My favourite little detail on Encanto is that one moment of foreshadowing that's so subtle people might miss it.
During "Waiting on a Miracle", Mirabel is freezing time and we explore her inner self and that's all well and pretty but there's this one tiny subtle moment where she sings:
"I am ready, Come on I'm ready!"
THAT'S when the miracle/vision is activated and here's why:
The fireworks that goes off right that moment is green. The pose is the same post she has in Bruno's vision.
In gif form:
And for reference, this is Bruno's vision:
Casita is always listening to the family, so when she finally listens to Mirabel saying she's ready, that's when she starts crumbling almost immediately after, showing her that something isn't right and that Mirabel's time has indeed come to shine.
I just love this tiny little foreshadowing moment. The combination of colour, body language and words is *chef's kiss*
Can I just say that this is one of my favorite subtle moments? Notice how Pepa instinctively, without looking, pulls Bruno’s wrist to gently detach his hand from holding/rubbing at his left arm - that anxious habit/protective gesture/stim we see him do multiple times throughout the film, and in even in his Gift Photo.
Whether this is to make him aware of it (like ‘hey you’re grinding your teeth again hon’), or to silently let him know she can tell he’s anxious and that he doesn’t have to be nervous or ashamed, or some mix of both, I think this is something she and Julieta did often as they grew up - a silent show of support and comfort.
Notice also how much physical touch he’s receiving in this last ten minutes, particularly from Julieta. (She out of everyone most obviously has Physical Touch as a love language, look at how she interacts with Mirabel throughout the film too) Lots of hugs, gentle proximity, compression and assurance and overflowing affection. These three have known each other since conception, they know each other’s tells and triggers intimately, they know how to soothe them, and even with a ten year absence those sisterly instincts came back immediately. And I think that’s beautiful.
it's character extrapolation time. so, with camilo, it's almost a given that he doesn't feel secure in his identity because of his shapeshifting, but more than that there's hints he overcompensates with humour. the same way luisa takes on too much and isa is perpetually composed so as to always live up to expecation, camilo "won't stop until he makes you smile today" because his gift is rarely of service to anyone, and it's not something beautiful either -- it's very cool, but the biggest reaction people are likely to have to it is amusement. camilo likely found this out, internalised it, and that's how he came to be the way he is in the movie.
dolores' place in the narrative is something i really love. in 'we don't talk about bruno', she sings about her love for mariano while isa sings over her. dolores sings "it's like i can hear him now, i can hear him now" as mariano approaches the house, which only indicates that it's him she's in love with if you're paying particular attention to her, which you likely aren't, because isa is singing over her and dolores isn't onscreen for that line. dolores hears everything, and that's immensely overwhelming for her. she speaks softly and it's because she wants to add to everything she's already hearing as little as possible. she comes across as very reserved, afraid to speak up or over anyone because any negative attention would be instant sensory overload for her. she's almost a parallel to isa; instead of acting perfect because all the attention is on her, dolores acts perfect so she doesn't draw attention. she makes herself small and the music reflects that!
ok after seeing encanto with a couple friends one of them was like “if dolores could hear bruno the whole time and therefore probably knew about the vision i don’t understand why in the beginning she told maribel that she was the only person worried about the magic” and my other friend pointed out how much of dolores’ character is about stepping aside and prioritizing what other people need (ex. letting isabela marry the man she loves bc it’s what’s “best for the family”), so she probably either knew that bruno was trying to protect maribel or she knew that maribel needed to discover what was going on for herself
and i thought that was a rly good insight but also answers a question i had been thinking about for a while, which was: if dolores was so bad at secret-keeping that as soon as she heard mirabel tell augustin about the vision she immediately spilled to the entire family... how the hell did she keep bruno a secret for ten years??
and i think obviously part of that is that she knew what bruno was trying to do and understood the need to keep secrets for the good of the family, but also part of it is that she’s not bad at secret-keeping--she just realized that she finally had PERMISSION to share pieces of a secret she’d been keeping for a decade. mirabel knew about the vision and had told augustin, it was all coming out, dolores wasn’t the only person who knew anymore and therefore she could finally let go of the Exhausting burden of having no one to talk to about it all. ofc she spilled the beans at first chance. that wasn’t her being bad at secret-keeping, it was her being so good at it that she was relieved it was finally coming out, and that it was coming out at no fault of her own! she could speak freely without having to feel guilty about betraying her family!
