The month of March has been the home for live-action adaptations of Disney’s animated Princesses. In 2015, Disney released Cinderella, starring Lily James as the titular princess. In 2017, Disney released Beauty and the Beast, with Emma Watson playing Belle. The next Disney princess to find her home in March will be Mulan, played by Chinese actress Liu Yi Fei. Mulan will have her live-action debut March 27th 2020.
Before we begin, I want to thank one of GoC’s Princesses, Britany Murphy, for these amazing graphics! Follow her on twitter at @britany_murphs!
In this weeks fancast, I will be fancasting the remainder of the Disney Princesses. Some of these choices are pretty obvious while others are more inspired choices to diversify the Disney Princess line-up. In conclusion, I will be recasting three Princesses with casting choices I had hoped to see. No offense to anyone in favour of the actresses already cast in those roles.
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo… Now, let the magic begin!
First up, Ariel! Not too long ago Lin-Manuel Miranda had been attached to work on the music for the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Nothing has been done about the project since, as there is currently no director or writer attached. When the time comes to cast the part, I believe that Ariel should be played by Ashleigh Murray. Many of you may recognize her as Josie from the CW’s Riverdale. If so, you will know that she has an incredible voice and acting range. I believe that she is 100% suited for the part. Check out my full Little Mermaid fancast here.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves currently has a screenwriter, songwriters, and a producer! The project hasn’t moved forward, but the project has been green-lit. The tale is one that everyone knows and has been reimagined many times. In 2012, two different studios released their own versions of the tale, but alas the animated feature will always be the one everyone truly remembers. It is unclear if the tale will be reimagined a la Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, however, it might be fun if Disney reimagined their princess. I think Katie Leung would fit perfectly in the part. She played the beautiful and badass Cho Chang from the Harry Potter films, and it would be nice if two actresses from the franchise transitioned into playing iconic Princesses. Truthfully, I loved her screen presence from her time playing Cho, and she has the type personality suited to play a Princess.
Frozen‘s inevitable live-action adaptation is probably a priority for Disney. Perhaps after the sequel is released in 2019, Disney will announce the live-action adaptation shortly after. It is very unlikely that Anna and Elsa will be race-bent, but let’s have some fun with it. I think the two sisters should be played by Madeleine Mantock and Nathalie Emmanuel. I believe the two actresses are capable of becoming the Queen and Princess that so many love. Mantock has an incredible voice, which we got to hear on CW’s Tomorrow People.
The fierce and feisty Rapunzel! Oh how I adore Rapunzel! She had her animated debut in 2010, and it is baffling that Disney has not adapted this already. This is a project that seems pretty easy to produce as there is very little special effects needed, with the exception of Rapunzel’s hair. It is very much on par with 2015’s Cinderella, which had only few moments of visual effects. My top choice for Rapunzel is Emily Browning. She has a stellar voice that isn’t far off from Mandy Moore’s, who originated the character. She is the right build as Rapunzel has a small stature, and Emily is quite small. She is also an incredible actress, and I really cannot think of any other actress suitable for this part.
Almost there! Tiana came into our lives in 2013 and most of us agree that she deserved better. If a live-action adaptation of The Princess and The Frog were to happen, I would appreciate not having our first Black princess turn into a frog. There has to be a workaround on that plot detail. My top pick for the role would be Aja Naomi King. Not only does she look like Tiana, and looks like a real-life Disney princess, but she also has been playing a similar character on How To Get Away With Murder. She could slay this role in her sleep. Aja was made for the part. Check out Tevin’s The Princess and the Frog fancast here.
Of all the Disney princesses, Pocahontas seems to be the least likely to be adapted to live-action. There is no way to bring this story to life without hiding massive truths, being misleading, or being offensive, which were criticisms of the animated film. If the movie were to be adapted by a creative team of Native people, maybe something wonderful could be made. However, Disney did not show that kind of consideration towards the Middle Eastern-inspired Aladdin or the Chinese folklore Mulan. It is unlikely that Pocahontas would have that kind of special treatment. But, if Disney were to adapt the movie, I think Tanaya Beatty would be a great pick for the role.
Of all the live-action adaptations to pick from, I would make Elena of Avalor a priority. I think she is incredibly underrated and it is vital she gets to shine on the big screen. Disney would not only be bringing their first Latina princess to the cinemas, but alongside her will be an all-Latinx cast. With the success of Coco, it makes sense for Disney to produce a big budget fairytale about a Latina princess. It would also give much-needed representation for an underrepresented community. My top pick is Adria Arjona for the role of Elena, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the voice actress Aimee Carrero to take on the role she originated. Check out my full fancast for Elena of Avalor here.
Regardless of what you thought of Brave, we can all agree that Merida was a refreshing change from the standard Disney princess. Her story left much to be desired, but there is great potential for a sweeping Scottish epic. My choice for Merida is Scottish actress Hayley McLaughlin. She is relatively unknown, but she currently guest stars on TNT’s The Librarians as Ariel the fairy. Yes, she plays a character named Ariel. She is very delightful, and has the same energy Kelly Macdonald brought to the role.
After watching Amma Asante’s Belle and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, I became enamoured Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Her performance in those films left me awe-struck. Afterwards I became convinced that she would be the best choice to play Disney’s Belle. She can act, sing, and would look amazing in that yellow dress. However, she was cast as Plumette the feather duster, and the role of Belle went to Emma Watson. To be fair, it had been clear from her time in the Harry Potter films that this casting was inevitable, but a part of me will always long for Gugu’s version of Belle.
Last year, many people were in dismay that the role of Princess Jasmine did not go to an Middle Eastern actress. There have been many debates about the ethnicity of the Princess, but for 25 years she has been identified as Disney’s first Middle Eastern/Arab princess. I find it hard to believe that after auditioning 2000 actors and actresses for the lead roles, not one Middle Eastern actress emerged as a suitable candidate, Alas, Naomi Scott won the role. I believe the role belongs to a Middle Eastern actress, and I would have gone with someone like Aiysha Hart. She is a British-Arab actress and is still relatively unknown. She played a very similar role on BBC’s Atlantis, and she looks the part. Hopefully, Aladdin will encourage another studio to produce another version of Aladdin (or any of the other stories from One Thousand and One Nights,) and she is cast as a princess. Aladdin has completed principal photography, and is slated to be released May 24th 2019.
Sleeping Beauty’s story was reimagined in 2011’s Maleficent. She was played by Elle Fanning in the adaptation. However, the movie primarily focused on telling the story from Maleficent’s side. Sleeping Beauty was never the most compelling princess as she had all the basic Disney Princess qualities and the only thing that made her interesting was her tri-coloured dress. If Disney had any interest in telling the story from Sleeping Beauty’s perspective and her point of view, I would like to see Dianna Argon take on the role. She looks the part, can sing, dance, and is incredibly talented.
What are your thoughts on the fancast? Who’s your favourite Disney Princess and who do you want to see take on these roles? Let us know by tweeting at Geeks of Color or commenting below!