With only a few weeks to go until we get to see Ralph Breaks the Internet, we’re all super excited to find out as much as possible about the highly anticipated sequel to the Mouse House’s video game-centric neo-classic.
Luckily, we got invited to the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank to explore the world of Ralph Breaks the Internet, and whilst we were there we got to speak to the amazing women behind the already iconic Disney Princess scene that’s taken the irl internet by storm.
The woman who came up with the satirical scene that plays with a lot of our expectations of the ridiculously well known Disney royalty was Pamela Ribon, the co-writer of Ralph Breaks the Internet. Alongside the art director for characters, Ami Thompson, and co-head of animation for the film, Kira Lehtomaki, Ribon let us in on just how the hilarious scene came to be and some of the secrets behind it.
It was an idea that Ribon had been playing with for a while. “I was thinking, ‘Why isn’t Vanellope canon?’ I mean she’s a princess and also a president–I believe a woman can have more than one title!” Ribon laughed. “So I was thinkin that out of all the princesses, Vanellope is me. I’m the one wearing a hoodie; I love my comfy clothes. So I just had this idea in the back of my head, and when we all got back together after Zootopia in early 2016, we knew that we wanted to do a scene that was meta. We thought it would be fun to have a scene with Disney poking a little fun at itself. So we talked about ‘What if Vanellope met all of our princesses?’ Then I started thinking that if she did meet our princesses then the first question that would come up would be ‘What kind of princess are you?'”
Ribon went home with that idea and it began to grow into something that would soon become viral and break the internet before the film even came out. “I was thinking of all these different tropes about princesses, so I called my friend Elise who I met on Moana and I said, ‘I have all these princesses and I have all the tropes, and I want to make sure I have everything right. Who was kidnapped? Who was enslaved?’ And she was like, ‘What are you doing???’ So I wrote the scene and then I read it and I laid down on the floor and had a panic attack, like I’m either going to be fired or this is going to be a big deal.”
As we all know it was a really, really big deal, with many fans finding the darker questions they’d asked in private suddenly thrown into the pastel-hued world of Disney. It wasn’t just the self-referential jokes that captured audiences attention though–it was those Disney Princess lounge outfits too. “We were all really curious because we thought, ‘What are they going to be wearing?'” Thompson shared. “We usually see them in dresses! So I remember one time we had a design that we called pajamas for princesses, but it was too relaxed so we decided to go with something a little more like Vanellope is wearing. Overall, we really, really enjoyed putting in a little bit of the details, like the princess shirts.”
Those super cute meta shirts which reference the princesses stories and personalities have become an instant hit online. We got to see all of the designs at the presentation and they’re all wonderful, from Sleeping Beauty’s Nap Queen to Elsa’s Just Let it Go to Rapunzel’s Snuggly Duckling commemorative shirt to Tiana’s NOLA tee to Ariel’s Gizmos Whatsits Snarf Blasters classic style to Moana’s #Shiny. Our favorite, though, is probably Snow White’s power move of wearing the poison apple that almost killed her right on her chest. Big Disney Energy.
One of the best things about the scene is the melding of old and new, and for co-head of animation Kira Lehtomaki it was all about making sure that the characters moved and behaved like their original iterations. “We actually had a Princess-Palooza Lab where we all got together to help build these princesses. We had modellers, riggers, simulation artists, and Ami all guiding the designs and sculpting of the hair choices,” Lehtomaki revealed.
Will you be breaking the internet with Ralph when the film drops on November 21, 2018? Can’t wait to get your own princess lounge tee? Just mad they didn’t include Kida or even Leia? Let us know below!