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Yzma: He can't get rid of me that easily! Who does that ungrateful little worm think he is?! Does he - A little to the left. [Kronk nudges the head so Yzma can smash it. She does so and continues to rant] have ANY idea of who he's dealing with?! How could he do this to me?! Why, I practically raised him! [Kronk lays down another bust, which Yzma smashes] Kronk: Yeah, you'd think he would've turned out better. Yzma: Yeah. Go figure. Kronk: Well, it's better you're taking out your anger on these things instead of the real Kuzco. Huh? Yzma: That's it, Kronk! That's it! I'll get rid of Kuzco! Kronk: The real Kuzco? Yzma: Of course the real Kuzco! Don't you see? It's perfect! With him out of the way and no heir to the throne, I'll take over and rule the empire! Brrrrilliant! Kronk: So, how does that work with you being fired and all? Yzma: The only ones who know about that are the three of us, soon to be the two of us. Kronk: And I'm one of those two, right? Yzma: To the secret lab!
She is a hideous old woman who wants to usurp the throne by murdering her foster son Emperor Kuzco as revenge for him firing her as his advisor. She also has a strong, but rather dimwitted henchman named Kronk. She is also a rather diabolical, intelligent and manipulative alchemist who concocts various potions and unguents. She also appears in other media as a cat. She is Kuzco's arch-nemesis.
She was voiced by the late Eartha Kitt, who also played Vexus in My Life as a Teenage Robot, Agatha K. Plummer in Harriet the Spy, and Catwoman in the 1966 Batman television series episode "Dressed to Kill". While as a cat, she was voiced by the film's director Mark Dindal, who also voiced Max in Cats Don't Dance, another film directed by Dindal.
Yzma is seen to be malicious, unpleasant, but comically eccentric, she is also a send-up of other Disney villainesses like Ursula and Queen Grimhilde who yearn to be young and beautiful again. But unlike them, Yzma's vanity and old age are played for laughs rather than scares, often calling herself beautiful even though all of the other characters in the series consider her appearance revolting an example being Emperor Kuzco zooming in on all her "worst" features in his inner monologue when firing her as is his power-hungry advisor.
She is also a complicated and impenetrable thinker; one example was her original plan to kill Emperor Kuzco (which was to turn Kuzco into a flea, put him into a box, put that box into another box, mail it to herself, and when it arrived, she will in her own words "SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!!!"). However, after accidentally knocking over a poison vile, which destroys a plant, a plan to simply poison the emperor occurs to her.
Yzma is described to be "scary beyond all reason". Yzma's color theme was stated to be a black and purple aesthetic, being that purple and black are colors often associated with evil. Purple is also the color of royalty, showing Yzma's ambition to be an oppressive empress. Additionally, purple carries connotations of madness, alluding to her insane lust for power. Her character is also surrounded by animals like snakes and cats, which are considered to be signs of evil in numerous religions throughout the world.
Yzma is also shown to be quite intellectual and knowledgeable in chemistry. However, despite her intellectualism, she can also be somewhat unqualified and incompetent with it, as she accidentally uses an extract of a llama on Kuzco, thinking that it was poison due to mislabeling (that was Kronk's doing).
The Emperor's New Groove
Yzma was originally Emperor Kuzco's royal adviser after having raised said emperor through childhood. However, Kuzco did not like the fact that she apparently did most of the governing behind his back, so he decides to fire her. Yzma furiously planned to dispose of the young emperor and rule the empire in his place by poisoning him. This backfires when Kronk accidentally mixes up vials in between the poison and a potion that turns the drinker into a llama, resulting in Kuzco becoming such an animal.
After Kronk incapacitates Kuzco, Yzma orders Kronk to take him out of the city and dispose of him. The next day, after being informed of Kuzco's "death", Yzma arranges a (very half-heartedly) funeral for him and quickly concludes it by replacing Kuzco's image with her own and establishing herself as the new ruler of the empire. When Kronk lets it slip that he let Kuzco live and get carted away by a local peasant, Yzma and Kronk set out to silence Kuzco for good before word can get out that he is still alive.
She follows Kuzco into the jungle and finally catches up with him in her lab. She attempts to kill him and his ally Pacha, but her plan backfires again when she accidentally drinks one of her potions, transforming her into a harmless kitten. At first, she gains the upper hand and grabs the human potion before Pacha and Kuzco could grab it, only for it to be knocked out of her hands into Pacha's when Kronk opened his trapped door and crushed her. In the end, she is placed in Kronk's Junior Chipmunks class.
