Disney has a long tradition of creating memorable movie and TV characters. That means that the studio spends countless hours not just on those characters' personalities, dialogue, and general quirks, but also many hours designing their clothing, attitudes, postures, and everything that makes them physically embody their particular character. And all that hard work shows, too, especially in the company's later films.
Some of Disney's princesses, though, aren't as awesome as maybe fans expect. Some find themselves trapped in misogynistic stereotypes and attitudes of what animators once thought princesses should entail. Early Disney movies focused solely on princesses who got rescued by men, their princes. Even later movies focused on princesses finding love, as if that were the most important part of their world. Fortunately, later movies gave us stronger and more independent princesses, but perhaps they still aren't as amazing as fans wanted.
Some fans decided to give the Disney princesses makeovers, though, in the form of fan art. These redesigned princesses look even better than in their original designs, thanks to different art styles, different poses, and different wardrobes and props.
Here are 15 Crazy Disney Princess Redesigns Better Than The Movies.
15 Belle dressed as Beast
Why do Disney princesses always have to wear dresses? Even the one princess who complained about dresses, Merida, still ends up wearing a dress at the end of the movie. Who says that a princess has to wear a big and bulky thing that she can barely move around in? What if the princess got to dress a little more comfortably? What if she got to wear the clothes of a prince?
This piece of artwork by Haruki Godo shows that Belle would look a lot better if she were wearing Beast's outfit. The pants and jacket really suit her, much better than her usual yellow dress. Let Beast wear the ballgown: this version of Belle is better than the one we saw in the movies.
14 Megara in period dress
In the movie Hercules, Disney tackled ancient Greece, and for the most part, got much of the costuming right. It's true that Megara is not officially a Disney princess, but to most fans, she counts. This redesign of Megara's outfit by Claire Hummel makes Meg even more period-appropriate, though.
The details of the clothing (as well as its layers) are probably more like the period than what Disney came up with. The gravity-defying hairstyle, too, is more like what one might find in the artwork that came from that time. The face is more Greco-Roman than what Disney drew for its animated film, as well.
This is a Megara fans could get behind, all attitude and sass. But she still won't say that she's in love with Hercules - although she might sing it.
13 Merida meets Warcraft
Brave's Merida was the first Disney princess not to have a love interest (although her mother did try). Merida was a tom-boy of a princess, a girl who would rather play with her bow and sword than do more princess things, like sing in the forest to birds and pine for a boy who might save her. Merida also complained about wearing a tight dress early on in the movie, so this redesign by Libertad Delgado Rodríguez is probably more in line with what Merida would wear if her mother allowed it.
This is a Brave and Warcraft mash-up, but warrior Merida with armor and leggings fits so much better with the character than what Disney provided. We also love that she gets depicted as a dwarf here because it suits her.
12 Warrior Snow White
When Snow White and the Seven Dwarves released in 1938, women's roles in society were still very limited. That's why Disney gave moviegoers a princess who was so beautiful that she had to hide from an Evil Queen who was jealous of her. But Snow White had seven good friends who took her in and cared for her, while she waited for her prince to arrive and steal her away from a world that would do her harm.
This version of Snow White by Karla Ortega is so much better because this is a princess who can wield a sword and defend herself from the Evil Queen on her own. This is a Snow White who would not accept apples from strangers and who didn't wait around for someone to come save her.
11 Aurora as Daenerys
Ask anyone to talk about Princess Aurora and it's a pretty good guarantee that the conversation will come up pretty short. Of all the Disney princesses, Sleeping Beauty is the one with the least amount of backstory or personality. She's just that girl that a witch cursed to sleep for all eternity until awakened by true love's kiss.
This version of Aurora, though, by Isaiah Stephens, gives Aurora a new lease on life: no longer will she fight evil witches who become dragons. Now, Aurora is the mother of dragons, as seen in this mashup of her with Game of Thrones' Daenerys. Aurora could tame that evil dragon and then keep it around as a pet. And she won't sleep until the kingdom belongs to her.
10 Realistic portrait of Ariel
It's no secret that some of Disney's princesses were real (although Disney changed many of their stories). Others, like Ariel, though, find their origins in classic fairy tales, but what if they were real? What if Ariel once existed?
This artwork by Gina Wetzel imagines Ariel as a real person, someone who posed for a portrait in a classic dress. It's almost as if this were something one might see in a museum: the details are so close to what other portraits often look like. The detailing on the dress, too, is exquisite, but its her face, which is realistically proportioned (unlike her Disney animated look) that makes her seem like someone who once existed. This work of art found inspiration in Jen Juel's "Portrait of a Woman."
9 1800s Cinderella
When watching Cinderella, either the animated version or the live-action feature, it's hard to determine which time period it actually takes place in. That was probably intentional on Disney's part, so that the movies looked like something universal, something that could have happened anywhere in any time.
Although Cinderella's story is an old one, published many times, it's the 1812 version by the Brothers Grimm that inspired this art by Jacqueline McNeese. Here, Cinderella has a dress that is a little more indicative of the time: complete with lots of lace and a bustle skirt. This version ties the character to a specific time period, one that may work better than the unclear time period designated by the movies. This dress also has a lot of wonderful little details that add to the character.
