Disney Completely Cuts Prince From New Fairytale

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Snow White's true love's kiss

Credit: Disney

Disney’s newest animated feature, Wish,  is set to be a return to its traditional fairytale roots. It has everything fans expect from the studio’s golden age, but it might be missing one particular element.

Asha being surrounded by butterflies and purple light in Wish
Credit: Disney

Wish (2023) is being marketed as the ultimate Disney movie, harkening back to the classic fairytales of Walt’s day, and it certainly does look the part. But even with its singing heroine, animal sidekick, watercolor-inspired designs, and over-the-top villain voiced by Chris Pine, it’s still missing a crucial ingredient to the classic Disney formula.

Related: Disney World Princess Experience Closed, “No Plans to Re-Open”

Although the studio is built on the foundations of princess stories, the prince archetype seems to be dying off. There’s nothing against female empowerment, but not every male audience member will identify with characters from Star Wars and Marvel.

Disney Pulls the Plug on Princes for Wish

Beast and Belle walking in the night
Credit: Disney

At the risk of sounding like Portlandia’s “What About Men?” skit, this isn’t the first time the Walt Disney Company has shortchanged its male audience. Ignoring Strange World’s (2022) massive misstep, Disney hasn’t known a proper, well-rounded, three-dimensional male protagonist since Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) or Big Hero 6 (2014) at the earliest.

Related: ‘Wish’ Could Save Disney’s Box Office Woes

Wish doesn’t necessarily need a male lead to fit the classic Disney formula; even Disney’s male royals often went unnamed with only minutes of screen time. However, shouldn’t male audience members have an animated figure they can relate to and identify with, just as their feminine counterparts do with Asha, Elsa, and Moana?

Herc, Phil, and Pegasus look through bushes
Credit: Disney

In this writer’s opinion, Disney doesn’t just need another fairytale; it needs another Aladdin (1992), another Hercules (1997), or another Tarzan (1999). As much as Disney has done for heroines and female representation in their movies, they have neglected some of their most iconic heroes in the process.

Related: Op-Ed: Disney Animation Remains Untouched by Disney+ Purge

Asha, Wish’s lead played by Ariana DeBose, is definitely a breath of fresh air when it comes to the Disney heroine. While she does bring some new flavors to the table, influences from Belle, Anna, and even Esmerelda, she also checks a lot of familiar boxes for the “adorkable princess” archetype.

Asha and her goat on a balcony.
Credit: Disney

While most fans are very excited to see Walt Disney Animation returning to the elements that made the studio great, they’re not going all the way with the concept. Furthermore, many call the project unfinished because of some creative choices.

At this point, it’s a safe bet to say that looking to Disney’s next animated feature after Wish is more than a little premature. However, if Disney is serious about returning to their golden days, they should seriously consider doing a classic adventure.

Related: Op-Ed: Disney Animation Stands Against AI with Latest Project

Asha and her quest with her companions against the forces of King Magnifico will undoubtedly strike a chord with many viewers, but a large portion of that audience will likely be the same loyal supporters of the Disney brand that flock to everything the studio releases. If Disney truly wants to reach out and satisfy viewers, they’ll do so by appealing to all demographics.

Does Disney need more male representation? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

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