This past week, Frozen co-director Chris Buck confirmed that “in his little head,” Anna and Elsa were related to Tarzan from Disney’s Tarzan (which he had also co-directed). According to him, Anna and Elsa’s parents were on the boat for longer than we thought, gave birth to Tarzan, and then washed up on shore of an African nation thousands of miles from their homeland. He’s quick to add that this isn’t really Disney canon, but since he’s the co-director of both and he answered a Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) in this way, that would indicate that this has some heft behind it.
Here are some reasons why this is a terrible theory.
- It doesn’t make sense geographically. Frozen takes place in a Scandinavian country whereas Tarzan takes place in an African one, most likely the Democratic Republic of Congo (because that’s where these gorillas usually live). Even if the Disney world isn’t exactly analogous to ours, they would still come from two different climate zones that would have to be thousands of miles apart. How did the ship get blown that far off course – and with any survivors? At the very least, everyone would have died of starvation, dehydration, and possibly scurvy (This is especially unlikely if the parents’ ship ended up in Ariel’s world or the parents were going to Rapunzel’s wedding in France.).
- It doesn’t make sense chronologically. According to the Disney Wiki, Frozen takes place in the 1840s – 1850s while Tarzan is in the 1880s. Even if Tarzan’s parents were alive in the 1860s, that’s still more than 10 years after the Frozen parents died.
- The Frozen mom would have been too old to safely give birth. This one is actually up for debate because the mother would have been in her early 40s by the time she gave birth to Tarzan, but it just seems unlikely that she would have her two girls in her teens and wait twenty years to give birth again – especially if she’d spent twenty years having miscarriages. And on a freaking boat!
- The Tarzan and Frozen parents look nothing like each other. Their hair type, color, style, texture, and parts are different. Their face shapes are different. Their skin colors are different. Their style of clothing is different. The king changes his facial hair. They lose their royal status and become naturalists. They go from being Scandinavian to English. Their personalities change. They are not the same people.
- There was no way for them to take photographs on that boat. While photography has existed since the early 1800s, it was still a delicate process that involved people staying very, very still. How would they have gotten the kind of quality photos they did on a rocking, rolling boat – especially if they’d spent the past ten years starving?
So there’s just no way these are the same people, and it’s pretty lame of Chris Buck to tie them in together and answer questions about the movies as though the theory’s true. He’s one of the directors so his word carries a great deal of weight. He should be more responsible with his theories and statements.