Every Live-Action Disney Villain So Far, Ranked

Entertainment

With every live-action Disney adaptation, there is always a villain – and today, we will rank them. 

Live-action Disney adaptations have been going on for years now. While the first technical one was when Disney decided to make 101 Dalmatians into a live-action years ago (which is honestly a great dog movie), we started to see a slew of them beginning in 2010, when the first of a long line of adaptations started to come out – Alice in Wonderland. 

From there, adaptation after adaptation just kept coming out. Some were fantastic; others were… less than that. The one thing that fluctuates between good and bad all the time is how their villains are portrayed. 

Today I will be ranking the live-action Disney villains so far, beginning with the live-action films starting in the early 2010s – I don’t see 101 Dalmations as an official part of this list. Still, I will give Glenn Close’s version of Cruella all the honorable mentions. 

With that said, let’s begin. 

Bori Khan in Mulan.

(Image credit: Disney)

16. Böri Khan (Mulan)

I believe this was an absolute mockery of what Mulan was, and how scary Shan Yu was in the original film. But instead, the live-action movie gave us this villain: Böri Khan.

Mulan‘s critic vs. audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is enough to show you that fans were not vast lovers of this live-action adaptation – me being one of them. And one of the biggest gripes I had with this one is the villain, which was completely changed.

What made him so good in the original Mulan was that he was blatantly scary – this man somehow survived a whole avalanche with his men, popping out of the ground as if they were corpses. And he also took Mulan seriously.

Instead, the live-action villain Böri Khan is almost a caricature of the animation’s former terrifying self, and I can’t forgive the movie for that. And he only saw Mulan as a girl, not as a warrior, which is unforgiveable. That and Mushu wasn’t even there. That’s a sin.  

The dog-catcher in Lady and the Tramp.

(Image credit: Disney)

15. Elliot (Lady And The Tramp)

I honestly forgot this movie even existed for a time. I think it was one on my list of the best Disney+ original movies, but there are far better ones on the platform now – with more memorable villains. 

Elliot was the dog catcher that targeted Tramp, and he was just that – a dog catcher. What only made him wrong was that he was sending dogs to their death at the pound. That isn’t a good thing necessarily, but in comparison to many of the others on this list, he’s nothing. 

Karl Urban in Pete's Dragon.

(Image credit: Disney)

14. Gavin Magary (Pete’s Dragon)

Gavin Magary from the live-action remake of Pete’s Dragon wasn’t a bad guy. He had a whole turnaround by the time the film ended and started to change his view of things. 

The only reason he wanted to hunt down the dragon was revenge, but he doesn’t stay the antagonist for that long for him to be deemed a memorable one on this list. It’s always fun to see Karl Urban as a “bad” guy, though.

Luke Evans in Pinocchio

(Image credit: Disney+)

13. The Coachman (Pinocchio) 

I remember when I was excited about the Pinocchio remake. Then I actually watched said remake, and I wondered how the ball was fumbled so hard when the Pinocchio cast was full of stars. But in the end nothing seemed to land. That includes the Coachman. 

Luke Evans, a veteran actor for Disney, even played the villain and promised that there would be more story for the villain from the old Disney movie, but he is still just as forgettable as many others on this list. I don’t know. 

Jafar in Aladdin.

(Image credit: Disney)

12. Jafar (Aladdin)

Jafar from the original Disney Aladdin movies is a very memorable villain, with his staff, evil eyebrows, and so much more. Jafar was arguably one of the best parts of the original Aladdin, aside from Robin Williams‘s truly excellent role as the Genie. 

In the live-action remake, Jafar was just sort of… there. He was the villain, but he didn’t feel nearly as menacing or as evil as his cartoon counterpart. And that bothers me deeply because I genuinely think he could have been great. I ended up loving Will Smith‘s Genie way more than Jafar. 

Scar and Simba in The Lion King.

(Image credit: Disney)

11. Scar (The Lion King)

Unpopular opinion – I’m not the biggest hater of The Lion King live-action. I think the characters could have been given better-animated expressions, but considering it’s a by-the-books remake of the original movie, I can’t complain too much. However, Scar is a point where I do have issues. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor has some great movies under his belt but as Scar he just… didn’t fit as well. There’s just something about Jeremy Irons‘s voice that instantly makes me fearful, and it doesn’t help that the song “Be Prepared” was entirely cut. That’s one of the best Disney villain songs.

Jude Law as Captain Hook in Peter Pan & Wendy

(Image credit: Disney)

10. Captain Hook (Peter Pan & Wendy)

Jude Law is a great actor and has done some incredible movies. But I think he could have been more awesome as Captain Hook. 

I like that Peter Pan & Wendy gave Hook a little more backstory, but I think I prefer other versions of the famous pirate over this one because it just feels so amateurish. He’s creepy enough to be in the top 10, but not the best.  

Sharlto Copley in Maleficent

(Image credit: Disney)

9. Stefan (Maleficent)

It’s hard to talk about villains from a movie that is literally about one of the biggest Disney villains of all time and how she’s not the villain, but Stefan from Maleficent can suck it. 

