Sorry writing all this down took so long. The following is what I've thought of thus far.
Arthur is now king, Kay and Sir Ector have moved into Camelot with him, and everything looks great, but the boy king is feeling out of place. He goes to visit the squirrel girl from the last movie with Merlin and Archimedes. Madame Mim attacks them with living trees. Merlin casts a spell to dispel all nearby magic, and lifts a curse over the squirrel, turning her into a human girl. She has no idea who she is, so Arthur names her Hazel, for the catkins caught in her hair, and takes her to Camelot. Meanwhile, Merlin notices that the girl is wearing a familiar medallion with an A-shaped insignia, the fat lady squirrel from the first movie follows them, and elsewhere, Madam Mim sees the the squirrel has become a girl and appears steamed about it.
A bunch of filler stuff happens. We see Arthur’s day-to-day life of royal duties and Merlin’s tutoring while Hazel gets settled. We also meet Sir Bedivere, Kay's friend and fellow knight.
A knight in green armour suddenly shows up and seeks a challenge. Two of Camelot’s finest warriors accept, but the Green Knight is invincible, he can even reattach his limbs! Then Kay takes the challenge, and when he stabs the Green Knight through the heart, the armour falls to the ground as if the body just disappeared. Kay celebrates his victory with the citizens.
More filler. Hazel and Arthur grow closer, but Kay starts to experience mood swings, hears Madam Mim’s voice in his head, and he’s turning green!
On the eve of Arthur’s thirteenth birthday, he and Hazel sneak away from the castle’s fuss. Meanwhile, Kay’s condition comes to a head, and Bedivere catches him putting on the green armour and speaking in the Green Knight’s voice. Bedivere tries to stop Kay, only for his possessed friend to chop off his hand with the Green Knight’s sword. As Bedivere goes to warn the others, Mim appears, impressed with the Green Knight’s new body.
When Arthur and Hazel get back, Hazel is kidnapped by the Knight and Mim. Bedivere (who is fine. Turns out he lost his hand a long time ago,) tells Merlin what is happening to Kay, and Merlin finally remembers the significance of Hazel’s medallion: It’s the crest of the ultra-magical Avalon isle, and determines that it means Mim has taken the girl to Avalon. Arthur, Merlin, and Archimedes take a sailboat toward Avalon.
On the desolate and ghostly island, Mim and the Knight take Hazel to the crumbling castle, as her memories rapidly return. She remembers that Avalon was a paradise, until Mim and the Green Knight attacked one hundred years ago. In the throne room, there is a sickly-looking giant. Mim demands that the giant, King Ogurien, hand over the crown of Avalon. In return she will let his daughter live. Hazel finally remembers that she is Princess Guinevere of Avalon.
Meanwhile, Arthur and company reach Avalon. At the castle, Merlin magically translates the tapestries, and he realizes “Hazel’s” true identity as well. They drop in just in time to watch Ogurien pass on the crown to Mim with a magical ceremony, before he crumbles to dust.
With Mim the new ruler, everything goes straight to madness. Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin and Archimedes run for cover. Archimedes theorizes just getting the crown away from Mim, but Guin tells the boys that only a member of Avalon’s royal family can pass on the crown to another, and never themselves. This gives Arthur an idea. — I’m a little foggy about the climax, but here it goes — Merlin distracts the Green Knight, while Archimedes flies in and plucks the Crown of Avalon from Mim. She shoots the owl down with magic, but the fallen crown is picked up by the older squirrel (a stowaway on the heroes’ boat) and given to Guin. The princess passes on the Crown to Arthur, and as the new regent, Arthur wills Avalon back to it’s original state. The land comes back to life, the Green Knight’s spirit (a warrior fay named Caliburn who Mim turned into her minion) leaves Kay’s body, the old squirrel turns back into Guin’s nursemaid Vivienne, and Guin gets put in a pretty princess dress. Then all the spirits of Avalon’s citizens that Mim killed on hundred years are rejuvenated enough to attack Mim and they either banish her or turn her into a tree — I haven’t decided.
Arthur bids that the spirits be allowed to pass on. Guin has a heartfelt goodbye with her parents, and Kay apologizes for what he did under Mim’s curse. Then all seven of them pile into the boat and head back to Camelot for Arthur’s birthday party.
And that's what I've got. What do you think should be kept, changed or dropped? Mostly, I need ideas for what to put into the fillers, to make the story stretch.
You said something about helping me with Hope, so here's a run-through of what I’ve got for the story so far. Basically, Hope is The Princess and the Pea meets Russian folktale, redone by Disney. The major themes are friendship and not being afraid to live life. As I am still figuring the story out, this summary has a lot of holes, is probably not chronologically accurate, and loaded with the spoilers I have misgivings about putting on the net.
The setting is a fantastical equivalent to the Kievan Rus, around the beginning of the 11th century. I’m thinking of calling it the twelve territories. Unless you know the Kievan Rus’ equivalent of a duchy?