Other things about Encanto
So why does Isabela hate Mirabel at first
Well as someone who has had a complicated relationship with their sibling I think they both want what the other has
Isabela has a very cool gift and is beloved by the town and is the perfect golden child to Abuela who showers her with praise
She has Abuela's love and approval and affection. That's everything that Mirabel wants
Meanwhile Mirabel has no expectations on her shoulders and can be colourful and weird and flawed. She has freedom to be her authentic self. Freedom that Isabel craves.
Also, Mirabel is the only sister shown actually interacting with their parents. We even see Julieta speak up to Abuela try and protect Mirabel, which is something that Mirabel hates because she sees it as pity but it's likely Isabela longs for her mother to speak up for her.
For Julieta to say "hey mom, back off. It's okay if Isabela makes a mistake or has a bad day"
Isabela isn't a bad person but she's cracking under the pressure just like Luisa but unlike Luisa who just takes on the added pressure of protecting Mirabel silently Isabela resents her younger sister for the freedom she has
It's super realistic and interesting dynamic
Mirabels gift is Casa Madrigal itself and that’s why her door disappeared into the house itself and that’s why even though la Casa anticipates everyone’s needs it’s only because Mirabel does that and wants everyone’s needs met for her family, and apart from the family breakfast scene where Abuela—first resident of la Casa and head of the household—rearranges the chairs/seating chart, Mirabel is the only one who actively talks to and instructs Casita, and I’m convinced that her gift also represents that Mirabel will someday be the new head of the Madrigals
sometimes I see ppl in like. ao3 tags talking abt "abuela redemption" or saying she deserved to be punished more, even sometimes "alma bashing". (I'll admit, a lot of "All of You" was kinda lost on me the first couple times I watched it and I felt similarly.) and I feel like that's kinda missing the point of the movie?
like. the main point of the fight between mirabel and abuela is mirabel's lines "I will never be good enough for you" and "you're the one breaking this family". abuela was so wrapped up in her own fear and the pressure of having the town rely on her (and never having had someone else to help her raise kids and take on the responsibility of the town, the way pepa has felix to encourage her to embrace her weather) that she failed to see the way her actions made her children and grandchildren feel. she raised them to Be Helpers, from a Very young age. when she briefly speaks to Isabela about her upcoming engagement, the conversation bit goes like this:
abuela: "[...] such a perfect match."
isabela: "so perfect."
abuela: "and so good for the encanto."
in this moment, abuela is thinking about the Greater Good, as she usually does, and fails to see that isabela isnt actually that interested in mariano! just from the bit we see, isabela echoes abuela's feelings and thoughts, because isabela recognizes that abuela thinks this match will be good for the greater community and for the family, and isabela feels the pressure to be Perfect, to be what abuela expects her to be.
when abuela finds mirabel by the river, mirabel confesses she was "trying to be someone she's not" - and that's about, generally, the way mirabel has spent ten years acting like theres nothing wrong! from her own thoughts -
waiting on a miracle:
dont be upset or mad at all / dont feel regret or sad at all / hey I'm still a part of the family madrigal / and I am fine I'm totally fine / I will stand on the side as you shine / I'm not fine, I'm not fine
and shes spent all this time carefully using the coping mechanism that EVERYONE in the family has used - ignoring the pain. not talking about it. in "the family madrigal", mirabel refused to say she didnt have a gift because that fact and what it means hurts her! pepa refused to talk about bruno because him leaving broke her heart! dolores pining for mariano, luisa feeling like shes only her gift and her strength and lashing out because of what shes bottled up, isabela keeping quiet about what she actually wants, etc.
notably, abuela herself does this too! in front of the whole town, she announces that the house is fine and the family is strong! and then later that night, mirabel overhears abuela speaking to pedro's picture - asking for help, acknowledging that something is broken and she doesnt know how to fix it and that shes scared. but she never lets any of this slip in front of anyone living.
the only family member we really see directly breaking this mold on his own is antonio - before his ceremony when hes hiding from the pressure of the night needing to be perfect, mirabel finds him, and gives him a gift for comfort. and antonio confesses his worries - what if it doesnt work? and mirabel reassures him, tells him that no matter what happens, itll be okay. during the ceremony itself, in front of everyone, he asks for mirabel's help because hes still afraid, even if it looks strange to everyone else, even if it's not what's expected of him to do.
so back to the river scene. mirabel confesses that shes been somebody shes not - and in a way, shes also speaking for everyone in the family. and then theres a beat, and abuela doesnt answer directly, and instead she says that she hasnt been to this place since abuelo pedro died. and she opens up. alma raised her family to understand a sanitized version of events, that emphasized the creation of the magic, and this might be the first time shes told ANY of her family members about what she went through on her own in the early years of the encanto.
mirabel hears her and understands, and mirabel, who's been shown to have a knack for hearing and supporting her family's feelings Multiple times over already, offers her abuela an olive branch.
mirabel: "...and nothing could ever be broken that we can't fix, together."
abuela: "I asked my pedro for help. he sent me you."
and what mirabel is doing is just acknowledging how people feel, and talking about it and helping people solve their problems instead of pushing them aside, because shes sick of doing that with her own feelings and she knows how bad it feels!
then we get "all of you".
it opens with mirabel saying that the family isnt perfect and reminding them "[they're] more than just [their] gift". and abuela apologizes!
all of you:
and I'm sorry I held on too tight / just so afraid I'd lose you too / the miracle is not some magic that you've got / the miracle is you, not some gift, just you / the miracle is you / all of you, all of you
this is of course abuela directly apologizing and reiterating that she knows exactly how she messed up, that it was her fear controlling her. and she echoes mirabel's sentiment, that the gifts dont make the family, their love does.
the town arriving to help rebuild is important! it's the town showing that they appreciate what the madrigals do for them, but being part of a community isnt a one way street. the pressure of having to do Everything, to be strong and perfect and take care of Everyone, is being lifted from the shoulders of the madrigals. abuela doesnt have to shoulder everyone alone, none of the family have to go through everything alone, they have an entire family and community of people who will love and support them! they just need to show that something is wrong, say that they're hurting, and they can get the help they need.
and then. the doorknob. mirabel looks at the doorknob and abuela asks her "what do you see?" mirabel responds, "I see me. All of me." which deliberately echoes abuela's sentiment from an earlier verse - that the most precious thing they have is one another, not the gifts or the magic - and also is a heartbreaking callback to abuela's conversation with young mirabel discussing the magic at the beginning of the movie, when abuela still had such loving things to say about her. and having that doorknob, it's a deliberate message from abuela, and from the whole family, that mirabel doesnt NEED to have a gift in the same way her sisters and cousins do, because shes still worthy of love and inclusion and always has been.
so. with all that said. abuela has felt pain and pressure and fear for 50 years and has bottled it up all that time; in the process she inadvertently raised two generations of people to also bottle things up and feel pressure, and even made some people feel unworthy or excluded (mirabel, bruno). but when everything literally crumbles apart - losing the magic, Casita falling? that's her worst fear, or one of them! - shes forced to acknowledge wounds that her family has spent years ignoring, cracks that have been held together by a man living in their walls out of sight. and when she acknowledges those cracks, she opens up and finally says things she hasnt told a living soul in 50 years, and then acknowledges exactly what she did wrong and is seen taking steps to fix it.
do I think that after the movie, they can just go back to business as normal? absolutely not. I still think abuela has a long way to go, to practice opening up more and to even speak to the other members of the family one on one and apologize, have heart to hearts. in post canon content I'd like to see little moments, of alma acting like shes fine when shes clearly upset but then taking a moment and talking it out, or her unthinkingly asking luisa to something when luisa is busy and then catching herself, apologizing, and asking someone else for help. because abuela isnt evil or abusive, shes just an old woman with a screwed up brain who's accidentally taught her kids and their kids the same screwed up patterns and beliefs. those kind of things take a lot of time to unlearn and I appreciate that - for as abbreviated as it ends up being - we DO see abuela immediately start to change and start trying to do better by her family. and I just think that she deserves to recover and unlearn patterns and not be a 100% perfect abuela all the time, to still make mistakes, but to always always be trying to be better.
so that's the point of the movie. learning how to acknowledge your pain and share the burden with others, because keeping it hidden isnt healthy. to embrace not being perfect, to not put this immense pressure on yourself. and the movie delivers this message via teaching it to alma
What if Mirabel didn’t get a gift because the miracle was trying to course correct?
The original purpose of the miracle was (seemingly) to protect and nurture the Madrigals. This purpose I think is pretty strongly reflected in the first gifts it bestowed on Abuela’s children: Julieta to heal their people, Pepa to sustain their agriculture with rain and sun, and Bruno to warn them of impending danger.
But by the time Mirabel is five, the gifts are already starting to take their toll on some members of the family - Bruno certainly, Pepa to a lesser degree, and Isabela (who would have been 11 at the time) and Luisa (age 9) would certainly have been old enough to start to internalize the pressures that would cause them so much pain. We don’t hear from Dolores directly how she feels about her gift, but what would her childhood have been like as a child who always knew everyone’s business, with a child’s lack of discretion*.
So at this point, does whatever’s driving the miracle realize that the gifts that are supposed to be helping the Madrigals are hurting them and, not knowing how to fix it, declines to pass on a gift to Mirabel in an avoid causing further harm...
Which backfires spectacularly, with the family fracturing in the direct aftermath of Mirabel’s ceremony - Bruno removing himself to protect Mirabel (and to escape the harm he feels he’s causing his family and community), and Mirabel growing up feeling sidelined. (And of course, because not giving Mirabel a gift went so poorly, Antonio gets his gift as usual, but in the interim nothing has actually been fixed).
Are the cracks in the house a warning to the family that they aren’t well, simply a reflection of the state of their family, or does the miracle burn itself out because - like Bruno - it can’t take the harm it’s causing to its loved ones anymore.
*This is an entire other post, but the fact that Dolores knew for ten years that her uncle was living in the walls but never told a soul...and yet immediately blabbed about Mirabel’s prophecy is fascinating to me. What was the through process there? Why was one secret impossible to keep, while the other she never indicated to anyone - when Bruno disappeared the family must have looked for him! (Or did they/abuela take his disappearance as a betrayal, and badmouthed him/his vanishing act where both Bruno and Dolores could hear them, leading them both to think Bruno wouldn’t be welcomed back.) In “We don’t talk about Bruno” Dolores sings that she grew up afraid of her uncle - was she still afraid of him? Was that what drove her silence on the subject? It’s really too bad that Dolores gets so little screen time because she is psychologically f a s c i n a t i n g.
i don’t have much to say about we don’t talk about bruno besides that it absolutely slaps - only that the rest of the film puts isabela’s part in a whole new light. the first time you hear it, you’re kind of along with mirabel, hearing that, when everyone else got bad prophecies, she literally got the life of her dreams predicted, which adds further to her “annoyingly perfect”-ness. but then toward the end of the song, she ends up singing “and i’m fine, i’m fine” looking anything but fine. and then you learn she isn’t happy at all! i’m guessing, when she heard the life of her dreams would be promised and someday be hers, and then she was set up with mariano - she probably thought that was what bruno meant. not the life she wanted to, but a life “perfect” for her, a life she should want, that she was trying to convince herself she wanted. so hearing this prophecy that, on a first view, sounds so good and perfect, in reality probably to isabela felt more like a curse than a blessing
idk man but i really do not understand how anyone can look at abuela's character in encanto and have a definite straight forward answer that she is either good or bad because??? thats?? not??? what was going on???
this isnt me defending her or anything because like i said she isnt completely good and she isnt completely bad either.
to elaborate abuela went through absolute hell and lost everything she had in a matter of hours. Her sense of self, her home, the love of her life, her entire village, stability and her freedom were taken away from her not even in a complete day.
She was 25 years old with the responsibility of her three children and the entire village and she was all alone. Sure she probably had help but she was the leader and the lives of all those people were on her.
When she gets her miracle she does everything in her power to keep it. To make sure that no one ever loses the one thing that saved them.
Now, all this being said the way she treated her family was fucked up. Alienating her son and granddaughter was terrible. The generational trauma was on her fifteen-year-old grandchild to break. And like the vision said it was on Mirabel and it wasn't helping that Abuela was terrified of what she was doing.
Still, abuela's character is not totally evil and it is not purely innocent. She's a morally grey character. It's kinda unsettling how violent people want to get with her.
Mirabel has all the right to not forgive her but she did and Abuela genuinely wants to get better and break the cycle that has been going on for fifty years. The end scene was like one day obviously not everything is going to be rainbows and butterflies immediately the important thing is that they're all trying.
you can disagree with me and say what you think but im not touching this subject again bc i feel like if i did thered by an argument but just, consider it. I respect your opinion and I'm sure people who have this opinion on abuela have a reason. But idk it just doesnt make much sense to me if you take into account everythings that happened in the story.
Apparently Miranda struggled to make the songs for Encanto because he got the bare minimum of information about the story and how the characters would develop, in order to avoid spoilers being leaked. I do not know if it is true, but for me personally that made a bit of sense, because in many cases it felt like the songs just happened without satisfying transition, with the exception of "We don't talk about Bruno". But that is just my opinion.
(referring to this post)
Okay so if that's true, that would make infinite amounts of sense because like...I was just talking to my roommate earlier today about how several of the songs either feel unedited or seem to come out of nowhere and either hint at or imply things that are simply not depicted or discussed anywhere in the actual movie. "Dos Oruguitas" is basically the only song in the movie that's both integrated flawlessly into the scene and whose lyrics echo the movie's themes with the characters involved (Alma and Mirabel).
Both "The Family Madrigal" and "All of You" feel unedited and very "Lin was definitely on the strugglebus writing them." "All of You" has good lyrics but really struggles with both the beat and consistently good singing, and "The Family Madrigal" is just....well, aggressively mediocre (both lyrically and singing-wise). Neither feel like particularly good story bookend songs, either; "The Family Madrigal" sets up the family and their powers pretty well but doesn't effectively set up the movie's plot or vibe, and "All of You" recalls "The Family Madrigal" in both its lyrics and melody, but not in a way that actually effectively serves the song in isolation. Which is unspeakably weird considering how well Lin did those callbacks in both Hamilton and Moana.
Luisa's song is incredible and has so many references to having to do a lot of emotional labor for her family and not just physical ("Give it to your sister, your sister's older/Give her all the heavy things we can't shoulder/Who am I if I can't run with the ball?" and "Give it to your sister, it doesn't hurt and/See if she can handle every family burden" and "Give it to your sister and never wonder/If the same pressure would've pulled you under") but like....we never actually see Luisa playing that role for the family. It's not even hinted at, even as Luisa effectively isolates herself from the family after her powers start failing, which would have been a great opportunity to explore how the family falls apart faster without Luisa present to shoulder and deflect those burdens.
"We Don't Talk About Bruno" is an absolute bop in every possible way and I love it dearly, but it's effectively a villain song for a character who isn't a villain and is never actually portrayed as such outside of the song itself (Camilo just bashing his uncle for a full verse asdfghjkl). Thematically within the movie's story, it would have been better for the song to focus on the impact that Bruno leaving had on the family and how their refusal to talk about Bruno echoes other traumatic fractures within the family and all the other things they're not talking about with each other (like...Abuela's heavy expectations, for example). However, you're right in that it's basically the only song that feels like it was actually integrated well into the movie to provide a good transition between scenes.
Even Isabela's song and struggles seem to come somewhat out of nowhere, because we never actually get any indication that she's being forced to only make pretty flowers or marry Mariano against her own desires until she starts screaming at Mirabel about how she's been "stuck being perfect" 2 seconds before "What Else Can I Do?" picks up pretty abruptly in the middle of said screaming match.
Like, I can forgive Luisa's issues not being well-foreshadowed because her song comes so early in the movie, but we spend practically the entire movie pre-Casita destruction somewhat focused on Isabela, her flowers, her impending engagment to Mariano, and Mirabel's petty jealousy of her and there's never really any indication that she doesn't actually want to do any of those things. Even her verse in "We Don't Talk About Bruno" is framed as positive (the only positive vision in the whole song, in fact), though we do at least get the somewhat desperate-sounding "I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine" line layered in there at the end with her stressed-out look. It just seems oddly disconnected, like Lin was trying to make the song Isabela's "Let it Go" but the animators and scriptwriters forgot to build it up with a "Don't them in, don't let them see/be the good girl you always have to be" line or two.
So.....this is a really long-winded way of saying "I'm not sure if what you said in your ask is true, but I absolutely wouldn't be surprised if it was."
Encanto Series Concept
The series as a whole would dive deeper into the actual work required to deal with and heal from intergenerational trauma. It would take the time to address and work through the family’s issues and behaviours, as well as their relationship with the townsfolk, and help act as a semi-realistic* example to both children and adults on how to handle community and familial conflict. It would also explore the inner workings of the miracle and the magic in the aftermath of the movie.** Finally, the series would further showcase Colombian culture, and preferably feature music by Colombian artists.
*Semi-realistic because a realistic depiction would likely include more swearing and unhealthy coping mechanisms than allowed on a children’s show
**This does not include explaining the miracle’s origin. I am of the mind that the explanation given in the movie is all that is needed, and that any further attempts to elaborate would be detrimental to the story as a whole.
The show opens a week or so after the end of the movie. The high of ‘Casita’s back, the magic’s back, Mirabel and Bruno are back, everything is great!’ is starting to wear off as the Madrigals slowly settle back into a routine, and old habits and resentments are starting to surface. In addition to this, the candle did not return with the house, and both Casita and the magic are different in ways the Madrigals are still coming to understand.
This first season would primarily focus on three things:
1) Bruno’s return to the household
This isn’t exactly a plot point that can be postponed, so it has to be addressed (though not necessarily resolved) in the first season. Bruno’s relationship to his sisters and his mother would be particularly stressed and explored (I think Pepa especially has a lot of complicated feelings about him right now), as well as his difficulty adjusting to life outside the walls and learning to interact with people again.* There would also be some delving into the town’s opinion of Bruno and how they handle his return.
2) Exploring the magic
As stated above, this does not include providing the miracle with an origin. Rather, this plotline would focus more on the specifics and limits of the Madrigals’ powers, the differences to Casita post restoration, and possibly the expansion of the magic beyond just the Madrigal household.** This plotline would be primarily driven by Mirabel, possibly with the help of one or more of her sisters/cousins, and would hopefully help to balance the more serious tone of the rest of the show.
3) Alma’s relationships
Most importantly, season one would focus primarily on Alma’s relationships - with her children, her grandchildren, her in-laws, the town, etc. I believe it’s important to focus on Alma’s relationships first specifically because it was the trauma of being driven from her home and witnessing the death of her husband that spawned the intergenerational trauma within the Madrigal family. Understand that I am not blaming her for her trauma, but in many ways she is the ‘source’ of the family’s issues, and so dealing with her problems sets the family and the series up to more easily address their other problems later on.
As Mirabel learns more about how the magic works and Alma improves and repairs her relationships***, Alma will also start taking ill about halfway through the season. Julieta will, of course, ply her mother with food, but (and this will play into learning about the limitations of everyone’s powers) it won’t be enough. In the second last episode of the season, Alma will pass away - surrounded by her family, and holding the locket with Pedro’s picture in her hand.****
The season finale is Alma’s funeral, and neither the family nor the town are taking her passing well. Julieta is dealing with no small amount of guilt over being unable to heal her mother, while Bruno is regretting missing the majority of Alma’s final decade. Tensions are high both in la Casa Madrigal, and in the Encanto as a whole, and it doesn’t help that Casita is acting especially strange in the wake of Alma’s death. Everyone comes together for Alma’s funeral, determined to make it perfect; largely reverting to their old behaviours and pushing their feelings aside to perform their roles. Of course, same as in the movie, this doesn’t go very well, and the funeral ends in an explosive fight either specifically within the Madrigals, or in the Encanto as a whole.
Early the next morning, Mirabel (whom had hardly slept after the previous day’s events) is woken by Casita, and nudged out of bed and down the hall. It urges her forward until she reaches the door to Alma’s room.***** At Casita’s insistence, Mirabel reaches forward to grab the doorknob - and immediately, the door shifts.
The season ends with Mirabel standing outside of what is now her room, as her family begins to stir around her.
*I want to note that I understand that the superstitious behaviours Bruno exhibits in the movie are cultural and that many people have an issue with the fandom pathologizing them. With this in mind, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that these usually harmless behaviours may have evolved into something a bit more unhealthy as a result of Bruno’s decade of solitude, as well as his issues in the community prior to that. My understanding is that these kinds of habits become unhealthy when their use (or lack thereof) causes distress and interferes with a person’s ability to function. Ideally, by the end of this character arc, Bruno would learn how to cope in a healthy manner while still being able to engage in superstitions.
**When the magic was restored at the end of the movie, it seemed to flow through the entire town, extending outside of la Casa Madrigal. Considering Casita was only restored with the help of the community, I think the magic expanding to include the whole of Encanto would both be significant and allow the townsfolk to rely less heavily on the Madrigals - which, after all, was something that caused/exacerbated a lot of the family’s problems in the movie.
***Including receiving the support she needs to properly process and heal from the trauma she’s experienced and that has gone unaddressed.
****Killing off Alma is not a decision I make lightly. However, I believe there is a valuable story to be found in seeing how the family learns to cope without its matriarch, and how the community moves forward without its leader. As well, many cases of intergenerational trauma require families to heal when the person who experienced the initial trauma is long-dead. Alma dying allows us to explore this angle, and again provide an example for viewers who may be dealing with similar issues.
*****I’m assuming everyone’s door designs reappeared after they originally returned to their rooms post rebuilding. That said, I’m undecided on whether Alma’s door should retain its design after her death, or revert to the swirly, sparkly form the doors have prior to being claimed.
In the wake of Alma’s death, the miracle has chosen Mirabel to take up the mantle of Keeper of the Magic. Meanwhile, the family continues to grieve their lost matriarch, Dolores and Mariano Get Serious, and Encanto learns how to move on without its founder.
This season would focus primarily on four things:
1) Mirabel is the Keeper of the Magic
Continuing the magic arc from the first season, Mirabel now has to learn how to adjust to her new role as the Keeper of the Magic. This includes figuring out what, exactly, that means, and trying to avoid making the same mistakes as her abuela - as well as how this change affects her relationships within the family and the town. It would also explore Mirabel finally gaining access to the family’s magic in a more concrete way, ie getting her own magic room.
2) The family’s relationships with each other
The first season placed a priority on Alma’s relationships, but this season will delve more into the relationships of the family as a whole. The triplets, the siblings, the cousins, the parents - and all the issues therein. I think this would be an especially good place to address how Bruno’s departure - however well intentioned - hurt the family (his sisters in particular), as well as how the way his family and the town treated him in the past affected Bruno. This season will also take the time to look at some of the less utilized characters in a bit more depth, ie Camilo’s teenage identity crisis, Isabela being single and figuring out what she wants in life,* etc.
3) The town
Alma led the town for 50 years, and her death is inevitably going to cause changes. This arc could include points like electing a new leader**, a limited exploration of the world outside the Encanto***, and how the town has changed overall since the end of the movie.
4) Dolores and Mariano
Dolores and Mariano’s relationship will have developed somewhat in the background of season 1, and while it wouldn’t be the focus of season 2, it will be brought more to the forefront. At this point in the series, with their relationship now well-established, Mariano and Dolores are looking ahead, and figuring out what their future together will be.
I haven’t figured out this season as extensively as the first one, but after focusing on these points, the series would wrap up with Dolores and Mariano’s wedding in the final episode.**** As the episode ends, the viewers are left with the sense that, while the Madrigals - and indeed, the Encanto as whole - are far from perfect, their love and support for each other will carry through whatever else the future might hold.
*While I am not necessarily against either of these plotlines including Camilo/Isabela’s realization that they’re queer, I am somewhat wary. I know many fans have zeroed in on the characters’ potential sexualities/gender to the near exclusion of anything else, including the themes of family and intergenerational trauma that make up the core of the movie. That said, like with exploring Bruno’s mental health, I believe this could be a good opportunity for some intersectional representation.
**I’m not in any way knowledgeable enough about Colombian culture to know what that would look like or if they’d even decide they needed an official leader - after all, it’s not like Alma was elected mayor or anything. Still, depending on the cultural implications, it’s something that could potentially be explored.
***I am of the opinion that a lengthy exploration of the outside world would take away from the community- and family-based story Encanto presents. That said, I do think it would be interesting to find out exactly how isolated Encanto truly is. Director Jared Bush said on Twitter that the town is entirely self sufficient, with no outside trade - but are they completely cut off? Has anyone ever left the Encanto? Does the outside world know anything about the Madrigals and their Gifts? If this storyline is pursued, I would give it no more than two episodes, taking place perhaps before the mid-season break.
****There is, I think, a certain poetry to ending the first season with a funeral and the second with a wedding.
Important Note: Full disclosure, I am extremely white and acknowledge that I am 100% not who should be in charge of creating an Encanto tv series (and this is, of course, a fanmade concept and therefore not something that would result in a show anyway). That said, I’ve been mulling over this idea for a while, and thought the fandom might enjoy the ideas I’ve come up with. Please feel free to share your own thoughts and/or criticisms in the notes, especially if you’re Colombian.
thinking abt how mirabel doesn't talk abt herself in "the family madrigal" bcs she probably doesn't consider herself part of, or at least as special and noteworthy as the family even if she tells the kids otherwise
thinking abt how when antonio got his gift, it was confirmed in mirabel's head that the reason she hadn't gotten a gift wasn't bcs there was smth wrong with the magic; maybe it was just smth wrong with her
thinking abt how mirabel was able to do everything she said she couldn't but would do in "waiting for a miracle";
she moved the mountains when casita first had to fall apart before being rebuilt. she made new trees and flowers bloom by helping isabela discover the true extent of her gift. she made rainclouds disappear for the sun to shine again when she and abuela alma made up by the river. she healed the family's broken relationship and showed them smth new—that they are more than just their gifts
thinking abt how starved i must be of my family's acknowledgment of my efforts for me to sob that much over the part in "all of you" where the madrigals gave mirabel her own door
thinking abt how mirabel's door is the front door of casita + all the madrigals are on it and she's at the center bcs she's become the foundation of the family
just thinking abt mirabel madrigal. and how i wanna give her (and all of our inner children) the biggest hug
**Warning: Encanto spoilers**
Of all the magical Madrigals, only Mirabel wears glasses. This is an important aspect of her character, because the glasses act as a metaphor for Mirabel’s ability to truly see her relatives.
Mirabel is the only one to see how nervous and frightened Antonio is about his Gift ceremony, and she’s the only one to help him overcome that
Mirabel is the only one to see that Luisa is overworked and suffering from that; this leads Mirabel to give Luisa permission to take a break, the very thing Luisa needs
Mirabel is the only one to see that Isabel is tired of trying to live up to her family’s expectations, so Mirabel gives her permission to grow things other than roses and to experiment with her powers, and to say no to the marriage Abuela has arranged for her
Mirabel is the only one to see that Bruno still loves his family and is still worthy of being part of the family and community
Mirabel is the only one to see how badly her grandmother is suffering, how deep her trauma runs and how much she needs healing
It’s Mirabel’s vision of other people that allows her to put her family on the path to healing and to help save the Encanto.
Mirabel can’t see herself, not until the end of the movie, because she’s looking outward for validation. The glasses are the sign of Mirabel’s outward-facing vision, her ability to see other people as they are and to uplift them, but her own internal vision of herself is blurred because she’s still measuring herself against her family’s abilties and expectations.
It’s not until the end of the film when Mirabel has saved the Encanto and receives the doorknob she was denied as a child that she finally sees herself both as a worthy human being in her own right and as a worthy part of her family and community. When she sees herself reflected in the shiny surface of the doorknob, she finally can say that she truly sees herself as a whole person, the very same sort of thing she has been doing for others all throughout the rest of the film.
So like what happens to the weather when Pepe and Félix have....fun private times? Does it get really hot? Does it build up to an intense storm? Does everyone just Know whenever they go at it? I need answers
i think that the most tragic part about abuela encanto is that she never got to properly mourn her husband, because i think that she tied his death up in “getting the miracle” in her brain along with the fact that her entire support system is now Strangers Who Think She’s Magic TM and... three infants. so there’s no room for mourning when we got so lucky! we’re so lucky that we’re still here!
so this woman must have just gone immediately into Community Matriarch Mode because she didn’t feel like she had any other option. yes, pedro died, but we got a miracle out of it, right? we have to be grateful. the light shone upon us and we have to make sure that it keeps shining because there are so many things that can hurt all these people under my protection, and i don’t even understand how it works? and if i show a moment of hesitation, then they won’t believe that they’re safe and how can i do that to them instead of just shouldering the burden alone? they’re counting on me. they have been since we got the miracle (since pedro died and left me alone)
The Cracks in Casita are just a physical/magical manifestation of the Cracks in the Madrigal family.
In that vein, I truly believe that While Mirabel was in the Vision cave finding the pieces of the Vision Tablet, i mean, at that exact same time, Luisa was off having an identity crises (canon) and that emotional turmoil is what caused her powers to glitch out again and that glitch in Luisas magic is what caused the cracks to grow and destroy the Vision Cave. I think Luisas feelings of worthlessness without her powers to help people are the same feelings Bruno must have felt when sharing his visions did more harm than good.
cant stop thinking about that part in the last encanto song where bruno sings "let it go" and it sounds like the let it go chorus from frozen
because either frozen exists in the Encanto universe and bruno was the equivalent of the radio that wouldn’t stop playing let it go for the nth time (sometimes i can still hear his voice, says dolores as bruno hums it in the walls)
or, since Frozen certainly does not exist due to the time period and if it does it certainly is not accessible in Encanto which is contained by mountains and presumably has no access to the outside world, bruno could have seen the movie through his visions. which would be funny but also begs the question of whether the encanto eventually becomes open to the outside world (otherwise how would they come into contact with frozen)
OR frozen is one of the shows that the rats put on and bruno wrote the plot and songs to frozen himself
i’m sure that this has been said before but i was watching the breakfast scene and it’s very telling how antonio immediately tries to find a way to make his gift useful by telling his animal friends to warm up abuela’s chair. like practically the first thing he does after he wakes up is ask himself how he can help the family instead of just being like “holy shit i can talk to animals” like any other 5 year old would
IMO, Abuela's three children in "Encanto" each seem to each characterize a different mental illness.
Even when taking into account cultural differences, their behaviors are extreme and my sense as a writer is that this is deliberate to speak to Encanto's overarching theme of the effects of generational trauma:
- Bruno's appears to have OCD, in his "knock on wood" and throwing salt over his shoulder, as well as avoiding cracks in the floor. (I don't think he has multiple personalities, I think he was trying to make Mirabel laugh there). To be clear, I do think he's also superstitious, but I'm referring to this behavior as mental illness that actually worsens one's quality of life, which his hallway rituals look like to me.
- Pepa has anxiety. Probably obvious, but I don't think what we're seeing is just flightiness or mood swings. There is a worsened quality of life visible at various points when she's muttering, "Clear skies," to herself and can't seem to calm down.
- Julieta (Mirabel's mom) - not necessarily obvious but I think hers is depression. We don't see much of her in a way that would confirm this, but her character design has a sadness to it and her resting face appears sad as well. She's also shown wearing blue. More subtle and more of a leap, but there it is. (Pure conjecture but she does also come across as the most responsible and mentally "oldest" of the siblings and may have had the most exposure to her mother's pain following her father's death.)