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Background information
Feature films The Emperor's New Groove
Kronk's New Groove
Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse
Short films
Television programs House of Mouse
The Emperor's New School
It's a Small World: The Animated Series (cameo)
Video games The Emperor's New Groove
Disney INFINITY series (townsperson)
Park attractions Villains Tonight
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Midship Detective Agency (cameo)
Portrayed by
Portrayed by
Animators Nik Ranieri
Phil Young
Tim Allen
James Baker
Marc Smith
Mark Pudleiner
Andreas Wessel-Therhorn As a human
Dan Tanaka
Marcia Kimura Dougherty
Lee Dunkman
Elizabeth S. Watasin
Daniel Yoontaek Lim
Patricia Ann Billings-Malone As a llama
Edward R. Gutierrez
Emily Jiuliano
Dietz Toshio Ichishita
Yoon Sook Nam
David Recinos
Mary-Jean Repchuk
Voice David Spade[1]
J.P. Manoux[2][3]
James Arnold Taylor (various merchandise)
Performance model
Inspiration Arthur "the Fonz" Fonzerelli from Happy Days
The Emperor from the "Emperor's New Clothes"
The Inca Emperor
Honors and awards 7th Place in's Top 10 Modern Disney Animated Characters
Character information
Full name Emperor Kuzco
Other names
Personality (previously): Comically conceited, ignorant, greedy, narcissistic, sarcastic, cowardly, stubborn
(later): Mostly nice, loyal, good-natured, still ignorant, fun-loving, polite, hilarious, still comically conceited
Appearance Slender, handsome, 18 years old, medium skin, both black long hair and thick eyebrows, brown eyes
Occupation Emperor
Student at Kuzco Academy (formerly)
Malina's husband/emperor
Alignment Neutral, later good
Goal To become human from his llama form (movie), to become Emperor again (series)
Home His palace
Relatives Unnamed father (presumed deceased)
Yzma (foster mother; formerly)
Allies Pacha, Kronk, Chicha, Chaca, Tipo, Yupi, Birdwell, Bucky the Squirrel, Malina, Guaka, Merlin
Enemies Yzma, Kronk (formerly), Ramon, Pacha (formerly)
Likes Malina, power (formerly), riches (formerly), dancing to his theme song, being the star, himself
Dislikes Being touched (formerly), waterfalls, scorpions, jaguars, bats, pillbugs
Powers and abilities
Fate Gets turned back into a human, and builds a summer home on the hill next to Pacha's (in the 2000 film).
After graduating Kuzco Academy, Kuzco regains his throne, officially becomes Emperor and wins the heart of his true love, Malina(in the 2006-08 television series' final episode).
Quote "No touchy."
"Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh."
"Boom, baby!"
"It's all about me!"
"Llama face!"

Kuzco (also known as Emperor Kuzco; pronounced KOOZ-ko) is the protagonist of Disney's 2000 film The Emperor's New Groove and its 2006-08 television series. In the 2005 sequel Kronk's New Groove, he serves as the director and his role as the main character is taken by Kronk, the film's reformed secondary antagonist.

He was originally voiced by David Spade.


Kuzco is the emperor of the Kuzconian Empire in Peru. Not much is known about his past except in The Emperor's New School episode "Father O Mine", where Kuzco's real father appears in a flashback. He is a strong, muscular man, and was emperor before Kuzco. According to Kuzco and Yzma, he was lost at sea on a trip when Kuzco was just a baby; thereby granting the throne to Kuzco. Since Yzma claims to have raised Kuzco, it is possible his mother passed away as well. It is revealed that Kuzco and his father share two things: a llama birthmark and the same necklace. In another episode, it is revealed that Kuzco has a fear of frogs after a traumatic childhood experience with them as a baby. In another, it is discovered that Kuzco's favorite food is Mudka's Meat Mug which is the only thing he orders.


At first, Kuzco was very self-centered, thinking that everyone should be put below him, because he is the Emperor. Kuzco is forced by law to graduate from "Kuzco Academy," a school that he paid for, in order to stay Emperor. Yzma and Kronk continually plot to make sure that Kuzco fails his class and he doesn't become Emperor. Kuzco's catchphrases are "No touchy!", "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!, uh-huh, uh-huh", "Boo-ya!", "Boom, baby, boom!", and "It's all about me!".

He is 18 years old. He has shoulder-length black hair. His occupation is an Emperor and a student at Kuzco Academy. He wears emperor clothing: a red-and-yellow robe and a golden emperor crown. He also has aqua earrings on his ears.

Kuzco is initially portrayed as as arrogant, comically conceited, selfish, cocky, sarcastic teenager, albeit with a sense of flair, style and pizazz. His nature was such that he once had an old man thrown out of the window, potentially killing him, simply because Kuzco blamed him for "ruining his groove" in the opening song (when Kuzco bumped into him due to not being aware of his surroundings), as well as sadistically taunting Pacha with the destruction of the latter's village before having him escorted out when revealing his plans to create Kuzcotopia. It is implied that this personality stemmed from the fact that Yzma practically raised him from childhood. 

He is also very ignorant, as he went into a jungle out of stupidity and arrogance, the latter due to believing that as Emperor, he has a good sense of direction (which he clearly didn't). He can also be sneaky and manipulative at times, as he convinced Pacha that he had changed his mind in order to get him to take him back to the palace, only to go back on his promise when the palace was in view. He was even willing to let Pacha die so he could get what he wanted. He also was vengeful, as he implied during the aforementioned incident that he did this partially as revenge for his perceived role of cursing and kidnapping him, and that he originally intended that, when they actually arrived at the palace, he would have him imprisoned for said role. His sarcastic demeanor is especially evident shortly after learning he had been turned into a llama and planned to get back to the castle on foot: when Pacha tried to negotiate with him, Kuzco lured him close with a "secret," then when Pacha came as close as he could, Kuzco then proceeded to yell that he doesn't make deals with peasants.

However, throughout his journey with Pacha, he soon realizes his mistakes and becomes more caring, loving, loyal and brave. He also begins to care more for others as shown when he chooses to save Pacha from falling off his palace instead of getting the human potion. Although he is still somewhat self-centered, but not as much as before.

He has a not-so-secret crush on a local village girl named Malina. She is another reason why Kuzco's selfish ways died down a bit. She has shown to return the feelings but tries her best to keep it under wraps. The two shared a kiss in The Emperor's New School Musical, with Malina obviously enjoying it. She also acts as Kuzco's confident several times, although she's the one to ask him what the problem is.


The Emperor's New Groove

Kuzco is the young ruler of an unnamed Incan kingdom. He is known for being selfish and vain, and enjoys dancing to his own theme music every morning. Recently, Yzma, his royal adviser, has been ruling the kingdom behind his back. Kuzco decides to fire her for this, despite the many loyal years she's served. Soon enough, Kuzco summoned the village leader named Pacha, to discuss the building of Kuzcotopia, a summer getaway for himself. Kuzco reveals his plans to destroy Pacha's village to make way for his getaway. Meanwhile, Yzma and her lackey Kronk are in their secret lab, thinking of ways to murder Kuzco (after Kronk inadvertently gave her the idea).


Kuzco as a llama

She planned to invite him for dinner and poison his drink. That night at dinner, Kronk accidentally pours extract of llama in Kuzco's drink instead. Kuzco is turned into a llama and knocked unconscious by Kronk. Yzma then sends her minion to finish the job by throwing him over a waterfall. Kronk accidentally loses Kuzco, and the llama emperor ends up on Pacha's cart. When Kuzco awakens, Kuzco, upon realizing what happened, accused Pacha of turning him into a llama and then kidnapping him. He then (foolishly) travels through the jungle, despite Pacha's insistence that it's a very bad idea to do so at night. Ultimately, his advice proved to be sound due to nearly being killed by a pack of Jaguars, with Pacha saving him at the last minute (although they ended up falling into a river and then falling over a waterfall with sharp rocks at the bottom, Kuzco apparently being resigned to his fate, and undergoing an incident where he regained consciousness just as Pacha was about to undergo CPR, causing Kuzco to mistake Pacha for trying to kiss him in disgust). Pacha decides to help him get back to the palace, although only under the condition that he change his mind about Kuzcotopia.

After a while, Kuzco claims he has changed his mind, but the moment the palace is in plain sight, he tells Pacha the truth, revealing that he was going to proceed with Kuzcotopia. After their fight destroys the bridge to the palace, Kuzco and Pacha are forced to take a longer route. Meanwhile, Yzma announces Kuzco dead and takes over the kingdom. While wallowing in the lap of luxury, Kronk accidentally confesses about not killing Kuzco. The villains then go out on a hunt for him. At a local restaurant, Pacha learns about Yzma's plan and rushes to tell Kuzco.

