Disney Justice: An In Depth Analysis of Every (well…most) Disney Villain Deaths

By: Jacob Lewis

I recently realized that out of the several dozen Disney movies that have been released since Snow White, there were only two I had never seen before, Tarzan and Home on the Range. I searched Tarzan Disney on Youtube (my life really is a full and meaningful endeavor and I will certainly have non regrets on my death bed) and the first video that came up was a clip of the death of the main villain. I clicked on it, and saw the villain in an old timey explorer outfit, caught in some vines with Tarzan and…

OH MY GOD, THAT DUDE JUST FELL AND ACCIDENTALLY HUNG HIMSELF ON SOME VINES, SNAPPED HIS NECK AND IS JUST DANGLING THERE. HOLY SHIT DISNEY! WHAT DID HE DO TO DESERVE THAT!?

I closed my browser and decided to watch Tiny Toon Adventure clips for the remainder of the afternoon. However, this got me thinking about the villain deaths in all the other Disney movies. Did they deserve to be punished? Did they deserve the punishment they received? Is there some sort of rhyme or reason to it all? Is there cosmic justice or mindless chaos in the Disney universe?

Thus began my quest to look back on all these movies and attempt to find a pattern or a sense of reason. What were my findings? First, as far as method of death, I found several broad categories in which most of the deaths could be placed:

Death by Gravity: Ah, Gravity. The great equalizer. It doesn’t matter how big, strong or wealthy you are, if you don’t have wings or fairy dust and you fall from high enough, you’re going to die. The ol’fall and splat has been used many times to kill off Disney villains. I believe this is because the hero can always claim, sure we were fighting, but I didn’t kill him, it was the fall and the ground.

Straight up Murdered: For some reason you rarely get villains who are simply straight up killed by the hero in Disney movies, but it does happen from time to time.

Justice: Sometimes the villain doesn’t need to die, and justice, in the official legal or coscmic sense, wins the day. Borrrrring.

Banished to the Void: Rather than killed or imprisoned, some villains are just banished into eternal nothingness forced to face the cosmic horror of non-being and the viewing audience is asked to just not think too hard about what happened.

Holy Shit Disney: Sometimes the Disney animators look at a villain, but instead of an evil witch or corrupt billionaire, they only see their ex-wife, their abusive step-father or their overbearing mother and think “you know what” fuck this guy/gal.” They then devise a grotesque combination of the above deaths so children can feel safe knowing that the righteous hand of god will smite those who interfere with his plans for peace and harmony.

Nothing: Sometimes kids, nothing happens to evil people and they get to walk away and live their lives without ever feeling a consequence for their actions. Welcome to reality.

The above didn’t really give me a sense of order in the Disney universe. So, I decided to delve a little deeper. Here is my specific analysis on each villain death, in no particular order:

Ratigan, from the Great Mouse Detective, falls from the top of Big Ben, which, if you put it in perspective, is like a human being falling from an airplane. His crimes consist of multiple counts of felony theft, burglary, racketeering and homicide. Did he deserve it. Well he was the world’s greatest criminal mind, his villain song indicates he drowned orphans and widows (its an actual lyric) and he was trying to take over the mouse world. So yeah, fuck that rat. Verdict: Just

Percival C. McLeach, from the Rescuers Down Under, falls off a huge waterfall. His crimes consist of unlawfully killing for a profit the six or seven animals in Australia that aren’t horrible and trying to kill mankind. While he was a poacher, and killed a lot of animals, the good book says, animals are not people, so this is a toss-up. But, given that this is probably the most pleasant way to die out of the 1,000,000 other possible ways to be killed in Australia, I think the scales of justice tip to the side of, this was an okay way for him to go out. Verdict: Just

Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast, fell off a castle while trying to stab the Beast in the back. His crimes consist of filing a false petition to declare someone mentally incompetent and trying to get someone to marry him under duress…and that’s it. Gaston was certainly a douchey manipulator and I’m pretty sure he was always one cup of ale away at any given time to adding rape to the above list, but did he really deserve to go out like that. Sure he led an assault on the Beast’s castle, you know, the one with the giant hairy demon monster who keeps people prisoner until they finally succumb to Stockholm Syndrome and fall in love with him. He really deserved more of a Biff from Back to the future, covered with manure, ending rather than death. Verdict: Unjust

Shan Yu, from Mulan, is shot with a rocket, which propels him into a rocket storage tower, and explodes. His crimes…none. He declared war on China and I’m not really sure anything he did could be considered a war crime, except maybe ordering the killing of an enemy messenger in the very beginning. While his death was a little extreme, he was trying to conquer all of China at the time, so live by the sword, die by the…s’plosion. Verdict: Just

