After six years of (mostly) patient waiting, we're excited to return to the mystical land of Arendelle, especially since a sequel to FROZEN wasn't originally in the cards. Even Disney was surprised when FROZEN became one of the highest-grossing animated movies of all time. Years before release, the movie was written as the origin story of the legendary villain the Snow Queen. We might have seen Elsa leading an army of snow people to take over capital of Arendelle. Then Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the song “Let It Go,” and everything changed.
FROZEN became a blockbuster hit, one of the highest-grossing animated movies of all time, and audiences and critics alike were wowed by the story of sisterly love. Disney formally announced the FROZEN sequel in March 2015, and now the movie is almost upon us! Here's everything you need to know about FROZEN II.
Disney knows how eagerly viewers are anticipating FROZEN II, and as a result the studio is keeping the plot under wraps. So far, Disney has only released two FROZEN II trailers. There's one teaser trailer, and one full-length. These brief looks at the film tease a mysterious quest that will take Elsa and Anna out of Arendelle, on a journey through the Enchanted Forest.
It looks as though Elsa will be forced to master her powers in new, hostile environments. Both trailers have shown Elsa struggling to deal with a turbulent, storm-tossed sea, and attempting to cross the waters by creating an ice bridge. As determined as Elsa may be, are even her powers up to her new task?
The release date for FROZEN II is perfectly timed, as the film opens on November 22. That's at the end of fall and just before the beginning of winter, which seems like just the right time for the story. The sequel will reveal the Enchanted Forest, which is designed to look like an epic fall landscape. And, of course, it features a hero inspired by the Snow Queen, an idealized representation of winter.
The entire voice cast of FROZEN is returning for the sequel. Idina Menzel reprises the role of Elsa; Kristen Bell is back to play her sister Anna; Jonathan Groff voices Kristoff; and Josh Gad provides the pipes for the snowman, Olaf. They’ll be joined by newcomers Evan Rachel Wood, as Elsa’s mother Iduna, and Sterling K. Brown, as Lieutenant Matthias. Santino Fontana is confirmed to return as Hans, too.
Disney has confirmed that FROZEN II will answer the question nobody thought to ask: Just why does Elsa have powers? Everybody’s used to assuming that Disney princesses can do magical things, but in the cold kingdom of Arendelle, magic seems to be pretty unusual. Given that Anna doesn’t seem to have superhuman abilities too, Elsa's powers don't appear to be genetic. So how did she end up with her abilities?
Speaking at D23 2019, FROZEN II co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (the latter of whom is the new Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios) said the film will reveal the true story of what happened to the sisters’ parents. We wonder if the King and Queen of Arendelle are actually still alive. If that’s the case, however, why haven’t they returned to their kingdom? Buck insisted that FROZEN and FROZEN II will, together, “tell one complete story,” so we should get answers soon!
The story in FROZEN II appears to get underway after mystical energy flares sweep through the woods of Arendelle, almost killing Anna. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the trolls appear on the scene. They tell the sisters they must go on a quest, through the Enchanted Forest, to whatever lies beyond.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that FROZEN II will dig deep into the Scandinavian mythology that originally inspired the story of the Snow Queen. Footage shown at the Annecy Animation Festival showed Elsa hearing a mysterious, haunting cry coming from the forest. That was inspired by an ancient Swedish herding call known as Kulning. Meanwhile, the trailers have shown a horse-like water spirit known as a Nokk, which is lifted from Germanic legends. But expect the myths to take a twist; in the legends, the Nokk act as a siren, luring men to their deaths rather than saving them.
The FROZEN II trailers show Anna and Elsa entering a deep mist; when Elsa stretches her hand out, the mists part to reveal huge, enigmatic rune stones. Each is inscribed with the same mystical rune, which is a pattern that Elsa herself once projected over Arendelle. These stones may be one goal in Elsa and Anna’s quest, and they appear to open a portal of some kind.
But where does the portal go, and what do the runes actually mean? Those are some of the secrets Disney is keeping, and we can't wait to find out the answers.
All images courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios.