Cruella is finally in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. The live-action remakes have been a financial goldmine for Disney, so it’s not shocking that studio has many more projects in various stages of production. So let’s look ahead and see what’s to come.
Probably the most anticipated of the live-action remakes, The Little Mermaid finally kicked off production earlier this year after a year-long delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Production only has a couple months left in Sardinia before heading into extensive post-production. Directed by Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns), The Little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel. The film will feature the original music by Alan Menken in addition to new songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cast also includes Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Noma Dumezweni as Carlotta, and Jude Akuwudike as Grimsby. Emily Coates, Jessica Alexander, Russell Balogh, and Adrian Christopher have also joined the cast in unnamed roles. Oh we can’t forget, Eric’s dog Max will also appear. No release date for the film has been announced.
Disney’s live-action adaptation of Peter Pan has been in the works for a few years now, and the production finally kicked off in Vancouver, Canada and is expected to wrap next month. The film is directed by David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) and stars Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts, Captain Marvel); Ever Anderson (Black Widow) as Wendy; Alexander Molony (The Reluctant Landlord) as Peter Pan; Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell; Jim Gaffigan (Troop Zero); Molly Parker (House of Cards) as Mrs. Darling; Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Mr. Darling; newcomers Joshua Pickering as John; Jacobi Jupe as Michael Alyssa Wapanatâhk as Tiger Lily, with Noah Matthews Matofsky as Slightly, Sebastian Billingsley-Rodriguez as Nibs, Skyler and Kelsey Yates as The Twins, Florence Bensberg as Curly, and Caelan Edie as Tootles. Peter Pan & Wendy will premiere on Disney+ in 2022.
Another project heading to Disney+ is the live-action adaptation of Pinocchio. The project recently wrapped production. The film will be directed by Robert Zemeckis, best known for the Back to the Future franchise and Forrest Gump. The film stars Tom Hanks as Gepetto, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket, Luke Evans as The Coachman, Keegan-Michael Key as Honest John, Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy, with Lorraine Bracco as a new character, Sofia the Seagull, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as the titular Pinocchio. The film will combine live-action and visual effects. Alan Silvestri will be working with Glen Ballard to write new songs for the film, though classics such as “When You Wish Upon a Star” will also be included.
The upcoming follow-up to the highest-grossing live-action remake, The Lion King will be directed by Academy Award nominee Barry Jenkins. This adaptation is expected to explore the origin of Mufasa. The film use a Godfather: Part II approach. The studio is currently casting for actors to play the roles of young Scar and Mufasa. Disney is also looking to cast actors for brand new characters not shown in the previous incarnations of the various Lion King films. The characters are as follows, Adah, Horatio, Elijah, Celia, Kaliban, Cardi (no, not B.), and Zola. The project is being developed for a theatrical release and starts production this September.
Being produced by Marvel alums Joe and Anthony Russo. This is Disney’s attempt at a live-action Hercules. The script is complete and a director search is underway. Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984), who is also involved with Marvel’s Shang-Chi, penned the script, Which is said to involve some musical sequences. Another thing I have heard but is not confirmed by any means is that superstar Ariana Grande is being considered for the Meg role, while Disney seems high on Michael B. Jordan for Hercules, again nothing is confirmed at this time.
The studio is also prepping this film as a part of their original films for Disney+. Jon M. Chu was tapped to direct the project last year, but has exited the project to focus on Universal’s Wicked remake, an untitled Thai cave rescue project and the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians sequel, China Rich Girlfriend. The remake is said to follow the same story as the animated film that followed a young girl’s close encounter with the galaxy’s most wanted extraterrestrial. Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who adopts a small ugly “dog,” whom she names Stitch. Stitch would be the perfect pet if he weren’t, in reality, a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth. Through her love, faith, and unwavering belief in ohana, the Hawaiian concept of family, Lilo helps unlock Stitch’s heart and gives him the ability to care for someone else. A cool tidbit we hear is that the voice of Stitch from the original films and series, Chris Sanders is expected to return as the voice of Stitch.
Snow White was a project that was expected to start production over a year ago in Vancouver, Canada but sadly, the coronavirus changed those plans. As of now, I am hearing Marc Webb is still attached to direct, but won’t be able to focus on the project til later this year as he is working on the Disney+ series Just Beyond. Erin Cressida Wilson penned the script. The film is said to be a musical with Oscar-winning songwriters Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul are set to write brand new music for the film as they did with the studio’s 2019 box office hit Aladdin. Years ago a spin-off centered on Rose Red, Snow White’s sister was in the works, and had Brie Larson circling the role. The project has since been scrapped.
It’s been over two years since reports came out that Disney would be working on a live-action adaptation of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, the films producer and possible star, Josh Gad, says an update is coming, which possibly means a director announcement. Tony-winning M. Butterfly playwright David Henry Hwang wrote the script. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz (Both worked on the animated films music) will write the music for this adaptation. Mandeville is producing along with Gad.
It should come as no surprise that Disney is trying to get a sequel to the billion dollar hit Aladdin off the ground. However, the films stars Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith have yet to sign on until they’ve read and approved of the script. John Gatins (2017’s Power Rangers) and Straight Outta Compton scribe Andrea Berloff wrote the script. Disney apparently loved their approach to the sequel, so my guess is the cast will sign on. The film isn’t expected to take inspirations from Return of Jafar or King of Thieves, Disney’s straight-to-VHS sequels released in the ’90s. The project isn’t expected to bring back director Guy Ritchie back.
Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers is currently in production. The project will be directed by Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island, and will star John Mulaney and Andy Samberg as Chip and Dale respectively. Seth Rogen is also slated to have a cameo. The film is described as follows, It’s been years since the end of the RESCUE RANGERS, and CHIP AND DALE are currently living a life of mediocrity. Now Chip and Dale must renew their partnership to try and save a friend from a fate worst that death: video piracy. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is expected to hit Disney+ early next year.
Remakes for Bambi, Robin Hood, Sword in the Stone, James and the Giant Peach, and a sequel to 2016’s The Jungle Book are also in various stages of development. Though, I am told these projects are much farther away from beginning than the aforementioned films we’ve listed. The studio is also in development on a Prince Anders film for Disney+, as well as the Gaston and Lefou series, and Mulan spin-offs.
Projects such as an origin for the Genie, Tinker Bell, Prince Charming, and Night on Bald Mountain have all been scrapped.