In the initial draft of Disney’s Frozen, Elsa was originally going to be written as more of a villainess before they decided to restructure the story to fit with the movie’s signature song, “Let It Go”. In a recent interview with the movie’s producer (Peter Del Vecho), he reveals what the initial plans for the ending were.
Del Vecho went straight into how the original pitch differed from the final product:
“…When we started off, Anna and Elsa were not sisters. They weren’t even royal. So Anna was not a princess. Elsa was a self-proclaimed Snow Queen, but she was a villain and pure evil — much more like the Hans Christian Andersen tale. We started out with an evil female villain and an innocent female heroine and the ending involved a big epic battle with snow monsters that Elsa had created as her army.”
So Ana and Kristoff had a big adventure to stop the Snow Queen’s invasion of Arendelle, as it was prophecized that a rule with a frozen heart would bring great ruin to their kingdom. Along the way, we would learn that Elsa had frozen her own heart as a defense mechanism against rejection, and the two heroes of the film had to reach out to her to redeem her. In the midst of a climactic sequence involving an army of snow warriors, Prince Hans decided that the best course of action would be to cause an avalanche to stop the army – even though it would kill many innocent people in the process. The twist to the prophecy, of course, is that the sociopathic Hans was the one with the frozen heart all along – so Ana and Kristoff convinced Elsa to save Arandelle, after which Hans gets his comeuppance.
The issue with this ending, according to Del Vecho, was that up until that point, Elsa wasn’t a sympathetic character, making it hard to relate to her or any of the other characters in any capacity. This is where the idea to have Elsa and Anna be related came from, which led to a significant overhaul of the princess story:
“Making them related led us to the idea of her living in fear of her powers. What if she’s afraid of who she is? And afraid of hurting the ones she loves? Now we had a character in Anna who was all about love and Elsa who was all about fear. That led to making Elsa a much more dimensional sympathetic character, and instead of the traditional good vs. evil theme we had one that we felt was more relatable: Love vs. fear, and the premise of the movie became that love is stronger than fear.”
And so the movie was reworked to be about acceptance, the power of familial love, and other such things instead of a narrative about simple, last-minute redemption. And based on the fact that the movie brought in well over a billion dollars at the global box office, it looks like the revised take on the story was the smartest call to make.
Frozen 2 is in the planning stages, but does not have a given release date.
Source: Entertainment Weekly