Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen is a VeggieTales video released in September 30, 2000 by Word Entertainment on VHS, and in January 9, 2001 by Lyrick Studios on VHS, and November 7, 2006 by Sony Wonder on VHS and DVD.
It is based on the story of Esther from the Old Testament, with elements from The Godfather and Casablanca.
The story opens at a palace in Persia at night time. During the night, King Xerxes's right hand man Haman (played by Mr. Lunt) tells Vashti that the king wants her to make him a sandwich. Vashti replies that it's 3 o'clock in the morning, before Haman tells her that the king says that whatever he says goes. Vashti then replies that she's the queen and that "the king can make his own sandwich". Because of this, Haman throws Vashti out of the palace, before Vashti angrily tells Haman that he can't do this because she's the queen, to which Haman sadistically replies, "Oh ho, you wanna bet?" Haman then throws a suitcase at Vashti, telling her that the king can do whatever he wants because he's the king. Vashti then leaves after that, with Haman telling her not to come back. King Xerxes (played by Mr. Nezzer) then shows up and tells Haman, "Don't you think that might have been a little harsh?" Haman then replies that Vashti deserved it, which King Xerxes agrees with, before telling Haman to make him a sandwich, which surprises Haman.
The next morning, a young woman named Esther and her elderly cousin Mordecai (played by Pa Grape) are walking through the streets of Persia, with Esther explaining to Mordecai that she saw a friend of hers steal an apple, but she does not have the courage to tell her that the apple doesn't belong to her. Because of this, Mordecai tells her, "You never need to be afraid to do what's right." However, at that moment, Haman comes up through the streets in his pea-driven wagon, to which Mordecai hides, telling Esther that Haman hates him. After the wagon stops in the middle of the street, Haman then explains to the people of Persia that King Xerxes needs a new queen and that every eligible woman in the street is to come to the palace. At first, Esther is not interested, but after a little bit of urging from Mordecai (who reveals himself in front of Haman) and the insistence of Haman, Esther finally gets into the wagon with the other women.
At the palace, Mordecai meets up Esther, who is now dressed up in fine clothes, before explaining to Esther that Haman hates their entire family and that if Haman knew that Esther was Mordecai's cousin, then Haman would hate her too. When Esther asks Mordecai what the king is like, Mordecai tells her that the king is a really likeable guy and that she would like him, before he then leaves after that. Esther then sings about why she is here and wants to know what God has in store for her. Meanwhile, it turns out that King Xerxes is holding a talent competition, to which each candidate is to sing a song. One candidate by the name of Miss Achmetha is singing a song about how puppies are cute and that she'll give a home to all the lost puppies if she'll ever be queen. After the song ends, the contest announcer (played by Scallion # 1) comes out and tells the audience, comprised of just King Xerxes and Haman to give a big hand for Miss Achmetha. However, Xerxes is not impressed, to which he and Haman both give thumbs down (by the use of signs) to Miss Achmetha, which annoys Miss Achmetha before she storms off afterwards. The contest announcer then announces the next candidate who is known as Miss Babylon. However, Esther does not come out, before the announcer explains to her that she has to sing a song, and for her to sing something because she's making him look bad. Esther finally comes up with a song, before she starts singing a song that her grandmother used to sing to her about how God is always on our side and that we shouldn't be afraid to do the right thing. After Esther finishes singing, Xerxes and Haman both immediately give her thumbs up (again using signs). The contest announcer then announces that they have found their new queen, Queen Esther.
Later, after Esther has been appointed as the new queen of Persia, Mordecai shows up, congratulating her for what happened. Esther is still a little bit unsure about her new position, but Mordecai is able to assure her that everything will be just fine. The next morning in the throne room, Xerxes is still a little bit worried about whether or not his new queen will like him, to which Haman assures him that she'll like him, even if he wasn't the king, at the same time that Markus the scribe (played by Larry the Cucumber) is busy doing some writing. When Haman leaves to go get Esther, Xerxes looks at himself in the mirror, before being approached by the royal chef Bigthan (played by Jean-Claude Pea) who presents to him with a beautiful wedding cake. However, unknown to Xerxes, Bigthan and his brother Teresh (played by Phillipe Pea), who are both known as the Peaoni brothers, plan to kill King Xerxes by dropping a piano on his head. When Haman returns with Esther, he is surprised to see Bigthan in the room, while Mordecai is able to spot Teresh holding on to the rope that holds up the piano, before telling Esther about what's going on. Esther then alerts Xerxes that it's a trap, at the same time that Teresh ends up getting pulled up by the weight of the piano, but Xerxes is able to get out of the way, just as the piano crashes on top of the cake. Bigthan and Teresh try to escape, but they are caught by Mordecai, before Haman is able to identify them as the Peaoni brothers, "the most dangerous peas in all of Persia." Xerxes is grateful to Esther for saving him, but Esther tells him that Mordecai deserves the credit, since he was the one who told her about the danger. Since the crime of the Peaoni brothers has been exposed, Haman announces that their punishment be "Banishment to the Island of Perpetual Tickling", which frightens the Peaoni brothers very much, just as the Grim Tickler shows up, to take them away to the Island of Perpetual Tickling.
