Pixar has produced some awesome heroes and lovable characters, but it has also produced some great villains over the years as well. Considering that a brand new villain will be introduced in the superhero themed sequel “The Incredibles 2” this weekend I took a look at the best baddies featured in the 19 films Pixar has released to date. These are the animated antagonists that helped drive home great stories and provided challenges for the heroes as they made their way through their adventures in the toy box, the deep blue sea, the afterlife and beyond. These are my picks for the Top 10 Pixar Villains.
For this list I looked at all 19 Pixar movies released prior to “The Incredibles 2” and picked one, and only one, villain from each film to consider. While I did pick only one villain from each movie I allowed for multiple villains per franchise as long as they were from different films. I ranked the villains based on their character traits, memorability and iconic status in the wake of their film’s popularity. Of course a good villain has to be dastardly, intimidating and threatening as well a conniving and brutal so just because someone might be considered a villain by definition that doesn’t mean they were worthy enough for this list. Most of these bad guys fully embraced their duplicitous or downright evil natures which helped them stand out above the rest.
Who is your favorite Pixar villain? Let me know in the comments below and look for my review of “The Incredibles 2” this weekend. ALSO in case this doesn’t go without saying some of these bad guys may spoil the twists or plots of the movies they were featured it so a SPOILER ALERT is in order.
10. Chick Hicks from “Cars”
Nobody likes a poor sport, but that’s exactly what we get out of Chick Hicks, the main rival to Lightning McQueen in Pixar’s “Cars”. Sporting a green paint job covered in all kinds of decals Hicks seeks his first Piston Cup but must go through the King Strip Weathers and McQueen to get it and spends most of the movie schmoozing with lucrative sponsor Dynaco and stealing McQueen’s shtick including a thunder sticker and his own catch phrase (cuh-chiga) to challenge McQueen’s lightning sticker and Ka-Chow catchphrase. He’s a car that demands the limelight even if he has to steal it and embraces a nasty ego that eventually leads him to do the unthinkable in the climactic race as he wrecks the King and nearly kills him in order to cross the line first. Thankfully the public sees Chick for who he really is in the end and refuse to celebrate his accomplishment. Chick serves as a comparable antagonist to Lightning and allows viewers to see just how bad McQueen could have become had he not seen the error of his ways and become a more humble racer who puts sportsmanship above the victory.
9. Mor’du from “Brave”
One of the best parts of Pixar’s “Brave” was the antagonist featured as a legend throughout the film and, eventually, the final advisory in the climax. Mor’du is considered a demon bear of lore among the people of Scotland in the movie. His design is the epitome of a true beast, bringing back memories of the evil bear from “The Fox and the Hound”, and his dark coat and immense size as well as his tactical approach to combat give him a human like quality and the ability to take on any advisory including Merida’s mother who was also turned into a bear earlier in the film. Mor’du makes this list because he has one of the most complex stories of any villain in Pixar’s history. Once a prince, we learn that Mor’du became a bear after committing a similar sin as Merida by becoming poisoned by pride. While not really evil at heart, his lack of humanity in his bear form leads him to become a ruthless antagonist and predator until he is freed which makes him a perfect addition to Pixar’s club of villainy.
8. Randall Boggs from “Monsters, Inc.”
While not the true main antagonist of “Monsters, Inc.” Randall does most of the dirty deeds in the film and is the most prominent villain so he gets the nod here. Boggs is a competitive scarer who seeks to break the company scare record before his rival, James P. Sullivan. We do get some more back story behind their rivalry from the prequel “Monsters University” but our first introduction, and a full display of his villainy, is with “Monsters, Inc.” where Randall is shown to be a talented monster that can camouflage to fit his surroundings. His squinty eyes, the result of poor eyesight, and his salamander like body add to his intimidating yet lovable appearance and once we learn his intentions for Sully and Mike’s new human friend Boo his despicable nature comes full circle and we come to understand that Randall will do anything to be the top dog in the business. In many ways Randall is a classic villain, but he’s also a layered one who we see evolve over two films into an egomaniac with a thirst for relevance.
7. AUTO from “WALL-E”
Sometimes a villain is just misunderstood, but what happens when they’re designed to be the way they are? Well then you get AUTO, the autopilot of the Axiom programmed to prevent the humans from ever returning to Earth in “WALL-E”. Once WALL-E finds himself on board with a living plant the autopilot takes his job a little too seriously and employs directive A113, a special order given to him by his creators who believed Earth could never be saved. AUTO embraces shades of Hal 9000 by doing what he feels is best for humanity. He attempts to destroy the plant at all costs which would prevent humanity from returning to the planet and keep them in space on the Axiom. AUTO becomes a mutinous, self-serving robot as a result but can we blame him? He’s only following his programming right? AUTO is one of the best examples of technology gone wrong in a film filled with warnings about over-dependence on tech. The use of MacInTalk to provide the vocals only adds to the sinister nature of the character who is one of Pixar’s most complex, despite not being human.
