Disney is changing everything fans thought they knew about its beloved princesses for the past 75 years. In new footage presented at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, it was revealed that the original Disney princess voice actors reunite in Wreck-It Ralph 2 to dispel every princess stereotype that's had its day. Sarah Silverman, who returns as Ralph's (John C. Reilly) glitchy sidekick Vanellope, helped present the clip on stage on Friday. In it, Ralph and Vanellope travel from video games into the internet, where Vanellope stumbles into a room of all the Disney princesses within a Disney-themed website against Ralph's wishes. There, Vanellope, and audiences, witness the Disney princesses like they've never seen them before.
Vanellope is shocked to find Belle, Ariel, Rapunzel, Anna, Aurora, Jasmine, Cinderella, Moana, Snow White, Tiana, Merida, Mulan, and Pocahontas, kicking back in their element, sporting natural hair and some even wearing pajamas. Nine of the original voice actors who reunited for the sequence — including Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Kristen Bell (Anna), Paige O'Hara (Belle), and Ming-Na Wen (Mulan) — were present at D23, eager to reprise their roles. There's no question as to why.
The moment was enough to make any Disney lover explode, not only because of the nostalgia, but because of how Disney is so self-aware and challenges its own stereotypical past in the scene.
In the clip, Vanellope admits to the princesses why she thought they were "perfect" and "boring." Who knew Jasmine was really allergic to cats and Snow White needed big, goofy glasses? The scene points out familiar cliches of Disney princesses, as they ask Vanellope a series of questions to prove if she's truly one of their kind. "Do you have magic hair?" "Magic hands?" "Do animals talk to you?" "Were you poisoned?" "Cursed?" "Kidnapped or enslaved?" "Do you have daddy issues?"
The audience roared with laughter when came the mother load: "Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big, strong man showed up?" Vanellope responds, "Yes! What is up with that?" and the princesses respond in unison, "She is a princess!"
Disney has gotten heat over years for often portraying the damsel in distress, dependent on a man trope. In the groundbreaking footage at D23, the studio proves it's not only aware of that, but that its princesses most definitely don't need men to save them.
In the footage, a shocked Vanellope responds with, "I gotta say, I always thought that princess were all perfect and boring, but you guys are pretty cool, like you're just as messed up as the rest of us."
Behold: the dawn of the Disney princess, reborn.