In my Frozen Theory article, I explored the connections fans have found to link Frozen, Tangled and The Little Mermaid.
Since that article was posted, the writers and directors of Frozen, Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have taken to Reddit to clarify some of these rumours.
While Lee confirmed that Elsa’s parents were going to a wedding in Frozen (a detail the Frozen Theory hinged upon), Buck threw out some tantalising details about what became of Elsa’s parents.
Or rather, who they became…
What happened to Elsa’s parents?
When redditor Georgie_Kay asks where the King and Queen were going when they lost their lives, Buck corrects the question, saying:
‘They didn’t die on the boat. They got washed up on a shore in a jungle island. The queen gave birth to a baby boy. They build a treehouse. They get eaten by a leopard.’
It doesn’t take a Disney obsessive to know what Buck’s hinting at.
The King and Queen became Tarzan’s parents.
Let’s look at the evidence:
Since Lee confirms that the King and Queen were going to a wedding, The Frozen Theory is at least in-part supported. The King and Queen could indeed have been travelling from Norway to attend Rapunzel’s wedding in Germany when their boat was struck off-course.
Granted, ‘off-course’ is a slight understatement here, but the idea does contradict The Frozen Theory in one illuminating way. If they indeed made their way out to the Atlantic Ocean it would mean that there is no way their wreckage could be found off the coast of Denmark where The Frozen Theory says Ariel finds it.
More likely it would end up in the Caribbean, surrounded by French colonists, calypso music, and perhaps a Jamaican Red Crab or two.
So, according to The Tarzan Theory, The Little Mermaid isn’t set off the coast of Denmark (Hans Christian Anderson’s birthplace) but a Caribbean island on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
This would explain how the ship looked so time-worn in The Little Mermaid. It wasn’t because so much time had passed, it was because the ship had been on a much longer voyage than the theory suggested.
(A lightning storm off the coast of Africa? What if Tarzan’s parents were actually caught in the thunderstorm from the climax of The Lion King? To find out who caused that storm, go read The Lion King Theory.)
The long voyage would also explain how there was time for Tarzan to be born during that time. A King and Queen would undoubtedly take plenty of provisions, even on a short trip, but by the time we see them in Tarzan these provisions have run dry, meaning they could have been at sea for a very long time indeed.
So let’s look at the parents themselves.
This is the hardest needle to thread. Even taking into account the passing of time and differing animation styles, it’s hard to believe these are the same people. While the King’s moustache-growth is understandable and his facial structure at least similar, his dramatic change in hair colour defies explanation (and the less said about his wife being a completely different person the better). They are also centuries apart in design. Tarzan’s parents look more like late 19th Century Irish immigrants than early 19th Century Norwegian royalty.
(And as Melissa Hall correctly points out in the comments: if Tarzan was born on the boat, when was the photo taken?)
In The Disney Theory I explored some of the Disney world’s crazy time-period differences, (such as the scene that links Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King in the same shot). But with no magical MacGuffin like Genie or Merlin in Tarzan it’s hard to see how the King and Queen slipped in to some dimension that transported them 200 years forward (unless Merlin had a hand in it while he was in the Bermuda triangle?).
As much as I want Elsa’s parents to have survived, there’s more evidence that Tarzan‘s Jane Porter is descended from one of Walt Disney’s classic Disney princesses than there is to connect Frozen and Tarzan.
So why would Chris Buck say Frozen‘s King and Queen end up in Tarzan?
Because he directed both of them.
Presumably Buck enjoys playing games with Disney fans to get them to revisit his back catalogue. Or perhaps he just wanted to troll the excitable conspiracy theorists who like to find logic in every serendipitous connection. I certainly fell for it.
But what do you all think? Is there any way to make the time difference in The Tarzan Theory work? Can we keep this theory alive?
And why exactly does Jane’s father look so much like the Duke of Weasel Town? (‘Weselton!’)
Actually, that last question is answered in: