Zendaya Pegged To Become Next Iconic Disney Princess

in Disney, Entertainment

Zendaya as Rue in HBO's Euphoria

Credit: HBO

The next live-action adaptation for Disney is going to be a major stepping point for the company.

Disney’s push into live-action adaptations of their classic animated films has been a remarkable journey that has captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide. These adaptations breathe new life into beloved stories by reimagining them in a live-action format. Though the trend had started well before then, the success was kicked off by Alice in Wonderland (2010), which grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. The success of Alice in Wonderland demonstrated the enormous potential of this concept, prompting Disney to delve further into its extensive animated catalog.

Bob Iger in front of the Disney logo
Credit: Disney

Audience responses to Disney’s live-action adaptations have been mixed, with some films receiving praise for their ability to recapture the magic of the originals while offering fresh interpretations. Cinderella (2015) and The Jungle Book (2016) were well-received for their visual spectacles and respect for the source material, striking a balance between nostalgia and modern storytelling. Beauty and the Beast (2017) continued this trend, garnering acclaim for its faithful adaptation and introduction of a more empowered Belle (Emma Watson).

However, not all adaptations have been equally embraced. Maleficent (2014) reimagined the story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of its antagonist, while Aladdin (2019) and The Lion King (2019) faced criticism for their computer-generated realism compared to the traditional animation of the originals.

Rachel Zegler as Snow White in Disney's live-action version of Snow White
Credit: Disney

Moana, released in 2016, quickly became one of Disney’s most beloved animated classics. People raved about its breathtaking animation, captivating story, and the fearless character of Moana herself, who broke the mold of traditional Disney princesses by being strong and independent. The film also stood out for its respectful and educational portrayal of Polynesian culture and mythology, delighting audiences while giving them a taste of the South Pacific.

Now that Disney has announced a live-action adaptation of Moana, excitement is brewing among fans and critics alike. They can’t wait to see how the magic of the original film will be reimagined in a new medium. It’s a unique opportunity for Disney to maintain cultural authenticity and carry forward the groundbreaking themes that made the animated version unforgettable. The live-action Moana has the potential to bring the enchanting world of Moana to life in a fresh and inspiring way, and many are eagerly anticipating its arrival.

While Dwayne Johnson has already been confirmed to reprise his role as Maui, Auli’i Cravalho has already shared that she will not play the role of Moana and, instead, will serve just as an Executive Producer on the project. This has left a hole, of course, into exactly what course the company might take in filling the role.

Moana holds an oar.
Credit: Disney

Inside the Magic previously reported on the fan adaptation that had Zendaya take over the role of the Disney princess, and now more information has come to light on that potential.

Zendaya is a multi-talented actress and singer who has made a significant impact in the entertainment industry. She first gained prominence with her role as Rocky Blue in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up (2010-2013). However, it was her portrayal of Rue Bennett in the critically acclaimed HBO series Euphoria (2019) that truly showcased her range as an actress. Her performance in Euphoria earned her critical acclaim and numerous awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The series, known for its gritty exploration of teenage life and its raw, unflinching portrayal of complex issues, has become a cultural phenomenon, and Zendaya’s role played a pivotal part in its success. She also played a prominent role in The Greatest Showman (2017), which earned more than $435 million at the box office.

Zendaya has also made her mark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where she portrayed the character MJ (Michelle Jones) in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Her character is a modern, updated take on the traditional Spider-Man love interest, with Zendaya bringing her trademark charm and wit to the role alongside Tom Holland.

Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home
Credit: Marvel Studios

Recently, We Got This Covered reported that Zendaya’s name has been thrown out as a speculative choice for the role and that the role “would align” with the roles that she has taken in other massive franchises. However, this all remains speculation and more hopeful than anything else.

“Alongside Zendaya, actresses like Any Gabrielly and Siena Agudong have been named among the speculative choices for the titular role. In any case, fans will have to wait some time before any official confirmation of Moana’s cast, with a release date set for June 27, 2025,” the report shares.

If Zendaya did get the role, it would be interesting to see what chemistry she could have starring alongside Dwayne Johnson in what would surely be a major box-office attraction for fans.

Who would you like to see play Moana in the live-action film? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

in Disney, Entertainment

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