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Literature / Disney Villains: The Top Secret Files

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Disney Villains: The Top Secret Files is a 2005 Disney licensed book about the various villains in Disney Animated Canon. It's a comedic handbook about the pasts of various characters, though it's not considered canon to the films.

The villains featured are Cruella De Vil, Lady Tremaine, Captain Hook, Madame Medusa, the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Yzma, Gaston, Ursula, and Jafar.

This book provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Related: It's implied that Ursula is Triton's sister. She was close to Triton growing up and has dreams of ruling the throne, but it's never explicitly stated that they're siblings.
  • Early Personality Signs: Several of the Disney Villains are shown as kids, and some of them even show Call Forwards to their current personalities:
    • As a little girl, Cruella was already fascinated with furs and fashions, having a fashion designer for a mom and a Great White Hunter for an uncle.
    • Baby Gaston is shown teething on a bearskin rug, and by the time he was eight years old, he was an expert archer who, it is implied, already had a massive ego.
    • As a young boy, Captain Hook was into sailing and, in his diary, he complained about having to do chores that would mess up his fine clothes.
    • Maleficent is shown as a little girl setting fire to the birthday candles at the only party she was invited to. In fifth grade, she also did a class report about dragons, foreshadowing her own transformation into a fire-breathing dragon in her adult years.
    • Yzma is shown as a grade-school Mad Scientist who specialized in Forced Transformations.
  • Formerly Fit: Ursula is shown to have once been as skinny as Ariel, and special mention is made of how much thinner she used to be while depicting her gorging herself at a banquet.
  • Freudian Excuse: Discussed a few times.
    • Both Captain Hook and Jafar’s entries make mention of them having been bullied as children. Jafar in particular is depicted as having learned magic to get back at his bully while Hook’s diary depicts him as having once been a kind boy who was picked on by older sailor boys on his first oceanic outing.
    • Maleficent went to a party once as a child and was never invited again after she set fire to the cake candles. It’s unclear if she had any malicious intentions here or not.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Cruella's fascination with furs and fashion is implied to come from her family (her mother being a fashion designer, her uncle being a big game hunter), but it’s not really used to make her more sympathetic.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Maleficent, Cruella, and Yzma are all depicted with pigtails in childhood.
  • Great White Hunter: Cruella’s uncle, Coup De Vil, was one of these (possibly also an Evil Poacher, though this is never confirmed) and apparently routinely brought Cruella on hunting trips, which might be why she’s so… well, Cruella to Animals.
  • Held Back in School: Gaston's section showcases how Book Dumb he is by showing his fourth-grade class photo... from when he was seventeen years old!
  • No Name Given: Snow White's step-mother isn't given a name.
  • Pubescent Braces: Yzma is shown to have had these as a preteen.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Lady Tremaine's section reveals that Anastasia and Drizella got their big feet and awkward looks from her first husband, their father.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Captain Hook, Jafar and Maleficent have this implied about them, having once been normal kids who became evil for one reason or another. Subverted with Cruella, Gaston and Yzma, who are also shown as children, but do not come off as quite so innocent.
  • Villain Episode: The book is Disney Villain-centric.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It's implied that Ursula was banned from visiting the castle because she tried to poison Ariel as a baby.