Disney has given us wonderful female heroes of every kind who taught us great lessons and some outstanding female Disney villains who have equally taught us some hard lessons. Female Disney villains are just as popular among Disney fans.
Ever since the first Disney stores opened in the year 1987, villain merchandise was designed and displayed in the stores. This includes a long list of female Disney villains as well.
Female Disney villains have made every film more thrilling and worthwhile. Let’s look at the list of 12 female Disney villains from some of the best Disney animated feature films.
This villain from Sleeping Beauty is one of the most popular female Disney villains among many Disney fans. Maleficent was an evil fairy residing in King Stefan’s kingdom. The misfortune in the kingdom began when she wasn’t invited to the celebration of Princess Aurora’s(Sleeping beauty) christening ceremony.
Enraged by this outrageous act, Maleficent shows up to the celebration and places a curse on the baby that on her sixteenth birthday, before the sun sets, she would prick her finger on a spindle and die. Before anyone could catch her, she vanishes into the air with a burst of menacing laughter.
We see her lofty pride and egotistic character that led her to place a curse on an innocent baby. Maleficent is also one of the most powerful female Disney villains. The three good fairies couldn’t undo the curse, but fairy Merryweather lightens the curse by stating that she would only fall into a deep sleep and a true one love’s kiss would awaken her.
Maleficent was also very determined to have things her way as she spent sixteen years searching for sleeping beauty to make sure that the curse would come to pass. Her notorious temper also frightened her goons to the core when she learned that they had been searching for a baby for sixteen years.
2. Cruella de Vil
Now here is a fashionista for a villain. Disney’s 1961 animated feature film called One Hundred and One Dalmatians shows the character of Cruella de Vil as the main antagonist. Unlike other female Disney villains, she does not possess any power.
She is a glamour-obsessed heiress who is obsessed with furs from animals, which led to her buying 84 Dalmatian puppies legally, holding them captive in the Old De Vil place. On hearing that her old schoolmate Anita’s Dalmations are having puppies, she attempts to steal them and succeeds in doing so.
Cruella de Vil is a snobbish character who is so blinded by greed that her cruel actions towards puppies didn’t bother her. She is evil and stubborn and makes sure that she gets what she wants. She is loud and mean and has no regard for people. This is seen in the way she mocks Anita’s house and her choice of marrying Roger.
She often throws tantrums and behaves recklessly. This is seen in her road rage as she chases the lorry which had the 84 puppies she bought and the 15 puppies she stole from Anita. It ultimately leads to Cruella de Vil crashing her car and losing all the puppies.
Disney released a remake of the film Cruella in 2021, starring Emma Stone as the title character, Estella/Cruella de Vil, an aspiring and ambitious fashion designer who goes on to become a notorious criminal.
Ursula is also known as the sea witch and is featured in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Like other female Disney villains, she is an utterly vengeful, evil, and deceiving character and her an immense appetite for power.
This is seen in her pursuit of revenge against Triton for banishing her from his kingdom in Atlantica, making her sole purpose in life to take Triton’s kingdom for herself.
Ursula had an unknown distaste for the Merfolk and often deceived them by making deals with them, reassuring them that it was all to fulfill their dreams. She would talk to them in a grandmotherly tone, winning the trust of those poor unfortunate souls.
She would then go on to make sure that her clients would fail to keep the end of their bargain and then turn them into polyps and add them to her collection in her lair. She had no remorse for this cruel act of hers.
The only creatures toward whom she showed any sign of affection were Flotsam and Jetsam, to whom she referred as her “babies” or “poopies.” Although she did direct her anger towards them at times for failing her, she was consumed with anguish and rage when the little mermaid accidentally killed them.
Ursula’s egotistical nature and her lust for power eventually caused her to make the fatal mistake leading to her death. She underestimated her opponents, and being drunk in her newfound power, she turned herself into a gigantic form and brought up large shipwrecks to the surface, including Eric’s ship, which made her an easy target for the Prince to impale.
4. Mother Gothel
In the 2010 Disney animated feature film Tangled, Mother Gothel is the main antagonist. She is a woman who is obsessed with staying young. She was the sole witness of a pure drop of sunlight that falls to the ground and creates a magical golden flower that exudes power when the incantation is sung.
