Once Upon a Time's Two Most Burning Frozen Questions Answered

Once Upon a Time Frozen Henry

ABC’s Once Upon a Time is opening Season 4 with an 11-episode arc that introduces several characters from Disney’s Frozen, an animated blockbuster that most every rugrat has seen, like, seven times by now.

Including young Henry…?

RELATED Once Upon a Time Season 4 Scoop on The Knave, Emma’s New Home

While Emma and Regina’s son for three seasons has watched characters from his storybook come to life (for better or worse), is he now about to drop his popcorn upon spying Queen Elsa of Arendelle (played by Fringe‘s Georgina Haig) leap from the big screen into Storybrooke?

As part of our all-encompassing, in-depth Fall Preview interview, I ran that burning question (which I believe was first raised by TVLine reader Gail; please collect your 500 Power User Points!) past Once creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, and the simple answer is no, Henry won’t recognize Elsa & Co. — and for a very good reason.

As Horowitz explains, Once “occurs in a semblance of real time,” starting with Emma Swan’s Oct 23, 2011 birthday aka the series premiere. With Season 2 encompassing less than a year, and even factoring in Season 3’s midseason time jump, “We calculated that we are now living in the early part of 2013,” Horowitz notes. Meaning, Henry not only couldn’t have seen Frozen (a late-November release) yet, but its first teaser trailer won’t hit the Storybrooke Cinema for months.

PHOTOS Once Upon a Time Season 4: New Shots of Frozen’s Elsa and Kristoff

The other question on many a viewer’s mind is born of a Season 3 that revealed A) Peter Pan to be Rumplestiltskin’s father and B) the Wicked Witch as Regina’s half-sister. So, who in Storybrooke will wind up having family ties to Elsa, Anna or any of the other Frozen visitors?

In a word: nobody. (Cue many sighs of relief.) “We will go on record as saying that we are not going to reveal that, for example, Elsa is somebody’s sister,” Horowitz makes clear.

Once Upon a Time Season 4 premieres Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8/7c.

Want more scoop on Once Upon a Time, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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57 Comments
  1. Bianca says:

    Any goodies related to OUAT that aren’t Frozen related? Any Regina or Regina & Robin scoop?

  2. Ross says:

    The real question is: what kind of character will Liz Mitchell play?

  3. Zach says:

    Finally! Characters that aren’t related to each other. Let’s hope the Wicked Witch was the last.

  4. Kate Sullivan says:

    I just sort of like that they are paying attention to time (I read somewhere that Robert Carlyle keeps his own so he knows what version of Rumple he plays…pre and post Bae or Belle).

  5. Chol H Yoon says:

    Too bad, I would like to have seen Elsa’s & Anna’s reaction to songs, “Let it go” and “First time and forever”. It would have been priceless.

  6. robinepowell says:

    Well Henry’s family tree was supposed to be updated to include a couple of more relatives, last year, and so far only Zelena was added.
    What happened to the others?

  7. Chris says:

    I’m a little confused. I thought the Frozen storyline took place after the movie, how can the season have a post movie plot in a time frame where the movie didn’t exist yet?

    • Diz says:

      Easy, the stories exist, just nobody (in OUaT’s timeline) has got round to making/releasing the movie yet!

    • Zorkel says:

      Because the storyline would have taken place already, the animated film version just wouldn’t have been released yet. Disney has yet to make a Rumplestiltskin movie, but his story has transpired already.

    • Chris says:

      Ok, that makes more sense. I know Once likes to bend the rules but something about reading that it both takes place after the movie and the movie doesn’t exist yet completely threw me off lol.

  8. Coal says:

    Man, does this mean I have to watch Frozen ? I haven’t watched any genre of animation in years.

    • BTM says:

      I recommend it highly. Ask a friend or relative with little kids to show you. Might make it more fun to watch your six-year-old niece having a good time.

