- “A dark age indeed! An age of inconvenience! No plumbing! No electricity! No...nothing!”
- ―Complaining about the Dark Ages during his debut.
Merlin is a powerful wizard and the deuteragonist in Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Merlin is the wizard master and friend of 12-year-old orphan Arthur, a.k.a. Wart. Merlin is also the magical rival of Madam Mim and has a pet owl named Archimedes.
He was originally voiced by Karl Swenson.
Merlin is a wizard of unspecified origin, who is first seen living in a forest cottage. He is a very wise character who believes in the philosophy of "Brain over Brawn." To this end, Merlin values education as opposed to the war-training philosophies shared by much of the rest of society. Despite his wisdom, he can be absentminded and forgetful, as well as clumsy.
As a wizard, Merlin shows a wide variety of powers, and is widely hailed as being the most powerful wizard in the world. He shows an ability to see into the future, though not completely. He can enchant both objects and people, and possesses a well-developed ability to shape-shift. He can also travel through time, which has granted him much knowledge about society, past, present, and future. He often references his knowledge of the future when speaking to others, leaving them understandably confused.
Merlin is first seen getting water from his well and preparing afternoon tea in his cottage, having predicted that a young boy will soon join him. He admits that the specific identity is unknown to him at the time. He later meets a pre-teen orphan named Arthur, commonly known as Wart, after the boy literally drops through Merlin's roof. Merlin speaks to Wart about the value of an education and decides to appoint himself as Wart's tutor. After Wart explains that he must return to his castle, Merlin decides to accompany him, and displays his magical abilities by shrinking all his possessions so that they fit into a small carpet bag.
They arrive at the castle of Wart's foster father Sir Ector. Though Sir Ector initially disapproves, Merlin is able to persuade him though a display of magic, which frightens the man into accepting Merlin's offer. Merlin, who is mistakenly called "Marvin" by Ector, is provided the "guest room," which is revealed to be a crumbling, teetering tower.
The next day, Merlin begins Wart's education, teaching him the principle of brain over brawn by transforming Wart into a fish. During the adventure, Merlin, also in fish form, is trapped in an old helmet while Wart is chased by a giant pike. Merlin forgets the magic words to change them both back, but remembers just in time to save his apprentice.
Later, Merlin goes to retrieve Wart for another lesson, but he is being forced to clean as punishment for being late as a result of the previous lesson. Merlin uses his magic to enchant the various kitchen objects to make them clean themselves, and sneaks Wart out. Merlin transforms himself and Wart into squirrels. Merlin and Wart are both pursued as mates by two female squirrels. Merlin grows increasingly annoyed and finally transforms into a human out of anger. He then transforms Wart, much to the sorrow of the young female squirrel who had been chasing the boy.
Back at the castle, Merlin is insulted by Sir Ector, who believes that Merlin's magical enchantment of the kitchen objects was the result of black magic. When the Wart protests and defends Merlin, Sir Ector angrily piles more demerits on the boy, and finally punishes him by forbidding him from making a future trip to a London tournament as Kay's squire. This leads to Wart being replaced by an unseen boy groom named Hobbs. After seeing Wart's sadness, Merlin apologizes, as he knew how much the potential trip to London meant to the boy. He then suggests that Wart use the opportunity to further his studies and that he can still make something for himself by getting an education.
Merlin begins by talking of various happenings of the future, but the poor boy is so confused that Archimedes decides to take over Wart's education. Despite Merlin's annoyance, he is later pleased to see the boy learning to write with Archimedes' help. Merlin takes the opportunity to show Wart a model airplane. The plane fails to fly, though, because the propeller becomes caught in Merlin's long beard. Wart appreciates the demonstration anyway, and confides that he dreams of flying. Merlin decides to turn Wart into a small bird. Wart then goes flying with Archimedes.
After being told of Wart's capture by Madam Mim, Merlin appears to save his apprentice. Mim angrily challenges Merlin to a Wizard's Duel, where he turns into a turtle, a rabbit, a caterpillar, a walrus, a mouse, a crab, and a goat. Though initially at a disadvantage, Merlin wins by cleverly transforming into a germ, disarming Mim's dragon transformation.
Later, Wart happily informs Merlin that he has been reinstated as the squire to Kay. Merlin is angry, as he thought that Wart had finally put aside war games in favor of learning. When Wart explains that a position as a squire is best hope, Merlin angrily takes off like a rocket and travels to Bermuda. Later, he returns to England he is pleased to find out that Wart is now King Arthur, due to pulling the sword from the stone and anvil, and he was happy to tell him how famous the he will become in the future.
Merlin makes cameo appearances in a few episodes of the television series House of Mouse. In "Rent Day", Merlin promises to give Mickey the 50 dollars that he needs to pay the House of Mouse's rent if he can find Arthur a sword. In "Jiminy Cricket", he was seen sitting with Rafiki, King Triton and Grandmother Willow as part of the "elders" that Jiminy Cricket refers to.
Merlin appears in the Kingdom Hearts series as a powerful wizard who teaches Sora in the arts of magic.
In Kingdom Hearts, Merlin lived in an underground house in Traverse Town, with the Fairy Godmother. Sora met him when delivering the Hundred Acre Wood book to him, from Cid. Merlin then teaches him, Donald and Goofy magic and gives them permission to view the book.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Merlin moved to the reforming Hollow Bastion and lived in the headquarters of the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee. He retrieved the Hundred Acre Wood book from Traverse Town and as usual, allowed Sora to view it. He also gave Sora Chicken Little's summon charm. Later, he travels to Disney Castle with Sora, Donald, and Goofy to open up a magical door to the past. Merlin seems to have developed a rivalry with Cid, who prefers technology to magic, while Merlin prefers magic to technology. Their rivalry nearly gets out of hand when Cid calls Merlin an "old loon," and Merlin zaps Hollow Bastion's power computer, but thanks to Sora, Donald and Goofy, the town's systems are saved. Merlin and Cid later recall that Hollow Bastion was formerly called Radiant Garden and decide to rename it to its former name.
In Birth by Sleep set a decade before the first game, he was found in Radiant Garden just before the world is engulfed in darkness. He accidentally dropped the book of Hundred Acre Wood, but Terra returned it to him. He gave Terra, and later Ventus and Aqua, permission to view the book at any time, granting the three access to the Hundred Acre Wood Command Board.
Merlin does not appear on the show. However, it is established in season 3, that he lives in Fairytale Land where he enchanted the sword Excalibur and hid it in Camelot. When Snow White tried to find it in the hope that she would be able to overcome The Evil Queen, Prince Charming made a trade with Rumplestiltskin in order to get to Excalibur. He is later revealed to Snow White by Rumpeltiltskin than the sword is false, but that the real sword is hidden in the Enchanted Forest.
Merlin was a common character hosting the Sword in the Stone ceremony at both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort. In this show, he would allow children to make an attempt to pull the Sword from the Stone and crown the one who succeeds the temporary ruler of Fantasyland. He was also featured in Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams usually as a replacement for one of the fairies. Merlin also hosted the Disneyland Paris shows Magical Celebration and Merlin and the Witch Academy.
On board the Disney Dream cruise ship, Merlin is one of the "magic makers" of Disney to help a practical father's imagination grow. Merlin can be seen with his magic bag to aid the father. In the end, after the imagination is restored, Merlin joins the father, his daughter and a cast of Disney characters to celebrate.
Merlin's show still exists at Hong Kong Disneyland.
In 2012, Merlin took part in Disneyland Paris' 20th Anniversary celebration. In Disney Magic On Parade, Merlin was seen on the back of a float starring "Disney Magicians".
Merlin is the host of the Walt Disney World interactive attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, where he guides guests around the Magic Kingdom park to help him stop Hades and his legion of Disney Villains from stealing the legendary Crystal of the Magic Kingdom and taking over the park. During the journey, Merlin teams up with other Disney protagonists including Pongo, Genie, Rafiki, Kuzco, Pocahontas, Mama Odie, Sebastian and the Good Fairies. He also has his own spell card known as "Merlin's Fireball."
- Merlin is the only character from The Sword and the Stone to become a recurring character in Disney productions after the film's original release. The only other character from the film who could be considered such is Madam Mim, due to her inclusion in the Donald Duck comics and the Disney Villains franchise, though still to a lesser degree than Merlin.
Characters: Merlin | Arthur | Archimedes | Madam Mim | Sir Ector | Sir Kay | Sir Pelinore | Scullury Maid | Sir Bart | Tiger & Talbot | Wolf | Girl Squirrel | Granny Squirrel | Pike | Merlin's sugar bowl
Objects: Sword in the Stone
Disney Parks: Sword in the Stone
Incorporated Films and shorts: Alice in Wonderland | Aladdin/The Return of Jafar | Beauty and the Beast | Cinderella | Fantasia | Hercules | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Lilo & Stitch | The Lion King | The Little Mermaid | Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers | Mulan | The Nightmare Before Christmas | Peter Pan | Pinocchio | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl | Sleeping Beauty | Steamboat Willie | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Tarzan | Tron/Tron: Legacy | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Villains: Master Xehanort | Ansem | Xemnas | Maleficent/Dragon Maleficent | Pete | Organization XIII | Vanitas | Xigbar/Braig | Xaldin | Vexen | Lexaeus | Zexion | Saïx/Isa | Demyx | Luxord | Marluxia | Larxene | Terra-Xehanort | Young Xehanort | Xehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy Cricket | Naminé | Ansem the Wise/DiZ | Yen Sid | Xion | Axel/Lea | Master Eraqus | Dilan | Even | Aeleus | Ienzo | Lingering Will | Data Sora | Data Riku | Data Naminé | Data Roxas | Hayner | Pence | Olette | Riku-Ansem | Kairi's Grandma | Riku Replica | Anti-Saïx | Anti-Sora | Anti-Riku | Sora-Heartless | Jiminy's Journal
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen Minnie | Daisy Duck | Pluto | Tarzan | Winnie the Pooh | Aladdin | Genie | Tron | Magic Brooms | Peter Pan | Quasimodo | Judge Claude Frollo | Merlin | Tigger | Eeyore | Rabbit | Ariel | Mulan | Mushu | Jack Sparrow | Chernabog | Simba | Timon | Pumbaa | Nala | King Triton | Jafar/Genie Jafar | Alice | Cheshire Cat | Jack Skellington | Esmeralda | Phoebus | Beagle Boys | Scrooge McDuck | Huey, Dewey and Louie | Master Control Program | Sark | CLU | Rinzler | Beast | Stitch | Hercules | Tick-Tock the Crocodile | Snow White | Wendy (More coming soon)
Objects: Sea-salt ice cream | Wayfinder | Door to Darkness | Keyblade | X-blade | Mickey's Letters | Thalassa Shell | Kingdom Hearts Encoder | Keychain | Gummi Blocks | Bug Blox | Black coat| | Keyblade Armor
Locations: Land of Departure | Disney Castle | Disney Town | Timeless River | Datascape | Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion | Keyblade Graveyard | Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | Dive to the Heart | End of the World | Realm of Darkness | Castle Oblivion | Twilight Town | The World That Never Was | Castle That Never Was | Halloween Town | Neverland | Wonderland
Music: Dearly Beloved | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary | Mickey Mouse Club March | Swim This Way | Part of Your World | Under the Sea | Ursula's Revenge | A New Day is Dawning | Destati | Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | He's a Pirate | Beauty and the Beast | This is Halloween | It's a Small World | Night on Bald Mountain | Winnie the Pooh | The Sorcerer's Apprentice | The Pastoral Symphony
Soundtracks: Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - Additional Tracks | Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack Complete | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack