For the Species of the same name, see Trolls (species)

Trolls is an 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical comedy film based on the dolls of the same name by Thomas Dam. It is being directed by Mike Mitchell and co-directed by Walt Dohrn, produced by Gina Shay, and written by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, and Erica Rivinoja. The film stars Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christine Baranski, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand, Jeffrey Tambor and James Corden. It revolves around two trolls on a quest to save their village from destruction by the Bergens.

Produced as the 33rd animated feature by DreamWorks Animation, the film was released on November 4, 2016, by 20th Century Fox. A sequel, Trolls World Tour, was released on April 10, 2020.

The film itself grossed over $346 million in the cinemas and made a profit of $19 million, the rest of the money grossed was taken up by its price tag of $125 million, while its global P&R cost $105 million. it made a further $170 million from TV revenues.[1]


The Trolls are small colorful creatures who live in an almost perpetual state of happiness, singing, dancing, hugging, and having fun all day. However, they are discovered by the Bergens, large ugly miserable creatures, who can only feel happy by eating a Troll. The Bergens imprison the trolls and eat them every year on a special occasion, called Trollstice (a pun on solstice). The Trolls, led by their king, King Peppy, with his baby daughter, Princess Poppy, escape through tunnels on the day of Trollstice, when Prince Gristle was going to eat his first Troll. Enraged, Gristle Jr.’s father King Gristle Sr. banishes his Chef, who was in charge of preparing for Trollstice. Chef promises to leave and find the Trolls herself.

20 years later, the now-adult Poppy is retelling the story of how they escaped to a group of young Trolls from a scrapbook. She tells them she plans to throw a big party to celebrate the Trolls' escape, despite the warnings of the over-cautious and egotistical gray troll, Branch, that loud parties will attract the Bergens. A "Zen" troll named Creek, who is Poppy's crush, arrives and tells Branch to start being happy instead of being grumpy; Branch refuses. At the party, Branch's warnings come true, when Chef sees the fireworks and kidnaps Poppy's friends Guy Diamond, Biggie with Mr. Dinkles, Fuzzbert, Smidge, Satin and Chenille, DJ Suki, and Cooper, along with Creek, despite Poppy trying to rescue him and King Peppy. Chef then takes the kidnapped Trolls back to Bergen Town, while secretly plotting to overthrow its monarchy as revenge for her exile.

Alone inside the bunker, Branch looks at a bunch of homemade party invitations, indicating that he appreciates Poppy's offers of friendship, that he have an unrequited love for her, and that internally would like to have fun with the rest of the trolls. Meanwhile, Poppy goes on a rescue mission alone, as no other troll is willing to venture to Bergen Town, including Branch. But later on, when Poppy gets into trouble, she is saved by Branch, who thinks she will not make it if she goes alone.

Once inside the Bergen king's castle, Poppy and Branch witness Creek get eaten by the now-King Gristle Jr., but Poppy remains hopeful that Creek survived. Poppy and Branch find the rest of the captured Trolls being guarded by a scullery maid named Bridget (perjoratively called "Idget" by Chef). Poppy discovers that Bridget is secretly in love with King Gristle Jr. and offers to help her get a date with the king while trying to confirm if Creek is alive.

While setting Bridget up for the date with a musical number, Branch refuses to sing and triggers an argument with Poppy, revealing that, as a child, his grandmother was captured and got eaten while trying to save him, because his singing compromised his location to Chef. Branch's complete guilt over his grandmother's death caused his color to turn from blue to gray.

After Poppy comforts him with a hug, Branch decides to help Bridget and the trolls, though he still refuses to sing. Bridget, disguised under the name of "Lady Glittersparkles" gets her date with Gristle Jr. at a roller rink and arcade restaurant and Gristle Jr. asks her to be his "plus one" at Trollstice. Poppy notices Creek being held captive inside the jewel adorning the king's mantle.

Having helped Bridget, the Trolls attempt to rescue Creek from Gristle's room and steal his jewel but discover that it is empty. The Trolls are then captured by Chef, and Poppy gets shocked to discover that Creek sold them out to the Bergens to spare himself from being eaten. Creek lures out every troll from Troll Village (via Poppy's cowbell) and they are captured by Chef and the other Bergen cooks. With all the Trolls captured, thrown into a pot, and soon to be eaten, a heartbroken Poppy becomes sad and falls into despair after she had been betrayed by her crush, and loses hope as she and all the other Trolls turn gray.

