Anika Noni Rose, the voice actress behind Princess Tiana, knew some fans took offense to how Disney rendered the character in Ralph Breaks the Internet. She purposefully remained “very quiet on this subject,” she explained in a post to Instagram on Tuesday, “because it was important for me to do my due diligence before publicly addressing something as near and dear to my heart (and face) as Princess Tiana.”
Now that the Wall Street Journal released a report stating the character would be re-animated in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Rose is now shedding light on the matter.
When the Mouse House unveiled the first few trailers for Ralph Breaks the Internet, fans were quick to note how different Princess Tiana looked in the film, compared to her first appearance in The Princess and the Frog. Her skin appeared to be lighter and her features sharper. Rose noticed this, too, and reached out to Disney about the situation.
“My team and I immediately put in a call to the studio to talk about the visual changes, and three weeks ago I had a meeting in person with the Wreck-It Ralph team, my original animator [on The Princess and the Frog] Mark Henn, and others,” Rose writes. “They explained how CGI animation did different things to the characters’ color tones in different light compared to hand-drawn original characters, and I was able to express how important it is to the little girls (and let’s face it, grown women) who felt represented by her that her skin tone stay as rich as it had been, and that her nose continue to be the little round nose that Mark so beautifully rendered in the movie.”
Because Rose spoke out, Henn and the team at Disney walked the actress through “the steps they were taking to bring those things back that got lost in the movie from hand-drawn to CGI.”
“It was important to me to hear what Disney had to say, and to have an open dialogue about legacy and representation,” Rose notes. “They did not have to make time to give me a presentation on the process, but I’m very glad that they did. I also appreciate that this far into the process Disney had enough care and respect for all who love Princess Tiana and her legacy to spend the time and money to make the adjustments necessary.”
Read her full remarks below.
Princess Tiana will appear alongside other famous Disney princesses, like Cinderella and Mulan, in Ralph Breaks the Internet, which will hit theaters on Nov. 21.