With Fat Tuesday looming around the corner, it seems fearfully fitting that our villain profile this month will be none other than New Orleans’ Shadow Man himself – the voodoo villain known as Dr. Facilier. The tall, top-hat wearing, tail coat sporting sinister trickster first appeared in Disney’s animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog.”
(MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD!)
Facilier’s fearsome reaction to any kind of disrespect along with the alliance of his powerful, demonic friends on “the other side,” embolden this big bad Bokor (Witch Doctor) and empower his driving ambition to be the wealthiest, most powerful person in New Orleans. Though charismatic and intelligent, The Shadow man relies on his knowledge of Voodoo and dark magic to charm and trick his way into power. This Petro-Voodoo (dark magic) practitioner poured his magic into a scarab amulet. He is aided in his evil endeavors by his own shadow (an independent entity).
After tempting Prince Naveen with freedom from his royal responsibilities, he turns the prince into a frog and imprisons him (the prince’s blood is quite useful for recharging Facilier’s amulet). Forging a bargain with Naveen’s aide, Lawrence, the Doctor attempts to trick Big Daddy LaBouff’s (the richest, most powerful man in town) daughter into marrying a disguised/transformed Lawrence (appearing as Naveen – by using the amulet charged with the prince’s blood) after which they will dispatch Big Daddy and split the wealth. Ultimately the plan fails, but not before Facilier shows his total disregard for life in the murder of Ray the firefly (in reaction to Ray attempting to run off with the magic amulet). Sad as that moment was, vengeance was swift and strong when amulet is destroyed by Tianna and Facilier is dragged off to the “other side” by his “friends”
The character’s movements were modeled after Cab Calloway and his appearance (and death) resembles Baron Samedi (Baron Saturday – Master of the Dead). He is the first black villain in a Disney animated film. Aside from his treacherous appearance in “the Princess and the Frog,” Doctor Facilier is alluded to in the TV show “The Decendents” (where his hat is seen in the first few episodes). The Shadow man is also a boss in the video game for the movie and is referenced in the game “Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion”
Around the worlds, the Voodoo villain can be seen at Disneyland in California appearing in several Halloween themed shows and for meet and greet on the Mark Twain Riverboat; he also appears in Disney California Adventure’s show “World of Color.” In Lake Buena Vista Dr. Facilier is one of the many villains at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Club Villain and has made several Halloween appearances at the Magic Kingdom. In both Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong, the Shadow Man has appeared for the Halloween seasonal shows. Passengers on board either the “Disney Dream” or “Disney Fantasy” he plays a role in the “Midship Detective Agency” interactive attraction.
Are YOU a fan of the Doctor? Amazon offers a large, stunning, six foot tall cardboard cutout of the Shadow Man (no mention of on an independently acting shadow, though) – Get yours HERE.