‘Frozen’ Is Coming to the Small Screen in a Surprising Way

Fans of the animated Disney movie Frozen will be excited to hear that the franchise is making its way to the small screen. The ABC fantasy-drama series Once Upon a Time wrapped up its third season on Sunday night and the end of the episode featured an actress playing the Frozen protagonist Elsa appearing in the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine where the show takes place. Right after the episode aired on Sunday, Once Upon a Time tweeted that Frozen would be coming to the show.

Once Upon a Time is about a group of fairytale characters who, under the influence of a powerful curse, are transported to modern day New England with little to no memory of their past lives. The town of Storybrooke has the Evil Queen Regina, who is responsible for the curse, as its mayor. The un-cursed daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming is the only person who can stand up to the Evil Queen and get the characters’ memories back. The series has received generally favorable reviews from critics, with a 66 percent average rating on Metacritic.

The show’s producers Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz sat down with Entertainment Weekly to spill some more details about the role of Elsa and possibly other characters from Frozen in the show’s next season. “We saw the movie and collectively the whole writers’ room just loved it. It was our favorite film. What we loved so much about Elsa was she was perceived to be a villain, but of course we understood that she was misunderstood,” Kitsis said of the decision to add Elsa to the cast.

When asked if any other characters from Frozen would appear on the show, Horowitz said: “Yeah — we’d be disappointed if Elsa was the only one we saw, but we’re not quite ready yet to tell you who else we may encounter.”

You’d have to have spent the last six months living in a cave to not have heard of Frozen, the newest Disney animated movie that has become a global phenomenon. Frozen has smashed box office records around the world and is currently the highest grossing animated film of all time. The film’s soundtrack has topped the charts for months and the song “Let It Go” performed by Idina Menzel won the Oscar for best original song. Disney CEO Bob Iger pointed to the success of the film when presenting the company’s second-quarter earnings earlier this week

“The unprecedented global success of Disney Animation’s phenomenal Frozen continues — and it’s now the world’s highest grossing animated film of all time and the best selling title ever released on Blu-Ray and digital. The demand for Frozen merchandise remains extremely high, and the soundtrack was the No. 1 album in the U.S. again last week,” Iger said in the conference call, also adding that a Broadway adaptation of Frozen will be coming soon.

The decision to include the cast of Frozen in Once Upon a Time is a bit of a surprise, given that Disney has been careful about licensing the new franchise and that it was originally an animation. An animated spin-off would have been more expected. Elsa and friends are not quite a part of our culture the way characters like Snow White and Prince Charming are, but the show promises an interesting way to explore the franchise’s characters.

Fans will likely be pleased with Once’s take on Frozen, as the show’s creators promise to treat those characters well. “In the buzz of [Sunday] night or whatever, there was a lot of ‘oh, they’re cashing in.’ In fact, what I think the audience really needs to understand is how hard it is to take beloved Disney characters and put them into our show. It is based on our passion, not a corporate synergy project,” Kitsis said, per Entertainment Weekly.

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