What really happened to Elsa and Anna's parents in Frozen?

We're just a couple of months away from the premiere of Frozen II, and fans can't wait to see what unfolds in the sequel to the beloved Disney film. Audiences are especially hopeful that the film will finally reveal something many of us have been wondering since Frozen was released in 2013: What really happened to Elsa and Anna's parents? 

King Agnarr and Queen Iduna of Arendelle played a small, but critical, role in Frozen. At the beginning of the film, we see how they hide a young Elsa away in an attempt to control her powers, putting a wedge between her and Anna. Just a few scenes into the movie, they board a ship, leaving their now-grown daughters in Arendelle. They are shipwrecked after being caught in a storm, and the crown falls to Elsa, who never learned how to control her powers.

Now, if Frozen II remains true to Disney formula which seems to, with few exceptions, leave its protagonists either orphaned or with one living parent, then Elsa and Anna's parents are dead. The Frozen II trailer that dropped in June, however, makes us think that things might be headed in another direction

The trailer opens with Elsa growing into her powers, battling tidal waves. Underwater, she encounters a mythical Norse water spirit called a Nokk. Elsa and Anna then embark on a quest, urged on by the troll Grand Pabbie who mysteriously tell the royal sisters that "the past is not what it seems." We also see Queen Iduna in the trailer. According to Business Insider, some fans have taken all of this to mean that one or both of Elsa and Anna's parents is still alive, and that one of them may have powers of their own that enabled them to survive the shipwreck. There's also speculation that the water horse was sent as a message to Elsa and Anna, to tell them that the shipwreck hadn't been fatal. 

This ties into other fan theories that came out after Frozen's release. One such theory speculates that Elsa and Anna's parents might also be Tarzan's parents. While the man and woman in Tarzan don't really look like King Agnarr and Queen Iduna, Tarzan's parents did end up stranded following a shipwreck. Even the film's director, Chris Buck, said that he likes this theory. In Buck's imagination, King Agnarr and Queen Iduna don't die. "Yes, there was a shipwreck, but they were at sea a little bit longer than we think they were because the mother was pregnant, and she gave birth on the boat, to a little boy," Buck told MTV News in 2015. "They get shipwrecked, and somehow they really washed way far away from the Scandinavian waters, and they end up in the jungle. They end up building a tree house and a leopard kills them, so their baby boy is raised by gorillas."

While we could get on board with that story, Buck noted that this theory is definitely not canon. He added, "So in my little head, Anna and Elsa's brother is Tarzan — but on the other side of that island are surfing penguins, to tie in a non-Disney movie, Surf's Up. That's my fun little world."

Another favorite fan theory connects Elsa and Anna's parents to The Little Mermaid and Tangled. Could the sunken ship we see in The Little Mermaid actually belong to King Agnarr and Queen Iduna? According to this theory (via BuzzFeed), Elsa and Anna's parents were on their way to Rapunzel and Flynn's wedding when their ship crashed, leaving it for Ariel to one day explore. The fact that Rapunzel and Flynn later attended Elsa's coronation (they can be seen making a small cameo in Frozen) confirms this theory in the minds of many. 

It's not a lot to go on, but the theories and the trailer do give us some hope that Elsa and Anna's parents survived the terrible shipwreck. Will Frozen II see the king and queen reunited with Elsa and Anna, giving them a chance to be a happy family with no more secrets between them? It's true that Disney has a habit of making its princesses orphans, but Disney films are even better known for their happy endings. We'll have to wait until Frozen II premieres on November 22 to find out for sure.