The Disney portfolio is filled with iconic, superstar-level characters — and for every icon, there’s an underrated supporting character (or two or three).
In the pantheon of Disney, characters like Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Ariel are basically as famous as Beyoncé. But just like 2/3 of Destiny’s Child, there are plenty of other characters that deserve some attention too!
Whether lacking representation in the Disney Parks or getting overlooked in the movies, these are the most underrated Disney characters.
Coming in toward the tail end of the ‘90s-era spree of movies, a time many consider to be a renaissance for Disney animation, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is criminally overlooked compared to forerunners like Pocahontas, Beauty & the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.
While pretty much everyone in this gem of a heartwarming movie is underrated (except maybe Claude Frollo, who is way too good at being realistically evil), the film’s namesake star, Quasimodo, deserves more love and admiration for his messages of self-love, bravery, and standing up against tyranny.
That kind of messaging probably doesn’t translate into the fluffiest kind of Disney merch, but it’s one that more Disney fans could get behind.
While we’re on the subject of comparing Disney characters to music stars, Powerline is basically the Justin Timberlake of A Goofy Movie, an animated romp that’s entirely underrated in general.
Max and Goofy get plenty of deserved attention on their sweet cross-country adventure, but why isn’t Powerline more of a household name in the Disney-verse? Despite being animated and fictional, he’s a powerhouse singer and entertainer who could probably win American Idol without even trying.
Dear Disney, please consider making a Powerline origin story film. K thanks!
Basically Everyone in Onward
Considering Onward was released mere days before the pandemic, shutting down theaters and upending the global film experience, it’s no surprise this lovely tale of brotherly love got woefully overlooked.
It’s especially unfortunate since the movie is loaded with potentially iconic characters, from its lead stars Ian and Barley Lightfoot to the hilariously smarmy Grecklin, Colt Bronco, and, of course, The Manticore.
All we’re saying is if Disney were to open The Manticore’s Tavern as an actual restaurant, we’d 100% go.
The Great Mouse Detective
When it debuted in 1986, The Great Mouse Detective arrived during a weird time in Disney history, when animated films seemed to come and go almost unnoticed compared to decades both previous and since. So let’s hop in a time machine and remind you why this classic is tragically underrated.
First of all, the charisma going on with this cast is exceptional, hilarious, and endearingly awkward. This is especially true of its witty star, Basil of Baker Street, who is honestly far more interesting than the Sherlock Holmes he’s inspired by. This is also true of Dr. David Q. Dawson, who we want to be best friends with. And let’s not forget Mrs. Judson, whose crumpets look like they deserve their own Disney Springs bakery.
Last but not least, kudos to Disney for imagining a villain, Professor Ratigan, who is so nefarious and sociopathic that we’re actually glad he has zero presence in the parks.
Roquefort the Mouse
Disney loves a good rodent. Heck, Disney fans love rodents! Not only are Mickey and Minnie MOUSE the literal faces of Disney, but Ratatouille’s Remy is starring in one of the most recent new attractions in Disney World!
Color us perplexed as to why Roquefort the Mouse from The Artistocats is virtually lost to time? Mice are small; we have room in our hearts for one more! Please, Disney, would it be so much to ask for a Roquefort plush?
Tod and Copper
Another tried-and-true Disney trope is the idea of odd couples and unexpected friendships. Lady and the Tramp, for instance, was a smash hit that forever changed the way we looked at spaghetti and meatballs! Unfortunately, the same mega-success did not befall The Fox and the Hound.
Getting released after Lady and the Tramp probably didn’t do this movie any favors, but the sincere friendship developed between Tod the fox and Copper the hound is a bromance for the ages!
Maybe the movie was a little too scary? It’s certainly got more gunfire and terrifying grizzly bears than Lady and the Tramp. Still, the world may never know.
For a film front-loaded with A-list superstars like Billy Joel and Bette Midler, it’s pretty shocking that Oliver & Company isn’t more beloved. But then again, this came out around the same time as The Great Mouse Detective, a veritable vortex-era for animation where nothing makes sense.
As far as Disney cats go, Oliver is as cute as they come. So why doesn’t he command the same kind of cult following as, say, the Cheshire Cat? Sure, he’s not as whimsical (and his tail probably isn’t as tasty), but the cute feline deserves more fanfare in the grand scheme of things.
Sure, Pocahontas wasn’t overlooked or underrated as a movie, but some of its characters were. Specifically, why isn’t Grandmother Willow the ultimate Disney matriarch?
Think about it. She’s wise, she’s mystical, she’s sassy. She’s basically Yoda if Yoda was a tree in colonial America. And if Disney fans love wise, mystical characters, they could stand to show some more love for this woodland grandma.
It’s true that lots of iconic Disney characters are famed for good reason, but let’s not forget about these underdogs. Literally, Copper and Powerline are prime examples of canine characters who deserve more love. So while we wait for live-action origin stories of all these characters, let’s collectively acknowledge their significance!
Nine Times Disney Characters Appeared in OTHER Disney Movies
Which Disney character do YOU think is underrated? Let us know in the comments!
2 Replies to “The Most Underrated Disney Characters”
Grandmother Willow used to be in the Pocahontas show at the Animal Kingdom. I can’t remember if she was also in the show at MGM Studios as that was so long ago now.
Although they are sometimes spotted in person or on merchandise, I think both Jiminy Cricket and Merlin could use more exposure.