Characters: The Jungle Book

Appeared in 1967's The Jungle Book

Mowgli

Voiced by: Bruce Reitherman (original), Haley Joel Osment (The Jungle Book 2)

  • Adaptational Wimp: Mowgli in the original book, as well as every other adaptation survived in the jungle by becoming the strongest and smartest Badass the jungle had ever seen.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: He flat-out refuses to listen to Bagheera and Baloo when they tell him that he needs to go to the man village where he will be safe from Shere Khan.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He is always barefoot.
  • Idiot Hero: Justified because he's a kid. He doesn't listen to Bagheera, and is careless and naive to the point of being Too Dumb to Live.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Through Rotoscoping, Bruce Reitherman (son of the film's director) actually became Mowgli in many scenes.
  • Kid Hero: Becomes this in the sequel.
  • Loin Cloth: Illustrated editions of The Jungle Book and other Wild Child stories sometimes depict their protagonists this way if only to avoid showing them naked.
  • Official Couple: With Shanti by the end of the sequel.
  • Oh, Crap: Gets a very prominent one in the climax of the first film when Shere Khan decides to attack in earnest, and the Too Dumb to Live boy finally realises how much trouble he's in.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Because of Disneyfication, he spends all his time reacting to the other characters and doesn't instigate any plot events. This is totally ironic if you know the character from Rudyard Kipling's original stories.
  • Love at First Sight: Mowgli instantly loses all control of his mental faculties the moment he sees Shanti and hears her singing.
  • Raised by Wolves: A literal example, and quite a Trope Codifier (along with Tarzan).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mowgli taunts Shere Khan with extreme overconfidence about his ability to defend himself from the huge tiger. He nearly gets eaten for his stupidity.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mowgli thankfully gets more capable in the sequel.
  • Wild Child: The Trope Codifier, again, along with Tarzan.

Baloo

Voiced by: Phil Harris (original), John Goodman (The Jungle Book 2), Ed Gilbert (TaleSpin), Pamela Adlon (Jungle Cubs)

Bagheera

Voiced by: Sebastian Cabot (The Jungle Book), Bob Joles (The Jungle Book 2), Elizabeth Daily and Dee Bradley Baker (Jungle Cubs)
  • Narrator: In this version.
  • Only Sane Man: He's certainly much saner than Baloo and Mowgli.
  • Panthera Awesome: In the book, Bagheera the black panther was born in captivity but escaped into the jungle, becoming one of its most feared and respected predators. His cunning and bravery make him one of the best teachers a young man-cub could ever want.
  • Parental Substitute: While Mowgli is Raised by Wolves, Bagheera was the one who found him, and later the one who accompanies him to the man village.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Baloo's Red.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Baloo.

King Louie

Voiced by: Louis Prima (The Jungle Book), Jim Cummings (TaleSpin), Jason Marsden (Jungle Cubs), Cree Summer (Jungle Cubs)

  • Canon Foreigner: Louie did not appear in the book.
  • Driven by Envy: He kidnaps Mowgli because he wants to become more human - specifically, by making fire.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Disney's original addition to the movie, yet arguably, he feels very much as if he belongs to Mowgli's world.
  • Fun Personified: Even more energetic than Baloo.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: At least the movements, as the dance of Louie and his apes is based on Prima with his bandmates.
  • Large Ham: At least during "I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)".
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The story is set in India, but orangutans live in Indonesia.
  • Out of Focus: Louis Prima's widow was unhappy with Jim Cummings' unpermitted likeness to her husband in TaleSpin and Jungle Cubs and threatened a lawsuit. As such Louie was omitted from the sequel, and limited to sparse silent cameos elsewhere to appease this.

