Beauty and the Beast’s Beauty makes an appearance in another Disney film, connecting the two to the shared universe of Disney Princesses.
The beauty and the BeastBelle’s headed for another animated Disney film, connecting the two to the shared Disney Princess universe. Walt Disney Pictures has explored a variety of genres for decades, but the studio continues to be best known for its animation features. However, the ones that still hold a special place in the hearts of audiences are the animated films with female characters in mind, and many of them are part of the official Disney Princesses franchise.
The first character to join this faction in the larger Disney universe was Snow White, who made her debut in the 1937 film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since then, Disney has produced 12 films within the Disney Princesses franchise, as not all the main women in a Disney animated film can be a part of it, as is the case with FrozenIt’s Anna and Elsa. One of the most popular and beloved members of this exclusive Disney Princesses club is Belle, from The beauty and the Beast, who managed to make a quick and very easy to miss appearance in another animated film that is not part of the Princesses franchise.
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The beauty and the Beast was freed in 1991 and follows Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara), a young woman in love with books who, to save her father, becomes the prisoner of the Beast (Robby Benson), a prince transformed into a beast by a curse. To break it, Beast must learn to love and be loved in return, which he achieves thanks to Belle. Besides her direct-to-video sequels, Belle hasn’t appeared in another Disney film – at least not in a lead role. In 1996, Disney brought The Hunchback of Notre Dame, based on the 1831 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The story centers on Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), the distorted bell ringer of Notre Dame, and his struggles to be accepted into society. Like any other Disney animated film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a musical, and it’s during one of its musical numbers that Belle makes a quick appearance.
During the musical number “Out There”, there is a moment when the camera is looking at the townspeople from above, and at the bottom right of the screen, Belle is seen walking and reading, like she used to do it. Belle has been wearing her white and blue outfit since the start of Beauty of the beast, so it was probably her before the events of her movie. Of course there is a timeline error here as they aren’t set in the same year – The Hunchback of Notre Dame takes place in 1482, while The beauty and the Beast takes place in the 1700s. Yet Belle’s quick cameo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame links the two films to the “shared universe of Disney princesses”, suggesting that there are many links between the princesses and with other Disney characters – for example, it is widely believed that Anna’s parents and Elsa did not die and their mother was pregnant when they disappeared, so she gave birth on the boat to a little boy, and they ended up in a jungle, leaving room for the events of Tarzan, and the reason they were sailing is that they were on their way to Rapunzel’s wedding.
Belle’s cameo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, then, brings Quasimodo and his company into the shared universe of Disney Princesses, and without having to have a direct link with her. Of course, it is unlikely that the hosts of The Hunchback of Notre Dame added The beauty and the Beast‘s Belle to their film with the intention of creating a larger connected universe, and it was nothing more than a fun Easter egg, but there have been too many similarities and coincidences within the franchise. Disney Princesses that they have given way to theories, just like the shared universe of the Disney princesses.
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