THE HANS REDEMPTION: HOW IT CAN BE PLAUSIBLY ACHIEVED IN FROZEN 2 & HOW HELSA COULD PLAUSIBLY HAPPEN
(I was going to write this as a fanfic but was too busy so I went ahead and did an essay instead)
Okay. So fans are pretty much polarized about Hans and what to do about him in Frozen 2. On one side, people want him to redeem himself. On the other side, people insist he’s a sociopath and could never be redeemed. I’m on the side of him being able to redeem himself (and become Elsa’s love interest) and this can actually be achieved by using details from the first Frozen movie and the original Snow Queen story itself.
Argument: Hans is a sociopath. Sociopaths never change.
Counter: But what if Hans wasn’t a sociopath to begin with? What if something happened to him in childhood…let’s say, an ice in his heart? Literally a frozen heart? (Cue “Beware the Frozen Heart” song)
To those unfamiliar with the Snow Queen story, the male protagonist, Kai becomes cruel after pieces of a troll’s magic mirror (which has the power to distort people, turning good into bad) gets inside his eyes, with one of the pieces piercing his heart. Note that this has been used by ‘Frozen’ before, in the scene where Grandpa troll says “You’re lucky it wasn’t her heart. The heart is not so easily changed.” It was also of course, used in the scene wherein Elsa accidentally pierces Anna’s heart with ice. This can be used as basis for Hans’ own transformation from a timid, kind-hearted boy, to a sociopath.
Possible back story:
When Elsa was born, the Southern Isles royals paid a private visit to send their congratulations. Hans, no more than a toddler, is lifted up by his father to take a peak in Elsa’s crib, only to be struck by the baby’s ice powers. Just like Anna in Frozen, he falls unconscious, his hair turning white. The king and queen of the Southern Isles accuse Elsa’s parents of sorcery, and demand their youngest son be made well lest there be war. The king hastily reads through his old library and together with the Southern Isles King and a dying Hans, heads towards the trolls (this could have been why the trolls already knew the Arendelle King). Pabbie examines Hans and determines that ice has pierced his heart, and the only way to keep the boy alive is to expose him to the powers of the fire crystal (this was one tiny detail in Frozen which stuck to me for some reason, with that little troll bragging to Kristoff that he/she earned his/her fire crystal). The troll warns though that while Hans will live, his heart will be changed forever. Later, the royals of the two kingdoms come to an agreement: the King and Queen of the Southern Isles will never speak of the incident so long as the King and Queen of Arendelle will send constant supplies of the fire crystal whenever Hans needs them. Since the incident is supposed to be kept secret, the Arendelle King & Queen make sure to deliver the crystals themselves, and it is during one of these voyages that they lose their lives out at sea.
Why does Hans want to take over Arendelle?
Aside from his explanation of bullying brothers and being 13th in line for the throne, remember that in this scenario, his heart is changed, and his cruelty could make him capable of anything. Perhaps he set his sights on Arendelle, knowing that it’s the source of the fire crystals, which keeps him alive (shipment of the crystals of course stopped with the deaths of the king and queen of Arendelle). Maybe aside from ruling his own kingdom, he also did what he did in Frozen to save his own life, even at the expense of others.
How come Anna didn’t become evil? She was struck with ice in her heart too!
Anna didn’t live as long as Hans did with ice in the heart. In this scenario, Hans has lived with a frozen heart for most of his life, which is more than enough time to alter his personality.
Now, on to the main part of this essay: How Frozen 2 should happen and how Hans can be redeemed: GET READY FOR A LONG READ!
After a long day of cleaning horse manure (Frozen Fever), Hans goes to the throne room to report privately to his eldest brother the King (who took over after their parents’ deaths). Suddenly, Hans is wracked by horrendous pain in his chest. To the King’s shock, Hans’ hair begins to turn white.
The King quickly takes Hans to his room and searches through a secret compartment in Hans’ dresser and takes out the last of his fire crystal (aside from their late parents, Hans’ brother is the only other person in the family who witnessed the incident. This is important). He pressed it to Hans’ heart, and Hans’ hair goes back to normal. However, a streak of white remains: something which has never happened before.
Then, Hans and the King realize the crystal’s red glow is weakening. Its powers are fading away.
Hans needs the fire crystal. Without it, he will die. And the only place that harbours these rare, magical crystals is Arendelle.
But Hans failed to take over that kingdom before. And Queen Elsa will never allow him to set foot on Arendelle. How is he to gain the crystals now?
