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Meet Merida from Disney Pixar's Brave

Updated on August 23, 2017

Merida - Scottish princess, crack archer, bad wisher

Merida is the star of Brave, a new movie from Disney and Pixar that hits the screens this summer. She's a Scottish princess fighting for the right to live her life the way she chooses, not the way history (and her mother) say she has to. Merida's fiery temper and impulsive nature (hey - she's a teenager!) lead to a rash choice, a bad wish and a need to make things right.

Brave is Pixar's first movie with a female lead, although they have developed great female characters before. (Elastigirl, anyone?) And given the focus on family relationships rather than romance, Merida is a female lead worth a lot of attention. Learn all about her, how to pronounce her name and more on this page.

Brave released June 22 in the US. Expect many of the Merida products to be available after that time, although I have listed what we can expect to see, including dolls, costumes, shirts and more.

Photo Credits: Promotion stills provided by Disney/Pixar unless otherwise noted

Merida Tells Her Story

Extended clip for the movie

I want my freedom!

All About Merida

brave movie, disney movie, merida, pixar movie, merida shooting arrow
brave movie, disney movie, merida, pixar movie, merida shooting arrow

Merida is your typical princess. Not. She chafes against the constraints of her royal upbringing, wanting to make her own way instead. (But back in medieval Scotland, taking control of your destiny not really the thing.)

Even before things come to a head with her mother - Queen Elinor - you know there's going to be a battle of wills. After all, Queen Elinor is gracious and gentle and Merida is fiery and passionate. Oh, and she spends way more time in the woods working on her archery and swordssmanship skills than she does on typical girl things like embroidery. In fact, Merida feels most at home in the outdoors and hanging with her faithful friend (and horse) Angus. None of this is exactly princess behavior.

While Merida has a temper to match her crazy hair, you do see her soft side occasionally, especially with her triplet brothers, who are a mischievous bunch.

About Merida from Disney's official site

Merida is definitely closer to her father than her mother.

Merida is definitely closer to her father than her mother.
Merida is definitely closer to her father than her mother.

Trivia About Princess Merida

  • She was originally to be voiced by Reese Witherspoon, who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. The replacement of Witherspoon with Kelly Macdonald is probably a blessing since Macdonald is actually Scottish.
  • Merida is the first female lead in a Pixar movie. Brave is also the first fairy tale type story in a Pixar movie.
  • The whole Merida-Queen Elinor dynamic was developed by original director Brenda Chapman based on her relationship with her own daughter. No wonder it feels so true! Chapman wanted to create a real teenager - one who thinks her real "problem" in life is her mother - and focus on that dynamic. Purposefully left out the pink and the prince. Nice.

Get Brave Today - DVD, Blu-Ray or watch instantly from Amazon

Do You Prefer Princess Merida?

Disney's princesses are a varied lot. All kinds of stories, all kinds of looks, all kinds of attitudes. But Princess Merida is the first whose story isn't about getting the guy. In fact, she's trying to _not_ get the guy. She's also far from demure and ladylike, all of which makes her a marked change from the rest of the group.

What kind of princess story do you prefer?

See results

If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?

About Kelly Macdonald

The voice of Princess Merida

Kelly Macdonald: Princess Merida

You won't be seeing this lovely Scottish actress in this movie, but her great voice gives an authentic touch to Merida.

Macdonald is best known in the states for her movie work, but she has done some TV from time to time, including the period piece series - Boardwalk Empire. She got her start on a whim, auditioning for a role in Trainspotting and landing the part of Diane, opposite Ewan McGregor (another Scot!).

Photo Credit: IFC Films. Promotional still from Intermission

Best Known For:

  • No Country for Old Men - Carla Jean Moss
  • Nanny McPhee - Evangeline
  • Trainspotting - Diane

Watch Merida in the Archery Competition

Brave Aim For Adventure Movie Poster Print

The Art of Brave - See how they brought Merida to life!

I love Angus!! What girl wouldn't want him for a best friend?

I love Angus!! What girl wouldn't want him for a best friend?
I love Angus!! What girl wouldn't want him for a best friend?

About The Name Merida

Auch! The Name! - Where Merida comes from - it ain't Scotland

The Teatro Romano in Merida Spain

Helen Rickard [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It was pointed out in a comment by a reader (and quite rightly so) that Merida - this great Scottish princess we're talking about - didn't get a Scottish name. Given the attention to detail Pixar puts into its projects, it's a bit surprising they didn't go with a name that has at least some kind of Scottish roots.