8 Fantasy Elsa
"The cold never bothered me anyway." That's the chant of millions of little girls, at least after they have watched Frozen for the millionth time. After the movie's release in 2013, princess Elsa became the champion for little girls and women who didn't want to live in a world that always told them what to do and be something they weren't. But Elsa's gown has always bugged fans: it just isn't as fabulous as she is.
This redesign by Yang Fan, though, gives Elsa a little more gravitas, not to mention magic. The gown has a lot more detail, with layers that seem to fly behind her as she sets the world on ice. The snowflakes in her hair also speak to her magical powers: this is an Elsa fans can both love and fear.
7 Warrior Mulan
Mulan was the first Disney princess to ever put on armor and wield a sword. And that, in and of itself, was a great achievement. But what makes Mulan even more special is that her story came from a real 12-year-old girl who masqueraded herself as a boy to take her father's place in the Chinese army to fight for her country. She became highly decorated before her secret got out. Then she retired and became a legend.
This art by dinglin is based on the real Mulan, which is why she looks a lot younger here, as well as even more warrior-like. The design of the clothes are also more in line with a decorated Chinese soldier, featuring more details than Disney wanted to draw in its animated film.
6 The real Pocahontas
It's no secret that Disney greatly disregarded the real history of Pocahontas when they decided to make a movie about her. Not only was the real Pocahontas a lot younger than depicted in the animated film, but she never fell in love with John Smith, because he was a lot older than her at the time. But Disney insisted that Pocahontas have a love interest in the movie, as well as run around in a little tight skimpy dress that insulted true Native American apparel.
This art by Andrea Meier fixes a lot of the problems with Pocahontas' design by putting her in traditional Native American apparel that is a lot more suitable. This is how Disney should have depicted the character in the first place.
5 High-fashion Tiana
Princess Tiana was a fun princess, one who had hopes and dreams of her own, as well as a love of Creole food, jazz music and her hometown of New Orleans. That's why it doesn't make a lot of sense that Disney chose to put her in a ballgown that didn't seem to reflect her personal and preferred style.
Tiana wouldn't want all those layers and that big hoop skirt: this artwork by Tiffany is more in line with what Tiana would probably wear. This is high fashion, but it's also fun; perfect for going out on the town, slim and sleek. The colors are still the same, but this is an outfit that says a lot more about the character than the one Disney drew.
4 Fighter Jasmine
Aladdin might have shown Jasmine "A Whole New World" in the movie Aladdin, but she was, basically, a side character, although she became popular enough to achieve Disney princess fame. She still depended on Aladdin to save her from the evil Jafar, and she was one of those princesses who didn't take a very active role.
This version of Jasmine by joshwmc is more worthy of the character: she is a lot more realistic, but also a lot more willing to fight for what she believes in. This Jasmine is ready to cut anyone who gets in her way. This is a Jasmine that would have taken out Jafar before he ever became a problem. This version of Jasmine doesn't need a genie to get what she wants.
3 Gothic Rapunzel
Rapunzel's story is an old one: a girl locked in a tower with magical hair, but not magical enough to help her escape the tower. Disney imagined the princess as she always ends up getting depicted: with long golden tresses, bright blue eyes, and a brightly colored dress. This version of Rapunzel, though, takes a different look at the character: this is a gothic version by Ksenia Svincova with dark hair, dark eyes and dark colors.
Imagine if Rapunzel looked like this: would the prince have climbed up her hair to save her? It's likely that this Rapunzel would save herself, though, although she could also be in the tower of her own free will. Maybe she appreciates the alone time away from a world that would make fun of her.
2 Ariel gets a new ballgown
If a princess does have to wear a dress, then it that dress should sparkle, have lots of lace and embroidery. This work of art by Corey Jensen is not too far off from what Disney designed for Ariel at the end of The Little Mermaid movie (when she wasn't running around in a shell bra or her peasant clothes).
This takes the idea of a grand ball gown and makes it something more fabulous. Check out the embroidery on the underskirt and puffy sleeves: that's fit for a princess. The revised neckline is also more elegant than Ariel's usual ball gown. Pearls are the perfect accessory for something that is so sparkly and divine: simple, yet refined. This is the version of Ariel fans want to see standing next to Prince Eric.
1 Art Nouveau Moana
One of the most modern Disney princesses to ever exist is Moana, the first princess who did not even entertain talk of a significant other, the first princess who went on an adventure by herself to rescue her island from sure disaster. That makes Moana one of many Disney fan's favorites. Her Disney costume, too, reflects her Polynesian culture, but what might she look like once she grows up?
This artwork by Hannah Alexander imagines Moana a little older, in a very Art Nouveau style: this is something fans might expect to see in stained glass on a building somewhere honoring the great Moana in all her glory. There are still the nods to her Polynesian background, but she now has even more flowers and feathers, perhaps denoting even greater power with her people. This isn't a princess, it's a queen.
What's your favorite princess redesign? Share your thought in the comments!