From evil curses to plain old cunning and manipulation, Disney villains always have a plan to get what they want. Unfortunately, that plan often includes attempted murder, but generally the heroes survive and prevail. Then again, there are some exceptions.
Disney has taken great care not to show too much death on screen, and when they do it’s not typically graphic. But it does happen, and more than one might think.
This list will stick mostly to Disney and PIXAR animations, with one exception. In Disney’s vast universe, there are likely more villains who have presumably killed characters, but this will focus on those we’ve seen or know for sure.
Here are 15 Disney Villains Who Actually Killed Someone.
15. Scar (The Lion King)
One of Disney’s most angsty and melodramatic villains, Scar is responsible for one of the most heartbreaking deaths.
Trying to take over the throne, Scar has his hyena associates cause an antelope stampede, trapping and nearly killing Simba. Mufasa manages to save his son, but is pulled back into the herd. Audiences get a brief glimmer hope when Mufasa suddenly leaps from the stampede onto the canyon wall. But, Scar proudly snuffs out that glimmer with a vicious “Long live the king” and throws Mufasa back into the stampede.
As fictional deaths go, Mufasa’s murder continues to be one of the hardest for people to get over. Any healing that has happened will likely be undone by the upcoming live action remake of the film.
14. Jafar (Aladdin)
There are actually three apparent deaths all before the first song is over in Aladdin. Surprisingly, Jafar is only directly responsible for one: Gazeem. He’s a murderer himself, recruited by Jafar to find and deliver the other half of a Golden Scarab Beetle, which will lead to the entrance of the Cave of Wonders. Gazeem “had to slit a few throats” but he does fulfill his task and Jafar promises all of the cave treasure to Gazeem, except for the lamp.
When Gazeem introduces himself to the tiger head, the cave cryptically warns that only a “diamond in the rough” may enter. Gazeem steps in warily, but breathes a sigh of relief when nothing happens immediately. Neither men know what the cave meant but find out when the cave suddenly snaps its mouth shut on top of Gazeem, killing him.
13. Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Throughout Tangled, there’s no real threat. It’s clear Mother Gothel is the “bad guy” but unlike most villains, her villainy is mostly just one extended bad deed. She’s taken good care of Rapunzel, even if only for the power of her hair. But when Mother Gother herself feels threatened, all bets are off.
When Flynn discovers it was actually her who sold out Rapunzel to the Stabbington Brothers (that is their actual name), he heroically tries to save his love. But when he manages to enter the tower, he’s greeted with a knife to the kidney, courtesy of Mother Gothel. She then chains him up, because she’s thorough. When Rapunzel tries to heal him, he stops her, apparently going in for a kiss. Instead, he cuts her hair and saves her, sacrificing himself.
12. Shan Yu (Mulan)
One of Disney’s most ruthless villains, Mulan‘s Shan Yu is the leader of the Huns, and has one of the highest body counts of the Disney world. When his troops capture two imperial scouts, it seems Shan Yu might have a merciful side, sparing them so they could deliver his challenge to the Emperor. But then he asks his lead archer how many men it takes to deliver a message. The archer draws his bow and replies, “One” and it’s good-bye poor scout.
Shan Yu and the Huns later track the Imperial Army to a village in the Tung Shao Pass, where they mount an attack. The movie doesn’t show the battle – showing a mass murder, even as part of war, would be a bit much for Disney – but the animators do show the aftermath. When Li Shang, Mulan and the rest of the troops arrive, they find the remains of the village and the bodies of their fellow soldiers.
11. Clayton (Tarzan)
Initially introduced as a chivalrous, experienced protector, Clayton doesn’t assume his true villainous role until the second half of Tarzan. After Tarzan decides to accompany Jane and her father back to England, Clayton takes the trio captive on the boat and heads off to round up the gorillas. He hadn’t planned to kill them, only to sell them.
Luckily, Tarzan escapes and heads back to defend his family. Clayton attempts to kill Tarzan, but the bullet only grazes his arm. Kerchak, finally accepting Tarzan fully, then charges and is shot by Clayton. Tarzan manages to take care of Clayton – well, technically Clayton does himself in – and runs to his adoptive father. Kerchak tells him to “take care of them” and dies from the gunshot inflicted the the Englishman.
10. Sabor (Tarzan)
Though she’s not the main antagonist of Tarzan, Sabor the leopard did some serious damage in the film. Her first kill – arguably one of Disney’s darkest moves – is Kerchak and Kala’s biological son. While the gorilla family is sleeping, the baby notices a frog hopping past and chases it into the jungle. Sabor spots the baby while out hunting, ultimately cornering and eating him as Kala and Kerchak arrive too late (seriously, for a kid’s movie, this one got intense).
Sabor later kills Tarzan’s biological parents, in the treehouse they built as their new home. When Kala and her family are passing the treehouse, she hears Tarzan’s cries and goes to investigate. Viewers are shown bloody paw prints, leading to the bodies of Tarzan’s family.
9. AUTO (Wall-E)
AUTO, short for Autopilot, is not truly designed to be a villain. It just complied with the orders that have been given to him by the Chairman of Axiom Corporation, laid out by the A113 Protocol.
The protocol essentially said to prevent any attempt to return to Earth unless life was proven sustainable again. AUTO, like most of the autopilots, took the instructions too literally; he stopped any return attempts regardless of potential sustainability. As a result, humans remained in space for centuries.
