(Photo : Disney)
Pixar's Brave is back in the spotlight after a recent redesign of a character sparked outrage among Disney fans and moviegoers. When the film was released, Brave's Princess Merida drew much praise for being a nuanced and well-rounded female protagonist.
When Merida was officially crowned the 11th princess at Walt Disney World this weekend though, the character featured was almost unrecognizable. She had been redesigned to feature a slimmer waist, reshaped eyes, and weirdest of all, a lower cut on her dress, a dress that she happened to hate in the movie.
Like Us on Facebook
This caused a massive fan backlash, including a Change.org petition called "Keep Merida Brave."
This morning, Today reported that Disney officially addressed the situation, stating that the redesign of Merida had never been used on its official sites or Facebook pages. Instead, the new look was created for her coronation, and is intended for a limited product line this summer and fall. The official look of the character has not been changed from the movie version.
"The artwork used on Merida's official social media sites has always been the imagery from the movie - there have been no changes," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. "We routinely use different art styles with our characters and this rendition of Merida in her party dress was a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation. Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world. "
The statement continued, "For a wedding or prom, even a tomboy is going to dress up for a special occasion." Disney emphasized that the character has not been altered, and will continue to appear in her original form.
"That doesn't change who she is or who she will continue to be or who she remains on the Disney web sites or in most of the products."
That probably won't be enough to appease fans who see this as a betrayal of what the film stood for, but it is at least comforting to know that it is a temporary design. All of Disney's characters have gone through minor changes as they've made the jump from movies to merchandise, but the official art has always stayed the same. We can just hope that the same bears true for Merida.