The emperor denies Pacha's claims and makes way for Yzma and Kronk, only to overhear them discussing that they are seeking to kill him, and that the kingdom does not miss him. Kuzco realizes Pacha was right, but Pacha has left. With no hope of returning home, Kuzco accepts his fate and seeks out a herd of llamas. However, Pacha appears and forgives Kuzco. A race to the palace begins and ends at Yzma's lab. Kuzco desperately searches for the human potion but Yzma arrives and battles the heroes, also summoning her royal guard under the premise that they were responsible for killing Kuzco (despite the llama being Kuzco), transforming most of them into animals, and Kuzco undergoing further transformations while trying to get the potion (Tortoise, songbird, whale, and eventually Llama again, causing him to briefly celebrate becoming a llama again before remembering that the point was to become human again). During the fight, Yzma is transformed into a cat, and Kuzco retrieves the vial. Kuzco becomes human again, and sets out to redeem himself, building a small summer cabin on the hill next to Pacha's home, and become part of Pacha's family at the peasant's invitation. Meanwhile, outdoorsman Kronk becomes a scout leader, with kitten Yzma forced to be a member of the troop.

House of Mouse


Kuzco with Ludwig Von Drake in House of Mouse.

Kuzco, in his llama form, made a few cameos in House of Mouse. In the episode "Ask Von Drake", he asks Ludwig Von Drake which potion can turn him into a human. He can also be seen during the opening theme. In Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, Kuzco tells Mickey that he wishes that he wasn't a "dumb ol' llama" anymore.

Kronk's New Groove

In Kronk's New Groove, Kuzco acts like the director of Kronk's movie, and breaks the fourth wall by talking to the audience. He admits he has changed: "I'm nice now. Didn't you see the first movie?" However, he remains self-centered; near the end of the movie, he shows up in women's clothing, claiming he is Kronk's wife, announcing, "You like how I weaseled my way into this movie?" (this is Kuzco's only appearance in Kronk's starring film, alongside performing to the reprise of "Be True To Your Groove"). Throughout the film, Kuzco pops in and out to give comments on the scene in question.

The Emperor's New School


Kuzco as he appears in The Emperor's New School.

In The Emperor's New School, Kuzco must go to Kuzco Academy, a school he instituted and financed. He must pass all his classes to remain emperor, but Yzma and Kronk are out to make sure he fails. If he fails even one class, he will not be emperor, and Yzma will take over the empire. He is still self-centered. In the series Kuzco develops a love interest, named Malina. Like the film, he often breaks the forth wall by pausing the episode and interacting with the viewers.

Kuzco's character is further explored through the series. He can be rather whiny and easily jealous of anyone who gets a small amount of glory or attention. At the start of every episode, Kuzco would interact with the viewers and shout "Theme music!" which begins the show. In the middle of the shows, he would begin the session "Kuzco's Doodles" where he poorly sketches something reflecting whatever's going on in the scene. Since he was kicked out of his palace, Kuzco now resides with Pacha and Chicha. However, Chicha openly dislikes Kuzco's traits such as him feeling Chicha should act as a servant.

In the series finale "Graduation Groove", Kuzco regains his rightful place as the emperor. He even allows Pacha and his family to move into the palace. He also makes Kronk his royal advisor, and demotes Yzma to his assistant.

Other animated productions

Kuzco does not actually appear in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (as that film was made long before his), but animation of him dancing from The Emperor's New Groove is included on the main menu of Disc 2 of the Vista Series DVD release of the film.

Kuzco, as a llama, makes a brief non-speaking cameo appearance alongside Pacha in the It's a Small World: The Animated Series episode "Up and Down".

Disney Parks


Kuzco (in his human form) poses for a photo at Disneyland Paris.

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Kuzco in his llama form at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Kuzco is currently a rare meet and greet character only making occasional appearances.

On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise ships, Kuzco can be seen with Pacha in the Magic Portholes in some of the guest staterooms. Kuzco in his llama form also makes a cameo appearance in Yzma's stateroom in the interactive game Midship Detective Agency.

In 2013, Kuzco appeared (in his human form's theme park debut, as well as in his llama form) in Disneyland Paris as part of the Disney Dreamers Everywhere! events for meet-and-greets.

Villains Tonight

In the show on board the Disney Magic and Disney Dream, Kuzco has a brief cameo as a llama at the end of Yzma's song "Yzmopolis", running away from Yzma and Kronk.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Kuzco is featured in the interactive game at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. In the game, Kuzco is tasked with guiding the park guests in a quest to defeat Yzma before she can take over Adventureland.


