4 Disney Characters You Didn't Know Had Real Names
Disney is famous for bringing fairy tales to life on the big screen, and most fairy tales are by nature made up of stock characters and archetypes. That's one of the ways they remain timeless as well as accessible to many different cultures.
Still, most Disney characters have names. It's awkward to call someone constantly by his or her title, so the nameless sea witch in Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid becomes Ursula, just as the Little Mermaid becomes Ariel. A few of the characters have held onto their honorifics, though, but you might be surprised to learn that they too have real names.
Snow White's stepmother is one of the greatest animated villains of all time. She's coldblooded, commands considerable magic and will stop at nothing to accomplish her über-racist goal of being the whitest woman in the world. Oh, you didn't know? What do you think "fair" means? It means pale. She wants to be the palest person around, and she'll murder her own legal ward to achieve that. So she's either Hitler or the most dedicated goth we know.
She's only ever referred to as the queen. Hell, even in the Disney-approved, offensively anti-adoption suckfest that is Once Upon a Time they call her Queen Regina...which means Queen Queen. Hell, Maleficent was more subtle than that.
TicketsSat., Mar. 4, 8:00pm
Je'Caryous Johnson's "Married But Single Too"
TicketsFri., Mar. 10, 8:00pm
The Illusionists - Live From Broadway (Touring)
TicketsSat., Mar. 11, 4:00pm
The King and I (Touring)
TicketsTue., Mar. 14, 7:30pm
Brain Candy LIVE: Adam Savage & Michael Stevens
TicketsThu., Mar. 23, 8:00pm
Disney did give her a name, though, and even though you never hear it in the movie, it was used extensively in the promotional material distributed in the 1930s. They named her Grimhilde, which fits in well with the German origin of the original fairy tale.
By the way, you know who is fully aware of the Evil Queen's real name? The people who dedicate themselves to making sure there are pornographic pictures of every cartoon character in existence. So if you Google Image search "Grimhilde," be sure to put the safesearch on, otherwise you'll be washing your corneas with bleach.
The all-animal version of Robin Hood that Disney produced hasn't exactly gone down in history as the greatest work by the studio, but it was the first one we ever saw and so it holds a deep place in our hearts. The singing rooster that narrates the tale is directly responsible for our enjoyment of Johnny Cash since his singing style resembles the Man in Black's, especially in tunes like "Tennessee Stud."
In the opening credits he is called simply the Rooster; however, you may actually already know his real name. He does introduce himself in his first appearance, though it's very brief, and he is never directly addressed by another character so you never hear it again.
The Rooster is Alan-a-Dale, and he really was a minstrel member of the Merry Men. Robin Hood aids Alan against a knight who is trying to force his girlfriend into an unwanted marriage. Robin dresses as a bishop and instead marries Alan and his sweetheart himself. Alan joins the band in gratitude.
Wait, you might be saying. Captain Hook's name is James Hook. He's referred to in multiple adaptations as James.
First of all, did you ever consider the fact that it's a bit odd that a man who ended up with a hook for a hand was named Hook? It's not like he was born with it. Peter Pan cut it off and fed it to the crocodile. That's the main reason for all the animosity between them. Granted, Max Fightmaster grew up to be a soldier, so it's not completely outside the realm of possibility, but it is a little farfetched. It's not like Batman bin Suparman is a caped superhero.
James Barrie, who wrote the original Peter Pan, said, "Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze." Clearly Hook is an alias being used to prevent bringing shame on a well-known family. Truth is, even though we think we know Captain Hook's name, we don't.
Of all the unnamed characters, this one is the most awkward. After all, Beast isn't called Prince, he's called Beast. How the hell was Belle supposed to address him after the curse was broken and he was returned to human? It's not a problem for the staff, they only call him by honorifics, but she'll be his wife. Presumably she won't call her own husband "Sire."
If you listen to the commentary tracks, this question only occurred to the actual filmmakers very late in the game. It wasn't until almost the end of production this came up. When Belle is supposed to call out to an injured Beast, the first and only time she actually addresses him using a proper name in the whole movie, it was realized that it was a little weird to call him Beast. After all, he refers to himself mockingly as the Beast, but never formally introduces himself in a way that you would think he considered it a real name.
Various names were thrown around, including Tyrone, but ultimately it was decided to leave the character without a proper name. This has been the practice in every official Disney mention of the character...except one. In 1998 Disney Interactive Studios released The D Show on CD-ROM. Basically it was You Don't Know Jack for Disney. Here, and only here, Beast's name is given as Prince Adam, and since the game was an officially licensed seal of approval, we must assume that this is Beast's human name.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in Houston.