    • AnnieM says:

      I finally watched it the other night. it was cute. Though I think it’s a stretch for them to even say that this story was ‘inspired’ by The Snow Queen. Also one thing I don’t understand is why so many comments have been made about ‘what REALLY happened to their mother’. I though the movie made it pretty clear.

    • Alex says:

      Why haven’t you watched any genre of animation is years? Animation is not for kids; it is a unique movie genre. We have live-action science fiction, comedy, action, adventure, romance, suspense, and we also have animated movies in those same genres. I am a grown adult and animation is my favorite movie genre because that is what is appealing to me. Some of the best movies that I have ever seen and have ever been made are animated. Do not let anyone ever tell you that you are too old for animated films and especially do not let them tell you that you are too old for a Walt Disney movie. Watch some animated movies and TV shows and you will be surprised!

  9. Kay says:

    To be honest, I don’t know why people get so upset about characters being related to each other. Is it a matter of it being unrealistic? Because it’s a show about how all fairy-tale characters are real, come from other worlds that have magic, and are transported to our world by curse(s)…. If you’re looking for a show with some realism, this is probably not it.

    • Bianca says:

      Its just the fact that everyone being related has been so over done now. That’s why everyone is getting sick of it. Just like everyone being more than one character is being over done too.

  10. Luis says:

    I love OUAT, but I am already ready for this story line to be over. I understand why it makes sense from a business perspective for Disney to cash in on “Frozen” as much as they can but I just think its incredibly crass to see ABC foisting these characters off on us because its good for Disney’s business

    • I hate blatant marketing ploys and anything resembling advertising, and I go out of my way to not buy advertised product. So putting the Frozen lot in OUaT simply guarantees I will now not watch Frozen, and never will. I don’t care how good it may be – I just simply will not succumb to this sort of ugly money grab.

      • Davey Elmer says:

        @Luis and Scott Johnston: You DO both realize that bringing in Frozen characters was ENTIRELY Adam and Eddy’s idea, correct?

        The idea that Disney ‘pushed’ this on A&E or that it’s merely some kind of sadistic ‘marketing ploy’ is a blatantly inaccurate fallacy.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          I thank you for reiterating this point, which was reported in detail by TVLINE after the Season 3 finale. E&A had to take many meetings to get permission to use the Frozen characters. (It will be further elaborated upon in the full Fall Preview Q&A.)

          • Brandt says:

            Didn’t they kind of change their story at SDCC though and say they simply walked in and asked Disney and were surprised how easily it was approved? A little double talk because I do remember the interview with TVLine discussing the ‘many meetings’.

          • Ray says:

            Yeah…to grab the attention and potential viewership of those silly Frozen-loving people.

        • How Frozen ended up in OUaT is irrelevant to me. I really don’t care whose idea it was.

          • Ray says:

            The point is that they wanted to tell the story/use the characters. They didn’t just put them in for ‘blatant marketing’, regardless of how cynic you want to be about it.

          • Name That Tune says:

            To take it one step further, I really don’t care that Frozen is part of OUAT. It makes no sense and it reeks of the gimmickry that this show has come to rely on. I am utterly bored with the whole idea.

      • Alex says:

        Frozen is one of the best movies that I have ever seen; it is so stupid that you refuse to watch it just because Anna and Elsa are on Once Upon A Time. Shame on all of you who that Frozen is a “ugly money grab”!

      • Thank you! I totally agree

    • Sal says:

      I did not care for the movie Frozen. It is the first Disney movie I have not cared for in a long time. So it is safe to say, that I too am ready for this Frozen plot to be over with. How long are these characters hanging around?

  11. Did you ask if Anastasia, Will’s True Love from OUATinWL, is appearing also? Please say you did! It wouldn’t make sense if she wasn’t appearing with Will!

    • Davey Elmer says:

      Actually, you can’t say it doesn’t make sense because by the time Will appears on OUaT, it will have been a year and change since he and Ana stayed in Wonderland to rebuild it, and, as we found out in Season 3, a LOT can happen over the course of a year and there are any number of plausible reasons for Will to be in Storybrooke without her.

