Changes to the Princess Merida Design That Probably Shouldn’t Have Been Approved

“Brave” presented Pixar with a task they had never faced before, despite the fact that it may not be among their more well-known works. Pixar has had audiences cry over fish and robots, made us believe that anybody can cook thanks to a smart rat, and brought toys and cars to life, but they have never before given us a female-led adventure, much less one that is founded in fantasy.

Aiming to fix that, “Brave” followed the escapades of Merida, a custom-defining Scottish princess, whose carefree life is disrupted when her mother (Emma Thompson) tries to match her with a suitable suitor. However, the young princess must restore order to both the realm and her relationship with her mother after mistakenly turning her into a bear.

Despite having a less favorable critical reaction than some of Pixar’s earlier productions (according to Rotten Tomatoes), “Brave” was successful in other respects. Merida’s portrayal gained widespread recognition in addition to the movie’s $540 million worldwide box office haul (according to Box Office Mojo) and Oscar victory for a best-animated picture (according to Huff Post).

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Merida was praised by Entertainment Weekly for being a “headstrong heroine” and was compared positively to Katniss Everdeen from the “Hunger Games” series and other similar figures. Disney got into trouble after the movie came out when they changed the character’s appearance to make it appear much more contradictory.

Disney Released a 2D Redesign of the Character

Merida would be formally welcomed into the Disney Princess lineup on May 11, 2013, during a special coronation ceremony held at Walt Disney World (via Inside the Magic). Disney developed a 2D remake of the character to advertise the occasion, exchanging the rounder and more clumsy features of her appearance for a leaner, more revealing appearance.

It would be an understatement to say that the crowd was incensed. The new appearance was criticized for making Merida into yet another stereotypical Disney princess and for providing a poor example for young females who watch it (via The Guardian). Similar feelings were expressed by director Brenda Chapman, who had originally developed the concept for “Brave” before being replaced by a man.


According to “The Prince of Egypt” co-director, “There is a recklessness to this decision that is horrible for women and young girls” (via IGN). Disney marketing and the authorities that let them engage in such behavior need to be ashamed of themselves.

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Disney responded to the uproar with a statement to Yahoo, saying, “Merida is a perfect example of what it means to be a Disney Princess because she is courageous, passionate, and self-assured. She continues to be the same tenacious Merida from the film, whose inner traits have motivated mothers and girls all around the world.” Disney quickly reassured fans that the appearance was merely temporary and that her regular appearance will return (via Today).


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