Why do Disney princesses lose their parent(s) seemingly before the opening credits are through? Attachment theory states that loss of a primary attachment figure, such as a parent, is a life altering trauma. Loss of a parent is a common fear throughout childhood and into adulthood. The folks at Disney have mastered the art of triggering the audience’s attachment systems to draw in interest and foster an emotional connection with the protagonist. Disney’s not the only master of this method, with numerous production companies including Marvel, DC, Pixar and others harnessing the orphan trope to endear us to their characters’ plights. Further, the loss of parental figures is commonly used as a catalyst for character development, particularly for child or adolescent characters who are then parentified as a result. Unfortunately, insecure attachment and pseudo mature independence from primary caregivers is commonly glorified by these themes. In this panel, we will review the numerous and varied examples of the use of orphaned characters to generate audience engagement. We will delve into the theoretical and scientific bases of the effectiveness of the absent parent plot device, providing in-session exercises and generating group discussion.