- “Y'all should have taken my deal.”
- ―Doctor Facilier
Doctor Facilier (commonly known as the Shadow Man) is the main antagonist of Disney's 2009 animated feature film The Princess and the Frog. He is an evil bokor (witch doctor) who plans to rule New Orleans with help from his "friends on the other side".
Since his inception, Facilier has reached critical acclaim and major popularity with fans, making him one of Disney's most popular villains, in addition to quickly becoming a primary member of the Disney Villains franchise.
Facilier's past is mostly unknown, though he mentions being a descendant of royalty through his mother (whose severed, shrunken head he keeps in his emporium). His motivations toward becoming the wealthiest and most powerful man in New Orleans, dominating the city as its ruler, was briefly implied to be a result of a poor upbringing, where the wealthy either treated him with disrespect or ignored him altogether. As a result, Facilier despised those more powerful or fortunate than himself.
At some point in time, through unknown circumstances, Facilier encountered a group of dark loa and formed an alliance with them, granting himself power over black magic, which he would regularly use to swindle the desperate and unfortunate citizens of New Orleans–posing as a benevolent businessman of sorts. However, as evidenced by Tiana's knowledge and distaste for him, Facilier has an infamous reputation around the city and is a feared figure in the eyes of its inhabitants.
Facilier is accompanied by his sidekick shadow that actually has a life and personality of its own, being able to move of its own free will and move objects like the voodoo shadow spirits. It is possible that his shadow is a similar spirit given to Facilier by his "Friends," though as it fears the same fate that will befall Facilier if he cannot pay back his debt, it is perhaps a more personal creation of the doctor; it is absolutely obedient to his wishes and seems to reflect his mood at several points.
Facilier is a scheming bokor, driven mostly by greed and the desire to have authority over others; more specifically, the citizens of New Orleans. As Naveen mentions, Facilier is indeed suave, smooth-talking and often charming, which aids him in luring unsuspecting victims into his lair. Generally, Facilier isn't as powerful as he seems, as the magic showcased within the film is primarily derived from his "friends", forcing the witch doctor to rely on his own power of persuasion to carry out his biddings. This was a weapon perhaps even more dangerous than black magic during his lifetime, as Facilier was able to maintain control over his "friends" by repeatedly manipulating them with his usual charm and temptation.
Facilier is an opportunist and can be quick to formulate plots that would generally end in his favor. After overhearing the planned arrival of a foreign prince, and Charlotte La Bouff's lovesick infatuation with said prince, Facilier was able to quickly concoct an elaborate scheme—one of which that could have very well succeeded, if not for unexpected interferences.
While a charismatic showman, Facilier is also cruel, remorseless and sadistic. He apparently has no qualms with terrorizing innocent civilians as a means to reach his own goals and often relies on manipulation and false promises as a mean to achieve said goals. Evidenced by his words to his "friends" while ordering them to capture and bring an escaped Naveen to him; "Bring him to me alive, I need his heart pumpin'... For now.", Facilier is not above killing his victims, once their usefulness has been fully met. His murderous state is also shown when Ray the firefly interferes with his plot in order to save Naveen, as the witch doctor was quick to resort to murder to prevent further interferences, and appeared rather nonchalant about the matter. Additionally, while generally composed, Facilier has instances of lashing out in anger, particularly when feeling disrespected. For example, when Lawrence questioned Facilier's legitimacy by referring to him as a charlatan, the latter immediately confronted Lawrence in fury, though he managed to pull himself back fairly quickly.
Despite this complete lack of morals and a treacherous nature, Facilier's motivations are hinted at briefly. Facilier frequently sympathizes with the downtrodden or poor. With Lawrence, he was also rather patient, and generally retained a calm demeanor; he was apparently adamant about having Lawrence willingly work as his accomplice, rather than forcing him into villainy through traditional torture or intimidation. This was not true to heart, however, as Facilier's composure is somewhat of a façade. In reality, he lives in constant fear of being unable to repay his debt to his "friends". When the notion of failure comes into play, Facilier becomes vulnerable, desperate, out of his element, and high-strung.
Facilier bears many physical traits that are similar to Jafar, such as being tall, skinny, mustached; and dressed in very linear black-and-red clothing. Facilier has purple eyes, and a thin mustache, as well as a gap between his front teeth. He has long, boney fingers, and lanky arms and legs.
