Yo, GEMRs! I bought a Disney Princess doll!
I’ve purchased plenty of Disney Princess dolls in the past, mostly for my daughters. The Disney Princess dolls I’ve given to my girls have included Tiana, the Little Mermaid, Moana, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Snow White — just to name a few.
But this Disney Princess doll is mine!
The Shuri Special Edition doll is pretty cool. This doll is beautiful and detailed. The face uncannily matches the actress’s face. In the past, some black dolls received generic faces and were just painted brown, but not this one.
Disney recently switched doll companies to Hasbro. Mattel has been responsible for making the Princess dolls for Disney since 1955. But in 2013, Mattel committed a major faux pas and lost the license to Hasbro. I must say, Hasbro has made some fantastic dolls and continue to improve in their efforts.
Why you may ask, did I buy a Shuri doll?
I bought the doll because of Letitia Wright. The actress plays Shuri, the Princess of Wakanda, in the MCU, and she is excellent at it! Wright’s interpretation of Shuri is both charismatic and adorably cute. Shuri is a super genius who seems to have fun being a creator, problem solver, and inventor.
She projects intelligence, confidence, cleverness, and is quite a magnetic personality. Letitia has a face that would make you want to invite her into your home for a family dinner. She also has an attitude and toughness that lets you know she is mature beyond her years and ready to do battle with the best.
I must admit, when it came to the little sister of T’Challa, new King of Wakanda and also the Black Panther, I initially was not a fan of Shuri. Before the movie, she simply wasn’t on my radar.
When I received the doll in the mail, however, I was all in. I quickly grabbed my camera to take some images for my GEMR page, and I begin to wonder, “What other actors have taken supporting roles and captured our attention and hearts?” I thought of 3 actors, and coincidentally, these three are also my favorites.
In 1974, Happy Days debuted on American television and we got our first glimpse of Arthur “Fonzie”/”The Fonz” Fonzarelli played by Henry Franklin Winkler.
The Fonz character was a high school dropout and greaser. The character was seldom seen during the first few episodes, as the studio initially feared he would be perceived as a hoodlum. The character quickly became extremely popular, though, and the show’s producers decided to give Fonzie a more prominent role in the series.
The Fonz became so popular that he appeared on several popular magazines like TV Guide, People, and Tiger Beat, and hilariously on Cracked and Mad magazine. One of my favorite issues of Cracked was an illustrated look at “How to be cool like the Fonz” where the writers and artists comically showed what a typical day of the Fonz was like.
Happy Days and the Fonz experienced a merchandising boom, from lunch boxes, t-shirts, and dolls, to “Fonzie for President” stickers and buttons. It was awesome to witness and pretty cool — until the most popular family sitcom character literally jumped the shark. Happy Days enjoyed 11 seasons 255 episodes before its demise.
In 1977, Star Wars was released, and the world was introduced to the greatest Space Opera in history. The dialogue, characters, and technology were standouts in the movies and set them apart from other films at the time. Things like Darth Vader, lightsabers, droids, the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and (obviously) Han Solo became ingrained in our culture.
Han Solo particularly seemed effortless and real. His bravado and attitude added much need machismo to a movie where intimidation was rare. The only other intimidating character was Darth Vader. I was never impressed with Luke Skywalker, to be honest — he lacked Ford’s charisma.
During Harrison Ford’s pursuit to become a professional actor, he took up carpentry to pay the bills. He would often do carpentry work for industry people as well. I recall hearing a story that Ford was asked to read for the part of Han Solo. Over time Ford became increasingly annoyed with the possibility that they may not cast him in the role (I guess Lucas had another type of actor in mind). Ford continued to read the character with more and more attitude. Coupled with the chemistry that developed during the group readings, at some point, Lucas couldn’t think of anyone else to play the role of Han except Harrison Ford.
When Star Wars Episode IV was released, Harrison Ford immediately stole the hearts of women and the admiration of the men who saw the movie. Han Solo upstaged the lead character and hero, Luke Skywalker. The irony is that Harrison got tired of playing Han Solo, and wanted out. Ford appeared in four Star Wars movies before getting his wish.
In 1989, Family Matters debuted and a guest appearance by Steve Urkel in the fourth episode turned him into a permanent character and a cultural icon. Urkel was played by Jaleel Ahmad White.
During Urkel’s first guest appearance, 50 frat boys in the audience started chanting, “Urkel! Urkel! Urkel!” That’s when the show’s producers realized how gifted Jaleel was. After that, Urkel became a cultural icon, a catchphrase mainstay, and a merchandising bonanza. There were Urkel dolls that belted out phrases like “Did I do that?” View-Masters, board games, lunchboxes, backpacks, cereal, puzzles, and comforters, to name a few. Even Cartman had an Urkel sleeping-bag in an episode of South Park.
Family Matters survived two cancellations as well as networked changes to produce nine enjoyable seasons and 215 episodes.
Now Back to my favorite Princess, Shuri
In 2018, Black Panther was released. Shuri was introduced to the world and became quite the standout in a movie filled with amazing actors. From the moment she appeared on screen, it was apparent how amazing and lovable she would be. In both Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, Shuri’s scenes are incredibly memorable.
Shuri has been a big part of the merchandising for Black Panther, ranging from Funko Pop!s, Kimoyo bead bracelets, clothing, jewelry, and (it’s Disney, so…) pretty much everything you can think of. Rumor has it that Disney/Marvel have plans to develop a series titled Marvel Rising: Operation Shuri on Marvel’s YouTube channel or possibly on Disney’s new streaming service. I would like to believe Letitia Wright’s standout performance of Shuri is the reason for this.
What do you think? Also tell me, what characters or actors in your opinion have taken the spotlight from the leading stars of a movie or television production?
Until we read again! Collectors of the World Unite!