Disney’s classic stable — live-action and animated — isn’t intended for widescale world-building. The entertainment giant always had a shared universe of sorts with Mickey Mouse and his friends and has even made excursions into more knowing takes like House of Mouse and Once Upon a Time. However, a new fan theory posted by u/TheGalaxyBoi involving Cruella takes a slightly more aggressive approach, presenting the idea that the version of the character in 101 Dalmatians is actually the Baroness, not the woman formerly known as Estella.
Cruella’s primary creative challenge is evoking sympathy for, frankly, one of the biggest monsters in the Disney vault. Cruella De Vil first appeared in the original animated One Hundred and One Dalmatians as a crazed heiress, consumed by entitlement and fixated on the notion of turning Dalmatian puppies into a fur coat. Inducing the audience to root for such a figure, regardless of what stage of life she’s at, constitutes a significant task.