A lot of new details regarding Frozen 2's story and characters, as well as interesting behind the scenes information, was revealed during a recent press event at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Screen Rant and several other entertainment outlets were invited to an early press day in Los Angeles that showcased new Frozen 2 footage along with presentations from all the animators, designers, engineers, producers, and filmmakers on how the movie was made.
Frozen 2 continues Anna and Elsa's story three years afters the events of the first Frozen movie but six years after that film hit theaters. According to directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, Frozen 2 aims to answer questions that viewers had after Anna saved Elsa from Hans as well as the reason behind (and potential origin of) Elsa's icy powers, among other things. All of that ended up being the impetus for bringing everyone back for Frozen 2 in the first place.
Part of the early press day included approximately 20 minutes of new footage - broken up into five clips, some of which have already been showcased, at least in part, in the Frozen 2 trailers - with four presentations on Frozen 2's world, the "Into the Unknown" song, the Enchanted Forest and Dark Sea, and the concept of fairy tales and myths. Each presentation shed some light on the making of Frozen 2, and there were quite a few interesting details.
Frozen 2 Story: Elsa's Mission To The Enchanted Forest Explained
Just as Frozen began with Anna and Elsa as children and showed them with their parents before everything went south, something similar happens with Frozen 2. Towards the start of the sequel, Anna and Elsa's father, King Agnarr, tells them about the Enchanted Forest and how he and everyone else were cast out of the magical realm many years before. It's this story that sets up the rest of the film, as later, in the present day, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf journey to the forest in the north to uncover the voice that's been calling out to Elsa and, hopefully, save Arendelle.
When Elsa engages with the voice during the song "Into the Unknown", she inadvertently creates the ice crystals that have the symbols of the four elements - earth, air, fire, and water - carved on them. This act awakens the spirits in the Enchanted Forest and everything, including water and fire, is essentially taken away, with the air raging and the ground crumbling underneath Arendelle. People from the palace and the village flee to higher ground as Anna and Elsa embark on a quest to the Enchanted Forest to make everything right.
After they arrive and enter the Enchanted Forest through the mist wall, which parts for Elsa when she uses her powers, they meet the people who've been trapped inside (such as Sterling K. Brown's Lieutenant Mattias, who served under Anna and Elsa's grandfather) as well as the spirits that live in the forest. So far, only three of the four spirits are known: Gale is the wind spirit who likes to play around with the characters; the Nokk is the water spirit, a shapeshifting creature that protects the Dark Sea; and there are several Earth Giants who are made out of rock.
At the moment, it's unclear who or what the fire spirit is, as that's something that the filmmakers and everyone involved with developing the movie is keeping quiet about. Considering that Elsa represents ice and fire is the opposite of that, perhaps the character is an inherent adversary. What happens in the Enchanted Forest and if Anna and Elsa manage to save Arendelle (and, presumably, the world) remains to be seen, but the start of the movie is very much instigated by Elsa and the mysterious voice connecting with one another.
Frozen 2: Behind The Scenes Facts & Other Trivia
In addition to the key Frozen 2 story details that were unveiled either by the footage or the presentations, we learned quite a bit about how the highly-anticipated sequel was made, what went into crafting the story and the world, and various other bits of trivia - all of which should surely intrigue Frozen and Disney fans.
- Frozen 2 wants to answer five specific questions, according to the filmmakers: "Why Elsa has icy powers? How have they grown since Anna saved Elsa’s life? Why was Anna born the way she was? Where were their parents going when the ship went down? Is there really such a thing as happily ever after?"
- Frozen 2 has been in development for four years and it's the fourth sequel Walt Disney Animation Studios has ever made.
- Anna is considered the perfect fairy tale character - a person who believes in happily ever after - while Elsa is the perfect mythic character, someone who carries the weight of the world on their shoulders.
- Frozen 2's team had a saying going around about what makes a fairy tale story: "Fairy tales don’t tell us that dragons don’t exist. The stories have dragons in them, but the fairy tales tell us that we can slay the dragon."
- Anna's new costume in Frozen 2 was #122 on the list and it was originally created for Elsa. Of course, the colors changed because Elsa can't wear anything that doesn't have cool colors.
- The way Elsa casts her powers is based on modern dance, particularly Martha Graham. She's supposed to have an elegance about her when she casts her powers and use her entire body, rather than be reactionary as she was in Frozen. Furthermore, they made sure not to copy or even resemble other ice-based animated characters, like Frozone.
- Frozen 2 has longer shots compared to the first film.
- Arendelle's village has been completely redesigned from the ground-up. In the first movie, only certain sections were shown, but now there are sequences in which characters go from one end to another.
- Artists put a lot of effort into making Arendelle's village look like a place a person could visit in real life.
- Everything from the trees to the foliage is accurate to Scandinavia; the team consulted a botanist to make sure they got it all right. Furthermore, all the leaves were hand-painted for variety (and then, of course, copied).
- The Enchanted Forest is comprised of 12-20 "islands" - mini areas with a variety of trees, leaves, and foliage. Each island was reused in different areas to give the forest some variety.
- A great deal of importance has been placed on verticality of not only the Enchanted Forest but of Arendelle as well, particularly because it's the fall season and there's no longer snow covering up everything.
- The Nokk is a shape-shifting water spirit, so while it can take any form it wants, it chooses to be a horse. Because of this, the animators studied horse anatomy, locomotion, quadruped motion, and more. It also took seven months to complete the first tech animation.
- For the art and animation teams, the"goal with this character was to make Bruni as adorable as possible."
- Figuring out how to show Gale - a wind spirit without a face - to audiences was tough for the team. So they decided to have Gale use debris from around the forest to make a faux face. She can remarkably even hug characters by wrapping around them, almost like a small, harmless tornado.
- The Frozen 2 team acknowledges Elsa as the Snow Queen.
- Just as in the first film, Frozen 2 features storytelling through design. What clothes characters are wearing (including their colors) tell a tale of where they are in the narrative. For instance, Elsa is back to her pre-"Let It Go" self at the start of Frozen 2, wearing dark colors and feeling more reserved.
- Although the mysterious spirit takes over Elsa's powers and creates the ice visions, it's Elsa who's responsible to conjuring the ice crystals.
- The animators took singing lessons as research - some of them even continued on their own - and it shows in the animations. Characters take deeper breaths when needed (such as moving).
- It was challenging to animate the water in Frozen 2 compared to Moana, because they're fundamentally different. Moana's water was supposed to be gentle, and in this, the Dark Sea is rough, dangerous, and massive.
- Frozen II (2019) release date: Nov 22, 2019