Later that night, even though the Peaoni brothers have now been disposed of, Haman approaches Xerxes, telling him through song that there's still an even greater danger at large and that he fears that his life is in danger. Xerxes also joins in the song as well, before he approves Haman's wish to have these people banished, not realizing that Haman had tricked him into banishing Mordecai and his family. When Mordecai discovers the edict that Haman had Xerxes sign, he takes it and shows it to Esther, telling her about what happened and that she must do something to save her people. Esther says that she can't do it because she didn't even want to be the queen in the first place anyway. Mordecai then tells Esther that she needs to do what God wants her to do, before he leaves once again. At first, Esther is still unsure about what she should do, until she finally embraces her new position as queen and decides to do what she feels is right to save her cousin and her entire family.
The next morning, Esther then appears before King Xerxes and Haman, with Xerxes telling Haman that even though it is against the law for anyone to appear uninvited before the king, his queen can see him whenever she likes. At first, it appears that Esther is about to inform Xerxes about Haman's plot, but instead, she invites Xerxes and Haman to dinner, which they both graciously accept. Later during dinner, Xerxes and Haman are playing a little game of Trivial Pursuit, before Esther shows up again, but just when it seems that she's about to reveal the plot this time, she instead invites them to dinner again the next night. Haman then meets up with Mordecai, telling him to bow to him, but Mordecai refuses, saying that he will never bow to him. This causes Haman to have Mordecai's banishment carried out immediately if he does not comply before leaving in a huff afterwards. Back inside the palace, Markus is reading to Xerxes about everything that's happened since Esther was appointed queen, but when he gets to the part about how Mordecai was able to save the king, Xerxes realizes that he needs to do something to show his gratitude to Mordecai.
At that moment, Haman shows up, wanting to tell King Xerxes something, but Xerxes stops him, saying that he needs to do something for someone. Thinking that Xerxes is talking about him, Haman tells him that he should really throw a parade in his honor. Xerxes thanks Haman for the idea, saying that Mordecai really deserves a parade, which utterly humiliates Haman. The next night, at dinner, Haman shows up before Xerxes and Esther, before Esther finally musters up the courage to tell Xerxes that her and her people will be banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling, before exposing Haman as the perpetrator of the crime. When Esther shows Xerxes the edict that Haman had him sign, he realizes that he's been had, before Esther angrily proclaims, "Mordecai is my cousin! His family is my family!" Because of this, Xerxes then has Haman banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling instead. Once Haman has been taken care of, Mordecai has been promoted to Haman's job, while Esther is proud of herself for having the courage to save herself and her family, before the episode ends.
- Narrator (Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen)
- Queen Vashti (debut)
- Mr. Lunt
- Mr. Nezzer
- the sunglasses on the Pea train (debut)
- The People of Persia:
- a persia scallion (debut)
- a persia pea (debut)
- a grape girl (debut)
- a onion girl (debut)
- Mabel Asparagus (debut)
- a zucchini girl (debut)
- Esther (debut)
- Pa Grape
- French Peas
- Percy Pea
- Miss Acmetha
- Scallion #1
- Larry the Cucumber
- Jean-Claude Pea
- Philipe Pea
- The Grim Tickler (debut)
- Bob the Tomato (Closing)
- Hey... Aren’t you the Peaoni brothers? The most wanted peas in Persia?
- That’s right we are!
- And we could have taken over the kingdom, if it wasn’t for that meddling Queen!
- The Peanoi Bros exploiting their plan to Haman.
- On the poster for public transportation, it states "Why wait 'till A.D.?". This is because the story of Esther takes place before Jesus' birth, which happened at the beginning of the AD era.
- A gnat is a type of insect.
- An edict is a order or decree by a person in authority.
- The episode was originally planned to be released for Spring 2001. However, it got finished early.
- In some airings of this episode on Smile of a Child, they removed some scenes, including about who is the youngest Jackson. This is possibly due to time.
- There were a few differences between the script, the progression reel and the final version
- The narrator was gonna be south Chicago. This was changed to a New York-esqe accent.
- Archibald was the host instead of Scallion 1. It might be possible his model wasn't rebuilt until the next episode.
- When Mike was planning out which story to do next, it was this or Ruth, and they went with Esther. They would eventually do an adaption on Ruth later.
- Haman holding the cards was storyboarded by Luis Contreras. Mike originally didn't want Haman to hold the cards in the scene, but they decided to keep it in.
- Before Esther tells the King what Haman did, you'll notice the pizza box hides the front of the King. Mike states this was done because he was intersecting with the sofa while sitting. So in reality, the King is actually standing.
- The episode was made out of VeggieTales fans demanding an episode that's all about a girl.
- The reason why Esther doesn't appear in any other VeggieTales videos is because her hair was deemed to difficult to animate.
- On the DVD and Netflix versions, the audio is only in mono. If you compare this with the original VHS, there's some sound effects that were missing in the DVD (eg. a rooster crowing in the beginning)
- This is the first non-holiday or Larry-Boy episode not to have the countertop or a Silly Song. Mike state that they originally planned a countertop, but it was going to make the runtime almost an hour (Keep in mind, this was before the company was about to move to Franklin)
- It would be very unlikely all the women can fit in a small wagon.