When the humans finally catch on to what’s happening, Captain B. McCrea battles AUTO for control of the ship. McCrea eventually wins out, but not before AUTO crushed Wall-E with the holo-detector. Luckily, his fate isn’t permanent and Eve manages to repair Wall-E back on Earth.
8. Chernabog (Fantasia)
One of Disney’s original villains, Chernabog is the only one that’s an actual demon. Considered the personification of pure evil, Chernabog’s sole purpose is to kill. With only 11 minutes of screen time, the demon managed a sizable body count.
He appears in Disney’s Fantasia during “Night On Bald Mountain,” emerging from the peak of Bald Mountain to summon all of his minions. They dance wildly around him as he throws them one by one back into hell, depicted here as the mountain’s fire pit.
Chernabog plays a large part in Disney’s theme park shows, and shows up fairly often in merchandise. He did make a brief appearance in ABC’s Once Upon A Time, in season four. Heading forward, the demon is set to return to the Disney film universe soon.
7. Scroop (Treasure Planet)
Scroop, the alien spider/crab-like creature, is one of those villains who starts in the secondary role. He’s not a consistent presence in the film but he strikes early. Really, Scroop is barely introduced before he’s trying to kill someone.
When he catches Jim eavesdropping on the crew’s plan to execute a mutiny, the two exchange harsh words provoking Scroop to try to kill the boy. Jim is saved when Silver steps in, shielding him while Mr. Arrow yells at Scroop.
When the ship hits a supernova, Jim is assigned to securing everyone’s lifelines. So, when a wave hits Mr. Arrow directly, he’s saved by rope tethering him to the ship. Enter Scroop, who quickly severs Arrow’s rope, sending him plummeting to his death in the black hole.
6. Callaghan (Big Hero 6)
In Big Hero 6, Disney takes tragedy to an elevated level. The hero, aptly named Hiro, has no parents and is raised by his brother, Tadashi, and his aunt. After Hiro presents his invention at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology’s science fair, the convention is forced to evacuate due to a fire. Tadashi runs back into the building in an attempt to save his professor, just before the building explodes.
Both Callaghan and Tadashi are presumed dead, shattering the lives of Hiro and his friends. Then, in a surprise turn of events, Hiro and his team discovered that Callaghan not only started the fire, but survived using the microbots. Callaghan, hardened by the loss of his daughter, justifies causing Tadashi’s death saying, “That was his mistake.”
5. Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Frollo is one of the most radical villains in Disney’s catalogue. He justifies his actions as “God’s will,” but mainly uses his government status to do whatever he wants. He’s a Parisian justice minister, hellbent on persecuting Gypsies, including Quasimodo’s mother.
Thinking she had stolen goods, Frollo chases her through the city to the church where she tries to claim sanctuary. He catches her before she can find help and kicks her down into the stone steps of Notre Dame with his steel boot. He kills her with a single blow and a broken neck.
4. Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
The Shadow Man’s main goal was to take over New Orleans and unleash the shadow world on the souls of the living. In the end, he only takes one life before he’s stopped, but it’s a rough one. His name was Raymond, but everybody called him Ray.
When Naveen finally snatches the amulet disguising Lawrence, he tosses it to Ray to keep away from Dr. Facilier. Ray takes the necklace to Tiana and gives her time to escape by taking on the shadows himself. But when Dr. Facilier shows up, he swats Ray into a wall and promptly steps on him.
3. Syndrome (The Incredibles)
With hair that rivals a Disney princess, Syndrome of The Incredibles is a blatant testament to “villains are made, not born.” All he wanted was to be “Incredi-boy,” Mr. Incredible’s ward, but all he heard was “Go home Buddy.” So, he starts playing the long game. He grows up, becomes fabulously wealthy and creates the Omnidroid.
Syndrome’s main target is, of course, Mr. Incredible, but he holds a grudge against supers in general. He creates several versions of the robot, testing it on other heroes to see how it holds up. Each version gets stronger, and moves on to the next challenge after its current opponent is destroyed.
2. The Sanderson Sisters (Hocus Pocus)
Hocus Pocus has become a Halloween staple, more of a comedy than a horror film. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker made the Sanderson sisters the funniest witches Disney owns. But, even with hilarious antics and incredible singing skills, the Sanderson sisters are officially murderesses.
The main goal of the witches is to lure children to their house and steal their youth. At the beginning of the film, Emily Binx is their latest victim. Her older brother Thackery tries to save her, and almost succeeds, but is ultimately turned into a cat. The Sanderson sisters are rejuvenated and Emily ends up dead.
Worth noting: the Sandersons don’t only kill children. Winifred killed her boyfriend Billy Butcherson after he had an affair with her sister, Sarah. Winifred poisoned him and sewed his mouth shut with a dull needle.
1. Hades (Hercules)
As the literal God of Death, Hades has plenty of experience in taking lives. In terms of Disney villains, he’s more of a comedic relief throughout the film, albeit with some cruel intentions. True to a God’s personality, he never actually does things himself. In attempting to murder Hercules, Hades sends Pain and Panic, and later a handful of monsters.
In terrorizing Greece, Hades unleashes the Titans to do the heavy lifting of his Olympus takeover. The Cyclops in particular proves most useful, when he causes a large pillar to nearly fall on Hercules. Meg manages to push him out of the way, and the pillar crushes her instead. She survives but only briefly, as Hades taunts Herc saying “a friend of yours, who’s dying to see me.”
Fortunately for Meg, Herc manages to save her from the Underworld before she’s lost forever.
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