- “Are you hungry...? I am starved...”
- ―Kaa to Shanti.[src]
Kaa is an enormous python and the secondary antagonist in The Jungle Book.
Kaa was loosely based on the character of the same name from Rudyard Kipling's book The Jungle Book. While the book character was considered a mentor to Mowgli, akin to Baloo and Bagheera, the film character is portrayed as a dangerous villain. This was most likely due to the developers' belief that the public of the time would not accept a snake as a heroic character.
- “It's like you said... You can't trust anyone!”
- ―Kaa to Mowgli
Kaa is a sly and seductive character, speaking with a soft, often entrancing tone to either lure his victims into a weary, dreamlike state, or manipulate them into bestowing their trust, thus allowing him to devour them unexpectedly. He furthers this by the use of his iconic ability to hypnotize his prey with his eyes, rendering them enchanted and under his command. A powerful and dangerous ability, Kaa is a feared member of the jungle, as evidenced by his interaction with the often composed and fearless Bagheera. Such fear, however, does not resonate with the unofficial ruler of the jungle, Shere Khan the tiger, who Kaa holds a disliking for, believing the act of killing for the sake of killing, as opposed to survival, to be dishonorable. The two beasts are often at odds, though Shere Khan views Kaa as an "eyes and ears" of the jungle, relying on him to assist his quest in finding Mowgli at one point in the film, though the manipulative Kaa was able to steer even Khan in the wrong direction, further showcasing his intelligence.
Though dangerous and cunning, Kaa is not without his faults, as he can be clumsy and easily sidetracked from his primary objective: to kill and eat Mowgli. This results in his interactions with the man-cub to often end in humiliation to some degree.
Kaa is a python that has grown to be extremely large in width. He was animated by Frank Thomas in his entrance appearance where he first met Mowgli and nearly ate him. Later on in the film he was animated by Milt Kahl whose design for Kaa may be more iconic, being that his scene was longer and included his trademark song and Shere Khan's talk with the snake. Kaa also has a slight Wile E Coyote-like facial expression.
Abilities and Traits
Hypnosis/Mind Control: Kaa's most infamous trait is his unique ability to hypnotize anyone through eye contact and make others follow his commands. This ability also works when someone sees his reflection in the water. Though despite this, it is implied that certain individuals of high willpower (or simply intelligence) can resist his hypnosis (as displayed by Shere Khan).
Kaa comes across Mowgli and Bagheera in the branches of a large tree that the pair have chosen to spend the night in. As Bagheera is nearly asleep, he is unaware of Kaa as he investigates Mowgli. Annoyed, Mowgli angrily tells Kaa to leave him alone. Bagheera sleepily orders Mowgli to go to sleep, as he has assumed Mowgli was speaking to him. Kaa decides to take advantage of the situation, and hypnotizes Mowgli, wrapping the boy in his coils, with the intent of devouring him. During the hypnosis and coiling, Mowgli tries to call for help, but is silenced when Kaa wraps and tightens Mowgli's neck with his tail and then squeezes the boy with all his coils, from legs to neck. But Mowgli's struggles awaken Bagheera, and he is able to rescue Mowgli by hitting Kaa in the face just before Mowgli is eaten. However, Kaa is angered by the interference, and begins to hypnotize Bagheera. By now, the coils around Mowgli unravel and he has awakened, and he shoves Kaa's massive coils off the branch, resulting in Kaa falling to the ground in a heap. While Mowgli awakens Bagheera by slapping him, Kaa begins to slither off, swearing revenge. However, his slithering is inhibited by a knot in his tail, which Mowgli laughs at.
Kaa later reappears coming across the now bitter Mowgli, who is lost in the jungle. He tries to hypnotize Mowgli again, who has learned from his last encounter and is wary of the snake. Mowgli tries to leave, with the response that he doesn't trust anyone. However, Kaa uses the boy's desire to stay in the jungle as a means of gaining his trust. Kaa is able to hypnotize Mowgli again and sleepwalk him into his coils while singing the song Trust in Me.
