It's certainly not unusual for the sidekick of an animated Disney movie to become popular. Whether or not they're able to talk, the sidekick is usually ripe for merchandising as a plush toy, putting them in children's' bedrooms all over the world. But I'm not sure if even Disney knew what they were getting into when they created Olaf. The snowman from Frozen has been insanely popular and you only need to look and see not only the popularity of the toys, but also the number of additional Olaf themed shorts that have been created to see the public is hungry for this cute little snowman.
And now we're getting one more. This morning Disney announced that Once Upon a Snowman, a new animated short, will debut on Disney+ on October 23. The short will essentially be Olaf's origin story, as it will tell the tale of Olaf's creation up until the moment he meets Anna and Kristoff in the original Frozen film.
While I'm not sure Olaf needs an origin story, it's an animated short that's probably going to last eight minutes and it will probably be cute, so who cares? We don't need an explanation as to how Olaf came to life or why a snowman who has been alive for no time at all has decided he loves summer, but if those explanations are sufficiently funny, then it doesn't hurt anybody to have them.
Once Upon a Snowman is just the latest Olaf-centric creation from Disney. Recently, we got a series of minute-long Olaf shorts on Youtube that were recorded by Josh Gad and created by Disney animators, all done from their homes, in the early days of the pandemic, back when we hoped this would all be over in a reasonable period of time. A couple of years ago we also got Olaf's Frozen Adventure, an animated holiday special for ABC that was actually given a theatrical release attached to Pixar's Coco.
Along with the announcement of the new short, came some nice looking poster art. Check it out below.
The only other traditional Frozen short, Frozen Fever, came out in 2015 attached to the theatrical release of the live-action Cinderella. It makes one wonder if there was a plan to release Once Upon a Snowman theatrically, but that those plans were scrapped following the shakeup of the release calendar. Perhaps plans were to release this in theaters attached to Reya and the Last Dragon, which we originally were going to see in November. It's also possible that this was always eyed as a Disney+ release. One wonders if the popularity of streaming and the need to continually produce new content could lead to the end of theatrical shorts, which is maybe unsurprising, but no less unfortunate.