- “Don't you disrespect me, little man!
Don't you derogate or deride!
You're in my world now, not your world
And I got friends on the other side!”
- ―Doctor Facilier
Doctor Facilier, commonly known as the Shadow Man, is the main antagonist of Disney's 2009 animated feature film the 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 Disney fans, making him one of Disney's most popular villains, in addition to becoming a primary member of the Disney Villains franchise.
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 who ever they want, provided it has a particular person's blood.
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 with "friends on the other side". Much like Ursula and Hades, Facilier tricks his victims into making deals with him. He can read their past and present with his tarot cards; he then looks into their futures as well, and offers to "change it 'round some." However, the deals he makes usually backfire on the victim, though Facilier is not exactly dishonest as he does give them exactly what he promised, even though it isn't what his victims had in mind. For example, he tells Naveen that if he wants a future with the freedom to "hop from place to place," he would need "green" (heavily implying green to mean money.) However, upon making the deal, Facilier transforms Naveen into a frog, giving him both "green" and a way to "hop from place to place" in a more literal sense. Also he is very intelligent and able to come up with a rather complicated plan in a relatively short period of time. He can be very patient, like when, at the end of the movie, he trying to trick Tiana, or when explains his plan to Lawrence, even though he was upset when he lost Navin and almost broke his talisman.
As Naveen says, Facilier is indeed suave, smooth-talking and often charming, but also cruel, remorseless and sadistic. A charismatic performer as Naveen acknowledges, Facilier is a smooth talker of drama and showmanship. A glutton for power, Facilier is controlling and vindictive, doing whatever he can to get what he wants. He even admits in the song "Friends on the Other Side" that he also has hoodoo and "things [he] hasn't even tried", indicating he will work with anyone who can give him power. Like other Disney villains, he is highly Machiavellian as shown by his manipulation of Naveen, Lawrence, and later Tiana into helping them under false pretenses. Unlike some villains, Facilier does not underestimate the powers of nature, and like Mama Odie, he also knows that animals can talk and that they have minds just like humans. As shown when Ray the firefly tries to take the villainous voodoo doctor's talisman away from him, Facilier seems to understand Ray's intentions and tries to cease them. Also, knowing that Ray's bioluminescent abdomen can destroy his voodoo shadow demons, Facilier swats and crushes the firefly without hesitation, ending Ray's interference.
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, implying that his own past may have been similar to that of Lawrence and Tiana's.
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 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 (or in other words, very handsome).
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), 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. Furthermore, this talisman is also crucial to his magic; without it, he seems to be powerless. So much of his power is invested in this amulet, in fact, should it be destroyed he would be unable to continue doing the bidding of his "friends on the other side," making him unable to work off his debts to them - and prompting them to claim him as payment instead.
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 charismatic and vocal persuasion being second nature to him.
Role in the film
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 is. Later on, Facilier overhears a waitress named Tiana and Charlotte La Bouff, the daughter of Big Daddy, talking about a prince coming to town who is due to marry her. Facilier, needing money, 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 Naveen 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. 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 they'll have all the wayward souls their dark hearts desire once the city is under his control, Facilier is given a team of shadow demon henchmen by his "friends" to go out and capture Naveen.
Naveen is captured the day after the legion of demons were sent out, and taken back to the worried Facilier and Lawrence. Once Naveen was returned, Lawrence steals back the blood and stores it in the talisman, restoring the power of his Naveen 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 begins destroying the shadow demons. Facilier stops this by killing Ray. With him out of the way, the Shadow Man and his legion of demons head onwards 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 settled on the subject of Tian's deceased father, telling 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 evil doctor 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.
Subsequently, Tiana attempts to destroy the talisman, but Facilier's living shadow grabs it and hands it back to the doctor. Tiana is changed back to a frog and held down by the evil doctor. Facilier taunts the heroine, telling her she'd always be a frog for "foolishly" denying his deal. Fortunately, with quick thinking and a flick of her tongue, Tiana gets hold of the talisman and shatters it to pieces. Facilier immediately begins to panic once she does, just as, suddenly, his "friends from the other side" arrive to take the doctor's venomously evil spirit/soul as punishment for his failure. The horrified Facilier pleads for a second chance, but it's too late; they grab Facilier's shadow, thus pulling Facilier as well, and drag them into the spirit world where they will be doomed to reside for all eternity. All that was left was a tombstone with Facilier's horrified face and name engraved onto it.
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 also founded, 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 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 whomever is touched by the frog, will become one, as well.
In one of the last stages (specifically taking place after the film), Tiana and Naveen seek out to defeat the last few hoards of Voodoo demons roaming about New Orleans, within Facilier's emporium, in order to protect Naveen's visiting parents.
While he doesn't make a physical appearance in the game, 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 made his debut as a meetable character at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in 2009. He is currently a semi-common meet and greet character but mostly common in several shows and parades.
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.
In 2011, Facilier became the lead villain of the show and performs "Friends On the Other Side", at the opening for 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.
Facilier appears in the live nighttime water show at Disney California Adventure. Facilier appears 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.
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.
At Walt Disney World, 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. Hades, who could have squared Facilier's debt to the "friends on the other side" with the numerous soul in the Underworld, is left annoyed.
Facilier appeared in the earlier versions of the Cruise show, 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.1
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.
Long Lost Friends Week
Despite being a villain, during the Long Lost Friends Week, he seems to be friends with Louis (although it could be the same if his only friends are the shadows from the Other Side).
Dr. Facilier's most notable song is "Friends on the Other Side", which he sings in the movie. But in the music CD Bayou Boogie, he has three more songs - "Do What I Wanna Do", "Shadow Man", and "Love is a Magical Mystery".
- Bruce Smith describes Facilier as the love child of the Disney Villains Captain Hook and Cruella De Vil.
- Facilier claims to practice Hoodoo, or traditional folk magic.
- He may not be an actual doctor, though his title could likely refer to his voodoo magic.
- 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 and Megara (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 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."
- Facilier is the first black Disney Villain and the fourth to have French origins.
- Facilier appears to resemble Baron Samedi, the Haitian voodoo Loa of the dead. He wore a top hat, a tuxedo, and other accessories. He too has associations with voodoo spirits. It may be presumed that Facilier is a worshiper of Samedi.
- Aspects of Facilier's appearance are shared by shock-rock singer Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
- 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.
- Dr. Facilier is the only character in the film who refers to himself as such. Everyone else simply calls him "(the) Shadow Man".
- Interestingly, 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.
- Doctor Facilier resembles Oscar Proud from The Proud Family, another Bruce W. Smith production. However, both of these characters are different, as Oscar Proud is good, while Facilier is evil.
- It is very subtly implied that Doctor Faciler can play the piano because there is one in his Voodoo Emporium.
- Dr. Faciler's first name is never revealed.
- In some books, Facilier isn't sucked into the voodoo mask, but swallowed by his shadows, leaving his hat.