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I’m absolutely obsessed with Disney. I am the type of person who will have no shame beating a six-year-old in a Disney trivia contest and/or sing-off. In fact, I train for such an occasion like an Olympic athlete trains for their event. One of my favorite aspects of any given Disney movie is the sidekick. Is there anything not to love about a Disney sidekick? A Disney movie is like a combo meal: the princess/ hero is like the burger, the love interest is the drink (tall glass of water, get it), and the sidekick’s like the fries. Sure, you came here for the burger, but would a Big Mac ever be as good without a helping of fries on the side. I rest my case.
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Disney sidekicks all vastly differ from each other but their personalities are all made up of some combination of adorableness, unwavering loyalty, and snarkiness. While they may not be the central characters of their respective movies, they each make their presence known by often being the most entertaining character in the movie. Whether they be animals, humans, or something in between the sidekicks of Disney movies always have their heroes’ backs and will do anything for them.
Before we start the list, a couple of ground rules: one character per franchise. Some movies have two or more but so I don’t just keep listing off the supporting characters in Toy Story or everyone in the Hundred Acre Woods, I have to put this rule in place. I’m counting Pixar sidekicks because let’s face it, Pixar characters are the bomb. However, Star Wars sidekicks like C-3PO won’t be counted. Although I do feel for anyone who’s the smartest in their squad of heroes and therefore the least popular. Also, I think the closest thing to a sidekick in the MCU is Rocket Raccoon and he wouldn’t be terribly happy with me calling him a sidekick so the MCU’s out too.
Here are the Disney Sidekicks ranked:
#10- Gus-Gus from Cinderella (1950)
Gus-Gus isn’t the smartest of Cinderella’s pack of mice and he could definitely use a trip to the miniature gym but we still love him. He’s hands down the cutest character in all of ‘Cinderella’ or, shall we say “Cinderelly.” Gus-Gus came to the big screen before characters in Disney movies started becoming balls of sass. Since Cinderella was made when “pregnancy” was a taboo word to say on screen and even married couples couldn’t sleep in bed together in a TV show, parents thought if children heard sass they’d grow up to smoke weed and wear leather jackets. But of all the characters in all the Disney Golden Age, Gus is one of the most naive and innocent which of course adds to his adorability. He is the cutest character of the Disney Golden Age (Yeah, you heard right, Dumbo and Bambi) and he is one of the cutest sidekicks on this list, although, as you will see, he has some competition for the position of cutest of the cute sidekicks.
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#9- Pascal from Tangled (2010)
If I had Pascal from ‘Tangled’, I’d never need a better chameleon to wield my frying pan next to in battle. Pascal theoretically should be just as wide-eyed innocent as Gus. He’s been trapped in a castle for all of his life and doesn’t know anything better. But if sass was a weapon, Pascal would kill us all. Pascal is such a fantastic character because he has no dialogue and yet such a fun personality. He has some of the best jokes in the movie without saying a word. And he can stick his tongue to things like nobody’s business.
#8- Dante from Coco (2017)
If you feed a dog some meat, get ready for loyalty in epic proportions. In ‘Coco’, Dante is fiercely loyal to Miguel through thick and thin and 10 bucks you’ve never seen such a brave dog. Despite turning into a ghost (which is definitely on the list of things that would happen in a dog’s worst nightmare), Dante sticks with Miguel no matter what. And how epic is it when he flies in the Land of the Dead? Dante also gets points for being the most visually beautiful on the list after he turns into Miguel’s spirit animal. But overall, he earns his spot on this list for being cunning, loyal, and just an all-around good boy! While some Disney sidekicks exist solely for the purpose of distracting kids from the darker themes of their respective movies, Dante is a necessary plot device when he forces Miguel on a chase that leads him back to Hector and keeps the two of them together.
#7- Flounder from The Little Mermaid (1989)
In ‘The Little Mermaid’, Sebastian is certainly more flashy a character than Flounder but Flounder ultimately wins this spot for being loyal, brave, and cute. Flounder is with Ariel through it all and refuses to leave Ariel’s side. In fact, there are very few scenes under the sea in the movie with Ariel but without Flounder. He’s much more naïve than the wise and therefore overly cautious Sebastian and consequently, he’s much more willing to be by Ariel’s side when she partakes in potentially dangerous endeavors. Flounder is actually just as cautious as Sebastian, he’s just too loyal to Ariel to let her face peril alone.
#6- Sven from Frozen (2013)
Kristoff is indeed right when he sings “Reindeers Are Better Than People.” Dare I say, they’re better than snowmen. Olaf’s adorable, don’t get me wrong, but he gets cheesy and tiring after the umpteenth viewing of Frozen like 90% of parents with kids under 15 have been forced into. Olaf’s great, but under close inspection, Sven’s just as good a sidekick and he’s far less annoying. Sven has been with Kristoff since he was a wee youngin’ so the bond between the two of them is incredible. Sven risked his life to help Kristoff throughout both movies. He and his friends also made great backup singers when Kristoff felt the need to break out into an ‘80s ballad, as one does on occasion. So no, I don’t buy the whole “I like warm hugs and summer and everything warm and cuddly” gimmick. I’m team Sven all the way.
#5- Pumbaa and Timon from The Lion King (1994)
I know I said one character per movie but it’s impossible to choose between these two. For every peanut butter, there’s a jelly, for every yin, there’s a yang, for every Ross, there’s a Rachel and for every Timon, there’s a Pumbaa. In ‘The Lion King’, The two don’t work as characters without each other and the movie wouldn’t be the same without either of them. Their personalities complement each other perfectly. Pumbaa’s dumb and reckless while Timon is street-smart and cautious, Pumbaa is gigantic and fat while Timon’s tiny and lean, Pumbaa clears the savannah with his farts, and Timon’s anti-social. Everything works out perfectly because the two of them have each other. Timon and Pumbaa act as Simba’s parents and raise him up to be the king he becomes. They teach him to not just rely on his pride but to get by on his own and toughen up. But, most importantly, they taught him Hakuna Matata which isn’t necessarily a great motto for a king to adopt but oh well, everyone needs to chill sometimes.
#4- Mike from Monster’s Inc. (2001)
Mike has some tough competitors in the top 3 spots on the list but let’s give him an honorable mention for the funniest character on the list. Mike is definitely the most memorable aspect of the Monster’s Inc. It’s been years since I saw the original movie but he definitely sticks out in my head as the best part of an already great movie. Mike has some amazingly funny one-liners and lays claim to the best song in Disney history, nay, the history of music. I speak of course of “Put That Thing Back Where it Came From or So Help Me.”
#3- Mushu from Mulan (1998)
“[He’s] the guardian of lost souls! The powerful, the pleasurable, the indestructible Mushu!” Mushu is still just as funny to me as he was when I first saw Mulan when I was seven and that really says something about the widespread appeal of the character. He’s responsible for all the funniest moments in the entire movie. But that tends to happen when a character is played by Eddie Murphy who gave life to 90% of the funniest movie characters of my childhood. Who could forget gems like “dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow!!!” or his demotion as from all-powerful ancestor to gong banger. Such tends to happen when you accidentally cause the decapitation of a relative. Mushu is incredibly supportive of Mulan and he’s the only person who keeps his faith in her no matter what she does. If I had to choose a Disney dragon to go into war with, Mushu would definitely be at the top of my list right after the dragon in Sleeping Beauty. What? That dragon breathes fire which is slightly more helpful in battle than the power to whip up a mean bowl of congee. If I needed a dragon to open for me in stand-up, I’d have Mushu on speed dial.
#2- Louie from The Princess and The Frog (2009)
Louie isn’t from the most popular of the Disney movies out there. The Princess and The Frog unfortunately underperformed at the box office which is a shame because it’s an amazing movie. Louie is one of the funniest and cutest Disney sidekicks of all time. He’s adorably optimistic and over-confident. He excitedly leads our heroes down the wrong path to Mama Odie’s house as if he goes there all the time. Never take directions from a crocodile. Also, Louie is one of the few Disney sidekicks who has his own dreams and who seems to have a life beyond the story of his hero. He can play the trumpet like nobody’s business and he dreams of playing someday in a human jazz band.
#1- Genie from Aladdin (1992)
I challenge you to find one person who has seen Aladdin and doesn’t love Genie. Genie has spent the last thousand years in a bottle and now that Aladdin has rubbed his lamp, he’s eager to show off a bit. He’s played by the late great Robin Williams. Is there any better way to prove to you this character’s hilarious? He also lays claim to the best song in a movie, “You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me.” It would be nice to have a friend who can grant you wishes but Genie is a bit braggy about his powers. Genie is the only sidekick on this list who is literally forced to help out his hero but he forms a genuine bond with Aladdin and would do anything for him regardless of circumstances. Hence why he stays with Aladdin and Jasmine throughout the subsequent movies and Disney channel show despite having been granted his freedom by Aladdin himself. So while Apu’s cute and the Magic Carpet aided Aladdin in the world’s greatest first date, the man, the myth, the legend, the Genie is most deserving of the top spot on the list.
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Carrie Fishbane is obsessed with all things comedy and loves to reflect on the impact of comedy on the world. Having spent thousands of hours studying literature, she also writes about the political impact of entertainment and the power movies and TV have to create social change. Hollywood Insider promotes ethics and substance in entertainment, which is exactly in line with Carrie’s perspective. Carrie’s favorite movies include Jojo Rabbit, Deadpool, and Inception and her favorite shows are Rick and Morty, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and The Office.