6. Charles Muntz from “Up”
Portrayed by the always incredible Christopher Plummer, Charles Muntz is the eventual bad guy for 2009’s “Up” and the idol of protagonist Carl Fredricksen. An explorer and aviator, Muntz’s adventures on his ship the Spirit of Adventure made him famous but after he claimed to find the skeleton of a mythical avian animal the public turned on him when the skeleton was ruled a fake. Muntz returned to South America to find the bird and bring it back but only years later does he find it after Carl’s adventures lead him and his sidekick Russell to interact with the bird, called a Snipe. Throughout the film Muntz seems to be a sympathetic and likable celebrity, but he soon shows his true colors when he mistakes Carl and Russell for fellow explorers trying to rob him of his discovery. Muntz is the living embodiment of the old adage “never meet your heroes” having spent his whole life seeking fame and recognition at the expense of a living animal. Muntz is the perfect enemy for Carl, bringing both their lives full circle, and his ruthless nature and selfish goals make him a perfect representation of how corrupted a man can become by the lust for fame.
5. Lotso from “Toy Story 3”
As far as tragic backstories go Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear or simply Lotso might have one of the most memorable in Pixar. The antagonist of “Toy Story 3”, Lotso’s story is not much different from Jessie’s, but his reaction to being abandoned by his child led him to become a ruthless dictator of a daycare filled with toys. The sad part is he wasn’t abandoned. He was lost unintentionally and then replaced, which broke his heart to see how easily his owner moved on. This leads Lotso to become disillusioned and angry with humanity as well as other toys more loved than himself. He rules Sunnyside Daycare with an iron fist and even leaves Woody, Buzz and friends to burn in an incinerator after they save him, revealing his truly selfish personality. It’s hard not to feel for Lotso due to the hand he was dealt in his life, but the evil he embraces to make himself feel important and powerful erase all sympathy when it’s all said and done.
4. Ernesto de la Cruz from “Coco”
A masterpiece of 2017, “Coco” features one of Pixar’s most despicable villains who borrows from past Pixar baddies in all the best ways. Throughout the film a young boy named Miguel believes that a former musical superstar named Ernesto de la Cruz was his great-great-grandfather and inadvertently finds himself in the land of the dead trying to find him. Once he does however Cruz’s true nature is exposed and it’s revealed that he killed, yes killed his former music partner Hector who is Miguel’s true ancestor. While we have seen villains in Pixar’s passed hungry for fame and power Cruz is possibly the most evil of them all. He actually killed to obtain his fame and is willing to let Miguel die to keep his reputation intact. Thanks to the nature of the film we even get to see how his actions had a ripple effect that impacted an entire family for generations. It’s also revealed he stole Hector’s work and built a career and fan base off of lies. Cruz is the ultimate example of fame and ego embodying the very existence of a man and he makes for an excellent surprise baddy in “Coco” and one of Pixar’s most brutal.
3. Syndrome from “The Incredibles”
It’s hard to pass up a true supervillain for this list and Syndrome is not just one of Pixar’s best, but one of the best in the superhero movie genre altogether. Buddy Pine started off his career as a wannabe superhero seeking to become the sidekick of his idol Mr. Incredible. Years later after supers have been outlawed Buddy is a millionaire inventor who has taken on the name of Syndrome creating his own powers through technology. Now a supervillain, Syndrome has channeled his anger and frustration of being denied by his hero to put a plot into place to end all supers while also giving everyone access to his technology for a profit to eliminate the unique and special nature of being a hero. Syndrome is your typical superhero baddy, but with a comical edge and a relatable backstory that gives him a human quality. He’s a fanboy gone wild who truly believes in his cause and decided that if he couldn’t be a hero he would be the next best thing. He proves to be more than a match for the Incredibles even willing to put their young son Jack-Jack in danger to get his revenge.
2. Hopper from “A Bug’s Life”
While Kevin Spacey may not be the most popular man in the world today, you can’t deny the man has a talent for villainous roles. One of his best came in Pixar’s second feature film “A Bug’s Life” as the dictatorial grasshopper leader Hopper. An Ornithaphobic bug with a mean streak and intimidating demeanor, Hopper looks down on the ants as slaves to his kind and lives by a policy that keeping everyone at bay will prevent the ants from realizing they could rise up against them at any time. Hopper is smart, brutal and power hungry like all good villains but mix this with his physical power and the intimidating performance by Spacey and you get a truly terrifying villain that is honestly the best part of the entire film. Hopper even shows his brutality when he kills several of his henchmen on screen for suggesting the grasshoppers leave the ants alone. Hopper’s motivations aren’t just to eliminate the work of getting food, he simply wants to look down on a race of bugs he sees as inferior. As far as villains go Hopper has always been one of my personal favorites and demands more respect than he tends to get.
1. Sid from “Toy Story”
The original Pixar villain Sid tops this list because he is probably the most real and legitimately human villain in Pixar’s library and the one that truly exists in some for in the real world. A bratty kid who ignores hygiene and loves to abuse his toys Sid from “Toy Story” represents an actual demographic of children who take their toys and childhoods for granted and, likely, eventually grow up to be pretty terrible adults. Throughout “Toy Story” it’s established that Andy’s toys have watched many figures destroyed at the hands of this ruthless child. When Woody eventually finds his way into Sid’s room he also learns that the sick and twisted pre-teen takes his toys apart and melds them together to create monstrosities. Sid teaches viewers an important lesson about respecting your things and represents the exact opposite of the loving, good natured Andy. It’s pretty cool to see his (alleged) appearance in “Toy Story 3” as a garbage man, but nothing beats his original appearance in the first “Toy Story” that represents a worst case scenario for a child in the 90s when action figures and similar toys were all the rage.