I want to make it known from the start that even though this article is pointing out some things that I personally felt were a bit unnecessary within the Disney oeuvre, this article will still be coming from a positive place and will avoid being overtly negative at every turn. Hey, I know this is the internet but just because someone is expressing a negative opinion does not mean that that opinion needs to be expressed negatively.
When your oeuvre is as large as that of Disney’s, it can be easy to create work that leaves some questions unanswered by its end. When you only have an hour and a half to introduce a set of characters, make audiences care about them, explain their backstories, convey the plot, and show either some sort of growth or punishment or lack thereof, it can be easy to miss the odd detail every now and again. Or even simply leave a question open-ended because it is truly unpredictable which unanswered questions audiences will glom onto in the end and runtime is simply just not long enough to solve all of them.
And there is no need to worry because these questions can always be answered in future sequels, remakes, and new versions. But sometimes those new versions come with answers to questions that audiences never ever considered or paid much attention to. It can be difficult to toe the line between a lack of and an abundance of information. So, without further ado here are 15 questions that Disney left unanswered and 15 that did not really need further explanation.
How much involvement into mortal affairs was Cinderella’s fairy godmother allowed? I personally believe that she charmed Ella’s slipper to fall off at the castle in order to tie her to the prince in a concrete way that would guarantee her later escape from her stepfamily due to the fact that fairies are not allowed to directly intervene in the lives of mortals. Was this the true reason why the fairy godmother took such a laissez-faire approach to securing Ella’s freedom?
Not to come across as negative and I do not know if I am alone in this, but I honestly never wondered where Belle’s mother was. Honestly, Disney has a habit of doing away with mothers so I just assumed that she passed away during childbirth or from some provincial illness like many women of her age. I did enjoy the plague sequences in the live action film, but it wasn’t really a question that needed to be answered. At least, not in my opinion.
Melody (Ariel’s daughter) begins her movie by being mocked mercilessly by a trio of teens at her own birthday party. But I have some questions about this moment.
How were those kids allowed to tease the princess inside the royal palace with no consequences?! I truly do not think that those children would have gotten away with such treasonous actions had they been in the presence of any other royal family. I mean, we should start with a classic “off with their heads,” at least.
Though this may just be due to the fact that I am no longer part of the target demographic (though it is important to note that one does not need to be part of the target demographic in order to enjoy something).
I just do not understand why Tinker Bell was given an entire franchise.
Especially a franchise that contrasts with the personality of the established character. Tink is mute, bitter, jealous, angry, and impulsive. I am not sure why her cartoon counterpart is the way she is but who am I to judge something that simply is not for me?
Was Snow White the first princess that the Queen attempted to get rid of? Or was she just another near loss of life in a long line of beautiful young princesses that the Queen attempted to be rid of in order to deal with her own image related insecurities? Do you think Snow White was the last? Did she really meet her end at the bottom of that convenient cliff or did her magic protect her? Will she spend the rest of her days ticking the rest of the princesses off of her list?
Though Timon and Pumbaa were the clear best parts of the first two Lion King films, I did not find myself questioning what they did when the plot was focused on other characters. Also, I actually was not a fan of the sequence which depicted the animals of the pride bowing due to flatulence rather than respect. Even as a child, I felt like that was a weird change and I didn’t care too much for it. But Lion King ½ included some really interesting sequences that I did enjoy as well.
Look, I know the question itself was brought up directly within the original movie. However, the characters never attempted to solve the question itself so it remains unanswered. How did Kronk and Yzma make it back to the lair before Kuzco and Pacha? By all accounts, it truly does not make sense. Like, at all. I mean, they even illustrated how unrealistic it was for them to have made it back to the lair first within the movie itself. However, they never explained how it was even possible in the end.
Though the second Jungle Book film was one of my favourite Disney sequels, it is important to mention that I am not sure if anyone actually questioned what happened to Mowgli after he walked off with Shanti at the end of the first film. I simply assumed that he fell for her, was taken in by a family in the village, and would occasionally visit his jungle friends when he was able. And, according to the sequel, that is exactly what he did.