Princess Nadya, daughter of the duke and duchess of the tiny territory of Pamet, is about to make her debut into the royal court, and she’s a bundle of nerves over it. Her home is hit by a freak storm that destroys the castle, and the princess is separated from her parents in the ensuing flood. Following her mother’s orders, she heads to the capital city, Krepost, to get help. Amidst the confusion, the princess sees a gigantic monster bird that she recognizes as the embodiment of storms of legend.
When Nadya gets to the capital city, she sees that Duke Solovey, Krepost’s duke and the Tsar’s longtime advisor, has gathered a mass of nobility; to discuss the rash of freak storms that are plaguing the land with the other dukes, and their daughters to find a suitable bride for Prince Pytor, who couldn’t be less interested. Unfortunately for her, nobody believes this dirty little chit of a girl is a duke’s daughter, and everyone laughs at the idea that a fictional giant bird is behind the storms. But the Tsarina and the castle’s jester-in-training Ivan recognize that she is someone in need, and give the princess food and clean clothes.
During her first day in Krepost, Nadya properly meets Pyotr and Ivan, and accidentally gets a place in a test that all the present princesses are taking. It’s surprisingly simple: place her hand on a strange stone. Ivan barges in, trying to get her out of the test, but the stone falls into her hands and it faintly lights up! Everyone is stunned, especially Solovey, but there is no time for questions. Suddenly, an apparition of Granny Bones, the infamous witch of the Silver Woods, appears before the court. She says that someone has stolen magic from her, and that unless it’s returned within three days, she will raze the territories. Later that night, Nadya catches Pyotr, Ivan and their cat Arkady packing up and sneaking out to go meet Granny Bones alone. Nadya asks to go too, hoping that the witch can find her parents.
So the epic journey starts. All while the Storm Bird is looming nearby, the quartet goes into the Silver Woods, meet a friendly Leshy (think Treebeard, but with branch-antlers and clothes,) have dinner and a sing-along with a Romani tribe near a nice lake, and have a near death experience where Pyotr reveals he’s cursed with a literal heart of stone, detached from his chest. Behind his friend’s back, Ivan fills Nadya in: Pyotr is really the son of the Tsar’s sister and the commoner she eloped with. His parents died in an accident when he was little, so the Tsar adopted him and made him his heir. Sadly, the pain of grieving was too much for little Pyotr to bare, and following a folktale Ivan told him, he sought out Granny Bones’ well to cure his heartbreak. In response, she ripped out his heart so he wouldn’t feel ANYTHING. The only cure she told him and the royal family about is “the hand of true nobility,” explaining the hunt for a royal bride for Pyotr.
By the time everybody has fully bonded, they reach the old wishing well that Granny Bones calls home. Pyotr demands that the witch take back the curse. She really doesn’t want to help the ungrateful punk and his posse, but tells him that he already has the means to break the curse. Then the conversation , someone stole a down feather from the real Storm Bird from her years ago, and the thief has started using it to throw nature out of balance. The trio realizes this means — BUM BUM BUM! — the Storm Bird is a human with an insane amount of magic. The kids exit the well, with no idea what to do now. Then Solovey shows up with a small army to take the runaway Prince home.
Back in Krepost, Pyotr tells the Tsar what Granny Bones said. Solovey tries to get Nadya alone with promises of finding her parents, but she notices a strange feather he has. As his attempts get more forceful, Nadya realizes that Solovey is the Storm Bird. She runs to tell everyone, and, pushed to the brink, Solovey transforms in front of the court, and flies off with Nadya and Pyotr’s heart.
Near the Romani camp from earlier, Solovey ties Nadya up and has his motive monologue: He’s been using Pyotr’s heart for years to hunt for a pure heart, so he can use it in a spell that will grant his wish for immortality, and he’s been toppling duchies as the Storm Bird to ensure that, in his screwed-up logic, the loss any of their princesses will be meaningless. Since the stone heart reacted to her, he thinks that it’s Nadya’s heart, and he prepares to take it out with magic.
Pyotr and Ivan arrive to save Nadya, but Solovey incapacitates Pyotr by abusing his heart, calling him a disgrace to the royal family, then finally throwing it into the lake. Something goes wrong with the spell, and Nadya breaks free so she can dive into the water after it (something she has been afraid of since the flood.) Ivan joins her, they retrieve the heart together, and the faint glow form Nadya’s touch turns bright at Ivan’s touch. Realizing what this means, Nadya and Ivan together reunite Pyotr with his heart. Solovey’s spell turns on him, and he is turned to stone, forever.
Granny Bones appears, takes back her feather, and reveals that Pyotr and Solovey misinterpreted exactly what “the hand of true nobility” meant. All Pyotr needed was for a someone who he trusted and trusted him to restore his heart, because the noblest hand is that of a true friend, something an elitist like Solovey couldn’t comprehend. Just before disappearing, Granny also directs Nadya to the Romani tribe. It turns out Nadya’s mother (father didn't make it) has been cared for by the Romani tribe for a bad bump on her head the whole time, and the mother and daughter head back to Krepost with Pyotr and Ivan.