  12. Liv says:

    Great choice of picture, Matt! Loving this Swan-Mills family dynamic. Hopefuly we’ll get to see more of this in this upcoming season!

  13. Larry says:

    What a relief honestly. It will feel so refreshing to hear no more blood ties. It’s been done before with the green villains last year, and that was ok for just that season, but now I’m glad that a new antagonist will come in out of personal interest instead of familial revenge or a diabolical plot involving family members. Makes things much more unpredictable, and it will be a nice change this season from wicked and pan. BRING ON THE SNOW QUEEN!!!! Lol

  14. Can a brother get a Snow Queen reference up in here?

  15. Lindsey says:

    I’m assuming this season will mimic s3, with 2 distinct story lines (Neverland and Oz). So, we’ll have Frozen, obviously. Wonder whats in store for the second half? Perhaps a journey to Agrabah? Or Africa, to meet the Lion King gang?

  16. LS1 says:

    I think Frozen fits in so well with OUAT, how did anyone watch the movie and not think of OUAT and some parallels esp Emma and Elsa, two alone woman who have this magic they didnt ask for her, put their distant and guard up etc and just now letting love in – Elsa – her sister, and Emma = family, and Hook.

    I also do wonder if Hook has been to Arendelle ever, sailed to it.

  17. Rob says:

    Has there been any word on whether OUAT in Wonderland will ever be coming to DVD/Blu-Ray? I figured it would come out when OUAT S3 did but that’s this week and I haven’t seen anything about Wonderland.

  18. Matt says:

    So if they are no in 2011 and frozen hasn’t happened yet why does their story take place after the events of frozen?

  19. Jessica says:

    I can’t wait

  20. Mary Ann says:

    OK – I really enjoy OUAT – I have since Day 1 – even the not-so-great story lines. But the story lines I have enjoyed the MOST were between our core characters – without the added Disney Blockbusters…..and without the occasional visitors. If, as we all kind of suspect, this is a play for the Disney kingdom (which even if it were Adam & Eddy’s idea – remember who signs THEIR checks) why not go all out – lets bring in PIXAR characters! Sully as a day care teacher, or Buzz Lightyear as a gas station attendant….OR, let’s get back to what made this show great to begin with – our CORE characters!

  21. Trish says:

    Did they ever say how Rumple’s dad went from having a Scottish accent as an adult to having a British one as Peter Pan?

  22. Kay Angelina says:

    Any hints as to if Zelena is GONE FOR GOOD? ;)
    Regina hating Emma once more?
    Robin and Marian?

  23. Laura Moser says:

    Will Henry get a girlfriend this year, or is he still too young to think about girls? and Why is the characters in the “New Season Preview” in their Enchanted Forest costumes, in Storybrooke? Also, will we find out what else went on during their year in the E.F?

  24. Caroline says:

    Wait, what? I thought Frozen was Prince Charming and Snow White’s daughter.

  25. Caroline says:

    This is too confusing. Are Ben and Elsa related?

  26. perfect choice with the picture. The Swan-Mills family is at the core of the show and in s3b Henry has been underused. He needs to be seen more with his mothers especially Regina. They are a family, so I want this family on the show. It’s perfect. You basically have 3 core families: Swan-Mills, Snowing and Rumbelle. It’s perfect. This is what the show is about. Perfect picture :). Thank you for mentioning Henry. It’s refreshing to see some news about him.

    The love stories are overated. More family moments with Regina/Henry now that they are on good terms. Would love some flashbacks from when Henry was a toddler or before the book.

  27. I wish that Once would NOT have jumped on the Frozen bandwagon. There are so many other fairy tales that could be explored. I think Season 3 (and now Season 4) have lost focus; they need to go back to a season long story; not these short term things. I thought it was AWFUL having to wait from December to March last season for it to pick back up. We have never been told what happened to the Mad Hatter

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