Disney Says 'Brave' Princess Redesign Was a 'Special One-Time Effort'
"We routinely use different art styles with our characters," the company said in a statement.
Disney says that its redesign of Brave's Princess Merida was a one-time effort to promote the character.
“The artwork used on Merida’s official social media sites has always been the imagery from the movie – there have been no changes," Disney said in a statement to NBCNews.com. "We routinely use different art styles with our characters and this rendition of Merida in her party dress was a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation. Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world."
Disney also stated to NBC News that the design was never posted on the company's official websites.
The new look for the character was unveiled last weekend at Disney World as the company officially added Merida as the eleventh official princess in the company's line.
Since the debut of the redesigned character, however, the company has been faced with criticism -- including a sharp retort from Brenda Chapman, originally the director of Brave, who said that Disney's marketing team "should be ashamed of themselves."
"They've gone through the whole Disney princess line and I think they're just doing standard procedure which in this case was I think a bad choice because Merida is not standard procedure," Chapman explained on CNN. "She's not one of the regular princesses and -- and she was created to be not one of those princesses."
Chapman was replaced as Brave director by Mark Andrews during production of the film, which won the Oscar for Best Animated film this year.
A Change.org petition started by Carolyn Danckaert, co-founder of the website A Mighty Girl, called on Disney to "Say No to the Merida Makeover." The petition and letter, addressed to Disney chairman Robert Iger, has seen over 210,000 individuals sign on.