Frozen 3 is still unconfirmed, but all of the groundwork has been laid for Prince Hans to return as the primary villain of the Frozen franchise. Prince Hans was introduced in Frozen as Anna’s love interest, before the film shocked audiences by revealing that he was secretly a villain all along. Hans is the youngest of thirteen sons in the Southern Isles’ royal family, and is deeply resentful that he is unable to become king. Instead, he travels to Arendelle with the intention of marrying Princess Elsa — and then Princess Anna — in order to assume the throne himself.
Although Prince Hans’ backstory is not explored in Frozen, the official tie-in novel A Frozen Heart goes into detail about the physical and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his twelve older brothers, and his many attempts to win his father’s respect. The novel explains that Hans’ plot is partially motivated by the throne, but equally motivated by an attempt to escape his abusive family. The end of Frozen reveals Hans’ scheme and shows him being arrested and sent back home.
If Frozen 3 happens, Prince Hans should return as the villain and finally explore his troubled past. Although Hans doesn’t appear in Frozen 2, his lasting impact on Anna and the frequent references to Hans confirm that Disney is keeping him in the franchise. Frozen 2 ends with Princess Anna taking over as Arendelle’s queen, but hasn’t fully explored her residual trauma from her short engagement to Hans.
A major problem in Frozen 2 is that the movie didn’t have a clearly defined villain. Instead, the plot was motivated by a mysterious voice that Elsa was following, and an ambiguous threat to Arendelle if they couldn’t free the Enchanted Forest. Frozen 2 was full of plot holes, and the lack of a proper villain created a narrative vacuum that the film was unable to fill. One of Frozen’s strengths was that the plot was driven by a well-defined antagonist — first, fear of Elsa’s uncontrollable power, followed by Hans’ uncontrollable ambition — and Frozen 2 suffered by comparison. The biggest lesson Frozen 3 can learn from its predecessor is making sure that the film is centered around a villain.
Although he didn’t appear in Frozen 2, Hans is still a player in the Frozen universe, even from the Southern Isles. Prince Hans’ fate is revealed in Frozen Fever, which shows him working as a prisoner, shoveling manure in the stables as punishment for his attempted coup in Arendelle. Hans is also regularly referenced in Frozen 2, first in a charades scene early on where he is universally insulted, and later appearing to Elsa in Ahtohollan as a snowy manifestation. Prince Hans’ inclusion in the Frozen series, even after he stopped being a major part of the plot, is an indication that Disney still plans to incorporate him into the franchise — and is laying the groundwork for Hans to return as a villain in Frozen 3.
Frozen flips traditional story structure on its head and doesn’t reveal that Prince Hans is the true villain until the very end of the movie. As a result, he doesn’t have a traditional villain arc in Frozen. While that was the right narrative choice for the film, it gives Frozen 3 to explore what they could look like. Prince Hans will likely want revenge after Anna and Elsa sent him back to the Southern Isles, and might view Elsa’s abdication of the throne as an opportunity to once again make a move for the Arendelle throne.
Hans’ backstory in the Frozen tie-in novel A Frozen Heart further adds to the theory that he would be an excellent villain in the still unconfirmed Frozen 3. The novel partially acts as a retroactive redemption arc for Prince Hans, revealing that he was physically and emotionally abused by his family and tried to take Arendelle’s throne both to earn their respect, and to escape. With that context, Prince Hans’ callous treatment of Princess Anna comes across as a continuation of the cycle of abuse Han’s endured, which creates a compelling and untraditional background for a potential villain arc for Prince Hans.
A hallmark of the Frozen franchise is taking traditional fairytale tropes and flipping them on their head — something they did with transforming the Snow Queen into a protagonist with Elsa, with the reveal that Prince Hans was a villain, and by using Frozen 2 as a way to explore colonialism and the ethics of a monarchy. Exploring Prince Hans through the lens of his personal trauma, and how he perpetuated an abusive cycle through his brief engagement with Princess Anna, is another way that Frozen can continue to redefine traditional fairytales. Frozen already has a perfect villain with Hans, and he has the motivation to return — which is why Frozen 3 should bring him back.
Unlike Kristoff, who didn’t have a real song until Frozen 2, Prince Hans is featured in a bubbly duet with Princess Anna in, “Love Is An Open Door.” However, that song came before Frozen revealed that Prince Hans was the true villain of the film. By keeping that reveal under wraps, Prince Hans never got to have the traditional Disney villain song, where the villain explains their motives and evil plans. Even in movies where other characters don’t know that the character is villain, like Hans, they usually still get this moment — such as “Gaston” in Beauty and the Beast.
Prince Hans, like Kristoff, is voiced by a bonafide Broadway star in Santino Fontana and Hans should be given a proper Disney villain solo. Now that Prince Hans has been revealed as evil, he should lean into his villainy in the vein of Hunchback of Notre Dame’s chilling “Hellfire” or The Lion King’s campy “Be Prepared.” Even if Frozen brought Hans back as a more nuanced villain and explored how he was shaped by his abusive background, a classic Disney solo is the perfect way for Hans to struggle with his own ambitions while laying out his plot to overthrow Anna and take Arendelle’s throne.
Frozen 3 hasn’t been confirmed, but Disney should take the opportunity to learn from Frozen 2’s mistakes and bring back Prince Hans. It’s a great opportunity to rectify Frozen’s mistake in not giving Santino Fontana a truly villainous song, and continue to expand the Frozen universe by going into Hans’ backstory. If another Frozen movie happens, Disney can finally turn Prince Hans into a true villain in Frozen 3.
Read more: screenrant.com