‘Cruella’ Ending Explained: How Does the End Credits Scene Connect to ‘101 Dalmatians’? (2024)

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Warning: This article contains major Cruella spoilers. Don’t read it until after you’ve seen the film—unless you love spoilers as much as Cruella loves fur coats.

Cruella, which is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+, plays fast and loose with the original 101 Dalmatians movies. That’s pretty much a requirement if you’re going to make a movie that sympathizes with Cruella de Vil, the Disney villain known for murdering puppies to make their fur into a coat.

If you’re willing to play along, then you’ll have a good time. Emma Stone‘s version of Cruella is not a rich, sad*stic old lady, but a working-class, punk-rock orphan who dreams of being a fashion designer. Her dreams start to come true when she goes to work for the ruthless designer Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson)—until Cruella discovers that the Baroness killed her mother. Then she decides to exact revenge instead, a feat that ultimately involves stealing the Baroness’s two dalmatians.

But despite the fact that much of the movie functions more like an alternate universe than a prequel, the Cruella ending brings it back to the original animated Disney film with a bombshell revelation about Pongo and Perdy that will have 101 Dalmatians fans scratching their heads. Read on for a breakdown of the Cruella after-credits scene and the Cruella ending explained.

Is there a Cruella end credits scene?

While there is not a bonus scene at the very end of the Cruella credits, there is a Cruella mid-credits scene. After the initial cast list—accompanied by a new original song by Florence + The Machine, “Call me Cruella”—the movie fades back in on Roger (actor Kayvan Novak) playing piano in his apartment. If you’ll recall, Roger is the Baroness’s former lawyer. Cruella told the audience via voiceover that he blamed her for getting him fired.

Suddenly, Roger’s doorbell rings. He answers it to find a package with an adorable dalmatian puppy inside, signed with a note from Cruella that reads, “Meet Pongo! Enjoy, Cruella.”

Meanwhile, Cruella’s childhood-friend-turned-journalist, Anita (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), also receives a gifted puppy on her doorstep with a note from Cruella that reads, “Meet Perdita! See you soon, Cruella.”

The final shot of the scene shows Roger at his piano, playing the famed “Cruella de Vil” theme song. As the camera pulls back, we see the messy attic room that he’s in—one that looks very similar to the aesthetic of the animated Roger from the 1961 film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The implication is that the villain Cruella de Vil was actually the one who gave her nemesis their dogs—presumably puppies of the dogs she stole from Emma Thompson but didn’t actually kill.

‘Cruella’ Ending Explained: How Does the End Credits Scene Connect to ‘101 Dalmatians’? (3)

What is the Cruella ending, explained?

The Cruella ending implies that Anita and Roger in Cruella—aka Cruella’s childhood friend and the Barnoness’s ex-lawyer—are rebooted characters as the animated Anita and Roger from the 1961 cartoon, One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

I say “reboot” for a few reasons. First, the last names used in the 2021 film—Roger Dearly and Anita Darling—are the last names used in the original 1956 children’s novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians. In the 1961 movie, the names were changed to Roger and Anita Radcliffe. (Though the 1996 live-action film changed it back to “Dearly.”)

Second, Cruella takes place in the 1970s. The events of the animated 1961 film—which, based on the age of those puppies, would come at least five years later—obviously do not take place in the late 1970s or early 1980s. That timeline also does not line up with the 1996 live-action film, 101 Dalmations, unless we are to believe that Pongo and Perdy are 25-year-old dogs in that movie.

So… how is Cruella connected to 101 Dalmatians?

If you’re trying to wrap your mind around how Cruella fits into the 101 Dalmatians timeline, I wouldn’t strain yourself. Yes, Cruella is technically an origin story prequel for Cruella de Vil. Yes, there are a lot of character overlaps, including Cruella’s cronies Jasper and Horace (played by Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams in the 1996 film, and Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser in the 2021 film.) But it’s more of a reboot-prequel than anything else.

The Cruella after-credits scene is a fun nod to the original cartoon but doesn’t have any meaningful place in the other movies’ canon, based on the many other details that have been changed. If you choose to accept that Cruella de Vil is the original owner of Pongo and Perdy, more power to you, but I’m choosing to enjoy this as an AU fanfiction, thank you very much.

But whether Cruella is kicking off a reboot of 101 Dalmatians starring Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Kayvan Novak? Well, that’s a different question entirely.

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‘Cruella’ Ending Explained: How Does the End Credits Scene Connect to ‘101 Dalmatians’? (2024)
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