Poppy is the author of A Bard's Lament and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima with her husband and young son.
If you asked anybody fifty years ago the typical formula for a happily ever after in a Disney movie, an answer you would likely hear would be "romance." Since the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, Disney has dominated the children's movie and TV show industry.
The princesses and girls in the older movies almost always had the same happy ending: find the prince and live happily ever after, and marry him even if they had only just met him. Think Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella, whose prince was their savior and only fell in love with them for their looks.
Even later tales like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast revolved around love and romance, though the female characters (Ariel, Jasmine, and Belle, respectively) did have more to their personalities than breathtaking beauty and the ability to sing and clean.
So what about the Disney girls who didn't have just the one desire to meet and marry the handsome prince of their dreams? Here are five female Disney characters who didn't end up hitched at the end of their movie.
For obvious reasons, this list does not include children younger than sixteen. Characters like Wendy (Peter Pan), Princess Eilonwy (The Black Cauldron), and Alice (Alice in Wonderland), therefore, do not count.
1. Merida (Brave)
Brave is a charming Disney movie from 2012 which tells the story of Merida, a bow-wielding Scottish princess who absolutely refuses to let her parents betroth her to one of the neighbouring kingdom's sons. In sharp contrast to previous princesses, Merda is explicitly not ready to get married despite her family's wishes.
The movie focuses on family, and parents in particular. A lot of things about Merida are unconventional: she isn't elegant and girlish like most pre-2000 princesses, and she prefers climbing and exploring to singing about finding a husband. Merida certainly had a happy ending, but it had nothing to do with romance.
2. Dory (Finding Nemo)
Most people have heard of Disney Pixar's 2003 hit Finding Nemo. An over-protective father named Marlin sets out to look for his son Nemo, who was kidnapped by divers, with the help of Dory, a funny and entertaining fish with short-term memory loss.
Dory cheerfully travels alongside Marlin, who is almost the opposite her in terms of personality. Dory was probably the second main character in this movie, although the main storyline was about Nemo and his father. It was arguably the first time Disney had managed to have a male and female character together in the movie without them falling in love.
3. Elsa (Frozen)
Love it or hate it, 2013's Frozen is the highest-grossing Disney movie of all time, beating even the almighty Lion King. The song Let it Go is possibly even more well-known. Some argue that the presence of two Disney princesses was the reason for the movie's groundbreaking success, and others say that it was because the song was so uplifting and empowering.
Elsa is another example of a Disney princess who did not have a love interest throughout the movie. Although our (arguably) main character, Anna, meets two guys she's interested in, the movie ends with a lot of family and friendship love, and no prince waiting for Elsa to fall into his arms.
4. Lt. Judy Hopps (Zootopia)
Zootopia is a great movie about Lt. Judy Hopps, a rabbit whose one dream is to move out of her parents' farm and go to Zootopia, the enormous metropolis, to achieve her goal of becoming a police officer. Despite her parents and even her work colleagues insisting that she isn't right for the job, Judy's enthusiasm is difficult to extinguish.
It's a great movie not only about following your dreams, but is also said to be a metaphor for racism. If you haven't seen it yet, definitely do!
Hopps befriends a fox called Nick Wilde and they end up working together. Although they are close, it is strongly suggested that their relationship is purely platonic.
5. Moana (Moana)
Another great Disney movie is Moana (2016), which is based on the people of Ancient Polynesia. Moana bravely crosses the reef of her island to find a demigod, Maui, who according to legend stole the heart of Te Fiti, an act which is causing islands to slowly die.
Moana has feel-good music and portrays a strong character who isn't over-the-top perfect; she needs help learning how to sail and her hair often gets in her way! She eventually makes friends with Maui but their relationship is never romantic. Even though Moana is promised to become the island's new chief one day, she doesn't have to do it with a husband in tow.
The demand is high for female characters whose ultimate goal is not to get married, and secondary characters who are not just there to perform as a love interest for a male main character. It was refreshing to see characters like Elsa and Moana have happy endings without a romantic partner even mentioned. It feels more like real life; after all, there is much more to life than getting hitched.
Disney seems to be progressing well to meet public demand and there is no doubt we will see more awesome female (and male) characters in future productions!
© 2018 Poppy
Coltyn on July 02, 2020:
Sallys my favrite 1990 girl