Netflix Announces New Animated Princess Musical!

With the status of Disney's Penelope still up in the air, Skydance Media swooped in to the rescue yesterday with the announcement of a new animated princess musical coming out this year! Spellbound will be a direct-to-streaming Netflix original featuring a new princess named Ellian who goes on a quest to save her family after they get turned into monsters. Though Netflix originals tend to be hit or miss, this movie has some big names behind it that gives it the potential to surpass its theatrical competitors that are coming out the same weekend. This is the first original animated princess movie we've gotten since Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken came out a year ago, so it's pretty exciting news, especially considering that Disney's big holiday princess fare this year is a sequel and not an original story.

Get ready to learn about creative team behind Spellbound! The movie is begin directed by Vicky Jenson who worked on Shrek. The talent behind Princess Ellian is our future Snow White, Rachel Zegler. The most exciting news of all is the musical team. Alan Menken and Glen Slater, the creative duo behind the soundtrack of Disney's Tangled and its sequel series, are conjuring up some tunes for this new movie that are sure to enchant. Alan Menken is one of the biggest contributors to the Disney Renaissance era from 1989-1999, a period that inspired an entire generation to become involved in musical theater. He has largely retired from his Disney run in favor of the more modern-sounding melodies of Lin Manuel Miranda and soundalike composers. It's very exciting to see Skydance take on Menken's talents for a new project.

Ellian (voiced by Rachel Zegler) in a scene from ‘Spellbound.’ 

The film itself seems to be based on an original idea with some inspiration from fairy tale aesthetics and tropes. Based on the teaser images that have leaked so far, Ellian is a relatable character who doesn't reject pretty gowns or femininity just because she wants to be a "modern princess." This is exciting news for lovers of traditional princesses  as it is a concept that would likely have been rejected if it had been proposed to Disney. The fact that she is seeking to save her parents also gives the film a wholesome family theme that we rarely seen with the modern independent princess trope. Other non-Disney movies such as Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs have also focused familial love, which is another excellent way to portray true love in a fairy tale. You can see a little bit of Ellian's story in action in this promo featuring clips of Netflix's upcoming animated fare.

 

If November 22nd is too long of a wait to watch Spellbound, Netflix also made another big announcement recently that has delighted Magical Girl fans. Sailor Moon Cosmos, the double-feature finale of Sailor Moon Crystal that came out in Japan last year, is finally making its way to streaming. Although I thought this two-part feature was was a little rushed in that it condensed in an entire season into a three-hour runetime, it is exciting that it will soon be available to a wider audience who can decide how they feel about it for themselves. If anime is not your favorite flavor of animation, just wait until Thanksgiving weekend, when there will be plenty of other options to choose from including Spellbound and Moana 2.

The announcement of Spellbound is a thrilling surprise for fans of animated princess musicals. With its talented team, including Vicky Jenson, Rachel Zegler, Alan Menken, and Glen Slater, this movie is poised to enchant audiences with its unique blend of fairy tale aesthetics and modern themes. The film's focus on family love and traditional princess elements is a refreshing change of pace from the usual independent princess trope. With its release on November 22nd, Spellbound is shaping up to be a must-watch for the holiday season, alongside other exciting releases like Moana 2 and Sailor Moon Cosmos. Get ready to be spellbound by this magical adventure!

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