If you’re like me, then you can probably list all the Disney Princess’ names by heart. You probably remember the heroes and the villains and maybe even the comic relief sidekicks… But sometimes the little guy is overlooked, swept under the proverbial rug in our memories. Well not today. Let’s peel back that memory-rug, do away with our ridiculous rug metaphor, and take a look at some under-appreciated Disney characters.
I’ve picked five random films and then picked our characters.
Warning: This list isn’t in any particular order, and for the sake of keeping it short (well, shorter than it could have been) Disney/Pixar collaborations and sequels have been left off.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Huntsman
For a character that so few people think about (at least, most didn’t before Once Upon a Time) the Huntsman had a major impact on Snow White’s story. Rather than carry out his orders, he fell to his knees to beg for Snow White’s forgiveness, he even told her the Queen was planning to have her killed. After a few scant seconds on screen he’s shown to have more compassion, more humility, and more loyalty than most characters develop over an entire movie. His moment of concience is what saved Snow White’s life. It also presumeably saved the kingdom from being ruled over by a jealous witch queen bent on killing pretty young girls, so… there’s also that. The Huntsman really is one of the most important Disney character. He, in an incredibly selfless act, allows Snow White to live knowing that her survival would lead to his own demise. The Huntsman saved the very first Disney Princess. So really, every Disney Princess owes their lives to him. Yet when people talk about this film, it’s always about the dwarfs or the villainous queen. No one ever mentions the Huntsman. He’s so overlooked that animators and Walt Disney didn’t even give him a name. He’s forever known simply as the Huntsman. Granted, I don’t know what name would have given this character justice, but still. I feel like they could have come up with something. Graham perhaps?
I just found out the Huntsman actually DOES have a name. His name is Humbert. Odd name. Oh well.
Pinocchio– Blue fairy
Not to disrespect other forgotten characters like “The Great Stromboli” who manages to make a living doing puppet shows, Honest John and Gideon who try to tempt Pinocchio from his path home, and Lampwick who turns into a creepy sort of donkey, but the title we chose for Pinocchio’s underrated character was the Blue Fairy. First of all, she grants Pinocchio his first spark of life and tells him he must learn the difference between right and wrong to become a real boy. Then, rather than leave him in the dark, she promotes Jiminy Cricket to conscience status. She even gives him his tiny little suit. Her role doesn’t end there, she saves Pinocchio from a cage in Stromboli’s cart, and later delivers a letter to Pinocchio telling him of Gepetto’s fate with Monstro. Everyone remembers the last scene, where she finally reappears and gives Pinocchio his human form, but it’s for her consistent, caring advice that we remember her on this list. The Blue Fairy is one of the most powerful and noble characters in all of Disney’s animated films, yet she’s often overlooked. Though she’s the one that brings Pinocchio to life, she almost becomes forgotten as the film turns into a boy’s club as Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket travel and learn life lessons along the way. While everyone remembers that Jiminy is Pinocchio’s conscience, people (me included) often forget how large of a role the Blue Fairy actually has in the film. She’s even the one that eventually turns Pinocchio into a real boy. And besides the fish Cleo, she is surprisingly, the only female in the entire film. With the beauty and grace of a princess, and the power of a villain, the Blue Fairy is one of the most unique characters created by Disney.
I was tempted to list Cinderella herself as the unappreciated character for her movie because in spite of only really asking for a night off from work to go to a party she was invited to, people tend to do her an injustice and slander her as “Someone who threw a fit and got everything she wanted the second she cried”. Totally unfair. Ridiculously unfair. So very, very, totally, ridiculously unfair… and so not the point. People like Cinderella, even those who do remember her as a bit weak-willed and looking to be saved. However, people often forget about a truly devious criminal mastermind. Someone whose joy seems to come solely at the misfortune of others. Someone with four legs, whiskers, and a name synonymous with Satan. Yes, Lucifer the cat wins a spot on this list for his relentlessness pursuit of his master’s approval – and for the clarity of his personality even with an absence of dialogue. Interestingly enough, I think if I were Lucifer and someone who was certainly not my master kept saving mice from me and making them little hats and shirts… I would be pretty irritated too. Not sure if I’d go out of my way to ruin her nice mopping, but I might be tempted after she also made clothes for the birds. Cinderella has a ridiculously unfair reputation. She wasn’t just some girl that got married. She was someone who proved that all dreams are valid and anyone regardless of social class and gender can change their life. But I digress. Yes, Lady Tremaine is the classic Disney villain of the film, but does she share a name with the devil? Nope, that honor falls on the coolest cat around, Lucifer. With that name, he clearly wins at life. I mean look at that smile, he’s blowing the Cheshire Cat right out of the water. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the pure glee and delight on his face as he chases mice and causes mischief around the house. Though he never speaks unlike the rest of his animal counterparts, he doesn’t need too. We learn everything from that smile and his wonderfully real expressions. I’m still waiting for the day when Lucifer gets his own spin off.
Lady and the Tramp– Trusty
Trusty lives up to his name, a reliable old hound dog. Though he and Jock don’t see eye to eye with Tramp, they’re always good friends with Lady, and in the end they overcome their dislike of Tramp for her sake. Trusty’s old nose even picks up the scent of the dogcatcher’s cart when it counts the most. I mostly blocked out what happened after that, but I do recall a certain Christmas scene where he’s shown with a broken leg, but happy. All four year old Emily could really remember from this film was Lady and Tramp, meatballs and a scary rat at the end. Flash forward many years later I decided to pop in the ole vhs. By the end of the film, all I could think was Tramp who? because Trusty had stolen my heart. He was loyal, brave, sweet and oh so polite. My heart melted every time he referred to Lady as ‘Miss Lady, ma’am.’ Tramp may be remembered as the brave hero of the film because he took down that R.O.U.S, but we all know that that honor totally falls on Trusty. He was intelligent enough to admit that he had misjudged Tramp and in order to rectify the situation was willing to do anything to make it right. In the process of getting Tramp back, Trusty was run over by the van. The scene still gets me every time. While he survived with a few broken bones, he deserved a way better ending than the one he got.
Alice in Wonderland– March Hare
When Alice in Wonderland is mentioned, there are four characters that usually come to mind very quickly. Alice, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter. All well and good… except that the Mad Hatter doesn’t appear on his own until the courtroom scene near the end of the movie. The March Hare is there for the hatter’s entire introduction. He contributes a myriad of cute, clever lines to the teaparty scene, and acts just as oddly as his haberdashering friend. So why is it that he’s so oft forgotten? It’s unclear, but hopefully he’ll hop into your mind once in a while. You know, just hare and there. There are certain characters from the book and modern adaptions that really seem to pop, and for some strange reason, the March Hare isn’t one of them. I know when you have a large list of outrageous characters some may get lost in the shuffle, but the March Hare might be the most unjust lost character. Besides the Mad Hatter and Alice herself, the March Hare is the only other character to make it into the sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, which shows his value and importance to author Lewis Carroll. He and the Cheshire Cat are also the only characters who aren’t afraid of the Queen of Hearts. The March Hare stands up to her and her tyranny by screaming “Nothing Whatever!” to her. He also tells the Queen he knows nothing during the trial. Needless to say he’s a pretty brave guy. So why does the Mad Hatter get upgraded to Johnny Depp while the March Hare simply remains a CGI bunny? I don’t know, but in the mean time, I wish you all a very merry un-birthday.
So what did you think of the list y’all? Did these characters bring back a flood of memories? Which characters and films did we overlook, and who do you want me to do next? And if this is your first visit to my Disney Site, make sure you check out our previous articles.
As always, thanks for reading and sound off in the comments section below.