Human beings have been around for thousands and thousands of years, and over the course of all that time, we have changed a great deal. But even though we have made a lot of changes, there are just some things that literally never change. Humans like to tell stories, mainly for entertainment, but also for historical purposes. And we have liked telling them ever since before we could actually speak to one another. At first, we told stories by drawing images on the walls of caves. Then we began telling them via speech, which was the preferred method until a portion of the population learned to read and write, which is when scripture and books exploded in storytelling popularity.
In today’s world, books still exist, but they are no longer the main method with which stories are told, as television and movies now provide humanity with more stories than we can handle; stories that deal with all sorts of genres, settings, characters, and themes. As of right now, Disney is one of the world’s biggest providers of film and television content, a position that the company earned, mainly thanks to its litany of animated movies which have almost always been aimed towards younger audiences. Over the course of its 93-year history, Disney has provided us with tons of stories, as well as dozens of unique characters, who each have their own backstories and who also tend to be lighthearted in nature. There are loads of Disney fans out there, and some of the more hardcore fans will claim that they know everything about every character. But even they can miss something, and this list will try to fill in any blanks. Here is a list of 15 things you might have not known about Disney’s characters.
15. Belle Suffers From Stockholm Syndrome
This past March, Disney gave us a live action adaptation of their 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast, a movie in which the entire plot revolves around a prince who is turned into a beast because of his arrogance and the girl he imprisons in his castle. Over the course of the movie, Belle develops romantic feelings for the Beast, which means that she is in essence falling for her captor, which is exactly how you would define someone who is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. It is quite possible that Belle’s feelings towards the Beast were nothing more than some sort of coping mechanism she developed out of fear of thinking she would never leave the castle, because it really does not make sense that she would fall in love with someone who is bad tempered, who has a visibly abusive nature and who basically owns his own slaves.
14. Originally, Sleeping Beauty Gets Assaulted
In 2014, Disney gave us Maleficent, which was a live action adaptation of their 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, a movie that featured a young beautiful princess, an evil fairy, and a curse. In the movie, princess Aurora is cursed by Maleficent after getting offended by her parents; a curse that would make her die on her 16th birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. The curse gets weakened, though, so when Aurora pricks her finger, she falls into a deep sleep that can only be broken by true love’s kiss. The movie is actually based on the Italian fairytale Sun, Moon, and Talia written in 1634, and in it, after she falls into the deep sleep, she is s*xually assaulted by the king who impregnates her, and she only wakes up when one of her babies happens to suck the poison out of her finger. When she then wakes up, she falls in love with the king who assaulted her.
13. Shan-Yu Is Basically A War Criminal
Over the course of China’s history, the country has had to deal with invasions from the Mongols, the Huns, and the Japanese. And in 1998, Disney took inspiration from China’s conflicts with the Huns to make the film Mulan. The movie tells the story of Mulan, a female warrior who wants to take her father’s place in the Chinese army in order to help fight the Huns, who are being led by the evil warrior, Shan-Yu. No matter the time period, there will always be a lot of violence and heinous acts committed during times of war. Unfortunately, innocent civilians tend to take the brunt of these violent acts. In the movie, Shan-Yu does just that, as he orders his men to destroy an entire village filled with civilians—an act that, by today’s standards, would be considered a war crime. Disney has never shied away from villains with murderous intent, but Shan-Yu is definitely on an another level.
12. Scar Really Did Make “A Handsome Rug”
In 1994, Disney released The Lion King, a movie which is still considered to be one of the best films that the studio has ever made. In it, we are introduced to one of Disney’s greatest villains, Scar. In the movie, Scar is a lion who wants to rule over Africa’s Pride Lands, and to accomplish that goal, he assassinates his older brother and then tries to kill his only nephew. In the end, though, Scar gets what’s coming to him, as he is defeated by his fully-grown nephew after a vicious fight and is then immediately killed by his hyena henchmen. But even though he is killed, that is not the last time we see Scar. Three years later, Disney released the animated film Hercules, and in it, the main character can be seen wearing a lion pelt which turns out to be Scar. What makes this very dark, though, is the fact that in The Lion King, there is a joke made that Scar would make a “handsome rug.”