  • Kuzco tends to self-disclose.
  • The animators of The Emperor's New Groove thought that Kuzco has so many similarities to his voice actor David Spade.
  • Emperor Kuzco has many similarities to Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog:
    • Both are royal, but are looked at as immature and irresponsible.
    • Both are very comical and fun-loving.
    • Both are in Disney movies based on classic fairy tales, and being the ones taking on the role of being the one transformed.
    • Both were transformed into animals by the villains of the film.
    • They both originally trusted the movies' main villain.
    • Due to their own selfishness, their loved ones turn on them.
    • In the beginning of their stories, they are both very conceited and narcissistic, and don't care about others to get what they want.
    • Their egotistical personalities are changed for the better by the hardworking characters who they later grow close to.
    • They both have reformed, more responsible, and humble personalities by the end of the film.
  • Kuzco is the second Disney protagonist to be of Native American descent (Inca, in Kuzco's case), with the first being Pocahontas, and the third being Kenai.
  • Kuzco also shares some similarities with Wreck-It Ralph: both at the beginning seem to have bad personalities, try to gain the respect from the people that used to see them as enemies - Pacha's family for Kuzco, and the Nicelanders and later Vanellope for Ralph - and then finally and literally learn to enjoy their lives by the end of the film. Also, both of them show their final remorse after betraying his main fellow (Pacha for Kuzco and Vanellope for Ralph), and manage to turn the main antagonist's main henchman into good (Kuzco does so with Kronk, while Ralph does so with Sour Bill), and both of them save the life or the goodness of the people they betrayed or confronted before.
  • Kuzco also shares some similarities to the Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man.
    • Both were the heads of a spanning area of influence by inheritance (Kuzco was the reigning Emperor of the Kuzco Empire, while Stark was the head of Stark Enterprises).
    • Both characters possessed extremely bad vices, yet managed to reform although retained a few of their bad vices (including narcissism) even after reforming after a life-changing event (Kuzco by being turned into a llama, and Tony Stark by being held captive in the Middle East and having an electromagnetic device installed on his heart to prevent shrapnel from making contact with his heart and killing him).
      • Both of their vices were also strongly implied to be the result of their fathers not being involved in their lives since early childhood (Kuzco's father was lost at sea at a very early age, with Yzma largely raising him as a result; and Tony Stark's father, Howard Stark, largely neglected to raise him while he was young, often sending him off to boarding school to avoid having to deal with him).
      • Coincidentally, both changes were unintentionally engineered by people who acted as the closest thing to parents in an attempt to betray them and take over their position (Kuzco by Yzma trying to murder him as revenge for firing him, and Tony Stark by Obadiah Stane engineering his being held hostage).
  • Kuzco is also similar to Isidoro Cañones, an Argentinian comic book character, since they are both Latinos who enjoy living a life of excesses and vices and often have to pay the consequences. They also both have morality chains in the form of a heavy set native Latino (Pacha and Patoruzu).
  • Kuzco also had some similarities to Woody from Toy Story (more specifically the Black Friday version of him). Both characters deliberately had a character thrown out of a window for extremely petty reasons (Woody deliberately threw Buzz Lightyear out of the window solely to ensure he was the one Andy picked to go to Pizza Planet, while Kuzco had an old peasant man thrown out of the window after he unwittingly "interrupted" the song "Perfect World" and "ruined (Kuzco's) groove."), and both also had their most trusted henchmen turn on them fairly early into the story after one act of abuse too many (Kuzco had Yzma turn on him for firing her due to frequently operating the throne behind Kuzco's back as well as due to her old age, while Woody had Slinky turn on him after both his throwing Buzz out of the window as well as Woody heavily insulting him by telling the other toys to throw Woody out the window like he did to Buzz instead of simply throwing him off the bed, although unlike Yzma, Slinky was more open in his turning against Woody).
  • Kuzco is apparently ambidextrous, as he writes with his right hand as a human, and with his left as a llama.
  • Kuzco doesn't like being touched by others, indicating he has haphephobia (the fear of being touched).
    • However, he doesn't mind Malina touching him. This is probably because he likes her, though.
  • Kuzco's skin is darker in the movie poster.
  • Kuzco has become the subject of a popular internet meme (much like Ariel) in which someone will claim that "Kuzco is [their] favorite Disney Princess".


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