Why Frozen II's Sterling K. Brown Loves To Be A Character Of Color In Arendelle

Frozen 2 trailer Sterling K. Brown as Lieutenant Destin Mattias
(Image credit: Disney)

Sterling K. Brown is rightly everywhere lately, including voicing the character of Lieutenant Destin Mattias in Disney's Frozen 2. He's a talented awards magnet from This Is Us to Black Panther and the new highly acclaimed movie Waves, but otherwise he's just like everyone else -- he geeks out over superheroes and is thrilled at the idea of having his own action figure.

Sterling K. Brown chatted with the amazing Laura Dern for Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, and he talked about Frozen 2 including a major character of color:

I love that there’s a character of color in this world of Arendelle. I think for such a long time black folks have had to wonder, ‘what would it be like to have someone like me in this show, what would it be like to be Superman or Batman.’ And then you get Black Panther. Now, we have this character, Lieutenant Mattias, who I get the chance to vocalize, and I have a little action figure and Legos, and I’m like, ‘Ah, it’s really happening.'

That's awesome! Sometimes action figures can be rather unflattering, but that's Paul Rudd's problem. Sterling K. Brown's Lieutenant Mattias figure looks OK. The actor previously said he had to sing for his Frozen 2 audition because his character was originally going to have a song, but they scrapped it when they didn't think it fit with the rest of the movie.

The first Frozen movie came out in 2013 and was a phenomenon. It became the highest-grossing animated film before being topped by the new 2019 remake of The Lion King. Frozen's main human characters were white, but now that the story is expanding to show more of the world around Arendelle, it's showing how that world also has people of color. As Sterling K. Brown, that kind of inclusion and representation does mean a lot to people who aren't used to seeing anyone like themselves in a major movie.

Not that Sterling K. Brown's character is the main focus of Frozen II -- he loves that the Frozen films are still chiefly about the love between sisters Anna and Elsa.

I’ve seen bits and pieces [of Frozen II], and it is every bit an action-adventure movie led by these two heroines that happen to be sisters, and they choose each other over and over again, they don’t need some dude to come save the day, they can save themselves. I love being a part of that.

Frozen famously turned the Disney fairy tale trope on its head by making the true love of the story between the sisters instead of, say, Anna and Kristoff. It was a welcome change that has altered so much storytelling moving forward.

Frozen 2 reviews are now out, and they seem very positive, and promise/warn that the story is darker and more mature than the first movie. The sequel should make a pretty penny at the box office when it opens November 22.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.