Kronk's New Groove
Yzma has a smaller role in the film in which after returning to a human form (with the exception of a cat tail), Yzma finds Kronk and tells him that she is no longer evil and involves him in a plan to sell youth potion to the old people. Unbeknownst to Kronk or the old people, the "youth potion" is simply addictive snake oil. As soon as Kronk figures this out, he and Rudy inform everyone as they are about to elect Yzma emperor. The old folks chase Yzma and corner her on a bridge above a river full of alligators. However, Yzma drinks a potion to transform into a cute bunny rabbit, so that no one will want to attack her. However, she is then caught and taken away by a falcon.
At the end of the film, Yzma is shown to be taken to the bird's nest, where its two eggs hatch and the chicks lunge to attack her before the credits roll.
The Emperor's New School
In this TV spinoff, Yzma (having survived her encounter with various hawk chicks and regained her human form) once again plots to take the throne from Kuzco. The show's premise is that Kuzco must attend school and pass all of his classes in order to remain Emperor. If he fails even one class, he will be unable to retake the throne. In order to make Kuzco fail, Yzma poses as Principal Amzy, the principal of Kuzco Academy. With the assistance of Kronk, she comes up with various schemes (most involve potions that transform Kuzco into an animal, similar to the film) in order to make Kuzco fail one of his classes. Due to her normally just trying to make him fail Yzma is less homicidal in this show usually and has even teamed up with Kuzco and saved him before. Several episodes reveal members of Yzma's family, including her mother Amza who (according to Yzma) nags her incessantly, forcing Yzma to carry out her plots. Yzma also apparently has siblings, as she has two nephews named Zim and Zam.
Once Kuzco became emperor again in the series' finale "Graduation Groove", Yzma was demoted to Kronk's secretary by Kuzco's order.
House of Mouse
Yzma makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Pluto vs. Figaro". She also makes a possible cameo appearance in Mickey's House of Villains, but she does not take part in the takeover.
When The Emperor's New Groove was under the working title Kingdom of the Sun, Yzma, while still the main antagonist, would have been taken a lot more seriously as she was written as a necromancer attempting to summon Supei, the Incan god of darkness, to block out the sun and plunge the world into eternal night. When the project was scrapped and rewritten into the final project, elements of it, including Yzma, were recycled for The Emperor's New Groove. Among the things that were scrapped was her villain song "Snuff out the Light". Despite this, the song can still be heard in the final film's soundtrack and is also available on the Disney-released album "Disney Villains: Simply Sinister Songs."
Yzma would also have been accompanied by four minions: Mick, Bowie, and Lemmy, who were depicted as three undead mummies, and Huaca, who was a talking tailsman who would've started out as a hero before turning evil and siding with Yzma after getting fed up with the emperor's abusive behavior. Mick, Bowie, and Lemmy were all written out of the film entirely, but Huaca does make an Easter Egg appearance as a table statue holding the candles while Yzma and Kronk have dinner with Kuzco.
Yzma is one of the few female Disney Villains to be physically fought in their respective debut films.
She is also currently the last female villain to go against a male protagonist.
She is ranked #14 in the Top 30 Disney Villains.
Yzma's transformation into a cat is a possible tribute to her late voice actor Eartha Kitt back when she played Catwoman in the 1960s Batman series.
In the Descendants universe, Yzma has two children named Yzla and Zevon with the latter somehow being more deranged and evil than Yzma herself.
Yzma is less murderous in the TV show usually.
It is claimed that Yzma's main color is purple because it is a color that represents madness. True to life, purple is considered to be a less likable color in some cultures. An example of this would be that purple is seen as the color of death in Japan.
Purple is also a color intermediate between red and blue.
Yzma largely serves as a dark parallel to Emperor Kuzco. They are both destined to become an emperor for their selfish benefits. However, after realizing that Yzma planned to kill him, Kuzco finally realized what a selfish jerk he is and decided to change his ways. On the other hand, Yzma failed to learn the error of her ways and let her anger be her downfall as her selfish and obsessed behavior leading her to get transformed into a cat and forced to be a squirrel scout. Thus, Yzma serves as an example of what Kuzco would have become if he had allowed his selfishness to consume him nor didn't have Pacha guide him into better path.
This parallel is evident when Yzma says she practically raised him.
Although Yzma is the main antagonist, she has only around ten minutes of screen-time.
Her voice actress has known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 recordings of the French popular song "C'est si bon" and the Christmas novelty song "Santa Baby".