Hollywood is giving its villains heartfelt, layered origin stories befitting a Disney Princess. Deconstructing children’s fairytales has never been more satisfying. Linda Woolverton’s take on Maleficent won hearts for its plaintively roundabout portrayal of domestic abuse, and the earth-shattering consequences of eluding justice. And now, Emma Stone’s Cruella is turning heads for giving fans a pensive look into the woman behind the monster that skins puppies, depicting her as a would-be Miranda Priestly simply aching for acceptance. Disney has been injecting its rogues with enough humanity to redeem even Claude Frollo, and it doesn’t intend on pausing any time soon. A source from We Got This Covered claims more live-action deconstruction is on the way. With over thirty Disney villains to choose from, executives have quite the toy box in their hands.
So, which Disney baddie is primed to receive a more sympathetic upbringing? Hades certainly fits the bill of “disgruntled, ill-treated black sheep” to an exact tee, having landed the job of managing the Underworld at the urging of his infinitely more parasitic siblings. An origin tale derived from the original Greek myths would more than adequately set up his long-awaited coup in Hercules, and even justify it. When did Hades start using humor as a coping mechanism? An upcoming movie could answer that question too. After all, Zeus is by far a benevolent ruler, and it’s about time Disney fans are reminded of it.
Another of the Disney villains worthy of a live-action film may be from Beauty and the Beast. A sobering peek into Gaston’s childhood might explain his vanity and conceit later in life, if Disney is still keen on using Luke Evans’s live-action version for a prequel.
Captain Hook already had his younger years covered in Pan, with Garrett Hedlund playing the pirate and Hugh Jackman filling the boots of Hook’s power-hungry parallel, but seeing Disney’s stab at the character may be worth the repeat. Scar definitely had it rough as a cub, judging by the facial aberration and name-calling and all — after all, what could be meaner than being stuck with the name Scar? That’s a Disney villains origin story in itself. Again a story many of us would want to be privy to. Ursula isn’t likely to receive a fresh reboot in a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid she isn’t headlining, same way fellow villains Cate Blanchett’s Lady Tremaine, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Scar, Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar, and Evans’s Gaston didn’t, but Disney could always green-light a spinoff.
The Devil Wears Prada-esque Disney retelling of Cruella de Vil’s origins stars Emma Stone as the titular fashion designer and Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Mark Strong in supporting roles. It was penned by Dana Fox (Isn’t It Romantic) and Tony McNamara (The Great) and directed by Craig Gillespie, who also helmed the award-winning psychological thinkpiece Lars and the Real Girl, about another grossly misunderstood archetype just longing for validation.
Cruella is Disney’s first real-life red carpet event since the coronavirus pandemic locked down theaters. The film starring one of the infamous Disney villains generally received critical praise for its tasteful handling of a depraved dog killer’s origin story. Stone and Thompson — who played Cruella’s own Cruella de Vil — are hoping for a sequel along the lines of The Godfather Part II. Who else is keen on seeing Cruella’s eventual fall from grace?