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VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Adrian Quidilla
We relate to these Disney villains to the point that we almost root for them. For this list, we'll be looking at the studio's animated antagonists that we most identify with or understand. Our countdown includes "Lilo & Stitch," "The Incredibles," "The Jungle Book," and more!

#20: John Silver
“Treasure Planet” (2002)


Pirates are known as dangerous criminals who sail the seas. But Disney has a habit of making the rogue swashbucklers pretty endearing. Take John Silver for instance. Throughout the film, the cyborg pirate tries to find the lost treasure of captain Flint. He’s so desperate that he even commits mutiny against his ship’s captain. But he’s not as evil as he seems. He’s just a man who seeks freedom and riches, and isn’t as violent as many other villains in pursuit of those goals. In fact, he even reprimands his own crew for being so bloodthirsty. And let’s not forget that he sacrifices a fortune to save Jim Hawkins. He may be a criminal, but he values his friendships just like the rest of us.

#19: Captain Gantu
“Lilo & Stitch” (2002)


Many villains are motivated by hatred or selfishness, in ways the average viewer struggles to relate to. But Gantu doesn’t seem to have much of either. When rogue Experiment 626 escapes to Earth, the captain of the Galactic Federation is sent to eliminate the threat. We eventually learn that Stitch is actually capable of empathy and kindness. But everyone else in the universe sees him as an extreme danger. So if we were in Gantu’s shoes, we might pursue Stitch at first too. He was trying to do the right thing, which he’s later fired for. Plenty of people have been there! Being let go is rough, especially if you were just doing the job you were asked to do. We feel for you, Gantu.

#18: Henry J. Waternoose
“Monsters, Inc.” (2001)


In the world of “Monsters, Inc.”, the screams of children are used to power cities. But high demand and brave kiddos puts the city of Monstropolis in a crisis. This forces Monsters Inc’s CEO to use a sinister alternative. Using a deadly machine, Waternoose (and Randall) planned to forcefully “extract” childrens’ screams. We obviously don’t condone his crimes, but one could argue that he was left with few options. And who among us hasn’t made mistakes when we’re desperate? His company is the only thing keeping the lights on in Monstropolis, after all. Without it, the future of Monster civilization wouldn’t look so bright. We can only guess how badly he was affected by that weight on his shoulders.

#17: Stinky Pete the Prospector
“Toy Story 2” (1999)


Woody and Jessie’s fear of abandonment is a pretty relatable part of this film. Despite that, they’re still ultimately willing to face it for a chance at happiness. But that’s not something Stinky Pete the Prospector wants to do. After years of being ignored by kids, Pete makes it his life’s goal to be immortalized in a toy museum. He takes it too far when he tries to refrain his friends from leaving, but we can empathize with his reasons. They’re clearly a result of his desire to finally be seen, and that’s something so many of us can relate to. Plus, being appreciated by thousands in a toy museum doesn’t sound all that bad.

#16: Shere Khan
“The Jungle Book” (1967)


In this coming-of-age story, the young Mowgli overcomes the dangers of the jungle. One of those dangers is the bloodthirsty Shere Khan. But knowing why he’s after Mowgli helps us understand him much better. Khan kills men he comes across, but only because he’s afraid of their destructive tendencies. Anyone who’s seen the horrors of poaching can certainly understand why he would feel this way. And like fellow villains Maleficent and Cruella, Shere Khan is fleshed out further in a live-action film. In 2016’s “The Jungle Book”, his hatred of humans is nearly justified when Mowgli mistakenly sets the jungle ablaze. He does prove to be better than his human counterparts, but we totally get how Shere Khan could see them as a threat.

#15: Randall Boggs
“Monsters, Inc.” (2001) & “Monsters University” (2013)


When we first meet this monster, he competes with Sulley to become the top scarer. He’s a sore loser about it, but wouldn’t you be a little competitive if you always came in second place? Even more so if you kept losing to the same person? Then, in the prequel film “Monsters University”, we learn even more about Randall. During his freshman year, he was a timid nerd who wanted to be cool. And he couldn’t cope with James P. Sullivan threatening his chance at that, which we get. Of course the big blue monster would eventually change for the better, and Randall ultimately gets carried away in his villainy. But we can’t say we wouldn’t hold a grudge, too.

