(Published July 19, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Refreshingly contemporary, “
the First’s” lead character has no wicked stepparents or stepsiblings—although
she had to deal with a jealous new stepsister at first.
And, unlike other Disney princesses,
is really a young girl who suddenly becomes part of a royal family after her
mom marries a kind king.
“The modern twist was the blended family,” said writer and executive producer Craig Gerber during a phone interview. “When Disney Junior came to me, they wanted a show about a young princess.”
The character’s modern family was inspired by Gerber’s own familial history. “[My] parents divorced when I was young,” he said. “They both remarried so I grew up with stepparents and stepsiblings. I thought it would be really interesti ng to tell a Disney fairy tale about a young girl who becomes a princess and winds up with a stepfamily—and how they would all get along.”
Other previously seen characters like various animals and magical beings from Disney’s old films, who also appeared in the movie, will be in the “
Sofia the First” series.
“It’s actually one of the most exciting things about the show for me—we created this world where practically any of the Disney characters could show up,” Gerber enthused.
Princess Sofia’s rags-to-riches tale introduces the lead character to a variety of relatable situations that will define her unique qualities. “One of the fun things about
coming from a village and not a castle is that she’s more inclined to ask why
there are certain rules,” Gerber said. “ Sofia’s
a very independent thinker, raised by her mom to be independent. She will
remain ultimately true to herself, even as she encounters situations where she
may feel she has to change how she acts or who she is.”
was a “school-age princess” and role model, she was not just for girls, he
said. “I think everyone has been pleasantly surprised that a lot of boys in the
have tuned in to watch the show. It’s very popular with girls, but there are
also a lot of boys watching [because] we set out to tell stories that both boys
and girls would enjoy.”
Gerber is confident that the new series will also be well-received in
Asia and will stand out in the
competitive cable cartoon arena.
“We try to tell an emotionally engaging story that is both entertaining and has a positive message for young viewers. As a parent with children, I have watched a lot of television aimed for a young audience and I always appreciate a show that has [that]. Telling these stories with a fantasy setting makes it a very unique experience!” he said.