While Frozen 2 promises the return of beloved characters like Olaf and Sven, it’s also got a few new ones up its sleeve. The trailer already introduced some, such as the previous queen and king of Arendelle and Lieutenant Destin Mattias. But while the humans hold a special place in our hearts, it’s the mythic creatures who capture our imagination.

At a recent Disney press day, the Frozen 2 team unveiled a few of the newcomers that the trailer provided glimpses of. Within the Enchanted Forest from King Agnarr’s bedtime stories lie various animals and natural forces ready to win audiences over.

Arendelle Characters Great and Small

The water spirit called the Nokk, a guardian of the forest who lives in the Dark Sea, first calls our attention. Svetla Radivoeva, an Animation Supervisor Frozen 2‘s characters, described how Disney’s artists crafted the stallion’s beauty and magic. “The Nokk is part of Nordic mythology and folklore, and it’s a shapeshifter character,” she explained. In deciding to keep the shape of a horse, the animators did a great deal of research.

The trainer told us that horses are very peaceful animals. But our Nokk is actually a warrior and protector of the Dark Sea. We thought of it as a wild stallion that just hasn’t been yet tamed.

In order to achieve that untamed feel, they worked with the Effects, Technical Animation, and Lighting departments. By incorporating real-life equine behavior, such as pointing ears to indicate respect, they designed a majestic companion for Elsa on her journey.

frozen 2 bruni
Bruni winning Elsa over already.

Bruni the salamander stands on the opposite end. As Bill Schwab, Art Director of Characters on Frozen 2 said, “Our goal with this character was to make Bruni as adorable as possible.” That cuteness was coaxed through much rigging and modeling, underscoring the collaborative process of storytelling in animation.

Invisible Animation

Gale, the Wind Spirit, is a particularly ambiguous character – especially as it can’t actually be seen. With such difficulty, it’s no surprise Gale was one of the first characters Schwab worked on.

My first question was how do you draw wind? How do you draw something that isn’t there? And so, the solution was to think about debris and sticks and leaves and things that might be in the Enchanted Forest that we could actually use to define Gale. Again, just looking for ways to make this character unique and using color and pattern to help define the character.

Between the Enchanted Forest and the Dark Sea, Frozen 2 will teem with new and delightful creatures. Thanks to the hard work of animators and technical artists alike, Anna’s fairy tales and Elsa’s myths come to life on November 22nd. Let us know your hopes for the latest additions in the comments below. And check back with That Hashtag Show for the latest news on your favorite films.