- This is the first episode Percy is seen without Junior or any of the other kid veggie characters.
- This is also the first where Larry appears without a major role as well as he barley speaks. This would happen again in The Little Drummer Boy.
- In the first shot of Persia, the sunglasses on the Pea train phase through their bodies.
- When Mordecai shushes Esther the second time, he gained teeth. However, he didn't had any when he shushed her the first and third times.
- As you'll noticed in some shots, you can see some buzzing in the textures.
- In the overshot of the palace entrance during the sunrise/sunset, you can see black on the left.
- Reginald, the camel from Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie can be seen as a picture on the flyer on the bulletin board.
Directed by MIKE NAWROCKI
Produced by JENNIFER COMBS
Production Assistants HEATHER FINCH JOSHUA LINDSAY LAURA RICHEY ALEXANDER M. SCHEIDLER HOLLY VICKERY
Additional Production Assistant ANDREW YOUSSI
Written by MIKE NAWROCKI PHIL VISCHER
Storyboard Supervisor TIM HODGE
Storyboarding by LUIS CONTRERAS NEAL STERNECKY
Additional Storyboarding by TOM BANCROFT TOD CARTER TIM HODGE
Art Director MICHAEL SPOONER
Concept Art JOSEPH SAPULICH
Additional Concept Art JAMES BRECKENRIDGE TOD CARTER LUIS CONTRERAS IAN HUBBARD HYUN HUH JEREMY VICKERY
Matte Paintings BOB LEWIS JODY NILSEN JOSEPH SAPULICH
Character Voices KRISTI BRAMLETT CHAR JACKSON JESSICA KALPAN ERIC METAXAS MIKE NAWROCKI PALMELA THOMAS PHIL VISCHER
Edited by JOHN WAHBA
Post Production Faciliator PATTY O’KELLEY
Associated Editor DAVID N. WATSON
Modeling Supervisor JEREMY VICKERY
Modeling Artists IAN HUBBARD HYUN HUH
Texturing Supervisor JEREMY VICKERY
Texturing Artists IAN HUBBARD HYUN HUH
Layout Supervisor STEVE LEEPER
Senior Layout Artist ALEX LI
Layout Artists YIN-FANG LIAO RYAN WILLIAMS
Animation Supervisor MARC VULCANO
Character Animators ANDY ARNETT TOM BANCROFT THOMAS DANEN ROBERT ELLIS THOM FALTER JOE GORSKI JOE MCFADDEN NATHAN TUNGSETH MARC VULCANO
Lighting Supervisor DANIEL PATRICK O’BRIEN
Lighting Artists NICOLE ALLEN RICHARD GOUGE DANIEL PATRICK O’BRIEN CHARLES RAMSEY
Effects Artists ROB DUCEY BRAD HIEBERT
Engineering Artists ROB DUCEY BRAD HIEBERT JOE MCFADDEN NATHAN TUNGSETH
Director of Technical Development HENRY VERA
Render Management HOWARD WILLIAM LEWIS III TIM TOLL
Database Development LENNIE JARRATT
Software Support DAN WALKER
Software Development KEN GREENE ALAN MILLMAN SCOTT NELSON
Musical Score Composed And Produced by KURT HEINECKE
Audio Engineering ADAM FRICK
Choir JOJI ARNETT ELIZABETH BOWLER DEBBIE DAVIS LORI DAVIS KEN GREENE RANDY HALL AMY HOWARD CHAR JACKSON LENNIE JARRATT TRACY JOHNSON BOB LANDON HOWARD WILLIAM LEWIS III JOSHUA LINDSAY DAVID LLOYD JHANA LOWE SHARI MARTIN TIM MEIDL JONATHAN REICH LAURA RICHEY BRIAN K. ROBERTS MIKE SANDERSON NATHAN TUNGSETH
Instruments NATE BAKKUM HEATHER FINCH ADAM FRICK KURT HEINECKE CHAR JACKSON MARC VULCANO
Orchestra LORI ASHIKAWA CHUCK BONTRAGER MIKE DUGGAN ELLEN FISHER MICHAEL HOVNANIAN ROBERT KASSINGER PETER LABELLA MARK LEKAS SYLVIA MYINTOO BEN WEDGE LUKE WEDGE STEVE WINKLER SUSAN YOUNG
Conducted by KURT HEINECKE
Transcritption CHRIS GEIGER
Director of IT WAYNE GEILS
Studio Systems Administrators MICHAEL HARRISON PAT KEANE
Senior Systems Administrators MATT GRUETT WES SUESS
Content Consultant SCOTTIE MAY Ed.D.
Esther's Makeup by ALAN MILLMAN NATHAN TUNGSETH
Pa Grape's Stunt Double DANIEL LOPEZ MUNOZ
Special Thanks To The Big Idea Family
Executive In Charge Of Production CHRIS MEIDL
Executive Producer PHIL VISCHER