The King has a plan. He tells Hans to go to Arendelle and demand the Queen for fire crystals. Hans refuses. Queen Elsa will never agree, especially since he has attempted to kill her before. The King then tells Hans to tell her the truth…for surely, she will have no choice but to give in.
Hans returns to Arendelle in chains so as not to pose a threat. Together with a Southern Isle royal emissary, he seeks and receives an audience with Queen Elsa and reveals the truth: that it was HER who caused all the misfortune from before. He tells her of how she, as a baby, froze his heart, about the trolls, and how her departed parents have to travel to the Southern Isles year after year to deliver fire crystals to keep him alive.
Elsa is in disbelief. She wouldn’t have believed him, if not for the tell tale streak of white on his hair, which was slowly, before her eyes, taking over his fiery red mane. And so, however reluctant, Elsa agrees to take Hans to the trolls on the condition that he is to leave immediately upon receiving a fire crystal. Hans agrees as well, on the condition that Arendelle must now constantly send fire crystals to the Southern Isles, just as Elsa’s parents have done.
When Anna and Kristoff learn of Elsa’s quest to take Hans to the trolls, they try to stop her. But after hearing of her meeting with Hans and the truths that have been revealed, they decide to accompany her to keep her safe.
The journey to the trolls is not easy. Hans is a difficult man to get along with, and he often butts heads with Kristoff and Anna. Elsa on the other hand is more sympathetic, and genuinely sorry for what she unwittingly did as a baby. She would do all she can to make a weakening Hans comfortable…a fact that did not escape Hans’ eyes.
Arriving at the trolls’ oasis, Grand Pabbie is surprised that the fire crystal ran out of power so quickly. One crystal should have been enough to let Hans live for years, and yet the king and queen of Arendelle had had to send a yearly supply.
Deducing that they may need a crystal of greater power, the Grand Pabbie tells them to journey further into the mountains, and into the mouth of a dormant volcano, where they can find the source of the crystal. He also warns Elsa that the closer she gets to the volcano, the more her powers will weaken…just as the fire crystal stops the ice from taking over Hans’ heart.
The long journey ahead inexplicably brings Hans and Elsa closer, which worries Anna and Kristoff. Anna pulls Elsa aside and warns her. Elsa assures Anna that she is only sympathetic towards Hans, but deep down she isn’t sure.
When they arrive at the volcano, things become increasingly difficult. Elsa could no longer use her powers to make travelling easier, so they have to scale the volcano on foot. But the closer they get to the mouth, the more Elsa weakens at the close proximity of the fire crystals. She was so weak, that she lost her balance and fell. Where it not for Hans’ lightning quick reflexes, she would have died.
Finally arriving at their destination, Hans quickly makes his way to the large collection of crystals. But before he could even touch it, his brother, the King, comes out of nowhere and reveals his power to control fire. Thanks to Hans, the King now has the source of unlimited power, and could now take over the world.
Hans then realizes why the fire crystals quickly ran out of power all those years. His brother has been siphoning them in secret, using his fire powers to wage war and gain more lands surrounding the Southern Isles.
A battle ensues. Elsa does the best she can, but the influence of the fire crystals is so strong, her powers are not strong enough against the King’s. Seeing this, Hans, at the risk of his own life, runs to the fire crystals and begins destroying them.
The King of the Southern Isles tries to strike Hans with fire but a shield of ice blocks his way. Elsa is gaining back her powers. While holding the King back, Elsa begs for Hans to stop. Without the fire crystals, he will die. But Hans insists it’s the only way.
Before Elsa could stop him, Hans breaks the crystals, and all its fire power diminishes. The King drops to the ground, powerless now. Elsa keeps him imprisoned in ice and rushes to Hans, who slowly begins to freeze.
Elsa cries and asks Hans why he did what he did. With an icy breath, Hans tells Elsa he couldn’t let her die, and that he has fallen in love with her.
The moment those words escapes his lips, Hans’ heart beats as it has never before, and slowly, the ice in his heart melted and he becomes normal again. He has made the ultimate expression of love, and healed himself in the process.
(cue the Happily Ever after Disney endings, maybe a wedding, maybe a bit more complex like Hans saying goodbye so he can fix his brother’s undoing before coming back, etc)
So there you have it. It’s entirely possible to turn things around for Hans, and according to Hans’ voice actor Santino, the writers have been talking about redeeming Hans in the sequel.
This essay is only one of a million other ways to turn Hans from bad guy to good guy. If the Hans Redemption does happen, Hans won’t be the first Disney villain to turn from bad to good (Iago and Goob to name a few).