Disney Hands Over ‘Frozen 3’ to a New Director

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Elsa touches the signs in the sky

Credit: Disney

Jennifer Lee – director of Frozen (2014) and Frozen II (2019) – has decided to “let it go,” as she’s not returning for the new film.

Since debuting in theaters, Frozen has become a global phenomenon. After a record-breaking $1.282 billion run at the box office, Disney has used the franchise as inspiration for everything from theme park attractions (shoutout to Frozen Ever After) and character meet and greets to a Broadway musical and, of course, a wildly successful sequel.

Elsa performing "Let It Go" in 'Frozen'
Credit: Disney

While Frozen dealt with Elsa (Idina Menzel) revealing and coming to terms with her powers, Frozen II explored the origins of her magic as she and her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) journeyed to an enchanted forest to follow a mysterious voice.

The end of Frozen II wrapped up the sisters’ story perfectly, leaving Anna as the newly-crowned Queen of Arendelle and Elsa as the protector of the Enchanted Forest. However, it seems like there are still more tales to tell from Arendelle, as in February, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Frozen 3 is in the works.

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

For now, we don’t know what exactly will go down between Anna and Elsa and their friends Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad) in the threequel. What we do know is that someone else will craft the adventure, as Jennifer Lee will not return as director.

Speaking to The Wrap at this year’s Annecy Animation Festival, Lee provided an update on the film – and confirmed that she’s passed on the mantle. “I can’t say where we are [with Frozen 3],” she said. “All our stories are driven by the artists in the studio. Where we’re going with Frozen did not come from me. It came from an incredible person. That’s a new piece, I’ve told no one. And I’ve been blown away by it, and I’m just having a blast with that team.”

Sven, Kristoff, Olaf, Anna, and Elsa stare in shock
Credit: Disney

While Lee won’t serve as director, she will continue in an advisory role. “I’m doing what I do with all the other projects,” she said. “It’s really fun on Frozen ’cause we’ve lived the world for a while together, and a lot of the artists in the studio grew up with that film too, both of them, and have been there the whole way. They kinda own them as much as anyone else.”

Considering that Lee took on the title of Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2018 after John Lasseter’s departure, she’s definitely got enough on her plate without Frozen 3 in the mix. Here’s hoping that whoever takes over the reins next, the next installment will feature the same icy magic touch as the first two.

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