In the two years since Lucasfilm was bought by Disney, the studio has returned to its beloved Star Wars feature film franchise – announcing a continuation of George Lucas’s film series (as well as spinoffs), which will kick off (again) in 2015 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As for Lucasfilm Animation, their newest television series, Star Wars Rebels, launched last month with the animated movie Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion.
Now, Lucasfilm Animation is preparing to release its first non-Star Wars related animated movie, titled Strange Magic, a fairytale musical inspired by William Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
Lucasfilm Animation announced that Strange Magic will be released January 23, 2015 by Touchstone Pictures. The story — written by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation”), David Berenbaum (Elf), and Irene Mecchi (Brave) — will use popular songs to chronicle the misadventures of goblins, elves, fairies, and imps who fight over a powerful potion. Rydstrom will direct with Lucas executive producing.
The cast for Strange Magic includes Alan Cumming (The Good Wife, X-Men 2), Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood), Kristin Chenoweth (Glee), Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6), Sam Palladio (Nashville), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), Elijah Kelley (Hairspray), Bob Einstein (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Peter Stormare (The Blacklist), and newcomer Meredith Anne Bull. Additionally, Marius de Vries (Moulin Rouge!) will serve as the musical director and composer.
Chris Argyropoulos, a publicist for Lucasfilm, released the first image from Strange Magic on Twitter:
“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., will be released by Touchstone Pictures on January 23 2015 pic.twitter.com/wpLNxqkiHk— Chris Argyropoulos (@ThatChrisA) November 11, 2014
Though Lucasfilm Animation has primarily focused on the sci-fi/fantasy world of Star Wars, Strange Magic won’t venture too far outside the box for Lucasfilm, as the movie will take place in its own fantastical realm. However, what may be the most surprising aspect of Strange Magic is its musical leanings. Even though Disney is largely known for its animated musical films, the company’s animation studios have released mostly non-musical features in recent years — with the major exception of Frozen.
That being said, Disney has, of course, released many of the most successful and beloved animated musicals over the past few decades. As Frozen proved last year, audiences (including both children and adults) will still show up and spend money on an animated musical experience. Add in Kristin Chenoweth, who starred with Idina Menzel (Frozen) in the long-running musical Wicked on broadway, and Strange Magic may certainly be worth watching for all ages.
Strange Magic will be released January 23rd, 2015.