Merlin is an old wise magician and is the primary hero/deuteragonist in the 1963 Disney film, The Sword in the Stone. Like in the King Arthur legend, he helps a young Arthur or "Wart" become king but he also shows him the path of education and knowledge. He is tall, he wears all blue from head to foot and has a long white beard.
He has the power to disappear and turn into any animal. He can also time-travel and throughout the movie he talks about how he has seen technology and man's inventions coming to fruition. He lives with Archimedes, a talking intelligent owl but also very crabby. His appearance is similar to Albus Dumbledore and wields a cane-size wand. He also appears in the Kingdom Hearts series as a supporting protagonist.
The Sword in the Stone
In the animated film, Merlin is living in the middle of a forest in Medieval England with his owl Archimedes. He tries to adjust to medieval times with no technology but adapts with his magic. He predicts a small boy will be arriving soon and joining him for tea. Wart is travelling through the dark woods trying to find an arrow and falls through the roof of Merlin's cottage. Merlin quickly befriends Wart and offers to tutor him all about education and learn all the courses of the world. Wart realizes he must return to his uncle's 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 Wart's uncle refuses saying the boy has too many chores to have time to learn and asks Merlin to leave. Merlin disappears quickly which frightens Sir Ector and convinces Merlin to stay. As a recurring gag, Sir Ector keeps calling Merlin "Marvin" and gives the highest room in an old decaying tower. Sir Ector receives a visit from an old friend and Merlin sends Archimedes down to eavesdrop.
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. A few days go by and Merlin starts to see a bright future in Wart and tries to help him. He turns Wart and himself into fish and explores the wonders of the ocean in the castle moat. The two become attacked by a barracuda and Merlin becomes imprisoned in a knight's helmet, leaving Wart to deal with the fish himself. With unintentional help from Archimedes, Wart escapes and he and Merlin become human again.
When Wart returns to the castle, he is given double kitchen duty and forced to clean numerous pots and pans. Merlin appears and tells Wart 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 them into squirrels and scurry around in the trees. A young female squirrel becomes infatuated with Wart 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 and laughs at his pain.
To escape her, he falls down into a pile of leaves and emerges from him as a human to show he wasn't lying and the fat squirrel runs off scared and disgusted. He then turns Wart back to normal which leaves the other squirrel heartbroken. When they return to the castle, Sir Ector and Kay are destroying the pots and pans in order to stop the magic but Merlin does so himself. Because of that, Ector throws him out and Merlin disappears. Wart is punished for defending Merlin and is no longer allowed to be Kay's squire for the jousting tournament. Merlin then appears before a distraught Wart and apologizes for what happened. He then told Wart that now he has a chance to be educated and Wart reluctantly agrees.
Archimedes volunteers to educate Wart while Merlin works on a mini-flying machine. The tiny airplane falls right out of the sky and Archimedes laughs uncontrollably about it. Merlin vows that man will learn how to fly as he witnessed the Wright Brothers accomplishing it. Wart tells how he fantasized flying and Merlin turns him into a little sparrow. Archimedes shows Wart how to fly and Wart ends up in Madame Mim's cottage. Mim prepares to kill Wart and Merlin abruptly storms in 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 an alligator and Merlin unintentionally turning into a tortoise. To escape, Merlin quickly becomes a rabbit and Mim becomes a fox, chasing him again.
They run into a tree and Merlin disappears but he actually turns into a caterpillar and escapes through a little hole. Mim runs out now as a chicken and almost eats Merlin; but she bites his behind and hurls him in the air. To avoid being eaten, he then becomes a walrus and crushes her. He asks if she was okay and she becomes a elephant and tries to strangle him with her trunk. He then turns into a mouse and scares her away but as he chases her she becomes a tiger and chases him. He sneaks up behind her and tries to bite her tail but she becomes a rattlesnake and chases him underground. He hits over the head with a rock and becomes a crab and tries to grab her neck.
After a few failed attempts, he grabs something which was a rhino horn as Mim was now a rhinoceros. With Merlin holding on, she charges towards a tree but he escapes in time and she becomes wedged in the tree. Merlin then becomes a billy goat, charges towards her and then rams her into the ravine below. Mim turns into a giant fire-breathing purple dragon and chases Merlin to which he turns into a mouse again and she captures him, declaring herself the winner. Merlin disappears, but his voice could be heard saying 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/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 continuously yells saying she hates sunlight.
A few months later, Sir Ector changes his mind and makes Wart Kay's squire. Wart becomes enthusiastic and rushes to tell Merlin. Archimedes congratulates him but Merlin becomes furious saying all that learning will go down the drain and being a squire will not get him anywhere and wishes to be in Bermuda. He then literally shoots off like a rocket and Archimdes explains he went on vacation to Bermuda in the present day to blow off steam. During his absence, Wart pulls the famous sword from the stone and is declared king. Afraid of the pressures of being a king, Wart yells out Merlin's name, begging for help and the wizard returns in tropical clothing. He becomes proud of King Arthur and promises to help his monarchy, and jokingly says that future historians will make movies of them.
Merlin appeared in three games: Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth b'y Sleep. He appears to live in Traverse Town with the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella and teaches Sora his magic. He was sent by King Mickey to teach Sora about magic after they learn how to conjure fire. He only agrees to teach them if they bring him the 100 Acre Wood novel. As Sora and the others reach certain levels of magical skills, Merlin will grant them certain weapons including Spellbinder, the Dream Rod and the Dream Shield.
In the second game, he now lives in a newly rebuilt Hollow Bastion and gives Sora the Blizzard element which will unlock Chicken Little. In the games, he butts head with Cid over the dispute between Magic and Technology. Merlin travels with Sora and the others to Disney Castle to open a door to the past. At the end of the game, Merlin and Cid rename the Hollow, Radiant Garden, its former name.