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Exclusive: Byron Howard and Jared Bush to Direct ‘Encanto’ For Walt Disney Animation Studios

*Update 6/22/2020*

Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed our report that he is working on this film with the Howard and Bush; however, the film is set in Colombia not Brazil as we previously heard.

A few months ago, Discussing Film reported on the news that Zootopia directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush are working on a new original film for Walt Disney Animation Studios’. Well, we have learned some new details on the project.

According to our sources, the film is tentatively titled Encanto (could change as Raya and the Last Dragon was originally titled Dragon Empire) and is centered on a young girl and her family in Brazil, who all have magical powers, sadly, the young girl has no powers.

Encanto in English means “charm”

Encanto becomes the third Disney animated film in the last five years to feature a woman of color as its lead character, following Moana (Polynesian) and Raya and the Last Dragon (Asian).

Walt Disney Animation
Pictured: Moana and concept art of Raya, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios

Read: Interview: Film Historian and Critic Leonard Maltin Discusses His Career Chronicling Disney History

Disney staple Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) is writing the music, with Clark Spencer (Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Yvett Merino Flores (Moana) on board to produce. As well as directing the film alongside Byron Howard, Jared Bush will co-write the screenplay with Charise Castro Smith. Smith has previously written and produced episodes of The Haunting of Hill House. There were reports out there stating this film is set in the same Universe as Moana, but our sources say that is not true.

Not much else is known regarding the project; however, Disney Animation has an untitled film scheduled for release on Thanksgiving weekend November 24, 2021, which seems like the right landing spot for this project. Stay tuned for more news on the project.

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