Since the monumental news broke that Disney officially acquired most of 21st Century Fox to the tune of $52.4 billion, business and financial experts have been fretting about what this shake-up in the entertainment sector could mean. Now that Marvel, Star Wars and now most of Fox are all under the Mickey Mouse umbrella, could this mean the multimedia giant has now grown into a Death Star-sized threat? For everyone else, however, this news was met with applause rather than doom and gloom. Is there an Avengers vs. X-Men movie on the horizon? Will we be getting even more Star Wars content now then Disney owns the full rights to the franchise? And just how many more princesses has Disney gained?
Though it may seem like an afterthought in the grand scheme of this history-making deal, Disney’s princesses have been an iconic part of its brand identity since the very beginning. After all, the very first Disney movie was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney have been churning out princess-fronted re-workings of classic fairy tales and folklore ever since, and the monstrous success of 2014’s Frozen only goes to prove just how much appeal these plucky songstresses still have. With that in mind, it’s fun — and bizarre — to think about just how many other far less conventional “princesses” from Fox properties and the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes now technically qualify to join the likes of Jasmine, Ariel and Elsa.
15. XENOMORPHS (ALIEN)
Yes, the drooling extraterrestrial predators from the iconic sci-fi/horror film series (and your nightmares) now officially qualify to join the ranks of Disney’s nature-loving and beautiful heroines. After all, the Xenomorphs are the children of the universe’s most terrifying queen. They could certainly give the likes of Ursula and Maleficent a run for their money — even if they both super-sized themselves.
While neither the Alien matriarch or her chest-bursting offspring would exactly suit a tiara or ball gown, the story of a headstrong women battling for survival in an unfamiliar and hostile environment against an evil and superior-minded queen with strange abilities bears a striking resemblance to most in the Disney princess canon. And while we’re on the subject, wouldn’t Ripley make for a kick-ass “princess” too?
14. STORM (X-MEN)
Compared to most of the other creatures on this list, Storm, for once, seems relatively normal (aside from the white hair and glowing eyes.) But, her mutant heritage as the X-Men’s resident “Weather Witch” still make her pretty unusual princess material as far as Disney’s usual fare goes. Out of all the X-Men, hardly anyone — even those who’ve lived as long as Wolverine and Mystique — have had quite so many identities as Ororo Munroe.
As well as a princess of the Kenyan N’Dare tribe, Storm has held titles including, “Walker of Clouds,” Queen of Wakanda, “Windrider,” Goddess, High Priestess and White King, as well as leading many an X-Men team. To say that she’s highly certifiable for a princess role in the newly expanded Disney multiverse is really an understatement.
13. LILANDRA (X-MEN)
Princess-Majestrix Lilandra Neramani might be one of the strangest-looking new Disney princess recruits but she might also be one of the most over-qualified. Though she’s a seasoned intergalactic traveller of the alien Shi’ar race, her path always seems to cross with that of the X-Men’s — particuarly with that of a certain bald-headed telepath she can’t seem to resist the charms of.
As well as her distinctive feathered head and arrowhead crown, Lilandra’s exploits with teams like the X-Men and Starjammers, as well as her distinguished military and law enforcement background serving the Empire and her people, gives her the distinction of being a real leader rather than just a royal figurehead. She’d probably get along well with Disney’s Chinese war hero (and official “princess”) Mulan.
12. NEYTIRI (AVATAR)
You know them best as James Cameron’s blue alien cats who have sex with their tails. Their official name is the “Na’vi,” and Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri te Tskaha Mo’at’ite is the reigning princess of the Omaticaya Clan, and now, technically a Disney princess too. The Na’vi are the native people of the planet Pandora, which Jake Sully and the rest of the human colonizers tried to plunder for resources.
Despite looking like a literal alien compared to your average Disney princess, Neytiri’s skills and personality traits match up pretty well with the others. She has a strong bond with nature and detests having to take a living creature’s life — though she’s a fierce and deadly warrior if she needs to be. She’s also headstrong, smart and implied to be beautiful — y’know, if you’re into blue fur and elf ears.
