Revealed: the original idea for Disney's Frozen was far darker than the version we saw

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Words: Elle Griffiths

Disney’s Frozen quickly rose through the ranks to become the highest grossing animated film of all time following its release in 2013.

Critics and audiences loved the icy musical, not to mention children (and adults) alike.

But it has now emerged that the finished product was quite different to what was originally envisioned. 

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, producer Peter Del Vecho said, “So when we started off, Anna and Elsa were not sisters. They weren’t even royal. 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.”

But the creators knew they wanted to give this production a more modern edge.

“The problem was that we felt like we had seen it before,” Del Vecho said. “It wasn’t satisfying. We had no emotional connection to Elsa — we didn’t care about her because she had spent the whole movie being the villain. We weren’t drawn in. The characters weren’t relatable.”

That was when the team came up with the idea of making the two central characters sisters, believing it would add depth to the story line and invest old school Disney ‘baddie’ Elsa with some much needed softness. 

They even had a “sister summit” at Disney where they called in employees to ask them about their family experiences for ideas on how to make Anna and Elsa’s relationship more relatable. 

And the film almost had a completely different ending, too. Explaining how they reached a more 21st century message for the fairy tale, Del Vecho says director Chris Buck and director and writer Jennifer Lee decided that when Anna’s frozen heart needed to be ‘thawed’, there would be no kiss from a handsome prince.

“Chris said, ‘Does it always need to be true love’s kiss that solves that problem? Does it always have to be the man who comes in and rescues the female? Could it be something different?’ and that led to a different ending.”

We’re glad you got there in the end, guys. 

Images: Disney Film Stills