Tamatoa, from Moana, was flipped over and left in the realm of monster. His crimes…none. All his items were technically salvage and Moana and Maui were both trespassing in his home/giant clam/monster dimension. Now, I know what you are thinking, “He didn’t die, he was just comically turned upside down by the heroes and left to wine and complain about why no one was helping him.” Sorry to break it to you, but if you flip a crab over and he can’t right himself, he’s going to either be eaten or starve to death. Tamatoa was left to die. In all fairness, he did refuse to return the giant magical fishhook of a guy who chopped off his leg, so….. Verdict: Unjust

Maleficient, from Sleeping Beauty, is killed by Prince Phillip. Her crimes consist of trespass and assault (with magical curses). Also, she was an evil fairy and inspired a bunch of annoying cosplay, both things that demand death by sword. No more analysis needed. Verdict: Just

Mother Gothel, from Tangled, aged a million years in a few seconds and then was pushed out a tower window. Her crimes were kidnapping and assault. Keep in mind, she is not part of the above “death by gravity” category, but the “straight up murdered” category. This is because Rapunzel’s lil’chamelion friend decided to play judge, jury and executioner. Remember, as Mother Gothel is screaming in horror at her rapidly decaying body, she backs towards the window, and that little green shit intentionally pulls the curtains out to trip her. Experiencing the ravages of age was apparently too good for Mother Gothel, she had to feel the additional terror of falling from a giant tower. While she was not a good person, kidnapping a child and all, she wasn’t exactly maniacal evil. She clearly needed the magic to stay alive. She wasn’t trying to take over the kingdom or anything. She could either let Rapunzel go, or waste away to nothing. Couldn’t Rapunzel have just agreed to let her stop by the palace and brush her hair once a month? Of course, but wait, a lizard disagrees, never mind, down you go. Verdict: Unjust

Mr. Winkie, from the Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, is arrested by the police after he tries to take over Toad Hall. His crimes were, I can’t remember, but he did have an awesome handlebar mustache. Perhaps this was fair justice, but considering the mustache and the fact that Mr. Toad was a dolt, I hope his sentence was at least relatively light. Verdict: Probably Just

Cruella De Vil, from 101 Dalmatians, was arrested, or at least it was implied she was arrested. Her crimes were multiple counts of conspiracy to commit theft and animal cruelty stemming from her plan to kill approximately 100 puppies to make a coat. This is the actual dictionary example of an evil asshole. However, she is a very wealthy socialite so I’m sure she’ll beat the charges. Then she is probably going to sue the Dalmatian owners for the whole, Cruella De Vil song that the husband released and get all the proceeds. Disney probably should have just let one of the dogs (the fat one) push her into a wheat thresher at the end. Verdict: Insufficient

Shere Khan, from the Jungle Book, is burned by the fire that is ravaging the jungle, causing him to flee. His crimes, none. I believe all of his actions were copacetic with the law of the jungle, which has original jurisdiction in this matter. However, he is forced to face, and be injured by, his one true fear, fire. Verdict: Unjust

Prince John, Sir Hiss and the Sheriff of Nottingham, from Robin Hood all end up working in the Rock Quarry. Prince John’s crimes, being a really shitty king. For the rest, they were only following orders trying to catch a criminal. However, these guys pretty much defied King Richard and starved or imprisoned most of the local population of Nottingham. While its comical to see them crushing stones in the end, it would probably take years to break enough to make all the tombstones necessary for the peasantry that starved to death during his reign (those Rabbit people had a lot of children). King Richard really shouldn’t have let them live. Verdict: Insufficient

Governor Ratclliffe, from Pocahontas, is imprisoned by his men and returned to London. His crimes were everything you can expect from being a wealthy white guy in North America in the 15th century. As a fun side fact, you might not realize that Governor Ratcliffe, like John (Pocahontas was actually 12, you pedophile) Smith, was a real person. He wasn’t arrested though and instead became a governor of the colony. However, his final fate was much worse’ than Disney’s version as he was captured by the Powhatan tribe, tied to a stake where women removed the skin from his entire body with mussel shells and tossed the pieces into a nearby fire as he watched. If we assume that Disney’s Pocahontas exists in an alternative, less child rapey native slaughter timeline, I guess that this end of the character was appropriate. At least the movie should have ended with the tag line, “And with the White people gone, nothing bad ever happened to the native people of North America ever again”. Verdict: Unjust, if only because we were denied seeing the animated version of his actual death.

Yzma, from the Emperor’s New Groove, was turned into Cat. Her crimes were attempted regicide. The insanely old advisor Yzma attempted to overthrow the emperor by turning him into a Lama. But the emperor was also a huge uncaring dick bag. Is a cat equal to Llama? In both cases, they can still talk and communicate? I guess this is fair. Verdict: Just…or whatever.

