Throughout the years Disney has had villains that could easily be in the morally grey but instead of making these villains complex Disney opts to make them straight up evil. Villains such as Scar, Hades, Charles Muntz and Hans all have potential to be morally grey such as Scar clearly being disrespected by all including Mufasa, Hades having a moral code but being hated due to his position, Charles Muntz cheated by society and driven mad by isolation and Hans wanting respect and recognition after his mistreatment by his brothers. One could go into further depth with these characters, showing how they could have been morally grey and complex along with other Disney Villains who share similar fates.
This is a really interesting topic! I would even ask the question what is at stake in the story if villains were treated with sympathy? Would it have detracted from the film's message (good vs.evil) if the character is humanized rather than an "evil" archetype. It would be cool to explore the implications behind these characters, what they represent and how they're treated in the story. – ember7 years ago
I also think that you could look at the source material they are drawn from and see how the author handles them. I really like the idea that you have here – DClarke6 years ago
I love what you're going for here. I think the argument for straight-up villains is, "These are little kids; they're not ready for morally gray characters." But number one, that's cheating kids out of a great introduction to reality and two, kids can handle a lot more than we think. We just have to be smart in how we present stuff like morally gray villains. If you really wanted to, you could make the argument that every Disney villain is gray in some form. – Stephanie M.5 years ago