If any of you have children, or younger siblings, or nieces and nephews, then you're probably sick to death of Frozen. Kids just love it, especially little girls, and the tune of Let It Go has been stuck in every parent's head since Christmas 2013. And the hype just hasn't died down! Merchandise sales are still hitting record numbers. An estimated 2.6 million American girls trick or treated as Elsa or Anna last year. Though most of them were probably Elsa. Disney's first princesses turned queen (not counting Kida of Atlantis who was, actually, an empress) is the key to Frozen's success, despite the fact that she spends most of the film running away. So why is she so much more popular than Anna?
Whenever I ask this of my nieces, and with Let It Go constantly on repeat it's hard not to demand why, they always answer the same. She has superpowers! They never tire of twirling around, pretending to control the weather, shooting ice beams from their finger tips. They frequently fight evil villains, or build fantastic castles in their games. In comparison to ice sorceress Elsa, Anna is pretty run of the mill to them.
Of course, Disney is a master of the merchandising game, so this is also a major factor in why Frozen is still at the front of every kids' mind almost 2 years after its release. But you can deny that its initial success is almost entirely due to that song where Elsa finally revels in her glorious powers and sings about how cool they are (despite, you know, running away from all her responsibilities and plunging the country into permafrost in the process...) Idina Menzel's powerful lungs definitely helped Let It Go launch Frozen into record-breaking ticket sales.
But can Frozen's momentum carry its success over into the inevitable Frozen 2? The vast majority of Disney sequels have gone straight to video, and fail to thrill audiences with shaky plots and cast changes (with the exception of Aladdin 3 which is the best of the Aladdin films. Fight me.) So how can Frozen 2 beat the Disney sequel curse?
More of Elsa's powers
Clearly, this is the way to go. The main reason kids (and for the sake of argument, let's be stereotypical and say little girls) respond so well to Elsa is because she is powerful. The amount of times I've seen epic battles play out between my nieces and their friends, with multiple Elsas facing down countless foes, kicking all sorts of butt with their badass ice powers... Girls want to be superheroes.
There are countless ways for boys to feel this way, with many kids' tv shows that have superpowered boys as protagonists, not to mention the superhero genre that is firmly geared towards young boys. While there of course are superpowered ladies out there, girls have been systematically shoved out of the superhero genre in many ways. It's only recently that Marvel are starting to catch on, with their first female solo superhero film Captain Marvel coming in 2018. DC have also started to embrace the young girl demographic, by releasing a Wonder Woman Barbie doll (read more about that here).
With Frozen, girls got to feel powerful AND girly. Vicariously through Elsa, they could have a gorgeous dress, be a queen, and also have awesome powers. It's a recipe for success if I ever saw one. Frozen 2 can continue this in so many ways. For one thing, how do Elsa's powers work? Why does she even have them to start with? Building up a mythology around this would allow us to explore Elsa's powers more. Right now they're pretty expansive with little coherency - she can unintentionally control the weather, build structurally sound palaces without knowing anything about architecture, and also... make dresses? (Is anyone else concerned that her clothes are literally made of ice?! And what happened to her previous dress? Did she evaporate it?)
Anyway, nit picking aside, learning more about Elsa's powers would not only be interesting, it's great plot fodder. A huge potential pitfall for Frozen 2 is trying to hard to repeat the original. If we get the same plot structure or story, this will definitely leave audiences cold (heh heh). But mythology building? Travelling to new places? Elsa using her powers in new and different ways? Heck yes. Which leads to another thing Frozen 2 pretty much has to do...
More superpowered princesses!
What's better than one superpowered princesses? MORE OF THEM. Just check out the cosplay photos. The possibilities are endless!
It's probably a bit early to be thinking of epic superhero princess crossover movies... BUT if Frozen 2 focuses on finding out exactly how Elsa's powers work and where they came from, the logical next step is to bring in another character who has powers. Elsa can't be the only one. How about a princess of a Hawaii-like distant island who can control fire and lava? Or a jungle princess who can shoot vines and grow plants at will?
Ok, maybe I just want Frozen to become Disney's version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But this is definitely one way that Disney can keep things fresh and engage their fans, while staying true to the plot that began in the first Frozen. (Plus, think of the merchandising opportunities! A new character means more dolls, dresses, lunchboxes...)
Disney isn't letting go anytime soon
I mean, why would they? Frozen's popularity has brought in SO MUCH money for them, so we better be prepared for many more sequels to come. But aside from the fact that it's getting kinda old, this may not be a bad thing. After all, who doesn't want to feel powerful? And this is something that Frozen can give kids, especially little girls. That, and lots and lots of merchandise....