Snow White sang “Someday My Prince Will Come.” Cinderella needed to be rescued by Prince Charming. More recently, Prince Eric fell in love with the mute Ariel (thanks Garfunkel and Oates for pointing that out), who traded her voice for legs.
But things have changed. John Musker and Ron Clements, directors of the upcoming Moana, said that the titular heroine does not have a love interest because it’s a film about a woman finding herself.
“There is no romance in the movie,” Musker said Thursday at Comic-Con, according to Entertainment Weekly.
While boys who don’t need a woman to find themselves has been a mainstay of Disney movies for decades, it’s nice to see another film that features a strong woman on her own journey.
This is not the first Disney animated film to not have a love interest: 2012’s Brave had frizzly-haired tomboy Merida. But Merida was not without controversy, the film’s creator, Brenda Chapman accused Disney of blacklisting her from the “Princess” collection and, when she was finally included, of sexing up her appearance. Disney eventually pulled the dolls from the lineup.
The success of 2013’s Frozen might have changed things. While one of the sisters, Anna, has a love interest, she is a damsel in distress who is saved by her sister, Elsa (although Anna, to be fair, is pretty tough too). To the surprise of many, Elsa merchandise has outsold Anna. “Elsa is double what Anna is. You sell two Elsas for every Anna,” said Lesa Nelson, senior vice president for children’s merchandise at J.C. Penney Co. to The Wall Street Journal in 2014.