Before Kaa can devour Mowgli, Shere Khan stops by after hearing Kaa's singing. As Shere Khan is looking for Mowgli, Kaa is forced to hide the boy. Kaa is able to trick Shere Khan into believing that Mowgli is nowhere in the area, despite Shere Khan choosing to inspect Kaa's coils. Shere Khan walks off to continue the search, leaving Kaa safe to admit his disgust for the tiger. When Kaa shivers after seeing the tiger walk off, his coils unravel like before and Mowgli awakens. Kaa takes a moment to pity the helpless Mowgli, but reverts once he remembers his own intentions. At that point, Mowgli is able to push Kaa's coils to the ground. On the ground, Mowgli confronts Kaa and accuses the python of lying, which he wasn't. Kaa, assuring Mowgli that he indeed can't trust anyone, moves in to attack, but is once again stopped by a knot in his tail. He sees Mowgli run off, and gives up trying to catch him, slithering off again.
Kaa angrily states that he never wants to see another Man-Cub again, but changes his mind after he comes across Shanti. Kaa manages to corner and hypnotize the young girl. Before he can eat her, Shanti is saved by Ranjan, who pulls Shanti out of the way, beats up Kaa with a large stick which resulted in him swallowing down a large rock and sends him sliding down a cliff. He is then encountered by Shere Khan in his search for Mowgli; Khan believes that Kaa is hiding the location of Mowgli (after hearing him say "man-cub"), but truthfully, Kaa has no idea where Mowgli is; but Shere Khan won't believe him and continues to threaten the python. To save his skin, Kaa fearfully lies to the tiger that Mowgli is at the swamp, allowing him to flee.
Kaa appeared as a much younger snake in the Jungle Cubs, with Baloo, Bagheera, Colonel Hathi, King Louie and Shere Khan. Unlike the movie, he is a protagonist, which interestingly, actually follows the original story, unlike the film.
As a younger snake, Kaa has yet to master hypnosis at his young age, usually failing or hypnotizing the wrong person by mistake. Kaa is more of the cowardly friend in the group, often being doubtful when an adventure is at hand. Most of the time, his fearfulness can be understandable, being that the children often find themselves in some of the most dangerous predicaments in their jungle. Kaa is often seen attempting to eat a local shrew with a wise-cracking persona. However, as the shrew is too clever for the snake, he ultimately fails in the end.
Many episodes revolve around Kaa, including one where his birthday arrived, and yet everyone forgot. To make up for it, they acted as if his hypnotism was excellent and pretended to be in trances. In the end, however, Kaa discovers this and breaks down. His friends comfort him and apologize, leaving all to be well.
In the Jungle Cubs: Born to Be Wild DVD, Kaa, as an adult, was the first character to be revisited by Baloo, Mowgli, and Bagheera. Here, he attempts to devour Mowgli whilst he rested, but Baloo foiled the snake by grabbing his tail and throwing him into a gorge.
A snake-like character resembling Kaa made a cameo during the final scene with the other Disney characters.
Kaa makes several cameos in the show House of Mouse. In the episode "Ask Von Drake", he is seen being threatened by Shere Khan while Ludwig Von Drake sings a song. In "Turkey Day", Kaa was seen attempting to devour Mowgli after not receiving a turkey for dinner. In "Jiminy Cricket", he is seen sitting at a table with Baloo, Mowgli, Shere Khan, and Bagheera. In "Max's Embarrassing Date", he is seen sitting a table with Sir Hiss. In "Goofy's Menu Magic," Kaa is seen having coiled and hypnotized Mowgli when Mickey mentioned the guests were getting hungry.
In Mickey's House of Villains, Kaa joins his fellow villains in taking over the House of Mouse on Halloween. He joins in the hostile takeover during the song "It's Our House Now!", while attempting to hypnotize Minnie, during which he briefly reprises "Trust in Me". He later stands by Jafar's side when he battles Mickey and soon enough flees with the other villains when Mickey and his friends defeat Jafar.
Live-action appearances1994 live-action adaptation. He was brought to life using an anaconda but the bulk of his appearances were made using a mixture of CGI and animatronics. Kaa seemed to serve King Louie, killing any intruders to the city when the orangutan clapped his hands 9 times to summon him. Kaa attacked Mowgli inside the monkey city. He tackled him into the moat and attempted to drown him, but Mowgli wounded him with a bejeweled dagger, the python fleeing in a cloud of his blood.
