Disney’s 2013 hit Frozen is celebrated as one of the most progressive “princess movies” of all time, centering on a pair of sisters whose familial bond ultimately leads to their happily ever after. But that powerful message wasn’t how the Frozen team initially ended their story. In fact, the OG ending was way more complicated and decidedly less girl power-friendly.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, producer Peter Del Vecho revealed that Elsa was conceived as a straight-up ice queen who literally froze her own heart after her fiancé left her at the altar. Anna, meanwhile, was the good girl with a heart of gold, and neither she nor Elsa were royal or even related to each other at all.
Here’s how that early draft ended: Instead of wanting to be left alone, Elsa enlisted an army of snow monsters to attack the movie’s protagonists. Hans (still a total douchebag) triggered an avalanche to stop Elsa, not caring that he’d kill everyone in Arendelle in the process. He’s revealed to be the “ruler with a frozen heart” from the prophecy, and Anna convinces Elsa to use her powers to save the kingdom. She does, her heart unfreezes, and she’s finally able to love again. The end.
Well, that ending fell flat, Del Vecho said, because “we had no emotional connection to Elsa — we didn’t care about her because she had spent the whole movie being the villain.”
So the movie’s creators began to play around, and ultimately decided to make it a story about love versus fear, instead of good versus evil.
“Making them related led us to the idea of [Elsa] living in fear of her powers,” Del Vecho explained. “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.”
Props to Disney for “letting go” (sorry) of their original concept and revamping the story: one where the message, as Del Vecho said, is that “love is stronger than fear.” Also, GIRL POWER.