Dressed as the infamous Loa of the dead Baron Samedi, Doctor Facilier wears a top hat with a purple feather in it and a skull and crossbones on it; the skull can be magically removed and change into a skull make-up as shown in "Friends on the other side". Under his top hat, instead of being bald or having a comb-over, Facilier has a huge hairdo to fit in his hat, also to many villains are seen to have hair like he does. Around his neck, he wears a necklace with two crocodile teeth. Facilier wears a dark maroon undertaker tailcoat and black pants, white spats over black shoes, a purple vest under his coat that doesn't entirely cover his midriff, and a red cummerbund. One might say he somewhat looks and performs like a showman. Like most Disney Villains, Facilier's clothing consists mainly of red, black and purple.
He wields a cane with a purple globe on top, possibly a crystal ball, though it is never revealed. Facilier seems to use his cane for show performances, a tool, or a weapon. He carries a voodoo talisman, which is the fragile source of his powers. As shown, only a person besides Facilier, who wears the talisman, becomes whoever they want, provided it has a particular person's blood.
Powers and Abilities
Facilier is a bokor that performs left-handed or Petro Voodoo (the dark and stereotypical voodoo magic). He is a conjurer and sorcerer of sorts, possessing powerful dark voodoo magic capable of accomplishing nearly anything. He can see into the past of a person and see what people desire the most. He is proficient in sleight of hand, effortlessly shuffling, twisting and manipulating his deck of tarot cards. He is a skilled conjurer as well, being able to pull his staff and tarot deck out of nothing (although this may also be attributed to sleight of hand.) His tarot cards possess strange properties: the images on them seem to change, reflecting the desires of Facilier's victims (such as when Tiana's restaurant picture appeared on a card in the deck.) The cards usually show his victims their future in a positive light; however, they are unable to corrupt the truth entirely and usually include a clue as to the victim's real fate (for example, when Naveen sees his future filled with "green," he fails to see the lilypad made of money in the background).
Facilier is also shown casting spells through a use of a strange pink powder. The effects of this powder include the reversal of the frog spell on Tiana, a man spontaneously growing hair (then having it sprout all over him), producing puffs of smoke that display memories, and the creation of a full-scale rendition of Tiana's dream restaurant (although it is possible, and implied, that what he works with the powder are only illusions). His Voodoo Emporium is shown to be filled with strange objects and voodoo paraphernalia (some of which he admits that he "ain't even tried") including shrunken heads and voodoo dolls which seem to come alive, chant, and beat drums when Facilier is about to perform his biggest spells. The dolls also serve a practical application - he has a voodoo doll of 'Big Daddy' La Bouff primed and ready for the moment he can get his hands on the rich man's fortune.
Facilier's evil abilities are primarily derived from his "friends" on the other side: these "friends" of his are in fact a multitude of dark spirits (known as Loa) which appear in the forms of voodoo masks in his Voodoo Emporium. While he does call upon them for help, he is in actuality deeply indebted to them already (the nature of which is never explained but, it is implied the only way to pay them back is by giving them souls), and secretly fears them. Most of these "friends" seem to also manifest in his shadow, which can be seen making its own movements despite the direction of light or Facilier's own body, and can even affect solid people by their shadows as when it kicks Lawrence's shadow and Lawrence's shadow reacts as if it had been kicked.
Facilier's powers seem to stem from a mystical talisman of evil magic—a gift from the other side, given to him by his "friends." The amulet seems to be capable of transformation spells in two manners. It can pinch someone with its mouth-like compartment, inflicting a transformational spell on the victim while at the same time, being able to take a sample of their blood. After taking in a blood sample, the talisman allows its wearer (except Facilier) to take on the appearance of the blood donor. However, in order for this transformation to last, the talisman must be constantly refilled with the victim's blood, otherwise, it will run out and the wearer will slowly revert to his original appearance as the last of the blood is drained out.
Curiously, despite having great power, the nature of his voodoo leaves Dr. Facilier unable to conjure a thing for himself. Instead, he must rely on trickery and guile to manipulate other people into doing what he wants. The nature of his power seems to stem around making deals; he only gains full access to his voodoo when fulfilling someone else's wishes (although he can usually twist them to suit his own ends) or tempting them. Luckily (for him), Facilier is a master of lies, deceit, and cunning with hypnotic charisma and vocal persuasion being second nature to him.
- “Are you ready?!”
- ―Facilier beginning his spell.
Facilier is first seen striking a deal with a bald man who wishes to grow hair on the busy streets of New Orleans. So, Facilier makes it so by having hair grow over his entire body, frightening both civilians and the man himself, amusing Facilier to the highest degree. However, Facilier's joy is short-lived when he witnesses just how much wealth is owned by Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff, the richest man in New Orleans, as he gave a huge amount of cash to the newspaper boy after receiving the newspaper. The envious Facilier and his shadow look in disgust, knowing there must be a way to make themselves just as wealthy as Eli. Later on, Facilier overhears a waitress named Tiana and Big Daddy's daughter, Charlotte La Bouff, talking about a prince coming to town who is due to marry the latter. Facilier gets an idea from the information heard. Once Prince Naveen and his overworked valet Lawrence arrive, he takes them to his parlor to strike deals. For Naveen, the doctor promises to give all the freedom and green his heart's desire, while with Lawrence, he offers him to have the chance to be in Naveen's shoes to get a spot in the limelight for once.
With a handshake, the deal is complete. However, when Naveen figured Facilier meant wealth when he promised to give green, the doctor actually tricked the prince and magically transformed him into a frog and imprisoned him. As for Lawrence, he became a recruit for Facilier's plot to become incredibly wealthy and dominate New Orleans. Facilier gives Lawrence a talisman filled with Naveen's blood, which allows Lawrence to magically transform into an exact copy of the Prince, thus impersonating him. In Naveen's place, Lawrence is to marry Charlotte. Once they marry, Facilier plans to murder Big Daddy via a voodoo doll, thus having the fortune handed over to Lawrence, the heir through marriage. Together, the two villains would split the money 60-40, with Lawrence getting the smaller sum. With the La Bouff's fortune under Facilier's control, the witch doctor would become the most powerful man in the city, as money is what grants power and authority, in New Orleans. That night, at Charlotte's masquerade ball, Lawrence in disguise meets the wealthy debutante and they immediately hit it off, making Facilier's plot that much closer to completion.
- “Search everywhere! The bayou, the quarter... Bring him to me alive! I need his heart pumpin...for now!"”
- ―Facilier to his Shadow Demons.
Meanwhile, Naveen manages to escape and heads off. He soon meets Tiana, whom he believes to be a princess. However, she was merely wearing a costume in honor of the party. But following the storyline of "The Frog Prince", Naveen asks the girl to kiss him, which she reluctantly does. As a result of not actually being a princess, Tiana also becomes a frog. Furious, Tiana attacks Naveen and the two end up on the ball's dance floor, causing havoc as they escaped the party and accidentally ending up in the bayous of New Orleans. Facilier was secretly attending the ball as a clown, as well, and watched in anger as Naveen escaped. The furious witch doctor confronts Lawrence on the matter, who begins having second thoughts about the villainous scheme. Lawrence then tore off the talisman, telling Facilier to wear it instead, and casually threw it. Panicking, Facilier managed to catch the talisman before it hit the floor, warning Lawrence that he can't risk it being destroyed. Calming down, he demonstrated that his own voodoo doesn't work on himself by wearing the talisman. Facilier manages to persuade the former valet to continue going along with the plan, assuring that all will be well so long as they have Naveen's blood in the voodoo talisman. The next day, however, the blood begins to run out and Lawrence's Naveen disguise is abolished. Facilier must now ask for help from his "friends on the other side". While glaring at him, his "friends" silently ask what they would get at the bargain which Facillier nervously understood. Promising them, the souls of New Orleans' innocent citizens as payment, Facilier is given a team of shadow demon henchmen by his "friends" to go out and capture Naveen.
As the night of the wedding arrives, Lawrence remains hidden within the La Bouff's guest quarters alongside Facilier and his shadow, who fearfully and frustratingly laments the fact that his life is in danger should the plot fail, losing his patience with both Lawrence and the shadow demons' delays. Suddenly, the demons return, and with Naveen in their possession. Facilier captures the prince within his grasps and forcefully holds him down as Lawrence steals back the blood and stores it in the talisman, restoring the power of his disguise. The wedding ceremony occurs that night at Mardi Gras. Facilier waits in the shadows, watching closely as Lawrence and Charlotte are about to be pronounced husband and wife. With a voodoo doll of Big Daddy at hand, Facilier plans on stabbing the voodoo doll in the heart, thus killing Big Daddy and handing the fortune down to Lawrence as planned. Fortunately, Naveen escapes yet again and prevents this. The talisman is obtained by Naveen and given to his friend Ray the firefly. Facilier and the shadows chase after Ray while Naveen is being held captive by Lawrence. Ray manages to give the talisman over to Tiana, telling her she needs to keep it away from the Shadow Man. Tiana escapes with the talisman whilst Ray attacks the shadow demons to buy her time. Unfortunately, Facilier catches Ray by surprise and swats him out of the air, stunning him. Facilier then crushes Ray under his shoe, fatally wounding him. With him out of the way, the Shadow Man and his legion of demons head onward to Tiana.
- “...all you have to do to make this a reality, is hand over that little ol' talisman of mine.”
