- “Don't you disrespect me, little man!
Don't you derogate or deride!
You're in my world now, not your world
And I got friends on the other side!”
- ―Doctor Facilier
Dr. Facilier (commonly known as the Shadow Man) is the main antagonist of Disney's 2009 animated feature film, The Princess and the Frog. He is an evil, smooth-talking witch doctor who plots to rule New Orleans with help from his "friends on the other side". Having come from a poor background, Facilier grew to resent the rich and prosperous—none so much as the most powerful man in the city, Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff. Facilier sought to supersede his rival using voodoo and pawns, while offering the souls of New Orleans' denizens to his "friends" as recompense.
Since his inception, Facilier has garnered critical acclaim and major popularity with fans, making him one of Disney's most popular villains. In response, he quickly became a primary member of the Disney Villains franchise.
Facilier's past is mostly unknown, though he mentions being a descendant of royalty through his mother (whose severed, shrunken head he keeps in his emporium). His motivations toward taking over New Orleans was briefly implied to be a result of a poor upbringing, where the wealthy either treated him with disrespect or ignored him altogether.
At some point in time, through unknown circumstances, Facilier encountered a group of dark loa and formed an alliance with them, granting himself power over black magic, which he would regularly use to swindle the citizens of New Orleans for easy money by "granting" their wishes—posing as an amoral businessman of sorts. Facilier refers to the loa as his "friends on the other side", and they typically act as his lackeys throughout the witch doctor's various schemes. His crooked nature and affiliation with these shadowy figures earned Facilier the nickname "Shadow Man." However, Facilier's power comes at a price; should he fail to remunerate his "friends" for their services, Facilier must recompense with his own soul.
As evidenced by Tiana's knowledge and distaste for him, Facilier has an infamous reputation around the city and is a feared figure in the eyes of its inhabitants. Despite having access to the loa's magic, however, Facilier continued to struggle socially and financially—unlike others, like his wealthy rival Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff. This played into Facilier's belief that the true "power" that controls the world is money, not magic, thus setting off his coup to seize the La Bouff fortune.
Facilier is accompanied by his sidekick shadow, which has a will and personality of its own. It is absolutely obedient to Facilier's wishes, and seems to reflect his inner mood (ex. when Facilier was luring an unsuspecting Naveen and Lawrence to his parlor table, the shadow briefly formed into a snake, hinting treacherous intent). His base of operation was a seedy parlor known as Dr. Facilier's Voodoo Emporium, which is shown to be filled with strange objects and voodoo paraphernalia (some of which he admits that he "ain't even tried") including shrunken heads and voodoo dolls which seem to come alive, chant, and beat drums when Facilier is about to perform his biggest spells. The dolls also serve a practical application - he has a voodoo doll of 'Big Daddy' La Bouff primed and ready for the moment he can get his hands on the rich man's fortune.
Facilier is a scheming bokor, driven mostly by greed and the desire to have authority over others; more specifically, the citizens of New Orleans. As Naveen mentions, Facilier is indeed suave, smooth-talking and often charming, which aids him in luring unsuspecting victims into his lair. When it comes to sorcery, Facilier is not as powerful as he seems, as his magic is primarily derived from his "friends", forcing the witch doctor to mostly rely on his own power of persuasion to carry out his bidding. This was a weapon perhaps even more dangerous than black magic during his lifetime, as Facilier was able to maintain control over his "friends" by repeatedly manipulating them with charm and temptation. Despite their nearly unlimited power, this made the voodoo demons just as susceptible to Dr. Facilier as his human victims.
Facilier is an opportunist and can be quick to formulate plots. After overhearing the planned arrival of a foreign prince, and Charlotte La Bouff's lovesick infatuation with said prince, Facilier was able to quickly concoct an elaborate scheme—one of which that could have very well succeeded, if not for unexpected interference.