Hathi

Voiced by: J. Pat O'Malley (The Jungle Book), Jim Cummings (The Jungle Book 2), Rob Paulsen, Stephen Furst (Jungle Cubs)

Shanti

Voiced by: Darleen Carr (The Jungle Book), Mae Whitman (The Jungle Book 2)

  • Generation Xerox: She mentions she's always sent to get the water, and that when she has a daughter, she'll send her to do the same.
  • Girlish Pigtails: In the original film. In the sequel she has a braided ponytail.
  • Love at First Sight: She invokes the trope in Mowgli, but she herself is also quite recipient.
  • Satellite Character: She only has the one scene, after all. But it's iconic!
  • Show Some Leg: Shanti blatantly does this to Mowgli at the end of the first movie (which she attempts to deny in the second). Lampshaded by Baloo and Bagheera.

Shere Khan

"I make my own rules."
Voiced by: George Sanders (The Jungle Book); Tony Jay (TaleSpin and The Jungle Book 2); Jason Marsden (Jungle Cubs)

  • Disney Villain Death: Averted in the original film, in which he flees after his tail is tied to a burning branch, and subverted in the sequel, as he survives the fall AND the tiger statue head falling on him.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone and their mother is afraid of him. Well, not everyone, but those who aren't...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In TaleSpin.
  • Evil Brit: He is not the only character to have a British accent (Colonel Hathi has one,) but he certainly gives off this vibe.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His one-line Villain Song says it all!
  • Faux Affably Evil: He is well-mannered and polite. Oh, but he still want to kill you. The fact that he can be so suave and courteous about killing a boy riles Kaa up to no end.
  • Final Boss: In the games
  • Genius Bruiser: A vicious and bloodthirsty, yet also intelligent and Affably Evil tiger. This is displayed even moreso in the book when he manipulates the wolves into becoming his minions and turning against Mowgli and Akela.
  • Hero Killer: Nearly kills Baloo in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: An admitted - and downright uncanny - example.
  • Joker Immunity: A rare example of a Disney movie Big Bad having this. He not only survives both films, but every Disney adaptation in general.
  • Kill All Humans: He hunts down and kills humans who enter his jungle due to his hatred of them.
  • Knight of Cerebus: As Affably Evil as he is, his appearance in the original film stops much of the fun and silly mood and makes things more tense and dark. This is carried Up to Eleven where he's concerned in the sequel.
  • Large Ham: In the original film.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Is able to nearly outrun Mowgli even while dragging Baloo (who probably weighs more than he does,) along behind him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In the book he turns almost the entire wolf pack against Mowgli and Akela.
  • Meaningful Name: Shere Khan's name in Hindi means "tiger king" or "king of tigers" ("shere" means tiger, "khan" means king).
  • Never My Fault: In the sequel, he believes Kaa knows where Mowgli is (after hearing the snake grumble "man-cub"), but truthfully, Kaa has no clue where Mowgli is, but Shere Kahn won't believe him and continues to threaten the snake. So to save his skin Kaa fearfully lies to the Tiger that Mowgli's at the swamp, allowing him to flee. When Shere Khan arrives at the swamp, with Mowgli, of course, nowhere to be found, he angrily growls "That snake lied to me!" Well, Shere Khan, you didn't believe Kaa when he told you "I don't know where Mowgli is" Sometimes you just gotta believe the snake when he tells you the truth for once.
  • No Sell: Kaa's hypnosis doesn't affect him. Whether's he's naturally immune or just makes sure to break eye contact before any damage is done is not clear.
  • Panthera Awesome: He's a Badass tiger.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: And an incredibly chilling one at that, considering the Lighter and Softer sequel.
    (having Lucky by the throat and grinning)
    Shere Khan: Isn't it ironic that your name is Lucky?
  • Roar Before Beating: His first pounce towards Mowgli is accompanied by a Mighty Roar. Justified because he's not trying to conserve his strength or be sneaky, and has gotten so incensed by Mowgli's defiance that he clearly wants to scare him. It works.
    • Averted in his opening scene; he stalks a deer in total silence (like a real tiger) rather than loudly charging it, suggesting that he's happy to rely on stealth when he's hunting to eat rather than to satisfy his personal enmity with humans.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Becomes stuck in a tiger statue at the end of the sequel. Had there been a third movie he would have escaped somehow.
  • Sissy Villain: Downplayed. He's genuinely feared predators of the jungle (he's mentioned as being stronger than the entire wolf pack combined) however, his wrath is hidden in an amusingly flamboyant, playful and soft spoken demeanor.
  • Smug Smiler: While he's in Faux Affably Evil mode, this is his default expression.
  • Smug Snake: While much more dangerous than most examples of this trope (his fearsome reputation is fully justified,) his overconfidence is nonetheless his undoing; in both films he had many chances to kill Mowgli but decided to toy with him instead.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: He's Killed Off for Real at the end of the original book (though he appears in a flashback story in the sequel), yet he not only survives both animated Disney films, but every adaptation by Disney in general.
    • In an alternative ending (storyboarded for the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray), Shere Khan is killed by Mowgli after Mowgli accidentally pulls the trigger on a hunter's gun.
    • In the 2013 stage version, he does in fact burn to death after Mowgli accidentally sets him on fire.
  • The Stoic: In TaleSpin.
  • Tranquil Fury: While his actual combat behaviour is that of The Berserker, he is very calm and collected before that times. Particularly pronounced in the sequel, where his slow-burning fury is palpable in every appearance.
  • Ultimate Evil: For much of the film he isn't seen or heard. We only hear and see from other characters that he's the most feared, dangerous creature in the jungle, and even the mention of his name often results in a more serious tone. Towards the end the tiger finally appears, and while he's Faux Affably Evil, he's every bit of the Badass he's hyped up to be, especially when he shows his true colors in the final fight. He gets more screentime in the sequel, where he's even more if a Knight of Cerebus.
  • Would Hurt a Child: So that said child won't grow up to be a hunter.

