I finally realised why this concept has been bothering me so much ever since I saw the last episode of season 3. (This is simply what I think, and if you don’t agree with me, then that is fine. I’m not trying to change your mind about anything. :P)
The thing is: OUAT is really good at being creative with the source material that they use, creating deep and relatable characters that are all based on well known works of literature. But some of the characters themselves or their respective story lines in OUAT may include references to the Disneymovies: everything from names (Belle, Ariel, the dwarves’ names, ext), props (the shipped cup), to minor characters and plot arcs.
There are very few things that are directly taken from the Disney movies themselves. Why? Because the characters are not based on the Disney versions (With minor exceptions like Jiminy). They are based on the originals that came over a century ago, but have been given new depth. The few hints of Disney’s influence has then been added on the surface. These sources that OUAT use wary from European fairytales to mythology, legends and novels, and the one thing that all these stories have in common is that they are all old classics. All of thees stories are at least a hundred years old, the youngest being (if I’m not mistaken) Peter Pan from 1902.
The Frozen characters on the other hand are NOT treated this way. OUAT’s Elsa and Anna are clearly not based on the original fairy tale of Hans C. Andersen, but are rather taken directly from the movie Frozen which came last year. These are not character that have been around for ages and then gotten an upgrade. They are literally Elsa and Anna from the film, forced to fit into the UOAT storyline. They even added Kristoff, Sven, Hans, the trolls, the dead parents - characters/sub-plots that are nowhere to be seen in the original story, once again showing that they are just ripping of the movie and avoiding the short novel, instead of the other way around like they have always done.
Frozen wasn’t even considered an adaption, but was categorised as an original screenplay, which makes the decision to add these characters to the series even more frustrating. I really get the feeling that the creators wanted to ride the success wave of Frozen and nothing more. Hopefully Elsa and Anna will not have too big of a part in the main plot, because I find their presence to be extremely distracting. :(
PS - I am well aware that not all the sources have a Disney adaptation in existence. I never claimed otherwise. ( -_-)
EDIT 7/10: Apparently the show has now included a character whom is supposed to be the “real snow queen” from Andersen’s story. I have yet to see the episode and who knows, maybe it’s awesomely written, but that does NOT excuse the blatant money-grab use of Elsa and Co.
A few days ago I was thinking about all the times Emma has mentioned the fact that all the storybook characters exist in works of fiction in her world. Then I tried to imagine her reaction when confronted with Elsa and instead of saying “Oh, yeah! Your story has been around for ages” she says “Yeah, your movie came out a few months ago! I have yet to see it myself, but I promise that I’ll rent it soon.” You see what I mean when I say that Frozen is treated differently compared to the other stories? (ó_Ò)