Like the rest of the internet, you may have looked at one of the Disney princesses in the Ralph Breaks The Internet trailer a little differently when the teaser came out in June. And it's understandable, because one of them sported a very different look than usual: Cinderella had ears, after apparent decades without. Naturally, this discovery caused fans to frantically wonder how they never noticed that the princess was literally missing the organ that allows her to hear the sweet words of her mice friends and her prince. (Yes, some folks have noted that Cinderella's ears are slightly visible when she wears her hair down, but it's still weird that they're smashed under a headband for the sake of an evening look, OK?) But according to Ami Thompson, the art director of Ralph Breaks The Internet, the change just had to be done.
"When we were watching the original movie of Cinderella, we realized that her ears were completely pinned underneath the hairband, so we were like 'oh my gosh where did her ears go?'" Thompson explains to a room of reporters at Disney Animation HQ in Burbank. The art director says she was just as baffled as the rest of us that we'd gone 69 years as a Disney-loving society without realizing the princess was missing something essential. "So we just decided to show her ears," Thompson adds, clearly aware of the simultaneous simplicity and enormity of such a decision.
And while that might sound easy — you know, just give the girl some dang ears and move on — recreating the princesses, a.k.a. the Disney crown jewels, is not a task that one simply just does. It took a lot of work (the animators had an incubator solely to help them with this scene, which they called "Princess Palooza") and the input of original Disney animator Mark Henn (who got into this industry because he loved Cinderella so much — no pressure) to translate an entire slate of princesses (most of which were drawn in the 2D style, rather than Ralph's 3D) into Wreck-It Ralph-friendly versions. Considering that the animators spent hours just to make sure that they got the "character" of Ariel's flowing red hair just right, slapping some extremely visible, protruding ears on a beloved flaxen-haired royal is kind of a big deal.
Of course, once all the homework was done to create the looks for each of the princesses, the animators got to have some fun with their re-creations. While the team won't say how much of the scene makes it into the final version of the film, the footage shown at the Aug. 1 press day included a bit in which the Disney faves ditch their gowns for "comfy clothes" — much like their newly inducted "princess" pal and Ralph's bestie, Venelope (Sarah Silverman), whose signature look is leggings and a hoodie. The best part of seeing our gals go casual, of course, is the fact that the entire Ralph team got together to brainstorm perfect t-shirts for each and every one of them.
Elsa's got the requisite "Just Let It Go," while her sister Anna has her famous "Love Is An Open Door" lyric emblazoned on hers ("Finish Each Other's" placed on top of a yummy-looking sandwich, natch). For Mulan, the look is a bomber jacket not unlike Ryan Gosling's in Drive, except on hers, there's an embroidered Mushu rather than a gold scorpion. The others are pretty perfect in their own rights, too. Cinderella's is a carriage that says "G2G"; Rapunzel has a Snuggly Duckling souvenir shirt that professes "we've got a dream"; Sleeping Beauty rocks a "Nap Queen" logo; and Snow White has a poison apple tee because "not many people can survive eating poison. She’s a survivor."
So while fans will see heroines that might feel a bit updated from what we all know and love, it would seem that the team behind Ralph worked hard to ensure that the essence of each character was properly preserved. And, if co-writer Pamela Ribon is to be believed, there will be a few more surprises to come when the film finally arrives. "You’ll see a little bit more of the princesses," she teases.
And if what the world saw when the first trailer for the Wreck-It Ralph sequel dropped is any indication, more princesses is a very, very welcome thing.
This article was originally published on