Elsa was originally the villain, and other surprising truths from the original "Frozen" script
Disney’s animated film Frozen immediately won its way into our hearts with its empowering story about two sisters and their strong bond. We all applauded the feminist story that ended with the two sisters overcoming all odds to save their kingdom and each other. But the original Frozen ending was definitely very different.
According to James Hibberd writing for Entertainment Weekly’s Untold Stories, in the original Frozen script, Elsa wasn’t the magical sister whose powers were misunderstood. She was a straight up villain. But when the producers realized that the movie leant itself to a much more interesting female empowerment story, they went with it. And we’re so glad they did.
Initially, Elsa was written as pure evil, who would go up against Anna, the pure-hearted heroine.
EW spoke to Peter Del Vecho, one of Frozen’s producers, to find out the real story. Peter explained, “So 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…”
The original script also gave Elsa a reason for being evil — she got stood up at the altar on her wedding day.
Peter explained that Elsa had been scorned and heartbroken. So she froze her own heart to ensure that she could never love again. But in the end, the original Elsa was redeemed and helped Anna save the kingdom.
Interestingly, even in the earliest version, Hans was two-faced and heartless.
In his original iteration, Hans causes an avalanche that threatens the kingdom in his attempt to defeat Elsa. But that’s when Anna convinces Elsa to help her stop the dangerous avalanche.
But as the filmmakers looked at the story, they realized they had seen it before.
We kind of agree. Although the idea of both a female villain and a female heroine can be fun, that’s definitely a familiar tale. Peter explained that everything changed when they got the idea that maybe Elsa and Anna were sisters.
Peter explained that they actually held a “sister summit” where they got together to discuss ways to make Elsa and Anna’s relationship relatable. And it totally worked, because we’ve always thought the pair felt like totally realistic sisters.
Then, for the ending, the filmmakers wanted something more than the traditional “love’s first kiss” to save the day.
Peter said that the film’s director, Chris Buck, wanted to know how they could do something different.
We totally hear him, and we love that they found another, more empowering way to end the story. Plus, they definitely succeeded in showing us a story we hadn’t seen before. And now it’s a classic we want to watch over and over again.
Because having strong, complicated female characters makes for an awesome movie, and we can’t let it go.