Frozen 2 arrives six years after its predecessor, which made Anna and Elsa a global sensation. With that kind of pressure, it’s no wonder the producers did a deep dive to uncover the perfect material for a sequel. And it seems that’s just what they did, drawing inspiration from a research trip to several Nordic countries. Once there, they understood the difference between joyous fairy tales and tragic myths. More importantly, they say how each suited Anna and Else respectively.

frozen 2 lake inari
Lake Inari in Finland; an Anna inspiration

At Disney’s early press day for Frozen 2, the story and animation departments expanded on their thesis for the film. Marc Smith, the director of story, ascribed fairy tales to Finland and myths to Iceland. “You didn’t wonder why there’s so many stories about forest spirits and magic in those regions, and as part of those cultures,” he said about the former. Meanwhile, Iceland “felt like nature was so powerful and awesome, and it could kill you at any second.”

Frozen 2 and Character Destiny

With the two narrative genres well in hand, how could Frozen 2 apply them to their heroines? Smith went on to describe the creative team’s discovery process:

One of the writers here at this studio had a saying. ‘Fairy tales don’t tell us that dragons don’t exist. Fairy tales tell us that we can slay the dragon.’ …That’s Anna! She’s the ultimate optimist; she believes in the happy ending. It was really nice little connection there.

frozen 2 enchanted forest
Frozen 2’s myths are a force of nature.

Anna’s optimism saved her sister in the first film, and it shines throughout Frozen 2‘s trailer. Especially when she insists on following Elsa into an enchanted forest, which is very mythic in nature. As Smith continued:

The mythological hero usually has to take on the weight of the world and to fulfill some sort of fate, or some sort of destiny. And that really felt like it lined up nicely with Elsa’s story. ‘Why do I have these big, awesome powers of nature, and what am I supposed to do with that?’ And so that was a really pivotal discovery for us, because now we have our two main characters who have world views that are really completely opposite.

While Frozen 2 clearly won’t be relying on any predetermined fairy tales or myths, the shape of both is woven into the whole. And much like the first movie required the sisters to work together, the second will most likely merge both stories. Together, Anna the quintessential Disney princess and Elsa the (hopefully not) tragic hero can face anything enchanted nature throws at them.

Frozen 2 premieres on November 22nd. Are you excited to see Anna and Elsa tackle Nordic folklore once more? Let us know in the comments below, and check back with That Hashtag Show for the latest news on your favorite films.