It turns out though that qualifying for the role of Disney Princess takes more than just being a princess in a Disney movie. To be an official member of the club you have to be awarded the title by Disney. In fact, there are quite a few princesses's in Disney's history that have not made the cut, so today I'm counting down the Top 5 Disney Princess Snubs.
As of now, there are 11 Official Disney Princesses, with two more (Anna and Elsa) confirmed but who have not yet had their crowning ceremony.
They are, in order of release: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocohontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Ana and Elsa (actually there would be 14 but Tinkerbell, who was originally in the group, got her membership REVOKED!).
Since these women become such role models, their personalities are constantly evolving to match the era. As such, you can pretty easily group each generation together based on time of release and personality.
Classic Era: Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora
These women are all very classy and romantic, hoping to end up with a handsome man, and all tend to play the damsel in distress. They are more reactionary characters, meaning the plot happens to them and they endure the actions of others rather than taking much action themselves.
Renaissance Era: Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan
All very feisty and free willed, with a grand sense of adventure, they are not motivated by finding romantic love, but do all actually end up with someone in the end anyway.
Modern Era: Tiana, Rapunzel Merida, Anna and Elsa
The modern princesses are extremely independent, curious, idealistic and hard working. Their relationships come about as a result of getting to know the other person, and two of them, Merida and Elsa, don't even have romantic relationships at the end of their movies.
So how did these 13 princesses get their title? There are actually several levels of qualifications.
First you must meet ALL 3 of these criteria:
1 - They must be a primary role in an animated movie
2 - They must be human
3 - Don't appear primarily in a sequel (Meaning they aren't introduced in a sequel)
Then you must fit at least 1 of these criteria:
1 - They were born royal
2 - They marry into royalty
3 - They portray a significant act of heroism
Here is where it gets tricky, there are quite a few characters who fit these criteria who are not considered Princesses mostly because of one unspoken rule that casts a massive shadow over all other qualifications: Box Office Success.
Now that you know what it takes to be a Princess, here the Top 5 Ladies who I think have been snubbed this honor.
5. Nala - The Lion King
Right out of the gate the issue is that she is not human... I'll get to that in a second, but let's look at her qualifications:
She is almost certainly born royal, we only see two male lions, Mufasa and Scar. It's possible Scar is the father, but much more likely that its Mufasa who is seen laying with a BUNCH of Lions early in the movie. Yes, that means at best, if Scar is the father, her and Simba are cousins, but most likely they are half siblings. Incest aside, she is ROYAL, also marries royal, definitely performs acts of heroism, and was part of a HUGE Box Office Hit!
How huge? Glad you asked, The Disney Renaissance, if you don't know, is a span of 10 movies from 1989 to 1999 starting with The Little Mermaid and ending with Tarzan. These movies are responsible for saving the entire Disney Animation franchise from going bankrupt.
The most successful at the box office was The Lion King, coming in at $987 MILLION Worldwide. 2nd place was Aladdin at - wait for it - $504 Million. Yes, 2nd place is more than $400 million behind.
The Lion King KILLED IT, it was responsible for almost 30% of the Renaissance's revenue alone and yet Nala is denied because she is not a human... a technicality I see they made an exception for when it came to half fish people, and people who spend most of the movie as a frog, but whatever.
4. Kida - The Lost Empire of Atlantis
Human? Royal? Primary Role? Yes, yes, and yes.
Heroic? I dunno, is it heroic to literally turn into the human embodiment of the heart of Atlantis and cast a protective barrier around your city protecting it from waves of lava? Yes, it is.
In fact, not only is Kida a princess, but she would have also been the first princess to become queen on screen (although to be fair Nala should still be getting that honor).
So why no title? The Box Office - at only $189 Million world wide, Kida did not perform well enough to earn the title from Disney, even though at the time she was one of the most progressive female characters Disney had turned out.
3. Giselle - Enchanted
Gieselle is a pretty interesting case, she meets all of the qualifications and made $340 Million at the Box Office, but there were a few hiccups.
Despite having princess qualities, she is a parody/homage to the classic-era princesses and was a very "non-modern" role model, as far as 2007, the year of release, goes. Plus, she actually isn't born royal and even though she gets a happily ever after, her friend Nancy is the one who ends up marrying the prince.
I can see why Disney might not add her to the list: not royal, not modern, and spends most of the movie in a non-animated form - although she does defeat a dragon at the end, so she has the act of heroism down.
With all the things she has working against her, Giselle actually would have been #4 on this list if not for one thing… she was approved for the Title!
Giselle was going to be on the list! The issue is that most Disney princesses are ONLY animated, so their human form is open to interpretation... Giselle is not. Amy Adams is Giselle, if anyone else portrays her... it's not Giselle, and since Disney couldn't afford to have Amy Adams walking around Disney World every day of the year, she didn't make the cut.
2. Meg - Hercules
Not born royal, but she does marry the song of the KING OF THE GODS!
Pretty freaking royal if you ask me.
Initially presented to us as someone who was not interested in romance at all, a rarity in many Disney movies, we find out it's because she sold her soul to have a dead fiance resurrected, only for him to CHEAT ON HER! As a result, she is left a slave to Hades who holds her freedom over her the whole movie, forcing her to make decisions she doesn't want to. Her struggle is real and it's hard to know if she is being truly selfish or not, but in the end she selflessly saves Hercules, injuring herself in the process, which give Herc his strength back to save the day.
Box Office? $252 Million! Low for the Disney renaissance, but still more than The Little Mermaid.
So why is she not a princess??? Best I can figure is that Hercules, although a family movie, is more targeted at boys, and if you just compare it to the other Renaissance movies targeted at boys, The Lion King and Aladdin, which - if you will recall - were the top two movies of this movement, it doesn't look like it did very well at all. And so, despite having all the qualifications, Meg is sadly off the list.
1. Jane - Tarzan
Poor Jane, at $448 Million she beats out Mulan, Pocahontas, Belle and Ariel at the box office.
She is actually very similar to Pocahontas. Pocahontas teaches a modern man the ways of nature, while Jane teaches a nature man the ways of the modern. She is not particularly heroic but is very compassionate, and interested in science.
The main flaw seems to be her lack of Royal blood, which I take issue with. Number 1 - Tarzan is the King of the Jungle, which should make her the queen - ROYAL.
Number 2 - If you don't think King of the Jungle counts as real royalty, Tarzan can still be considered royal, if you have seen my Frozen Theory video you know he could be the true heir of Arendelle.
Number 3 - Jane herself may actually be born royal as she is seen to own this set of tea cups which look strangely like they were inherited from a certain Princess Belle…