Merlin: Ah, you know, lad, that love business is a powerful thing.
Arthur: Greater than gravity? Merlin: Well, yes, boy. In its way... I'd say it's the greatest force on Earth.
~ Lord Merlin to Arthur about love.
Lord Merlin, or just Merlin for short, is the deuteragonist of Disney's 18th full-length animated feature film The Sword in the Stone.
He is an old wise wizard who helps young Arthur to become King of Britain, but he also shows him the path of education and knowledge. He wears all blue from head to foot and has a long white beard and white mustache.
He was voiced by the late Karl Swenson in the original animated movie of 1963, the late Hamilton Camp in the TV series called House of Mouse, and by Jeff Bennett in the video game series. In the Japanese dub from the movie, he was voiced by the late Shotaro Otani and the late Minoru Uchida, then by the late Atsushi Ii in the TV series, later by Hiroshi Arikawa who is replaced by Atsushi Goto in the video game series.
Lord Merlin is a good old wizard who lives in a forest with his owl, Archimedes. He predicts a small boy will be arriving soon and joining him for tea. Arthur, known as Wart, is travelling through the dark woods trying to find an arrow from his foster brother, Sir Kay, but falls through the roof of Merlin's cottage. Merlin quickly befriends Arthur and offers to tutor him all about education and learn all the courses of the world. Arthur realizes he must return to the castle and Merlin decides to accompany him and pack up the cottage. With his magic, he stuffs everything in his suitcase and tallies off.
When they arrive at the castle, Merlin asks to be of service, but Arthur's foster father, Lord Ector refuses, saying the boy has many chores and he asks Merlin to leave. Merlin disappears quickly which surprises Ector and convinces Merlin to stay and allow him to educate Arthur as long as he doesn’t interfere his schedule. As a recurring gag, Ector keeps calling Merlin "Marvin" and gives the highest room in an old decaying tower. Ector receives a visit from an old friend named Sir Pellinore and Merlin sends Archimedes down to investigate.
The owl disagrees and Merlin threatens to turn him into a human and he agrees. Archimedes learns that a jousting tournament will take place in London and the winner will be declared king of England, according to Pellinore. A few days go by and Merlin starts to see a bright future in Arthur and tries to help him. He turns himself and Arthur into a fish. They explore the wonders of the river in the castle moat. The two were attacked by a pike and Merlin gets imprisoned in a knight's helmet, leaving Arthur to deal with the fish himself. With unintentional help from Archimedes, Arthur escapes and becomes human, along with Merlin.
When Arthur returns to the castle, he tries to explain his true fish experience to Ector and Kay. However, they refused to listen and gives him double kitchen duties by cleaning up numerous pots and pans as punishment. Merlin appears and tells Arthur that they should explore the wonders of being a squirrel. He then uses his magic to have the pots and pans clean themselves while they go off. Merlin turns himself and Arthur into a squirrel and scurry around in the trees. A beautiful female squirrel becomes infatuated with Arthur and starts chasing him around the tree to get him to love her. Merlin joyfully sings a matchmaking song and a giant female squirrel comes up behind him and becomes infatuated with him. He tries to explain that he is human but she joyfully pushes him around.
To escape her, he falls down into a pile of leaves and emerges as a human to show he wasn't lying and the fat squirrel runs off scared and angry. He then turns Arthur back to normal which leaves the other squirrel heartbroken. Merlin then explains to Arthur that love is a force more powerful than gravity.
When they return to the castle, they witnessed Lord Ector and Sir Kay breaking the pots and pans in order to stop the magic, but are getting attacked by the pots, pans, and kitchen crockery. However, Merlin stops the Magic himself in the kitchen and every kitchen supplies are turned back to normal. But because of this incident, Ector berates Merlin for setting up black magic in the kitchen. Merlin disappears after being threatened by the head cook. However, a furious Ector punishes Arthur for definitely defending Merlin and is no longer allowed to be Kay's squire for the jousting tournament in London. Merlin then appears before a distraught Arthur for being abused and apologizes for what happened. He then told Arthur that now he has a chance to be educated and he reluctantly agrees.
