When the news first came out that Once Upon a Time wanted to add Frozen to its long line of fairy tale adaptations, not to mention that Kristen Bell was on board with the idea, it seemed like the perfect way to put a much needed spark back into the show. In the distant future, when series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis got the rights to the mind-numbingly popular movie, we could all look forward to seeing Princess Anna and Queen Elsa knock Emma Swan, Snow White, and Regina Mills off the top of the list of our favorite OUAT royals. Then Elsa appeared in the OUAT season three finale, only six months after Frozen came out, and now Storybrooke is in for an eternal winter.
Let's face it. For every fairytale that Once Upon a Time puts a fantastic twist on, there's at least one that falls through the cracks. Compare the great things done with Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood with the forgettable storylines of Cinderella and Rapunzel. Anyone who loved Peter Pan and Wendy as a couple is probably still kicking holes in their television from the first part of season three. While Horowitz and Kitsis have admitted to being just as into Frozen as the rest of the world, the fact still remains that they'll be putting their own twists on the beloved story. So what is Queen Elsa doing in Storybrooke and what does her presence mean for season four?
She's a Villain
This departure from the movie's plot would be more in line with the original Snow Queen story as well as the original script. Elsa was the villain of the movie before "Let It Go" was conceptualized and that single song turned her whole character development journey around. Since Elsa rose from the same place as the time portal, could she be from a former time in which her actions were painted in a less heroic light? If you thought getting your heart ripped out and crushed was painful, try having it frozen.
She's a Hero
Turning Elsa into a villain might lead to mass rioting in the streets considering how many people identify with her and her struggle to overcome her anxieties. If OUAT doesn't want to risk alienating the same people they're drawing in with the plot line, Queen Elsa might have come to Storybrooke not to destroy it but to save it. The Wicked Witch Zelena will return in season four, after all, and the return of Maid Marion might've put a damper on Regina's access to light magic.
To compromise between hero and villain, Queen Elsa could take actions that seem villainous until we find out what her real endgame is. After all, Anna thought Elsa hated her until she found out that she was just trying to avoid hurting her with her uncontrollable ice magic. In that same way, Storybrooke could see Elsa as a threat due to her destructive powers until they realize mid-season that she's not the one they should be afraid of.
She's Searching for Love
Elsa may not have had a love interest in the movie, but that hasn't stopped people from giving her one. The most popular pairing is Elsa and Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians , but until he shows up in Storybrooke then she'll need someone else to melt her frozen heart. Once Upon a Time is all about the power of true love and, even though Elsa's happy ending is being with her sister, the Knave of Hearts is single. Or, better yet, so is Mulan.
She's Working for Someone
Elsa sashayed out of that barn like a woman on a mission, but a mission for whom? Just like John and Michael Darling were working for Peter Pan in order to free their sister Wendy, so too could Elsa be working for the next villain in order to save her sister Anna. Maybe that someone is Zelena. Maybe that someone is the Rumpelstiltskin or Evil Queen of the past. Maybe that someone is Hans. Curse those sideburns.
She's Only a Cameo
As excited as we're all getting over Elsa's appearance, the fact still remains that Horowitz and Kitsis did say that they wanted the princesses of Arendelle to cameo on the show. For all we know, the final scene of season three might have been only one of Elsa's five appearances total on Once Upon a Time. After all, she's got a kingdom to run and a sister to love. This Queen has no time for Storybrooke's convoluted mess.
She's Related to Henry
She's a brand new character with a big role in season four. She's got to be related to Henry. Everyone is related to Henry.