Branch, even though he is gray, tries to sing "True Colors" for Poppy to cheer her up, and also confesses his love for her. Poppy, after regaining her colors and realizing Branch actually cares for her, as she joins in his song this makes him happy and he shows his True Colors. As the two dance and sing together the other Trolls get a sense of renewed hope and all regain their colors.

Bridget saves the trolls, willing to sacrifice herself. Poppy cannot bring herself to abandon Bridget after her sacrifice that is sure to doom her life, and with Branch and her friends, shows the Bergens that Bridget is Lady Glittersparkles and that it is not necessary to eat Trolls to be happy, and they too, can find happiness within themselves.

The vengeful Chef refuses to accept the peace and tries to kill the Trolls, but is knocked into a serving cart that is sent rolling out of Bergen Town. Chef is set on fire with Creek, who was still in her pouch. Both species celebrate, bringing new life to the town and renewing the life of the troll tree. Poppy is then declared queen of the Trolls, and Poppy and Branch start a romantic relationship and share a hug.

In a mid-credits scene, Chef and Creek's cart stops rolling. Chef prepares to eat Creek herself, but they soon find out they are on top of a monster, who opens his mouth and eats them both.







DreamWorks bid to make a related Trolls brand had originally been made in 2006 and the trademarks Classic Trolls, Lucky Trolls, Dam Trolls and Good Luck Trolls were registered. These trademarks which would have come in the wake of the failed Trollz series in 2005 by DIC Entertainment.


DreamWorks took over the Dam Things trademark in 2010, which had existed since 1968 making this the oldest trademark Dreamworks now owned, and the one to see the most use due to the registered first use of Dam Things Trolls was in 1959.

On June 23, 2010, DreamWorks Animation announced plans to create a film based on the toys, under the direction of Tim Hill. The brother–sister writing team of Adam Wilson and Melanie Wilson LaBracio were set to write the screenplay, and Dannie Festa of Festa Entertainment to executive produce.


In June 2012, it was reported that Chloë Grace Moretz will voice the female lead, while the role of the male lead, Masklin, had been offered to Jason Schwartzman.

In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced that the film with the working title Trolls would be released on June 5, 2015, with Anand Tucker set to direct the film, written by Wallace Wollodarsky and Maya Forbes. The films announcement came alongside other titles from Dreamworks.Moretz and Schwartzman have also been confirmed to lend their voices. Peter Ramsey, the director of Rise of the Guardians, said that Trolls would be partially based on a Terry Pratchett novel.[2]


"DreamWorks Trolls" was trademarked on February 12, 2013.[3]

By 11th April 2013, announcements that DreamWorks Animation had acquired the intellectual property for the Trolls franchise from the Dam Family and Dam Things. Having "big plans for the franchise," DreamWorks Animation became the exclusive worldwide licensor of the merchandise rights, except for Scandinavia, where Dam Things remains the licensor. Dennis Shawn, who was overseeing the project, had said,"There is incredible potential here to engage kids across multiple platforms in a way that is fun, enduring and meaningful. It is truly an amazing opportunity to be able to relaunch a brand like this one".[4][5]

In May 2013, the film was pushed back for a year to November 4, 2016. The same month, DreamWorks Animation announced that Mike Mitchell and Erica Rivinoja has been hired as a director and screenplay writer to "reimagine" the film as a musical comedy, which will present the origin of the Trolls' colorful hair. On June 17, 2013 it was confirmed Netflix and Dreamworks made a deal to bring 300 hours of animated content to the service provide from movies Shrek, Madagascar and Trolls.[6]

The lead artist Timonthy Lamb was brought onto the project in 2013.[7]


On June 16, 2014, Anna Kendrick joined the cast to voice Poppy, a princess.[8]

Trademark activity was quite notable in late 2014 and early 2015, even with character name trademarking not being accounted. On July 17, 2014, the first logo related to the movie was trademarked. DreamWorks had continued to go with the early name of DreamWorks Trolls on November 13, 2014. Both these versions had prototype logos filed with them.

The name "DreamWorks Trolls: Cupcakes and Rainbows" was filed as a trademark on December 3, 2014. The logo included in this version bares resemblance to one of Poppy's hair in early concept art and was likely related to the confirmed animation for Trolls, later confirmed to be called "DreamWorks Trolls: The Beat Goes On!". The show was confirmed by one of its animators Jim Mortensen being worked upon parallel with the movie.[9]


The name "Good Luck Trolls, which was filed on January 14, 2015 and another logo was made. However, this is unknown if it is related to the movie as DreamWorks would later release a seperate brand of Trolls merchandise under that name under the umbrella branding of "Dreamworks Trolls".

