Frozen 2: the plot, the release date, the songs – plus everything else you need to know about the sequel
Apparently, Frozen films take longer to make than ice palaces
What a time to be alive! Well, unless you are the happiest parent of one of the millions of children still obsessed with Anna, Elsa and everything Frozen.
In early 2015, four months after the Telegraph broke the news of the Frozen sequel, Disney officially confirmed it: Frozen 2 is on the way.
While we can't tell you anything for sure given that it will be ages until we see so much as a teaser trailer, we can use the power of our own brains to tell you what is most likely to happen.
Here is everything we know – or can guess – about the sequel. There may well be a betting system in place to see how much we get right.
1. Frozen 2's release date won't be before 2019
Once it got the greenlight, the first Frozen film took two years to create, and while Disney will understandably want to hurry along a full-length sequel to their recordbreaking cash cow, they are really tied for time.
Disney has already mapped out its schedules for 2017 and 2018 (projects including life-action versions of Beauty and the Beast and Mulan, animated originals Coco and Gigantic, and sequels to Wreck-It Ralph, Cars and The Incredibles), and Frozen 2 ain't on 'em.
"We're not demanding speed," Disney's CEO, Robert Iger said in 2015, "We're demanding excellence."
2. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel will both star
Yes. A thousand times yes, at least – once the lawyers have sorted out their pay. Given that Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the fifth highest-grossing film full stop, they can certainly angle for a higher pay day. Until then, they were seen in the short sequel Frozen Fever, and will appear in 2017's Christmas special... but more on that in a second.
Bell also revealed earlier this year that the only reason the film is taking so long is because Disney are handling it with care. Speaking to Collider, she revealed: "What I know about that whole team is that they wouldn’t just put something out to put it out. That’s why it took them so long to even announce that we were doing a second one. Generally when you have a first successful movie you want to make a second one. It took them a while because they wanted to figure out what story they needed to tell and what would be important and engaging and I think they found it."
As of October, however, she hasn't started recording, revealing that the writers are still putting the finishing touches to the script.
3. Jennifer Lee will return to direct
4. Olaf's back too! And he'll have an animated TV special in 2017!
To tide over fans exasperated by the long wait for the sequel, a Christmas special starring Olaf is in production for the very end of 2017.
Airing on the ABC network in the US, Olaf's Frozen Adventure will focus on the cheerful snowman, but Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Sven are all set to return. Award-winning animators Kevin Deters and Steven Wermers-Skelton will direct.
5. The Frozen Broadway show will debut in 2018
It's yet to be confirmed whether Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez will return for Frozen 2, but they've still been busy in the Frozen family: writing new songs for the upcoming Frozen musical, which will premiere on Broadway in spring 2018.
A table read was held this past May in a top-secret New York location, with a new song called True Love getting top marks from observers, who have hinted it's every bit as catchy as Let It Go.
Theatre veteran and Tony Award-winner Michael Grandage is directing, while choreography is being handled by Christopher Gattelli, whose credits include stage productions of Newsies and The King & I.
While casting is yet to be announced, Broadway stars Betsy Wolfe, Patti Murin and Okieriete Onaodowan played Elsa, Anna and Kristoff, respectively, during May's table read. Onaodowan is fresh from appearing in Hamilton. No word on if they'll resurrect their performances in the actual show, which will have a two-month test run in Denver next August, before transferring to Broadway.
6. Elsa will have a new dress
As iconic as Elsa's blue dress is, you need to factor in that an enormous chunk of the planet's children now own an Elsa dress. Given that they will wear the dress at any given opportunity, there is an enormous, silky cash cow to be made from introducing another dress.
Frozen Fever already introduced a new look for Elsa and Anna, so expect another one entirely for Frozen 2.
Frozen merchandise has sold like billy-oh – technical finance term – since the film was first released in cinemas in November 2013. There was a frenzy when Frozen dolls sold out, with parents paying hundreds of dollars to try and get hold of them on Ebay. Cuddly toys, books, sing-a-long DVDs and cinema screenings, and Anna and Elsa outfits have all since joined the show, so expect Frozen 2 merchandise to step it up a notch.
