Now Is the Perfect Time to Release Disenchanted

If you haven't been keeping up with the news, a handful of production photos were recently released from Disenchanted, Disney's upcoming sequel to Enchanted. The film is rumored for a Fall 2022 release date, which could not be more timely considering how disenchanted the general public has become with Disney and how many people want it to return to its fairy tale roots just like Giselle desire in this film. At first, I thought it seemed really weird for her to suddenly want her life to be more like the superficial magical realm of Andalasia after she already decided that she preferred Robert's grounded and cynical lifestyle and gave up her chance at a fairy tale romance with Prince Edward. However, as a grown-up princess fan, I have an intrinsic understanding of the temptation for a nostalgic time when everything seemed simply despite being aware that I still have to live in the real world.

Disenchanted Logo

With everything going on at Disney right now, it seems almost ironic that they are about to wrap up production on a film about a Disney Princess who wants to go back to the good old days when any problem could be solved with true love's kiss and everyone lives happily ever after. With Disney's recent removal of gendered terms in their theme parks, some people are speculating that they might even ban the word "princess," which would be pretty ridiculous considering that the Disney Princess franchise is one of their most popular brands, and they are still in the midst of their Ultimate Princess Celebration with Disney Princess - The Concert's national tour. This speculation reinforces how difficult it is to be a Millennial princess fan during modern times as Disney continues to shift the defining traits of their princess characters in a direction that leans toward the opposite of what they once represented.

Production image of Disenchanted featuring Giselle in medieval fantasy garb pushing a baby carriage

When Disenchanted was first announced, I thought it sounded like a pretty silly idea. Giselle seemed very confident in her decision to give up fantasy for reality in the original movie, so accidentally unleashing a curse because she wants to make the real world more like Andalasia seems out of character for her. Why can't she just move back? However, it the world has shifted in a way better justifies the plot of this new film since it was first announced several years ago, almost as if the filmmakers predicted the future. The above set photo of Giselle pushing a baby carriage in feminine medieval fantasy garb with an awkward expression on her face is a perfect depiction of modern society. She wears a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes as though she is questioning if this traditional display of femininity is still okay in a world where gender norms are increasingly discouraged.

Giselle and Robert share a kiss on the set of Disenchanted

Other recent set leaks from Disenchanted reveal a slightly more modern-looking dress for Giselle that still has a somewhat vintage feel with its fun floral print, long-sleeved cardigan, bright red heels, and matching belt. Her half-curly hairstyle is reminiscent of popular fashion trends from the 1940s and '50s, giving this look a bit of a Stepford Wives feel. This may have been exactly what the costume and makeup artists were going for since Giselle's desire to return to a fairy tale lifestyle results in a WandaVision-style curse that traps everyone in her newly refurbished hometown. This would imply that living out a fairy tale isn't actually what she wanted after all, which would result in merely restating the thesis of the original film. However, maybe the theme of Disenchanted isn't that that having your head in the clouds is a bad thing. Maybe it's about trying to find a happy medium between the cynicism and group think of modern reality and the elevated optimism and unrealistic expectations of fantasy.

The Storybrook-like town that Giselle transforms with her fairy tale curseGiselle looking out over a floral fantasy bridge

At the end of the day, reality is what we make of it. With enough time, money, effort, and love, it is possible to live out your fairy tale dreams, but the pressures and ideology of modern life make that harder to do now than ever. That's why even though Disenchanted does not have a set release date yet, it is more fitting to the climate of 2022 than when it was first teased. Maybe it's a good thing it got pushed back after all. I hope to watch it later this year on Disney+ to see how accurate my predictions are about the film's themes and outcomes.


whitephoenix said…
Thank you for sharing these pics! I love the original Enchanted movie (although a few things haven't aged well like the idea that a fairy tale princess wouldn't understand the emotion of anger. That scene felt the closest to parody like this was a Shrek movie) and have long awaited a sequel. I've been disappointed with the constant delays and the cynical side of me thinks they only bothered finally approving this because they needed more material for Disney+.

However, I'm loving Amy Adams' costumes from the pics you posted. I was afraid they'd completely change Giselle's character to try and demonize femininity but that doesn't seem to be the case. Your blog post has given me hope that this film will be a loving successor to the original. I just hope it doesn't go the route of pretty much every other Disney movie in the last decade and make meta jokes that criticize classic Disney and the princesses. While the original movie didn't, the sad truth of the matter is that Disney is a very different company now than they were in 2007 so I'm not sure how tonally consistent this sequel will be but I'm keeping my fingers crossed it won't make fun.
Lisa Dawn said…
I actually have an old post that was inspired directly from the scene where Giselle was surprised by the emotion of anger here:

I don't think it would make sense if they changed Giselle that much because it still needs to be believable that she's the same person. They probably did decide to open this project back up because they needed more content for Disney+, but I'll be happy if it's at least better than Godmothered. That movie felt like a parody of Enchanted if anything.
whitephoenix said…
Thank you for sharing that post! It's interesting because besides the 90s princesses you mentioned, who clearly do get angry, even the Walt princesses occasionally exhibited anger. Snow White seems pretty cross when she asks if the dwarfs have washed or not before supper. When the birds attack the Witch, Snow White is frustrated with them. Cinderella shows several moments of defiance, like when she's framed for putting a mouse in her stepsister's breakfast, or when she stands up for her right to go the ball after delivering the invitation. Her intro scene also has her get angry at the clock for waking her up. People also forget that she showed a sarcastic side as well, making snarky comments about the lack of talent her stepsisters have. Aurora is the only princess we don't really see ever get angry but that seems more because we don't get to spend much time with her. Even then, when she finds out that she can't marry Phillip, there's a flux of emotions that cross her face that match her emotional state and just for a second, she does seem rather displeased and almost angry. Of course, non-princesses like Alice and Wendy also had scenes where they got angry, including the non-human ones like Lady. And Tinker Bell is downright murderous with a huge temper to match. Which is why the joke about how fairy tale characters, specifically the princesses, never get angry never sat right with me and seemed more like a quick joke at their expense.

I never saw Godmothered in part because I read so many reviews for it which weren't very kind and how it was basically just a cheap version of Enchanted and without the talent and quality. In fact, Godmothered was part of the reason I became nervous for Disenchanted because I was afraid as a Disney+ exclusive, it would turn out just like it.
Lisa Dawn said…
I don't think anything they do can be as bad as Godmothered turned out, so at least there's no way to go but up! I thought other Disney+ originals such as Secret Society for Second-Born Royals were at least decent, and then there was WandaVision, which was a fantastic original series!
whitephoenix said…
The Disney+ originals created by Marvel and Star Wars are all pretty great but it's the projects that Disney themselves directly creates that have all been pretty lackluster. I haven't been interested in any of them.

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