A Guide To The Very Real And Legitimate Cinematic Universe Of Netflix Holiday Movies

Sure, you know may know about the burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Multiverse or have taken a trip "Into the Spider-Verse" — but what do you know about the Netflix Holiday Universe (NHU) centered around our Netflix holiday rom-com lord and savior, "A Christmas Prince?

Just like the Marvel Studios release of "Iron Man" kicked off the MCU, "A Christmas Prince" dropped in 2017 and people went wild for it. Believe it or not, the market for holiday rom-coms is massive, and one of the smartest things Netflix ever did was step on Hallmark's turf and get in the game. In the years since, Netflix has prioritized festive fare, with this year alone offering a staggering 28 new holiday treats including 12 movies and 6 new TV series.

In the wake of the success of "A Christmas Prince," fans began to notice connections between the subsequent Netflix original holiday films. At first, it seemed like Netflix was just giving itself free promotion for its other films by popping them on TV sets in each other's movies, but the more the universe expands, the more involved and interconnected the films have become. Netflix embraced the fan theories. Formerly referred to as "The Netflix Christmas Universe," the name got an update for 2021 and an official flowchart to help guide how the films connect to one another. The flowchart is handy, sure, but as anyone who has tried to explain the multiverse can tell you, it's not always that easy, and even the flow-chart is missing some installments.

Catch Up, Because This Isn't New Information

2019 was when fans first started finding the Easter eggs, and Netflix took to Twitter to confirm suspicions and explain their motive. While "A Christmas Prince" was the first film released, it was the inclusion of "Christmas Inheritance" shown in the background on a TV screen in "The Holiday Calendar" that served as the first string expanding the web of films.

Finally, vindication for all of us who turned into "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" Leo DiCaprio pointing at the screen while screaming, "Did they just mention the fictional country Aldovia from 'A Christmas Prince'?!" during a viewing of "The Knight Before Christmas." We weren't crazy; Netflix and MPCA have been building a connective universe the whole time and it currently includes the titles "A Christmas Prince," "Christmas Inheritance," "The Holiday Calendar," "The Princess Switch," "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding," "Holiday in the Wild," "The Knight Before Christmas," "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby," "Operation Christmas Drop," "The Princess Switch: Switched Again," and this year's entries, "The Christmas Switch: Romancing the Star," and "A Castle For Christmas."

While Netflix has plenty of other original holiday films like "The Christmas Chronicles," and "Jingle Jangle," only the films made in tandem with MPCA are part of the NHU.

It's Like Netflix Made Their Own Christmas Romcom Avengers

"A Christmas Prince" sets the stage for just about all of the films within the universe: "An everyday heroine enters a magical Christmas world where she finds love and herself." Including the two sequels that followed, the "Christmas Prince" trilogy serves as the foundational pillar of the entire Netflix Holiday Universe, not unlike the "Iron Man" trilogy. Rose McIver's Queen Amber Eve Charlton is the Tony Stark of the group, even having her own de-facto J.A.R.V.I.S. in the form of her popular royal blog. (Work with me, here.)

As for the leader of the holiday romcom Avengers, that distinction goes to Vanessa Hudgens — the Captain America of this world, thanks to "The Princess Switch." Hudgens' trilogy of "Switch" films and the related-but-not-directly-related film "The Knight Before Christmas" see her playing multiple characters, and serve as the major connective tissue between the rest of the films. In "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby" a map is shown indicating that the film's setting in the fictional country of Aldovia is a neighboring country to the fictional country of Belgravia in "The Princess Switch."

This makes things even weirder because one of Vanessa's characters, Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro, watches "A Christmas Prince" on Netflix with her commoner lookalike Stacy DeNovo's (also Hudgens) best friend, Kevin. In "The Princess Switch: Switched Again," the royal couple of "A Christmas Prince" are in attendance for Lady Margaret's coronation, which makes Margaret's original viewing of the film like Steve Rogers watching "Iron Man 2" on HBO Max and it being a biopic.

Everything in the NHU is Canonically 'Real'

Before Netflix started intentionally incorporating characters in the worlds of the other films, most of the connections existed solely from characters watching the movies on TV. However, now that "A Christmas Prince" and "The Princess Switch" have established themselves as existing in the same universe, it means that all of the films in the NHU are canonically set in the same reality. This means all of the movies they're all watching are not holiday rom-coms, but rather something closer to documentaries. The stories frequently deal with royalty, high-profile business people, or other situations that would elicit trending hashtags and major headlines, so it's not out of the realm of possibility in universe that someone (in this case, Netflix) would make movies about the storylines.

In "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby" a character even mentions to the (now) Queen Amber that it seems royalty marrying commoners has become fashionable these days — a reference to Prince Edward Wyndham in "The Princess Switch" marrying Chicago baker Stacy, and Lady Margaret Katherine Claire Delacourt marrying Stacy's best friend, Kevin. The events of the movies are treated like fodder for royal gossip, because in this world, they really happened.

Which means it is canon that there are a lot of women out there that look eerily like Vanessa Hudgens.