It might surprise you that Frozen came out almost four years ago, since the fervor around the animated film has yet to die down. The music, the actors, that ending — there's nothing about the movie that isn't iconic. So you might be surprised to hear that things in Arendelle almost went down completely differently, and it's all thanks to one little detail.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the film's producer Peter Del Vecho recounted the process behind coming up with the story for Frozen, and the way it would have ended had they not put in the extra mile.
"So when we started off, Anna and Elsa were not sisters. They weren’t even royal," he revealed. Instead, Elsa was a villain because she was stood up at the altar on her wedding day. As a result, she froze her own heart, which would lead viewers to believe that she's the one in the prophecy destined to bring destruction to Arendelle.
In the original ending, Elsa enlisted an army of snow monsters of her own creation to attack the protagonists. In response, Prince Hans created an avalanche that would destroy the whole city. Anna managed to convince Elsa to save everyone. Suddenly, it's revealed that Elsa's not the subject of the prophecy, Prince Hans is. Her heart unfreezes. The end.
"The problem was that we felt like we had seen it before," Del Vecho says. "It wasn’t satisfying. We had no emotional connection to Elsa — we didn’t care about her because she had spent the whole movie being the villain. We weren’t drawn in. The characters weren’t relatable."
So they decided to play around. What if she and Anna were sisters? What if it wasn't good versus evil but love versus fear? What if, for once, a prince doesn't save the day?
The new ending was concocted by co-writer Jennifer Lee and brought to life by story artist, John Ripa.
"When he pitched that ending to [Disney Chief Creative Officer] John Lasseter, the directors and the whole story team stood up and gave him a standing ovation," Del Vecho said. "And when the final piece of the creative puzzle fell into place, that moment was downright, well…heart warming."