11. OAKA (PLANET OF THE APES)
Believe it or not, the titular Apes from the long-running sci-fi franchise do have a “royal” line of succession. Their leader, Caesar — star of the latest series of reboot movies by Chernin Entertainment — is considered to be the “King” of the Ape Colony. This makes his mate, Cornelia, their Queen and their sons, Blue Eyes and Cornelius, their Princes.
In the video game adaptation, Planet of the Apes: The Last Frontier, the evolved chimpanzee, Khan, who left Caesar’s clan during the fallout of Koba’s rebellion went on to become the monarch of his own Colony. His second-born son, Prince Bryn, took a wife named Oaka, which technically now makes her Disney’s first ape princess. You could also throw Ari’s name (from the 2001 movie) in the ring too as the daughter of an ape senator.
10. BUFFY (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)
Imagine how different Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have been if it had been a Disney-owned show from the start? You can bet there would have been a lot less gross vampire foreheads and a lot more singing (though, based on the glorious musical episode, that would not have been a bad thing.) Though she’s not technically a princess in any way, Buffy does come from an elite and special bloodline.
That sounds like more or less what being “royal” is, right? She just spends her evenings high kicking stakes into the undead in trousers instead of attending banquets in crown jewels. Buffy also fits comfortably into the modern Disney princess told — a warrior woman like Merida with the supernatural powers of Elsa. Yet, she still has the fashion and romantic aspirations of the classics.
9. PRINCESS WAITRESS (IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA)
She might not be as freakish as some of the other royal women on this list but Princess Waitress is freaky in many other disturbing ways. She made her royal debut in the Season Four finale of FXX’s darkly comedic series, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. In the episode, Charlie persuades the gang to perform in “The Nightman Cometh,” a musical he’d written to (secretly) propose to the coffee shop waitress with.
The not-so-secretly autobiographical story featured Dennis as the “Little Boy” and heroic “Dayman,” Mac as the villainous “Nightman” and Frank as a troll. Dee plays the object of Charlie’s obsessive affections, a princess who works in a coffee shop. In the first act, she sings the awkwardly sexual, “Tiny Boy, Little Boy, Baby Boy” to Dennis’ Little Boy, who is clearly a cipher for Charlie.
8. PEACHES (ICE AGE)
For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the Ice Age series (shame on you!), Peaches is the daughter of protagonist Manny the wooly mammoth and his mate Ellie, who lead their own herd through the frozen wilderness of the Palaeolithic ice age. As leaders of the pack, Manny and Ellie are about as close to a royal family as this world seems to have, making Ellie the “princess” of the series.
Over the course of numerous movies, TV specials, shorts, video games and even a live-action stage show, the Ice Age franchise has generated over $6 billion, making it one of the biggest-selling names in entertainment ever. It’s no wonder Disney was keen to welcome the Fox-owned Blue Sky Studios — who produce Ice Age — under its wing. With her adventurous spirit, Peaches also makes a great addition to their princess line-up.
7. CRYSTA (FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST)
This 1992 classic is one of those animated musical films that is often mistaken for a forgotten Disney production, so it’s quite befitting that — with Fox owning the distribution rights — it’s now been welcomed into the House of Mouse fold for real. Its fairy heroine Crysta is also essentially a less tantrum-prone version of Tinkerbell anyway, and her character arc basically makes her forest royalty.
Like Cinderella, Crysta ascends to a governing position by persevering through hardship. She begins as the eager student of Magi, an elderly magical sprite who serves as the guardian of rainforest who teaches her to use her powers effectively. After Magi’s noble self-sacrifice to protect the forest from humans, the mantle is passed to Crysta, as well as the responsibility it carries.
6. ANNABETH CHASE (PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS)
As the daughter of Greek Goddess Athena and human Frederick Chase — and granddaughter of Zeus — demigod Annabeth Chase would sit comfortably among the Disney princess ranks, or even starring as a female counterpart to Disney’s Hercules. Like the other “half bloods” in Rick Riordan’s YA reimagining of Greek mythology, Annabeth’s godly powers make her part-princess, part-superhero.
As well as the superhuman strength, durability and speed you’d expect from the offspring of a God, Annabeth has her mother’s natural knack for combat — she learned how to wield a blade at age seven and held her own against the powerful Kronos. She even has the potential to summon weapons, too. Like any traditional Disney heroine, she’s blessed with natural beauty, even described as being “like a princess.”
