The Original Ending of ‘Frozen’ Was Much Different

Frozen was very loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” Fans of Andersen will notice that Frozen differs from “The Snow Queen” in many regards. The film was changed significantly over the course of the screenwriting process. Here’s how the tale of Elsa and Anna was originally going to end.

Elsa, Anna, and Olaf in the Walt Disney World attraction Frozen Ever After | Matt Stroshane/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Queen Elsa – a villain?

Peter Del Vecho, the producer of the film, discussed its evolution with People. He said “So when we started off, Anna and Elsa were not sisters… Elsa was a self-proclaimed Snow Queen, but she was a villain and pure evil — much more like the Hans Christian Andersen tale.“

The film was originally going to end with “a big epic battle with snow monsters that Elsa had created as her army.” The original ending of the film sounds conventional for Disney. Earlier Disney films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame all end with a final showdown between the heroes and villain.

‘Frozen’ was given a radically new theme

Although the theme of good versus evil is a sturdy foundation for a movie, the makers of Frozen thought this theme was overused. They also felt it was not relatable. Clearly, the movie needed a different theme for the filmmakers to be happy with their work.

Elsa singing in Frozen Ever After | Matt Stroshane/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Del Vecho and company decided that, to make Frozen more relatable, it should have a theme of “Love vs. fear, and the premise of the movie became that love is stronger than fear.” This concept led to a major change in the way that the sisters were portrayed. “Now we had a character in Anna who was all about love and Elsa who was all about fear. That led to making Elsa a much more dimensional sympathetic character.”

How ‘Frozen’ subverts earlier Disney films

Frozen doesn’t just challenge Disney tropes regarding good versus evil. It also disregards the concept of true love’s kiss. True love’s kiss is a major plot point in Disney movies like Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Enchanted, where it has the power to save the day.

Chris Buck, one of the film’s directors, was getting sick of that trope. Notably, the animated films he’s directed – including the critically-acclaimed movies Tarzan and Surf’s Up – avoid the cliche. Similarly, Elsa is saved at the film’s finale by an act of true love from her sister, not a love interest.

Anna, Kristoff, and Sven | Matt Stroshane/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Buck explained this decision in an interview with Animation World Network, saying “There are many forms of true love…And so, when the two became sisters…that bond and true love between them, that saved the day. Anna’s true love for Elsa.”

Once Frozen was released, many thought its ending was brilliant. Audiences enjoyed the film’s combination of Disney tropes and Disney subversions. Frozen 2 continues this trend, cementing Disney’s reputation as the most popular studio around.