On March 12th, Disney announced its plans for a sequel to the blockbuster animated film Frozen, produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Fans of the film were overjoyed at the news and the major cast all expressed their delight over social media.
At this time, there hasn’t been a release date or production schedule announced, but given the impact of the first film many expect it to be within the next two years.
Frozen was extremely popular, especially among young girls, for its portrayal of sisterly love and affection. It was lauded as having a feminist message and even being one of the first to eschew romantic love in favor of family bonds.
In addition to The Princess and the Frog and Mulan, Frozen is one of only a few Walt Disney Animation Studios’ films where the heroine is in control of her own destiny rather than operating from a prophecy or other outside force.
This has led to many accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
Although the sequel is sure to be very profitable, there are two particular mistakes Disney could make as they develop the plot and script for the film.
To start, Disney could go entirely wrong by introducing a love interest for every character that remained single at the end of the original film.
This includes Olaf, the strangely popular chatty sidekick, Sven, the reindeer that served as an animal companion, and Elsa, one of the major characters and perhaps the most popular character of the film.
Many fans were happy to see a princess (or in Elsa’s case, a queen) who wasn’t occupied with romantic pursuits and rather focused on self-actualization. It was a refreshing change from previous movies where the princess characters were concerned either directly or indirectly with getting a boyfriend or husband.
To change Elsa’s character into one focused on romantic love would ruin much of her appeal.
In addition, concerning more minor characters with romantic subplots could mean a propagation of gender stereotypes and a reinforcement of the gender binary– giving a female snowperson breasts or a female reindeer elongated/mascara-adorned eyelashes, for example.
Clearly, there’s no evolutionary need for either of these things – to the best of our knowledge, snowpeople don’t give birth, lactate, or nurse their young, and reindeer in general don’t attract mates with cosmetics, but in films such as Bambi, female animals are often given highly sexualized characteristics for no reason other than to prove their gender identity.
The second major problem that could pop up would be giving the sequel film a carbon-copy plot.
In the first Frozen film, Elsa struggled to control her ice powers – whenever her emotions got the better of her, she would cause major damage to her surroundings. By the end of the film, Elsa had learned the key to controlling these powers was love and could freeze and melt water molecules as well as conjure ice storms at will.
Some critics have predicted that a Frozen sequel will mean Elsa losing control of her powers again, likely through some major destructive or traumatic event.
Unlike my previous point, this wouldn’t be a result of stereotyping or social norms, but rather lazy writing.
It would be easy to get a plot that was based around Elsa freezing the country of Arendelle once again – the writers have already done it once before. However, it would cheapen the impact of the first movie and frustrate both child and adult fans of the film.
There are a myriad of options when it comes to directions to take the plot of a Frozen sequel. My personal choice would be to look into political problems that may face Arendelle now that Elsa’s ice powers are widely known.
From Prince Hans’ family in the Seven Isles to the fate of the Duke of Weaselton, there are a lot of interesting areas that could be elaborated on; a plot of this nature would also result in valuable lessons about power and politics for young people, particularly girls.
The Frozen sequel will likely be a big success, and the franchise will gain more traction from merchandising and promotional material surrounding the film. My hope is that Disney will see the mistakes they have made in the past and with the first Frozen film and make changes for the better.