Warning: This article contains movie spoilers from Disney's Cruella (2021)
Disney’s Cruella (2021) premiered in Los Angeles on May 18, 2021, and was released across all theaters in the United States before becoming available on Disney+ on May 28 – with confused fans wondering how does Disney’s Cruella (2021) end.
The movie ends with Cruella (portrayed by Academy Award winner Emma Stone) inheriting the Baroness’ (played by British actress Emma Thompson) Hellman Hall and renaming it Hell Hall.
Viewers took to siding with the titular character from Disney’s Cruella (2021), in stark contrast to the original portrayal of the character who was the main villain in the 101 Dalmations movies who would skin dogs and use their fur to make coats.
Introduction to Disney’s Cruella (2021)
Disney’s Cruella (2021) in its very essence, is a crime-comedy film that focuses on the origin of the titular character Cruella de Vil – who has over the decades been portrayed as an evil character, the primary antagonist that audiences have grown to detest and side against in favor of the traditional protagonists.
With the modern reimagining and refocusing of the story-telling, Disney’s Cruella (2012) sees Emma Stone‘s Cruella de Vil become the protagonist (somewhat) that audiences find themselves rooting for, even though the ending of the movie hints at her transition into the traditional villain that we have known her to be over the years.
The movie begins with the titular character going by her real name, Estella – who is a creative child with an innate talent for fashion, coupled with a penchant for the nefarious when she embraces her bad side, which she named Cruella. Estella sports her trademark half-white and half-black hair since birth and was outcasted by others because she was different; as her mother, Catherine Miller asked her to put Cruella aside and embrace being Estella instead.
She continues to be bullied in primary school by the other kids who threw her into a dumpster, where she then met a stray dog that she adopted and named Buddy. It was in the primary school where she made a friend, Anita Darling, whom Estella expressed her admiration for her name. Estella, refusing to be bullied any longer by the other kids, re-embraced her bad side of Cruella and quickly became a problematic child and student at the school, earning numerous blemishes on his school record to the point where he mother had to withdraw her from school in an attempt to keep her record clean – the headmaster wanted to expel her.
The mother and daughter then drove to a mansion where a ball was being held, with Estella being told to stay inside the car while her mother went in to speak with an unnamed woman (later revealed to be the Baroness) to ask for money to start a new life with her daughter. Estella wanted to see the ball for herself and left the car, sneaking into the gala with Buddy before they were discovered and chased by the Baroness’ three Dalmations, who were the complete opposites of their kind, warm and gentle predecessors in the previous movie(s) iterations.
As Estella was hiding, she witnessed the three blood-thirsty Dalmations lunge towards her mother and pushed her off the cliff where the mansion stood, falling to her death as her daughter watched. The girl then ran away and lost a valuable necklace that her mother had gifted her, as she sought refuge inside a rubbish truck and wounded up at the Regent Park fountain where she met two boys who were thieves – Jasper and Horace, and they became friends.
Estella, now all grown up, dons a red wig to hide her black and white hair, and makes a living with Jasper and Horace as petty thieves, to quite the success – and this is where Cruella’s story truly begins.
Does Cruella kill dogs?
Despite the original Cruella character from the 101 Dalmations movies (implyingly) skinning dogs to make her fur coats, Disney’s Cruella (2021) has taken a side-step away from that disturbing hobby.
The movie reimagines Cruella de Vil as an antihero instead of an evil villain, with the dalmatians (who were otherwise the innocent victims in 101 Dalmations) being turned into the villains (sort of) instead.
Cruella wanted to buy Perdita and Pongo, the dalmatian puppies in 101 Dalmations because she saw the puppies’ fur as a precious fashion commodity, instead of living things. But in Disney’s Cruella (2021), Cruella is portrayed in a more sympathetic light – although she still sports the same characteristics as the main villain from 101 Dalmations.
And although she still commits similarly-inspired misdeeds, her misdemeanors are in the large part motivated by her desire to avenger her mother’s death – the movie steers away from Cruella skinning dogs, with the character not once coming close to crossing that line.
Cruella’s hair meaning
Cruella de Vil’s hair has been an iconic staple in all the related movie iterations, and in Disney’s Cruella (2021) – the black and white symbolises both her good side and her bad side; with the white representing Estella and the Black representing Cruella.
However as the movie rages on, we come to see the alter-ego of Cruella fully consuming and taking over from Estella – although the duality of her hair colors remain the same.
There is however, a real-life, actual hereditary condition that explains the black-and-white hair – Poliosis.
Poliosis is usually found in people who carry the Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease, Allezandrini syndrome and the Waardenburg syndrome – with the diseases causing the pigment and colour in hair (and skin) to change.
Poliosis has made its way into Hollywood, with movie characters such as Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd sporting the famous black-and-white lock – one could also argue that Rogue from the X-Men movies in the early 2000s had the same condition, although hers is caused more by shock or fright that results in her hair turning red.
How does Disney’s Cruella (2021) end
At the end of the movie, we see Cruella adopting her Estella persona and luring the Baroness to the same cliff where her mother was murdered, and tricked her into pushing Estella off the cliff in full view of the Baroness’ party guests, police officers and security.
Estella survived the fall with a parachute that she fashioned into her skirt, faking her own death with the “murder”, but not before inhering the Baroness’s family fortune – oh, did we not mention that the Baroness was Estella’s real mother?
Some context: The Baroness gave birth to Estella but was so narcissistic that she felt the child would steal the attention of everyone from her, so she instructed her valet John to “get rid” of the baby. John couldn’t bring himself to take the life of the child and gave her to Catherine, who was a maid in the Baroness’ mansion, to raise in secret.
The “late” Estella then bequeathed the estate that she inherited from the Baron (the mansion actually belongs to the Baroness’ husband, who left it to Estella in his will) to her “dear friend” Cruella, who moves into the estate with Jasper, Horace, Artie and John the valet (who serves her now).
Jasper then looks at Cruella and asks her “so what now?”, to which she breaks out a wry smirk and says that she has a few ideas on what her next move is going to be – hinting at the start of and transition towards its sequel.
In the mid-credits scene, Roger (the Baroness’ former lawyer whom she fired) and Anita both received a Dalmation puppy each, named Pongo and Perdita respectively – further hinting (rather heavily at that) at the beginning of the 101 Dalmations movies. However, in the original movie, it wasn’t Cruella who gave the Dalmations to Roger and Anita; and it proves to be an exciting twist to see how the sequel of Disney’s Cruella (2021) pans out.
You can watch Cruella on Disney Plus (Disney+) without any additional charges.