Alameda Slim, from Home on the Range, was arrested. His crimes were cattle rustling… but I don’t know for sure, this is the second Disney movie I’ve never seen. It says on the internet that he attempted to take over the farm using his hypnotic yodeling powers, but is later unmasked by the cows and arrested. What is this shit! Verdict: I don’t know. Was this even a real movie?

Hans, from Frozen, was sent back to his homeland in shame with the promise his brothers would deal with him. His crimes were multiple counts of attempted murder. That seems fair, he only tried to overthrow a kingdom by murdering the surviving members of the royal family. But, whatever, you get along home son to your own kingdom, your brothers will take care of you. In Frozen Fever, we see that he is being forced to shovel shit in the kingdom stables, an appropriate punishment for attempting to leave a trail of bodies on the road to usurping power. I hope he got no dessert too. Verdict: Insufficient

The Duke of Weaselton, from Frozen, was banished from the kingdom and banned from trading with them. His crimes were, nothing. A surprisingly harsh administrative response from Disney; especially considering this guy came to the kingdom for the purpose of benefiting from creating trade deals with the isolationist kingdom of Arendel, was trapped in the kingdom and almost froze to death when the Queen unleashed an eternal supernatural winter, and had the Gaul to suggest that his men help bring Elsa back to the castle or, if they can’t, to kill her. Of course, he dressed in black and had an old timey Prussian look to him so he must have been a bad guy. Verdict: Just…because old timey Prussian.

The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland, was stuck in between the real world and never land. Her crimes were, a bunch of weird shit probably. She also liked cutting off heads. Also, she may have just been a figment of Alice’s imagination. So…yeah, I’m not going to waste my time with this one. Verdict: Who knows.

Edgar Balthazar, from the Aristocats, was locked in a trunk and sent to Timbuktu. His crimes were theft and animal cruelty. While his end is rather comical, let’s not kid ourselves, he’s dead. He’s not Nermal and this isn’t Garfield. People die when you attempt to mail them across the world. He either died of dehydration/starvation on the cargo ship, froze to death in an airplane, or suffered from heat death when his box was left at the airport in Timbuktu. All because he wanted a little money and some cats disagreed with him. Verdict: Unjust, because fuck cats.

The Horned King, from the Black Cauldron, was sucked into the magical void of the Black Cauldron. His crimes were…some real evil shit. Seriously, take a look at this guy, he is god damn evil looking, and since all books should be judged by their covers, which is why they have covers in the first place, I can assume he deserved what he got. Verdict: Just

Jafar, from Aladdin, was tricked into obtaining ultimate cosmic power, but at the price of being imprisoned in a magical lamp. His crimes were, assault, treason, attempted murder. The treason I think we can all understand; the Sultan was a simpleton who was more impressed with toys than running the country. It’s too bad we never got to see what Jafar would have been like as Sultan. He was definitely the most organized person in the kingdom. But, poor Icarus strayed too close to the sun and sought ultimate knowledge and power at a price of eternal damnation. Kind of like a kiddy version of Hellraiser. Verdict: Just

James Woods, from Hercules, was thrown into the River Styx, forcing him to suffer a 1,000 years of torment as he slowly reformed enough to crawl his way out. I know technically James Woods only voiced the character Hades, but come on, the only difference between this guy and James Woods is that James Wood’s hair burns a different color. His crimes were…none. He’s a god and therefore above the laws of man. His plan was to overthrow Olympus by releasing the Titans from Tarturus because the gods treated him like shit and forced him to live in the underworld. Sure he didn’t die at the end, but a thousand years of torment is something reserved for the victims of the Sarlaac. This might have been a little much. Verdict: Unjust

Madame Medusa, from the Rescuers, was eaten by pet crocodiles. Her crimes were…holy shit, not worth that end. I don’t think she killed the president or ate a baby. Definitely overkill Disney. Verdict: Unjust

Madam Mim, from the Sword in the Stone, is infected with Small Pox. Her crimes, can’t really remember to tell you the truth, yet I still feel I can judge this person. Oh, to be a white male in America. I do remember that her demise is a perfect example of why you should never bring magic tricks to a biological warfare fight. Merlin and Mim have a magic battle where they each change into different animals and forms and try to beat the other. Towards the end, Mim changes into a dragon, which honestly should have been her opening move, and it looks like Merlin is done for. However, Merlin throws a curve ball and turns into a virus and gets Mim so sick she can’t do magic anymore, and develops spots all over her body. I can’t remember if they actually show what happens to her later on, but if not, I say she definitely died from whatever Merlin infected her with. God damn Merlin, you don’t play around. Verdict: Possible violation of Geneva Convention.