- ―Facilier to Tiana
Facilier and the shadows have Tiana cornered, soon enough. However, she threatens to destroy the talisman, prompting Facilier to quickly make an attempt to strike a deal. He tries to manipulate Tiana into handing over the talisman in exchange for granting Tiana's dreams to open a restaurant. Though Tiana was against the deal, Facilier brought up her sacrifices, as well as, the doubts people had of her before settling on the subject of Tiana's deceased father, reminding her that his dream to open a restaurant never came true, but by accepting the offer, she could make it happen. The discussion of James actually backfires on the bokor after Tiana realizes that, while her father didn't get what he wanted, he had love, and never lost sight of the fact that it was what's truly important, declaring she'll always remember the same, thus denying Facilier's deal.
- “I promise I'll pay y'all back! I promise!”
- ―Facilier's final words
Subsequently, Tiana attempts to destroy the talisman, but Facilier's living shadow grabs it and hands it back to the doctor. A sadistic Facilier then transforms Tiana back into a frog, before taunting her for refusing to accept his offer, and declaring that she will now spend the remainder of her life as a frog. However, Tiana manages to regain the talisman by grabbing hold of it with her elastic, frog tongue, destroying the trinket before Facilier can stop her. Upon doing so, Facilier falls into a state of immediate panic and frantically tries to recollect the pieces of the broken talisman, just as his "friends from the other side" arrive, announcing their intentions to collect the doctor's soul as punishment for his failure to repay his debt. A horrified Facilier tries to persuade his former accomplices to provide him with another opportunity to redeem himself and makes an attempt to escape, but the spirits grab hold of his shadow, thus capturing Facilier as well, subsequently dragging him into the voodoo spirit world, where his soul will be doomed to remain for all eternity. With a flash of light, both Dr. Facilier and the spirits vanish, leaving behind only a tombstone with Facilier's name and horrified face engraved onto it, confirming the witch doctor's death.
While not appearing in in the series, himself, Facilier's hat can be seen in Mal's tent, during the first few episodes. More notably, he is revealed to be the father of a young girl named Freddie Facilier.
Dr. Facilier is one of the many villains trapped on the Isle of the Lost. There, he serves as the sinister headmaster of the island's school, Dragon Hall, which he found, following his failure to steal the La Bouff's fortune. The intention was to utilize the knowledge of older villains, to teach the younger generation the ways of villainy, and to one day successfully dominate, once their powers are restored. Facilier also served as an inspiration to a plot concocted by Jay, son of Jafar.
Facilier appears as a boss in two mini-game stages of the video game spin-off of the film, where the continuity of the original movie doesn't seem to exist, as Facilier appears antagonizing Tiana and Naveen (as humans) through the stages. In one mini-game, Tiana, Naveen, and the other participating players engage in a dance outside of Facilier's emporium, where the object is to dance without being caught by either Facilier or Lawrence. In another game, Facilier antagonizes the group at Charlotte's manor, where the witch doctor casts a spell on one of the players, turning them into a frog. The curse is contagious, and whoever is touched by the frog, will become one, as well.
While he doesn't make a physical appearance in Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Facilier is mentioned by Tiana, who claims she must return to New Orleans to rescue Naveen, who is said to be in danger at the hands of Dr. Facilier.
Facilier is a common character at the Disney theme parks, making his debut as a meetable character in 2009.
Faciler first appeared in Tiana's Showboat Jubiliee in New Orleans Square.
Facilier appears in World of Color at Disney California Adventure, during the "Colors of Fear" scene as a cameo appearance. He also appears during the montage celebrating villains in the 2015 rendition of the show.
During the 2015 rendition of Mickey's Halloween Party, Facilier was the host of the Mystic Spirits of the Blue Bayou event at the Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square.
An animatronic Facilier can also be seen as part of The Princess and the Frog's Enchanted Window display on Main Street, U.S.A..
In Florida, Facilier first appeared in Tiana's Showboat Jubiliee in Liberty Square.
In 2011, Facilier became the lead villain of Disney Villains Mix and Mingle and performs "Friends On the Other Side", at the opening of the show. After the song, Facilier summons several Disney villains and, together, they have a dance. Right after, a meet-and-greet with the watching guests proceeds.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the Magic Kingdom, Facilier is unsealed from the Voodoo Realm by Hades to find a crystal fragment. Facilier also decides to extract revenge on Tiana for his demise and take over Frontierland. He assigns his shadows to find the crystal and frees Lawrence from jail to poison the food at Tiana's Palace and place the locals under his control. Meanwhile, he kidnaps Tiana, but while he has a conversation with Hades, Tiana is freed by the park guests. Facilier retrieves the crystal and plans on getting Tiana after he completes the delivery. Facilier then battles the park guests, only to ultimately get turned into a frog himself and taken back to the "the other side" as a result of his failure.
