UPDATE: Disney has now confirmed four new LEGO Frozen Northern Lights shorts to debut this fall on Disney Channel
Several months ago, we received an anonymous tip which went something to the effect of ‘Frozen Northern Lights, have fun with it!’ While it was greatly appreciated, we weren’t sure exactly which direction to run with it. It’s fairly common knowledge that given all the known (and presumably unknown) projects tied to Frozen, that we couldn’t begin to know where to apply such a simple title.
Fast forward to yesterday evening, during which we were contacted on Tumblr by Bulda — a Frozen fan blog, of course — who was wondering if we had any knowledge of a couple of Frozen titles that had popped up and buried on Amazon. Although we had to admit we didn’t, the titles did catch our eye, and for very good reason.
Frozen Northern Lights: The Deluxe Novelization (ISBN: 0736436596, 978-0736436595), from Random House Kids, is slated to be released on July 5, 2016. The title alone should stir something in the heart of every Frozen fan. Random House is the primary source of novelizations of Disney films — and shorts, in the case of Frozen Fever, so this already suggests the idea of a new Frozen short on the near horizon. Where it gets particularly strange is when it comes to the number of pages Random House says is in the title: an astounding 224 pages. To put that into perspective, the deluxe novelization of Frozen Fever is only 96 pages, and that includes 8 pages of photos. The special edition novelization of the feature-length Frozen is 128 pages. So 224 pages seems almost like a mistake, except that the $14.99 price point backs that statement up. Could this mean that we aren’t looking at a short but perhaps a 22 minute television special? Or is Random House being coy about the details? What they aren’t being coy about is there is no synopsis for the book as of yet. We couldn’t find any retailer beyond Amazon currently listing this title, but we did find the listing in published catalogs for summer 2016 from Random House, on both industry sites as well as Random House’s own site.
We are then led further down the rabbit hole, as there is not just the one title listed by Amazon, but a second! Frozen Northern Lights Adventure Guide (ISBN: 1484786629, 978-1484786628) from Disney Press is also available for pre-orders and this is where it gets super interesting. For starters, this title does have a brief synopsis: ‘A paper-over-board adventure guide for Frozen that retells and expands upon Northern Lights in a fresh new way.’ Only this title is slated for a release of November 1, 2016. When we checked industry sites for Disney’s frontlist catalogs, one site came up empty, but another one simply told us ‘This title is not currently available for public viewing.’ We then confirmed this wasn’t a generic error message by putting in a false ISBN number as that gave us a different message, ‘this item was not found.’ So clearly Disney Publishing is trying to keep a lid on this project (the same system did provide details on Random House’s title, however, but it was very bare-bones).
So that leaves us with two titles that are obviously very connected to each other, point to a new Frozen video of some uncertain length and with two very different dates. At first, we thought perhaps the July 5 date was a decoy — not unlike what Lucasfilm had done with some The Force Awakens titles — and that this could be a new short attached to Moana, but it then occurred to us that the July-November relationship could simply point to a fall release for home video.
So then if Frozen Northern Lights is in fact a short, is it attached to an upcoming Disney film? Given that Frozen Fever was attached to the live action Cinderella, perhaps Northern Lights will be attached to a live action film and for that, we have two potential candidates, both equally as promising. Pete’s Dragon releases a month later on August 12. This is actually a great timeline for what we’ve come to expect between novelizations and their respective films (the Pete’s Dragon novelization actually comes out a week earlier on June 28). The only snag, however, is that the Frozen Fever novelization was released just days before the short, presumably to mitigate spoilers. That leaves us with The BFG which will be released in theaters on July 1, 2015, days before the novelization.
Whatever Frozen Northern Lights turns out to be, the good news is as long as the dates are accurate, we’ll know for sure within the next four months, although an official announcement is far more likely to come sooner — Frozen Fever was officially announced 5 months before its release and probably only because an ABC primetime special served as the news vehicle.
UPDATE: Shortly after publication of this article, the ‘Northern Lights’ portion of the titles was removed from the Amazon listings and descriptions (but remains on Random House’s site as such). Most interestingly, however, is that the Disney title for November now reads ‘A paper-over-board journal written by Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff that tells an all-new adventure!’ Combined with the original description of it being a retelling of Northern Lights, this is a throwback to A Frozen Heart which retold the film from Anna and Hans’ points of view.