Disney has a film about an African princess in the works. According to Deadline, Disney is in the early stages of developing Sade, a live-action fairytale film centered around an African princess with magical powers.
The film’s plot follows the character’s journey to save her people after her village is threatened by evil forces. The African royal sets out on an adventure with help from her brother (the prince). Along the way, she learns how to embrace her own unique powers.
Disney acquired the film pitch from Ola Shokunbi and Lindsey Reed Palmer, who will also serve as co-writers of the screenplay. Rick Famuyiwa, whose directing credits include Dope, Brown Sugar and The Wood, will produce, with Scott Falconer as executive producer. It’s unclear who will direct, or when the film will be released.
The production will mark the first time that an African female character will lead a Disney princess film, among what has been a historically non-diverse list of characters. In 2009, Disney introduced Princess Tiana as its first black heroine in a fairytale film joining. The company has since debuted other princess characters of color like Moana, and debuted a Latina Disney princess in the 2016 animated series Elena of Avalor.
Disney, which has seen the success of its Marvel acquisition adds billions in revenue, marked a diversity turning point in the release of Black Panther, the first big-budget film from a major studio, to be led by a black director and predominately black cast. The move paid off at the box office, and likely accelerated interest for more characters and storylines that involve African culture.
Speaking of which, Black Panther fans have been hoping for a breakout film focussed on the superhero’s younger sister Princess Shuri, since she’s technically a Disney princess. But it looks like the chorus of fanatics will have to wait a little longer before Suri’s story gets told on the big screen.