It’s about time! Disney will introduce its first Latina Princess in 2016 during a “special episode” of the hit computer-animated series “Sofia the First,” which stars “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter. E! News reported the exciting milestone in addition to revealing just how fans of the magical series would meet the royal 16-year-old named Elena of Avalor.
When Sofia was brought into the noble family she was gifted with the enchanted Amulet of Avalor, which has granted her the ability to speak to animals and even call upon other Disney princesses. However, in the installment set to air in 2016, Sofia will learn a terrible secret about the amulet she dons around her neck.
â€” Disney News23 (@DisneyNews23) January 29, 2015
According to reports, Elena, who will be voiced by ABC’s “Young & Hungry” star Aimme Carrero, has been trapped inside the amulet for years after the evil sorceress Shuriki attacked her kingdom. Elena attempted to stand up to Shuriki in order to save her family and realm, but was pulled inside the amulet, consequently trapping her.
Once Princess Sofia of Enchancia learns the truth about her amulet, she’ll set out to help free her fellow princess and return Elena to her kingdom of Avalor. This episode will then lead to a Disney spinoff, “Elena of Avalor,” which will center around Elena, the “confident and compassionate” princess and her wild adventures in Avalor. According to Disney Junior, Elena’s kingdom will be inspired by “diverse Latin cultures and folklore” – a first for the media franchise.
Elena may be the first recognized Latina Princess, but Sofia was actually the first to sport the title. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show’s executive producer, Jamie Mitchell, revealed that Sofia was in fact Latina. But the light skinned, blue-eyed and auburn-haired character quickly had her title revoked after Disney received flack for dubbing the character as Hispanic.
"Wake me up when Disney's first #Latina princess looks like me smh," one Twitter Twitter user argued.
Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, then addressed the issue, claiming that although Sofia's mother descended from a kingdom inspired by Spain, the princess’ ethnicity was ambiguous.
“What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures,” she responded to the controversial issue, adding that the writers try to make the show relatable to all kids "from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America."
"For example, Sofia’s mom comes from a fictitious land, Galdiz, which was inspired by Spain [...] this creates a world of diversity and inclusion that sends just the right kind of message to all children – ‘Look around you, appreciate the differences you see and celebrate what makes us all the same,'" Kanter said.
While we’re looking forward to meeting the first Latina Princess in 2016, we can’t help but wonder when other Disney Princesses were first introduced:
- Snow White (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs): 1937
- Cinderella (“Cinderella”): 1950
- Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”): 1959
- Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”): 1989
- Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”): 1991
- Pocahontas (“Pocahontas”): 1995
- Mulan (“Mulan”): 1998
- Rapunzel (“Tangled”): 2010
- Merida (“Brave”): 2012
Are you excited to meet Princess Elena in 2016? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!