Trying to put the Merida redesign fiasco behind it, Disney told NBCNews.com that the redesign of the Brave heroine was only a one-time effort to commemorate her coronation as a Princess. The studio also noted that the design was never posted on the company’s official websites.
“The artwork used on Merida’s official social media sites has always been the imagery from the movie – there have been no changes,” Disney said in a statement to NBCNews.com. “We routinely use different art styles with our characters and this rendition of Merida in her party dress was a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation. Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world.”
The new slimmer, glamorous look for the character was revealed last weekend at Disney World as the company officially added Merida as the eleventh official princess in the company’s line. The new design, which featured the heroine in a glitzy gown, sans her trademark bow and arrow was criticized on social media and a Change.org petition was started by Carolyn Danckaert, co-founder of the website A Mighty Girl. The petition and letter were addressed to Disney chairman Robert Iger and generated over 210,000 signatures.
The film’s original Oscar-winning writer and director Brenda Chapman also criticized Disney publicly for this marketing misstep.
“They’ve gone through the whole Disney princess line and I think they’re just doing standard procedure which in this case was I think a bad choice because Merida is not standard procedure,” Chapman explained on CNN. “She’s not one of the regular princesses and — and she was created to be not one of those princesses.”
You can read more about Chapman’s response to the redesign here: