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Warning: This post contains big spoilers for Frozen 2.
In case there were any lingering questions about whether Frozen 2 could equal the box office might of the 2013 original, we have our answer: The sequel grossed $127 million over its opening weekend; in contrast, the first Frozen brought in $93 million during its first weekend as a wide release. But audiences young and old probably have queries that go beyond how singing sisters Elsa and Anna handle their financials. Here’s our guide to the burning questions you might have before or after seeing Frozen 2.
How much of a time jump is there between the movies?
Frozen 2 picks up three years after the events of the first movie, and two years after the Frozen Fever short. (You’ll know why that’s important later.) Elsa (Idina Menzel) is handily running Arendelle as its presiding queen, and Anna (Kristen Bell) is handily avoiding Kristoff’s clumsy attempts to propose. But then adventure comes calling — literally — in the form of a mysterious sound emanating from the forests north of the city. That haunting melody propels Elsa from the safety and comfort of her castle out into the unknown, with Anna and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) along for the ride, and trusty reindeer Sven and hug-loving snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) in tow.
What do the find in the North? A giant wall? Ice dragons? A surly Queenslayer?
You could say that they discover the story of a King in the North. (No, not that one. Or that one.) Journeying through the woods, the group arrives in an enchanted forest — the very one their father, King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) used to tell them tales about — populated by a tribe called the Northuldra. What Dad didn’t tell them is the personal history their royal family has with that place and its people. The real story is that their grandfather, King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto), approached the Northuldra with the offer to build a dam, a seemingly peaceful gesture that actually had ulterior motives. With the dam in place, Arendelle would have the upper hand over their neighbors. Once this plan is discovered, a battle breaks out and young Agnarr is severely injured, and only survives thanks to the intervention of Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood), a member of the tribe. The Arendelle forces retreat, albeit leaving more than a few men — including loyal soldier Destin Mattias (Sterling K. Brown) — behind, while the Northuldra walled themselves off to the world in a shroud of mist. Only one of the tribe members decides to leave the enchanted forest behind: Iduna, a.k.a. Elsa and Anna’s mom.
So now it’s up to the next generation to confront the sins of the past?
That’s the metaphorical shape of things. Having realized the role their ancestors played in harming the Northuldra — coupled by the revelation of their own heritage — Elsa and Anna set about trying to fix their grandfather’s attempted crime, even if it means the destruction of Arendelle.
But Arendelle doesn’t actually get destroyed, right?
No; Anna does successfully blow up the dam, sending a wall of water rushing at the kingdom. Fortunately, Elsa’s personal journey throughout the film involves a kind of vision quest that provides her with more insight into the origins of her ice powers and how to wield them. She also acquires two new partners with their own abilities: Bruni, a fire-starting salamander; and the Nokk, a water spirit that takes an equine shape. Riding to Arendelle’s rescue, Elsa uses the full force of her abilities to freeze the tidal wave in place, averting catastrophe.
Happily ever after it is, then.
Well, yes and no. Sure, Arendelle is saved, and the rift with the Northuldra is (partly) healed. But Elsa has traveled too far to just return to her former job. Instead, she makes the hard choice to leave her kingdom — and, more importantly, her sister — behind to live in the forest amongst her mother’s tribe. That, in turn, means that Princess Anna is promoted to Queen Anna, a role she never expected or even wanted to have. On the plus side, Kristoff finally gets his act together and proposes, so she won’t have to live in that big castle by herself. Since the true love story in Frozen has always been between the two sisters, though, the fact that they’ll be leading separate lives for the foreseeable future makes one a little melancholy.
What’s this I hear about Dumbo being in this movie?
That flying elephant has been in two Disney theatrical releases this year: Tim Burton’s less-than-beloved live-action update of the 1941 cartoon, and now Frozen 2. “There’s a moment at the beginning of the film where Young Elsa is playing with these little snow animals,” co-director Chris Buck tells Yahoo Entertainment. There’s another big Disney hero hidden in that same shot. “You’ll also see Baymax as one of the snow characters,” Buck says.
Any other surprise cameos?
During a spirited game of charades, Olaf uses his snow-shifting abilities to briefly take on the familiar form of the mouse that gave the Mouse House its name. “Mickey Mouse is always around somewhere,” says co-director Jennifer Lee, who also wrote the screenplay. She’s not lying: During “Into the Unknown,” eagle-eyed viewers will spot a pair of mouse ears atop an Elsa-made ice circle.
Am I going to have to hear “Let It Go” again?
Think you’re sick of Frozen’s oft-sung anthem? Just imagine how poor Elsa feels. Midway through Frozen 2, there’s a scene where Elsa walks through a mystical cave and sees scenes from her past come to life through wind and snow. And one of those snowy doppelgängers sings a line from “Let It Go,” which immediately causes present-day Elsa to cringe. Apparently, that’s what life is like in Menzel and Bell’s households. “Our kids don’t like us singing,” the actress tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Mine tells me to shut up. Not in a really rude way, but in a sort of rude way.”
What are the new songs like?
Returning songwriting team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez had the unenviable task of trying to outdo the tunes that have fueled many a family singalong or kids-free karaoke night out. “The first time we had great storytellers who inspired us, and gave us characters that had big feelings and big decisions to make, and that’s where the songs spring out of,” Anderson-Lopez tells us. “We had the same thing the second time around where we had some questions… and that really led us to the story we have through two years of collaborating long before we sat at a piano or wrote a single lyric.” Those two years of work eventually resulted in eight new songs, including Elsa’s anthem, “Into the Unknown,” Olaf’s little ditty “When I Am Older” and Kristoff’s ‘80s ballad-channelling “Lost in the Woods.” “You haven’t got access to his emotional mind,” Lee explains. “To imagine that his emotional mind is a giant big ‘80s ballad was just too delicious. That fantasy moment goes to the heart of what love is.”
Does Elsa finally get a girlfriend?
Speaking of love, Elsa’s own romantic interests—and the implications of her signature song—have been a source of speculation since the first Frozen. And in the run-up to Frozen 2, many hoped that the film would officially establish her as Disney’s first openly gay animated character, fulfilling the mission of the popular hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend. While early trailers for the film suggested those hopes might finally be realized, the final version once again declines to delve into her love life. “That’s not part of the journey of the story we’re telling,” producer Peter Del Vecho said in a recent interview. “Her journey isn’t a romantic one, it’s really trying to discover who she is and what her purpose is.”
As other critics have pointed out, Disney has been slow to integrate LGBT characters into their biggest franchises, including Star Wars and Marvel. That’s starting to change somewhat, with Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo playing a gay character in that blockbuster, and Tessa Thompson’s announcement that her MCU alter ego, Valkyrie, will be openly bisexual when she returns to the screen in Thor: Love & Thunder. (Thor: Ragnarok reportedly featured a scene that more clearly established her sexuality, but it was cut from the theatrical version.) And even though Elsa doesn’t have a girlfriend by the time the credits roll on Frozen 2, that hasn’t stopped fans on Twitter from seeing a future where she romance is part of her journey, perhaps with Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews)—a Northuldra tribe member who seems to hit it off quite well with Arendelle’s queen.
ooh frozen 2 was good yesterday. saddened by the lack of gay. but it was goood. also, elsa had a gay awakening i can feel it in my bones
— 𝐌𝐀𝐑; 122 (@lifeofalouie) November 23, 2019
Elsa doesn't come out as gay in Frozen 2 but she will in Frozen 3. My gaydar says so. Mark my words. 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/VMx3v80emG
— plus (@plusnta) November 22, 2019
honeymaren seeing elsa with her hair down is everything i wanted and more. pic.twitter.com/AKDBS2BFlo
— elsa‘s lesbian rights *spoilers frozen 2* (@Cece_is_A) November 22, 2019
ryder, elsa and honeymaren are the gay icons of frozen 2, i don’t take criticism
— emily saw frozen2 (@vintageboreo) November 23, 2019
Frozen 2 was not as gay as I had hoped but Elsa did move to the woods with a woman named Honeymaren?? We’ll take it I guess
— carrboro emu (resting in peace) (@grape_surge0n) November 23, 2019
Are there any big deaths?
Sequels often try to raise the emotional stakes by killing off a beloved character, and Frozen 2 is no exception. Late in the movie, Elsa turns into an ice statue after learning her family’s dark secret. Without her snowman life-giving powers, Olaf dissolves into so many ice crystals, leaving Anna sobbing over his non-existent body. That moment inspired gasps of shock from adults and open sobs from kids at a screening we attended. But as previously mentioned, Elsa shakes off the icicles in time to save Arendelle, and then she revives Olaf as well before the credits roll. So that snowman you hate to love (or love to hate) is still gonna be around for more adventures.
Is there an end credits sequence?
There is! If you stick around to the very end you’ll be rewarded with a bonus Olaf joke to make up for his temporary death. In the scene, Olaf recaps the events of the movie you’ve just watched for a rapt on-screen audience that consists of Elsa’s ice-monster pal, Marshmallow, and the adorable sneeze-generated snowgies from Frozen Fever. Although we gotta say that those pint-sized snow kids are a lot less adorable when you realize that they’re essentially ambulatory boogers.
Will there be a sequel?
Yahoo Entertainment can officially announce that Bell will be starring in Frozen 3… in her own mind, anyway. “You heard it here first,” the actress joked with us at the Frozen 2 press day. “I just haven’t told Disney yet.” She also hadn’t told her directors, although Lee seemed willing to sign onto Bell’s imaginary sequel on one condition: “As long as she’s willing to write it, I’m fine!” Kidding aside, an effort will almost certainly be made to continue the Frozen franchise in some fashion, and it may not necessarily be on the big screen. Considering the way Frozen 2 ends, we could very easily get not just one, but two all-new animated series for Disney+, following the separate adventures of Elsa and Anna. The Elsa show would presumably feature her exploring the Northern lands beyond the enchanted forest, while Anna’s series would take place in Arendelle as she works to keep the kingdom in tune. Furthermore, the events of these theoretical Frozen shows could lay the groundwork for an actual Frozen 3 — much like the way the upcoming slate of Disney+ Marvel shows like WandaVision are designed to impact the big-screen future of the MCU. One thing’s for sure: There’s no way that Disney is just going to let Frozen go.
Frozen 2 is playing in theaters now; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.
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