Bad movie watchers know this inside and out, but regular movie goers aren't as familiar with it. You have to think of the movie She's All That, where Rachel Leigh Cook is the ugly girl who is going to be transformed into a prom princess. No one watching the movie thought she was ugly. But the movie told us she was, because without this piece of information being accepted as gospel, the movie would fall apart. The informed attribute is something that the audience has to believe is there even when it is blatantly obvious it is not and they have to be told it is there because they would never guess otherwise. It's basically a subset of It's In The Script.
Last fall, Disney announced a DTV animated flick called Sophia The First that would have been their first Latina princess character. Those involved had to flat out state she was because nothing seemed to indicate she was Latina, just a generic character. On the one hand, people are more alike than they are different, so under other circumstances, this might be okay. But this was the leadoff hitter, the first Latina character, so making her more of a celebration of the culture instead of just, "Take our word for it, she's Latina" was important. Jaime Mitchell, the executive producer of the flick, flat out stated in an interview, "She is Latina." But Disney eventually caved to the protests of tokenism. Sophia is now just a regular little girl with Latina overtones.
When it comes to money-making opportunities, Disney is nothing less than mercenary. They recently applied for a trademark to Dia de los Muertos, but eventually bailed, saying the movie's name had changed. Quasimodo from Disney's version of Hunchback...Disney's America...Disney wants money, and doesn't give in to anything very easily.
But it does give in eventually. And I'm pleased to report it has done so on the subject of Merida from the girl-power rally film Brave and her Disney Princess makeover. Disney is denying it ever put the images up, and only a few of them are valid, anyway, just to include the character, she isn't going to be an integral part of the Disney Princess collection.
Now, what about Princess Leia from Star Wars? She is technically a Disney princess at this point....