‘Princess Energy’ Introduces Marvelously Multi-Dimensional Younger Royals

***This text initially appeared within the March ’23 subject of Animation Journal (No. 328)***

The thought of what it means to be a princess has fully modified over the previous 15 years. Princesses are not ready to be woke up or saved. They’re figuring out their very own paths, writing their very own tales and positively not on the lookout for a rescuer. The brand new Netflix collection Princess Energy celebrates the most recent imaginative and prescient of what it means to be a princess because it follows the lives of 4 princesses and their adventures collectively as they work to unravel issues and overcome obstacles.

The preschool present is predicated on the ebook collection Princesses Put on Pants, which is co-authored by Immediately present co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and medical psychologist Allison Oppenheim. The ebook, launched in 2017, turned a New York Instances bestseller after which was adopted up with Princesses Save the World in 2018. The present was developed by veteran animation author/producer Elise Allen. Govt producers on the present embrace Guthrie, in addition to Matthew Berkowitz, Kristin Cummings and Jennifer Twiner McCarron from Atomic Cartoons and Drew Barrymore, Ember Truesdell and Nancy Juvonen at Flower Movies.

Allen, who has a daughter of her personal, beloved the concept of a bunch of women, who have been every very totally different, studying how you can grow to be a crew and work collectively to unravel any problem that life offered them. Every princess comes from considered one of 4 main fruit kingdoms:  Kiwi, Blueberry, Pineapple and Raspberry. Allen additionally beloved that the collection would deal with the concept being a princess means serving to others and the world round them.

Princess Power [Netflix © 2022]
Princess Energy [Netflix © 2022]

Unforgettable Princesses

Elise Allen

“All of the princesses have such sturdy personalities,” says Allen, govt producer and show-runner on the collection. “Penny (Pineapple) comes from a really whimsical place, but additionally she’s scientific-minded, however she’ll give you these sorts of wacky scientific concepts. And her thoughts is at all times bouncing from one factor to a different. She’s totally constructive. Whereas you’re taking someone like Rita (Raspberry), and he or she is wildly dramatic and the whole lot is that if it’s dangerous, it’s a catastrophe of epic proportions.”

She provides, “Then, you’ve Kira (Kiwi), who’s very concerned with animals. She has studied them. It’s necessary to her. She has a really stable and grounded character. She simply has this breadth of data that the opposite ladies don’t have. I’d say with Bea (Blueberry), it’s act first suppose later. She’s all about kinetic motion and he or she’s the sportiest of the women. You would possibly attempt to inform her to do one thing, however she’s already performed it.”

Princess Power [Netflix © 2022]
Rita Moreno voices Nice Aunt Busyboots in Princess Energy. [Netflix © 2022]

The voice forged consists of well-established actors and rising stars. Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, who additionally seems in Avatar: The Method of Water, is the voice of Princess Rita Raspberry. Dana Heath stars as Kira Kiwi, Madison Calderon is Princess Bea Blueberry, Luna Bella Zamora voices Princess Penny Pineapple and Ciera Payton is Queen Katia. Rita Moreno will carry out as Nice Aunt Busyboots.

Allen got here onto the challenge in early 2020 when a lot of the event course of passed off over Zoom. The animation crew was totally based mostly at Atomic Cartoons in Vancouver, whereas a lot of the writers have been in Los Angeles and New York. Regardless of not having the ability to have the sort of in-person conferences that creatives often love, they have been in a position to deal with bringing out the personalities of the primary characters and provides them every a definite look, which might hopefully resonate with their younger viewers.

Princess Power [Netflix © 2022]
Tony-nominated actor Andrew Rannells performs King Barton in Princess Energy. [Netflix © 2022]

The animation crew additionally did plenty of testing in the beginning of the design course of to assist troubleshoot and be certain that they wouldn’t run into challenges later. This made it simpler to progress with out challenges as they moved by manufacturing.


Monica Davila

“We did plenty of placing characters by totally different poses and attempting to determine how every character would run or stroll,” says supervising producer Monica Davila. “We regarded on the sort of life every princess lives and what varieties of garments they wish to put on. Rita (Raspberry) was an ideal instance. She has these actually cute outfits with these actually puffy sleeves and her gestures are additionally so huge that you’d have sleeves crashing into her face with each shot. So we’d flag issues like that after which work them out.”

Artwork director Sarah Marino was behind defining the visible language of the present, creating an surroundings for every princess that matched her character and fruit kingdom. For instance, the Blueberry fruit kingdom borrows inspiration from Norway, whereas the Kiwi kingdom attracts from Brazil. The Pineapple kingdom is influenced by Puerto Rico, and Raspberry is impressed by South Korea.

“It was all chosen so very rigorously by Sarah,” says Allen. “We’d all sit and spend hours going over the choices. She had this unbelievable artwork crew who would work along with her and create temper boards for all of the characters and their kingdoms. We needed everybody who watches these reveals to see themselves within the characters. That’s why we had totally different kingdoms, physique varieties, issues that they appreciated. It was about making these characters very totally different however displaying with empathy they might nonetheless be capable to work collectively and have enjoyable collectively.”

Allen and Marino have been each thrilled to work on a present that doesn’t peg characters as one factor or one other, however presents them as absolutely realized people with their very own strengths. They hope the children (and adults) who watch will all discover one thing that resonates with them.

Princess Power
Kira, Penny, Rita and Bea in Princess Energy. [Netflix © 2022[

Embracing Individuality

“In this show, there’s definitely this sense of there’s no one way to be a little girl,” says Davila. “There’s no one way to be a princess. You can’t just have one character represent everybody. So that was this core idea — that we have these very different girls that are still all friends. They’re still very multifaceted. They still like to dress up and have their tea parties and do all this kind of very traditional princess stuff that we grew up watching in the 1990s. There’s a lot of that still in there. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a tea party or pretending to live in a castle or anything like that. But there is this, always inherent, idea in the books, that there are things that are more important than that. It’s a lot less about what you wear and more about what you do, and your personality and who you are. Your personality has so many different factors involved in it. You’re not just one thing and you’re not just one thing that you wear.”

Davila points out that each of the show’s heroines were given a very different way of looking at the world and a very specific personality. “Once the personalities of the girls were set, I started to recognize a lot of my friends or their kids in multiple princesses,” she recalls. “I have a friend who loves clothes and fashion but she’s also a brilliant scientist and I thought she was just like Penny because she really enjoys dressing up. I know she loves makeup, but she’s also in a lab all day. So, I love that there’s more dimensionality in these girls. They’re not all one thing. It makes for more fun storytelling because you can do so much more with the characters and they’re so much more relatable.”

Princess Power premieres on Netflix on January 30.