What Bringing in Elsa Could Mean for "Once Upon a Time"

Amanda Doughty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Much like the midseason finale, a new villain was introduced within the final minutes of the season finale of Once Upon a Time. However, whereas last time we were introduced to the Wicked Witch of the West, this new character was a bit more current: Elsa from Disney’s newest classic Frozen. This has sparked both excitement and confusion from many of the show’s followers.
From a marketing standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Frozen is incredibly relevant, and has been bringing insane profit to Disney since its release. Given that Once Upon a Time’s ratings fell quite a bit this year (mainly because the Neverland storyline was so terrible), this could help bring back the fan base this show has lost over the past year.
However, there are also great risks in adding Elsa to the show. If they choose to reinvent her the way they did with Peter Pan, it could have the opposite effect they want. Many were outraged over the idea of Peter Pan being a villain, and he’s over fifty years old. Elsa is at the peak of her popularity right now, and making her a villain could definitely cause some issues. Plus, she’s too new to be reinvented. Everyone knows Peter Pan, but people are still getting to know Elsa. The reinvention would be far less fascinating to watch for those that stuck it out.

Scene from the Once Upon A Time season 3 finale.
Scene from the Once Upon A Time season 3 finale.
One of the other big problems is the shoes Elsa would have to fill if the writers do decide to make her a villain. Rebecca Mader’s Zelena was quite possibly the best villain this show has ever seen, and slowly finding out her diabolical plan was the best part of the latter half of this season. In addition, though, viewers felt for Zelena in ways they didn’t with Pan or Cora. Because her greatest downfall was envy, and all she truly wanted was a chance for a better life, people empathized with her more than the show’s previous villains (who sought power and eternal youth). If they’re going to fill these ruby slippers, they’re going to have to find one hell of an actress. Or, more specifically, they’ll have to get Idina Menzel.
There are a couple of things that I think could make this story work, and they all have one common thread: Elsa ending up being a good guy. She can be misunderstood at first, but making her a flat out villain just will not end well. But then they’d have to find another villain. Given how much I enjoyed her, I would love for them to find a way to bring Rebecca Mader back somehow. They brought Rumple back from the dead; they could easily do it again. She was just too good of a character to only be around for half a season. Plus, because they both have unusual magical powers, it would be easy to tie these two characters together (and we all know Once Upon a Time loves tying a bunch of characters to one another). Maybe Elsa held the elusive Western seat at the Witches table in Oz before Zelena. Or maybe Zelena will act as her friend and mentor when the others reject her at first (which is bound to happen). There are many ways Zelena could be brought back as the main villain, and one of them really should be done.
Another interesting route would be the bring Hans into this story, or someone like Hans. Have him show up and help the Storybrooke citizens at first, then turn their back on them later. Maybe don’t name him Hans, because that would give it away for everyone, but add him in. It may not be as enjoyable as bringing back Zelena, but it could still be interesting.
Scene from the Once Upon A Time season 3 finale.
Scene from the Once Upon A Time season 3 finale.
They’re obviously going to bring Anna into the story at some point. However, because she’s as popular and new as Elsa is, it’s highly doubtable that she’ll end up being a villain. If there’s one thing they shouldn’t do, though, it’s bring in Olaf. Once is known for its terrible special effects, and they would butcher a peppy talking snowman to the point where he’d be unrecognizable. They’ll probably include him anyway, though, especially since bringing Frozen in is primarily for marketing.
If there’s anything certain about Elsa’s upcoming plotline, it’s that she’ll be connected to at least one other character. No one has really managed to get through a season of this show without realizing they’re related to one of the main characters. Cora was Regina’s mother, Zelena her sister, Pan ended up being Rumple’s father, and all of the main characters are so interconnected it’s nearly impossible to remember who’s related to who. An appropriate guess right now would be Maid Marian, as she just recently returned from the dead for very little reason. Maybe she’s the Anna we’re waiting for?
Fans like Once Upon a Time because it twists the fairytales everyone knows and loves. Hopefully whatever route the decide to take with Frozen proves as interesting as the ways they redid Peter Pan and Little Red Riding Hood. Though it’s most likely a marketing tactic to bring in more viewers, these writers know what they’re doing. Whatever they do is sure to be interesting; and maybe—just maybe—it’ll also be good.
What do you think about Once Upon A Time bringing in Elsa? Sound off in the comments!

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