Jennifer Lee Not Returning to Direct ‘Frozen 3’ (Exclusive)

Lee will still remain intimately involved in the film in an unknown capacity

Photo: Disney

Audiences still have awhile to wait to go back into the unknown with Anna, Elsa and the rest of the Arendelle crew. But they’ll have to do so without “Frozen” director Jennifer Lee.

Lee revealed she will not be helming the third installment of the popular Disney franchise during a conversation with TheWrap at this year’s Annecy Animation Festival. “I can’t say where we are [with “Frozen 3.” All our stories are driven by the artists in the studio. Where we’re going with ‘Frozen’ did not come from me. It came from an incredible person. That’s a new piece, I’ve told no one. And I’ve been blown away by it and I’m just having a blast with that team,” she said.

Plans for a third “Frozen” were announced in February of this year, alongside sequels to “Toy Story” and “Zootopia.” Lee wouldn’t divulge any additional information on what the plot of this new “Frozen” is, though she will be working in some type of advisory or mentor capacity with the filmmakers of this next edition.

“I’m doing what I do with all the other projects,” Lee said. “It’s really fun on ‘Frozen,’…cause we’ve lived the world for awhile together and a lot of the artists in the studio grew up with that film too, both of them, and have been there the whole way…They kinda own them as much as anyone else.”

The first two “Frozen” features were massive box office successes with the first installment securing the Best Animated feature Oscar in 2014. The Disney Company has struggled of late, with layoffs at the Pixar studios and 7,000 layoffs across the entire company. Sequels of some of their most beloved franchises are no doubt a shot in the arm to reinvigorate the box-office and brand.

Lee has certainly been a part of that, even bringing back a form of hand-drawn animation with the next Disney animated feature, “Wish,” which was promoted at Annecy. With her role as Chief Creative Officer for the Walt Disney Company, Lee has certainly kept busy. But that’s not to say she’ll never direct again.

“I would love to direct again,” she said. “I know someday I want to be a filmmaker again. I’m old but I’m not that old! I’ve only done two films and I do believe there’s a time — I’ll know it — but there’s a time when you give everything you can and then you make room for innovation of the next person. I can’t imagine anywhere but Disney.”