With a mostly “Snow White” history, Disney has not exactly been known as the most diverse company when it comes to media representation. But thankfully in the last 20 or so years, things have been slowly changing for the better – with the introduction of Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, and most recently, Tiana – the lineup of Disney Princesses is starting to look a bit more colorful. But many people have wondered, where is the Latin representation? Well, with the help of Elena of Avalor, Disney hopes to answer that question. And below are the reasons why I think she (and her show) is gonna be pretty dang cool.
Debuting in her own Disney Channel TV series, Elena is a 16 year old royal who has had a pretty intense upbringing. She had to defend her kingdom from the evil sorcerous Shuriki to save the life of her little sister Isabel and she got trapped inside an amulet for a good chunk of time. Now free, Elena is the next heir to the throne, and has a life that is pretty nuts. She flies on the back of a magical creature (known as a Jaquin), uses an enchanted scepter to save the people of her kingdom from monsters, and also is a stellar guitar player. Is she slowly becoming my new favorite Disney Princess? Yus mama, yus!
Disney’s Version of a Magical Girl?
There’s also something interesting that I (as the weirdo with the PreCure collection in her room) noticed about Disney’s newest protagonist: Elena is the only member of the Disney Princess line that truly embodies a lot of 90’s Magical Girl qualities. For starts, she has a cute animal sidekick (or two possibly – as the trailer hints!) Elena also has a backstory that seems to involve elements straight from the backstory of other famous magical girl series, especially considering that she was trapped in a magical item for years during a battle with evil – and well, you know, she basically has a scepter that is just as cute as anything Sailor Moon owned. Disney, I see what you’re up to.
A New Kicking-Butt Princess
Elena is also one of the few princesses (along with Mulan and Merida) that seems to have a heavy focus on her “kick-butt” abilities as a character. Much of the trailer features her doing several sword fighting sequences, or “saving the day” in some way, and I am totally behind Elena being a more action adventure related series than most of Disney Channel’s original programming. If this ends up being DisC’s strange response to Nickelodeon’s action adventure/”magical girl” series Miraculous Ladybug (which you can read about here), I’m totally okay with that. Even though the show is said to be for ages 6 – 8, I have a feeling Elena is gonna have an element that connects beyond its intended demographic, similar to the great Disney Afternoon series of the 90’s.
Awesome Guest Stars and Crossovers
Aside from the star of the show, Elena of Avalor promises to have many awesome guest stars that continue to promote diversity within the Disney brand, like George Takei, who is going to be featured in Episode 2 as a character named King Toshi. Does that mean we’ll get a possible Japanese Disney Princess? I’m sure fans will be super excited to find out once the episode premieres. And there will be a lot of other visiting characters from other Disney properties and new lands within the universe of the show, including Sofia The First herself (as promised in the TV movie starring that two princesses that’ll debut this Fall on Disney Channel.)
So if you can’t guess, I’m really excited to give this new Disney show a try. What about you? Comment below and tell us your thoughts on Elena and her awesome Latina spirit! Do you think Disney is trying to make her their first take on a magical girl? What will this mean for the rest of the Disney Princess brand? We want to know all your “feels” too!
Elena of Avalor premieres on The Disney Channel on July 22nd at 7pm (Eastern).