Dr. Facilier was one of the thirteen villains that were summoned by Hades for the Unleash the Villains event at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Friday the 13th, September 2013. He was the ninth villain to be introduced during the pre-show. He could later be found roaming the large dance floor with six of the other villains. He would stop and take pictures with guests. He also appeared in the show a second time, but he was the eighth villain to appear.
In the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show at the Magic Kingdom, Facilier is the first of the villains to help The Sanderson Sisters to add an ingredient to their party potion by summoning sinister shadows as well as singing "Friends on the Other Side". Later, Facilier and the other villains join The Sanderson Sisters in singing "I Put a Spell on You" at the end of the show.
Dr. Facilier is also the host of the villains-themed entertainment entity, Club Villain, in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
In Disney Dreams, Dr. Facilier (or at least his shadow) encounters Peter Pan's shadow and begins to sing Friends on the Other Side, leading to the castle taking on a mechanized appearance and eventually leading to the arrival of Captain Hook.
Facilier stars in a portion of the Nightmare Experiment attraction, here he gives a live voodoo performance. He also appeared as one of Maleficent's invited guests during the finale of Villains Night Out!.
Facilier appeared in the earlier versions of Villains Tonight, but no longer does. In the show, Facilier is called on by Hades to get a second opinion on what the Fates said. Facilier confirms what they said was true, all the while singing different verses of "Friends on the Other side". Eventually, he goes into a full-blown version of his song, complete with dancers and shadows.
On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, Facilier is one of the villain suspects in the interactive attraction Midship Detective Agency. If he turns out to be the culprit, Mickey, Donald and Goofy track him down and successfully put him behind bars where the shadow demons taunt him for his failure.
- Bruce Smith describes Facilier as the love child of the Disney Villains Captain Hook and Cruella De Vil.
- He may not be an actual doctor, though his title could likely refer to the fact Facilier uses his voodoo magic to 'help' people.
- Facilier was originally named Dr. Duvalier after Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, the Voodoo practicing genocidal dictator of Haiti. Duvalier also had a fondness for dressing as Baron Samedi but also prayed to Jesus Christ. Perhaps to avoid reprisals from Duvalier's remaining supporters, the name was changed to "Facilier" from "facilitate" meaning "to enable."
- Dr. Facilier is the only character in the film who refers to himself as such. Everyone else simply calls him "(the) Shadow Man". Dr. Facilier's first name is never revealed either.
- Facilier is the only Disney male character to have purple eyes, and one of the few Disney characters in general to possess such, the only other characters being Aurora, Vanessa, Megara and Judy Hopps (all of whom are women).
- Violet/purple and green eyes are often associated with sorcery and the Devil, which is why many of Disney's earlier villains had green eyes. Therefore, it is not surprising the animators chose to give Facilier purple eyes, due to his voodoo powers.
- The way Facilier moves is quite similar to 1920's era jazz musicians/dancers, notably Cab Calloway.
- In an earlier script, Dr. Facilier would not just be a dark wizard who wants to conquer New Orleans with the help of his friends, he would have been Mama Odie's son, who followed the path of the dark arts, unlike his mother. In this same script, there was to be a showdown between the two of them, which would have converged into a major battle during the Mardi Gras.
- Facilier's ultimate downfall is among the darker and unusual demises for Disney villains: when his amulet is destroyed he loses the means by which he can pay back his debt, and as such his soul is claimed by the Loa as payment and he is dragged, screaming, into their world. Contrary to what some believe, however, this is not 'being dragged into Hell' as the Loa are not demons, nor do they have any relation to the Christian concept of Hell.
- Facilier is the first black Disney Villain and the fourth to have French origins.
- Facilier is the first Disney Villain not to have a particular entrance of his own, instead appearing in the opening song in a casual way.
- Facilier's crocodile-tooth necklace can lead to his power; Voodoo practitioners believe that crocodile teeth can bring strength, primal energy, and wisdom.
- Facilier and Tiana never meet until the film's climax, though she knows of his reputation and he knows of her father (most likely through the cards).
- Facilier is the first villain in the Disney animated canon to have his own song since Alameda Slim in Home on the Range.
- He once said that he was born of royalty on his mother's side. This probably means that his mother was a Voodoo Queen like the famous Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
- It is very subtly implied that Doctor Facilier can play the piano because there is one in his Voodoo Emporium.
- In some books, Facilier isn't sucked into the voodoo mask, but swallowed by his shadows, leaving his hat.