11. The Evil Queen Is A Bit Of A Cannibal
Disney is indeed a powerhouse in the entertainment industry, and a major reason behind their success stems from the fact that their first animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, became a box office phenomenon. The movie gave us our first princess in Snow White, as well as our first Disney villain, which came in the form of the Evil Queen, who was both a witch and Snow White’s stepmother. By now, we all know the story that the queen becomes so jealous of her stepdaughter’s beauty and that she orders her killed. Now, when Snow White manages to live, she tries to do the job herself by disguising herself as a hag and giving her a poisoned apple. Obviously, the queen is evil. But in the original Brothers Grimm story, she also happens to have no problem engaging in cannibalism because in the original story, not only does she order her Huntsman to kill Snow White, but she also tells him to bring her her lungs and liver so she can eat them.
10. Ariel Was Supposed To Dissolve Into Sea Foam
For those who have not watched The Little Mermaid, it focuses on Princess Ariel, who is very curious about the human world, and that curiosity eventually leads to her meeting and falling in love with Eric, a human Prince. In order to spend more time with Eric, Ariel makes a deal with Ursula the sea witch, in which Ariel will be turned into a human for three days in exchange for her voice, with the catch being that she can only stay human if she gets Eric to kiss her. The movie is actually based on the 1837 book of the same name, and in it, Ariel does not live happily ever after because the sea witch makes sure that each step she takes with her human legs is like stepping on shards of glass, with the only way to stop the pain being to either kill her Prince or get turned into sea foam. She chooses the foam and ends up stranded in Limbo for all eternity.
9. Cinderella’s Stepsisters Went Through Extreme Measures To Make The Glass Slippers Fit
If Snow White is Disney’s most iconic princess, then Cinderella is probably a very close second, seeing as she is literally the second princess that the company produced and because her glass slippers are iconic pieces of animated film history. In Cinderella, our female protagonist lives with her evil stepmother and two stepsisters, all of whom treat her like garbage simply because she happens to have good looks. But in the end, she is the one who gets the last laugh when she is the one who marries the Prince. The Prince falls in love with Cinderella during a ball, while she is wearing a dress provided to her by her Fairy Godmother, a dress which includes the slippers. And after leaving one of those slippers behind, the Prince orders a search to find the woman whose foot fits the slipper perfectly. Obviously, her stepsisters try to make the slipper fit and eventually fail, but in the original story, they go to great lengths to make it fit, as one cuts off her toes while the other cuts off her heel.
8. Rapunzel Lost Her Hair For Getting Pregnant
One of Disney’s more recent animated movies is Tangled, which was based on the German fairy tale Rapunzel written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, featuring a princess with magical hair. Now, the movie is lighthearted by design and focuses on Rapunzel who is kidnapped by an old woman who locks her in a tower in order to use the magic within her hair to stay young. However, she eventually escapes and marries her true love, Eugene, all while keeping her insanely long hair. In the original story, though, Rapunzel loses all of her hair after the witch who is holding her captive discovers that she got pregnant by a Prince who visited her. And after cutting off all that hair, she kicks her out of the tower and sends her far away. Eventually, Rapunzel gives birth and is left having to beg in the streets in order to feed her child until the Prince who knocked her up eventually finds her.
7. Quasimodo Kills Himself
Disney has always provided audiences with very lighthearted animated movies, and although these films are aimed towards young children, they often contain some pretty dark themes. In 1996, The Hunchback of Notre Dame officially joined the Disney family, and as far as Disney movies go, it contains the darkest themes by far, as the movie touches upon subjects like sin, lust, damnation, infanticide, and genocide. In it, we meet a hunchback named Quasimodo, who meets and falls in love with a kind gypsy named, Esmeralda. However, he must then come to terms with the fact that she falls in love with a French officer named Captain Phoebus. The movie, though, is based on a book, and in that book, Esmeralda is successfully framed for trying to kill Phoebus and ends up getting executed, which leaves Quasimodo devastated and heartbroken, so much so that he lays on her grave until he slowly starves to death.
6. The Princess Does Not Just Kiss The Frog
Most of the time, Disney animated movies perform extremely well at the Box Office, but in 2009, the company was barely able to break even on the film The Princess and the Frog, which featured the first African-American Princess. In the movie, she meets a frog who is actually a Prince, and when he convinces her to kiss him, she gets turned into a frog as well and must find a way to change back before it is too late. Like many of Disney’s animated movies, this one was based on a book, and in it, there is indeed a princess who meets a frog and kisses him to break the curse that was placed on him, except in the book, the Princess in incredibly spoiled and basically tortures the frog/Prince before kissing him. Apparently, Disney omitted the fact that this princess slammed the frog against the wall and burned him with fire. In some versions, she even cuts off his head.