While a charismatic showman, Facilier is also cruel, remorseless and sadistic. He has no qualms with terrorizing innocent civilians as a means to reach his own goals, and often relies on manipulation and false promises to achieve said goals. As evidenced by his words to his "friends", while ordering them to capture Naveen: "Bring him to me alive, I need his heart pumpin'... For now.", Facilier is not above killing his victims, once their usefulness has been fulfilled. His murderous state is also shown when Ray the firefly interferes with his plot, as the witch doctor quickly resorted to murder to prevent further interference, and appeared nonchalant about the matter. On a larger scale, Facilier would even use New Orleans' denizens as a bargaining chip, offering their lives in exchange for more power from his "friends".
While generally composed, Facilier has instances of lashing out in anger, particularly when he feels disrespected. For example, when Lawrence questioned Facilier's legitimacy by referring to him as a charlatan, Facilier immediately confronted Lawrence in fury, though he managed to pull himself back fairly quickly. Likewise, Facilier's equanimity is somewhat of a façade. Though he gives off the impression of being totally in control of every situation, in reality, he lives in constant fear of being unable to repay his debt to his "friends". When the notion of failure comes into play, Facilier becomes vulnerable, desperate, and high-strung.
Despite this complete lack of morals and treacherous nature, Facilier frequently sympathizes with the downtrodden or poor. With Lawrence, he made a genuine effort to retain a calm and patient demeanor when commencing with him; he was apparently adamant about having Lawrence willingly work as his accomplice, rather than forcing him into villainy through torture or intimidation. He also sympathized with Tiana and her late father, he even offered to make her dream a reality in exchange for his talisman and it nearly worked until she regained her senses.
Facilier is tall, skinny, mustached; and dressed in very linear black-and-red clothing. He has purple eyes, and a thin mustache, as well as a gap between his front teeth. He has long, boney fingers, and lanky arms and legs.
Dressed as the infamous Loa of the dead Baron Samedi, Doctor Facilier wears a top hat with a purple feather in it and a skull and crossbones on it; the skull can be magically removed and change into a skull make-up as shown in "Friends on the other side". Under his top hat, instead of being bald or having a comb-over, Facilier has a huge hairdo to fit in his hat, also to many villains are seen to have hair like he does. Around his neck, he wears a necklace with two crocodile teeth. Facilier wears a dark maroon undertaker tailcoat and black pants, white spats over black shoes, a purple vest under his coat that doesn't entirely cover his midriff, and a red cummerbund. One might say he somewhat looks and performs like a showman. Like most Disney Villains, Facilier's clothing consists mainly of red, black and purple.
He wields a cane with a purple globe on top, possibly a crystal ball, though it is never revealed. Facilier seems to use his cane for show performances, a tool, or a weapon. He carries a voodoo talisman, which is the fragile source of his powers. As shown, only a person besides Facilier, who wears the talisman, becomes whoever they want, provided it has a particular person's blood.
Powers and abilities
- Voodoo: Facilier is a bokor that performs left-handed or Petro Voodoo (the dark and stereotypical voodoo magic). He is a conjurer and sorcerer of sorts, possessing powerful dark voodoo magic capable of accomplishing nearly anything. He can see into the past of a person and see what people desire the most. He is proficient in sleight of hand, effortlessly shuffling, twisting and manipulating his deck of tarot cards. He is a skilled conjurer as well, being able to pull his staff and tarot deck out of thin air (although this may also be attributed to sleight of hand.) Curiously, despite having great power, the nature of his voodoo leaves Dr. Facilier unable to conjure a thing for himself. Instead, he must rely on trickery and guile to manipulate other people into doing what he wants. The nature of his power seems to stem around making deals; he only gains full access to his voodoo when fulfilling someone else's wishes (although he can usually twist them to suit his own ends) or tempting them.
- Fortune-Telling: Facilier's tarot cards possess unique properties: the images on them seem to change, reflecting the history and/or desires of Facilier's victims (such as when one of his cards elongated to show Naveen is descended from two long lines of royalty and when Tiana's restaurant picture appeared on a card in the deck.) The cards usually show his victims their future in a positive light; however, they are unable to corrupt the truth entirely and usually include a clue as to the victim's real fate (for example, when Naveen sees his future filled with "green," he fails to see the lily pad made of money in the background).
- Spell-Casting: Facilier is shown casting spells through the use of a strange pink powder. The effects of this powder include the reversal of the frog spell on Tiana, a man spontaneously growing hair (then having it sprout all over him), producing puffs of smoke that display memories, and the creation of a full-scale rendition of Tiana's dream restaurant (although it is possible, and implied, that what he works with the powder are only illusions).
- "Friends on the Other Side": Facilier's evil abilities are primarily derived from his "friends" on the other side: these "friends" of his are in fact a multitude of dark spirits (known as Loa) which appear in the forms of voodoo masks in his Voodoo Emporium. While he does call upon them for help, he is in actuality deeply indebted to them already (the nature of which is never explained but, it is implied the only way to pay them back is by giving them souls), and secretly fears them.
Facilier is first seen on the busy streets of New Orleans, striking a deal with a bald man who wishes to grow hair. Facilier makes it so by having the man's hair grow over his entire body, frightening both civilians and the man himself, while amusing the sadistic Facilier. However, Facilier's joy is short-lived when he witnesses just how much wealth is owned by Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff. The envious Facilier and his shadow look in disgust, knowing there must be a way to make themselves just as wealthy as Eli. Facilier follows Big Daddy and his daughter, Charlotte La Bouff, into a cafe, where they discuss the arrival of a foreign prince, Prince Naveen. A lovesick Charlotte looks to marry Naveen and shares her excitement with a waitress named Tiana. While lurking in the shadows, Facilier eavesdrops on the conversation and plots to use Charlotte and Naveen's union to seize the La Bouff fortune.
Once Prince Naveen and his overworked valet Lawrence arrive, Facilier takes them to his parlor to strike deals—he offers Naveen all the freedom and "green" his heart desires, while offering Lawrence a chance to live the life of a prince. With a handshake, the deal is set. Facilier grants Naveen his "green" by transforming the prince into a frog. Lawrence, meanwhile, becomes Facilier's accomplice and is transformed into an exact copy of Naveen by a talisman. Under the guise of Naveen, Lawrence is to marry Charlotte and become the heir to the La Bouff fortune. Facilier would then murder Big Daddy, thus handing the fortune down to Lawrence by inheritance. Together, the two villains would split the money 60-40, with Lawrence getting the smaller sum. With the La Bouff's fortune under Facilier's control, the witch doctor would become the most powerful man in the city and take over. That night, at Charlotte's masquerade ball, a disguised Lawrence meets the wealthy debutante and they immediately hit it off. Meanwhile, Naveen manages to escape and eventually meets Tiana, whom he believes to be a princess. Following the storyline of "The Frog Prince", Naveen asks Tiana to kiss him, which she reluctantly does. As a result of her not actually being a princess, however, Tiana also becomes a frog.
Upon learning of Naveen's escape, a furious Facilier confronts Lawrence on the matter, who starts to have second thoughts about the partaking in a villainous scheme. Lawrence discards the talisman, but a panicked Facilier quickly catches it, warning Lawrence that he cannot risk it being destroyed. Calming down, Facilier persuades Lawrence to continue going along with the plan, assuring that all will be well so long as they have Naveen's blood in the voodoo talisman. The next day, however, the blood begins to run out and Lawrence's disguise begins to fail, though he manages to propose to Charlotte before time is up. With no other choice, Facilier is reduced to asking for help from his "friends on the other side". His "friends" silently ask what they would get out of the bargain while glaring at him. In response, Facilier offers the souls of New Orleans' citizens as payment, declaring that the voodoo spirits will be free to prey upon and consume them once the city is under his command. Enticed by this proposal, Facilier is given a team of shadow demon henchmen to go out and capture Naveen alive.
On the night of the wedding, Lawrence remains hidden within the La Bouff's guest quarters alongside Facilier and his shadow. The witch doctor fearfully and frustratingly laments the fact that his life is in danger should the plot fail, losing his patience with both Lawrence and the shadow demons' delays. Suddenly, the demons return, with Naveen in their possession. Delighted, Facilier captures the prince within his grasps and forcefully holds him down as Lawrence steals back the blood and stores it in the talisman, its power. The wedding ceremony occurs that night at Mardi Gras, where Facilier watches closely from the shadows as Lawrence and Charlotte are about to be pronounced husband and wife. With a voodoo doll of Big Daddy at hand, Facilier intends on stabbing the doll in the heart, thus killing Big Daddy and handing the fortune down to Lawrence as planned. Fortunately, Naveen escapes yet again and grabs hold of the talisman before giving it to his friend Ray the firefly. Facilier and the shadows step in to chase after Ray, while Naveen is held captive by Lawrence.
