The Firebird has no alliances; he serves no one, he can't distinguish friend from foe - he is a primal living force of destruction. He lives only to destroy and seemingly despises all that brings life and creation (like the Spring Sprite). His only weakness is that he only destroys - he can't create (other than fire and lava) nor can he persist, as he returned to his slumber when there is nothing left for him to destroy.
This interpretation of the Firebird actually conflicts with the original version of Igor Stravinsky's ballet. In it, he was described as a benevolent, peaceful being who bore no traits of evil. However, Disney's version was violent, destructive, and merciless, showing no qualms of destroying a newly created forest.
The Firebird appears to be a giant eagle with huge wings and his whole body is made entirely out of lava. He also has glowing yellow eyes. He was animated by well-known animator John Pomeroy.
Role in the film
When the Firebird was accidentally awakened from his hibernation state by the Spring Sprite, when she touched the stone in his volcano for curiosity, he unleashed a brutal and terrifying display of its destructive power on the Sprite's and Elk's forest. It is unknown why he attacked the former, to begin with, though the most likely possibilities are he was enraged for being awakened, or that he simply felt the urge to begin a chaotic rampage. He pursued the Sprite until she climbed up a big tree which she got trapped on. He then gave her a final hit that turned her into a tiny, helpless creature. After the destruction of the forest was done, he returned to his slumber.
He also appeared in the Halloween version of the show: World of Color: Villainous.
- If you look closely while the Firebird's awakening, you can see evil spirits, demons, and lost souls swarming around.
- He shares many similarities to Chernabog, the villain from "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria" in the first film. They both emerge from a mountain, they wreak chaos, they can both manipulate fire, they are both forces of destruction, and good ultimately triumphed over both of them, although the Firebird is not necessarily evil like Chernabog. It is interesting to note that they both appeared in the last segment of the two films. However Chernabog is a force of evil while the Firebird is a force of nature. Another difference between them is despite the fact that the Spring Sprite restores life to the forest, the Firebird leaves on its own terms, whereas Chernabog is forced to cease his evil antics by church bells.
- He is the only actual character from Igor Stravinsky's ballet to appear in the segment.
- In Once Upon a Time, the Firebird is mentioned by Henry when he chose the name of Emma's new operation to rescue Captain Hook in Hades' world.
- The Firebird's lava-like appearance and destructive behavior are similar to that of the Lava Titan from Hercules. They are also similar to that of Rodan from Warner Bros. and Legendary's Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).