#14: Chef Skinner
“Ratatouille” (2007)


The head chef and owner of Gusteau’s is driven by greed, but his actions aren’t all that bad. Obviously we side with Remy as soon as the film starts, so it’s easy to forget that he is a rat – a rat that Skinner understandably doesn’t trust. We sympathize. Who would want a pest anywhere in their vicinity, let alone in a kitchen? Plus, he must’ve proven himself to have inherited the restaurant, and Remy and Linguini result in it being taken away from him. Skinner goes a bit too far, but none of us would want an inexperienced stranger who’s secretly scheming with a rat jeopardizing our life’s work.

#13: Gabby Gabby
“Toy Story 4” (2019)


If you ask us, Gabby Gabby is far from being evil — she just got dealt a rough hand, which many can identify with. The doll is desperate to be cared for by a child, and intends to accomplish that by replacing her voice box. Her goal is so understandable that it even convinces Woody to sacrifice his own part to help. Even though she’s discarded by the girl she was hoping would take her, Gabby Gabby eventually gets what she always wanted. Her desire for love is something we can all relate to. And her ability to pick herself up after being rejected teaches a great lesson in how dreams can be achieved, sometimes differently than you expect.

#12: Michael “Goob” Yagoobian [aka Bowler Hat Guy]
“Meet the Robinsons” (2007)


In his youth, Goob was the roommate to child genius Lewis Robinson. Lewis’s inventions would keep him awake at bedtime. This in turn basically ruined his life, motivating him to eventually seek vengeance on his fellow orphan. Many can relate to Lewis’s inability to leave the past behind. But we also can’t help but feel especially sorry for Goob, who only ever wanted some shut-eye. It is true that his plans aren’t completely justified. But he can’t be expected to think clearly when he’s stuck on childhood trauma he never processed. At the end of the day, he turned bad because he couldn't get a good night’s rest. Okay, that may be a slight oversimplification, but come on, we’ve all had days like that.

#11: Ursula
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)


From the moment she appears on screen, we identify with Ursula’s wit and sarcasm. Her spiel about how great things were back in her day isn’t unfamiliar to us on a personal level, either! All those qualities make her pretty hard to root against. We’re meant to see Ariel as the victim of Ursula’s schemes, but the villain technically never breaks the contract. Additionally, Ursula doesn’t force Ariel to put herself in danger. The sea witch merely sees an opportunity for power and takes it. Who hasn’t been tempted to get ahead in life? Now, we admit the whole wanting to usurp the King stuff was a lot. But if you ignore that, Ursula feels like part of the gang.

#10: Sid Phillips
“Toy Story” (1995)


Sure, harming toys isn’t great. But it’s important to remember that Sid doesn’t know that they’re alive — that makes a big difference. If you’ve ever played rough with your own dolls, you can surely put yourself in his shoes! Sid even shows off his artistic side when he combines toy parts to create new playthings. Anyone who’s in the hobby of toy collecting knows that making custom action figures is pretty common. At the end of the day, Sid is just a lonely boy with some issues that need managing. He’s not some evil mastermind, and we’re betting his general experience isn’t too hard to relate to for most.

#9: Jafar
“Aladdin” (1992)


In this Disney Renaissance classic, Jafar obtains the wish-granting Genie’s lamp. Thus, he becomes the “most powerful sorcerer in the world” and the ruler of Agrabah. Be honest, if you had three wishes, you’d probably ask for wealth and power, too. Of course Jafar completely misuses this power and has sinister beliefs, and that’s a no no! But his reasons make a little bit of sense. Consider how his boss is the Sultan, who doesn’t quite exude total competence sometimes, and we can sort of understand the villain’s frustration. Overall, while we disagree with Jafar’s actions, his ambition, humor, and desire for wish fulfillment are all things we’re familiar with.

#8: Captain Hook
“Peter Pan” (1953)


It’s easy to view Captain Hook as a hateable villain we have little in common with. He’s a pirate who wants to eliminate Peter Pan, after all. But put into context, we’d want to get back at Pan too. Peter is the reason the villain lost a hand, and has a crocodile after him! This makes Hook pretty sympathetic, and his hatred for Peter even more so. Pretty much everyone has been wronged by someone at one time or another. While most of us don’t pursue arguments quite as intensely as Hook, it’s not hard to identify with him when you consider the circumstances.

