A New Disney Star Some Fans Didn’t Wish For

Image Source: @SM_Cinema on Twitter

Wish is an upcoming Disney princess film that utilizes the studio’s classic 2D style and watercolor finish on 3D animated models. Asha is a 17-year-old from Rosas, “The Kingdom of Wishes,’’ found in the Iberian Peninsula where Spain spans the majority, which geographically resembles Roses, Spain. With her pet goat Valentino, Asha summons Star (an actual star) for a wish. It has been Disney’s ideal plot point in the past to form a story around a protagonist’s wish upon a star. Theories are that this film will connect Disney’s other films in a multiverse of princesses and more.

Image Source: Movie Insider

Even with this enticing premise, Asha wasn’t well received due to the princess’s darker features that diverge from the consistent looks of Northern and Western European Disney princesses. Her home vaguely in the Iberian Peninsula, in reality, consists of Andorra, Spain, and Portugal, which houses a mixed bag of ethnicities stemming from many lands like the neighboring North African and distant West Asian countries. The princess with cornrows deviates from Disney’s early ideal looks, and with her significance in the universe, it has been labeled a stunt by the “woke.” A term that is bilaterally used to describe enlightenment, while others mostly view it as a “Black-washing” agenda, in this case. Flipping to the other side of the coin, Disney has also been accused of exploiting representation yet previously faulted for its ethnic monotony. 

Image Source: Disney Fanatic

Since Disney has been shaking up its catalog lately, like casting a darker Ariel in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid (released in May of 2023), the reveal brought expected objections that exceeded genuine discomfort with change. Her looks triggered mockery, like the use of blackface imagery to trump Disney’s advertisements on social media. Although this isn’t an unfamiliar social atmosphere like the release of The Princess and The Frog starring New Orleans-born Princess Tiana, trolls managed to publicize racist commentary over this film’s buzz. The emphasis on the dislike of her appearance was guided by the polar ideology of what constitutes the aesthetics of princess-hood. This film, similar to the others, triggered public discourse of political race views and ongoing, forever-evolving conspiracy theories.

It is clear that a portion of the opposition shares a distaste for Disney’s inclusive measures, rooted in Western-traditional beauty standards. As the obstinate public attempts to sully and deter reinvention of the beauty standard in mainstream films like Wish, many more are pleased by the released footage, which conceptualizes the beautiful and significant release in our minds even more so…

Wish heads to theaters on November 22, 2023.