One Encanto Theory Explains Why Mirabel Was Abuela’s Replacement

Mirabel Madrigal is Abuela Alma’s eventual replacement in Disney’s Encanto, and one meaningful theory from the film finally explains why.

In Disney’s Encanto, Mirabel is Abuela Alma’s replacement in the magical Casita, and one symbolic theory explains why. Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz) isn’t like the rest of her family in Encanto. In the film, Mirabel’s family members all receive special powers during a ceremony at their magical house. For instance, Mirabel’s sister Luisa (Jessica Darrow) has super strength and can lift donkeys over her head. Also, Mirabel’s cousin Dolores (Adassa) has keen hearing, knowing all the latest on the town gossip. However, Mirabel doesn’t receive a power during her ceremony, and her lack of gifts drives her to discover why the magical Casita begins to crack.


The Madrigals don’t know much about their magical gifts. Years before the film’s events, Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero) received the miracle on the night her husband Pedro died. The miracle gave the Madrigals a magical candle and an enchanted house. However, Alma is constantly worried that the family will lose the miracle, and the anxiety causes her to have a strained relationship with Mirabel. Despite Mirabel trying to do the best for her family, Alma doesn’t give her the respect she deserves.

Related: Encanto: Mirabel Is Reincarnated Pedro – Theory Explained

Encanto eventually reveals that Mirabel will walk in Abuela Alma’s footsteps and lead the family, and one theory shows why. Alma is so desperate to hold onto the miracle in Encanto that she holds back her family from being the people they are supposed to be. However, when Casita crumbles in the film following Alma and Mirabel arguing, everything changes. The pair later reconcile and realize that family is the most important thing. The Madrigals rebuild the house with the townspeople, and Mirabel eventually turns the house magical again by placing the doorknob. According to one fan theory (via Twitter), the Casita represents a cocoon. After Mirabel helped destroy it, the family could move forward and become who they’re supposed to be, much like how caterpillars break out of cocoons to turn into butterflies. If that’s the case, it’s easy to see that Abuela Alma was the caterpillar holding the family back in the cocoon, and Stephanie Beatriz’s Mirabel Madrigal was the butterfly leading them into the future.


Encanto leans heavily on butterfly imagery throughout the film, making the idea that the Casita represents a cocoon even more believable. For example, a butterfly adorns the Madrigals’ enchanted candle, there are butterflies on Mirabel’s dress, and the song “Dos Oruguitas” plays when Abuela Alma reveals her story and reconciles with Mirabel. The song translates to “two caterpillars” in English and focuses on the fear of constant change. Given all the imagery, the song clearly represents Alma fearing change and Mirabel helping to lead the family into the future following the magical house’s collapse.

Of course, the Encanto fan theory may read too much into the story’s details. Much like other Disney films, Encanto is full of Easter eggs and has inspired several theories, so it’s easy for viewers to get caught up in messages that aren’t truly there. However, the butterflies are in the film for a reason. Whether or not the filmmakers meant Casita to represent a cocoon, it’s clear the Madrigals would never truly spread their wings if Mirabel hadn’t caused the house to crumble.

More: Encanto Detail May Secretly Prove The Best Theory About Abuelo Pedro

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