5. PRINCESS PENELOPE (THE SIMPSONS)
Princess Penelope was brought onto the “Krusty the Clown Show” as part of one of the many efforts in the show’s history to boost flagging ratings. In this case, during Season Ten’s “Once Upon A Time In Springfield,” Princess Penelope’s presence is intended to lure in a larger female audience. Naturally, she steals Krusty’s spotlight and the ratings soar.
Discontent fans Bart and Milhouse decide to take matters into their own hands after becoming upset that the show has taken a different direction, but Penelope becomes even harder to get rid of when she and Krusty strike up an unlikely romance. Ironically, Penelope was clearly created to spoof the Disney princesses she now technically counts as. She was also voiced by Princess Diaries star, Anne Hathaway, making her doubly royal.
4. PRINCESS VESPA (SPACEBALLS)
Considering Spaceballs‘ Princess Vespa is a parody of Star Wars‘ Leia, it’s funny to think that both characters have now been inducted into Disney’s princess ranks. The whole of the 1987 Mel Brooks movie is, of course, one great big Star Wars gag made long before Seth MacFarlane had his turn at lampooning the franchise in Family Guy. Vespa is the daughter of King Roland, ruler of the planet Druidia.
Druidia comes under attack from Dark Helmet who hopes to funnel all of the planet’s air into his own, planet Spaceball. Part of his plan involves kidnapping the pampered princess after she jilts Prince Valium and hold her to ransom to the tune of 1 million “spacebucks.” Vespa seems too prissy to be a proper Disney heroine at first but once her hair gets messed up in battle, she’s quick to show her trigger-happy side.
3. PRINCESS ANELLE (MARVEL)
Along with the Kree and Shi’ar, the Skrulls are perhaps Marvel’s most well-known alien race. But, since Fox bought the movie rights to the Fantastic Four universe, ownership of them has been tricky. In the same way that Marvel Studios partly control Spider-Man and the Hulk’s movie rights, it hasn’t had full control over the Skrulls either… until now. If you can’t strike a deal for individual properties, why not just buy the whole company?
That seems to be the Disney guide to business, anyway. With that announcement, this means that we have our first Skrull Disney princess — Princess Anelle. Anelle made her debut way back in Fantastic Four #37 in 1963 and since then she’s almost married a warlord, hooked up with Mar-Vell, become mother to a certain green-skinned Young Avenger and, sadly, fallen victim to Galactus’ endless hunger.
2. THE POPPLERS (FUTURAMA)
If just one uncanny princess isn’t enough for you, how about a whole alien nest of them? Though it obviously didn’t know it at the time, the second season of the now Disney-owned Futurama gave us perhaps the most bizarre royal family ever. In “The Problem with Popplers,” the Planet Express team goes hunting for Roddenberries on the Moocher planet. Instead, they discover a new edible treat: Popplers.
Always after a quick buck, the crew start flogging the Popplers back home as street food. But, to Leela’s horror, one of the creatures suddenly makes its sentience known when it calls her “Mama” inches from her mouth. Leela’s protests to the rest of the crew not to eat the critters fall on deaf ears, until their parents show up — the Omicronian royal family: King Lrrr and Queen Ndnd, making the Poppler brood certified princes and princesses.
1. DR. FRANK-N-FURTER (THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW)
From American Horror Story to M*A*S*H, Disney’s deal with Fox has meant the company is adopting a very strange extended family. Perhaps one of the most delightfully weird of the bunch, however, is Richard O’Brien’s cult horror musical extravaganza, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And, if we’re counting Popplers and Xenomorphs as “princesses,” then why not everyone’s favorite transvestite scientist, too?
Though he’s not exactly royalty, Dr. Frank-N-Furter is the leader of the Transylvanian aliens on Earth, and his mother is known as “The Old Queen.” He’s got the glamor, he’s got the melodrama and he’s on a quest to find true love — all the fundamental ingredients are there, so… why not? With its campy villains and capable heroines, Disney has also long been (unintentionally) serving the LGBTQ community, so maybe Frank-N-Furter isn’t that much of an odd fit.
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