5. Mulan Ends Up Taking Her Own Life
With this entry, we return to the movie Mulan. Except this time, we will be focusing on the main character herself, who managed to inspire many girls with her strong character and bravery. As mentioned earlier, Mulan goes out of her way to join the Chinese army in order to fight the Huns, and not only does she achieve this goal, but she also becomes a great warrior and develops a relationship with a male general; but most importantly, she returns home to a family that is safe and who are all thrilled to see her again. As it turns out, the movie is based off of a Chinese poem called Hua Mulan, which sees Mulan not have a happy ending at all, because in it, she finds her family to be broken when she returns home, which forces her to become a concubine in order to support herself. This way of life leaves her very depressed; so depressed, in fact, that she commits suicide.
4. Pocahontas Actually Had A Terrible Life
In 1995, Disney released Pocahontas, which told the story of a young Native American woman and her interactions with the English settlers of Jamestown, and to this day, it is the only animated Disney movie that is based on a real-life individual. In the movie, Pocahontas is a free-spirited individual who meets an Englishman named John Smith, a man who she rescues and falls in love with, and together, they try to stop the settlers and her tribe from killing each other. The movie received a lot of criticism, though, due to its historical inaccuracies, especially regarding Pocahontas herself because, in reality, she was kidnapped by the settlers and held for ransom, and while captive, she was assaulted multiple times, becoming pregnant in the process. To make the pregnancy seem legitimate, she was forced to convert to Christianity and to marry a tobacco farmer. Later, she was taken to England to show that Natives could be successfully converted, and on the voyage back to North America, she dies under mysterious circumstances after eating dinner.
3. Donald Duck Worked For The Nazis
World War 2 was a truly dark time in human history, and although it ended a little more than 70 years ago, the Nazi symbol has not disappeared, as there are still those who believe in what it symbolizes. During the war, a lot of American companies joined the war effort in some way in order to help beat Germany, and in 1943, Disney helped out by releasing a short animated film featuring one of the company’s oldest characters, Donald Duck. The film is called Der Fuehrer’s Face, and in it, Donald dreams that he is working inside of a Nazi factory. While there, he can also be seen reading a copy of Mein Kampf, the autobiography of Adolf Hitler. The film actually went on to win an Oscar that year and is considered to be one of the best cartoons ever made. But it has not really been seen much since 2004, and who can blame Disney for not wanting kids to associate Donald Duck with Nazis?
2. Nemo & His Dad Will Eventually Have To Mate With Each Other
In 2003, Pixar and Disney released Finding Nemo, and in doing so, they managed to do the unthinkable—they made audiences all over the world fall in love with a young clownfish named Nemo. After a barracuda attack, Nemo and his dad are apparently the only clownfish left in the Great Barrier Reef, and when Nemo gets captured by scuba divers, the movie becomes a story about a father doing everything he can to rescue his son. The two do, in fact, get reunited and go on to have a happy ending, but what Disney and Pixar failed to realize was the fact that clownfish have an adaptation that allows them to change their s*x in order to reproduce. Every living thing has a biological need to mate, and seeing as Nemo and Marlin are supposedly the only clownfish left in the area, it means that when Nemo grows up, either he or his dad will have to decide to become a female in order for one to mate with the other.
1. The Beast Is A Mass Murderer
We started this list off by talking about Beauty and the Beast, so it only makes sense that we end it with the same movie. Earlier, it was said that the Beast owned slaves. Well, those slaves are actually his servants, who were all turned into household objects and furniture by the same enchantress who turned him into a monster. Considering how big the castle is, the Beast had many servants, so it would make sense that a lot of the furniture within the castle were in fact his servants, which is where things start to get dark. In the castle’s West Wing, where the enchanted rose is kept, we have the Beast’s room, which is filled with furniture that has been broken and torn apart. All that damage was done as a result of the Beast’s anger and aggression, and if you consider that at least half of that furniture could have been former servants, then the Beast is in fact a mass murderer.
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