Premiered in: Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-1991)
Voiced By: Noelle North
As I’m sure many of you have surmised, Princess Calla is indeed from a show based upon a line of snacks the likes of which I doubt anyone would ever have expected to be made into a cartoon series. A cartoon series that lasted a total of six seasons with a sum total of ninety-four episodes might I add. It is predominately for this reason that I feel that Princess Calla should be included amongst the Disney Princesses because though she is a product of her time, a time well before the Disney Princesses had truly begun, that is still quite the accomplishment that her series not only lasted as long as it did but is still quite enjoyable to watch even so many years later. It is also because of another unofficial Disney princess that I would argue Calla’s inclusion but that’s an argument for another time.
Princess Calla, or simply Calla to her friends, is the daughter of King Gregor and the heir apparent to the realm of Dunwyn though the exact specifics of boundaries are up to question. It’s never explicitly stated in the series whether Dunwyn extends beyond the castle walls, which houses several hundred people, but if such is the case there’s quite the myriad of creatures and denizens that call the kingdom home. Aside from the gummi bears themselves there’s ogres, mermaids, wyverns, dragons, and troggles just to name a few. An interesting place to visit with plenty of opportunities for interesting conversations between varying species both mythical and strange, but given the disposition of some of these residents, not a place I’d like to stay in for long and even then, only with a gummi bear at my side. On that note, allow me a brief moment to discuss the gummi bears themselves, at least as a species.
Gummi bears are anthropomorphic bears standing roughly around three feet in height and range in coloration from russet red to girlishly pink. They are as intelligent as any human with some members of the species being even more so given that they are capable of constructing devices that otherwise would not be created by human hands for several centuries to come. While accomplished magicians and engineers in their own right, what truly makes the gummi bears a force to be reckoned with is their potion brewing, specifically, the potion known simply as gummiberry juice. For any average gummi bear, a simple drink of this juice gives them the ability to bounce to incredible heights for several minutes at a time, making them all but impossible to hold down let alone capture. What makes this brew particularly troublesome however is that when a humanoid happens to consume it, particularly humans or ogres, they gain a level of strength that’s frightening to behold.
Case in point, when everyone but Calla herself had been put to sleep with a sleeping draught created by the villainous Duke Igthorn, Calla took a drink of the gummiberry juice and with a literal flick of her wrist was able to pull up the drawbridge of the castle. On the note of Calla’s accomplishments, I would also like to add that she was far ahead of Merida as far as being an accomplished warrior in her own right. In one particular episode, her father was holding a contest to determine an adequate protector for Calla who took it upon herself to enter in secret. The last, and most difficult, of the trials included facing the legendary Black Knight in battle and though she had the option of using gummiberry juice, Calla opted to face him fairly and justly defeated him. The knight proudly took off his helm to reveal her father and though initially afraid of his wrath, Calla was instead surprised to have her father publically proclaim her ability to the entirety of the kingdom and state, in no uncertain terms, that his daughter could defend herself.
Not that this stops her love interest Cavin from trying whenever the opportunity arises mind you. Training under his grandfather to become a knight, Cavin certainly has the heart for the task but is severely lacking in the skill and prowess. Still, he tries his best and to give him and Calla credit, they stay true to their word of only consuming gummiberry juice under the most dire of situations.
All in all, I can understand why Calla would not be included amongst the Disney Princesses as she is a product of her time but whereas they have a viable reason for another televised princess, such cannot be ascribed to her. Calla is, quite literally in some cases, the predecessor to many future Disney Princesses, particularly those whom take matters into their own hands and are not afraid to get their hands dirty if it means standing up for what they believe in. in point of fact, chronologically speaking, she predates Ariel as the earliest case of “rebellious princess syndrome” by four years!