Avantika Not Cast as Live-Action Rapunzel

Disney's casting rumors spark significant online debate

by Zain ul Abedin
Avantika Not Cast as Live-Action Rapunzel
© Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for InStyle

In the swirling whirlwind of social media speculation, actress Avantika found herself at the center of a controversy not of her making. Rumors unfounded and devoid of any official confirmation from Disney suggested that Avantika was being considered for the role of Rapunzel in a purported live-action adaptation of the beloved 2010 animation, "Tangled."This conjecture, birthed from a now-deleted social media post on X (previously Twitter), suggested Avantika and actor Milo Manheim were screen testing for the lead roles, igniting a firestorm of both excitement and unwarranted racist backlash.

The digital rumor mill, often a place of creative fan casting and speculation, took a darker turn as some social media users directed racially charged comments towards Avantika, who is of South Asian descent. Despite the absence of any official announcement from Disney regarding a live-action "Tangled" movie, this baseless speculation was enough to prompt a wave of negativity, contrasting sharply with the supportive voices rallying around Avantika's portrayal of a Disney princess.

Avantika's Unwavering Grace

In the face of these unfounded rumors, the online community began to polarize, with many standing in defense of Avantika. Supporters pointed out her fitting aura and presence as ideal for the role of Rapunzel, challenging the narrow confines of racial expectation.

Amidst this, "Never Have I Ever" star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan came forward on X to condemn the baseless rumors and the racist commentary, emphasizing the need for a hobby among the detractors. Avantika, meanwhile, has been genuinely involved with Disney on a different project, breathing life into a fantasy princess narrative through the Disney+ adaptation of "A Crown of Wishes," a project she is not only leading but also executive producing.

This endeavor, according to Avantika, heralds a new era of princesses under the Disney banner, promising a journey of enchantment and empowerment. This incident echoes the unfortunate racist backlash encountered by Halle Bailey upon her casting as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid," revealing a troubling pattern of resistance to diverse representation in iconic roles.

However, like Bailey, who chose to rise above the criticism, focusing on the positivity of her role, Avantika's situation underscores the shifting dynamics of casting in modern cinema, challenging the industry to embrace a broader and more inclusive vision of classic characters.

As the dust settles on this unfounded rumor, the conversation it sparked remains a testament to the ongoing dialogue about diversity, representation, and the essence of storytelling in the fabric of contemporary culture.