Anastasia is at present obtainable to stream on Disney Plus. Polygon first revealed a model of this story in 2019, proper after the Disney-Fox acquisition.
After Walt Disney’s profitable acquisition of 21st Century Fox, a great deal of motion pictures, TV reveals, and characters now exist underneath the Disney banner. This contains the Fox-owned Marvel superheroes just like the X-Men and Deadpool. It additionally means Fox’s animated princess, Anastasia, is now a part of the Disney collective.
Released in 1997, Anastasia arrived on the tail finish of the Disney Renaissance, amidst different coming-of-age motion pictures involving sweeping ballgowns and catchy musical sequences, so Meg Ryan’s plucky, animated heroine is usually assumed to be a Disney Princess. Now that she belongs to Disney, many are celebrating the fact that Anastasia can be anointed with the title.
Not to be a Disney purist and a spoilsport, however I’m right here to be a Disney purist and a spoilsport: Just as a result of Anastasia is a princess that belongs to Disney doesn’t imply she qualifies as a Disney Princess. There are goal causes.
“Disney Princess” just isn’t an arbitrary character title; it’s a franchise, and the lineup is prestigious. The franchise was created in the early 2000s by Andy Mooney, then the chairman of Disney Consumer Products, primarily to promote merchandise. The official Disney Princesses included Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Mulan, Pocahontas, in addition to Esmeralda and Tinker Bell, who aren’t fairly princesses, however earned the standing anyway.
These characters weren’t chosen based mostly on whether or not they have been royalty or not; they have been chosen as a result of they match the factors of the mysterious “Princess mythology” — a time period coined by Disney executives. Here’s how strict the logic is: In 2005, Esmeralda and Tinker Bell have been eliminated for not becoming this standards (Esmeralda seemingly as a result of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a fairly darkish film, and Tinker Bell as a result of she needed to launch her personal Disney Fairies franchise).
Princesses from movies launched subsequent to the unique lineup, who made the Princess mythology minimize, all had “coronations” at Walt Disney World, an in-park celebration that launched their dwelling counterparts, or “face character,” to the sights and formally inducted them into the franchise. As of penning this, solely 4 princesses have joined the unique lineup: Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and, solely in 2019, Moana.
Notice just a few widespread names lacking? Frozen’s Elsa and Anna aren’t thought of Disney Princesses. Both had face-character welcomings, however have been by no means coronated, and are nonetheless not thought of a part of the official Disney Princess lineup, regardless of what Ralph Breaks the Internet may have you assume. Disney theorists assume that the reason being marketability; as a result of Frozen was such a smashing success, Disney considers Elsa and Anna keystones of a separate, parallel Frozen franchise.
While finally added into the lineup, Moana’s inauguration got here three years after the discharge of her film, and he or she by no means obtained a giant coronation ceremony within the parks. My working principle is that by the point Moana got here out, folks have been getting a little critical about the concept of Disney Princess.
These aren’t the one princess characters excluded, and even the one ones who have been thought of. Jane Porter from Tarzan was introduced within the Disney Princess magazine as the newest member, however by no means really made it in. Giselle from Enchanted had additionally been within the talks to be added, however Disney backed out when it realized it’d have to pay Amy Adams to use her face.
Additionally, there are many Disney characters who may presumably be Disney Princesses however don’t meet the factors. Kida from Atlantis is a princess, however her film bombed. Alice may be very widespread, however belongs staunchly to the darker Alice in Wonderland model.
So what does this imply for Anastasia? Or for FernGully’s Crysta and Avatar’s Neytiri and each different princess who now belongs to Disney? For now, they’re simply Disney-owned historical past. Considering how choosy Disney is about including its personal characters to the sacred lineup, the pomp and circumstance of an in-park ritual, and the way the lineup itself is fading in favor of particular person movie-specific franchises like Frozen, it’s impossible that each one these potential princesses will ever develop into Princesses.
Correction (March 22): Andy Mooney was the chairman of Disney Consumer Products within the early 2000s, not the chairman of Disney. We’ve edited the article to mirror this.