On September 15, 2015, reported that Justin Timberlake will voice a character named Branch. The full cast announced their respective roles via announcements on Twitter on January 6, 2016.[10]


Director Mike Mitchell and co-director Walt Dohrn presented footage from the film at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International.

On January 28, 2016, a teaser trailer was released on YouTube.

February 4, 2016 Dreamworks trademarked the film under the term "Dreamworks Trolls" for toys and playthings, clothing, children's books and downloadable software. This also confirmed they had gone with the name "Dreamworks Trolls" as a name for the movie.

In April 21st, 2016, trademarks for the movie were made for lotions, toys and playthings and food items.

On June 29, 2016, the film's first trailer was released online.


Trolls was released on Digital HD on January 24, 2017, and on DVD and Blu-ray on February 7, 2017.



The main theme of the movie is about the lengths some go to to obtain and maintain happiness as stated in the movies marketing and books such as The Art of the Trolls.

The Bergens are the main focus of this theme and it comes in several forms; being willing to eat sentient creatures (the Trolls), Chef wanting to use happiness to have power over her fellow Bergens, Bridget wanting the the King's love and King Gristle Jr. believing there is only one way to be happy which is eating a Troll. With this, the cost of happiness comes at a price to the Trolls and the Bergens. The Bergens themselves fail to acknowledge without Trolls they can be happy and it already is inside of them. They are also left unhappy constantly and can easily be manipulated so long as happiness is promised.

For the Trolls they represent in the movie happiness itself. They fear Bergens as the happiness of the Bergens costs the Trolls their liberty, but gives the Bergens a expectation that once a year they can stop being miserable. Their carefree nature means they are naturally happy and lack sadness nor want of it, making Branch the only grey and sad Troll.

Related to this happiness is the smaller themes such as social status. Bridget's position as Scullery maid leaves her unable to believe her happiness with the King can never be obtained due to her low rank. Meanwhile Branch's greyness is unattractive to the other Trolls and his paranoia a subject of ridicule. Branch also gives a small theme of being a Troll who lets his own past experiences deny himself happiness and is the only Troll from the Trollstice days left with bad experiences hanging over him. Thus Branch represents self punishment and guilt being a denier of happiness.

But happiness is not without its own flaws and the movie also shows a few negative sides to being happy. As previously mentioned, Chef controls the the happiness of her fellow Bergens using the Trolls as a means to get what she wants. For the Trolls themselves, one of their most cherished members Creek, who is the most positive Troll in the village, is willing to sacrifice the entire population to stay alive at the cost of their happiness. Poppy also show blissful ignorance at her party by not treating the Bergens as a threat, thus her happiness put herself and her fellow Trolls in danger.

Character Development

The main character of the movie was decided upon being named "Poppy" after the color "Poppy Pink". Originally they went for a more 1980s style of character design, but rejected it for a more ulgy-cute style as it gave more distinction in character design. As Poppy's design changed, so did the general style of the Trolls themselves and each version of Poppy caused a different art direction. A number of artists produced designs for the concept of Poppy. Timothy Lamb's artstyle was chosen as the overall look. Other artists included Craig Kellman who did a number of character studios and Sebastian Piquet who did a number of colour concepts, one of her dress designs of which seemed to have been used for Poppy's design in Trolls: The Beat Goes On!. Priscilla Wong, also did the costume that would be her royal attire in the original party scene which would have been Poppy's coronation. Poppy had a number of dress designs which were used for a scene removed from the film. She was even at one stage considered for having a Gem but it was removed. At one point, Poppy was even suppose to be naked but this was dropped.

Poppy's was one of the first characters designed. As Poppy's design was completed, Branch became the focus. Branch was made to be her counterpart and was considered much easier to draw since he just had to contrast Poppy's design, i.e. grey colors against Poppy's vivid pink. Similair to Poppy, Branch had a gem in his belly button that was added and removed, his attire went through a number of alterations but was always based upon survival-style clothing made from found items such as leaves. He was often depicted with weapons.

Cooper's design was overhauled also a number of designs and was based on a old animal Troll Dam Stuff produced of a giraffe. His design went through lots of alternations and was also produced quite early on, as his initial design match the 1980s design Poppy had. At different points, he would look very different in design.

Satin and Chenille also had a number of design changes and were suppose to change outfits regularly throughout the movie, but this was dropped due to costs. The twins had numerous design concepts.

Snack packcropped

The Snack Pack design comparison

By the point Cooper, Biggie, Smidge, Branch, and Poppy were at some sort of design status, they were lined up against a design chart. The print of this from The Art of the Trolls shows at one stage more members of The Snack Pack were intended. The rest were not yet finalized. DJ Suki was originally trademarked as DJ Harmony, but this name was changed less then a month later on February 25, 2015 when new trademarks were filed under her finalized name of "DJ Suki".

