Gamora Is Officially NOT a Disney Princess

Well, the verdict is in. "Black Vortex, Part One" is out on Disney XD, and we finally have the full story of that clip where Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy gets trapped in a Disney Princess nightmare. The "Black Vortex" arc is likely inspired by the Netflix series Black Mirror. It portrays the famous Marvel guardians getting trapped in worlds that look familiar at first but have something that's a more malicious just below the surface. Unlike Black Mirror, these are worlds that remind us of different types of classic animated media instead of the world we live in. Each episode is split into two vignettes, so the princess storyline does not cover the entire 20 minutes. The second half of "Black Vortex, Part One" covers the Guardians of the Galaxy character Drax, who gets trapped in a motion comic that contains pokes fun at several other well-known superheroes including Spider-Man and Superman. The Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! cartoon is in its third season now, but I didn't realize it existed until they did a princess parody, which is on par with my personal tastes.

In the "Black Vortex" episodes, the guardians must enter the evil dimensional vortex in order to escape sudden death when the ship they are on self destructs. Even though Gamora insists that they all hold hands so they don't get separated, they get separated anyway. When Gamora wakes up, she finds herself with large princess eyes in a bed in Snow White's cottage surrounded by a bunch of talking forest critters that hover on the line between creepy and adorable. When she asks them for her communicator and sword so she can find the other guardians, they feign ignorance and convince her to start cleaning the cottage while they sing an obvious satire of "Whistle While You Work." No matter how much she argues that she isn't a princess, the critters refuse to listen. She is, however, momentarily flattered when they compliment her long flowing hair. Ultimately, Gamora discovers that these adorable woodland creatures are some sort demonic projection created by the vortex world, recovers her stolen items, and obliterates the singing demons in an explosion of sparkles.

Not everyone can be a Disney Princess. Gamora is one of those characters that might pass for one if you stretch the definition to its utmost limits. After all, Mulan is a Disney Princess, and she's a warrior with no real royal title unless you count her spot on the emperor's council. Gamora is a Marvel comic book heroine. Since Marvel is owned by Disney, non-purists with open minds could call her a Disney Princess for humor's sake just as easily as they do with Princess Leia or Anastasia after the Fox transaction was completed. The real question is whether or not Gamora considers herself a princess. The critters claim that being the stepdaughter of Thanos, the wicked conquerer of galaxies, and having an evil stepsister qualify her as such, but she refuses to comply. Near the end of the vignette, she rips apart a frilly pink dress that the critters try to force her into and yells "I'm not that kind of princess!" Could this mean that the evil hallucinations ultimately succeeded in convincing her that she is, in fact, a Disney Princess, just not the gown-wearing house-cleaning type? Who knows?

Watching this episode and the second part, which is up on the website as well, I can admit that like most series on Disney XD with the exception of the Ducktales remake, this show is not my cup of tea. The vignettes were amusing but lacked any sort of real substance in terms of plot and characters. I felt similarly about the Guardians of the Galaxy film in 2014. I appreciate the creative intentions behind this arc to portray different styles of animation, but if I'm being honest, the artistic format of the princess world wasn't that different from the regular opening animation of the show, and the second episode, which was all CGI, looked very generic. Perhaps they're saving the best work for the next two episodes of the arc, but it's doubtful. As entertaining as it was to see that Gamora hates all of the old-fashioned Disney Princess stereotypes, it could also be construed as offensive to fans of the genre, which is something that the 2007 princess parody Enchanted was very careful not to do. Even though fairy tale princesses have changed a lot over the years, there are still overarching themes that remain the same to this day.

I would say that if you're a princess fan but not a huge Marvel fan, you aren't missing much if you haven't seen the "Black Vortex" episode of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. If you're one of the many people who bought a ticket to Avengers: Endgame last week, this episode might be a nice break from the dark tone of the film. It's fun to see unexpected crossovers of different Disney genres once in a while. I think we can decisively conclude from this episode that the Marvel universe could never coexist with the classic Disney fairy tale universe. They are like oil and water. I guess the moral of the story is that if you find yourself waking up in a Disney Princess nightmare, you'd better figure out where your sword is being stashed and find a way out as soon as possible.


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