Earlier this week, it was revealed that Ralph Breaks the Internet, the highly-anticipated sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, was undergoing some reanimation before its November release date, due to the appearance of one of its Disney Princesses.
Fans online called out Disney for the updated look of Princess Tiana (Princess and the Frog) in Ralph Breaks the Internet, and photos from the original movie proved that her skin was much lighter in this iteration. It also seemed as though her nose and other facial features had been changed. While the cries from the Internet were certainly heard by the studio, it was Princess Tiana herself who initiated the change.
Anika Noni Rose, who voices Tiana in Princess and the Frog, as well as Ralph Breaks the Internet, took to Instagram to tell the story of what happened when she saw the first photos of the lighter-skinned version of her character. She explained that she had concerns about it, but that Disney quickly made an effort to hear what she had to say, show her what had gone wrong, and vow to fix it before the movie was released.
"This summer new images were released where she looked very different, with lighter skin and much sharper features," Rose wrote in the post. "I was as surprises as most of her & my fans were. Aside from my personal feelings, I noted how people felt online (and in my dms) and I was glad to see that people are still very much in love with and supportive of our Princess."
Rose went on to explain that she and her team immediately called Disney to talk about these visual changes. The Wreck-It Ralph creative team then met with her, as well as Tiana's original animator Mark Henn, to explain exactly what happened with the animation.
"They explained how CGI animation did different things to the characters' color tones in different light compared to hand drawn original characters, and I was able to express how important it is to the little girls (and let's face it, grown women) who felt represented by her that her skin tone stay as rich as it had been, and that her nose continue to be the little round nose that Mark so beautifully rendered in the movie; the same nose on my very own face and so many other little brown faces around the world, that we so rarely get to see represented in fantasy."
"When we were making Princess and the Frog I'll never forget Mark asking me if there were any things I wished to see on her, and among the first things I said were a round nose, full lips, and that she be left-handed. He made certain to incorporate these things as he created my likeness as a Princess then, and he sat with me in this meeting showing me the steps they were taking to bring those things back that got lost in the move from hand drawn to CGI. It was important to me to hear what Disney had to say, and to have an open dialogue about legacy and representation on the process, but I'm very glad that they did."
Rose went out of her way not only to speak out about accurate representation in the movie, but also went straight to the source to explain her issue and ask why this changed occurred. As a result of her efforts, Disney is taking extra time to go back and change the appearance of Tiana in the movie, making sure that she doesn't lose any of her original features.
"I also appreciate that this far into the process Disney had enough care and respect for all who love Princess Tiana and her legacy to spend the time and money to make the adjustments necessary. In doing so, they recognize that her legacy is also their legacy; two things I'm very proud to be a part of."3comments
You can read the full post on on Rose's Instagram post here.
Disney's Ralph Breaks the Internet is set to hit theaters on November 21st.