Kaa

"He won't be here in the morning."
Voiced by: Sterling Holloway (The Jungle Book); Hal Smith (The Wonderful World of Disney); Jim Cummings (The Jungle Book 2, Jungle Cubs)

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original book by Rudyard Kipling, Kaa was one of Mowgli's friends and allies.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Kaa was also much more Badass in the original book.
  • Affably Evil: Despite wanting to eat the hero, comes off as very polite and soft-spoken.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He just can't compete with Shere Khan.
  • Butt Monkey: In the sequel.
  • Character Exaggeration: Kaa's incompetence and cowardliness are greatly exaggerated in the second movie to the point where he becomes something of a Butt Monkey, whereas in the first he was genuinely menacing yet constantly unsuccessful, and his general fear of Shere Khan (the same as everyone else) is exaggerated to not being able to form full sentences around him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A known villain who uses a soothing voice/demeanor and the "You can trust me" angle to lure children into his clutches...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He finds it despicable that Shere Khan wants to kill Mowgli just for being alive, as opposed to him, who wants to eat him to survive.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Kaa the python has these type of eyes, as shown in this clip, starting at 0:20.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: His interest in Mowgli occasionally bordered on the paedophilic, though. Unlike in the book, where he's a benevolent Badass Old Master.
  • Large Ham: Quite fond of Evil Gloating
  • Laughably Evil: He is a funny villain and praised as one of the most entertaining villains in Disney Animated Canon.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Has his moments.
  • Not So Harmless: People tend to forget that despite Kaa's comical attitude and subservience to Shere Khan, he is considered a very legitimate threat by everyone in the jungle due to his hypnotic eyes, and almost succeeded in eating Mowgli alive twice.
    • And that's not even counting the sequel or the one Jungle Cubs Special.
    • In the original film he handily neutralized Baghera, who even cowers before him.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: In the book, Kaa was one of the main mentors for Mowgli. In the Disney adaptation, he was transformed into a villain.
  • Sissy Villain: He's pretty damn camp.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Particularly during the song "Trust in Me".
  • Villainous Rescue: He ends up hiding Mowgli from Shere Khan while the latter was looking to kill the man cub, although he did it for obviously selfish and nefarious reasons (he wanted to eat Mowgli for himself).
  • Villain Song: "Trust In Me".
  • Would Hurt a Child: ...or eat a child.