Archimedes volunteers to educate Arthur while Merlin works on a mini-flying machine. The machine fails and Archimedes laughs about it. Arthur tells how he fantasized about flying and Merlin turns him into a little sparrow. Archimedes shows Arthur how to fly, but Arthur ends up in the cottage of the nemesis of Lord Merlin, Mad Madam Mim. Mim prepares to kill Arthur, but Merlin abruptly storms in to save his friend and accepts a duel with the witch.
Mim sets the rules saying that they can only turn into animals and cannot disappear. The duel begins with Mim turning into a crocodile and Merlin unintentionally turning into a turtle. To escape, Merlin quickly becomes a rabbit and Mim becomes a fox, chasing him again.
They run into a tree and Merlin turns into a caterpillar and escapes through a little hole. Mim runs out as a rooster and she bites him and hurls him right up in the air. To avoid being eaten, Merlin becomes a walrus and crushes Mim. But she becomes an elephant and tries to strangle him with his trunk. Merlin then turns into a mouse and scares Mim away, but she becomes a tiger and chases him. Mim turns into a snake and Merlin tricks her into biting herself. She chases him down a large hole and out of the other but he blocks the whole with a rock and she bangs her head. Then Merlin turns into a crab and tries to pinch Mim as she pops out, but keeps missing.
After a few failed attempts, he pinches something which was a horn as Mim is now a rhino. With Merlin holding on, she charges towards a tree, but he escapes in time and she becomes stuck in the tree. Merlin then becomes a goat, charges towards her and then rams her into the ravine full of mud below. Mim turns into a giant fire-breathing purple dragon and chases Merlin, which he turns into a mouse again and she captures him, declaring herself the winner. Merlin disappears, but his voice is heard explaining that he has turned into a germ of a rare disease and infected Mim with it. He explains the symptoms, saying she has giant red spots, followed by hot and cold flashes and with violent sneezing. She throws a tantrum and becomes bedridden until further notice. Merlin suggests sunshine, opens up her roof, and Mim yells that she hates sunshine.
On Christmas Day, Ector changes his mind and makes Arthur as Kay's squire, due to Hobbs coming down with the mumps, according to the head cook. Arthur becomes enthusiastic and rushes to tell Merlin. Archimedes congratulates him, but Merlin is very cross at the idea of Arthur as Kay’s squire, saying all that learning will go down the drain and being a squire will not get him anywhere. When Arthur angrily said that he’s happy to be Kay’s squire, this aggravates Merlin even more. He unintentionally loses control and consequently shoots off to 20th Century Bermuda. Archimdes explains he went on vacation. During his absence, Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and is declared king. Afraid of the pressures of being a king, Arthur yells out Merlin's name, begging for help and the wizard returns in tropical clothing. Changing back into his wizard outfit, he becomes proud of Arthur and promises to help him with his monarchy, while saying that he’ll become a legend with books and movies written about him.
In other media
The Merlin Costume is an unlockable townsperson in Disney Infinity, and appears as an unlockable in all three games. In Disney Infinity 2.0, he serves as the Creation Host in the Toy Box Launch, giving players lessons on building in the Toy Box. In Disney Infinity 3.0, he is a mission giver in Toy Box Takeover, an expansion game that is unlocked by purchasing a hexagonal disc that is now rare. He is one of the few NPCs that is not placeable in the Toy Box.
For the first Disney Infinity game, a circular power disc called Merlin's Summon was released in April 2014 only to mystery packs in Toys "R" Us stores. The disc is colored red to indicate that it is rare, due to its exclusivity. When placed under a character on the Disney Infinity Base, the pick up range for sparks (which level up your character) increases. When used along with either C.H.R.O.M.E.'s Armor Shield or C.H.R.O.M.E. Damage Increaser, a bonus ability called C.H.R.O.M.E. Speed Boost is activated, which increases vehicle power boost duration. As Disney Infinity is a discontinued game with lots of content that requires physical collectibles to access, it is difficult to preserve experiences of the game for people who did not play the game before its cancellation.