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The Diverse Future of Disney


This past August, one of America’s largest conventions took place in Anaheim, California: The D23 Expo. D23 is a platform where animators, writers, producers and cast members come together to exhibit all of the new projects the great creators of our time are working on, from branches of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios to Marvel, Lucasfilm and many more. The convention is a place for Disney lovers, fans and staff to get the latest scoop on what will come to theaters and television in the next few years.

199bhdth3wfxqpngOne of the most thrilling projects that was announced is a new Disney princess film called “Moana,” which is in the works from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Moana will be the first Disney princess film to be released since 2013’s mega blockbuster, “Frozen,” which grossed more than 1 billion dollars in sales wordwide, making it the most successful animated movie of all time. “Frozen” gives “Moana” a tough act to follow, but from the information given at D23, I can positively say that all Disney fans should have very high hopes for this new princess.

As of now, we know that the titular character, Moana, is going to be an ambitious sixteen-year-old girl who goes on an adventure with the once great demigod Maui (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), across the Polynesian seas. Along the way they will encounter gods and goddesses of all sorts and treacherous monsters across the South Pacific. Moana, in the typical Disney style, will have two sidekicks. One, a potbelly pig called Pua, and a rooster called Heihei, both of which will be wise-cracking and charming in the style of “Frozen’s” Olaf and Sven.

While we don’t know much else about “Moana’s” plot, we do know what Moana will look like. I need to commend the Disney design team for creating a princess that not only has a proportional body, but one that is also culturally diverse, two aspects of the Disney princess franchise that are constantly under scrutiny. From just the one image released of Moana, we can see that she is a bit shorter than the rest of the Disney Princesses and has a curvier build. Moana, being Polynesian, also has darker skin, dark eyes, and curly dark hair, all three traits that audiences have only ever seen on Princess Tiana, from “The Princess and the Frog” (2Disney-Talent-Search-Moana009). These physical traits will not only help separate her from the other thirteen princesses, but will also make her a relatable role model to a larger and more diverse group of girls. Her relatable physical appearance and can-do attitude, along with the creative and enticing plotline, are all of the ingredients that could make “Moana” one of the best Disney movies ever produced.

The film will not only bring the first culturally diverse Princess to grace the big screen since 2009, but it will also be the beginning of a new wave of culturally diverse leads in Disney films. At the D23 expo, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have announced two more films headed for 2017 and 2018 called “Gigantic” and “Coco” respectively. “Gigantic” will be a new take on the classic “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairytale, but the film will take place in Spain where as the story would typically take place in England. Pixar’s “Coco” is centered on the Mexican holiday La Dia de los Muertos and will be centered on other Mexican traditions as well as Mexican art, colors, and culture. Not much else is known yet about the plots of “Gigantic” and “Coco,” but the fact that they are in the works is not only exciting but also extremely refreshing. Perhaps this newfound desire for diverse casts in animation could stem from the success from WDAS’ latest film “Big Hero 6,” which centered on six young scientists, all from different racial backgrounds, ranging from Japanese to Hispanic, who become super-heroes. “Big Hero 6” also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2015.

I don’t think I am alone in saying that Disney’s future looks very diverse, creative, tasteful and bright. “Moana” is set to come out on November 23, 2016. For more information regarding all of the new films announced at the D23 Expo, you can visit for the latest news and updates.





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The Diverse Future of Disney