Maria Sanchez (nee Posada) is the main deuteragonist of The Book of Life. She is the main love interest of both Manolo and Joaquin.
Maria is a kind, spunky young woman with long flowing brown hair and brown eyes. She wears an off the shoulder sleeved Puebla with a long red skirt with three gold stripes along the bottom. She also wears a black necklace with a gold pendant that she's had since she was a child.
Maria is best described as a spirited, rebellious young woman who values independence and freedom. She is not a stereotypical lady and is by no means defenseless, she is able to stand up for herself on more than one occasion. Maria is also shown to be caring and compassionate to those around her, putting the town's safety before her own happiness when she agrees to marry Joaquin.
She likes to read in her spare time, learning new information about the world through the written pages.
Book of Life
She first appeared in the film as a young kid watching her best friends Manolo and Joaquin fight for her affection. When La Muerte and Xibalba saw the three, the two decided to make a bet on who would win Maria's heart. Xibalba immediately chose Joaquin as he was impressed with Joaquin's strength and desire to be a great hero (and his somewhat show-off nature) while La Muerte chose Manolo, due to his sensitive and kind nature.
Maria is later seen with Manolo and Joaquin as they walk around the town of San Angel and pass by the pig pens where the pigs are ready to be slaughtered. Not wanting that to happen, she releases them, causing havoc in the town square and angering her father. She does not regret her actions but feels guilty that she broke Manolo's first guitar. Her father then decides to send her away to study with the nuns in Spain in order to curb her rebellious behaviour and become a proper young lady. When she is sent off, her father cries and excuses himself. Manolo and Joaquin also come and Manolo gives Maria the baby piglet Chuy that she was fond of while she gives Manolo a new guitar with the words "Always play from the heart. -Love Maria" inscribed on the back. While she rides the train, her bonnet is loose and Joaquin catches it, keeping it as a memento when he fails to give it back to her.
Maria returns to San Angel ten years later having grown into a beautiful young woman, catching the eye of every guy in San Angel (even Xibalba, much to La Muerte's annoyance and jealousy). She attends Manolo's first bullfight and is concerned when she believes Manolo will kill the bull. While the rest of the townspeople of San Angel jeer and boo at Manolo for not killing the bull, Maria applauds his compassionate gesture. Later, when everyone has left, she hears Manolo sing about how he feels like he will never fit in and be accepted for being true to himself ("Creep" song) and feels sorry for him.
Maria later attends her father's grand welcome home party celebrating her return, but is annoyed when she finds out her father is also arranging for her to marry Joaquin. She also becomes annoyed with his sexist views of women and goes to her room. Here Manolo's friends try to help Manolo win her heart, much to her annoyance and amusement. Manolo decides to sing her his own song and she seems to be won over, but she teases him by saying "You think it was going to be that easy?" and pushing him off her balcony. She holds his guitar and promises to give it back to him. When she reaches the bottom of the stairs, Joaquin proposes to Maria. General Posada mentions that Joaquin is the only one who can protect San Angel from Chakal. Manolo then enters the building, with Joaquin thinking Manolo had already proposed. After a small argument, a fight between Joaquin and Manolo starts over their affection for her. Maria intervenes and stops the fight, saying she has also learned fencing. Soon, some of Chakal's men threaten San Angel and she is ready to fight along Manolo's side to protect the town, but Joaquin takes care of everything. General Posada once more pushes Maria to accept Joaquin's proposal for the sake of the town, forcing her to flirt with him, breaking Manolo's heart.
Later that night, Manolo once more goes to her porch and asks her to meet him once more outside town. She reluctantly agrees and follows a path of white wax candles, leading to Manolo singing about his love for her. He shows her the view of San Angel when the sun shines over it, creating a beautiful spectacle and describes this as the feeling he gets when he's with her. Maria returns his affection and states she will always love a man who plays from the heart and accepts his proposal. However, Xibalba interrupts this by sending a two headed snake to bite her, putting her into a coma. Manolo, believing her to be dead, brings her to Joaquin and General Posada who also believe she is dead and blames Manolo for her death. Manolo sacrifices his life to be with Maria in the Land of the Remembered only to discover he has been tricked. Maria is resurrected after Joaquin kisses her forehead, with his medal of everlasting life touching her skin thus reviving her. She is very deeply heartbroken to hear Manolo is dead and decides to marry Joaquin to protect the town, as she can no longer be with Manolo.