She was an extremely selfish woman as she hoarded the power all to herself despite knowing it has the healing power to heal people. When her only source of power was taken and given to the ill queen and the power of the golden flower was ultimately transferred to the newborn baby, she kidnapped the baby, as the magic disappeared when a few strands of hair were cut off.
She is one of the most manipulative female Disney villains as she brainwashed Rapunzel into believing that the world is a dangerous place and that they are all out there to use her for her magical powers.
She made her believe that she was her mother and the only one who genuinely cared for her and was trying to protect her. This she said so that it would prevent Rapunzel from ever leaving the tower.
Mother Gothel was hypocritical as she painted the picture of a cruel world that was out to take advantage of Rapunzel when all along it was her who was taking advantage of the poor girl and her magic hair.
She was also ruthless, and her lust for staying young drove her to go to the extent of keeping Rapunzel captive by force when she retaliated in the end. This led to Flynn Rider cutting Rapunzel’s hair and freeing her, and also to Mother Gothel’s death as all the centuries rushed to her at once, and she turned to dust.
5. Lady Tremaine
Lady Tremaine, well known as the evil stepmother, is the main antagonist of the Disney feature film Cinderella in 1950. Unlike other female Disney villains, she doesn’t possess any magical powers; instead, she exudes hatred and makes life unbearably difficult for Cinderella.
Lady Tremaine portrays herself as a woman full of grace with a lofty presence, but her insecurity is displayed when her stepdaughter’s beauty and charm threaten her. She is extremely jealous of her, and to feed her envy; she makes her a servant at her own house after her father passes away.
She puts up an air of false kindness while being extremely cruel towards her. She never abuses her physically but does so verbally and manipulates her own children to torment the poor girl. She is sly, evil, and devious and we see this side of her when she promises to let Cinderella go to the ball is she finishes her chores and has something nice to wear.
She then goes on to assign numerous chores intentionally and encourages her two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella, to tear the dress apart, ultimately rendering her unable to attend the ball. Though she spoils her two daughters, she is also rude to them at times when they do not live up to her orders. Her desire to gain high status in society drives her to marry her daughters to the prince or someone of noble status.
Lady Tremaine also tries to ruin Cinderella’s chances of marrying the prince by tripping on the royal footman, causing him to drop the glass slippers just as she was going to try them on. However, the truth surfaced in the end, and Cinderella showed up with the other pair of slippers.
6. The Evil Queen
Also known as the Wicked Queen, Evil Queen is the antagonist of Disney’s feature film called Snow White. At first glance, she appears to be extremely sophisticated and royal, but underneath she is wicked, and her vanity knows no bounds.
She is so obsessed with being the fairest in the world that she keeps asking the magic mirror to tell her who the fairest of all is.
The Evil Queen becomes extremely jealous of Snow White when she notices her charm and beauty while sitting by the window. Moreover, the Prince’s attention towards her makes the Queen even more envious. She was overcome by insecurity at the thought that someday Snow White’s beauty would surpass hers.
The Evil Queen’s sinister nature is revealed in her bloodthirsty command to her Huntsman to kill Snow White and bring her heart in a box as proof of her death.
On discovering later that Snow White was still alive, she was overtaken by my mad jealousy and rage that she transforms herself into an old and hideous hag which is ironic because she was obsessed with beauty.
Despite her rage, unlike other female Disney villains, she is intelligent and calculative as she takes note of all the ways her plan may not come to fruition and cleverly tackles them all so that nothing comes in the way.
The evil queen also becomes delusional towards the end as she calls herself the fairest of all, even in the form of an old hag after Snow White bites the apple and falls down.
7. Madame Medusa
Madame Medusa is probably one of the greediest female Disney villains of all time. She is the antagonist of the film The Rescuers. She owns a pawn shop in New York City and is obsessed with diamonds, and her ultimate goal is to own the world’s greatest diamond, called the Devil’s Eye.
Her obsession for that diamond led her to capture a poor orphan girl named Penny and send her to the pirate cave called Devil’s Bayou, as the entrance to the cave was too small to fit her or her apprentice Mr. Snoops and her two crocodiles. Later on, she even threatens to abandon Penny and keep her in the cave till she fetches the Devil’s Eye.
