The first half of season 4 of Once Upon a Time (OUaT) is making use of the characters and story from Frozen. Up until this week's episode, they'd been writing a story that takes place after the events of the film, essentially using the story without altering the original canon. However, this week's episode adds elements that predate the film, effectively altering the canon.

Is Disney allowing OUaT to make contributions to the Frozen canon? That is, things that will affect future Frozen films/shows.

  • Good question, at least for the additional insight provided by the @guildsbounty. This season has had a much different feel than past seasons. All former fairy tale references have been loosely-based on their original (or Disney-original) tellings. The addition of the characters and back-story from Frozen have been near-spot on. I still enjoy the show, but it does feel a little out of place.
    – RLH
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:03
  • Are more Frozen films/shows planned?
    – TylerH
    Oct 14, 2014 at 20:26
  • @TylerH At the moment, a short film titled Frozen Fever is due next year. The film made a stupendous amount of money, it's almost certainly going to get sequels.
    – user1027
    Oct 14, 2014 at 21:12
  • @Keen, indeed it is: m.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/31862518 Mar 12, 2015 at 22:00

3 Answers 3


I'm going to go with no. Once Upon a Time is an alternate retelling of fairy tales, without altering their canon. The 'canon' Disney story of Snow White has not been changed by this series, nor has Mulan, Peter Pan, or any of the rest. This is an alternate take on every other fairy tale, I don't see why this should be an exception.

As further evidence, in an interview with Variety magazine, the following exchange took place.

Variety: Unlike most of your characters, “Frozen” is an ongoing property — are you guys tying anything in with Disney’s wider plan for the characters? Is there anything you’re introducing that could be carried over to other iterations?

Kitsis: Nothing we’re doing is canon into the “Frozen” franchise. As Adam said, we’re not doing the sequel. This is us taking Elsa and Anna and Kristoff and just a few of the characters, and they’re coming into our world, and so we’re much more interested in crosses like Anna when she meets Rumplestiltskin and things like that. But all the things that are on our show are not canon.

Horowitz: It’s kind of like how we’ve dealt with all of our characters. The original “Snow White” movie still exists. The original “Cinderella” still exists. We sort of like to think of “Once Upon a Time” as a Disney cul de sac, where you can come in, you can play with these characters, you can see them in new fun ways, and then when you’re done, you can leave and go back and they’re right where they were.

  • 3
    Thank you @phantom42, I'm too used to SO and using code blocks for everything that I forgot that quote blocks exist. :) Oct 14, 2014 at 14:39
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    Or another way of putting it: Super Smash Bros., Disney/Video edition
    – Izkata
    Oct 14, 2014 at 23:22
  • The use of the expression "cul de sac" is weird. He is basically saying that OUaT is a dead-end street...
    – Taladris
    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:55
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    @Taladris I presume he meant that any stories created here will not progress further in movies etc - effectively dead end.
    – Kami
    Oct 15, 2014 at 11:42

No, “Once Upon a Time” is not canon.

To begin with, in an interview with the writers of “Once Upon a Time” (also quoted in another answer), they confirm that nothing they do on their show is in any way Disney canon.

But all the things that are on our show are not canon.
- Variety interview with Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis

Furthermore, an interview promoting Frozen 2, the writer and director of both Frozen and its sequel confirmed that nothing in “Once Upon a Time” is canon. She additionally mentioned that the creators of Frozen 2 avoided watching it so it would not affect their story.

The confirmation of Once Upon a Time’s events not being canon came from Jennifer Lee, the writer and director of Frozen 2. During a Q&A session at an early press day for the film at Walt Disney Animation Studios she was asked about the events of the show in relation to the movie, and responded:

“No, that’s not canon. We didn’t see it. So I kinda made a point of certain things not to see so it wouldn’t affect us that way. Frozen 1 and Frozen 2 to me are one complete story and that’s really where we stay. So glad they had fun with that. I think they had a lot of fun with the characters.”
- Interview with writer/director Jennifer Lee at Walt Disney Animation Studios

Therefore, the events of “Once Upon a Time” are explicitly stated as not being canon.


This is an interesting question. Because, on one hand, there's the problem that "Frozen" is on the same time part of the Disney Extended Universe (the one which also includes a majority of the other Disney films, animated films and shorts), which doesn't fit with the "Once upon a time" (look at the differences between the animated version of Captain Hook and his Once upon a time version, for instance). On the other hand, Frozen is precisely the only universe that they didn't change: aside from the other films connected to it, Frozen can be in consistency with Once upon a time. I think it's one of this cases in which the same stories happened at different moments in two different parallel universes (like Donald Duck who exists as a toon in the Who framed Roger Rabbit universe, as a real flesh-and-blood duck in the universe of his shorts and comics, and as a fictive character in our universe).

  • Downvoted. If you'd read the answer above you'd have seen that there's a quote from the showrunners specifically stating that the show isn't part of the Frozen canon.
    – Valorum
    Mar 8, 2015 at 21:08
  • I've read it, but I only say that it seems that the same story as in "Frozen" happened exactly the same way in "Once upon a Time". Which doesn't implie that a possible sequel for Frozen would have to use the informations shown in Once upon a time. Mar 10, 2015 at 12:17