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Here Are The Dark And Creepy Origins Of Your Favorite Disney Characters

Here Are The Dark And Creepy Origins Of Your Favorite Disney Characters November 15, 2017

dark disney character origins

Disney has always made big business out of turning fairy tales into box office blockbusters. But not every adorably animated character we’ve decorated our rooms with, dressed up as on Halloween, or themed our 10th birthday party after is actually worthy of such high adolescent praise. In fact, a good majority of Disney stories come from pretty dark and murky material. And that handsome prince we’ve been waiting for to sweep us off our feet? Turns out he’s kind of a dick. So these are the dark Disney character origins you never knew about.

Elsa (“Frozen”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://frozen.disney.com/elsa

The Disney version: Elsa is the reluctant heir to Arendelle, who has the ability to manipulate ice and snow. When her powers go a little haywire, she retreats into hiding, only to discover that she’s no villain but a misunderstood protagonist instead.

Elsa (“Frozen”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Snow_Queen
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The real story: She’s actually The Snow Queen from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the same name. She kidnaps a little boy and holds him prisoner until he’s rescued by his friend, but not before kissing him once to numb him from the cold and twice to make him forget his entire life. Real winner.

Pinocchio (“Pinocchio”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/pinocchio-brings-life-famous-fairytale-1940-review-article-1.2521626

The Disney version: Pinocchio is a poor little puppet who wants nothing more in life than to be a real boy, but must first endure the torment and torture inflicted upon him by a number of unsavory individuals.

Pinocchio (“Pinocchio”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Pinocchio

The real story: Pinocchio was for sure a little puppet who wanted to be a real boy, but in the Carlo Collodi story “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” he was actually a real douche who gets Geppetto arrested for abuse, kills his talking cricket, and winds up hanged from a tree by a fox and a cat.

Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://ohmy.disney.com/movies/2014/06/07/style-tips-from-ariel/
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The Disney version: Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric and makes a deal with an evil sea witch for a shot to win his heart. In return for real legs, she gives up her singing voice. After some minor confusion, she wins her prince and lives happily ever after.

Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid

The real story: Hans Christian Andersen gave his “The Little Mermaid” a less-than-fairy-tale ending. Instead of marrying her prince, this mermaid is given the option of killing him or killing herself by turning into sea foam. She chooses the latter.

Hercules (“Hercules”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://www.bustle.com/p/the-amazing-disney-movies-youll-find-on-hulu-ranked-27042

The Disney version: Hercules battles a cyclops, Hades, and the Titans, all before winning the heart of Megara and living happily ever after.

Hercules (“Hercules”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules
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The real story: Megara was actually given to Heracles – Hercules is his Roman name – as a reward. When Hera drives him mad, he kills their children and, in some versions, also kills Megara. He goes on to win another princess, kill a few more people, and try to atone for his crazy sins.

Cinderella and Her Stepsisters (“Cinderella”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://princess.disney.com/cinderellas-story

The Disney version: An abused step-daughter is forced to play handmaid to her shitty step-mother and sisters. With the help of some magic mice, she meets Prince Charming at a ball and eventually marries him, once he matches her foot to her lost glass slipper.

Cinderella and Her Stepsisters (“Cinderella”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2015/03/13/392358854/a-girl-a-shoe-a-prince-the-endlessly-evolving-cinderella

The real story: Those step-sisters? One of them cut off her own toes while the other her heel in order to trick the prince into thinking the glass slipper is theirs. When the truth is revealed and Cinderella marries her prince, some doves peck out the sisters’ eyes at her wedding.

Quasimodo (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Quasimodo_4.PNG
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The Disney version: Quasimodo is born with an unfortunate deformity and falls for a gypsy named Esmerelda. He saves her from execution and hides his feelings for her while she and another man fall in love.

Quasimodo (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/105271710014843133

The real story: In Victor Hugo’s novel, Quasimodo was so in love with Esmerelda that when he fails to save her from execution, he decides to spend the rest of his sad life starving at her grave.

Mulan (“Mulan”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-mulan-live-action-animated-disney-20161004-snap-story.html

The Disney version: Mulan is a tomboy who pretends to be an actual boy so she can avoid her arranged marriage and fight against the Huns in the Chinese army. She’s also friends with a talking dragon named Mushu who gives her advice on how to be a man.

Mulan (“Mulan”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/ballad-hua-mulan-legendary-warrior-woman-who-brought-hope-china-005084
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The real story: In the “Ballad of Mulan,” she enlists in place of her feeble father and retires to her hometown after victory. In a later version by Chu Renhuo, however, she’s summoned to the Khan’s palace to become his concubine but opts to commit suicide instead.

The Witch (“Snow White”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Snow_White_the_Witch_and_the_apple.jpg

The Disney version: The Evil Queen wants Snow White dead because a magic mirror tells her Snow White is the fairest woman in the land. She enacts a plan to kill her in order to remain the most beautiful.

The Witch (“Snow White”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snow_White_Iron_Shoes.png

The real story: The Brothers Grimm don’t mess around when it comes to disturbing tales. When the Queen unsuccessfully sends a huntsman out to retrieve Snow White’s lungs and liver, then also unsuccessfully poisons her herself, she winds up dancing to death in a pair of iron shoes at Snow’s wedding.

Tod and Copper (“The Fox and the Hound”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://collider.com/the-fox-and-the-hound-blu-ray-review/
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The Disney version: A fox named Tod and a hound named Copper become unlikely best friends and remember each other fondly, even after going their separate ways as adults.

Tod and Copper (“The Fox and the Hound”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://www.amazon.com/Fox-Hound-Daniel-P-Mannix/dp/B0006BQYDK

The real story: In the Daniel P. Mannix novel, Tod dies of exhaustion at the end of a hunt, while Copper is shot by his master before he moves to a retirement home that doesn’t allow dogs. Because friends are forever, but only if it’s convenient for the people around them.

Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Sleeping-beauty-disneyscreencaps.com-3075.jpg

The Disney version: Aurora has a curse placed on her by Maleficent, which puts her into a deep sleep after being pricked by the spindle of a spinning wheel. Her true love, Prince Phillip, awakens her with his kiss after a lengthy battle with a dragon.

Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”)

dark disney
IMAGE BY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_Beauty#/media/File:La_Belle_au_Bois_Dormant_-_Sixth_of_six_engravings_by_Gustave_Doré.jpg
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The real story: Disney left out the part where her “prince” comes to see her, has sex with her while she’s unconscious, and she gives birth to twins as a result. It’s actually one of the kids who manages to wake her, but, like, what the f---?