Every good story should have a memorable villain. Disney certainly knows this and has produced some of the most notable movie villains of all time. So in this article, not only will I reveal my favorite green Disney villains, but I’ll also include villains that are often associated with the color green as well.
Top Green Disney Villains
The most famous green Disney villain is Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Her skin is a pale green (with gray tones), and she carries around a staff with a green orb that illuminates when she casts spells. Maleficent is ruthless, and is cemented as one of the best Disney villains of all time.
But who else makes this list? Let’s find out!
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty, 1959)
Maleficent, also known as “The Mistress of All Evil” is the villain who curses Princess Aurora in the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty. She’s portrayed as wearing mostly black clothing with touches of purple. Her skin tone is a pale grayish-green, and she carries a staff topped with an orb that glows green when she casts magic spells.
She’s quite elegant and refined in her appearance, despite the unnaturally colored skin and black horns on her head. She’s arrogant and a bit sarcastic, and really doesn’t seem to feel any emotions toward anyone other than herself.
Maleficent’s reason for cursing Princess Aurora is that she didn’t get invited to the royal Christening party. Whether she is truly offended at not getting an invitation, or she is just plain evil for evil’s sake, is never made clear. Regardless, this social faux pas causes Maleficent to cast a curse on the baby princess that will cause her to die on her sixteenth birthday. The curse is powerful, but one of the good fairies, Merryweather, is able to change the curse to a sleeping spell instead.
Maleficent is ruthless and cruel, with no redeeming qualities. Not only was she willing to cast a death curse on a baby, but she also psychologically tortures Prince Phillip when he is trapped in her dungeon. The title “Mistress of all Evil” seems perfect for her! Her dark magic is portrayed by a glowing lime green color (again) that emanates from her staff. She also has the capability to transform herself into a terrifying dragon that breathes lime-green flames.
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You would never initially think of a Hulk character as being a villain. But if that’s the case, you’ve probably never heard of the character of Maestro. For those uninitiated, let’s just say that after having been driven insane from extreme loss, Hulk adopts the title of “Maestro”—and it doesn’t end well for the “good guys.”
In fact, in the DLC (downloadable content) of the Marvel’s Avengers game, Maestro kills The Avengers (yes—kills them). Maestro is only defeated by past versions of The Avengers, along with a bit of an assist from Hawkeye—who hails from the future.
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Green Goblin (Spider-Man: No Way Home, 2021)
The Green Goblin (real name Norman Virgil Osborn) is probably the most recognizable green Disney characters (and villains) from the Marvel Universe. He was first created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, actor Willem DaFoe reprised his role from the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man film to appear in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.
Norman Osborn has a genius-level intelligence and an extreme lust for power. He is extremely calculating and doesn’t react well to any of his plans not going exactly as he intended.
His association with the color green is right there in his name: Green Goblin! After taking a serum designed to produce superpowers, Dr. Norman Osborn takes on this persona complete with shiny green armor and a fierce goblin mask/helmet. In the original Marvel comics, he wears a purple hood and purple tunic over his green costume. He flies on a green “goblin glider”, and his personal weapons of choice are small orange “pumpkin bombs”.
It’s one of these pumpkin bombs that fatally wounds Aunt May Parker in the 2021 film. In spite of this murderous deed, the film finds Dr. Osborn trying to “cure” the Green Goblin part of his personality, as it has taken on a “Jekyll and Hyde” quality. Eventually, he is cured of the effects of the serum, and he expresses remorse for his past deeds, so there is the hope of redemption for Dr. Osborn.
Chick Hicks (Cars, 2006)
Chick Hicks, also known as “Thunder”, is a lime green race car who is the antagonist of the Pixar movie “Cars”. He’s extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude. Winning is all that matters to him, and that means winning by any means. It’s blind ambition and jealousy of other racers that motivates him to cheat during every race. He eventually wins the Piston Cup race, but only because he cheated and intentionally caused his rival, “The King”, to crash.
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Evil Queen (Snow White, 1937)
With the portrayal of the Evil Queen in Snow White, we have the earliest example of Disney animators using the color green to symbolize dark magic. The Queen herself is a regal, cold beauty with piercing green eyes. Her eyes remain green, even after she transforms herself into an old hag.
Her motivation is extreme jealousy of her stepdaughter Snow White’s beauty. She obsessively consults her magic mirror to reassure her that she is “the fairest of them all” in her kingdom. When the mirror replies that Snow White is fairer, the Queen’s unhinged jealousy takes over! Can there be any more obvious representation of the “green-eyed monster” than an adult Queen who is jealous of the appearance of a teenage girl?
Other than the Queen’s eyes, the face in her sentient Magic Mirror is also a pale green color. Additionally, when she brews up a cauldron full of a poisonous potion, it’s a glowing lime green concoction with pale green steam rising up from the bubbles.
Dr Facilier (Princess And The Frog, 2009)
Dr. Facilier, also known simply as “The Shadow Man”, is a villainous VooDoo practitioner in New Orleans. He’s charming, suave, and well-dressed, but underneath that smooth exterior is a man full of ambition and greed. Although not much detail of his background is given, we do know that he came from a very poor background and harbors a lot of resentment against rich and powerful people.
The target of most of his animosity is Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouff, the wealthiest man in New Orleans. Eli is also the complete opposite of Dr. Facilier in many ways, as he treats people kindly and is known to be generous.
Dr. Facilier has a plan to take over New Orleans by working with a group of dark Loa (Voodoo spirits), his “friends on the other side”, who give him some powers of black magic. In return for their magical aid, Dr. Facilier promises to obtain the souls of everyone in New Orleans for these dark spirits.
