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The Shocking Truth Behind Disney’s Original Plans for Princess Tiana

princess tiana face character
Credit: Disney

These days, the 2009 animated Disney movie¬† The Princess and the Frog¬†is a hot topic due to Princess Tiana’s upcoming Magic Kingdom ride, which will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and will reportedly open this summer.

princess and the frog, young tiana and her family

Credit: Disney

Princess Tiana has become an iconic Disney princess, with many Disney fans appreciating the movie’s old-school animation style as opposed to the more modern CGI style from movies like¬†Tangled¬†(2010) — but according to¬†CBR, the movie about the New Orleans chef had to overcome many hurdles before Princess Tiana made her debut!

Apparently, Disney found itself struggling while trying to develop the movie about Tiana, her friends from the Lousiana Bayou, and the voodoo doctor Dr. Facilier — even though the famously successful duo consisting of John Musker and Ron Clements was onboard.

tiana and charlotte, princess and the frog

Credit: Disney

Maddy the Chambermaid?

The first obstacle involved Tiana herself. The New Orleans chef was meant to be named Maddy, and she was meant to be a chambermaid in the home of someone like the wealthy white woman who would eventually be Tiana’s friend, Charlotte.

There was tremendous opposition to Tiana’s chambermaid role, however, and the name Maddy¬†“was considered a less authentic name for a Black character and potentially carried other connotations.”

Hence, Tiana was born! The next obstacle involved the movie’s title. Since the Disney movie is inspired by both The Frog Princess¬†(a 2002 book written by E.D. Baker) and the German folk tale that is known as The Frog Prince,¬†it stands to reason that Musker and Clements were initially going to call the movie¬†The Frog Princess.

princess and the frog, princess tiana and prince naveen

Credit: Disney

Brad Pitt vs Prince Naveen?

However, there were “concerns over offending the French community (since the term ‘frog’ can be used as a slur for French nationals).” Yet another obstacle faced by Princess Tiana and her friends involved the princess’s love interest, Prince Naveen.

Apparently, Prince Naveen of Maldonia was originally meant to be a character more in line with Brad Pitt or Cary Grant, appearance-wise — but “the Prince’s nationality was shifted to be of pseudo-Eurasian descent” instead.

princess tiana and prince naveen

Credit: Lydia Turner, Unsplash

When in Doubt, Ask Oprah

Over the course of three years, Disney endeavored to make changes that would appease audiences and be as inclusive and inoffensive as possible. The famous television host and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey was brought on as a consultant for the film, and she ended up playing Tiana’s mother Eudora along the way.

Overall,¬†The Princess and the Frog¬†was a success — but since Disney has been under fire so severely lately for being too “woke” while making its most recent movies, it’s worth pointing out the “woke” changes that were made to this popular 2009 Disney princess movie!

What do you think of these changes? Tell us about it in the comments below!

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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