|Elsa the Snow Queen|
Frozen 2 (upcoming)
|Short Films||Frozen Fever|
|Television Programs|| Once Upon A Time
Sofia the First (mentioned)
|Voice|| Idina Menzel
Eva Bella (8-year old)
Spencer Lacey Ganus (12-year old)
|Portrayed by||Georgina Haig (Once Upon A Time)|
|Other names|| Elsa
The Snow Queen
|Personality||Elegant, powerful, caring, reserved, warm, protective, loving, kind, remorseful, selfless, observant, intelligent, independent, artistic, watchful, down-to-earth, benevolent, insecure (formerly)|
|Allies||Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, Grand Pabbie, the trolls, Marshmallow, Kai and Gerda, Snowgies|
|Enemies||Hans, the Duke of Weselton and his thugs|
|Likes||Her family, chocolate, having fun with her powers, bringing joy to Anna and her kingdom, having fun with Anna, acceptance, freedom, peace, cleanliness, geometry, studying, tea, open gates, her powers (currently)|
|Dislikes||Her powers (formerly), fear, being treated as a monster, being hated, being mocked, not being with Anna, loneliness, her magic doing harm to others, conflicting moments with her sister, the idea of Anna marrying someone she hardly even knows, Arendelle in peril, herself (formerly)|
|Quotes|| "The cold never bothered me anyway."
"Conceal, don't feel."
"You can't marry a man you just met."
"Get it together. Control it. Don't feel, don't feel. Don't feel!"
Elsa is loosely based on the titular character of "The Snow Queen", a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and to a much lesser extent, Kai from the same story. While the character from the original fairy tale was neutral and, to some degree, villainous, Elsa was rewritten as the deuteragonist.
Actress and singer Megan Mullally was originally cast to voice Elsa, but was replaced by Broadway actress Idina Menzel, best known for performing Elphaba from Wicked when the story changed. Menzel had previously auditioned for a lead role in the 2010 Disney animated feature film, Tangled. She was not cast for the part, but the casting director recorded her singing and later showed the recording to Frozen's film executives. Menzel was surprised when she was subsequently asked to audition, and she received the role after reading the script out loud.
Director Chris Buck believed that Menzel's vocals would help in the portrayal of the character, saying, "Idina has a sense of vulnerability in her voice. She plays a very strong character, but someone who lives in fear—so we needed someone who could portray both sides of the character, and Idina was just amazing."
In an interview with Menzel, she acknowledged the similarities between Elsa and Elphaba. She mentioned they were both very powerful and misunderstood individuals, and she herself could relate to the characters, having hidden her singing talent from her peers at school. "I didn't want to alienate anyone," she explained. "If everyone was singing along in the car to a Madonna song, I didn't join in because when we're younger we're afraid of sticking out or showing off, when in fact we should own those things that make us really unique."
Following the casting of Idina Menzel, Elsa's characterization underwent several alterations. According to Menzel, she was originally scripted as a one-dimensional antagonist but was gradually revised as a more vulnerable, multifaceted figure. Menzel further described her character as "extremely complicated and misunderstood".
Director Jennifer Lee stated that Elsa is largely driven by fear throughout the film. Producers identified the scene in which Elsa sings "Let It Go" as a pivotal point in the character's development, as the scene depicts her choice to "let go" of her fear of using her powers and be herself. Character design supervisor Bill Schwab said, "Before 'Let It Go', Elsa is really buttoned up, her hair is up—everything is perfect. During the song, she gives herself permission to be who she is and everything changes — her hair is more wild, her gown is magical. She's finally free — even if she is all alone."
Lead writer Paul Briggs explained that Anna's support is what Elsa needs most when her secret is exposed. "The strength of the family bond is what makes this story so powerful because it's her sibling who's willing to look beyond her powers and stand between her and the world if that's what it takes."
As the queen regnant of the kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa appears calm, reserved, regal and--unlike her sister--experienced in grace and poise. Beneath this elegant appearance, however, Elsa is quite complex; in truth, the Snow Queen was, for a majority of her young life, troubled with her abilities, a trait that stems from a traumatic incident as a child. When she was younger, she had cared strongly for Anna and, despite being the more mature and cautious of the two sisters, Elsa was still quite playful and used her magic to have fun and goof off. However, after witnessing her magic nearly cause her sister's death, Elsa had lived in fear and trauma for a great amount of her life as she became too terrified to let her powers overdevelop. She consequently and willingly chose isolation from everyone she cared for, including Anna, out of fear that she could hurt them. This would eventually result in years of loneliness, misery, bitterness and grief. Regret would gradually take its toll on her as well when tragedies struck throughout her life from the accident with her sister to the death of her parents.
Elsa's damaging experience through the crucial stages from childhood to adulthood caused her personality to shift. She became reclusive, lonely, insecure, emotionally unstable, and genuinely depressed. For Elsa, her powers and nature grew more restrained as the years passed, slowly molding her into the cold hearted queen others saw her to be. When given the chance to rest and relent, however, as seen on the night of her coronation, Elsa's true persona, one that is warm, kind, fun loving, and innocently mischievous, came about - but only briefly, and with restriction.
However, during "Let It Go", Elsa reveals a liberated side to her personality. Without stress or fear of hurting others, the queen is strong and unafraid, yet with an air of elegance still surrounding her. Armed with a sense of freedom, she is confident in her abilities and accepts them as a part of her, letting them roam free with grace and beauty. All the while, she becomes no longer worried or daunted by her restraints. In the segment, which was entirely about letting go of her fears and embracing herself, Elsa abandons what others had wanted out of her, including her parents, so that she can be free to be herself. During this time, Elsa proves to be an incredibly artistic, and daring young woman, willing to remain far from what she was destined to be and rejects her own fate as Arendelle's queen for the choice of her own freedom as well as to protect the people in Arendelle from her powers.
And despite her fear, Elsa shows to truly care about her family and her kingdom as more than just a position quite selflessly, as she was evidently frightened when she realizes that she had created a winter over her kingdom when she had tried so desperately to avoid them from the peril her powers could potentially bring. But due to the influence of her magic, Elsa does not like to confront things she had caused, for she has always believed she can only create winter, not remove it.
However, Elsa's strongest part of herself is her love for her dear little sister, a trait that gives Elsa the ultimate motivation to save Anna. Although she feels responsible for the chaos that she has caused, the bond that Elsa shares with Anna is stronger than she knows, as the feeling itself is her reminder that she is not truly alone in the world when there is someone else who cares for her as well. With love, Elsa finds a stronger grip over her abilities in order to save those she cares about. From this, Elsa confronts her fears and learns how to use her powers for good instead of imbalance and, in doing so, gains the will to control them.
Following her return to power as Arendelle's reigning monarch, Elsa's original personality, not dominate since childhood, makes a return. With a warm, welcoming aura, Elsa rules her kingdom with a genuine smile, and spends most of her spare time using her abilities for the pleasure of herself, her sister, and the entire kingdom. As seen in Frozen Fever, this aspect of Elsa's personality has not only remained, but strengthened, as the short heavily showcased Elsa's lighter side as fun-loving, and extremely devoted to her sister, yet retained her sense of elegance, vibrancy, and compassion.