‘Frozen 3’ May End Up Getting the Entire Franchise Canceled

in Movies & TV

Elsa (Idina Menzel) with Pride flag background

Credit: Inside the Magic

Will Disney’s Frozen 3 confirm a major theory fans have had since the very beginning?

Anna (left) and Elsa (right) in 'Frozen II'
Credit: DIsney

Disney’s Frozen 3 and beyond

Earlier this month, the newly reinstated Disney CEO Bob Iger dropped the bombshell that three beloved franchises will be making their return. After discussing the challenges of theatrical distribution and streaming, the latter a major focus for Iger, the CEO revealed to eager listeners that sequels in the Frozen and Toy Story franchises are in the works, as is a sequel to the Academy Award-winning Zootopia (2016).

The announcement from Iger came after Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios had a troubling year when it came to the box office. Pixar released both Turning Red (2022) and Lightyear (2022) in 2022, with the former heading straight to The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service, Disney+. The latter opened theatrically, but the Toy Story franchise spinoff bombed, drawing backlash for its story, seeming departure from the Toy Story fans know and love, and its inclusion of a same-sex couple. Lightyear ended with $226 at the worldwide box office.

Buzz Lightyear
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Related: Disney May Have to Completely Change the ‘Frozen’ Franchise as Lawsuit Is Declared

Disney’s diversity efforts continued later in 2022 with the release of Strange World (2022). The Jake Gyllenhaal-led family adventure performed well under expectations at the global box office, bringing in just shy of $74 million, with an estimated loss of between $100-$145 million. Strange World‘s demise was put down to poor marketing and poor premise, with audiences not really understanding what the movie was trying to do. What was remarkable, though, was its inclusion of Disney’s first openly gay teen character, Ethan Clade played by Jaboukie Young-White.

Some more conservative Disney fans may claim the downfall of Strange World is down to the House of Mouse’s apparent “woke” ideals — something that has been commentated on across all of Disney’s assets (movies, TV shows, theme parks, etc.). But, with Disney’s Frozen 3 (likely to be stylized as Frozen III) now in the works, is the studio about to take a big risk with its leading lady, Elsa?

Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) hugging in 'Frozen'
Credit: Disney

Since 2013, when the first Frozen film exploded into movie theaters and changed pop culture forever (seriously, find someone who does not know “Let It Go”), fans have asked whether Elsa — played by the award-winning Disney Legend Idina Menzel — is part of the LGBTQIAP+ community. Analyses have been written on Elsa’s queer-codedness and Disney’s, apparent queerbaiting of the Ice Queen.

While the heart of the Frozen franchise is the sibling relationship between Elsa and Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), Frozen II (2019) saw the love between the latter and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) take more of a central role — Kristoff even got his very own song, an 80s rocker anthem, in the second half of the movie.

(l-r) Queen Iduna, Anna, Elsa, and King Agnar in 'Frozen II'
Credit: Disney

Many fans noticed the queer coding of Elsa in the original Frozen movie, with the hiding of her powers and subsequent freedom from constraints being seen as an allegory for coming out as queer. Then in the sequel, six years later, Disney seemingly leaned into Elsa’s sexuality even more so with the arrival of Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews), a member of the Northuldra trapped inside the Enchanted Forest. The spark between Elsa and Honeymaren didn’t go anywhere in the movie, with Buck and Lee’s sequel focusing more on Anna and Elsa’s sibling dynamic in this growing Frozen universe.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews) in 'Frozen II'
Credit: Disney

But now Elsa is the protector of the Enchanted Forest and Anna the Queen of Arendelle, as well as Kristoff’s fiancee, it begs the question of just what Frozen III intends to focus on. Will there be another time jump, like the gap between Frozen and Frozen II? Or will Frozen III pick up directly after the events of the sophomore movie? When looking at how trilogies — if this is in fact a trilogy, who knows, Frozen may continue into an even more extended saga just like Toy Story — play out generally, there could also be a chance that a bigger time jump will take place meaning newer characters could take centerstage, relegating Bell and Menzel’s Anna and Elsa, as well as Olaf (Josh Gad), to supporting characters.

Regardless, if Frozen III is to remain with Elsa, surely a deeper exploration of what has been hinted at over the last 10 years would be a natural progression for the character.

Anna (Kristen Bell) and Olaf (Josh Gad) laying on a picnic blanket in 'Frozen II'
Credit: Disney

Frozen was a blockbuster hit, with both movies being in the top three highest-grossing animated films of all time behind Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King (2019). Frozen‘s commercial success saw songs like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”, “For the First Time in Forever”, and “Let It Go” become the soundtrack to many a household. Frozen was directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, with a screenplay by Lee, and songs and score by song-writing duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and Christophe Beck, respectively. Frozen II featured songs like “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself”; the cast album hit number one on the US Billboard 200 following its release.

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf in 'Frozen II'
Credit: Disney

Disney is bringing back the familiar and the profitable.

Disney is obviously bringing back out the big hitters in an attempt to pull audiences back to the movie theaters. On their release, Frozen II, Zootopia, and Toy Story 4 grossed a total of $3.45 billion collectively ($1.45 billion, $1.025 billion, and $1.073 billion, respectively), so when looking at the announcement through this monetary lens and when comparing it against 2022’s box office failings, it’s easy to see why Iger is steering fans back to the familiar.

Shakira as Gazelle in 'Zootopia'
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘Zootopia’ Actress Facing 8-Year Prison Sentence

The big question will be whether Disney decides to lean into Elsa’s supposed queerness in order to tell a new story, outside of sisterly love and sacrifice, for the third installment in the blockbuster, industry-changing franchise.

What do you think about Disney confirming Elsa as part of the LGBTQIAP+ community? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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