Creek was meant to have a charming and handsome look and went through several designs, many of which had his hair glistening. Grandma Rosiepuff was also added to give Branch a traumatic background. The two characters Creek and Grandma Rosiepuff between them are a split of a initial character that was to be the one who portrayed the Trolls, Miss Guffin until she was scraped as she was initially too appealing and no one could recover from her being evil. Miss Guffin actually had a trademark in her name on January 20, 2015. Presumably she was dropped as a character by June 10, 2015 as this is the date of Creek's trademark.

A number of other characters were made for the film that did not get in; Maddy, Cybil (whose guru aspect was also reused for Creek), Aspen Heitz, Karma and Harper, the only one of these Trolls to actually appear in the movie in a significant role. Aspen Heitz's design was instead used for a Random Troll design and appeared in the inital escape from Bergen Town.

The Bergens were meant to be unattractive and miserable looking monsters that ate Trolls. Bridget and Gristle were made short for their species and both uattractive to other Bergens for this reason. Gristle's direction was simply that he was spoilt and wore the same clothes as a teenager, hence they didn't fit him. Bridget's design was made alongside Zooey Deschanel's performance so voice actress and character development were side by side designs. She was one of the more fun designs to come up with for the artists. Her personqa Lady Glittersparkoles was basedon a 1970s diva. The Bergens in general were meant to be based on 1970s slum. Craig Kellman initially came up with the more weirder approach to the Bergens with tight cloths and high waists.

World Building

The textile landscape was chosen to make the world look like it wasn't CGI and had actually been made by hand. A number of landscapes had real world models produced to represent them and see what they look like. Early concept art did not have this knitted-world look to it.[11]

The film used a number of textures, some of which were devised along the development of the film and thus were used by Trolls for the first time. The Trolls habitat went through several redesigns but mostly focused on them living in the trees.

For the Bergens, a drab palette was chosen and like the Bergens, a 1970s slum look was chosen. Overall Bergen Town was meant to be a contrast to the forest the Trolls lived in. Initially, they were meant to have things like cars and motorcycles, but none made it to the movie, though these vehicles are references by odd things such as Prince Gristle's bike as a baby in the opening scene and a tire in the Cloud Guy scene at the Tunnels.

Trolls world design was not allowed to touch water.[12]

Plot Changes/Scene Deletions

Trolls was originally not going to be a musical.

Charles Ellison, on of the 3D modellers for Dreamworks, later uploaded versions of the Troll designs from the original abandoned concept.[13] A few names can be gathered from the file names of the images. The old female Troll is called "morkie" due to the file name, the glasses wearing Troll "sanyo", the male character in the red outfit is confirmed to be "Masklin" the main male lead, while the youngest character is a younger version of himself. These designs had the Trolls resemble more closely the original designs of the Troll Dolls by Dam Things. The main female lead has never had her name revealed.


3D models from the original film concept characters from left to right; Sanyo, Morkie, Masklin (Jason Schwartzman's character), young Masklin and the main female lead (Chloë Grace Moretz's character, name currently unknown). Image from Charles Ellison at ArtStation

Even after becoming a musical, the original plot was on how the Trolls gained their colorful hair and thus was a origin story on Troll hair. Overall what remained is that Trolls was meant to be a origin story for further installments of the franchise.

Even in the final version of the storyline, the plot would involve Poppy becoming Queen due to her father becoming senile. The 20 year party was her coronation, but this was changed to make Peppy's character more like a wise teacher. The plot was not forgotten and later Peppy's former persona would be given to King Thrash in the Trolls World Tour sequel.

Satin and Chenille had a scene where they showed Poppy number of dresses she had made for her cut coronation party. The scene was cut as feedback after the scene was given a test viewing noted how spoilt it made Poppy look.

Concept art shows early on Branch was meant to be part of the Lady Glitter Sparkles wig. In the movie, Branch isn't involved with the wig except when the Trolls save Bridget from Chef.

As mentioned in "Character Development" Miss Guffin was meant to be the original betrayer of the Trolls, not Creek.

Chef's song Bringing Back Happy was also cut from the film.


For more information, see Trolls - Soundtrack.

Related Media + Merchandise

Trolls helped contribute to 2016 being a very successful year with licensing of movie product tie-ins. The films merchandise was a surprising success and it was one of the bigger launches of the year.[14] By the time approaching sequel Trolls World Tour hit, the franchise was worth $700 million.[1]

As previously noted elsewhere, the original party featured early on was meant to be Poppy's coronation. However, this was changed late into production of the movie and many early promotional materiel such as books like Sing With Us! and the 2017 Trolls Annual were released with that particular plot instead of the changed plot. Thus, the change of plot impacted early merchandise related to the movie.

