Frozen may be the most successful animated movie of all time, but would it have been so well-received had it retained its original ending?
Producer Peter Del Vecho has revealed that in early drafts of the film, Elsa was a fully fledged villain and the story ended very differently.
“So when we started off, Anna and Elsa were not sisters. They weren’t even royal,” Del Vecho told Entertainment Weekly. “Anna was not a princess. Elsa was a self-proclaimed Snow Queen, but she was a villain and pure evil — much more like the Hans Christian Andersen tale. We started out with an evil female villain and an innocent female heroine, and the ending involved a big epic battle with snow monsters that Elsa had created as her army.”
In the original ending, Prince Hans ends up being the real villain, who triggers a massive avalanche and ignores the fact that the storm also puts Anna, Elsa, and all of Arendelle in danger. Anna has to convince Elsa to help save the kingdom.
Del Vecho and the team eventually decided, however, that the ending wasn’t “satisfying”. He said: “We had no emotional connection to Elsa — we didn’t care about her because she had spent the whole movie being the villain.”
Anna and Elsa’s characters were both changed after this realisation, leading to changes to the final act.
“One of the things Chris Buck [director] had in most versions of the film was a moment where Anna’s heart was frozen and needed to be thawed,” Del Vecho explained.
“Chris said, ‘Does it always need to be true love’s kiss that solves that problem? Does it always have to be the man who comes in and rescues the female? Could it be something different?’ and that led to a different ending.”