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Top 5 Disney sidekicks

Everyone needs someone to help them navigate life’s trials and tribulations: a trusty companion, a sidekick, a wingman… Think of them as the unsung heroes behind the scenes, offering sage advice, comic relief or simply a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. 

Batman has Robin. Spongebob has Patrick. Sherlock Holmes? Dr. Watson. Even Mr. Burns has Smithers. Between the two is a symbiotic-like bond, one impossible to break.

When it comes to crafting unforgettable characters, few do it better than Disney: from singing bears to sassy horses, sentient snowmen to forgetful fish, the House of Mouse delivers some standout silver screen sidekicks.

After the lukewarm reception of their latest offering, “Wish,” earning a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seemed like the Disney magic might be waning. 

Enter Moana and Maui, the dynamic duo set to reignite the Disney flame with the recently announced Moana 2, slated to hit theaters this November.

As we eagerly await the return of these beloved characters (not to mention the return of Pua the pig and Heihei the rooster) let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of Disney’s most iconic sidekicks who have graced our screens over the years.


Image Courtesy: Disney

#5. Sebastian  (“The Little Mermaid”)

As King Triton’s advisor, his most trusted aid, Sebastian is tasked with watching over Princess Ariel, keeping the rebellious mermaid away from the surface. He offers her wisdom, guidance and some wise-cracks as he tries to steer Ariel away from trouble and towards her responsibilities as a princess, showcasing his loyalty and concern for her well-being.

The Caribbean-accented crab does all he can to prevent Ariel from seeking out Prince Eric. Until he doesn’t. 

Eventually he recognizes Ariel’s feelings, that she might be happier as a human, happier with the prince, and with the help of his sea creature comrades, does whatever he can to make Eric fall in love with Ariel and “Kiss the Girl.”

Sebastian might not be the sidekick Ariel wants, but she is the one he needs. He is fiercely loyal to Ariel, even confronting the king to convince him to let Ariel live on the surface, free of her fins. 

Factor in Sebastian’s musical talent, composer, conductor, the crab behind “Under the Sea,” a contender for the best Disney song of all time (a stacked competition), and the crab easily lands near the top of the sidekick hall of fame. 

Image Courtesy: Disney

#4. Mushu (“Mulan”)

When the 2020 live-action remake of “Mulan” hit theaters, notably absent was a particular diminutive dragon from the original 1998 animated film – Mushu. Voiced by Eddie Murphy, Mushu’s quick wit, snarky remarks and larger-than-life personality provide endless entertainment, while his comedic timing and wise-cracks make him a star. Mushu is easily one of the funniest characters in Disney history, and it is hard to imagine anyone other than Murphy bringing his fiery personality to life.

Sure, he isn’t the ideal partner for Mulan at the film’s start, but he is driven to join her on her journey by the ulterior motives of protecting the legacy of the Fa Family. But, after his original plans unravel and the dragon comes clean, Mushu evolves into Mulan’s most fervent supporter and motivator, guiding her through challenges with unconventional advice and unyielding loyalty. 

Mushu shows something rare among sidekicks at times – growth. Throughout the story, the dragon evolves from a self-serving schemer to Mulan’s genuine friend. The two become inseparable and a true team, with Mushu even landing the final blow on the big bad leader of the Huns, Shan Yu. 

Image Courtesy: Disney

#3. Lumiére & Cogsworth (“Beauty and the Beast”)

What is better than one sidekick? Two sidekicks. Lumiére & Cogsworth are a package deal. 

The duo is the quintessential odd couple – one a suave candlestick with a penchant for romance, carefree and rebellious; while the other is a punctual, by-the-book pendulum clock, orderly and strict. 

But despite their differences, these two cursed servants are the beating heart of “Beauty and the Beast.” From playing matchmaker for Belle and the Beast, to defending their master against would-be intruders, Lumière and Cogsworth prove teamwork makes the dream work.

The pair are easily the most trusted allies to the Beast and Belle, serving as valuable sources of guidance and support for both.

The pair’s witty banter and comedic interactions lighten some of the film’s tense situations, like when the unlikely companions valiantly defend the castle from Gaston, LeFou and his goons.

Image Courtesy: Disney

#2. Genie (“Aladdin)

Is Genie Aladdin’s sidekick? I know what you are thinking. What about Aladdin’s primate pal, Abu? Or maybe even The Magic Carpet? 

Genie may have a more prominent role in “Aladdin” than other sidekicks play in their films (there is no “Aladdin” without those wishes, right? But the big blue guy checks all the sidekick boxes. 

An associate of the main character? Check. 

Has less authority than the main character? Clearly.

Provides the main character with valuable assistance? Obviously. Aladdin is literally Genie’s “master” for the majority of the film. 

Sidekick? Check. 

Voiced by Robin Williams, Genie is one of Disney’s most iconic sidekicks. His rapid-fire humor, plethora of pop culture references and heartfelt moments make him unforgettable. He brings magic and comedic relief to the story, making him a fan favorite.

Genie grants Aladdin three wishes but gives an even greater gift to the beholder of the magic oil lamp–friendship. Genie quickly becomes Aladdin’s closest ally, developing a relationship that goes beyond his obligation to serve his “master,” something made clear after Aladdin uses his final wish to free the genie from the confines of his lamp.  

Without Genie, Aladdin wouldn’t learn to be content with his own identity. Like a magical wingman, Genie does all he can to help Aladdin reach his goal: Princess Jasmine’s love. But along the way, Genie tries again and again to deliver invaluable advice to the street rat, urging him to come clean to Jasmine about his true identity. If everyone had a friend like Genie, life would be a whole lot easier. 

With his limitless cosmic powers and boundless charisma, Genie is the ultimate sidekick. From granting wishes to dishing out sage advice, this larger-than-life character steals every scene he’s in. And let’s not forget his musical talent, delivering showstoppers like “Friend like Me” and “Prince Ali.” 

Image Courtesy: Disney

#1. Timon & Pumbaa (“The Lion King”)

Be honest, you saw this coming. 

Wholeheartedly a better pair of friends than Timon & Pumbaa do not exist anywhere in animation. Timon, the wise-cracking meerkat, and Pumbaa, the lovable and carefree warthog, take a young Simba under their metaphorical wing. 

They play a vital role in Simba’s journey of self-discovery and redemption, offering the depressed cub sanctuary, friendship and invaluable life lessons before ultimately helping him find the courage to reclaim his rightful place as king. 

Through a memorably musical number of their own, the two attempt to teach Simba the valuable lesson of “Hakuna Matata,” or to have no worries, a philosophy of no responsibility. 

But ultimately, they support Simba when he is determined to fulfill his role as ruler of the Pride Lands and save all the sun touches from his uncle Scar. 

Timon & Pumbaa saved Simba from heat exhaustion after the death of his father, and ultimately, that choice would keep everyone in the Pride Lands, sparing them from likely starvation.

Their unwavering loyalty and unconditional love for Simba exemplify the true essence of friendship; they risk their untroubled lives for him in the battle for Pride Rock, taking on and defeating Scar’s hyena henchmen. 

While the meerkat-warthog duo supported the young cub, in a way, they supported the viewer as well. 

They offer a break from the heaviness of the last 50 minutes of film. Right before their first appearance, viewers witnessed the traumatic death of Simba’s father, Mufasa. 

Once Timon and Pumbaa entered the fray, the mood shifts to be more cheerful and positive, giving the audience a much needed break from the melancholy tone of the story up to that point. 


Timon and Pumbaa are perhaps the best example of something Disney sidekicks excel at–providing a little levity when the films grow a little too dark, too dreary, too depressing. 

When we talk about Disney, we often overlook the death–Bambi’s mom, Hiro’s brother in Big Hero 6, Nemo’s mother and hundreds of siblings–why? The films’ sidekicks cushion those major blows, they serve as escapism, guiding us back to the happiest place on earth. 

The world isn’t a place without turbulence, but a sidekick can help us through safely. 


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About the Contributor
Brantley Dumas II
Brantley Dumas II, Senior Staff Reporter
Brantley Dumas is a senior at Normal Community High School. He is the president Black Student Union and is on the varsity bowling team. He is a second-year Staff Reporter on the Inkspot. If I were to win a million dollars I would definitely pay for college, then buy all the shoes and clothes I could ever want. I enjoy fashion, making and listening to music and anime. So, if you like any of those we can probably be friends. My biggest pet peeve is when people chew too loud. Gross.
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