Most People Won't Recognize These Princesses

Previously, I've discussed why most people wouldn't recognize Daria from The Princess and the Pea because it was produced by a small independent studio in 2002. However, there are other animated princesses from movies produced by more well-known studios that simply did not make a big enough impact for people to remember or care about. They are the rejected princesses, the forgotten princesses, the princesses who would never graduate to become a Disney Princess. This is no small feat considering that not even all of the Disney Princesses are actually princesses. Our first example was released under Disney's obsolete Miramax studio name that they used for their B movies that they did not expect to succeed in the box office.

The Thief and the Cobbler has a complex history. It was the love child of animator Richard Williams who worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit for Disney in 1988. He wanted to produce The Thief and the Cobbler on his own with no studio involvement in order to show off his animation ability, but after 30 years of pouring his heart and soul into it from the '60s until the '90s, he ultimately surrendered the project to Disney in 1993 because it would have taken him far too long to complete it by himself. Disney then proceeded to butcher his vision by adding unnecessarily voiceover dialogue to the two mute protagonists and turning the film into a musical.

Princess Yum Yum's primary role in the original cut was to interpret the pantomiming of Tack, the cobbler but she was not supposed to have a desire to leave the castle nor was she supposed to sing about it. These traits that Disney tacked on felt artificial and took away from the simplicity of Yum Yum's character. Yum Yum was supposed to be a more reserved princess than Jasmine even though Disney did draw inspiration from the work Williams had done on The Thief and the Cobbler when they made Aladdin. Yum Yum's design, on the other hand, is particularly unique. It's more cartoony than anything Disney has ever done, and you have to give this princess due credit for knowing how to accessorize. From her bright red heart-shaped earrings and feather hat to her sheer lavender veils, dressing up as Yum Yum at a Halloween party would be sure to make a splash even if nobody knows who you're supposed to be dressed up as.

Eilonwy is the princess hardcore Disney fans would expect to see on a list like this. She is the only traditional European princess that that they do not include in their princess line. The Black Cauldron from 1985 was a notorious flop. Eilonwy pops up out of nowhere roughly halfway through the movie from a dungeon that the main character, Taran, is trapped in. She calls herself "Princess Eilonwy," but we don't see any substantial proof of her being a princess. We don't even know why she's locked in the dungeon. She could be clinically insane for all we know about her. Eilowny doesn't do anything particularly notable in the movie nor does she sing. All of these factors combined with her general lack of popularity among fans play into her exclusion from the Disney Princess line.

Kidagikash, or "Kida" for short, from Disney's 2001 flop, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, is also largely excluded from the Disney Princess line. Many people assume it's because she's thousands of years old and therefore doesn't fit in with a group of teenagers, but I think that is only a small part of it. If the movie had been more successful, you can bet they would have found a way to include her in the line. She's the princess of Atlantis, after all! It goes much deeper than that. Like Eilowny, Kida doesn't show up until the movie's halfway point and does very little before getting trapped inside the crystal that protects her kingdom. Her character is heavily overshadowed by the stronger women in the film such as Audrey and Helga. She also doesn't sing and can't read her own language.

In 1991, an independent movie was released in multiple languages and countries called The Princess and the Goblin. It is about a very young princess named Irene (pronounced ay-REEN-ee) who recruits a boy named Curty to save her kingdom from the wicked goblins. Irene has a lot in common with Eilowny. They're both blonde princesses who wear pink, have similar British accents, and have to escape a dungeon with a boy they just met. Irene has a little more of a backstory, though. We see the castle she lives in, her caretaker, and her father who trusts her with his life. In the movie, she sees the ghost of her grandmother who gives her a magic ball of thread to help her escape a labyrinth. Curty ultimately gets the credit for saving the kingdom, but Irene does have a more active role than the other princesses I've discussed here. There is also one song in the movie that Curty teaches to her as a weapon to use against the goblins.

Life is hard for the animated princesses who aren't the title characters in their movies. No one recognizes or remembers them. Jasmine is the one exception due to sharing equal screen time with Aladdin and performing that unforgettable duet with him on the magic carpet. For a historical twist on "forgotten" princesses, check out the stories on the Rejected Princesses website. Created by former animator Jason Porath, Rejected Princesses is a series of illustrations and stories about legendary women from history whose stories would be too violent or dark to turn into animated children's movies. He started out by drawing a series of Disney-style movie posters with brief descriptions, but they later evolved into illustrated online storybooks that he posts on his Facebook page and his site. He released a physical book last year containing some of the most popular stories. Hopefully, these forgotten princesses and heroines can still get some love and recognition.


Anonymous said…
I recognized all except the last one! The black cauldron was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. And princess yum Yums song “she is more than this” pops into my head all the time.
Kiki said…
This is definitely NOT where Anastasia belongs. She belongs in the popular princesses.
Kieran Callahan said…
Miramax is now owned by Paramount, so Yum Yum is Paramount property.

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