10 Best Non-Human Disney Characters | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

The Princesses of Disney may be some of the studio’s most recognizable characters, but non-human heroes like Simba and Baymax are iconic too.
Over the years Disney have shown that their distinctive characters form a large part of what makes their animated movies so engaging, as well as re-watchable. It’s a feat that extends beyond fictional humans like Elsa and Moana, and to non-human characters, whether they’re animals or something more mythical.
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In releases solely by Disney or through the Pixar company, these non-human characters provide their films with an alternative point of view, which can be used to great effect to explore themes and emotions that may otherwise be overlooked when wrapped up in the familiarity of a human character. The distance that non-human characters give the audience from a narrative can help them to pick up these themes more clearly.
Up is a notoriously heartfelt film, and alongside Carl and Russell for the journey is Dug, a talking golden retriever who has all the earnestness and love that’s associated with his breed.
Dug’s energy and humor helps balance out the tone of one of Pixar’s most emotional movies, whether he’s gaining instant affection for Carl or being distracted by a far off squirrel. Additionally, his own journey from being surrounded by dogs who don’t understand him to finding a master that (grows to!) appreciate him makes for a satisfying secondary plot.
The titular protagonist of Robin Hood remains one of the Disney movie’s most likable characters, whether he’s proving his archery prowess or pulling off heists to provide for the poor. His combination of wits and heart make him a great main character, and the dynamics he shares with those he loves and those he opposes are equally fun to watch.
The choice to make the characters of this Robin Hood adaptation be animals only adds to its charm, using each species’ perceived traits in order to emphasize something about the characters. In Robin Hood’s case, the slyness of the fox helps cement his personality as a cunning and intelligent trickster.
WALL-E follows a robot of the same name, the last of his kind, made to clean up litter on a planet crowded with it. WALL-E’s sentience makes him have a curious nature, and the story follows his developing relationship with a robot named EVE.
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Set on Earth in the distant future, making WALL-E a non-human protagonist is a great choice for the story in order to show how the world has changed, and how people responded to the mess. WALL-E’s perseverance in the face of so much carnage makes viewers root for him, and shows the impact just one figure can have on the world.
Simba’s story in The Lion King is a coming of age narrative, following him from birth through to adulthood as the dangers of life and the plotting of his uncle Scar disrupt his journey to become king.
As one of the bravest animated Disney characters, Simba’s reaction to the heartbreaking scene of his father’s death, fleeing the scene, and his later return home are moments heavy with emotional resonance. The use of the animal kingdom in the movie as a parallel to the hierarchies in human society, and the use of the circle of life as a way to explain the natural order of things only add to the film’s surprising relatability.
Dealing with emotions in the most literal sense, Inside Out personifies five feelings that oversee protagonist Riley’s actions and personality, one of which is Joy.
As the embodiment of her name, Joy’s approach to every situation is one of optimism, but over the course of the movie she learns to better value other emotions and their utility, particularly that of Sadness. Though characters being used to represent a single emotion could seem one note, Inside Out uses their relation to one another as a way to explore the complexity of feelings.
Sisu is the last living dragon in Raya and the Last Dragonwho aids Raya in her quest to reunite the 5 pieces of the powerful dragon gem.
Though she is revered by humans for her power and has a noble appreciation for the act of forgiveness, Sisu is also loving and extremely funny, often making self-deprecating jokes that greatly contrasts her with Raya’s personality. Her fullness of character helps carry the message of the film, whilst also providing further insight into the movie’s setting and culture.
Zootopia positions many of its characters at odds with a viewer’s expectations of them, using the tropes that often fill animal-centric stories and questioning their validity.
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Rabbit protagonist Judy Hopps is no exception to this exploration, as the movie revolves around others’ perception of her and her abilities, as contrasted with her own knowledge of what she’s capable of. Framed in this way, Judy headlines a story which examines prejudice through the structure of its animal society, clearly and concisely explaining huge topics to great effect.
Big Hero 6 has a narrative that is propelled by Hiro’s grief for his brother, and during that process the friendship he develops with Baymax helps him significantly.
Baymax is key to some of both the movie’s funniest and saddest moments, whether it’s through trying to understand why Hiro is upset when showing no physical symptoms of injury, or learning how to fist bump. Infused with Hiro’s brother Tadashi’s warmth and patience, Baymax provides Hiro with both comfort and curiosity.
Monsters Inc. is full of fantastic non-human characters, but Mike Wazowski’s strong sense of humor makes him a stand out from that world.
His interpretation of humans is a great source of laughs in the movie, whilst his charming approach to romance with his girlfriend Celia provides a needed counter to Sulley’s more introverted personality. Additionally, his pursuit of comedy at the movie’s conclusion highlights the movie’s message, that fear isn’t the best method for going about achieving your goals.
Disney’s Aladdin would not be the same without Robin Williams’ performance as the Genie, with his trademark snark and showy powers, often used to great effect to manifest visual gags.
Far from being solely a comic relief character, though, the Genie acts as a warning of the shortcomings that come from having vast amounts of influence over the world. Whilst he can grant other’s wishes that can have a massive impact on the status quo, he’s always reliant on the whims of other people. Ultimately, Jafar’s failure to see these same downfalls is what leads to his own defeat.
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Stacie is a List Writer for TV and Movies. If not writing, she’s probably reading a fantasy epic, baking cookies, or playing Hades.


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