Could the success of Cruella lead to countless more iconic Disney villains seeing their origin stories told on the big screen? According to insider Daniel Richtman, the answer would be a resounding yes, and he’s even named Aladdin‘s Jafar as a potential candidate. Of course, it’s been widely speculated already that more feature film projects focusing on recognizable antagonists might be on their way to either theaters or Disney Plus, but as things stand, none of the fifteen movies that are in development at the studio follow that template.
In any case, Emma Stone’s tour de force turn as the future puppy murderer might’ve gone down a storm with fans, but it also repositions her as an antihero driven by grief and revenge, so within the context of Cruella, she’s not really a villain at all. Jafar on the other hand, is evil all day.
The angular animated version remains one of the all-time great 2D Disney villains thanks largely to a combination of the striking visual style and Jonathan Freeman’s memorable voice work, so it was a little disappointing when Marwan Kenzari turned out to be one of the weakest aspects of Guy Ritchie’s live-action blockbuster, delivering a flat turn that wasn’t imposing or charismatic in the slightest.
Angelina Jolie’s two outings as Maleficent combined to earn over $1.2 billion at the box office, and while Cruella won’t come anywhere close to those numbers, it’ll generate plenty of revenue from both theaters and three months of $30 Premier Access payments, so there’s definitely money to be made telling stories from the perspective of the villains. Although, those aforementioned titles did boast A-list Academy Award winners on top form.
Besides, Jafar arrives in Aladdin fully formed and completely irredeemable with his intentions to overthrow the Sultan made clear from the outset, and you could make a perfectly logical argument that there’s absolutely no need to show audiences how he reached that point.