Lore is a unique term among most writers, theorists, and worldbuilders. The idea of lore is that there is a continuity inside a story or nowadays a set of stories, that matches and is consistent and often hidden. Most of the time, when we talk about lore in books and movies, we are talking more about the hidden lore. The things that are true, but not just stated in a text.
YouTube channels like Game/Film Theory and HelloFutureMe make it a job to find these things, explore them, and theories on their ideas. There are unique niches of people who do this for certain stories like Avatar the Last Airbender, Pokemon, Five Nights and Freddies, I oculd go on and on.
One of the most popular groups is Disney. Disney has a lot even their own branch of into Princess theories or Pixar theories like the theory all of Pixar’s movies are connected in a timeline.
But I’m here to burst your bubble. We fan find lore and unique details in their movies, but the creators do not!
Not that we shouldn’t make these theories and make our head cannons. I still like my head cannon that the boat Ariel explores in The Little Mermaid is Anna and Elsa’s parents’ boat, even if that got a bit debunked by Frozen 2. But if you study Disney’s ways of making films you will realize there is very little, if any, hidden lore inside those movies. Mostly because Disney is not good at making it.
Walt Disney was a big believer in magic and making anything possible. The idea that everything would have to have a solid, lore-based explanation is rather amusing. Any of his older films are almost guaranteed to be just fan made, but what about more modern works such as those of the renaissance and renewal era of Disney? Movies made in 1980 through to today.
They don’t have it either. In fact, when fans have found any, Disney has gone out of their way to debunk it. They did this with their classic film Beauty and the Beast. Disney theories have worked hard to prove that the beast was only ten years old when he was cursed. The evidence is totally there! It’s so plausible I would call it cannon apart from one thing. The creators have gone out of their way to make sure they know that was not their intent!
The Beauty and the Beast Theory
In 1994, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast hit broadway. And for the most part, things weren’t changed, just added to or old ideas that used to bet here were added (like beast not knowing how to read being cut from the orginal story, but being a plot point in the musical so they could include a deleted song.) But there was one change. A big change.
The man points to the beast was ten years old theory is that Lumiere says in “Be Our Guest” that “ten years we’ve been rusting.” And in the opening squense, the narrator states the rose would bloom until his 21st year.” That’s easy math, take away ten from 20, as the rose is about to wilt in the film, and he was ten years old. Slam dunk, horrible Disney! In fact, there even is a book that came out as part of the promotion for the live action remake where the use that as main plot point (that is the main reason the book sucked, by the way. Like it if you want, I could hardly get through it.)
However, only three years later, that line is cut in the musical. It no longer blooms until it’s 21st year. It now says “it would bloom for many years.” And they left in Lumiere’s line. However, this was not enough to get theories talking and stating Disney meant to make the beast a ten year old and that’s horrible.
The live action remake sought to change this even more! They changed the line in “Be Our Guest” from “ten years” to “too long”. Why? Because the creators did not want fans to think the beast was ten years old. That was not their intent. IT seems they wanted him to freeze in time.
I’m not here to debunk that theory today. We can do that another day. But this is only the first line of evidence showing that Disney does not go that deep into their lore to think of things like this they don’t show us. The other is more recent.
Frozen Vs. Frozen 2
Frozen 2. One of Disney’s biggest story telling mistakes. It’s a great film on its own, but it broke many of the things the orginal film did story telling wise. It’s why the creators did not want to make it. In fact, the head creators of Frozen said there was no more story to tell for Frozen and it would stay that way. Shorts are great, but they felt the story was completed and needed no more. Until at a dinner with the producer one day they were discussing Frozen and how there weren’t any more story points they could make a movie from. They insisted every question had been answered. Until one of them said something about not knowing where Elsa’s powers came from. The producer declared that’s the question Frozen 2 had to answer, and so production on Frozen 2 began. Even if the creator weren’t too excited.
And though I could spend days talking about how Frozen 2 is the worst and best thing to happen to Disney lore, it again shows us that Disney does not have a hidden continuity or cannon that it uses even within one films story line. This is a Walt Disney Studio’s squeal. A very rare thing for them to od. Normally, the new people make right to DVD squeals to help make money and train new artists. So you can’t say it’s a break from orginal to someone else taking up the torch. These are matching creators, therefore, using the rule of creator or rule of God that most theories go by (meaning the creator gets to say what is cannon. Though fans, PLEASE, keep making your head cannons). There’s no getting out of whatever happens in Frozen 2 is solid cannon.
Frozen 2 Debunk Number 1
And the three biggest Frozen theories out there were completed debunked, despite rumors that the director said one of them was indeed cannon. The first, was the one I loved and mentioned before. The theory was Ariel explores the ship that sank, killing Anna and Elsa’s parents. Which I loved as both stories were written by the same author Hans Christian Anderson. But in Frozen 2 Anna and Elsa find their parents ship trapped in the Enchanted Forest, no where near a deep ocean where Ariel could find it.
Frozen 2 Debunk Number 2
The second is the Tarzan theory. The theory went that Anna and Elsa’s parents were expecting a baby boy when they left on the ship. When it sank, they were off the coast of Africa and thus the movie Tarzan begins. Now, I never could swallow this one, as Frozen clearly is based on a Norwegian area, that would be no where near Africa, but maybe. Disney can rearrange their fantasy world as they like. The internet even had quotes claiming the director said it was true. Clearly not, as we see they went down in the Black Sea.
Frozen 2 Debunk Number 3
The third is where the parents were going. The theory was they were going to Rapunzel’s wedding. I liked this one, though I thought it rude they didn’t at least let Anna come if so. I get why Elsa had to stay, but Anna is lonely anyway, let her meet her cousin or whatever they say she is. But, in Frozen 2 it makes it clear they were going to try to find the answer to how to control Elsa’s powers.
As much as I love some of these theories, it’s clear, even the ones we pretend the directors actually wanted, are not true. Disney does not do the deep lore. The Pixar timeline theory keeps getting busted until we have to go way out of our way to prove it. As much as I really want that one to be true!
Disney doesn’t do deep hidden lore. They tried to do that with Frozen 2 and not only did they undo any hidden lore found in Frozen, but they made a real mess of a lore that doesn’t even match itself. The elements have a fifth element that’s in two people? For loreists like us, that’s a wimpy answer. It’s story telling with very soft magic. And that’s ok! But the problem is when we try to apply hard magic and worldbuilding rules to a soft magic and worldbuilding situation.
Disney is soft magic. Disney does not do giant world building. Each movie is it’s own bubble, even if it’s a squeal as we see with Frozen and Frozen 2 and even across remakes they will undo lore we find because they never intended it and want us to know it.
But what are some of your favorite Disney theories? Did they get debunked? If so, are they still in your head cannon? Some are in mine I know. Tell us in the comments. And never stop dreaming.