When Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck’s much-hyped “Frozen” sequel opens later this year, the Disney animated offering will likely answer some lingering questions leftover from the original smash hit. While early looks at the film have promised to explain the origin of Princess Elsa’s wintry powers, a new presentation from Disney brass at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival hints that the story is even more wide-ranging than previously disclosed. Like many Disney features, much of it might hinge on Elsa’s parentage.
Variety reports that during a special event held at Annecy’s lakeside Bonlieu Theater, “Frozen 2” head of animation Becky Bresee and head of effects animation Marlon West shared a slew of new details about the film, including three new pictures (which you can see throughout this article) and a key note on time: the film will pick up three years after the original wrapped.
Bresee and West also shared that the film will start much like the original did, opening when Princess Elsa and Princess Anna are still young (and seemingly before the introduction of Elsa’s ice powers, which divided the pair for so long).
Per Variety, the duo explained that the film will start with the princess’ father “[regaling] the girls with a lavish bedtime story from his youth, when the young prince himself visited an enchanted elemental forest, before something went horribly wrong and he was quickly brought back to Arendelle. Since then, there has been a disconnect between the people of the town and the elements: Air, fire, water, and earth.”
What exactly happened in that elemental forest? And what secrets might Elsa and Anna’s father hold? (Remember, the girls’ parents went missing and were thought dead in the first film, though it’s intriguing that the royal pair were lost during a storm.)
During the presentation, two full scenes were shown, including one in which Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven participate in a rousing game of charades, which is only disturbed when Elsa “is distracted by a haunting voice that only she can hear, and excuses herself to her room to be alone.”
In the next scene, Elsa is shown running “headlong into dark and ominous water and massive crashing waves. The clip showed an intense and graphically-satisfying magical battle between Elsa and a horse-shaped water spirit on the spirit’s home turf.” Part of that scene has already been shown in the film’s first two trailers.
Per Disney, the sprit is a “Nokk — a mythical water spirit that takes the form of a horse — who uses the power of the ocean to guard the secrets of the forest.”
“Frozen 2” reunites original stars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as the voices of Anna and Elsa, respectively. Also returning to the franchise is Josh Gad as cheery snowman sidekick Olaf, Jonathan Groff as iceman Kristoff, and Santino Fontana as the duplicitous Hans. New additions include “Westworld” star Evan Rachel Wood and “This Is Us” Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown.
The original “Frozen” won the Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Let It Go”). The animated sequel is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ big 2019 release and follows the success of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” last year. “Frozen 2” is one of several Disney tentpoles expected to boost the box office this year, including the upcoming releases of “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” and “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
Disney will release “Frozen 2” in theaters nationwide November 22. Watch the newest official trailer below, which was released earlier this week.