Here’s How Every Live-Action Disney Character Compares To Their Animated Original

Disney has been cranking out live-action remakes lately and people are feeling a lot of different emotions about these reimagined classics. On the one hand, these movies appeal to our insatiable desire for feelings of nostalgia. Did that new Lion King trailer make you tear up a bit? Yeah, us too. On the other hand, can these new movies ever live up to the originals?

Keep reading to see old Disney and new Disney side-by-side. How do you think the new movies compare?

Johnny Depp As The Mad Hatter In Alice In Wonderland

johnny depp mad hatter in live action alice in wonderland
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Johnny Depp is a master at transforming himself into weird and wacky characters. Does he look anything like the original Mad Hatter? No, not really. He does look pretty mad, though. And he is wearing a hat.

Those green eyes provide a subtle nod the the original color scheme of the animated Mad Hatter. Which Hatter do you think looks more off his rocker? The animated Hatter looks more dopey, while the live-action Hatter looks a bit more sinister.

Emma Watson As Belle In Beauty And The Beast

belle and emma watson as belle
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

If anyone was going to attempt to take on the role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, it had to be Emma Watson. We’ve already fallen in love with her as a book-smart leading lady in Harry Potter, so this casting really does make sense.

Also, we can’t ignore that her appearance fits Belle’s description. The woman is so beautiful that she could easily capture the soft heart of a ferocious beast.

Dan Stevens As The Beast In Beauty And The Beast

beast live action and animated
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Speaking of that ferocious beast, let’s move on to Dan Stevens as The Beast himself. Which beast do you think looks scarier? The original, or the new live-action beast? Their horns seem to be going in opposite directions. The animated beast’s horns point forward, while the live-action beast’s horns point backward.

The animated beast also has larger teeth. Dan Stevens did do an excellent job in this film. Who knew he had all that aggression in him after he played the sweet and quiet Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey?

Mia Wasikowska As Alice In Alice In Wonderland

Mia Wasikowska as alice
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Mia Wasikowska has played some strong female characters in her day, but she also definitely has that ingenue look. We think that makes her the perfect casting choice for a live-action Alice in Alice in Wonderland.

Even though Alice is lost in a world she doesn’t quite understand, she’s still rebellious, independent, and brave. This new live-action version of Alice in Wonderland definitely emphasizes Alice’s stronger, bolder qualities. Wasikowska read all of Lewis Carroll’s books as a child.

Ewan McGregor As Lumière In Beauty And The Beast

Ewan McGregor As Lumière In Beauty And The Beast
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Ewan McGregor provides the voice of Lumière in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, but he doesn’t provide much of the character’s physicality. The new Lumière is pretty much entirely CGI.

The new Lumiére has his face on the brass candlestick rather than the wax candle, which was probably a good design choice. It’s not as cartoonish as the original, but isn’t that the point of a live-action remake? This design is a lot more intricate and refined.

Mena Massoud As Aladdin In Aladdin

mena massoud in live action aladdin
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Mena Massoud isn’t exactly a newcomer on the acting scene, but Aladdin is definitely his biggest role to date. We think Disney did a pretty great job on the casting in this movie. Mena has the Aladdin look.

The live-action version of Aladdin traded in Aladdin’s purple vest and red cap fora red vest, cream colored undershirt, and a green cap. I guess purple is a bit of a showy color for a street rat.

Ian McKellen As Cogsworth In Beauty And The Beast

animated and live action clocksworth in beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

The original Cogsworth was Lumière’s uptight compadre. He cared more about the rules and being on time. The new, live-action Cogsworth is just as impatient, but it looks like he’s had a pretty drastic makeover.

In the live-action Beauty and the Beast film, Cogsworth is voiced by Sir Ian McKellen. He also looks a lot more ornate than his traditionally animated counterpart. He actually has numbers on his face and he looks more like a real, working clock.

Naomi Scott As Princess Jasmine In Aladdin

naomi scott as jasmine in live action aladdin
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

First of all, can we talk about how gorgeous Naomi Scott is? All of these live-action princesses are even more beautiful than their animated counterparts. Jasmine got a bit of a feminist update in the live-action Aladdin. She wasn’t exactly a pushover in the original movie, but this time around she has her own song and we see more of her involvement in Agrabah’s political situation.

Her clothes are more ornate than they were in the animated original, and she isn’t rocking those signature triangle earrings.

Lily James As Cinderella In Cinderella

lily james live action and animated cinderella
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Cinderella was one of Walt Disney’s very first animated princesses. The original animated Cinderella movie came out in 1950. When we think of that original Cinderella, most of us think of her in her iconic, periwinkle blue ballgown.

The live-action film seems to have replicated that ballgown pretty well, although they’ve taken some liberties with the neckline. Lily James does make a stunning Cinderella, though. What do you think of the new, blue, puffy skirt?

Cate Blanchett As The Stepmother In Cinderella

Cate Blanchet evil stepmother  in cinderella
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

There are few actresses working today that even come close to Cate Blanchett. This woman has talent seeping out of her every pore. It’s not a question of can she play the Stepmother, because we know she can play anyone.

Clearly, the production team decided to make her look quite different from the original animated Stepmother character. She doesn’t have the puffy grey hair or the same attire, but she’s got those evil eyes down pat.

Helena Bonham Carter As The Fairy Godmother In Cinderella

helena bonham carter as the fairy godmother in cinderella
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

We’re more used to seeing Helena Bonham Carter play spooky and evil characters, but she totally nailed the role of the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. The design of the live-action Fairy Godmother character was more reminiscent of Glinda in Wicked than the original animated Fairy Godmother from Cinderella, but we can’t say that we’re mad about that.

Helena added her own flavor to the role, and that shiny dress looks stunning on her. Do you miss the hood and the big pink bow?

Holliday Grainger And Sophie McShera As The Evil Stepsisters In Cinderella

evil stepsisters in cinderella
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

In the new, live-action Cinderella, Holliday Grainger plays Anastasia, and Sophie McShera plays Drisella. These two don’t look quite as ugly as their animated counterparts, probably because these actresses are both gorgeous, but the do look a bit silly in those big curls and matching patterned dresses.

Do you think these two look like a pair of girls who might feel the need to try to squish their feet into a too-small glass slipper? Maybe.

Will Smith As Genie In Aladdin

will smith as genie in live-action aladdin
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Replacing the late, great Robin Williams, who voiced the Genie in the original, animated Aladdin was no easy task. Ultimately, Walt Disney Studios chose Will Smith for the role. At first, fans were sceptical. They became even more sceptical after the first photos of Smith and the Genie were released.

In the end, his performance spoke for itself and people were mostly satisfied with the casting choice. Does he look like the original Genie? Not really. The only thing they have in common is that they’re both blue.

Elle Fanning As Aurora In Maleficent

elle fanning as sleeping beauty in maleficent
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

The live-action version of Sleeping Beauty took a darker spin on the subject matter with Maleficent, a movie about Aurora’s arch-nemesis. Elle Fanning is an excellent choice for the role of Aurora. She provided a lightness that perfectly contrasted Maleficent’s dark energy.

The costuming has evolved since the original animated movie, but we’re glad that the production team decided not to put Elle Fanning in a corset. She would have been pretty uncomfortable in Aurora’s original look.

Angelina Jolie As Maleficent In Maleficent

angelina jolie as maleficent
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

Translating Maleficent’s look into a live-action character was no easy feat. This lady has some seriously sharp cheekbones. Have you seen the angles on this queen? If anybody could pull off this dark yet gorgeous makeup and wardrobe, it would be Angelina Jolie.

Angelina added some layers of complexity to this sometimes one-note character. This might be the best live-action interpretation of an animated Disney character yet. Those horns are everything. I mean, just look at her.

Donald Glover As Simba In The Lion King

Donald Glover As Simba in the lion king
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

In 2019, Walt Disney Pictures released a live-action (although entirely CGI) version of The Lion King. Considering that many people still view The Lion King as the greatest Disney film of all time, to say this release was much anticipated would be an understatement.

Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) voiced adult Simba. As you can see in the side by side screenshots above, the “live-action” Simba is a lot more realistic than the traditionally animated Simba.

Billy Eichner And Seth Rogen As Timon And Pumba In The Lion King

timon and pumba live action
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

The CGI version of Timon might just be the cutest thing about the new Lion King movie. Billy Eichner does a great job updating the character, but still including some of his classic quirks. Seth Rogen is the perfect voice actor for Pumba.

Again, these CGI characters look a lot more realistic than their traditionally animated counterparts, but do we miss big red Pumba? This new Pumba also seems to be a bit more trim than the Pumba we’re used to.

James Earl Jones As Mufasa In The Lion King

James earl jones mufassa live action lion king
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

There’s no replacing James Earl Jones as Mufasa in The Lion King. His voice is just too iconic. The Lion King without James Earl Jones would be like an ice cream sundae without the ice cream. It’s just not possible.

This new CGI version of Mufasa does maintain a lot of the traditionally animated Mufasa’s features. They kind of have the same wide muzzle and the same serious eyes. Is anybody starting to tear up already?

Beyoncé As Nala In The Lion King

beyonce nala in the lion king
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

If you feel weird about having a crush on the animated version of Nala, then just know a lot of other people are in the same boat. Animated Nala was fierce, strong, and a natural-born leader. Who better to voice a character like that than the one and only Beyoncé?

Live-action Nala still has animated Nala’s kind, green eyes. She also still looks like she’s the kind of lioness who wouldn’t be afraid to start a revolution.

Chiwetel Ejiofor As Scar In The Lion King

Chiwetel Ejiofor as scar in the lion king
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB
Walt Disney Pictures / MovieStills DB

People have mixed feelings about the new CGI rendering of Scar. Some fans have claimed that lions with darker fur and black manes do exist, and they wish that the new Scar had been created to look like those lions. This Scar looks appropriately weathered and scarred.

Chiwetel Ejiofor had this to say about his character: “especially with Scar, whether it’s a vocal quality that allows for a certain confidence or a certain aggression, to always know that at the end of it you’re playing somebody who has the capacity to turn everything on its head in a split second with outrageous acts of violence – that can completely change the temperature of a scene.”