It’s pretty well known at this point that the monolithic super-company known as Disney is more protective of it’s coveted Disney Princess brand than a man is of his balls whilst lowering himself into a scalding hot bathtub. So much so that the person behind the scene in Ralph Breaks the Internet where the entire pantheon of princesses hang out together was genuinely worried that even suggesting it to get would get them fired.
Now if you’re currently thinking that no company would give that much of a shit about something so trivial, remember that we’re talking about Disney here, a company that, as we’ve discussed before, absolutely insists that the immensely marketable monarchs never look at one another on official merchandise. An edict that has the side effect of making the characters seem a little, volatile and is the literal exact opposite of how they’re portrayed in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Well except Cinderella who seemed just a little too keen to fuck up a child with a shiv made with her own crystallised footwear.
Anyway, the mastermind behind that scene, Pamela Ribon, was genuinely worried she’d be fired for daring to suggesting a scene where, in her own words “Disney pokes fun at itself”. A very real fear given that a proposed joke at Kylo Ren’s expense was nixed because Lucasfilm hated the idea of someone making fun of the character. Seriously.
As for how the Ribon got the idea, it started while she was working on Moana and, like many people, thought about what kind of Disney Princess she would be and eventually came to the conclusion that she’d be the one wearing a hoodie rather than single-handedly defending China from an army or causing a second ice age while singing her own theme song.
Moving on, this idea got Ribo thinking about what the other Disney Princesses would be like if they ever got a chance to figuratively and literally let their hair down?
Something the uber-meta nature of Ralph Breaks the Internet would allow her to realise, if she could get Disney to sign off on it. A major problem with getting the idea off the ground though was that all of the princesses hailed from movies with wildly differing art styles meaning a singular, cohesive style would need to be found to ground them in the Wreck-It Ralph universe. A giant, fuck off hurdle given how protective Disney is of each Princess. However, even after this was agreed upon there was still the issue of characterisation.
For example, when it came to designing casual outfits for the princesses it was difficult to agree on what each princess would dress like in a such a situation because none of the movies really show them just chilling like that. Life or death situations where they need to fuck up a Mongolian warlord sure but not a casual chat with friends.
Because of this there were endless arguments about what each character would wear and especially, how they’d look stood next to each other. This is because there was no official information about how tall each character was or what parts of their body that were unseen in official media looked like. A notable example being Cinderella who animators realised had literally never shown her ears at any point during her film.
This meant that they had to spend a significant amount of production repeatedly running various digital ears past Disney and undressing dolls to see what their proportions were. A sentence we can’t believe we’ve been paid money to write.
This said, the animators and art department did get to have some fun including Easter eggs for eagle eyed Disney nerds like Ariel not wearing shoes as part of her casual outfit because her character would understandably still be amazed by the fact she has feet instead of weird slimy flippers and Elsa wearing a big-ass sweater despite her repeated and chart-topping claims that the cold never bothered her anyway.