Ray is able to give the talisman over to Tiana before he is caught, and stays behind to fend off the shadow demons to buy her time. Unfortunately, Facilier catches Ray by surprise and swats him out of the air, stunning him. The witch doctor then crushes Ray under his shoe, fatally wounding him. With him out of the way, the Shadow Man and his legion of demons head onward to Tiana. Facilier and the shadows have Tiana cornered, soon enough, but she threatens to destroy the talisman, prompting Facilier to quickly make an attempt to strike a deal. He changes her back into a human and creates a manifestation of her dream restaurant. Facilier offers to grant Tiana her restaurant in exchange for the talisman, but Tiana remains steadfast. Facilier tries to coerce Tiana by referencing her deceased father, with whom she had shared her dream. This actually backfires on Facilier, as Tiana realizes that, while her father did not get what he wanted, he had what he needed in love and never lost sight of what was truly important. Declaring she'll always remember the same, Tiana rebuffs Facilier's deal.
Tiana tries to destroy the talisman, but Facilier's shadow grabs it and hands it back to the doctor. A sadistic Facilier then transforms Tiana back into a frog, before taunting her by declaring that she will now spend the rest of her life as a frog. Tiana regains the talisman by grabbing hold of it with her elastic, frog tongue, and destroys it before Facilier can stop her. Upon doing so, Facilier falls into a state of immediate panic and frantically tries to recollect the pieces of the broken talisman, just as his "friends from the other side" arrive, announcing their intentions to collect the doctor's soul as punishment for his failure to repay his debt. A horrified Facilier tries to persuade his former accomplices to provide him with another opportunity to redeem himself since he still had Naveen captured and needed more time. Despite telling the truth, they are not persuaded as he makes an attempt to escape, but the demons grab hold of his shadow, thus capturing Facilier as well, subsequently dragging him into Hell, where his soul will be doomed to remain for all eternity. With a flash of light, both Dr. Facilier and the spirits vanish, leaving behind only a tombstone with Facilier's name and horrified face engraved onto it, confirming the witch doctor's death.
While not appearing in in the series, himself, Facilier's hat can be seen in Mal's tent, during the first few episodes. More notably, he is revealed to be the father of a young girl named Freddie Facilier.
Dr. Facilier appears as a recurring character of the ABC series, beginning with the fifth episode of the seventh season. He is played by Daniel Francis. Tiana visits Dr. Facilier when her kingdom is falling apart and asks him to help her find a prince. Facilier makes her think that a man named Robert is the prince she is looking for. However, Robert turns out to be a fraud and he is after the ruby medal that belonged to Tiana's father James. He only tried to steal it because Facilier has his true love captured. Tiana gives the ruby medal to Facilier, but she is almost killed by him. However, Tiana fights back and rescues Robert's true love. However, Faciler manages to get the ruby from the medal and disappears.
The day of Tiana's coronation, Dr. Facilier pays her a visit. He briefly greets Regina and informs an apprehensive Tiana that he means no harm, only to warn her about a threat to her kingdom. He directs her to a certain part of the bog, where a massive alligator has attacked. Facilier hopes that Tiana will be able to slay the beast, as it has swallowed a necklace that belonged to Regina and he wishes to return it to her. Once the alligator is dead, Facilier appears at the bank in front of Tiana and a dying Prince Naveen, who was attacked by the alligator. He teleports the necklace out of the alligator's corpse then informs her that, since Naveen has already passed on, there will be a great price if he uses his power to revive him. Tiana insists that, since she killed the alligator and regained the necklace for him, she owes him nothing, and Facilier agrees. However, after Naveen recovers, Facilier teleports him to a place where Tiana will never find him, explaining to her that, although she paid the price by getting the necklace back, Naveen also owed him, seeing as it was his life. Tiana angrily tells Facilier that she will find Naveen, but Facilier remains unconvinced as he teleports away.