Madame Medusa is also very ill-tempered and brutal as she even whipped her crocodiles to get them to go faster to catch Penny, who was making a chase with the diamond.
Her greed ultimately led her to her unfortunate end as she betrayed her apprentice Mr. Snoops for the diamond, and hence he left her behind surrounded by her crocodiles who had had enough of her taunts.
8. Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts is by far one of the most tyrannical female Disney villains of all time. She is the main antagonist of Alice in Wonderland, also popularly known as the Red Queen. She carries her temper on her sleeves and is extremely irritable. She always wants things to go her way, and the solution to every problem is “Off with their heads!”
The Red Queen and her mood swings are comparable to a roller coaster. This is seen in her first meeting with Alice when her mood constantly changes from being sweet to flying into a sudden rage. She likes the approval from the people in the kingdom and loves hearing their cheer, which the people are compelled to give to save their heads.
Unlike other female Disney villains, Queen of Hearts portrays a childish character who is incredibly impatient and often throws tantrums. She wants everything to be under her control, and the only person who probably has any effect on her commands is the King of Hearts, who, for the most part, is overshadowed by the Queen.
9. Queen Narissa
Queen Narissa appears in Disney’s 2007 film Enchanted. Her character shares similarities with three other female Disney villains from different fairy tales; the Evil Queen from Snow White, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and Lady Tremaine from Cinderella.
She takes on the form of an old hag to deceive and kill Giselle, whom the prince loved. She also turns into a fire-breathing dragon out of rage at seeing Giselle awakened from the curse. Moreover, like Lady Tremaine, she is also a ruthless, cruel, and selfish stepmother.
After Prince Edward’s father dies, she becomes insecure about losing her reign in the kingdom to her stepson once he marries. Due to her desire of being a ruler, she went through heights to keep her stepson from marrying.
However, just in every fairy tale, the villain’s evil plans fail, and so does Queen Narissa’s, as she comes to her end by falling off the top of the Woolworth building.
10. Madam Mim
Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone is a wicked and conceited old witch who thinks of herself to be the most powerful wizard in the world. She takes pleasure in people’s misery, and she abhors anything wholesome, happy, and especially sunshine. But one thing she detests with a passion is her arch-nemesis, Merlin, who is also a wizard.
Madam Mim is also cunning, dishonest and never plays by the rule. She enjoys breaking rules deliberately. When Merlin was stating the rules for their duel, she kept breaking them almost immediately.
During her last transformation in the duel, she transforms into a huge dragon and traps Merlin in her claw, thinking she had won, but Merlin outsmarts her by turning into a germ, infecting Madam Mim with an illness that caused her to sneeze violently, followed by hot and cold flashes that put her on the bed.
Yzma is featured in the film The Emperor’s New Groove. She is rather a comical villain as compared to the other female Disney villains. She is a sorceress and was once an advisor to Emperor Kuzco.
On seeing Yzma sitting on the emperor’s throne and making decisions, Emperor Kuzco recklessly fires her. This causes her to be enraged as she claims to have raised Kuzco.
She makes unnecessarily complicated schemes to kill Kuzco and then ends up settling for a simpler one. She also tends to amuse herself by labelling herself as the most beautiful person in the land though people describe her as an ugly dinosaur.
Overall, Yzma isn’t as wicked as most female Disney villains, and The Emperor’s New Groove is a light-hearted and funny Disney animated movie.
12. Te Kā
Te Kā is Te Fiti whose heart got stolen and has now turned into a monster. She appears in the Disney movie Moana. She is different from other female Disney villains in that she isn’t wicked at heart but was turned into a monster as her heart was snatched away from her.
Te Fiti was the first entity to appear in the world that was covered in the ocean. She used her heart to give life to the world by creating many islands where flora and fauna would grow, and humans would inhabit them.
When Maui, the shapeshifter, stole the heart, she turned into Te Kā, the destroyer who started spreading her darkness to all the islands. Though she was consumed with rage, deep down, her gentle nature still listened to Moana. She also forgives as she held no remorse as Maui returned her heart. She may be one of the kindest female Disney villains.
This concludes the list of some of the most notable female Disney villains. Many other female Disney villains include the Sanderson Sisters, the White Witch, Namaari, and so on. Disney never fails to give us some of the best characters. So keep an eye out for more female Disney villains in the future.