So how is this shadowy scoundrel associated with the color green? I can’t help but notice that his motivation is greed and riches, both qualities that are associated with the color green. Like so many Disney villains, when he uses his dark magical powers they manifest in a bright lime green color.
Additionally, the Loa appear with glowing green eyes. As the Shadow Man meets his demise, he is literally dragged to a ghastly green underworld while screaming, as the green-eyed Loa look on.
Hela (Thor: Ragnarok, 2017)
Hela is another classic Marvel super-villain; created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in 1964. In the original comics, she appears dressed in a green costume with black trim and a cape. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, her outfit is mostly black with green trim. She also has bright green eyes.
In Thor: Ragnarok, she is the oldest sibling of Thor and Loki. She was, at one time, the welder of the hammer Mjolnir. She helped her father Odin conquer the Nine Realms as a leader of Odin’s armies and as his Executioner.
When Odin realized that the best way to maintain his hold on the Nine Realms was through peace, he learned that Hela was power-hungry and ruthlessly dangerous. When Hela attempted to overthrow Odin and assume his throne, he banished her to the Underworld realm of Hel. She remained there until Odin’s death.
After her escape from the Asgardian Underworld, her true villainy came to light. Her murderous rampage and the quest for the throne eventually leads to the destruction of Asgard.
Hela seems to be motivated by intense greed for power. She ruthlessly kills anyone who stands in the way of her goal, or who doesn’t agree to join her. She’s truly one of the most irredeemable villains of all time.
Loki (first MCU appearance Thor, 2011)
Loki is the adopted son of Odin and Frigga; he is also an adoptive sibling to Thor and Hel. I’m including him here on this list of villains, but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he eventually redeems himself and can be seen more as an “anti-hero” than truly villainous.
In both the Marvel comics and the movies, he wears the colors green and gold. In the films, the green is much darker, and the outfit includes more black. Loki is the God of Mischief; a shapeshifting trickster with an extraordinary relentless quest for power. He’s obsessed with a feeling of envy (again, symbolized by the color green!) towards his brother, Thor. He feels Thor gets attention and privilege that should be his.
Loki is one of the more complicated villains on this list. In the first Thor movie, he is most definitely a selfish antagonist, intent on claiming the throne of Asgard for himself. As his story progresses through the Avengers movies, we do see a more sympathetic side of him, and eventually, he helps to fight against Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War”.
In the final Avengers movie, we see Loki from 2013 steal the tesseract and escape with it, creating a new timeline. This new version of Loki and his adventures are the basis for the Loki series on Disney+. This series also features several other versions of Loki from different timelines, all of whom wear green outfits of some kind.
Scar (Lion King, 1994)
Scar is the murderous, ambitious villain in the Lion King. He’s a tawny lion with a black mane, a scar over one eye, and bright green eyes. He was extremely jealous of his brother, Mufasa, to the point that he murdered him in the hope of becoming King himself.
If that wasn’t bad enough, he manages to convince the young cub Simba (Mufasa’s heir) that he is responsible for his father’s death and should run away forever. If murdering your brother and convincing your young nephew he is to blame isn’t a definition of villainy, I don’t know what is!
Scar is intelligent, sarcastic, and ambitious beyond reason. He doesn’t do his own dirty work though; he has hyenas and other “henchmen” that he bullies and tricks into doing his bidding. His skills at manipulating others are quite impressive
Other than his bright green eyes, there is a scene in the movie where Scar is surrounded by lie green smoke as he plots Simba’s demise. In fact, a good portion of his great musical number “Be Prepared” is laced in various green hues. Yet again, the color green here is used to symbolize Scar’s greed for power and domination.
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella, 1950)
Lady Tremaine, also known simply as “the wicked Stepmother”, is the villain in the classic Disney movie, “Cinderella”. She is a middle-aged woman who dresses elegantly, with graying hair and piercing bright green eyes.
In addition to those green eyes (which the movie focuses on in several scenes), she also wears jade green jewelry in the form of earrings, a brooch, and a large ring. She might not have that glowing green magic that so many Disney villains possess, but the color green is noticeable in her appearance.
Lady Tremaine is not physically abusive towards Cinderella, but she certainly is psychologically cruel to her. She seems to be jealous of Cinderella’s beauty and kindness not for herself, but for her two awkward daughters. Greed and ambition also seem to be part of her motivation, as she clearly wants to make sure her daughters marry into wealthy families.
The casual cruelty Lady Tremaine demonstrates towards Cinderella is quite disturbing. Cinderella is treated like a servant and is barely acknowledged as being part of the family. She even goes as far as to lock Cinderella in the attic when the Grand Duke arrives with the glass slipper for every young woman to try on. In a modern “real life” scenario, Lady Tremaine would definitely be charged with child abuse for her cruel manipulations!
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Why Are Disney Villains Associated with Green?
Isn’t it interesting that the color green, specifically a glowing lime green shade, is associated with so many Disney villains? Green can be associated with new growth and good luck and money. On the negative side, green is frequently associated with envy, greed, and jealousy. We’ve all heard the expression “green with envy” and the emotion of jealousy is sometimes referred to as “the green-eyed monster”.
For many of the Disney villains, the motivation for their actions can indeed be based on jealousy, envy, and greed. That’s not an excuse for their dastardly deeds, but it’s interesting to consider what drives them to be so malicious.
Overall, the psychology of Disney Villains is pretty fascinating if you take the time to dig into it. But, suffice it to say that there’s a lot of intentional work (by animators and directions) put into associating the color green with Disney villains in order to make the audience feel certain emotions about these fictional characters.
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