Merida actually has Latin roots, not Gaelic, and is the name of several towns in Spanish speaking countries, including the original city of Merida, Spain, the capital of Extremadura. (You can visit Merida in Yucatan, Mexico; Merida, Venezuela; or Leyte, Philippines. The original name of the Spanish town was Emerita Augusta, which means a woman who has achieved a place of honor, and was later shortened to Merida.

Now, I wasn't able to find any connection to Scots at all for the name. It's a bit similar to the Scottish name Mairead, which is a form of Margaret. I guess they could make the case that no one would be able to pronounce or spell that name, but there were tons of other choices so not a good argument.

Oh - Merida is also a genus of moth, a fictional people in the Dragon Prince series and the name of one of the world's largest bicycle makers.

Spanish pronunciation: Merida - (me-REE-da)

Pixar/Scottish pronunciation: Merida - (me-RUH-da)

Hear Merida pronounce her name in the video caught of her at Epcot below.

My name's Merida and I'll be shooting for my own hand.

What's in a name?

Your chance to sound off about Merida's name!

Which Scottish Name Would You Have Preferred?

See results

Brave Mother's Day Video

I love this one. You get a nice look at the relationship here between mother and daughter, which is what this movie is all about.

Princess Merida Costumes

Merida Costume Ideas

We're starting to see some official costumes for Princess Merida (but not the other Brave characters). Here are a few ideas and items to help you out if you're planning to dress for the movie premier if you don't want to get a costume.

Basically, you need to have long wild red hair. Bow and arrow set as your main accessories. And a medieval-style gown in teal or blue. The colors are really hard to figure out from the screen caps at this point. The color looks really dark green in this picture, but the same dress looks teal in others. And then there's the blue dress she's wearing for the archery competition. At this point, any dress within that color range will get you close since there is no mistaking who you're supposed to be once you have the hair and archery set.

Princess Merida Toys

Merida Dolls and Toys

There are going to be a ton of Merida toys and we have quite a few available now as we get closer to the time the movie comes out. (I do have a complete list of the Brave toys coming from Disney as well as toys from Mattel and others. It's interesting to see the variation in the way they interpret Merida as a doll. Here are just a few of the Merida options.

Disney/Pixar Brave Gem Styling Merida Doll

Disney/Pixar Brave Merida Doll

Disney Princess Merida Doll - Forest Adventure Set

Disney Princess Merida Doll - Merida with Bear Brothers

Merida shows her bravery when she tries to protect mother bear from the DunBroch warriors.

Merida shows her bravery when she tries to protect mother bear from the DunBroch warriors.
Merida shows her bravery when she tries to protect mother bear from the DunBroch warriors.

Comments or questions?

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    • Lewister profile image
      Author

      Susan 5 years ago from Texas

      @anonymous: Oh my! You are one of the rare ones. The last time a child was named Merida in the US was back in 2002. I expect your name is going to become quite popular in coming years. :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Being that my name is Merida ( after my mother) I think it's a great

      Name, finally a different name for a disney princess!

    • melissiaoliver profile image

      melissiaoliver 5 years ago

      It's a bit of a shame that they didn't go with a more Gaelic name, however I think that this won't spoil enjoyment of the film. Lovely lens by the way :-)

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 5 years ago

      I think Merida might be our favorite Disney Princess. Voted for Non-traditional - girl fine on her own, guy a nice accessory. I believe this to be true for all girls who have a horse. :) I love Angus too! I couldn't comment on her name, yet. Maybe there will be additional info in the movie about her name. Kelly Macdonald is perfect!

    • Lewister profile image
      Author

      Susan 5 years ago from Texas

      @anonymous: I know. It's crazy how many details they've worked to get _just right_ with the Celtic stuff and then there's Merida's name. I don't know a lot about Scottish names, so I did wonder if there was some language overlap or if it was totally off. I'm forgiving her because it's not her fault. :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Horrible...let me repeat this...HORRIBLE choice of a name for this character. Out of every available name in the detailed and myth-riddled history of Scotland and the Celts in general...they name her after a SPANISH CITY??!! You've got to be kidding me. I was so thrilled about this movie and it finally touching into Celtic lore...and then I found our her name was Spanish. Gross. If they made a movie with an exotic Latina princess and named her Aberdeen, I (along with millions) would be equally as irritated. Just ruined this for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love a strong woman!