For the past century and a half, The Walt Disney Company has set the standard for animated entertainment. Disney is celebrating 100 years of animation with more groundbreaking films than ever before, from Mickey Mouse in 1928’s Steamboat Willie to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937.
In addition to operating widely adored theme parks like the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, Disney also owns the illustrious Pixar Animation Studios (and their franchises like Toy Story and Finding Nemo).
The Disney brand has expanded since its inception in 1950 with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Hercules, Pocahontas, and subsequently Cars (2006) and Zootopia (2016). The media landscape as we know it is largely due to Disney’s acquisition of very successful franchises like Lucasfilm’s Star Wars and Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It looks that the revamped version of Splash Mountain at Disney Parks, which will feature characters from “The Princess and the Frog” (2009), will open before the sequel is released.
The Princess and the Frog: Disney’s 2009 Classic
In 2009, The Walt Disney Company released The Princess and the Frog, originally titled The Frog Princess, from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Tiana was directed and co-written by John Musker and Ron Clements, and it featured the voices of Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, a hardworking waitress with dreams of owning her own restaurant, Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen of Maldonia, who is turned into a frog by a voodoo bokor or witch doctor, and Keith David as Dr. Facilier/the Shadow Man.
Tiana and Maurice embark on a road trip with Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), Ray (Jim Cummings), and Mama Odie (Jennifer Lewis) after an unfortunate kiss turns Tiana into a frog. Jennifer Cody portrays Tiana’s aunt Charlotte La Bouff AKA Lottie, Terrence Howard plays Tiana’s father James, Oprah Winfrey plays Eudora, and John Goodman plays “Big Daddy” Eli La Bouff.
Tiana, the Princess of Maldonia, is the protagonist of the rumored sequel to the beloved film about the first woman of color to hold the title of Disney Princess. “A calling to her New Orleans past isn’t far behind” as Tiana embarks on a “grand new adventure as the newly crowned Princess” in the sequel.
This was first reported by Deadline in 2021. The “new long-form musical series” that is “coming to Disney+ in 2023” also had Stella Meghie (The Photograph) attached to direct and write. The wait for Disney cartoon enthusiasts may now go on indefinitely.
The Princess and the Frog Trailer
On December 11, 2009, “The Princess and the Frog” was released to the public. Walt Disney Animation Studios saw “The Princess and the Frog” as a victorious return to its signature: the hand-drawn fairy tale musical, after nearly a decade of hit-or-miss filmmaking with numerous creative styles and genres.
Disney based the film’s marketing effort on this ingenious premise. A line from the initial teaser said, “After 75 years of magic, Walt Disney Pictures brings a classic tale to life.”
An announcer then proclaimed, “In the tradition of Walt Disney’s most beloved classics comes the story behind the most magical kiss the world has ever known.” Disney has been touting “The Princess and the Frog” as the studio’s next classic picture, one that will be revered by audiences for generations to come.
While “The Princess and the Frog” may not have been the catalyst for a revival of hand-drawn animation as a whole, it did usher in a new age of Disney narrative that has permeated popular culture and is certain to last for centuries. The years that followed saw the release of such Disney Animation classics as “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” and “Frozen.” Studio life was back in full swing.
The Princess and the Frog Sequel: Delayed to 2024
Unexpected news about the sequel to The Princess and the Frog has surfaced recently. Tiana’s original release date of 2023 has been moved back to 2024. From “Coming to Disney+ in 2024” to just “Coming soon to Disney+,” it appears that Walt Disney Animation Studios is no longer even prepared to offer us a precise release year. Inferno of development?
It’s not impossible by any means. After former Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s departure, it’s more probable that Disney+ and television releases would slow down, much like Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios.
With the Disney+ slate likely full and balanced for its current subscriber count under Chapek’s leadership, it’s probably time for releases to slow down, and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure’s debut in the Parks in 2024 could be a boon to the Princess and the Frog sequel by making it more culturally relevant.
We can only guess at this point. This series, however, seems to be in keeping with Disney’s recent approach to theatrical animated films from the 2000s that may still have tales that may benefit from a second look. Examples of such movies are 2010’s “Tangled” and 2017’s “Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure,” a TV spinoff based on the film.
However, the Mouse House likely finds the animation expense and predicted audience pull (a.k.a. ticket revenue) not quite worth the effort, and thus the continuations have been shifted to long-form television, and now on Disney+.
Or, to be kind, with sequel plots that are too complicated to fit within a two-hour timeframe and are therefore better suited to a television style of transmission. It’s gratifying to see the media and streaming leader, Disney, take advantage of opportunities like this to grow its collection of Disney+ Originals. They aren’t trying to pull a “Belle’s Magical World” (1998), at least.
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