Merlin is a seemingly-immortal human magician.
Merlin is an immortal time-travelling enchanter, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest, if not the greatest wizard of all times. Scrupulous about using only benevolent white magic, Merlin was more than a match for the primary representative of the forces of darkness in Dark Ages England, namely Madam Mim, with whom he maintained a sort of friendly rivalry.
As Merlin is capable of shapeshifting and of siting around timezones as he pleases thanks to his magic, it is sometimes hard to get a handle on what Merlin one is interacting with at any given time, but this is no matter, as his slightly absent-minded, but essentially benevolent disposition has remained the same throughout the many facets of his existence.
Merlin and his ward King Arthur were widely believed, by the 1950's, to be legendary distortions of the bard Myrddin and his master, the Saxon lord of Romand descent Arturius Riothamus. This was recorded in the Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook and consequently known to Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck, although the triplets interacted with the real Merlin soon enough, and their uncle had met Merlin's modern-day counterpart in Camelot during his first salve of adventures as one of the Three Caballeros.
Yen Sid, the immensely powerful and learned sorcerer under whom Mickey Mouse studied magic, once introduced himself as “Merlin the Great“. Additionally, a number of accounts show that in one parallel universe, an incarnation the Time Lord adventurer known as the Doctor once took on the identity of Merlin in his universe's Camelot.
Behind the scenes
Unless one goes along with the identification of Yen Sid with Merlin, which would push back Merlin's debut to 1940's Fantasia, the first appearance of Merlin in the Disney Comics Universe was in the 1951 comic story Case of the Hovering Wolf, whose design for Merlin was interestingly similar enough to Yen Sid's that INDUCKS identifies Yen Sid as appearing in that story. This Merlin who inhabited the Black Forest in the present day was mentioned again in another story by the same authors the very next month, Merlin's Magic Lamp, before fading into obscurity.
After a fairly different version of Merlin appeared in a chapter of Mickey Through the Centuries in 1961, the definitive Disney Merlin made his debut as the main protagonist of the Walt Disney Classic animated feature The Sword in the Stone, though this did not prevent the appearance of Yen Sid under the name of Merlin as late as 1971's Disney on Parade.
- Karl Swenson (The Sword in the Stone)
- Alan Young (An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol)
- Hamilton Camp (House of Mouse)
- Jeff Bennett (recurring voice since 2002)
- James A. Stephens (The Sorcerer's Apprentice live-action film, actually an alternate version of the character)
- Eric Bauza (Legend of the Three Caballeros)