hearts to the Horned King, and he barely lands somewhere in the middle.

Disney Villains
Credit: Disney

The real problem facing the character is that the studio might be holding him back. Audiences have changed since the days of the Disney Renaissance, and an altered market has resulted in some less-than-favorable outcomes. If they can’t handle the death of Bambi’s mom, how can they take a real villain seriously.

Related: Despite Epic Return, ‘Star Wars’ Officially Replaces Darth Vader

While it is true that many of Disney’s greatest villains were evil for evil’s sake, most were complex characters who committed their evil deeds while still maintaining what they were doing was right. Magnifico has a similar plot but lacks the drive seen in other villain arcs.

Frollo without his hat in Hunchback of Notre Dame
Credit: Disney

Scar didn’t just wake up one day and decide to kill Mufasa; he did it because he was first in line for the throne before Simba was born. Likewise, Frollo didn’t go through his character arc on a whim and wrestled with feelings of lust, duty, and the spiritual battle for his immortal soul. It’s the complexities that make these characters interesting, and Magnifico has been found lacking.

Related: Dr. Facilier Should Be Disney’s Next Live-Action Villain Backstory

Granted, the film doesn’t officially premiere until November 20, 2023, and much more will be revealed after the original release date. It might be a result of bad publicity, or it might be the result of minimal information, but the newest member of the Disney Villains is not giving the best first impression.

Do you think King Magnifico is a weak Disney Villain? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!



in Movies, Op-Ed

Comments Off on Op-Ed: Audiences Can’t Handle Disney Villains