Ursula, from the Little Mermaid, was electrocuted and then impaled on the mast of a ship after witnessing the accidental death of her beloved pet eels. Her crimes were fraud, and the general offenses that occur when turning yourself into a giant Kaiju sea god. Still, this is overkill. Either one of those deaths would be pretty violent, but both? That’s just hateful. Verdict: Unjust

Dr. Facilier (The Shadow Man), from the Princess and the Frog, was dragged into a demon dimension by a horde of undead voodoo dolls. His crimes were fraud, attempted homicide and conspiracy to manipulate the population of New Orleans into selling their souls to his voodoo gods. I love Dr. Facilier, as he is the perfect mix of good animation design and voice casting (Keith David) and has one of the best villain songs of all time. However, as horrific as his death and likely eternal torment are, plotting to capture the souls of an entire city is pretty high on the bad guy list. Verdict: Just

The Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, falls off a cliff, crushed by a bolder and pecked by vultures. Her crimes were attempted murder of those prettier than her. Wow, I did not remember how dark her death was. She was chased through the woods, terrified, as a pack of dwarves, riding deer and swinging clubs follow her, all while a massive thunderstorm builds overhead. When she reaches the top of a hill, she tries to knock a bolder down on the approaching dwarves, but a bolt of lightning decimates the ledge she is standing on and she falls to her death…and then the bolder she was trying to push falls and crushes her…and then some vultures slowly fly down the chasm to pick at the remains. Holy shit, was Snow White related to an animator. This is pretty vengeful, even for an evil queen. Verdict: Unjust

Claude Frollo, from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, falls off the Notre Dame Cathedral. His crimes were, all of them. He was one evil fucking guy. In fact, despite this not being one of the better Disney films, he may take the cake for most evil Disney Villain. Murder, attempted murder of the physically handicapped, genocide, attempted sexual assault, all in a day’s work for Minister of Justice Claude Frollo. Falling off a cathedral while witnessing a glimpse of a hellish landscape before his death is a pretty lenient way for him to go. Verdict: Really Insufficient

Stromboli, Honest John, Gideon, and the Coachman, from Pinocchio, had no punishment. Their crimes were exploitation of minors, kidnapping, and, I’m sorry to say, implied child rape (probably). Sure Pinocchio escapes from each of them, but the only penalty they receive is the fact they are no longer able to exploit Pinnochio for his entertainment value (high), carriage pulling value (average) or sex toy value (below average, splinters and everything). This is one of the earlier Disney movies, so I guess child labor abuse laws weren’t as stringent as they are today. All of this kidnapping children to force them to become donkeys might have been as common as a game of neighborhood stickball in the summer. Verdict: Insufficient

The Hunter, from Bambi, had no punishment. His crimes…none. He killed a deer. As long as he had an appropriate license, he committed no crime. Might as well punish the grass for being green. Verdict: Perfect balance.

Lady Tremaine, from Cinderella, had no punishment. Her crimes…being a crotchety old bitch, having ugly daughters and treating a step-daughter like a slave. Lady Tremaine wasn’t going to win mother of the year, but she didn’t really do anything wrong, and, rightfully so, wasn’t punished. Verdict: Perfect balance.

Scar, from the Lion King, was devoured by his own soldiers. His crimes were a mix of conspiracy to commit regicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, homicide, attempted homicide and treason. First, the politics of this movie don’t really make sense to me. The Lions are the rulers over all the animals, not just the Lions, and while they seem to be well liked (based on the opening gathering to pay respect to Simba) the Lions do tend to eat their subjects from time to time. I guess they are more in charge of maintaining the circle of life to ensure that all animals are in perfect balance…except for the Hyenas, because fuck those guys. The Hyenas are forced to live in an elephant grave yard where they are in the brink of starvation. Scar, convinces them to support his coup and murder the King and Prince in exchange for such luxuries like Food…and that’s about it. While Scar turns out to be a shitty king, its mostly due to a lack of food, since the ecosystems apparently just falls apart when the Hyenas get to eat too. Killing Mufasa was a pretty bad thing to do, but he was also just fine with forcing an entire species to starve to death, and Simba would have probably carried that same torch. Scar was literally two or three less arrogant remarks away from being the hero of this movie. But, alas, he came off as a prick, and was thus eaten by his army. In case anyone asks, when the alt right movement is eventually defeated, this is how I want it to go down. Verdict: Just

So is there order or chaos in the Disney universe? I don’t know, it’s all a cartoon. This thing is seven pages long now and I have other stuff I need to be doing. You tell me?

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