That’s So Raven is one of the Disney Channel TV series that we remember with the most nostalgia. At the center of the plot was a girl with a seemingly ordinary life who was actually hiding a secret: she was a seer. Raven Baxter was suddenly seized with visions of events that would soon occur. With subterfuge and disguises he often tried to prevent those events from happening without ever succeeding. In 2017, Disney decided to make a spin-off that went on longer than the mother series and which was titled Raven’s Home. The show’s (and sequel’s) success rested on Raven-Symoné’s talent, who with a marked expressiveness and with his bizarre disguises always managed to make us smile. It is therefore absurd to think that initially Disney had reserved a secondary role for the actress.
According to what Anneliese van der Pol, the protagonist of That’s So Raven it wasn’t originally supposed to be Raven.
The actresswho played the character Chelsea Daniels in both the original TV series and the spin-off, was a guest on the podcast Vulnerable. In the episode, which aired on April 25, he got the chance to speak with Christy Carlson Romano of his experience in That’s So Raven. And in this regard, he also revealed a rather surprising background: initially the creators of the series had thought of giving Raven-Symoné the role of the comic shoulder of the protagonist. Only when they started filming, they realized that the character of Raven had a great hold on the public and they decided to focus the show on her, going so far as to change the title. Anneliese van der Pol he said:
“When I went to audition, the show was called Absolutely Psychic – it wasn’t called That’s So Raven at all. At the time, Raven wasn’t the lead, she was the sidekick. They were looking for a leading lady. I went to audition to play the lead. I think the character’s name was Molly. I auditioned and a couple of other people auditioned. I didn’t get the part – someone else got the part – but when they started shooting, they realized that Raven was the funniest and had a following, so they took her to the center and started auditioning again. I attended a large group call and I finally got the part. I think the character’s name was like, Molly, then Emma, and then it became Chelsea. “
But why hadn’t Disney thought from the beginning to focus the series on the character of Raven? According to Anneliese van der Pol, executives didn’t believe a show starring a black actress could be successful. Indeed, he explained:
“E I think it was due to some sort of racism, even if that’s just a possibility. At first, they really couldn’t see a black girl starring in a show. With Disney, it’s never personal, it’s just business.”