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While Walt Disney Animation Studios has more than its share of hits over the decades, the studio has rarely taken the step of making sequels. However, in the case of Frozen a follow-up seemed inevitable. Frozen II went on to become an even bigger movie than the original was. Perhaps all it needed to do to be a success was give audiences more of what they loved about the first movie, and it certainly did that.
We got more of Elsa exploring what her powers were capable of, more of Olaf being hilarious, and even more of Anna and Elsa as kids. Both Frozen and Frozen II open with a scene where a young Anna and Elsa play together. In both scenes, Anna is aware of Elsa's power, so we know that the scene in Frozen II actually pre-dates the one in the first movie, where she loses that knowledge. However, according to co-director and screenwriter Jennifer Lee, the two sequences are even more closely related than we might have guessed, because she says the scene in Frozen II happens the same night as the beginning of the first film. In the special features for the new Frozen II Blu-ray, Lee says...
We open on a moment with the girls again, together. So this is before, obviously, Anna was struck in the first film, with them playing. In fact, in my head, it’s that same night, it’s just earlier.
So according to the woman who created both Frozen stories, these two scenes that were separated by years in the theater are separated by maybe a few hours in the movie's timeline. We see Anna fall asleep to her mother's song in Frozen II, and then some brief period of time later, Anna wakes up, and then she in turn wakes up Elsa because she wants to build a snowman.
Jennifer Lee may say this is only true in her head, but since this is the head of the screenwriter we're talking about, it feels like that's good enough to call this canon.
In the first Frozen the scene is designed to give us background on Elsa's powers and explain why the sisters are not close when the movie started. In Frozen II we're given background on the enchanted forest, the primary location in the film, and given important backstory on Elsa and Anna's parents.
In the grand scheme of things it may not be particularly important than these two moments took place so close together, but that makes it all the more interesting that Jennifer Lee saw them happening side by side. It seems that everything in the lives of Anna and Elsa comes back to this point. Maybe in Frozen 3 we'll learn why.
Of course, there's no guarantee Frozen 3 will ever happen, but Disney loves to build on success and certainly Frozen as a franchise is only growing.
Frozen II is now available in Digital HD and will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K on February 25.