Is Peter Pan seen as some sort of nefarious child stealer in the mortal world? Do the remaining children (the children who Peter left behind when taking their siblings to Never Land) explain what happened to their parents in the morning? Did the parents brush off their imaginative story but started to believe the things that they said as more and more children disappeared leaving behind similar stories? Do they warn their remaining children against the dangers of Pan? Have they organized a task force to keep their children safe?
I think I, and everyone else, just simply accepted that Aladdin was an orphan. He was a street urchin who lost his parents to poverty, hunger, or something else and he built himself up through the genie and the kindness of his heart. I didn’t really need a sequel that explained that his father is not only still alive but was also an incredibly important man within the spheres that he existed in. I was fine just leaving things at “orphan.”
Was the contract that Ariel signed legally binding due to the fact that she was only 16 when she signed it or do merpeople have different laws? Also, when signing a contract, it is understood that both parties will do their best to ensure that the terms are met. Actively attempting to thwart the signing parties attempt to fulfill their half of the contract can actually nullify the terms of the contract. So maybe Ariel was off the hook, after all. Next time, just get a lawyer.
This may just be me but, like other parents on this list, I really did not need to know (in graphic detail, I might add) what happened to Nemo’s mother. I think that we honestly could have just been told that she was lost early in Nemo’s life and ended it at that.
Though I do understand the part that her specific end played in Marlin’s anxiety and overprotective nature, I was permanently scarred by that and wish that it had been done a bit differently.
I have a question about the opening song from the original Beauty and the Beast animated film. Did Belle simply stroll into town, singing a song about how she is so much better than the people around her? Or did they start chanting about how she will never fit in before she ever even opened her mouth? Who was the first to start singing their own hateful song? Honestly, if my everyday walk to the bookstore was filled with people telling me how weird I was, I would probably hum the odd diss too.
Though I did really love the live action Beauty and the Beast remake, I do have some issues with a lot of the new things that were added to the story. One of the main things that I personally did not really care for was the explanations as to why the Beast was the way he was. He did not need a harsh father and a tragic backstory. It’s fine. Some people are just mean. It felt like his servants were excusing and blaming themselves for his actions and that is unfair as his actions are not their burden to bare.
Lady’s owners loved her. They really did. Though she was no longer the center of attention when their human baby was born, she was still one of the top five living things in their lives. I wonder how they felt when they returned from their trip to find that their trusted baby/dog sitter treated their prized pup so harshly while they were away. I don’t know about y’all, but I would throw down if I found out that my dog sitter did half of the things that that old bat did to Lady.
In all honesty, I was perfectly fine accepting the fact that Triton simply hated the humans for no reason other than prejudice. Though I loved the Little Mermaid prequel, I honestly accepted the idea that that prejudice came with no rhyme or reason, like most do. Sometimes people just dislike X, Y, and Z and there is absolutely no reason for it. I also accepted Ariel’s non-existent mother as another maternal casualty by the hands of Disney and didn’t really question it further.
Would Ella’s evil stepmother let anyone other than the prince take Cinderella away from that wretched place? I mean, the prince was truly the one person (save for the king himself) that she could not overrule.
Sure lady, it’s your house but it is his kingdom. If Ella had fallen in love with anyone else, would they have been able to free her so easily or would a masterful Tangled style escape would have been necessary? Come to think of it, the Cinderella and Tangled films aren’t that different after all.
Though Maleficent is one of my favorite films, I have to admit that I never really questioned why she was not invited to the baby’s party. I just assumed that they did not invite her because she was so obviously sinister and good guys typically do not invite villains to their parties (much to their children's detriment). It may just be me, but I never really questioned their past nor their motivations. I simply accepted her sinister nature at face value and was ready to move on with the story at that point.
Were there any lasting effects on the Queen from that magic bear potion she unknowingly took or did Merida’s love and understanding completely cure her? Like, ten or so years down the line, did the Queen suddenly get an intense craving for salmon and nearly tore the palace up looking for anything remotely close in order to solve her craving or was she completely and entirely cured the literal moment that she woke back up in her human form that morning?
Sometimes I hate to be right. I always questioned the ending of Tangled as I was worried that her parents would grow scared that they would lose their daughter again and end up locking her up Gothel-style themselves. And, according to the animated companion series, that is exactly what happened. Her father grew so afraid that he would lose his daughter again that he ended up locking her inside his own tower. And seeing Rapunzel have her freedom yanked from her so quickly made me regret ever asking the question in the first place.
