Like the unified theory of Pixar films or that idea that Toy Story’s Jessie used to belong to Andy’s mom (which was subsequently “confirmed” by Joan Cusack at our A.V. Club Live! event), there’s a new fan theory that seeks to “blow the minds” of Disney fans. This one posits that the worlds of Frozen, Tangled, and The Little Mermaid are all interconnected—and not just because their protagonists share the same giant eyes and impossibly small waists.
Here’s the theory, as laid out by tumblr user erchmreh: Eagle-eyed Frozen viewers were quick to notice that Tangled’s Rapunzel and Eugene make a quick cameo at Elsa’s coronation. And while that could be seen as Disney giving a quick nod to its previous princess film, there could also be a darker meaning behind it.
Since Tangled was released three years ago and Elsa’s parents died in a shipwreck three years before her coronation, the theory suggests that Elsa’s parents died on their way to Rapunzel and Eugene’s wedding. (Given that Rapunzel and Eugene are able to attend the Arendelle coronation, the two countries can’t be that far away from each other.)
Taking things one step further, the theory suggests The Little Mermaid is mixed up in all this as well. Frozen is set in Norway and Tangled is set in Germany, so the shipwreck might have occurred halfway between the two countries—in Denmark. And Denmark just happens to be (apparently) the setting for The Little Mermaid, which means the shipwreck Ariel explores at the beginning of the film might be the same shipwreck that killed Elsa’s parents.
Admittedly there’s little evidence to tie this theory together. It relies on the real-life three-year gap between Tangled and Frozen’s releases, but ignores the fact that The Little Mermaid premiered 24 years ago (perhaps Doctor Who’s TARDIS was involved as well?). Not to mention, the theory casts a rather morbid light on Tangled and The Little Mermaid (it’s disturbing to think of Ariel exploring a watery grave). But still, there’s a certain pleasure in imagining all of these fairy tale worlds connect in some way, as the video below proves through song.