The list of live-action Disney remakes seems to get longer by the day. One by one, it seems that nearly all of the company’s animated classics are being reimagined with real life actors, most recently with Cinderella (which has grossed over $500 million at the worldwide box office). Other projects in the works or set to be released sooner than later include Jungle Book, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh, and a Beauty and the Beast live-action musical
Now another Disney animated film has fallen prey to the live-action genre – namely, The Sword in the Stone. Released back in 1963, Sword in the Stone tells the story of a young King Arthur who is mentored by Merlin. It became the last movie released before Walt Disney’s death. Though it was considered a box office success, this gentle musical comedy didn’t exactly wow the critics at the time. Nevertheless, it has gone on to become many a childhood favorite for the subsequent generations that grew up watching it.
THR is reporting that Sword in the Stone is next on the list for Disney’s real life do-over. Game of Thrones writer/ producer Brian Cogman is set to write script for the movie, with Brigham Taylor on board to produce. Taylor is no stranger to Disney, having served as a production executive on all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, including the upcoming fifth installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (which is currently filming for a 2017 release), and the aforementioned live-action Jungle Book remake (which arrives in 2016).
Disney could go one of two ways with this remake. In the manner of Beauty and the Beast, the studio could decide to directly remake (more or less) the original Sword in the Stone animated feature, just with real life actors instead of animation. This would give them room to make it a musical (Beauty and the Beast will contain all the original songs plus new numbers), keep it light, and make it family friendly. However, as the songs in the original Sword in the Stone have not really achieved “iconic” status (like other Disney tunes have), they might not be preserved.
Alongside his work on Game of Thrones, Cogman is currently developing a series for Fox based on the fantasy card game Magic: The Gathering. That suggests Cogman coming onboard as a writer for Sword in the Stone might mean Disney is aiming to take a slightly darker route and aiming to appeal to families with older kids (a la the Pirates franchise).
A Sword in the Stone remake has great potential to expand on the original tale and also to tap into the mythological fantasy genre which seems quite popular now. Indeed, Merlin was a hit for the BBC, for related reasons, and we even included Sword in the Stone on our ‘Disney Animated Films That Could Work As Live-Action Movies’ countdown (based on similar logic).
However, questions yet again are raised at the amount of live-action remakes Disney have in the works. It really does seem a though each week brings news of another animated classic getting the same treatment and while some (Mulan, Beauty and the Beast) are entirely welcome and highly anticipated, others (such as Dumbo) leave many questioning if Disney just shouldn’t put the back-catalog down and think of something new.
We’ll bring your more information on The Sword and the Stone when we have it.