The one thing most Disney villains have in common is their utter disregard for the concept of empathy, often choosing the path of needless suffering and destruction to one that celebrates life and happiness. In fact, it could be argued that these characters revel in the misery they cause to others — just for the sake of doing so and no other reason.
The fact remains, however, that they all receive a crushing defeat at the end, and whether emotional or physical, their loss is a true pleasure to behold. One might wonder how these antagonists even fail in their plans, being far more powerful or smarter than the protagonists. Well, it’s most likely due to a tiny little feature that they accidentally or purposefully ignore.
10 Shere Khan (The Jungle Book) — Toys With Mowgli For Too Long
For the longest time, Shere Khan stalks Mowgli, waiting for the right time to find and devour the man-cub. At the conclusion, when he actually does, he is so astonished that his prey denies him the pleasure of fear that he offers the child a measly 10 seconds to escape.
Of course, this is a ruse, intended so that Shere Khan could derive some morbid predatory delight from his quarry’s feeble attempts, but this backfires when Baloo attacks him in the nick of time. This gives Mowgli the opportunity to attach a flaming tree limb to the tiger’s tail, forcing him to flee in terror.
9 Gaston (Beauty & The Beast) — Attacks The Beast A Second Time
Gaston might be full of himself, but he’s not a total dunderhead when it comes to combat. He grudgingly accepts that his opponent is far stronger than he is, so he plans to get the Beast demotivated by mocking him for falling in love with a human woman as incredible as Belle.
This fails miserably because the Beast’s rage empowers him to overcome Gaston in an instant. Even when the hero forgives the villain for his murder attempt, and allows him to leave, the latter still tries to kill him, which inevitably leads to his own death.
8 Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) — Doesn’t Cast A Better Curse
First of all, it’s rather rude that Maleficent is not invited to Princess Aurora’s christening ceremony, but her reaction is quite extreme, nonetheless. She casts a curse on the baby, claiming that she would perish when she turns 16 by the specific act of hurting her finger on a spinning wheel spindle.
What on earth is the purpose of this? Is her intention to make Aurora’s parents suffer for their slight? Also, Maleficent could have waited until Merryweather had granted her boon because her curse is partially reversed by the final Good Fairy.
7 Jafar (Aladdin) — Wishes To Be A Genie
This is probably one of the silliest endings ever given to a fictional villain — Jafar becomes the most powerful sorcerer in the world after stealing Aladdin’s magic lamp, but he somehow falls for such a basic trick?
Sure, it’s probable that in his omnipotent arrogance he forgets to consider the drawbacks of becoming a genie, but still… to willingly choose that as his third wish just because his mortal enemy suggests it? Has Jafar not heard of the concept known as suspicion?
6 Shan Yu (Mulan) — Doesn’t Expect The Sidekick
At the moment of victory, Shan Yu is infuriated when Mulan tells him that she had been the one who “took away [his] victory”. He chases after her all the way to the terrace, at which point she effortlessly knocks his sword out of his hand with just her fan.
Shan Yu might still have had a chance at victory, given his much larger stature, but side-kick Mushu suddenly appears behind him, armed with a massive rocket. In the moment of stunned realization, Mulan immobilizes Shan Yu and Mushu’s rocket carries him to the explosive cache in a nearby building.
5 Hades (Hercules) — Accidentally Triggers Hercules’ Sacrifice
The God of the Underworld, Hades, plays around a little too much, asking Hercules to go get Meg back from the Underworld if he wants to save her life (in addition to giving him his soul.) Unfortunately for the fire-headed creature, the fact that the hero’s endeavor is sacrificial in nature means that Hercules finally turns into the divine entity he was always meant to be.
Hades gets whacked straight into the River Styx, where he apparently spends an extremely long duration musing on his various mistakes, but regretting none of them.
4 Scar (The Lion King) — Doesn’t Make Sure Simba Was Dead
Scar allows Simba to flee the Pride Lands, after guilting him into believing that he’s responsible for his father’s death. He could have just killed off the heir to the throne right there, but for some reason, he decides to send only his hyenas after the cub.
Scar is fully aware of the incompetence exhibited by his minions; they can barely go a few seconds without thinking about where their next meal is coming from. To leave a matter of such import to Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed is quite ridiculous, and he ends up paying for his error.
3 The Evil Queen (Snow White) — Fails To Find A Permanent Poison
Snow White has instilled so much unreasonable jealousy in her stepmother that the latter wants her to die in the strangest way possible, even though she is no threat to her anymore. Rather than concoct a fatal potion, the Evil Queen produces something known as the Sleeping Death, whose only antidote is “love’s first kiss.”
The villain scoffs at the idea that such a thing would be possible and goes ahead with her scheme. As it happens, she is chased by the seven dwarves until she slips off a cliff. Bizarrely, Snow White’s prince kisses her corpse on the lips without knowing that it would bring her back to life.
2 Ursula (The Little Mermaid) — Accidentally Weaponizes Prince Eric
When Ursula orders Jetsam and Flotsam to drown Eric, Ariel alters the course of her trident blast towards the former’s moray eel minions. Their resulting destruction infuriates the sea-witch and turns into a giant monster before threatening the mermaid with a miserable death.
Ursula produces a whirlpool to show off her new powers, which un-sinks Eric’s ship. The prince then steers the vessel towards her, ultimately stabbing her with it (and a well-timed lightning strike finishes the job.)
1 Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians) — Hires The Worst Possible Criminals
Cruella orders Jasper and Horace to abduct the Radcliffe’s Dalmatian puppies, an act which they perform as ineptly as possible. Successful though they are, they decline to “finish the job” until she pays them, which makes sense because the only thing the Baduns are interested in is cold, hard cash.
However, being the stuck-up windbag that she is, Cruella counters it with her own abject refusal unless the 99 babies are presumably killed and skinned. In this back and forth between the two parties, there is a short time window in which the puppies are rescued in a daring mission spearheaded by Sergeant Tibbs.
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