Cancel the family reunion: Turns out, Tarzan is not, in fact, Anna and Elsa’s little brother.
The story was that Anna and Elsa’s parents, the king and queen of the Scandinavian nation of Arendelle, did not, in fact, perish in the shipwreck that’s shown in the beginning of the Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel-led film.
This -- one of the biggest Disney conspiracy theories yet -- was confirmed in early 2017 when co-director of both “Frozen” and “Tarzan,” Chris Buck, let us in on this narrative tidbit in an interview with MTV News:
“They get shipwrecked, and somehow they really washed way far away from the Scandinavian waters, and they end up in the jungle. They end up building a treehouse and a leopard kills them, so their baby boy is raised by gorillas. So, in my little head, Anna and Elsa's brother is Tarzan.”
The interview was the second time Buck had mentioned the Arendelle royalty’s alternate fate; this storyline also made it into a Reddit AMA he did in 2014, only a year after “Frozen” was released. Then again, he also noted that he believed the penguins from the Columbia Pictures film “Surf’s Up” resided on the other side of Tarzan’s island, so maybe we should have known from the start that this wasn’t going to hold up.
Now, Buck is going back on those details. At the D23 Expo last weekend, Buck attended a panel where he essentially took back everything he said.
“I said it as a joke once on Reddit and then, wow. So sorry,” said Buck at the summit according to Insider. “I can sleep tonight.”
Well, what about the rest of us, Buck?!
So, there won’t be a happy little reunion in the jungle anytime soon. And Jane won’t ever meet Anna (wouldn’t they be such good friends?!). Perhaps it’s all for the best, since there’s no way Olaf would survive the heat of that jungle, anyway.
However, I think this retraction points to a bigger picture, here. During D23, Buck essentially revealed why the team decided to make a sequel to “Frozen” in the first place.
“Our producer Peter Del Vecho traveled around the world talking about ‘Frozen,’” he said. “And he told us there was one question people kept asking him: ‘Why does Elsa have powers?’”
Once that door was opened, the sequel was inevitable, but it sounds like more details from the first film went into the journey to understanding Elsa’s powers, which is what the trailer has alluded to be the main focus of the film, out November of this year.
At the panel, co-director Jennifer Lee said they started exploring why Elsa was the only one with powers, and she hinted that perhaps the sisters’ parents were on their way to investigate just that when their ship sank.
“Where were their parents really going when that ship went down?” Lee asked.
The theory, previously, was that the King Agnarr and Queen Iduna (who will be voiced by Evan Rachel Wood in the sequel) were on their way to Flynn Rider and Rapunzel’s wedding -- see this clip for why. Now, though, it sounds like Disney wants to dive deeper into where the king and queen were going and link it to the origin of Elsa’s powers.
Perhaps Buck realized that his confirmation of the Elsa/Anna/Tarzan theory would act as a roadblock to whatever path they pave with “Frozen II.” If, in the sequel, the king and queen were on their way North to some mystical, frozen, ice-power-bearing land, then the fact that they washed up on the shores of a tropical jungle probably wouldn’t hold up.
And, listen, I’ll accept that! If the takeaway is worth it. In other words, we better find out that Queen Iduna and King Agnarr were onto something.