#7: Maleficent
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959)


This iconic villain is considered to be the embodiment of evil. She casts curses, commands an evil army, and turns into a dragon. But her desire to be included is what we see in ourselves. On the day of princess Aurora’s christening, Maleficent struts into the event despite not having an invite. Making her presence extra known, she enacts revenge by cursing young Aurora. Her reaction is extreme, but being kept out of the loop can be painful. Have you ever been excluded from an event’s guest list? Well imagine that, but with the added dig of the entire town being invited except for you. That’s gotta hurt.

#6: Syndrome
“The Incredibles” (2004)


Any kid would dream of being a sidekick in a world of superheroes. Given Buddy Pine’s intelligence and desire to help, he might have had that chance if not for his idol. Mr. Incredible dismisses Buddy’s dream of becoming a hero early on. This hurts him so badly that he takes the name Syndrome and eliminates a plethora of supers. It’s a sinister goal, but he also wants to give everyone powers. Who wouldn’t want to fly and lift trucks at the point of a gadget? Plus his grudge wouldn’t be so severe if his hero just gave him the time of day – or at the very least, let him down easy.

#5: Scar
“The Lion King” (1994)


Few villains illustrate the pain of being a younger sibling better than Scar. As king of the Pride Lands, Mufasa is recognized as a beloved ruler, and the superior of the two brothers. Anyone who’s ever been upstaged by a sibling, or really any relative, might know how bad that can feel. It’s certainly not enough to make us want to hurt them, but it’s a terrible feeling nonetheless. Scar’s jealousy is especially relatable knowing that he’s the one with the wit and charisma. We’re not disputing that he went about the situation in entirely the wrong way. Still, his envy and insecurity are understandable.

#4: Edgar Balthazar
“The Aristocats” (1970)


He doesn’t come close to being one of the best Disney villains. That’s mainly due to how non-threatening he is. But that just makes Edgar Balthazar extremely relatable. The butler has been in the rich Madame Bonfamille’s employ for ages. With no one to inherit her wealth, you’d think the loyal servant would receive her fortune. But no, it turns out the cats are first in line before him. Edgar obviously isn’t happy about this, and spends the film trying to get rid of the pets, first abandoning them in the countryside before trying to send them to another country. We’d never dream of harming cats, though we’d definitely want that inheritance in his shoes.

#3: Mother Gothel
“Tangled” (2010)


Aging is a natural part of life. While we know it’s completely normal and even good, it can sometimes be hard to embrace getting older. After all, the thought of endless aches and pains doesn’t necessarily sound appealing. If there was a way to stop all that, we’d unfortunately probably be just as desperate to get ahold of it as Mother Gothel is. When the villainess finds a magical flower that keeps her young, she keeps it hidden away. Eventually, she resorts to kidnapping to maintain said youth. We don’t endorse it. But Gothel does make not aging look appealing — until she meets an ugly fate, that is.

#2: Yzma
“The Emperor's New Groove” (2000)


We talked about how Jafar has a pretty incompetent boss that kind of makes us feel for him. But Yzma’s situation makes us feel even more sorry for her. She has spent years as a skilled scientist, surrogate parent, and advisor to Kuzco. But he catches her taking charge of the country’s dealings without his knowledge, which leads to her being axed, punished for her ambition! We know she’s far from being an angel. But if you’ve ever been overqualified and underappreciated at work, chances are you can understand her hatred of Kuzco and see some of yourself in her.

#1: Hades
“Hercules” (1997)


Who’d have expected a fiery lord of the Underworld to be one of the most relatable bad guys out there? James Woods’ Hades comes off as a threatening yet surprisingly down-to-earth villain. Even as we’re shaking our heads no at his evil-doing, his sarcastic dialogue never fails to make us go “same.” He also deals with a humiliating older brother, a career he doesn’t like, inept workers, and anger management issues — all pretty common real world stuff! Additionally, many of us probably recognize ourselves in his sense of humor! If that’s not the peak of relatability, we don’t know what is.

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