All The Disney Live-Action Remakes in The Works
Disney’s live-action remakes have been box office gold since 2010 with billion-dollar hits like Alice in Wonderland (2010), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019), and The Lion King (2019), it is a no-brainer for the studio to continue shelling these out.
Let’s take a look at what Disney has cooking up next!
Directed by Marc Webb, from a screenplay by Greta Gerwig and Erin Cressida Wilson. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Marc Platt Productions, it is a live-action remake of Walt Disney’s 1937 first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which itself is loosely based on the 1812 fairy tale of the same title by the Brothers Grimm. The film stars Rachel Zegler as the title character Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen, Jonathan Burnap as the new male protagonist Jonathan, and Martin Klebba as Grumpy.
While there have been talks surrounding its star and whether or not she will be replaced, sources have consistently told us that is untrue. The film has had some test screenings and scored pretty well, with those in attendance telling us Zegler and Gadot are wonderful. It should be noted, the film is slated for a March 22, 2024 release, however, reshoots were ongoing prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike and were not 100% completed, so a release shift is highly likely.
Mufasa: The Lion King
The Lion King dominated at the box office in 2019 and Jon Favreau is handing the directing reigns to esteemed filmmaker Barry Jenkins. Mufasa: The Lion King is intended to be the live-action styled photorealistic computer-animated prequel to the similarly created 2019 remake of The Lion King (1994).Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani reprise their character roles from the remake, and are joined by Aaron Pierre and Kelvin Harrison Jr., who voice their young versions of Mufasa and Scar.
Reports indicated that the project would have a story centered on Mufasa during his formative years, with additional scenes focusing on the events after the first film; comparing the movie to a similar structure as The Godfather Part II. The film will not be a remake of The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, the direct-to-video sequel to the original animated film.
We were lucky enough to see during the D23 Expo in 2022, which revealed that Mufasa was an orphaned cub. The preview also revealed that Rafiki and Timon will tell stories about Mufasa’s past and his way to becoming king.
Moana is going to end up being there fast remake of an animated film as the original film debuted less than 7 years ago. Thomas Kail, who directed the Disney+ feature of Hamilton, is set to direct. Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana, assisted Disney with the casting of her live-action counterpart. Sources tell us the role has been cast but is being withheld until the SAG-AFTRA strike has ended. Additionally, Dwayne Johnson is set to reprise his role of Maui.
The remake will be produced by Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn via Flynn Picture Co. Executive producers also include Scott Sheldon of Flynn Picture Co. Jared Bush and Samoan industry pro Dana Ledoux Miller will also take part in the production. Bush, who was a director and co-writer of Disney’s Oscar®-winning feature Encanto and a writer and co-director on Disney’s Oscar®-winning film Zootopia, wrote the screenplay for 2016’s Moana.
Like its animated predecessor, the film will celebrate the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path. Moana’s journey of self-discovery and reflection on the lives of her ancestors won hearts worldwide, as did her newfound friendship with an exiled demigod named Maui.
Lilo & Stitch
Lilo & Stitch will be a live-action/CGI remake of Disney’s 2002 animated feature film of the same name. The film will be directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, written by Chris Kekaniokalani Bright, and produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich. It will star Maia Kealoha as Lilo Pelekai and Lilo & Stitch creator Chris Sanders reprising his voice role as Stitch from the original animated continuity.
Also set to appear is Zach Galifianakis as the voice of Dr. Jumba Jookiba, Billy Magnussen as the voice of Agent Pleakley, Sydney Agudong as Nani Pelekai, Kaipo Dudoit as David Kawena, Tia Carrere as Mrs. Kekoa, Courtney B. Vance as Cobra Bubbles, Amy Hill as Tūtū, and Jason Scott Lee as a luau manager.
The movie, which is being made as a Disney+ original, had filming suspended in July due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. The production only had a couple weeks left of filming, so the studio will quickly get that finished up at the top of the year.
Guy Ritchie, who directed Disney’s billion-dollar hit remake of Aladdin, will be behind the camera with hopes of repeating box office success. There is no plot as of yet but we expect it to follow the animated original, which follows the titular Hercules, a demigod with super-strength raised among mortals, who must learn to become a true hero in order to earn back his godhood and place in Mount Olympus, while his evil uncle Hades plots his downfall.
A little over a year ago we heard the studio wanted to work with superstar Ariana Grande, who would fit the role of Hercules love interest Meg. Grande has been busy with Universal on their 2 Wicked movies. As for the titular hero, we had heard names like Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed) and Taron Egerton (Kingsman). Again, these names are no confirmation, just something we have heard. It should be noted that director Guy Ritchie and the Russo’s like bringing in talent they have worked with in the past to their new projects.
Disney typically doesn’t bring talent from the animated projects into their live-action remakes; however, James Earl Jones became the exception when he returned for 2019’s billion-dollar smash hit The Lion King, reprising his role as Mufasa. So, why are we bringing that up? Well, Danny DeVito has expressed that he wants to return as Phil saying, “If they don’t put me in that, they don’t have a hair on their a–, I am the live-action ‘Hercules’!” Let me dive in by giving you all a little “rumor of the week”, while nothing is confirmed at this time, the expectation is the studio will bring back DeVito as Phil.
Probably the most head-scratching of these remakes, Bambi will be directed by Sarah Polley. Disney’s Bambi remake is viewed as a companion piece to films like The Jungle Book and The Lion King and is expected to use the same technology. Disney is cognizant that Bambi is less epic in scope and story and is not aiming to shoehorn a larger narrative onto the classic tale.
Other Disney remakes with less details
A Sword in the Stone remake has been in the works since 2018 with Juan Carlos Fresandillo attached to direct. The film had multiple production start dates but nothing ever materialized. Sources tell us that the film is in the works still but Fresnadillo has since left the project.
Roots member Questlove is tackling Aristocats for Disney+. Will Gluck (Peter Rabbit) and Keith Bunin (Onward) penned the script, with Gluck producing through his Olive Bridge Entertainment banner.
It’s been a few years since we received an update, but Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blinspotting) is attached to direct Robin Hood. Kari Granlund, who wrote the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp for Disney+, wrote the script. Disney producer Justin Springer (Dumbo, Tron: Legacy) is also onboard the project. The film will use a hybrid of live-action and CGI, as the characters will be anthropomorphic like the animated film before it. The film will also be a musical, which is different from the original. The film has been put onhold but sources say the project will very much happen.
There are also remakes in development for Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Frozen, and Tarzan. While there have been tons of rumors floating around regarding who Disney has as their top choice for these films, sources have told us that none of that is true and these are very much in early development.
I will leave you all with this, early this year, I was having lunch with a friend in the industry, talking Disney, and they brought up that they were speaking with someone at Disney and Atlantis: The Lost Empire was brought up. While I have no context at this time, we know Atlantis is fan favorite and developed a huge following as years went on.