The DuckTales reboot has deviated significantly from the original series, with arguably the biggest change being the presence of Della Duck. Previously only a peripheral figure at best, the long-lost sister of Donald Duck -- and the mother of Huey, Dewey and Louie -- looms large on the Disney Channel animated series, where were disappearance served as an overarching mystery. Marooned for a decade on the moon, Della at long last returned to Earth, and to her family, in Season 2, and officially joined the cast with “Nothing Can Stop Della Duck!”
Over a handful of episodes, viewers have come to know Della as adventurous, kind, caring, brave and maybe just a little stubborn. Those are traits she shares with many modern Disney Princesses. And while Della isn't technically royalty, she otherwise fits the bill.
The best arguments against Della being a Disney Princess is that she’s never been featured in the Disney Princess canon, and that she isn't actually a princess. But Della wouldn’t be the only Disney Princess who isn’t royalty. Mulan is often grouped with the Princesses, yet she's the daughter of a farmer. Technically, Anna and Elsa from Frozen aren’t Princesses either: Elsa is a full-blown queen, and Anna is second in line for the throne.
If anything, Della is an incarnation of a Princess that makes sense in the current cultural climate. While she may not be royalty, she is the niece of the wealthiest duck in the world. Growing up (at least partly) in Scrooge McDuck's mansion, Della enjoyed a privileged life of adventure and wealth. She even has ancestors who may have been closer to the crown.
Singing To Animals
Beyond her social status, Della actually has a lot of similarities to other Disney Princesses. Like many of them, she’s shown to have an easy empathy with animal life. In “Whatever Happened To Della Duck?!” she's challenged by a massive Moon Mite for the gold she requires to repair her ship, the Spear of Selene. But upon discovering the beast is just a mother trying to protect her child, Della drops her weapon and helps soothe the crying baby. She even sings it a song, which ultimately is the key to calming the animal. That’s standard procedure for Disney Princesses, who oftentime have full-blown animal sidekicks.
Like many of the Princesses (Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Rapunzel, Merida), Della is headstrong and daring. She even gets herself into trouble because of how she’ll rush into a situation without thinking far ahead. However, Princesses are often clever enough to figure out how to escape, or at least how to solve their problems. Della fits those descriptions to a tee, proving herself to be the every bit the adventurer her Uncle Scrooge is. While her disappearance has forced Donald to become more cautious, her years on the moon only fueled her spirited drive for exploration.
The Disney Standard
Another major quality Della shares with the other Disney Princesses is her overwhelming sense of happiness and honor. When she meets Penumbra and the other alien Moonlanders, Della isn't distrustful or antagonistic; she doesn’t fear them. Instead, she turns to them for assistance, and immediately attempts to befriend them. She’s quickly accepted into their city, and she’s more than happy to speak to them about the promise of Earth. She even risks her own chances of returning home to try make sure they can go with her. She simply wants people to be happy, even if she’s only known them for a while.
The biggest difference between Della and the other Princesses is her age. While many of the Princesses are in their teens or early 20s, Della is the mother of three pre-teen sons. In that regard, she turns a Disney Princess trope on its head: Instead of being an orphan herself, Della's disappearance left Huey, Dewey and Louie without a mother.
While she may not have a crown, it’s likely Della has seen more than a few in her adventures around the globe, and beyond. She may not technically be a Disney Princess, but she definitely has the qualities of one. Disney should embrace that aspect of her personality, and add the daring duck to the list of Disney Princesses -- even if it's among the unofficial ones, like Elsa and Anna.
DuckTales returns in September.