Whether we like it or not, romance and the Disney Princess brand go hand-in-hand. Every princess needs a Prince Charming—unless your name is Elsa.
Somehow, between two sequels and a million and one short films, Snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) of the Frozen franchise has managed to avoid being tied down by anyone besides her sister, a vengeful prince, and a few angry spirits. But many fans of the Frozen franchise are hoping that whenever Frozen 3 makes its grand debut into theaters, Elsa will finally find her own one true love.
Screengrab via Walt Disney Studios
While the idea of Elsa finding love isn’t crazy, it’s something series co-director Jennifer Lee has gone on the record to dispute. When discussing Frozen 2 with Entertainment Tonight, Lee said definitively that Elsa wouldn’t have a love interest in the sequel. Her reasoning behind that came to light after looking at Elsa’s personality post-Frozen.
“We found that this is a woman who wasn’t ready for a relationship at all. She’s carrying a lot of pressure and the weight of her kingdom on her shoulders and struggling with this call for her powers.”
– Jennifer Lee, co-director and story writer for Frozen 2
That being said, Lee didn’t rule out the idea of having Elsa find love in later films. “I don’t know if it’ll fit in the future. We haven’t asked that question, and I’m not stretching past Frozen 2 about what happens to these characters in their lives,” Lee continued. Even before Frozen 2 released, many fans were hoping for some sapphic romance for Elsa, and Lee’s comments continued to add fuel to the fire, especially after Elsa remaining single at the end of Frozen 2.
For those unaware of this group, many people were excited about Elsa remaining single at the end of Frozen, as most Disney Princesses are forced to get the guy as part of their finale, to make their story complete. Elsa broke the mold not only by eschewing a love interest the entire movie, but also not magically finding one by the end. However, some people saw Elsa’s journey of coming to terms with her powers as a parallel to the journey of coming out, and therefore were hoping that Elsa may have that realization in a sequel. Now, the gay Elsa camp are hoping they’ll get their wish come Frozen 3.
Screengrab via Walt Disney Studios
The argument for making Elsa queer simply comes down to representation. Every other Disney Princess has her one true love in the form of a man, including Anna (Kristen Bell), who is already happily married to her Prince Charming. And we know very well that not every princess out there is going to marry a prince. Some want to marry a princess.
Disney has been working on including more LGBTQ+ characters across all their media. They’ve thankfully grown beyond just including a gay couple in the background and even created an openly gay character in 2022’s Strange World. But turning arguably their biggest animated property into an LGBTQ+ icon? That is a mighty order.
In case you’re in the Western half of the world and don’t pay attention to other countries, many still have strict laws banning LGBTQ+ content and restricting rights for those who identify as queer or transgender. However, Disney still tries to market their movies in these territories, and has been criticized in the past for cutting out queer scenes in their films to make these movies fit within the country’s film standards.
Image via Walt Disney Animation Studios
Going back to Strange World, the film wasn’t shown in China, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Iraq, and Vietnam, among others because of its LGBTQ+ lead character. While Strange World was a new property, and therefore wasn’t a problem to lose out on those markets, Frozen 3 is a different story. Especially for China and other East Asian countries, Frozen 2 saw 10% of its massive $1.45 billion box office gross come from that area of the world.
Also, the first ever Frozen-themed park area opened in November 2023 in Disneyland Hong Kong, aptly named World of Frozen, proving that there is a huge market for the franchise in that region. Imagine how quickly that would disappear if Frozen 3 was banned from theaters due to Elsa being queer? Hong Kong itself is fairly tolerant of LGBTQ+ people, but considering the proximity to East Asian countries that aren’t, it’s natural to assume business to the World of Frozen would see a steep decline.
The unfortunate reality is that if Elsa were to be gay in Frozen 3, that creative decision would cost Disney a hefty penny and cause the worldwide popularity of Frozen to dwindle. It’s a shame that the decision to make Elsa gay would simply come down to money, but at the end of the day, Disney is a business and cares more about the bottom line than creative risk. However, with what little we know about Frozen 3 at this point, let alone Frozen 4, it’s hard to be confident in any decision Disney will make regarding Elsa’s love life.