―Complaining about the Dark Ages during his debut.
Merlin is a powerful wizard and the deuteragonist in Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Merlin is the wizard master and friend of 12-year-old orphan Arthur, a.k.a. Wart. Merlin is also the magical rival of Madam Mim and has a pet owl named Archimedes.
He was originally voiced by Karl Swenson.
Merlin is a wizard of unspecified origin, who is first seen living in a forest cottage. He is a very wise character who believes in the philosophy of "Brain over Brawn." To this end, Merlin values education as opposed to the war-training philosophies shared by much of the rest of society. Despite his wisdom, he can be absentminded and forgetful, as well as clumsy.
As a wizard, Merlin shows a wide variety of powers, and is widely hailed as being the most powerful wizard in the world. He shows an ability to see into the future, though not completely. He can enchant both objects and people, and possesses a well-developed ability to shape-shift. He can also travel through time, which has granted him much knowledge about society, past, present, and future. He often references his knowledge of the future when speaking to others, leaving them understandably confused.
Merlin is first seen getting water from his well and preparing afternoon tea in his cottage, having predicted that a young boy will soon join him. He admits that the specific identity is unknown to him at the time. He later meets a pre-teen orphan named Arthur, commonly known as Wart, after the boy literally drops through Merlin's roof. Merlin speaks to Wart about the value of an education and decides to appoint himself as Wart's tutor. After Wart explains that he must return to his castle, Merlin decides to accompany him, and displays his magical abilities by shrinking all his possessions so that they fit into a small carpet bag.
They arrive at the castle of Wart's foster father, Sir Ector. Though Sir Ector initially disapproves, Merlin is able to persuade him through a display of magic, which frightens the man into accepting Merlin's offer. Merlin, who is mistakenly called "Marvin" by Ector, is provided the "guest room," which is revealed to be a crumbling, teetering tower.
The next day, Merlin begins Wart's education, teaching him the principle of brain over brawn by transforming Wart into a fish. During the adventure, Merlin, also in fish form, is trapped in an old helmet while Wart is chased by a giant pike. Merlin forgets the magic words to change them both back, but remembers just in time to save his apprentice.
Later, Merlin goes to retrieve Wart for another lesson, but he is being forced to clean as punishment for being late as a result of the previous lesson. Merlin uses his magic to enchant the various kitchen objects to make them clean themselves, and sneaks Wart out. Merlin transforms himself and Wart into squirrels. Merlin and Wart are both pursued as mates by two female squirrels. Merlin grows increasingly annoyed and finally transforms back into a human out of anger. He then transforms Wart, much to the sorrow of the young female squirrel who had been chasing the boy.
Back at the castle, Merlin is insulted by Sir Ector, who believes that Merlin's magical enchantment of the kitchen objects was the result of black magic. When the Wart protests and defends Merlin, Sir Ector angrily piles more demerits on the boy, and finally punishes him by forbidding him from making a future trip to a London tournament as Kay's squire. This leads to Wart being replaced by an unseen boy groom named Hobbs. After seeing Wart's sadness, Merlin apologizes, as he knew how much the potential trip to London meant to the boy. He then suggests that Wart use the opportunity to further his studies and that he can still make something for himself by getting an education.
Merlin begins by talking of various happenings of the future, but the poor boy is so confused that Archimedes decides to take over Wart's education. Despite Merlin's annoyance, he is later pleased to see the boy learning to write with Archimedes' help. Merlin takes the opportunity to show Wart a model airplane. The plane fails to fly, though, because the propeller becomes caught in Merlin's long beard. Wart appreciates the demonstration anyway, and confides that he dreams of flying. Merlin decides to turn Wart into a small bird. Wart then goes flying with Archimedes.
After being told by Archimedes of Wart's capture by Madam Mim, Merlin appears to save his apprentice. Mim angrily challenges Merlin to a Wizard's Duel, where he turns into a turtle, a rabbit, a caterpillar, a walrus, a mouse, a crab, and a goat. Though initially at a disadvantage, Merlin wins by cleverly transforming into a germ, disarming Mim's dragon transformation.
Later, Wart happily informs Merlin that he has been reinstated as the squire to Kay. Merlin is angry, as he thought that Wart had finally put aside war games in favor of learning. When Wart explains that a position as a squire is best hope, Merlin angrily takes off like a rocket and travels to Bermuda. Later, he returns to England he is pleased to find out that Wart is now King Arthur, due to pulling the sword from the stone and anvil, and he is happy to tell him how famous he will become in the future.
Merlin makes a guest appearance in the Sofia the First episode "Gone with the Wand". He was very understanding and forgiving to Calista despite her taking his Dragonclaw Wand and it ending up in Morgona's hands. With the help of Cedric and Calista he was able to defeat his arch enemy. To express his thanks, he gave a red hat to Calista and promised to always remember his good friend Cedric the Sensational.