By the time Mowgli returns to the city with Captain William Boone (the main villain of the film) and Kitty, Kaa has fully healed from their prior confrontation. Mowgli flees with Kitty when he hears King Louie summoning the snake. Boone starts gathering as much treasure as his he can, but suddenly notices that the monkey have gone silent; Kaa suddenly appears, then scares the injured Boone into the moat, where the heavy load of treasure he was carrying weighs him straight to the bottom in a cloud of his own blood. Desperately trying to struggle free, Boone sees the skeletal remains of Kaa's past victims, just seconds before the villain finally meets his death by the snake.
Kaa has made a few appearances in video games over the years, mostly within The Jungle Book franchise including The Jungle Book, The Jungle Book 2, and The Jungle Book Groove Party where he sings his own original song, "A Mood for Food"; replacing "Trust in Me" as the villainous song meant to seduce a helpless Mowgli.
In the US release of Mickey Mousecapade, a snake heavily resembling Kaa appears as a boss enemy.
In Disney Universe, Kaa does not appear as an add-on character costume, but appears as an accessory on a costume weapon.
In Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kaa is only briefly mentioned by Mowgli in this game and his mention goes as follows: "If anybody sees Kaa slithering around, let me deal with him."
Kaa's likeness can be found on numerous Disney Villains merchandise throughout the park and makes occasional appearances in a small amount of showings and parades.
In Disneyland Paris, Kaa is seen in the castle spectacular Disney Dreams! during the "I Wanna Be Like You" section where he tries to hypnotize the shadow of Peter Pan. However, he failed when King Louie's ruins fell apart on top of him.
In the Disneyland version of the show, Kaa appears in Mickey's dreams of the jungle. Kaa also appears in the Tokyo DisneySea version of the show floating about as he did in the Disneyland version. He does not appear in the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of the show, as he is replaced by Jafar's snake form.
- In the original book by Rudyard Kipling, Kaa was one of Mowgli's friends, but in the film and following appearances, Kaa is a dangerous threat to Mowgli's life. Interestingly enough, the incarnation of the character in Jungle Cubs is by far the most accurate depiction of said character when compared to the original novels.
- The reason Kaa is an antagonist is because the filmmakers thought he wouldn't be well received as a protagonist mostly due to attacks from the Indian Python which is the species of python he is.
- Ironically, Kaa has proven to be one of the movie's most popular characters, and one of Disney's most recognizable villains.
- Despite popular belief, Kaa is not a henchmen to Shere Khan, being the fact that he does none of his evil bidding and the two appear to dislike each other.
- Kaa means "snake" in Hindi.
- Kaa is the second character who was originally voiced by Sterling Holloway and later taken over by Hal Smith and then Jim Cummings, the first being Winnie-the-Pooh.
- Kaa is very similar to Sir Hiss from Robin Hood; both are snakes, both use hypnosis, and both suck up to the film's main antagonist (Shere Khan in Kaa's case, and Prince John in Sir Hiss' case), except they are a different color and Hiss wears a cape and a hat.
- Although Kaa is colored golden yellow in the original film and all of his other animated appearances, in The Jungle Book 2 however, he was a shade of green.
- Kaa was seen in concept art for the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom over at Walt Disney World, but did not appear in the finished project.
- During one of the attempts at the classic musical number "The Bare Necessities" from the second film, two prickly pears land on Kaa's head and one tiny pear on his nose, making him look like Mickey Mouse. This could possibly be an example of a Hidden Mickey.
- Though Kaa was not one of the ringleader villains in Mickey's House of Villains, he is featured on the cover of the DVD and VHS. However, he does assist in kicking Mickey and Minnie out of the club.
- Kaa is the only Disney villain voiced by Sterling Holloway. The other Disney characters Holloway voiced were protagonists (or anti-heroes, as with the Cheshire Cat).
- Even though Kaa is thought of as a villain, he is technically not evil as, like real life pythons, Kaa's diet includes humans. So basically, he's doing what nature intended for him to do.
- Kaa is the second Disney character to be gender-swapped in the live action version of their film. He was preceded by Jaq, who was a female mouse called Jacqueline in the 2015 version of Cinderella.
- The decision to make Kaa a female in the 2016 film was based on the need for gender diversity within the primarily male-driven cast of the 1967 animated film.
- Kaa on Wikipedia
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