No, Tarzan Is Not Anna and Elsa’s Little Brother. Here’s Why

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People have been concocting wild theories tying different movies and TV shows together in various ways, some more outlandish than the others. One of the more recent ones to gain traction on the internet is that Anna and Elsa’s parents in Frozen – the king and queen of Arendelle – didn’t die in a shipwreck, but rather were stranded in a seaside jungle and had a son before they died, who grew up to be Tarzan from the eponymous Disney movie. It’s a clever idea. It’s also complete hogwash.

The FrozenTarzan link theory got a bump in the past ten days or so, after Chris Buck – who directed both movies – supposedly confirmed it. Anyone who says he confirmed it, though, has either not bothered to track down his statement as he originally said it or has selectively edited the quotation, because if you read the whole thing it’s obvious that he meant the exact opposite.

The Tarzan theory falls victim to the fallacy that disproves most such theories eventually: cherry-picking, or confirmation bias. It’s natural to fixate on the evidence that supports the theory you’re trying to prove, and to ignore the evidence that could contradict it. In some cases, the evidence against the theory is as questionable as the evidence in support of it, or is hard to find. And sometimes, as in the Tarzan theory, it’s right there in plain sight of the people proposing the theory; they’re just not seeing it. Look:

tarzans-parents-e1398190206918

That’s an image I’ve seen on many sites used to support the theory. Let’s look at the portrait on the right side of this image. Here’s what the whole portrait looks like:

tarzan-family

What do you see here? Setting aside questions about how much (or how little) Tarzan’s parents look like Elsa and Anna’s parents, what do you see? There are two really important things to note about this portrait. First, it is a black-and-white (or grayscale) or possible sepia-toned image. Virtually nobody who wasn’t doing so ironically has ever painted a formal portrait in anything but full color – why would you? So we must draw the conclusion that this is not a painting. It’s a photograph. Since a photograph of animated characters looks a lot like a painting, it’s an understandable mistake to think it is one, but the fact that it’s black-and-white can only mean that it is intended to be a photograph. But it’s a pretty sharp picture, and until the late 1800s subjects had to sit still for a fair while while a photograph was taken, and there’s that baby in the photo. And even in his mother’s arms, how often does an awake baby who isn’t eating really hold still for more than 20 seconds?

And that brings us to the second thing to note about the portrait: the baby. Obviously, the baby is meant to be Tarzan. That means that the photograph was taken after he was born. That had to have been done before his family left on their final voyage, because the notion of it having been taken on the ship is ludicrous (even if it was, how would it have been developed?). So Tarzan couldn’t have been born after his parents were stranded.

Now, most sources seem to agree that most of Frozen (starting with Elsa’s coronation) takes place in the early 1840s. The earliest publicly available daguerrotypes were introduced in 1839, and it took a good couple of decades before the resolution got anywhere near that of the photo in Tarzan. The photo not enough for you? How about the typewriter?

tarzan-typewriter

This is clearly the Underwood style of typewriter, which didn’t appear until right around the turn of the twentieth century. There’s also a disc-playing phonograph in the camp (an elephant uses its trumpet as, well, a trumpet), and a Penny-farthing bicycle as well.

I could go on, but there’s no sense in beating a dead theory. Tarzan is clearly supposed to take place in the very late nineteenth or early twentieth century, or between 53 and 73 years after the king and queen of Arendelle are lost at sea. It just doesn’t work, and it’s pure confirmation bias to think otherwise.

All images copyright © Disney.

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106 thoughts on “No, Tarzan Is Not Anna and Elsa’s Little Brother. Here’s Why

  1. What if the parents were also related to Rapunzel or maybe other princesses? What if Disney decided to related them ALL before he died? And in the new Wreck It Ralph movie, all of the princesses are there, even if they weren’t close to the same timeline. That’s weird because they looked exactly like in their own separate, umm, is timelines a good word for this?

  2. You. Have. Seen. The. New. Wreck. It. Ralph!!!!!!!! YOU ARE SOOOO LUCKY!! I only saw the trailer, but, yeah, I noticed that the princesses were all the same age, or, about the same age. That’s cool and maybe Vanellope has something to do with it. She is a princess.

  3. I think Tarzan is to cool to be related to princesses. Wanna know why? Cause PRINCESSES are too stupid. Yeah, S.T.U.P.I.D.
    Tarzan is way to awesome to be related to Elsa and Anna. Period.

  4. Maybe you think so, Depresser, but I don’t. I think if their all related, cool. That’s fine too. But, maybe the producers just say their related to shut people up.

  5. Well it all connects because first Anna’s and elsa’s father and mother are off to flin rider,s and rapunzel,s wedding but they are stranded on an island wear they have Tarzan then Jane might be belle, s granddaughter from butuey and the beast witch that explains why the monkey has the tea set .and in rapunzel when there singing I got a dream there is pistachio because that was probably the stage pistachio sang there,s no strings on me or that’s where the old guy lived whoo created pistachio. And in up you can see that evil bear from toy story 3 .and your always seeing that sign a113 that’s because that’s what represents Disney .and that,s also why they created vanelipi for that she can show the other princess that they don’t always have to be so princessey.thats my opinion about Disney

  6. Ah Folks your forgetting Disney’s most important rule. Magic. He meant for them to all come together in the end. That’s why he made Disneyland. He wanted every guest to feel that magic, he would want you to decide for YOU.

  7. His parents names in the novel are Lord John Greystoke and Lady Alice Greystoke. Elsa and Anna’s are King Agnarr and Queen Iduna.

    Also if his parents were their parents they would have floated in the boat for weeks (as sailing was slow back then especially in a small boat or life raft) without food and water. They would have died in the boat before reaching the jungle terrain. Tarzan’s parents find Africa’s jungle when they first land with him meaning they were originally sailing near Africa for some reason. And if the former monarchs of Arendelle had survived the sinking of the ship and didn’t die in the boat they would have likely found other terrain first before getting close to Africa’s jungle terrain.

    1. Yeah but elsa didnt kiss Anna she mounrned for her the spell broke because Anna sacrificed herself to save elsa from hans so your opinion is pretty gay and plus your ruining every kids cildhood

  8. AHA yes I agree very much. They’re all related why do you think they all look alike. PERIODT. They all know each other and they’re all friends. Even if they don’t talk a lot. However when cinderella went to her prince Tiana fell down the stairs which called Pocahontas to sing to her reflection meaning she’s talking to herself which causes Elsa to kiss her sister so she can live and that’s why elsa is gay.

  9. Why can’t the people in Tarzan not have been his parents but servants to the king and queen caring for thier new son as they parished in the fire. Also the queen could have been pregnant on her way to the wedding thinking she would be back before birth.
    got blown off course had the baby early but then the shipwreck happened.
    Bicycle invented 1863 so I put frozen at about 1869… Tarzan is 30ish so that put it at 1899. Also bad guy in Tarzan is great grandchild of gaston. Goes on to get married and lives in England and has 3 children. Wendy John and Micheal.

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