Okay, so maybe he’s not entirely evil like some of the others on here, but he is the main reason Maleficent hates humans because she fell for him, and he fell for her, and then he broke her heart and cut off her wings. And then, when she places the spell on Aurora, he becomes obsessed with killing her while also endangering his family. 

Yeah, he kinda sucks in my opinion.

Sher Khan in The Jungle Book

(Image credit: Disney )

8. Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)

This is another case where the voice actor does a good job. Arguably, The Jungle Book is one of Jon Favreau’s best movies, and Idris Elba was an excellent pick to voice Shere Khan. He has a nice, deep, menacing voice that stands out and makes the tiger look scarier. 

But I still think Shere Khan could have been done better – maybe even more feral and less “all talk and no bite.” I think if he just went at it and killed a lot more people, I’d find him scarier, but for now, he’s eight. 

Queen Ingrith in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

(Image credit: Disney)

7. Queen Ingrith (Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil)

While I didn’t like Stefan from Maleficent, Queen Ingrith from Maleficent: Mistress of Evil holds a special place of disdain in my villain-loving heart. 

It’s because of Queen Ingrith that the problem between the ordinary people and the fairy folk is brought up again due to her prejudice against them. Not only that, but she mocks Maleficent, imprisons Aurora when she discovers Ingrith’s secret, and nearly kills the princess if not for Maleficent saving her. 

Michael Keaton in Dumbo

(Image credit: Disney)

6. V.A. Vandevere (Dumbo)

The live-action version of Dumbo is a fascinating movie because it’s one of the few on here that diverts a lot from the source material and tries something different. And from there, we get V.A. Vandevere, played by Michael Keaton. 

I mean… if you watch the film, Vandevere has some stark parallels to a particular real-life business owner. I won’t say who, but it was a choice for Disney to portray him the way he did. And he’s just as cruel and capitalist as you would expect. Plus, it was great to see Michael Keaton as one of the actors in another Tim Burton movie. 

Melissa McCarthy in The Little Mermaid

(Image credit: Disney)

5. Ursula (The Little Mermaid)

Okay, so I liked The Little Mermaid. It’s not as good as some of the other live actions we’ll get into here, but I think that for what it was going for, it was done well. Melissa McCarthy was  definitely entertaining as Ursula. 

While she’s nothing like the original Ursula, she has her own spunk and humor that makes her scenes much more enjoyable. The only thing I would say I didn’t like about her portrayal was that her henchman felt way less scary and didn’t talk – a nitpicky thing, sure, but other than that, her sequences were fun. 

Helena Bonham Carter in Alice in Wonderland.

(Image credit: Disney)

4. The Red Queen (Alice In Wonderland Movies)

I must put The Red Queen up here from the Alice in Wonderland movies. It’s one of Helena Bonham Carter’s best roles. She killed it in every sense of the word. 

Carter has played plenty of super unhinged characters that burst out on the screen in the past. While she’s excellent in dramas, I love her in these roles, where she gets to embrace any aspect of craziness. That is who the Red Queen is, and she entirely takes on that role while adding in a little spice to it. I love it. 

Luke Evans as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (2017)

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

3. Gaston (Beauty And The Beast)

Luke Evans is also one of the best live-action Disney villains on this list, where he played Gaston in the Beauty and the Beast remake. And he was great. 

I like the Beauty and the Beast remake – maybe because I’m a huge Emma Watson fan, and I find it one of Watson’s best movies – but Evans’ in this role is also incredibly well-done. 

With his background in theatre, he can sing incredibly well, and he takes on the role of Gaston while also making him less evil and more just a stupid guy who can’t get a clue. I would gladly watch a series about him. 

The Baroness in Cruella.

(Image credit: Disney)

2. The Baroness (Cruella)

Cruella is one of Emma Stone‘s best movies, and in this 2021 retelling of the classic villain, we get another villain in her place – The Baroness, portrayed by Emma Thompson. 

The Baroness is like Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) from The Devil Wears Prada cast but without any redeeming qualities. She’s authoritarian, a narcissist, and cares about no one but herself and her image as a designer. And she will go to great lengths to be at the top – including killing others, which she nearly does to Cruella if not for her brilliant planning. 

Her downfall at the end was perfect and well-deserved. 

Cate Blanchett in Cinderella.

(Image credit: Disney)

1. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)

Number one on this list has to be Lady Tremaine from the 2015 Cinderella remake. 

Cate Blanchett becomes the evil stepmother, and while there are moments where we see the humanity underneath her cold exterior, she is just as bad, if not worse, than the animated version because we start to see how she became the way she was. 

Her scenes with Lily James are some of the best. Her acting is superb. Everything about this part was perfect, and there have been few Disney villains who have even come as close.

While there are still upcoming live-action Disney remakes that will come out soon – like the upcoming Moana live-action remake – I’m not sure who can take the top spot away from Lady Tremaine. Perhaps if those live-action Hercules remake rumors are true, whoever gets to play Hades will outrank Lady Tremaine because he’s just the best – but only time will tell. 

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