Cruella serves as an origin story for Disney’s iconic puppy-hating villain. However, theories suggest that the film may be a prequel to the 1990s 101 Dalmatians movies. The story at the heart of the film includes a couple named Roger and Anita who owns a pair of dalmatians named Pongo and Perdita respectively. Their dogs, then, give birth to a litter of puppies.
Cruella de Vil, a rich, spoiled heiress, then, decides she wants to turn the puppies into fur coats. Of course, this ends up in their kidnapping and eventual rescue. 101 Dalmatians became one amongst animated classics that Disney has already remade in live-action. So, there isn’t any real reason to try and do so again. However, it doesn’t suggest this new upcoming movie couldn’t actually be a stealthy prequel to that specific version of the villain.
THEORY: Disney’s Cruella is a prequel to 1990s 101 Dalmatians
Emma Stone and Glenn Close’s portrayal.
The trailer shows Emma Stone’s portrayal of Cruella. The speculation includes Emma as the young Glenn Close who played the puppy-hating villain in 101 Dalmatians. However, the trailer shows nothing that would stick out as a reason that Stone’s character would eventually evolve into Close’s version. Their performances may not be identical but it doesn’t make the idea wrong.
Stone’s Cruella contains a less theatrical accent but her laugh sounded quite like Close’s – both striking and suitably evil. They also looked similar in how they carry themselves – with an air of utter confidence and dominance. Stone and Close’s version also possess an attention-grabbing sense of fashion, both have a high opinion of themselves, and a desire to always be the center of attention.
Stone also has a darker portrayal of her character than Close. This can be explained that this younger version has yet to mature into the high society grand dame that Close will become. Despite the differences, however, both of their portrayals clearly express a sinister and volatile character – one of which shouldn’t be toyed with. Aside from all of that, Close is actually an executive producer on this upcoming film, a move that wouldn’t really make sense if the origin story didn’t share some kind of connection to the 1996 film.
The timeline is sensible.
The years don’t exactly line up. However, the overall similar age range of Stone and Close makes this theory believable. Close turned 30 in 1977 and Stone just turned 32 a few months ago while portraying Cruella within the 1970s. The setting also makes it exceedingly probable that the two films exist within the same live-action universe. The upcoming movie could easily have the setting decades before the 1960s original animated movie, or in the 1990s itself, a few decades prior to the present day.
Aside from that, Making Cruella an official prequel to the 101 Dalmatians could set-up further installments in the franchise designed to connect the two films. The only real issue with this is trying to continue to make the character a sympathetic feministic antihero when her goal is skinning puppies. Still, the dalmatian reference in the trailer shows that Disney won’t be shying away from the aspect of the character.
Does this theory make sense? Let us know!
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.