DVD, Blu-ray and 4K release

DVD, Blu-ray were both released on February 7, 2017 while the Ultra 4K HD + digital were released on January 24, 2017. Several versions have been released;

  • The normal release
  • "Party Edition"
  • "Sing-a-long" version
  • A special
  • The "Happy Place Collection" which included Trolls Holiday and season 1 of Trolls: The Beat Goes On!
  • A special 2-movie release with Trolls World tour.
  • A Collectable Steelbook was only available from Best Buy.[15]

Note that not all versions were available on all formats.

Follow Your Art

Follow Your Art was a prequel book released for Trolls by Scholastic, the protagonist of this book is Harper. The book is narrated from a 1st person point of view by both her and Poppy.

The Art of the Trolls

The Art of the Trolls is a book showing the various concepts of the Trolls films, including details of influences.[16]

Troll 2 Troll

Troll 2 Troll is a short 6-episode series that features Branch and Poppy debating about various topics. Ultimately the debate derails due to their different personalities. The shorts were released as promotion for the Movie.

Trolls Holiday

Trolls Holiday is an half-hour christmas TV special featuring the returning characters (except DJ Suki, Creek & King Peppy) from the animated movie, Trolls. It premiered on November 24, 2017 on NBC.

Trolls: The Beat Goes On!

Trolls: The Beat Goes On! is a tie-in series based on the film that features the Trolls every day lives. As of November 22, 2019, 8 seasons have been streamed on Netflix.


A number of adaptations of this storyline were written by David Lewman, including Trolls: The Junior Novelization. Other books include years 2017 and 2018 of the Trolls Annual, Out of Branch's Bunker which is a retelling from Branch's point of view and a Treasure Trove Story of the film. Trolls Cinestory Comic is also a comic book style re-print of the film that uses screenshots from the film print out.


They produced a charm series called HAIR-RAISING, TROLL-TASTIC LOOKS.


PÜR produced a tie-in called PÜR X TROLLS where they produced a 16-palette eyeshadow collection.


  • In the trailers, Branch is seen performing "Can't Stop the Feeling!" with the other Trolls, for some reason he still has his Grey coloring. This was most likely done to avoid spoilers. [17]
  • Unlike many other toylines that have been revamped from older decades such as My Little Pony or Transformers, the Trolls franchise has had virtually no past references to go by. The only other major project for the toyline was the animation The Magic Trolls and the Troll Warriors. There are, however, many similarities between the plot of Trolls and the animation. According to The Art of the Trolls, the lack of a background or story for the Trolls actually gave them a lot of room to work with.
  • An animation error occurred when Poppy says goodbye to the trolls in Branch's bunker; King Peppy is suddenly wearing only his underwear.


The creators of Shrek, invite you on a musical adventure, that proves one voice can change the world.
~ Tagline
This is a story about happiness, how far some would go to get it, and how far we went to get it back.
~ Tagline by Poppy



Movie Clips

Behind the Scenes

Promo Videos

Deleted Scenes



  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. link
  3. Trademark
  13. link]
  16. "The Art of the Trolls", ISBN no.;9781785653025
  17. Branch is still grey

Movie Ranking

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Trolls characters
Trolls - Main cast
King PeppyPoppyBranchBiggieCooperCreekGrandma Rosiepuff † • FuzzbertDJ SukiGuy DiamondSatin and ChenilleSmidge
Trolls - Minor roles
HarperMoxie DewdropCookie SugarloafMandy SparkledustKeithDariusUncle Ron Sr.
King Gristle Jr.BridgetChefKing Gristle Sr.BibblyChad and ToddCaptain Starfunkle
Other Characters
BarnebisCloud GuyMister Dinkles
Cut Characters
Miss GuffinKarmaAspen HeitzCybilMaddy
Trolls songs
Hair UpCan't Stop the Feeling!Move Your Feet / D.A.N.C.E. / It's A Sunshine DayGet Back Up AgainThe Sound of SilenceHelloThey Don't KnowI'm Coming Out / Mo' Money Mo' ProblemsTrue ColorsSeptemberWhat U Workin' With?
Total Eclipse of the Heart • Clint Eastwood • Dream A Little Dream Of Me • Celebration • The Fakeover • I Feel Love • Theme from a Summer Place
Cut Songs
Bringing Back Happy
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