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The Frozen-Tangled-Little Mermaid Triangle

Do you want to build a...theory that connects three beloved Disney animated features?

Chris Queen


May 6, 2014 - 3:00 pm
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As an avid Disney fan (geek?), I’ve seen quite a few theories that connect various Disney and Pixar films, TV shows, and properties. It’s no secret that Disney’s animators love to throw in references to other cartoons along with Easter eggs for observant viewers, but some theorists spin elaborate and sometimes over-thought narratives linking movies together. Among the most extreme sits Jon Negroni’s loveable yet wacky Pixar Theory – Negroni also devised the less outlandish idea that Jessie from Toy Story belonged to Andy’s mother years before Andy took ownership of her.

Over the weekend, my brother brought to my attention an intriguing theory that links recent hit Frozen with Tangled and even The Little Mermaid. The theory stems from the screenshot above from Frozen. Who does newly crowned Queen Elsa greet, but post-haircut Rapunzel and Flynn/Eugene? Rapunzel and Flynn’s cameo in Frozen could be no more or less than a clever Easter egg reward for us observant Disney nuts, but this theory suggests more.

“What if the king and queen of Arendelle were on their way to Rapunzel and Eugene’s wedding when their boat sank, and that’s why Rapunzel and Eugene felt the need to come to Elsa’s coronation ceremony?”

Frozen¬†doesn’t tell us much about where the king and queen of Arendelle were heading, just Elsa asking, “Do you have to go?” and Anna sending them off with, “See you in two weeks!”

[SPOILER ALERT] We don’t know where Anna and Elsa’s parents were going, but we know what happened to the ship – it sank.

Elsa’s coronation takes place three years after the shipwreck. Know what else is three years? The time between the theatrical debuts of Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013).

So how does The Little Mermaid fit in? Turns out Ariel swims around a shipwreck – a shipwreck that bears a bit of resemblance to the ship belonging to the king and queen of Arendelle. (Yes, I admit that part’s a stretch, but bear with me.)

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All Comments   (7)
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Hmmm. Neat theories.

It also knocks at least a couple of hours of high-paid labor off of the budget - it takes a chunk of time to wireframe, skin, and animate yet another set of new characters; when you can pull all of that grunt work off of the archive server, it gives you a longer lunch when you really, really need it.

Back in the old, painful days of drawing and painting every last cel by hand, this re-use was done all the time for "statics" (frequently in the same film - watch Sleeping Beauty real closely sometime). Now statics are easily generated at any angle you want - "dynamics" are still painfully worked out by an artist/technologist (though not necessarily frame by frame).
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I haven't seen Frozen, so I can't comment on any similarities between the ships (if they have any similarities).

Assuming your theory about the three films are correct, I'd say that Tangled takes place either between or shortly after The Little Mermaid, due to the presence of the original tale (according to the TV series of TLM, Hans Christian Andersen was directly inspired to create the tale due to Ariel saving his life. I think the episode was called "Metal Fish." Ironically, Eric marrying Ariel might explain why Andersen killed of Ariel in his tale.), and Frozen might take place during the events of Return to the Sea. You might want to insert Cinderella in there as well, as the Duke and King from that film briefly appeared at the initial wedding in TLM (the one between Vanessa and a brainwashed Eric). For the events of Anna and Elsa's childhood (more specifically, their parents' death), they were either killed a few years before the first TLM movie (based on the rate of decay of the shipwreck inhabitants in the beginning of the film) or otherwise nearing the end of the film (due to Lee's comment about their trip being to a wedding, meaning either Eric's near-wedding with Vanessa, or the wedding between Ariel and Eric. Probably the former due to there being a storm).
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would like to see an interconnected Disney universe, but I don't think that is quite feasible outside of the Princesses pocket universe. Why? These three stories take place in a fairly small section of a fictionalized Europe. There is an entire world of stories available to tell. To limit the interconnectivity to a small subset of geography and fairy tales excludes a number of possibilities for their target world market.
Still, I like connections. There are definite connections between Tangled and Frozen. Little Mermaid is a stretch, but you could make it work (as long as you discount the different styles of ships in Frozen and Little Mermaid - count the masts). I have read through numerous comments, and I like the idea that the Tangled Queen and Frozen King were siblings. That makes Rapunzel a cousin to Anna and Elsa. But...where were Rapunzel and Anna during the actual freezing of Arendale? Did they stay for the coronation, grab some sandwiches, and skip out before the party? It seems a little bit irresponsible for a walk-on cameo to shirk their royal responsibility to get involved and create wacky hijinks.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, it is feasible (kind of): Rapunzel and Anna and Elsa were demonstrated to take place during the same time period (and unlike Belle's cameo in Hunchback of Notre Dame, this was canonical thanks to the art book confirming the cameo as such), and Ariel and Cinderella were also implied to exist in the same time period due to the Duke and King from the latter's film being at the wedding. In addition, the portrait of Aurora and Phillip in Eric's dining room implies that Eric was a descendant of Aurora and Phillip from Sleeping Beauty. Of course, the other Disney Princesses take place in differing time periods (Belle is during the leadup to the French Revolution based on Glen Keane's statements in the commentary, for example), and Jasmine, based on her and Aladdin appearing in Hercules and the Arabian Night, living during the Hellenistic Era of Greece, as well as some hints from A Whole New World in the original film.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
We actually do know where the King and Queen of Arendelle were going when their ship sank. According to Jennifer Lee (the director), it was to a wedding. Someone on Tumblr already made a connection.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh my. I guess Vanessa/Ursula may have been responsible for their deaths (as a storm did occur when she transformed at the end of the third day).
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Knowing what we know about the history of the development of Disney animation, the studio may well have been developing what became Tangled and Frozen for decades." Chris, there's no need to speculate about that. We know for a FACT that "Frozen" was in development for decades.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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