How did living a day or two in her mother’s body affect Anna in the long term? Did that Freaky Friday affect her long-term relationships with her peers, enemies, friends, and teachers? Did her enhanced perspective cause her to mature as a person? Did her angsty teen antics end immediately after the transformation was reversed? Was she relieved to find herself back in the comparatively pressure free life of a teenager in the early 2000s? If she decided to become a mother in adulthood, did this swapping experience have any effect on her parenting style?
I love the unexpected nods towards historical accuracy that can be seen in the Pocahontas sequel but I do have to state that I was completely fine with the idea of John Smith finding a new life for himself in England (or even being lost at sea). I was completely happy with the prospect of never seeing him again. But, flaws aside, that sequel was and still is one of my favorite Disney Sequels ever created. Those films get way too much flack. They are actually quite good if given a chance.
Remember when the faeries were given the sole task to keep Aurora from pricking her finger… and then they failed miserably at it and decided to place the entire kingdom under a magical slumber in order to cover up their mistakes? When Aurora awoke, so did the rest of the kingdom and none was the wiser. But did they ever reveal the fact that the king and queen's worst nightmares came true and that their daughter did, in fact, prick her finger on that spindle? Or did they just keep that little fact to themselves?
If I could get one message to the writers of Disney, I think it would be that some people are mean for no reason. I think that lesson could really help children stop blaming themselves for the cruelties they encounter in lives or make excuses for the people who hurt them. Though it is important to understand that pain can lead to cruelty, not every mean person has a tragic backstory. Some people are just mean and that’s okay. The woman who ran the camp in Holes did not need this tragic backstory explaining her cruelties. She could have just been mean.
We all know that Tim Burton got the inspiration for the poem which eventually was adapted into the film that we know as The Nightmare Before Christmas while shopping and seeing Christmas and Halloween decorative displays being erected beside one another.
But that does not solve the biggest question we have about this film. Is it, objectively, a Christmas or a Halloween movie? I have elected to watch it in both October and December, but which choice is the correct one?
Though I have commented on the live action Beauty and the Beast film quite a few times throughout this article, I do want to make it known that I loved the film. Though, if I were to have been given the chance to edit the film myself, I would have definitely cut out the weird scene where they travel through a book Blue’s Clues style. I never had any questions related to anything involving that odd sequence and I felt like the scene simply did not fit the tone, message, or plot of the film.
When something terrible happens to a person, that person tends to do everything that they can to move on from it as soon as possible. This often includes separating oneself from everything that reminds them of that negative period of their life. Whether that includes moving, cutting related people out of their life, changing their hair or style, or moving away from the place that holds those negative memories… Does Rapunzel’s short dark hair exist as a permanent reminder of the darkest period in her life or does she see it as a symbol of her survival and courage?
I think a common theme in these unnecessary answers is the fact that we really do not need as much backstory as Disney thinks we do. The narrative openings from the pre-2002 films were honestly enough.
Just give us the basic premise, introduce the characters, and we will be good. Absent parents can be explained by the time period and not every villain needs a tragic backstory to explain their meanness. And not every side character needs their own fully fleshed out story and sequel. Sorry, Dory. But I honestly never questioned where your family went.
I have been curious about this question for as long as I can remember and every single day I find myself getting “curiouser and curiouser” about its answer. Did Alice truly dream up her adventures in Wonderland or was she truly there? I can’t help but believe the latter...even though she does “wake up” at the end of the animated film. I can’t help but shake the feeling that she was truly there, in Wonderland, during the first half of the film. But just because it happened in her mind, does not mean it wasn’t very real. Thank you, Dumbledore.
I grew up with Monsters Inc and genuinely loved the prequel. It was perfectly timed as it was released on the day of my high school graduation. It had a great message of alternate paths to success and is just a feel-good movie overall with a lot of funny and touching moments. But, if we are being honest, I never really questioned how Mike and Sulley met. When Mike said that Sulley had been jealous of him since the fourth grade, I simply assumed that they were childhood friends. And though I loved the film, I was okay with it being left at that.