Frozen is rightly remembered now as one of the biggest Disney hits of all time and perhaps the most well-received of the studio’s non-Pixar releases since its 1980s renaissance – but at one point it was a troubled production, where its original storyline was going through drastic revisions en route to the screen; with some early versions even supposedly positioning Queen Elsa as the villain of the piece – which would have been a far cry from a choice that instead went down as one of the biggest twist-endings in the studio’s long history. But the final Frozen narrative instead helped propel the film to a historic box-office take, leaving fans eager (but also nervous to find out where the story might go next).
According to star Kristen Bell (who voices Anna), fans can relax. She’s about to head back in to record new dialogue for the upcoming Frozen 2, and now says the story is in very capable hands.
Speaking to Collider, Bell explained that she’s getting ready to head back into the recording studio to begin performing her lines for the (pardon the wording) hotly-anticipated Frozen sequel, which was officially green-lit in 2015 after the original opened to extraordinary box-office numbers in 2013. According to Bell, though, Frozen 2 wasn’t a “sure” thing until the returning writer/director team of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee were able to crack a worthwhile story for the sequel:
“We’re just about to [start recording lines for ‘Frozen 2’]. They’ve just written it and they’re still doing tweaks, but I think we should be recording this month. The story is great, and they exude quality. What I know about that whole team is that they wouldn’t just put something out to put it out. That’s why it took them so long to even announce that we were doing a second one. Generally when you have a first successful movie you want to make a second one. It took them a while because they wanted to figure out what story they needed to tell and what would be important and engaging and I think they found it.”
While sequels to a hit as big as Frozen are a given in modern Hollywood, it will be interesting to see where else the filmmakers believe the story has to go. Unlike other films which lay the groundwork for sequels from the beginning, Disney’s in-house animated features (particularly adaptations of fairytales and classic literature, in this case The Snow Queen,) are typically written to function as self-contained features strictly in their own right. Frozen was no exception to this, seemingly ending with all the main character’s fates neatly set and the important loose ends nicely tied up, suggesting that a sequel will likely introduce some entirely new (or previous unrevealed) element to drive and the narrative and/or create conflict. That shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine, given that the original film already established that Arendelle exists in a world of complicated inter-kingdom alliances (among other things.)
At least one possibility one would normally call obvious where Disney is concerned would be finding a Prince for the currently (as of Frozen Fever, at least) unattached Elsa, though such a storyline in this particular case has the potential to divide the ferociously-loyal fanbase that the film (and Idina Menzel’s Elsa in particular) accrued during its initial release. Frozen’s storyline, which put a dark “gotcha” twist on the traditional Prince Charming male-savior narrative and ended without judging (or “answering”) Elsa’s lack of (apparent) interest in romance, was viewed by many as a welcome subversion by the Mouse House of it’s own occasionally problematic recurring tropes; leading some fans to adopt Elsa as a potential LGBTQ icon (and “Let It Go” as a now-standard “coming out” anthem) while others were simply glad to finally have an iconic female heroine whose story was defined by something other than romantic goals. As such, just about any story involving Elsa finding a partner (to say nothing of a “decision” about whom that might be) is bound to upset some segment of Frozen fandom who’d previously felt a more personal connection to the character.
Frozen 2 does not currently have an official theatrical release date. We’ll let you know when that changes.