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21 June 2011 @ 01:38 pm
Qualifications of an ODP  

ODP standing for, 'Official Disney Princess'.

We all know that Disney has more than ten(?) princesses, but what do those in the line-up have that others don't? I try to solve this puzzle by making a list...

As I watched the Princess movies, I saw four things that they all had in common:

1) They are either born or married into royalty (or the equivalent)
2) Their movie is a musical
3) They have sidekicks
4) They have a love interest 

(did I miss anything?)

So I suppose that in order to qualify, you have to fit all four of the criteria. But if we are going by this logic, then Mulan should not be in the line up. One could make the case that they needed some ethnic diversity. But when I do a line up, Mulan is not included. In the real world, Pocahontas is not a Princess, since Native American inheritence laws work differently. But this is Disney, and the Disneyverse works ona different set of laws than we do. Thusly, Pocahontas is in the line up for that reason.

Though Princess Merida is expected to join the Disney Princesses, I don't think she will fit into the mythology aside from being a princess, which to me isn't enough. Giselle was supposed to be an official Princess once upon a time, but dropped her because they would have to give Amy Adams (her actress) royalties (haha). Personally, I think that was a good idea. Giselle met only three of the four.

What about Kida?  Well, she was a princess and had a love interest, but Atlantis wasn't a musical nor did she have a sidekick. Eilonwy was a princess, had a love interest and a sidekick (I suppose), but The Black Cauldron wasn't a musical. Hell, even my beloved Atta and Dot from A Bug's Life only meet two/one out of the criteria, so they are not included.  But should Nala be up there? Jasmine proved that it doesn't have to be her movie in order to get into the ODPs. Who knows?

I dearly apologize if I sound uber-elitist or stuck up.

Current Music: "The Queen," Lady GaGa
Samantha: Advicesalukfan on June 21st, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
Atlantis and The Black Cauldron are also largely forgotten (sadly) box office failures, which I'm sure is the biggest reason why they're not mentioned.
Megan!meiki on June 21st, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I don't think Disney thinks about criteria like that very much. I think it's mostly whether or not the movies did well financially. Also I think Mulan, Pocahontas, and Jasmine are left out a lot even though they are official princesses because they don't have the same super girly princess dresses that the others do, which are really easy for Disney to market.
Dance with me at the Midnight Masqueradevampiremasque on June 21st, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
^^^I was just gonna say the same as above...that Mulan, Jasmine, and Pochantas are rarely included in lineup merchadise I've noticed.
Though I do think Tiana being a princess brought a demand for Jasmine back big time.

For some of the reasons you listed above, I don't really consider Mulan to be a Disney princess...She's a heroine, but I don't group her with the Disney princesses.
Abigail: Kingdom Hearts Squaremdmbrightside on June 21st, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
I've been seeing this discussion more over the past few weeks since people were trying to figure our why Rapunzel wasn't in the line up yet - she's the daughter of a king, she sings, has a sidekick, and one heckuva love interest. So why wasn't she in the line-up immediately?

The best reason I can see is marketing. Even Tiana, who was created expressly to be a Disney Princess (like Giselle), didn't start showing up on merchandise with the other Princesses until months after The Princess and the Frog DVD was released. Disney first had to cement her identity as a Disney character before they could put her in with a legacy brand, and even now some people don't know who she is or why she's with the Princesses.

So to get back to the actual discussion - who qualifies as a official Disney Princess and who doesn't - it's pretty much as you described, plus who sells well with the under 10 crowd. I often have to remember that the Disney Princess brand wasn't created to appeal to 20 year-olds who lived through the Renaissance, but for four to six year old girls. So their demographics, more than ours, dictate the brand choices.

And Mulan and Pocahontas are resiliently popular with little girls - their DVDs and costumes still sell to younger and younger crowds. It's probably why they edged out born-Princesses like Kida or Eilowny, or heroines like Esmeralda or Megara. They already have fan-bases that bought merchandise well, which was the whole point creating the collective franchise.

