There’s a reason why Disney’s Frozen was so good – it’s turning what you think might happen upside down.
“We really love the first film because it wasn’t just us coming up with an inspired story, but one that challenged everything we know about good ones,” said Jennifer Lee, co-writer and co-director of Frozen who, along with her counterpart Chris Buck is just about to debut Frozen 2.
Six years after the Oscar-winning animated blockbuster hit theaters, the pressures of being original and unexpected were strong, according to Lee. She continued at the film’s early press day, “We understand the story to be a play on flipping a lot in the story, and because Frozen and Frozen 2 will be a complete story, we need to keep things familiar and fresh.”
Part of how the team is accomplishing that is splitting the overall story and characters into categories: fairy tale and mythic tale.
Lee thinks that Frozen is an ideal example of these two types of stories coming together uniquely to form something entirely new. As an example, she likened Anna as a ‘fairy tale’ character in that she “exhibits what can be and is overtly optimistic.” She contrasted that to Elsa who is a ‘mythic tale’ character who “has mythic powers, as well as a mythic spirit in that she thinks of the worst of everyone and everything.”
How these two come together is really where unique storytelling happens. Lee says that at the climax of Frozen, one would have thought that a mythic character’s journey would end with the character’s death, but Elsa’s demise was thwarted by the ‘fairy tale’ love shown by Anna in sacrificing herself.
“We flipped things like that to make those pieces fit even better,” says Lee. “And we can expect more of the same resulting catharsis in Frozen 2.”
While she couldn’t dive into what those specific story beats would be, she did give us one hint.
“Hans wasn’t the answer before. Anna became Elsa’s love. So you could say that our version of ‘happily ever after’ is that no matter what, you can survive anything.”
Frozen 2 comes to theaters on November 22, 2019.