10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

Direct-to-video sequels are hit or miss. While it is generally assumed that no sequel will come close to capturing the magic of the original film, some sequels create something unique and fun of their own. The animation studio has produced many direct-to-video sequels, including Mulan II and The Lion King 1 1/2.

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However, only some of Disney’s direct-to-video sequels are successful. Successful sequels are creative follow-ups to a beloved film, expanding on that film’s universe, fleshing out the characters, and telling a captivating story. Although the quality and success of Disney’s sequels varies, several stand out as the best.

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10 The Little Mermaid III: Ariel’s Beginning Sheds More Light On The Princess’ Life Beneath The Sea

The Little Mermaid III: Ariel’s Beginning follows the results of Triton’s music ban in Atlantica after the tragic death of his wife. Triton’s daughters hate his rules and rebel against their father once they discover an illicit underground music club. Meanwhile, Marina Del Rey plots to steal Sebastian’s job.

Ariel’s Beginning deals with themes of grief and establishes Ariel’s long conflicted history with her father. The animation is beautiful, and the story attempts to develop the characters of Ariel’s sisters. While the villain seems a bit derivative of Ursula, Marina Del Rey is still entertaining and her sidekick Benjamin is a sweet and hapless addition.

9 Aladdin: The Return Of Jafar Follows Up On An Exciting And Memorable Villain10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

While Aladdin concluded its major plotlines, the sequel makes good use of new territories, such as Jasmine and Aladdin navigating their relationship and Jafar’s attempts to return to power. Jafar’s power and unique character design were one of Aladdin’s most arresting points and The Return of Jafar keeps true to his malevolence and legitimate threat as an antagonist.

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Iago’s character development and redemption is another boon in The Return of Jafar‘s favor, giving an in-depth look at the beloved sidekick and more time for the legendary Gilbert Gottfried’s vocal talents to shine. There are many points in this film’s favor, though fans missed the late Robin Williams as Genie.

8 The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride Explores The Previous Main Character’s Faults10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

The Lion King’s sequel seems to address the implied discrimination of the Outsiders, those who aren’t from Pride Lands. While Zira and her allies are threats and Kovu is set to infiltrate Pride Lands, Simba’s Pride portrays Simba as being burdened only by his own prejudices.

Instead of fading into the background, Simba’s development is focused on just as much as Kiara and Kovu’s. Simba’s Pride’s ending also differentiates from The Lion King: instead of the Outsiders being defeated like Scar, the sequel’s conclusion presents their reconciliation and acceptance as the correct course of action.

7 Cinderella III: A Twist In Time Gives More Depth To The Characters And Setting10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

Cinderella III: A Twist in Time turns the tale of Cinderella on its head and makes it clear the happy ending cannot be taken for granted. Fed up with her struggles after Cinderella received her happy ending, Lady Tremaine gets her hands on the fairy godmother’s wand and reverses time. Lady Tremaine wanted to deprive Cinderella of a happy ending while obtaining one for herself and her daughters.

A Twist in Time gives relatability and depth to characters who were less dynamic in the first Cinderella film. Anastasia’s redemption arc is another bonus, and Lady Tremaine shows that even a villain with no supernatural abilities can be frightening.

6 Aladdin And The King Of Thieves Takes The Viewer On A New And Exciting Journey10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

Aladdin and the King of Thieves makes its mark on the Aladdin franchise by adapting elements of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves from One Thousand and One Nights. Ali Baba’s role is filled by Aladdin and Aladdin’s father is the leader of the thieves, giving excellent drama as the father-son relationship is explored.

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Jasmine has less screen time, even though preparations for her and Aladdin’s wedding are in full swing. While The King of Thieves retcons Aladdin’s original ending, the sequel ends with Jasmine and Aladdin’s wedding. Robin Williams gave another fantastic performance as Genie.

5 Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin Studies The Characters More Deeply Than Before10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh franchise is remembered for its lighthearted nature and good lessons. However, Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin is the first film that truly delves into Christopher Robin’s transition from a child to an adult. Pooh’s Grand Adventure sees Christopher Robin spend less time with Pooh because school is starting.

Christopher leaves a note behind, but the Hundred-Acre Wood characters humorously interpret “school” as “skull” and believe that Christopher has been captured by a villain. The story also addresses the flawed side of the characters’ personalities and situations. Insecure in his friendship with Christopher, Pooh is heartbroken because Christopher is growing up. Pooh’s Grand Adventure teaches the audience about friendship and self-esteem.

4 Stitch! The Movie Adds To The Worldbuilding10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

Following the 2002 hit film, Stitch! The Movie embarks on a new adventure in the established world of Lilo and Stitch. The story reveals that Jumba had 625 other science experiments before Stitch, which gets brought to the forefront when Lilo and Stitch befriend Experiment 221. When Gantu and Dr. Hamsterviel begin kidnapping the 625 experiments, Lilo and Stitch are determined to save Experiment 221 and Jumba’s other 624 experiments.

Stitch! The Movie also kicks off the Lilo and Stitch TV series, which follows the other experiments from the final battle who land on Earth and run loose. Ultimately, Lilo and Stitch must find and rehabilitate these experiments, just as they did with Experiment 221. Stitch! The Movie is fun, creative, and heartwarming, constantly reminding the viewer of the central theme: ohana.

3 Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Grants A Warm And Eventful Holiday Adventure10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas takes place during Belle’s stay in the Beast’s castle. The Enchanted Christmas follows Belle’s desire to bring Christmas back into the Beast’s castle. Although the sequel features subpar animation compared to the original, Enchanted Christmas boasts beautiful music.

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Tim Curry voices Forte, an intimidating new antagonist who doesn’t want the curse to break, even though the Beast is devastated and angry. Overall, Enchanted Christmas sparks the Beast’s character development and expands on his growing relationship with Belle, making the sequel a well-received holiday movie.

2 The Lion King 1 1/2 Gives A Refreshing And Comedic Take On An Iconic Classic10 Best Disney Direct-To-Video Sequels

The Lion King 1 1/2 stands out amongst other sequels because it doesn’t repeat the original story with a new generation. Instead, the sequel follows the original story from Timon and Pumbaa’s point of view. The two are presented as living out their lives in conjunction with the events of the first Lion King film and fleshes out what exactly they were up to off-screen.

Not every side character works well as a protagonist, but The Lion King 1 1/2 mines the potential in both Timon and Pumbaa to flesh them out. The Lion King 1 1/2 reworks the tone and some events of the original film because it features two comic relief characters.

1 An Extremely Goofy Movie Addresses Empty Nest Syndrome

An Extremely Goofy Movie shows Max Goof leaving for college with his friends and gaining independence from his dad. Any parent can empathize with Goofy, who struggles with his son leaving the nest and the transition of their relationship.

A Goofy Movie followed Max as he grew closer to his dad, but An Extremely Goofy Movie emphasizes Goofy’s need to let Max grow up while still highlighting the importance of their bond. An Extremely Goofy Movie also shows Goofy exploring parts of his life outside his fatherhood, such as pursuing his college degree and dating.