Disney Welcomes First Black Prince In Live-Action Film After Nearly A Century
Disney is welcoming its first black prince in a live-action movie after nearly a century of making films.
The House of Mouse has touched the lives of film-lovers for generations, and after releasing its first feature-length film with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, it started to delve into the world of live-action movies in 1950 with Treasure Island.
Since then, Disney has released countless films, many of which feature princes and princesses. In recent years the company has started creating live-action remakes of old classics, but remakes of films such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast have seen a lack of racial representation among male royals – until now.
This Is Us star Niles Fitch has made history after been cast in the upcoming Disney+ Original movie Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, which tells the story of a rebellious teen living in the shadow of her older sister, who is next in line for the throne.
Fitch stars in the film as the ‘charismatic and self-centered’ Prince Tuma, whose ‘super-human ability is vital to the team’s success’.
Announcing the news via Twitter, the 18-year-old actor shared stills from the film alongside the caption: ‘Welcome Disney’s first Black prince’.
Prince Tuma is a member of the titular Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, which the protagonist Sam (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is drafted into. The society consists of ‘gifted young recruits who are charged with keeping the world safe’, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Fitch made his excitement for the historic role clear as he shared numerous stories about the film, thanking those congratulating him for securing the part.
Ca’Ron Jaden Coleman, Fitch’s young This Is Us co-star, praised the news and described Fitch as a ‘role model’.
SENDING A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO THIS COOL GUY @nilesfitch he is making history as @disneyplus first black live-action prince. I’m so proud of you!! Thanks for being an awesome role model to look up to.
Disney appears to be making an effort to broaden its representation following the introduction of the first African American princess in 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, and in recent years we have also seen the introduction of Moana, the first Polynesian princess.
African American actress Halle Bailey will also be starring as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
Though there are signs of progress, some social media users have criticised the company for taking so long to introduce the first black prince to a live-action film.
One Twitter user wrote:
While it’s amazing that there’s the first black prince in a @Disney live action movie. I can’t help but feel that in 2020 the list of “the first black” anything should be shorter. Diversity should just BE at this point.
Hopefully Fitch will be the first of many black Disney princes as diversity improves.
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