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One Popular Character Hasn’t Been Announced For The Splash Mountain Princess And The Frog Retheme, But There Could Be Some Reasons Why

Dr. Facilier and Naveen in The Princess and the Frog
(Image credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios)

During the Disney Parks D23 Expo panel over this past weekend we learned a bit more about the ride set to replace Splash Mountain, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. We got some details on the story of the ride, that will see guests riding through a mine recently taken over by Tiana’s burgeoning food empire, and the technology that will be used to tell the story. We also learned that four major Princess and the Frog characters, Tiana, Naveen, Louis, and Mama Odie, will appear, and be voiced by their original voice actors. 

However, with the specific enumeration of those four characters and their voice actors, Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Michael-Leon Wooley, and Jennifer Louis, a fifth voice actor and character, has become conspicuous by its absence. There was no reference to Keith David coming back to voice Dr. Facilier, aka the Shadow Man. However, there are two different reasons why that may be the case. 

Dr. Facilier Did Not Appear To Survive The Princess And The Frog 

The most obvious reason that Dr. Facilier may not appear in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is because we’ve been specifically told that the story of the attraction will follow the events of The Princess and the Frog, and the events of The Princess and the Frog were not kind to the old Shadow Man. He’s probably very dead.

Dr. Facilier uses magic that has been given to him by “the other side.” While details are vague, there are beings that are allowing him to have the power he has, on the condition that he does their bidding, and pays back his debt. The entire plot of the film is based around Facilier trying to obtain the wealth and power of Prince Naveen so he can pay the debt he owes for the power he has, which is why he changes the prince into a frog in the first place.

In the end of the movie, when Tiana breaks the amulet holding the dark magic, and Facilier loses his ability to pay back his debt, he’s pulled through a gateway to the other side. What exactly happened to him isn’t clear, but he’s clearly not even on the same plane of existence as the other characters at the end of the movie.

The Full Story For Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Has Not Been Revealed 

But even that doesn’t mean that we won’t see the Shadow Man in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, it simply means that we haven’t been told yet if he will appear. While we were given a basic understanding of what the story of Bayou Adventure will be, it was only in broad strokes. We still have very little in the way of specifics, and that leaves a lot of room for more to be announced later. 

We have to remember that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is still two years away, and Disney is going to want to keep some secrets now so that they can be revealed later when the attraction is getting closer to becoming a reality. At this point, we can’t assume that just because Keith David hasn’t been mentioned, that he won’t appear. Because the events of the movie make his appearance perhaps less likely, that would make the announcement of his return potentially huge. Disney may want to save it for a later date.

Dr. Facilier is a quite popular villain and fans would love to see him appear in the new attraction, and Disney knows this. It’s not like an explanation for his return can’t be created in a story that already includes the existence of magic. If we don’t see him at all, it’s not that shocking, but the fact that he has yet to be revealed does not mean that it might not still happen. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.