Despite her acclaimed work on Frozen and Frozen 2, Jennifer Lee will not be returning to direct Frozen 3 for Disney, the next installment in the lucrative franchise.
In an interview with The Wrap at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Lee revealed that she would be handing over the directorial reins to a yet-unnamed successor. As chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, she is widely regarded as one of Disney’s most talented figures, having also written the screenplays for Zootopia and Wreck-It Ralph. The original Frozen, which Lee co-directed with Chris Buck, earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2014. She’s also one of the writers involved with Wish, a soon-to-be released animation starring Chris Pine and Ariana DeBose.
In her interview, Lee revealed few details about the sequel, which is now in development; “I can’t say where we are with Frozen 3,” she was quoted as saying. “All our stories are driven by the artists in the studio. Where we’re going with Frozen did not come from me. It came from an incredible person. That’s a new piece, I’ve told no one.
And I’ve been blown away by it and I’m just having a blast with that team.
According to Lee, she will be still involved in Frozen 3 in a consultative role. She expressed her confidence that someone else on the team would rise to the occasion. “We’ve lived the world for awhile together and a lot of the artists in the studio grew up with that film too, both of them, and have been there the whole way…They kinda own them as much as anyone else.
Though she’s coming in out of the cold as far as Frozen is concerned, Lee did not rule out future directorial projects with the Magic Kingdom folks, telling her interviewer: “I know someday I want to be a filmmaker again. I’m old but I’m not that old! I’ve only done two films and I do believe there’s a time — I’ll know it — but there’s a time when you give everything you can and then you make room for innovation of the next person. I can’t imagine anywhere but Disney.”
It’s unclear when Frozen 3 will be released: it’s only one of several franchise sequels that are being greenlit under the new Bob Iger regime, a list that includes Toy Story 5 and Zootopia 2. It’s expected that Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez will once again be providing the music for the new sequel.
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