The Dark Story Behind Shrek and How It Was Created to Get Revenge on Disney

Yes, Shrek was created to mock and get revenge on Disney.

Gabriela Castillo

Shrek burlas a Disney

No matter how many years go by, Shrek is still one of the best animated movies of all time for both kids and adults.

The movie gave great meaning to animated cinema, which as Guillermo del Toro rightly says, is not just for kids. We see the story of a sarcastic and cynical, yet kind-hearted ogre who falls in love with a princess.

But behind it, there’s a much more personal and vindictive context: a parody of Disney.

The Story Behind Shrek That Mocks Disney

In the 90s, Jeffrey Katzenberg was part of Disney’s workforce and responsible for films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin. Those are all productions of great importance to this day.

The producer worked so well that Michael Eisner, Disney’s president from 1984 to 2005, promised to give him the position of head of animation as soon as it became vacant.

But unfortunately, he was given the “we have an excellent work environment” treatment, as when the position became available, it was Eisner himself who decided to take it.

This led Katzenberg to sue Disney and win $250 million.

Jeffrey katzenberg y michael eisner - the dark story behind shrek and how it was created to get revenge on disney

With this money, the producer and animator made his greatest creation: DreamWorks. Of course, the beginning wasn’t as easy.

The first movie he released was Antz, copying the idea of A Bug’s Life, which Pixar was developing at the time. Therefore, Jeffrey decided to get ahead and release it four months earlier, in October 1998, but it was Disney’s production that had more success.

Katzenberg didn’t give up, so he tried again with Shrek, his most precious treasure, where he took the opportunity to ridicule Disney.

Evidence that Shrek Mocked Disney

It’s not difficult to notice it, the references to popular characters such as Pinocchio.

Also, let’s remember that in one of the scenes of The Lion King, Pumba questions what the shiny “dots” in the sky are. Jeffrey made a reference in the ogre’s film when Donkey, with a resigned attitude, affirms that they are “dots” and that’s it.

Another proof is at the beginning of the film, when Shrek tears out one of the pages of the Sleeping Beauty storybook to wipe himself after going to the bathroom.

And that’s not all, the most interesting and indirectly direct evidence is the face of Lord Farquaad, if you observe it closely, you’ll notice that it’s the same as Michael Eisner’s to get revenge for what had happened in the past.

Lord farquaad - the dark story behind shrek and how it was created to get revenge on disney

Later on, Jeffrey also tried to make fun of the princess tales, adding them as friends of Fiona but with different qualities, all of them completely independent, human, powerful, strong, and individual from that fairy tale that was sold to us before.

If you look closely, everything makes sense. What is a fact is that Shrek is pure art, whether it is mockery (and revenge) of Disney… or not.

Story originally written in Spanish by Kate Nateras in Cultura Colectiva.