- The Princess Switch -That Old Man From 'The Princess Switch 3'? You've Seen Him Before
The more Princess Switch movies that Netflix makes, the less I remember about what actually happened in the previous movies. Look, it's not easy to focus on things like the plot when there are multiple versions of Vanessa Hudgens running around meowing at people like she's auditioning for the inevitable Catwoman reboot. So, I was more than a little confused when a twinkly-eyed old man in a Bridgerton-esque wig popped out of nowhere to give Queen Margaret-masquerading-as-Fiona a set of car keys and her cape to flee the duplicitous Hunter Cunard's Christmas ball. If you too were left wondering who the helpful, yet mysterious stranger in The Princess Switch 3 was, allow me to blow your mind.
This guy has been in every single Princess Switch movie so far. In fact, if it wasn't for him and his folksy life advice, Stacy and Margaret never would have met in the first place. First the basics: the actor's name is Robin Soans, and he must really love Christmas, because he's an actual member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Over the course of his long career, he's performed in over 100 hundred stage productions, including seven at the Royal Court, and he pioneered an entirely new movement in British playwrighting.
Basically, popping up in Netflix Christmas movies seems like a weird career move for him, but I like to think Soans is a true believer in Christmas magic. That's the only acceptable explanation for why he takes time out of his busy schedule to appear in The Princess Switch franchise every year.
Now, as for the character he plays... well, he's either an extremely committed and helpful stalker of Vanessa Hudgenses, or he's some sort of magical Christmas being. In the first movie, he shows up in Chicago to give Stacy the confidence to go after her baking dreams/desire to fall in love before Christmas. Then he subsequently appears in Montenaro, where he helps prevent Margaret and Stacy's switching ruse from being found out too soon.
At no point does he wear an old-timey Bridgerton wig, so I'm using his fashion choices in the third movie to justify my complete cinematic amnesia of this character's existence in the franchise. Additionally, on IMDb, he's listed simply as "Kindly Man" in the first film, whereas he gets a more Christmas-y title for the second and third installments. He has now been dubbed "Elf Man," which opens up a whole new set of questions.
I mean, he's not a tall man, but he doesn't give me elf vibes. Personally, I thought he was Santa (look, Santa randomly showing up to encourage people to get married is a normal thing that happens in romantic Christmas movies), or perhaps an angel just trying to earn his wings like Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life. But no, Netflix insists he some sort of elf man, who I'm assuming is doing the bidding of Santa by ensuring Margaret and Stacy experience yearly Christmas miracles (sorry Fiona, but I suspect you're still on the naughty list after those The Princess Switch 2 antics).
Speaking of The Princess Switch 2, the kindly elf man appeared as a cab driver who kept Kevin and Olivia from leaving Montenaro after Kevin was left baffled by Margaret's personality change in the wake of Fiona stealing her identity. Thanks to some interesting driving decisions, he made sure the duo did not make it to the airport in time to catch their flight, which subsequently led to Kevin and Margaret's reunion.
Clearly, this mysterious elf is deeply invested in the love lives of Stacy and Margaret — as well as in their general well-being now that they've branched out into heists. But does Santa know? Does he even work for Santa, or is he, like, a freelance elf? What is his deal and why hasn't Netflix greenlit a fourth Princess Switch movie where Margaret and Stacy return his kindness by helping him admit his feelings for the elf of his dreams who is also Hudgens in old age makeup? Come on, Netflix, after the past two years, I think we all need The Princess Switch 4: Elf Man In Love in our lives.
Images: Mark Mainz/Netflix; Netflix