‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’: How the Princess Scene Came to Life
In the promotional material leading up to the November 21 release of the highly anticipated sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, the fine folks at Disney has consistently been true to the film’s name. The most iconic of these moments was when Vanellope von Schweetz, Star of the original Wreck It Ralph film and Princess/President of the Sugar Rush, meets her peers of nobility for the first time.
The truly “internet-breaking” scene is jampacked with humor and references that could be enjoyed from anyone ranging from a Disney lurker to an avid Disney superfan. IGN had the opportunity sit down with Pamela Ribon, a screenwriter for the trailer and who cowrote Moana, an talk about the process of creating the scene. The vision began to formulate while Pamela Ribon was still working on Moana and the question of “why not?” crossed the creative’s mind.
“I was still working on Moana in 2014 when they started working on the treatment and the ideas for this sequel,” Pamela Ribon says. “And I was also thinking at the time, why is Vanellope canon, right? Like, she is a princess. She is also a president, as she has clearly stated, [but] I believe a woman can have more than one title.”
“And I felt like, of all the princess I’m the one in the hoodie. I love my comfy clothes,” Ribon continued. “I just had his idea in the back of my head. So when we were working on this movie and we all got back together after Zootopia in early 2016, we knew that we’d like to do a scene that was meta.”
“It would be fun to do a scene of Disney poking fun at itself,” Ribon says. “And so I thought, we talked about what if Vanellope met all the princesses? In this version and one of the early versions we thought maybe Vanellope was going to go viral, and I thought well yeah, if she met all the princesses that might break the internet.
“And that’s when I started thinking, if she met all the other princesses, I assume the first question would be ‘What kind of princess are you?’” Ribon explains. She went on to make a list of all the famous Disney Princess tropes, and even telephoned her friend and Disney co-worker, Elise Aliberti about how many of the official princesses were kidnapped or enslaved.
“So I wrote the scene and I read it, and then I had a panic attack. And I laid down on the floor, and I was like, ‘I’m either going to be fired, or this might be a big deal.’”
The panic attack proved to be well worth it as the trailer spread like wildfire into the arms of loving and kind-hearted fans across the globe. Besides the tireless effort put in by the writing team, what pushed the sequence over the ledge was the nostalgic care given to each of the Princesses featured in the trailer. The team took the time to rally up every original voice actor that was available. Interestingly, Pamela Ribon’s performance was so exceptional during the temp recordings they decided to keep her for the official release, in a brief yet show-stealing cameo.
Along with bringing in the original voices, the crew was sure to pull on iconic moments and details from everyone’s respective movies as well. The Princesses can be seen lounging around in pajamas branding key aspects from their movies. Moana and Anna confide in Venellope that she’s not alone in her struggles of understanding Merida due to the fact that, “she’s from the other studio.” All of these gentle touches, pull together to create an empowering scene.
When the trailer first began to make rounds there was one concern that someone was missing. Now that Star Wars is under the Disney umbrella, where was Princess Leia? Pamela Ribbon addressed this concern:
“I really thought of the princesses who walk through Disneyland as ‘The Disney Princesses,’” she explains. “Disney Animation, specifically. Because that’s where I feel like Vanellope is; of this house, in which she gets to stand next to the same princesses that this building [Disney Animation] made.”
“I wouldn’t have thought that in this room you’d have Princess Leia because she doesn’t seem like who Vanellope was talking to in that room, do you know what I mean?”
Ralph Breaks the Internet will smash its way into theaters on November 21, 2018!