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Elsa in Frozen II

It's hard to believe, but Frozen II is finally almost upon us. The original 2013 movie became a pop culture icon when it arrived in theaters, inspiring countless Halloween costumes, a Broadway musical, and elevating the cast into household names. The highly anticipated sequel will hit theaters next month, picking up the narrative and following Anna and Elsa through another epic journey. And now director/writer Jennifer Lee has spoken about this long gestation process.

Considering just how popular the first Frozen movie was, a sequel seemed all but guaranteed. But the filmmakers took their time, in particular Jennifer Lee who wrote and directed both movies. In fact, Kristen Bell revealed to us that she took years simply journaling as the characters. But the movie is almost here, and now Lee has spoke about the long gestation process, saying:

It did a couple of things. We had spent some time off from them. We had given it to the world, at that point, and I wanted to ground myself back with the characters we’d built from here. Without having any pressure of time, at that moment, I wanted to see what came out and how it flowed. There are these things that come back, that you’ve forgotten. We learned, very much for Elsa, that she didn’t know what it was like to be accepted. She’d never experienced that, so therefore she didn’t even know herself, as this person. And wow, that’s a place to start.

Honestly, this sounds like an authentic and healthy way at approaching a sequel-- especially one as hotly anticipated as Frozen II. The pressure is on to deliver as much heart and stunning music as the first movie, so Jennifer Lee wanted to make sure she was properly servicing the characters. And this long development allowed her to organically find the story, and how Elsa's past and present will collide.

The origin of Elsa's frozen abilities will get their origin in Frozen II, and Anna and Elsa's parents will be expanded through flashback sequences. By journaling as the characters for so long, Jennifer Lee dove deeper into each one's psyche and perspective. From there, the quirky group of characters that she created pointed her toward the right direction.

In her same conversation with Collider, Jennifer Lee went on to explain how the journaling process changed how she wrote Frozen II's beloved sisters, saying:

I didn’t know that because I had been writing a character who was living in fear and always struggling with being different, and not accepted. So, that was exciting to re-engage and discover, even as she was overwhelmed and confused herself. And then, for Anna, having a character who was fearless and had nothing to lose for our first film, and now she’s at a place where she has everything she’s ever wanted, but in that place, has the fear of losing that, and how that will change her because now she has everything to lose, that came through. That really helped us know that there is a new place to go with these characters, but it’s absolutely true to where they’d be, right now.

Is it November yet? Given how methodically the story of Frozen's sequel was approached by the filmmakers, smart money says Disney really delivers with the highly anticipated animated blockbuster. The film's plot has been kept largely a mystery, but the trailers tease a movie that is far bigger in scope than the original. Frozen II will test Elsa's abilities, as well as her repaired relationship with Anna.

Frozen II will hit theaters on November 22nd. In the meantime, check out out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Evan Rachel Wood and Josh Gad on Frozen 2 | D23 Expo

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