Later, as Tiana leaves to meet her subjects, joined by Henry, Ella, and Hook, Regina lingers behind, calling out to Facilier, who is hidden on the balcony. They briefly banter, vaguely referring to their past, and Facilier returns Regina's necklace to her. When asked about his intentions, Facilier states that he missed his queen, and the two passionately kiss.
He later begins a quest to possess the Dark One's dagger and power, a desire he shares with Mother Gothel.
Dr. Facilier appears alongside his daughter, Celia Facilier. He is portrayed by Jamal Sims.
Descendants: Isle of the Lost
Dr. Facilier is one of the many villains trapped on the Isle of the Lost. There, he serves as the sinister headmaster of the island's school, Dragon Hall, which he found, following his failure to steal the La Bouff's fortune. The intention was to utilize the knowledge of older villains, to teach the younger generation the ways of villainy so that they can overtake the world once their powers are restored. He is also the teacher of Enrichment at Dragon Hall. Facilier also served as an inspiration to a plot concocted by Jay, son of Jafar.
Facilier appears as a boss in two mini-game stages of the video game spin-off of the film, where the continuity of the original movie doesn't seem to exist, as Facilier appears antagonizing Tiana and Naveen (as humans) through the stages. In one mini-game, Tiana, Naveen, and the other participating players engage in a dance outside of Facilier's emporium, where the object is to dance without being caught by either Facilier or Lawrence. In another game, Facilier antagonizes the group at Charlotte's manor, where the witch doctor casts a spell on one of the players, turning them into a frog. The curse is contagious, and whoever is touched by the frog, will become one, as well.
While he doesn't make a physical appearance in Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Facilier is mentioned by Tiana, who claims she must return to New Orleans to rescue Naveen, who is said to be in danger at the hands of Dr. Facilier.
Facilier is a common character at the Disney theme parks, making his debut as a meetable character in 2009.
Faciler first appeared in Tiana's Showboat Jubilee in New Orleans Square.
Facilier appears in World of Color at Disney California Adventure, during the "Colors of Fear" scene as a cameo appearance. He also appears during the montage celebrating villains in the 2015 rendition of the show.
During the 2015 rendition of Mickey's Halloween Party, Facilier was the host of the Mystic Spirits of the Blue Bayou event at the Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square.
An animatronic Facilier can also be seen as part of The Princess and the Frog's Enchanted Window display on Main Street, U.S.A.
In Florida, Facilier first appeared in Tiana's Showboat Jubilee in Liberty Square.
In 2011, Facilier became the lead villain of Disney Villains Mix and Mingle and performs "Friends On the Other Side", at the opening of the show. After the song, Facilier summons several Disney villains and, together, they have a dance. Right after, a meet-and-greet with the watching guests proceeds.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the Magic Kingdom, Facilier is unsealed from the Voodoo Realm by Hades to find a crystal fragment. Facilier also decides to exact revenge on Tiana for his demise and take over Frontierland. He assigns his shadows to find the crystal and frees Lawrence from jail to poison the food at Tiana's Palace and place the locals under his control. Meanwhile, he kidnaps Tiana, but while he has a conversation with Hades, Tiana is freed by the park guests. Facilier retrieves the crystal and plans on getting Tiana after he completes the delivery. Facilier then battles the park guests, only to ultimately get turned into a frog himself and taken back to the "the other side" as a result of his failure.
Dr. Facilier was one of the thirteen villains that were summoned by Hades for the Unleash the Villains event at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Friday the 13th, September 2013. He was the ninth villain to be introduced during the pre-show. He could later be found roaming the large dance floor with six of the other villains. He would stop and take pictures with guests. He also appeared in the show a second time, but he was the eighth villain to appear.