Maria is not seen again until her almost wedding with Joaquin, where Chakal and his army of banditos interrupt the wedding ceremony and proceed to steal back the medal of everlasting life. She rallies the towns people together with an inspiring speech, to then soon be reunited with Manolo, who has been resurrected after completing his trial to see if he was worthy of regaining his life and engages her in a passionate kiss before she and the townspeople engage in the fight against Chakal and his army of banditos. During the fight, Chakal grabs Maria and tells Joaquin and Manolo to bring the magic medal or he will kill her (which earns a disgruntled comment from Maria) but Manolo (with the help of his family) climbs to the top of the building and frees her while the two dance and fight Chakal. Manolo decides to sacrifice himself after seeing that Chakal is going to use the bombs on his chest to blow up himself and the town of San Angel with him. Manolo and Joaquin restrain him while Manolo pushes Joaquin away and topples the bell onto him and Chakal in order to protect the town from the explosions of the bomb. He faces Maria and tells her not to forget him.
However, when Manolo appears lost the bell is pushed aside and Manolo is revealed to be alive due to being given the medal of eternal everlasting life by Joaquin. The two are soon married as her father accepts Manolo as his son in law and they joyfully sing and celebrate with the town of San Angel.
Maria and Manolo have always been best friends since they were children. Though it seems she always had feelings for him in some regard. Her guilt over his broken guitar and comment of how she would always love "a man who plays from the heart" makes this clear.
When she leaves, he promises to wait for her return, a promise he keeps. While she tended to tease him, it is evident that she truly loves Manolo. His songs, treating her as an equal and simple gestures earned her love.
When Xibalba tricked him into thinking that Maria died, Manolo was deeply heartbroken and was willing to let himself be killed to join Maria in the underworldly afterlife. Even when he died, he wanted to regain his life in order to be with her again once he realized he had been tricked by Xibabla. Maria was also deeply heartbroken upon hearing he died. The two reunite near the end of the film and share a passionate kiss before engaging Chakal and his army of banditos in a battle to protect the town of San Angel. Near the end of the movie Maria and Manolo get married.
Maria and Joaquin have been best friends since childhood. Joaquin similarly was also in love with Maria since their childhood, competing with Manolo for her affections then and when the trio reunite. While Maria does care for Joaquin, she was very disgusted and turned off by his sexist views of women and their roles in society. Any fleeting romantic feelings she might have felt for him were squashed by his behavior. Despite all of this, Maria does genuinely care for Joaquin as a friend. She is still friendly and happy to see him, even if she can't return his feelings. She was also willing to marry him to protect the town of San Angel from Chakal and his army of banditos. However, Joaquin sees Maria's true feeling and he was willing to put her happiness before his own as he refused to marry her if she wasn't truly in love with him. By the end of the film, he is happy for Manolo and Maria being together, understanding that the two were truly meant to be.
General Posada is her father. He wishes for her to be more subservient and as shown when he was enraged by her rebellious and reckless attitude as a child and sent her to study with the nuns in Spain in order for Maria to grow up to be a proper young lady. However, despite his attempts, she kept her passionate spirit and rebellious streak, which was atypical of a woman during her time. He even tried to sneakily have her marry Joaquin so he would stay to protect their town of San Angel, but she was not fooled. Despite all of this, it was shown he genuinely cared for her very much as he cried after seeing her off to go to the sisters and was deeply heartbroken when she died, to the point where he banishes Manolo as he believes it to be his fault for not properly protecting her. By the end of the film he seems to have accepted his daughter for who she is as he states "You're like the son I never had.. but much prettier".
Maria's pet pig who acts more like a dog and sounds like a goat. She received him from Manolo as a parting gift when she left for Spain. Chuy is very loyal to her as he helped ward off Manolo's friend's attempts at helping Manolo win her heart.
"You two are acting like fools!"
"Did you think it was going to be that easy?"
"I will always love a man who plays from the heart."
"One for all and all for one!"
"Pretty good, guitarrista!"
"(As child) Don't stop fighting for what's right."
"(As child) I belong to no one."
"I thought you'll never ask."
"(To Joaquin) You goofball."
"(To Manolo) Husband, how about a song?"
- María is loosely based on Jorge's wife, Sandra. There are also parallels in how Sandra's father didn't want them to be together. (she had a 10 pm curfew when she was 22!)
- In The Book of Life Art Book, it is stated that she has the signature Sanchez curls near her eyes, signifying that she only has eyes for Manolo Sanchez.
- According to Jorge R. Gutierrez, he responds on his Twitter webpage account that Maria also loves reading poetry and comics.
- According to Jorge R. Gutierrez, he responds on his Twitter account page that Maria's artistic talent is drawing and painting.
- According to Jorge R. Gutierrez on his Twitter website account, Maria's mother, Mrs.Posada is divorced to her ex-husband General Posada before the film's prologue and she left the town of San Angel and moved to Spain before the film's prologue and Mrs.Posada is still alive and she is still currently living in Spain near the end of the film.
- It can be implied that her name is now Maria Sanchez since Manolo and her married .