Now I may just be covering for the race issue (of the 8 original, only three were a race other than white, less than 40%) or arguing in addition to it. A lot of people believe Mulan and Pocahontas were just added to make the brand seem less white-washed, and there's probably some truth to that. Mulan and Pocahontas or even Jasmine rarely appear in merchandise with the other girls. They're usually token additions, rounding out doll collections or book pages. They wouldn't really be independently recognized as Disney Princesses as much as heroines of their own films.

And that's only other qualification I'd add: a Disney Princess tends to get top billing (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog) with only two exceptions (Aladdin and Tangled). An ODP tends to be the star of her own film.
qlbunnies: mulan hugs emperorqlbunnies on June 23rd, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
I agree that racial diversity can't have been the only reason Mulan and Pocahontas were added, since they are popular characters independently of the princess label and the stars of their respective movies. Jasmine and Tiana are probably trickier cases, since Jasmine was created as a love interest, and probably was added to the DP line because of her popularity with young girls. Tiana was always intended to be added to the line as the first black Disney princess, but all the same, she does carry her film as much as the others.

Actually, you could argue (and this is personally my belief) that Aurora was not the main character of her movie, despite the fact that it's named for her. The protagonists are the fairies, and Aurora, while vital to the plot, became the most prominent character in the movie due to her status as a princess and potential appeal for merchandise. In most of the ODPs' movies, the heroine is the one who carries the movie, as you mentioned, but Aurora and Jasmine definitely do not. Even though there are a few exceptions, I'd say this is one of the most important qualifiers for an ODP. A lot of the unofficial princesses or favorite heroines may be popular, but are still secondary characters or love interests.
Devinlife_subaquatic on June 21st, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
The way I see it, they have to cut their teeth with merchandising for their own movie before they can join the club. I guess Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana would have been accepted no matter what, so people wouldn't complain the Princess lineup was all-white. That said, they still had to be recognizable and well-liked characters. Another biggie would have to be how the movie fared commercially. But even if they do join the club, there is one requirement they must meet or be put on the B-list: they must be able to rock the sparkly dresses. If they can't do that, expect them to get much less merchandise than the others. Look at Mulan and Pocahontas, that kind of thing is not in character with them and they are rarely featured on any merchandising compared with the other eight.

Sorry for the long spiel again, but I've thought about that, too.
Ochibaochibawolf on June 21st, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
I wish Kida would have made it as an ODP. I love her to pieces. <3
Sailor Donut: Kidajeweledeyes on June 22nd, 2011 06:21 am (UTC)


Sailor Donut: Gisellejeweledeyes on June 22nd, 2011 06:25 am (UTC)

I would add "must be human" (at least in part of their movies, Ariel and Tiana) to those qualifications, which explains why Nala, Atta and Dot aren't included. And Maid Marian. (Is she a princess? I'm confused as to whether a king's ward (and niece? Right?) would count, lol)

whynewton on June 23rd, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
I swear that once when I was younger I saw Nala with some princesses. I remember thinking it was the most random and out of place thing to add Nala. Or was it nala daughter? Either way it could also have been some counter fit. But something about me swears they tried to push nala as a princess once.
qlbunnies: rapunzel paintqlbunnies on June 23rd, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
I think it has more to do with how popular the characters and movies are than anything else. That explains Pocahontas and Mulan, anyway. I think no matter what rules seem to pop up, there are going to be exceptions, since Disney seems to decide based on the individual character and their appeal.
swanprideswanpride on October 5th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Imho it's mostly based on the popularity of the movie - but that's not all.
1. She had to star in a movie based on a fairy tale or a legend

This rule alone disqualifies more or less all of the other so called princesses (there acually aren't any others - Nala and Kida are both queen by the end of the movie, and Eilonwy introduces herself as a princess but admits later that she is just a kitchen maid. And Tiger Lili isn't the star, she is a side character). And all of those characters are in movies based on books or original stories.

2. She has to be human

That rules out maid marian.

3. She has to be a heroine.

That rules out Megana, who starts out as a villain (kind of).

Brace is supposed to be a fairy tale, so naturally Marida fits in the line up.