Disney’s Frozen skyrocketed to success led by two strong female characters, sisters Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Unlike most Disney films, the movie, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, focused on the love between two sisters rather than a princess falling in love with a prince.
Aside from the feminist overtones of Frozen, some saw Queen Elsa’s story as a metaphor for coming out. This reading has prompted many fans of the Disney movie to demand the studio give Elsa a female companion in the upcoming sequel and spread their message on Twitter using the hashtag, #GiveElsaAGirlfriend. If the Frozen 2 writers follow through, Elsa would become Disney’s first openly gay character.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. High School Student Alexis Isabel Coined the #GiveElsaAGirlfriend Hashtag
Alexis Isabel, a high school student and contributing writer for MTV, coined the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend in a tweet on April 30. She then tweeted to her more than 83,000 Twitter followers to tweet the hashtag at Disney.
Isabel got the idea for the hashtag when she realized that she had never seen “a princess fall in love with another princess” while growing up, she wrote on MTV.com. She believed it would be “iconic” if Disney changed course from the expected — Elsa gets hitched to a prince or king — and gave her a female love interest instead. The teenager then listed off other unconventional relationships portrayed in children’s films like Shrek, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Bee Movie.
The entertainment industry has given us girls who have fallen in love with beasts, ogres who fall for humans, and even grown women who love bees. But we’ve never been able to see the purity in a queer relationship.
2. Idina Menzel Supports Her Character Getting a Girlfriend
Idina Menzel, the voice behind Queen Elsa, supports the idea of her character getting a girlfriend in the Frozen sequel. “I think it’s great,” she told Entertainment Tonight at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. “Disney’s just gotta contend with that. I’ll let them figure that out.”
3. Queen Elsa Would Be Disney’s First Openly Gay Character
The Walt Disney Company has shown its support for LGBT issues over the years, but it has yet to feature these characters in its film productions. Fans have speculated about the sexual preference of some Disney characters such as Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Terk from Tarzan and Scar from The Lion King as well as Timon and Pumba.
Others who saw Frozen already believe the film introduced Disney’s first gay character in Oaken, the owner of Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna. In one quick scene, he waves to his family in the sauna where another man and four children are sitting. Co-director and screenwriter Jennifer Lee commented on Oaken’s perceived homosexuality in an interview with The Big Issue in March 2014.
We know what we made, but at the same time I feel like once we hand the film over it belongs to the world so I don’t like to say anything, and let the fans talk. I think it’s up to them.
4. #GiveElsaAGirlfriend Has Received Mixed Reaction on Twitter
Isabel found a groundswell of support as her four initial tweets about idea received a combined 2,179 retweets and 5,216 likes (as of May 3). Thousands more used the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend in their owns tweets at Disney.
Of course, not everyone has jumped on board with the idea. Some have threatened to boycott Disney if the plot line is developed and other have argued against the movie getting too political.
Others believe Queen Elsa doesn’t need a woman or a man by her side to rule over Arendelle.
5. ‘Frozen 2’ Likely Won’t Premiere Before 2018
Disney announced plans for a Frozen sequel in March 2015, but a packed schedule will keep the movie from premiering anytime before 2018. The original movie premiered in November 2013 and became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, earning a worldwide total of $1.276 billion.
Original cast members Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff) and and Josh Gad (Olaf) are confirmed to reprise their voice roles in the sequel. They also returned for the short film Frozen Fever, which ran before Disney’s live-action Cinderella last spring and are featured in the new “Frozen Ever After” ride at Epcot park in Walt Disney World, set to open on June 21, 2016.
Co-directors Lee and Chris Buck will also return along with producer Peter Del Vecho from Walt Disney Animation Studios, who took home the Oscar in 2014 for Frozen‘s Best Animated Feature win. The Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who penned “Let It Go,” are not confirmed to write the music for the sequel, but they will be write the music for the Broadway version of Frozen.