While by now you're no doubt intimately familiar with every song and scene in Disney blockbuster Frozen, you might be surprised to learn that our misunderstood snow queen was once envisaged as a rather more evil character - and we've got the concept art to prove it!
[Frozen](movie:411685) is a film that had been nearly 70 years in the making for Disney! Walt Disney first attempted to adapt Hans Christian Andersen's story 'The Snow Queen' way back in the 1930s, but it wasn't until the studio revisited the story this century that it finally ended up as the the film we love today. But it was a long journey and the film's final form was initially imagined very differently, in fact, it was so different that our beloved Elsa was going to be a villain!
How did she end up as the villain?!
The Frozen we all know and love revolves around the two sisters, Anna and Elsa. In early scripts the film was still about Anna and Elsa, but the two weren't related. Anna was originally a peasant who went to the evil Snow Queen (Elsa) to ask her to freeze her broken heart.
In addition to her completely different personality, Elsa also had a very different look! Her long white-blonde hair was going to be short, spiky and blue, which matched her original light blue skin! What might be the strangest thing about the original Elsa character is that her coat was going to be made out of living weasels! (Maybe it's a reference to Duke Weselton?!)
Check out the concept art below and see for yourself!
In the book 'The Art of Frozen,' Jennifer Lee, the co-director and screenwriter spoke out about how Elsa was first written, saying:
Elsa was going to be the complete antagonist. They kept calling her the 'villain.' But there came a point where we said, 'We can't use that word anymore.' You care about someone who's been forces to hide who they are. Elsa's not a villain, she just makes some bad choices because she's in a very difficult situation.
But it wasn't Jennifer Lee who initially felt that Elsa should be changed from a villainous character to a misunderstood one, that push came from the songwriting wonder duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. While writing a villain song (a staple for a Disney movie), Kristen Anderson-Lopez said they realized what needed to happen:
We were still writing a villain song and we started getting into the head-space of what you'd feel like if you were that isolated. We knew in this moment that she would go through a transformation, from repressed to letting her powers out ... trying to get away from society and be who she really was.
And what did that song become? "Let It Go" of course! Go on, give it a listen below:
After this epiphany from the song writers, Jennifer Lee realized that she needed to rewrite the script to make Elsa's transformation believable, and in the process the screenwriters also realized that Anna and Elsa needed to become sisters to make the story really matter. It was changing the dynamic between Anna and Elsa that allowed for the new fresh ending from Disney, when instead of 'true love's kiss' solving the issue, it was the power of the bond between siblings that saved the day.
Relive it all by watching the Frozen trailer below:
Are you glad that Elsa was changed from a villain, or do you wish she was more like the character from The Snow Queen? Tell me your thoughts over here.