Classic Disney characters are as iconic as Kylie and Kendall. We all know Ursula, Simba, The Genie, Dumbo or Mickey Mouse, but what about the new characters? Here are seven characters from the last ten years of Disney features who are poised to become every bit as iconic as those who came before them.
Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
The Princess and the Frog had, for the most part, run of the mill Disney characters, except its villain — Dr. Facilier, the dark magician who tried to manipulate the throne with his use of demons. With a visual flair and one of Disney’s best vocal performances from Kevin Michael Richardson, Dr. Facilier has more than earned himself a spot on this list.
The Bar-Goers (Tangled)
Tangled had an excellent villain, a very good horse, and a strong and funny protagonist, but the film’s soul lay in its additional characters — the roughnecks Rapunzel befriends who have beautiful dreams of their own. The characters are fun, as they give it their all (as weird as that all may be) in a sweet and relatable way.
Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope (Wreck-It Ralph)
It’s rare in a Disney film that the movie’s goofiest characters are also its core, but such is a tenet of Rich Moore, a Disney director best known for animating The Simpsons and Futurama during their heyday. Wreck-It Ralph, a big messed up goon who doesn’t wear shoes, and Vanellope, an adorable sprite of a character, make a beautiful duo with a ridiculous amount of heart at their core, bonded by an incredibly sincere affection. It’s rare to see a relation that’s both sincere and goofy in a Disney film, but Wreck-It Ralph pulls it off.
Baymax (Big Hero 6)
Big Hero 6 was anchored by Baymax, a character whose Niles Crane-meets-Milhouse-meets-The Iron Giant vibe is something that’ll stay with you long after the film is over.
A protagonist with the complexity and brilliance of a villain, Elsa turned into an ice queen out of loneliness (a struggle many can relate to). She’s been touted as everything from a gay symbol to the first independent Disney character.
Nick and Judy (Zootopia)
Judy is a type-A rabbit who wants to prove she’s brilliant, while Nick is a con artist whose confidence in a situation undermines Judy’s neurosis. In a sense, Zootopia‘s leads are Bart and Lisa in a noir, and the developing nature of their relationship, metaphors for race and all, are powerful.
Tamatoa the Crab (Moana)
Moana was a beautiful film with a few great characters, from the headstrong Maui to the film’s poetic final villain. But it’s Tamatoa, voiced by Jermaine Clement, who was Moana’s greatest character. His giant size, proud glam vibe, and greed-based villainy made him stand out. It doesn’t help that he sings a song by Lin Manuel Miranda in the style of David Bowie.
What new Disney characters stick out in your mind? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @AlexFirer!