So Happily Ever Afters all around: Pyotr connects with his uncle and aunt for the first time, Ivan becomes Royal Jester, Nadya makes her debut with new confidence, and all three of them affirm their close relationship. Just as friends or polyamory if you choose to look at it that way.
So there is most of my ideas. Maybe you can tell me what you think should be kept, modified or dropped?
There's also a few more things about the characters I think I should mention:
Nadya is the True Princess, Pyotr is the searching prince, Ivan is the goofy friend who is still very significant, and the main antagonist is the thunderstorm from PatP, remade into the legendary Storm Bird. The cute animal sidekick is Arkady, your average cantankerous cat.
You should know enough about Nadya from her profile, and she doesn’t have that much of a backstory. If you’re a My Little Pony follower, just picture Fluttershy with Rarity’s priorities. She is the daughter of a knyaz/duke of the tiniest, most easily overlooked, barely-a-duchy of the territories She’s mostly ordinary-looking besides a generic cuteness, she’s polite and demure while having no self-confidence or a threshold for stress, and she wants to live a boring, cushiony life where nothing bad happens to her. But of course, a lot of craziness comes her way.
Pyotr is pretty much the opposite of the Prince Charming archetype. He’s sullen, surly, sarcastic, but he’s not so bad once you get to know him. Arguably, Pyotr’s backstory is the most important of the main trio. First of all, there’s the question of why he has to marry a “true princess”? Here’s my justification: a witch has cursed him with a heart of stone — literally. The prince carries it around in a pouch, and the cavity in his chest where it fell out is also stone. It comes with the cool power to have his to protect him from pain. Like, if Pyotr punches a wall, his fist will turn to stone, or his head if something is thrown at it. Unfortunately, without his heart, the prince has lost use of his senses, can’t sleep without night terrors, and animals hate him. According to the witch, the only given cure is “the hand of true nobility.” At the insistence of the Capital’s duke and the Tsar’s advisor, the Tsar and Tsarina are gathering up all eligible girls of nobility to test out whether or not the prince’s disembodied heart reacts to them, to find the cure.
Ivan Kuznetsovich is Pyotr’s oldest and only friend. He’s a Romani-born peasant (because I can’t picture a Russian fairy tale without ruska roma) who wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps as the royal court jester. He’s there to dance, sing, make merry and provide an optimistic viewpoint; Pretty much like any happy, funny sidekick. As the one who told Pyotr about Granny Bones’ wishing well as a kids, Ivan feels responsible for his buddy’s curse and one of the most determined to help him. He’s also the narrator, which gives an explanation as to why people are bursting into song.
The Storm Bird at first appears to be an ancient, primordial force of destruction who may or may not be under Granny Bones’ control. Then it’s revealed that Duke Solovey, the Tsar’s confidant, is using magic and Pyotr’s curse to find the pure heart so he can become immortal. Unlike the average evil advisor, he’s not interested in usurping the Tsar. To Solovey, nothing is more noble than being the man behind the Tsar, so he wants immortality to do it forever. At least, that’s what he tells the heroes. Really, he’s just a man who can’t face his own mortality. He uses his Storm Bird form to topple the territories because he considers those of lesser nobilities (aka Nadya) expendable in the face of his mission and the Tsar’s royal family, and in his mind, you can’t be royal if your territory is rubble.
You can’t have the Princess and the Pea without the heroine failing to sleep on twenty mattresses, so I incorporated it into Solovey’s ritual to rip out Nadya’s heart. She needs to have fallen into despair (like Pyotr did as a boy) for it to work, so he puts Nadya into a magic sleep/trance, where she is in an inescapable, acid trip place, and being tempted to give up. She climbs a hill that turns into a giant bed, and just when she’s about to fall asleep, Nadya feels a dried pea in her pocket she’s been keeping since Pyotr and Ivan gave it to her during the night with the Romani. It gives the strength to go on, and she breaks free of Solovey’s magic.
Nadya, Pyotr and Ivan's realationship is meant to break the romantic subplot formula where the princess has a royal suitor and a commoner suitor and she eventually chooses one over the other. Instead, the story ends with the three of them as friends. I rarely see this outcome in movies, let alone in animated movies, and I think friendship over romance is nice.
That being said, I guess there are hints of Pyotr and Ivan having feelings for Nadya, and between the two of them, Ivan would be the more likely to let Pyotr and Nadya be together, since the three of them being besties is what really matters to him.
well that's nice. it is implied that the storm bird killed her father because since they were seperated, the duke tried to save his wife from the creature while searching for their daughter. the storm bird attacked him and killed him, then the bird says that he's after the daughter (for unexplained reasons).
As in the Storm Bird directly murdered him? I guess that would fit in with Solovey's worldview, in that the Duke of Pamet's life was worthless anyway, and if Nadya is an orphan (as far as he knows) then her sudden disappearance will be overlooked.