Hans' brothers are unseen characters mentioned in Disney's 2013 animated film Frozen and given greater context in the expository novel A Frozen Heart. Non-canonical to the original continuity of Frozen, they appear as minor antagonists in the first half of the fourth season of the fantasy drama TV show Once Upon a Time. Due to the their influence and direct impact on Hans's villainy, they can be considered to be hidden antagonists of Frozen.
|“Twelve older brothers. Three of them pretended I was invisible, literally, for two years.”|
|—Hans describing his brothers to Anna|
Hans' brothers didn't appear in the film, but were mentioned on a few occasions. What was known from his date with Anna is that Hans is the youngest of the Southern Isles' thirteen princes. According to Hans, three out of his twelve older brothers pretended that he didn't exist for two years. Although Anna considers such treatment to be horrible, he merely replied "It's what brothers do." Later, after Elsa had lifted the curse on Arendelle, Hans, who had been revealed to be evil and selfish, is seen imprisoned on a ship set to take him back to the Southern Isles. According to the French dignitary, Hans will receive an unspecified punishment from his brothers for his crimes, which as of Frozen Fever includes shoveling horse manure.
Once Upon a Time
Hans' brothers appears as minor supporting antagonists in the first half of the show's fourth season. They were mentioned in the season's first episode, but eventually made their appearance in the third episode. In the series, three of his twelve brothers appear and serve as his minions, and two of them are named Franz (portrayed by Nils Hognestad) and Jurgen (portrayed by Marcus Rosner).
Here, the siblings are portrayed as being in collaboration with their youngest brother in his plot to take over Arendelle and having a conquest as a whole to conquer foreign lands for their nation, which differs heavily from Hans' implied motivations and standing with his family in the film. Their being just as evil as Hans, willing to aid his schemes and not disciplining him for his past misdeeds also differs from what can be inferred from the scene showing the latter toiling in servitude in Frozen Fever.
Two years after events equivalent to the film's, and approximately a year before the first Dark Curse, they were first mentioned by Elsa when she reminds Anna that Hans and his older brothers are waiting to take over Arendelle as revenge for his defeat two years earlier. Then, after Anna had left for Mist Haven (the Enchanted Forest) to find a cure for Elsa's power, Hans and his army, consisting of his twelve brothers, had set up camp in the Southern Mountains on their way to Arendelle. Here it's shown that Hans and his brothers still don't get along well; first demonstrated when Hans refuses to put more wood on the fire for them, resulting in one of his brothers belittling him and expressing to use him instead. Then, when Hans told them that they shouldn't insult him as the soon-to-be king of Arendelle, they burst into laughter and stated their doubt as he's still thirteenth in line, as well as bringing up his failed earlier attempt to seize Arendelle's throne. Hans remarked that he wasn't prepared the last time, but he showed them something that will help him: a special urn hidden in the North Valley that's capable of trapping people with magical powers, which he intends to use on Elsa to take over Arendelle. However, they're unaware that Anna's fiancé, Kristoff, had spied on them and discovers their plan. Even though Elsa and Kristoff had managed to beat them to the urn, Hans and his three volunteering brothers caught up to them. Hans ordered his brothers to get the urn from the two, but they're easily outmatched by a combination of Elsa's magic and Kristoff's fighting skill. When Hans threatens to kill Kristoff, Elsa hands him the urn and frees his two brothers, and one of them now holds Kristoff as a hostage. Once Hans had the urn, he shows off his success to his brothers and prepares to trap Elsa inside it by uncapping its lid and pours out a living white liquid substance that everybody believed will trapped her. Instead, the liquid substance morphs into Ingrid the Snow Queen, who turns Hans into an ice statue as punishment for calling Elsa a monster, leaving his brothers to flee the scene.
30 years later, Arendelle, having been frozen by Ingrid earlier, begins to thaw, and Hans managed to claim the kingdom as his own. He and his brothers barged in on Anna and Kristoff, who were discussing their plan to rescue Elsa from Rumplestiltskin, and have them arrested for treason, feigning on the notion that Anna had overthrown her own sister. Pretending that they surrender, Kristoff and Anna fight their way out and escape. Later, after buying the compliance of the pirate Blackbeard in gold, Hans and his brothers managed to catch them and take them to a spot out at sea known as Poseidon's Boneyard, the exact spot where the ship that once carried the parents of Anna and Elsa had sank, hoping to drown the couple. However, they're unaware that the two had survived through Elsa's possession of the wishing star, Anna's necklace for her and Kristoff's wedding, which transported them to Storybrooke. Sometimes after Ingrid had redeemed herself by giving her life to lift the Spell of Shattered Sight she had cast on the town, Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff had managed to return to Arendelle through a portal in the Sorcerer's Storybrooke mansion, and managed to reclaim their kingdom from Hans and his brothers. It is unknown if Hans and his brothers are imprisoned or have been forced out of Arendelle for good.
A Frozen Heart
In the novel, all of the brothers (with the exception of Hans) are revealed to be married by the time Hans is a young adult. The oldest brother is named Caleb and appears to be his father's favorite. The third oldest brother, Lars, is an avid historian and the brother who is the kindest to Hans. There are also twins, Rudi and Runo, who bully Hans the most.
During Hans' childhood, they were manipulative and abusive on the young Hans for being the youngest son and always played cruel tricks at Hans' expense except Lars. This continued on to adulthood, where the brothers would still tease Hans and even humiliate him during political meetings. Their father the King, who despised weakness and saw Hans as weak for being the youngest, would do nothing to stop their antics, and when he did he only chided Hans for his behavior on the third oldest's behalf. It was because of his family's cruelty that Hans wanted to escape from the Isles and rule Arendelle to finally have the praise and power he had long been denied besides warning from Lars.