In the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show at the Magic Kingdom, Facilier is the first of the villains to help the Sanderson Sisters to add an ingredient to their party potion by summoning sinister shadows as well as singing "Friends on the Other Side". Later, Facilier and the other villains join The Sanderson Sisters in singing "I Put a Spell on You" at the end of the show.
Dr. Facilier is also the host of the villains-themed entertainment entity, Club Villain, in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
In Disney Dreams, Dr. Facilier (or at least his shadow) encounters Peter Pan's shadow and begins to sing "Friends on the Other Side", leading to the castle taking on a mechanized appearance and eventually leading to the arrival of Captain Hook.
Facilier stars in a portion of the Nightmare Experiment attraction, here he gives a live voodoo performance. He also appeared as one of Maleficent's invited guests during the finale of Villains Night Out!.
As part of the park's Halloween celebration, Facilier joins Hades and Maleficent in the Villain's Cavalcade night show.
Facilier appeared in the earlier versions of Villains Tonight, but no longer does. In the show, Facilier is called on by Hades to get a second opinion on what the Fates said. Facilier confirms what they said was true, all the while singing different verses of "Friends on the Other side". Eventually, he goes into a full-blown version of his song, complete with dancers and shadows.
On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, Facilier is one of the villain suspects in the interactive attraction Midship Detective Agency. If he turns out to be the culprit, Mickey, Donald and Goofy track him down and successfully put him behind bars where the shadow demons taunt him for his failure.
- In French "facile" (in other Latin languages it is written in the same way, but pronounced differently) means "easy", then "Faciler" could be "the one that makes things easy", using Voodoo.
- Bruce Smith describes Facilier as the love child of the Disney Villains Captain Hook and Cruella De Vil.
- He may not be an actual doctor, though his title could likely refer to the fact Facilier uses his voodoo magic to "help" people.
- Facilier was originally named Dr. Duvalier after Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, the Voodoo practicing genocidal dictator of Haiti.
- Dr. Facilier is the only character in the film who refers to himself as such. Everyone else simply calls him "(the) Shadow Man". Dr. Facilier's first name is never revealed either.
- Facilier is the first male Disney character to have purple eyes (the second being Fear from Inside Out), and one of the few Disney characters in general to possess such, the only other characters being Aurora, Vanessa, Megara and Judy Hopps (all of whom are women).
- Violet/purple and green eyes are often associated with sorcery and the Devil, which is why many of Disney's earlier villains had green eyes. Therefore, it is not surprising the animators chose to give Facilier purple eyes, due to his voodoo powers.
- The way Facilier moves is quite similar to 1920's era jazz musicians/dancers, notably Cab Calloway.
- While he is dancing in front of Naveen and Lawrence in his Voodoo shop, his Shadow turns the wall's floral background into skulls.
- In an earlier script, Dr. Facilier would not just be a dark wizard who wants to conquer New Orleans with the help of his friends, he would have been Mama Odie's son, who followed the path of the dark arts, unlike his mother. In this same script, there was to be a showdown between the two of them, which would have converged into a major battle during the Mardi Gras.
- Facilier's ultimate downfall is among the darker and unusual demises for Disney villains: when his amulet is destroyed, he loses the means by which he can pay back his debt, and as such, his soul is claimed by the Loa as payment and he is dragged, begging for his life, into their dark realm (essentially condemning him to eternal damnation).
- Facilier is the first black Disney Villain and the fourth to have French origins.
- Facilier is the first Disney Villain not to have a particular entrance of his own, instead appearing in the opening song in a casual way.
- Facilier's crocodile-tooth necklace can lead to his power; Voodoo practitioners believe that crocodile teeth can bring strength, primal energy, and wisdom.
- Facilier and Tiana never meet until the film's climax, though she knows of his reputation and he knows of her father (most likely through the cards).
- Facilier is the first villain in the Disney animated canon to have his own song since Alameda Slim in Home on the Range.
- He once said that he was born of royalty on his mother's side. This probably means that his mother was a Voodoo Queen like the famous Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
- It is very subtly implied that Doctor Facilier can play the piano because there is one in his Voodoo Emporium.
- In some books, Facilier is not sucked into the voodoo mask as a gateway to Hell, but swallowed by his shadows, leaving his hat.