6. Frozen 2's Let It Go will be a big duet between Anna and Elsa
Telegraph film critics Robbie Collin and Tim Robey are in agreement that Disney has a battle on its hands in making a successful musical sequel. While the likes of Grease 2 have attracted a cult following, Disney's sequels have largely gone straight to video with changes in voice cast.
The overwhelming success of Let It Go at the Oscars, cinema sing-a-long shows, karaoke bars and in memes, means that Frozen 2 needs something very different but with impact.
Tim Robey: "I think they'll definitely try to position one song as a Let It Go-trumping central number. At a guess, though, it might be a duet between the sisters. They only shared about four scenes in the first film, so I feel more detailed development of that relationship has got to be the way to go.
Musical sequels are rare beasts, and often don't pan out too well – see Grease 2, Funny Lady, etc. Disney have generally made the sensible step of reducing costs and sending them straight to video. Though I guess the High School Musicals got more and more popular. And we all know full well that Frozen 2 will be enormous, even if it's no good at all."
Robbie Collin: "Frozen 2 categorically has to be a musical, and it categorically has to have a big central ballad – can you imagine what would happen if it wasn’t? There would be looting.
"But the problem with musicals is – unlike films in general – they just don’t spawn successful sequels. And while it’s hard to say exactly why that is, I suspect it’s because so much of your enjoyment of a musical is tied up in the experience of a particular number: not just the song and the singer's performance of it, but the staging, where it fits in the narrative, and as a result of all of those things put together, the very particular fireworks display of emotions it takes you through.
"That’s why Let It Go has been so phenomenally successful: although Elsa’s technically ‘in the wrong’ while she’s singing it (she’s running away from her sister, though the moral of the story is they’re better off together), it’s the feeling of glorious release that the number delivers – for years she’s kept her true self pent up, but now, finally, here she is, in all her glory – that makes it so triumphant in the moment and so much fun.
replicating those exact conditions in another story with the same character is impossible, because she’s already undergone that specific emotional journey, and to have her do it again would ring totally false. In non-musical sequels, that doesn’t matter. Take the Avengers franchise: Robert Downey Jr. can crack wise and fly around and shoot repulsor beams in all kinds of different narrative contexts, and fans will be delighted by that. Disney are smarter now than they’ve been for decades, and they will know all this and know they need to solve it while still delivering another Frozen-like experience.
"So I suspect what they might do is either give the big showstopping number to Anna, or (more likely, I think) to have both sisters sing it together. That way they can draw on the broad themes that made the original film so popular, but explore them in a completely new context.
"Possibly the sisters will sing a duet about being stronger together while they’re being kept separate by some villain or evil force, taking verse about, then line about, and then coming together for a big, soaring chorus. Possibly I’ve thought a bit too much about this."
Frozen's composer, Christophe Beck, returned to write the score for Frozen Fever, with Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez coasting on the high of their Oscar for Let It Go to pen a new song, Make Every Day A Perfect Day.
The Lopezes have tweeted about the sequel announcement, but none of the three have openly confirmed their return, perhaps because their work on the Broadway show is still very much underway.
6. Elsa will not die (well, not for ever)
This is one of the most common questions about the sequel, to which the answer is two-fold: 1) what a morbid bunch of people you are and 2) are you quite mad?
No, Elsa will not die "for good". If she dies, billions of dollars worth of spin-offs and merchandising die with her, not to mention any chance of a parent with a child under six ever getting that child to sleep again.
If she does bite the icy mountain dust, it would likely happen in the style of Anna in the first film, i.e.: grave threat coupled with a heartwarming last minute reprieve thanks to the love between two sisters™. Either that, or she will ascend to the mountains to become a benevolent nature force in the style of Whoopi Goldberg's Gaia in the Captain Planet cartoons.
7. Olaf will get a girlfriend
It has to happen. Not only for the plot, but for the merchandise. Olaf is one of the most beloved Disney sidekicks ever created, and with Anna and Kristoff romantically entangled, and Elsa happy ruling her kingdom and getting to grips with her ice powers, blossoming romance is in Olaf's court.
He is an incredibly popular character choice for people making Frozen cakes, so Olaf plus lady friend would send the cuteness factor over the edge.