Every Major Villain in the Franchise, Ranked
The first Shrek movie premiered in 2001, featuring the voices of Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers, and Eddie Murphy. The three, along with a stellar supporting cast, tell the story of Shrek (Myers) the ogre when he sets out with Donkey (Murphy) to rescue Princess Fiona (Diaz) from her dragon-guarded tower. Shrek blossomed into a beloved franchise, with four movies, including a spin-off Puss in Boots franchise and a rumored fifth Shrek movie on the horizon. Each movie sees Shrek and Fiona facing some adversity, whether it’s dragons, witches, or pesky in-laws. While Shrek always emerges as the hero by the end of the movie, he’s faced his fair share of villains. These are eight of the franchise’s major antagonists, ranked.
Rapunzel was introduced in Shrek the Third and was the secondary antagonist, teaming up with Prince Charming. Charming is out for revenge following the Fairy Godmother’s death in Shrek 2 and is set on receiving his “happily ever after” no matter what it takes. He joins forces with a group of fairy tale villains like Captain Hook and the Evil Queen to storm Far Far Away and take what they believe is theirs. Meanwhile, Rapunzel and the other fairy tale princesses are celebrating with Fiona at her baby shower when Charming and the villains storm the castle. While the princesses are trying to escape, Rapunzel reveals that she’s not only working with Charming, but she’s also his girlfriend. The fairy tale creatures eventually give Rapunzel a sizable dose of payback when they reveal — to an audience — that Rapunzel’s signature golden hair is actually a wig.
Dragon was one of the first villains Shrek faced alongside Donkey in the very first movie. Dragon was guarding the tower that Fiona was locked away in when Shrek and Donkey were sent to rescue her by Lord Farquad. While on the rescue mission, Donkey gets captured by Dragon, but it turns out she’s got a soft side and wants someone to love — and that someone ends up being Donkey. However, when Shrek rescues Fiona and is ready to meet back up with Donkey, Dragon gets upset and starts breathing fire, chasing them out across the bridge.
We don’t see Dragon again until the end of the movie, when she saves the day by eating Lord Farquad and reconnects with Donkey. She shows up in the rest of the movies, too, eventually becoming Donkey’s wife and the mother to several half-dragon/half-donkey babies, effectively dubbed “Dronkeys.”
6 King Harold
King Harold is Fiona’s father and first appeared in Shrek 2. It’s later revealed that he was The Frog Prince and turned human when Queen Lillian kissed him. King Harold isn’t the main villain in Shrek 2, but he certainly has a part to play in helping Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming carry out their plans. Harold is upset when Shrek and Fiona come to visit Far Far Away, and he sees that not only is his daughter still an ogre, but she married one, too. He doesn’t want them together and wants Fiona to have a “real” happily ever after, and Fairy Godmother wants her son to claim his right to the throne by marrying Fiona. So the three of them start working together secretly.
King Harold eventually has a change of heart and ends up saving the day when he shields Shrek from a harmful magic bolt from Fairy Godmother — which deflects and ends up hitting her instead. But in doing this, he turns back into a frog. Unfortunately, he dies at the beginning of Shrek the Third, but he managed to go from bad guy to good guy before his time in the franchise was over.
5 The Witches
General witches appear throughout the entire Shrek franchise, but they’re secondary antagonists in Shrek Forever After. They work for Rumpelstiltskin and are really just there to carry out his bidding and evil plans, like capturing Shrek and Donkey. Witches also show up in Shrek the Third when they join forces with Prince Charming when he tries to take over Far Far Away with the villains he gathered from the Poison Apple. However, they turn good at the end of both Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After.
4 Prince Charming
Prince Charming is the posh, pampered son of Fairy Godmother. He’s first mentioned in Shrek when Fiona says she thought Prince Charming would rescue her. However, his main appearances are in Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third. In Shrek 2, he essentially acts as his mother’s henchman, trying to break apart Shrek and Fiona’s marriage, so he can marry her and inherit the kingdom. He’s very arrogant and eye-roll-worthy, and while he doesn’t get his way at the end of Shrek 2, he returns with a vengeance in Shrek the Third. In the third movie, he’s the main villain, and he’s out on a quest to avenge his mother’s death, kill Shrek, and take over the kingdom of Far Far Away. While he gets to be king for a brief moment, it doesn’t last, and he’s defeated — once again — by Shrek and the fairy tale creatures.
Rumpelstiltskin is the primary antagonist in the last Shrek movie, Shrek Forever After. He’s a shady, untrustworthy dealmaker who makes Shrek sign a contract that allows him to live a day as a “real” ogre again, free from the domesticated life he’s been living with Fiona and their kids, in exchange for the day he was born (though he wasn’t aware of that when he signed the contract). This results in a twisted alternate universe where everything Shrek knows to be true never happened. Fiona was never rescued from the tower; his children were never born; he never became friends with Donkey or Puss in Boots — really, everything that happened in the previous three movies doesn’t exist. To raise the stakes even more, if Shrek doesn’t share the classic “true love’s kiss” with Fiona by the end of his day as an ogre, he’ll cease to exist, which was Rumpel’s plan all along.
Rumpelstiltskin is a very powerful villain in the franchise, who — like Fairy Godmother — uses magic and his band of minions to carry out his evil, self-serving plans. Of course, he ends up defeated at the end of the movie and the alternate universe Shrek was trapped in is destroyed. Rumpel was the last villain Shrek faced in the franchise, at least for now, as there are still talks of a fifth movie premiering at some point.
2 Lord Farquad
Lord Farquad is a ruthless tyrant who rules over the town of Duloc, and he’s the main villain in the first Shrek movie. He wants to rid the world of all fairy tale creatures, as seen in the beginning of the movie when his guards are gathering the creatures and dumping them in a swamp, which ended up being Shrek’s home. Shrek sets out to Duloc with his new sidekick Donkey to demand that Farquad get the fairy tale creatures out of his swamp. In exchange for removing the creatures, Farquad sends Shrek and Donkey off on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona — whom he plans to marry.
Things don’t go as planned for Farquad of course, and he ends up getting eaten by Dragon at the end of the movie. In terms of villains in the Shrek franchise, Farquad is definitely one of the best. His flashy, arrogant persona is funny, he delivered several iconic, memorable lines and helped progress Shrek and Fiona’s story — even if that wasn’t his goal.
1 Fairy Godmother
Fairy Godmother is the main antagonist in Shrek 2 and by far one of the franchise’s most iconic villains. She runs a scammy business manufacturing spells and potions to grant people’s wishes, giving them their “happily ever after.” As Prince Charming’s mother, her scheme in Shrek 2 is to get Shrek out of the picture so Fiona can marry Charming, making him the heir to the kingdom. Fairy Godmother is ruthless and extremely powerful, making her a great villain that helps to keep the movie interesting.
She loses out in the end, and Charming doesn’t get his way either, but not before Fairy Godmother changes into her iconic red, sparkly gown and gives a stunning performance of Bonnie Tyler’s song “Holding Out For A Hero.” It’s a very memorable scene, complete with human Shrek, the giant gingerbread man Mongo, and the rest of the fairy tale creatures heading out to save Fiona and stop Fairy Godmother and Charming. Unfortunately, Fairy Godmother dies at the end of the movie, but even so, she was by far the franchise’s best villain.