Walt Disney Animation Studios has experienced a resurgence of popularity in recent years, starting in 2010 with the release of Tangled, spanning from 2012's Wreck-It Ralph and 2013's Frozen up until this year. Already in 2016, Disney debuted Zootopia to widespread critical acclaim and positive reactions from casual moviegoers -- both of which translated to a global box office haul that surpassed $1 billion.
Outside of its animation studio, though, the Mouse House has found success in adapting its animated classics to live-action -- including The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast -- as well as updating other beloved films from their catalogue, like remaking Pete's Dragon and developing a sequel to Mary Poppins. One particular man who has lent his talents to a number of properties under the the Disney banner is Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and it appears he's adding another project to his schedule.
In an interview with Vulture, Miranda spoke about working on the upcoming Disney animated feature Moana and revealed he has teamed up with Zootopia co-director Byron Howard on a new project -- though Miranda indicated it may be years before their burgeoning film hits theaters. Miranda explained being introduced to Howard by Disney chief creative officer John Lasseter:
"That's the fun thing about working with someone and having it go well — you go, 'Okay, what else can we do?' Lasseter took me aside and said, 'I have an idea: Here's Byron, and you guys should start talking.' We literally haven't gotten in the room yet, but we're plotting."
Miranda has been involved in a number of projects across Disney's brands, including co-writing songs for Moana as well as working with director J.J. Abrams on music for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Next, he's starring in Mary Poppins Returns alongside Emily Blunt (Into the Woods), Colin Firth (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Meryl Streep. Additionally, Miranda is in the process of signing on to Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid film to work with veteran composer Alan Menken. But, as he told Vulture, his role has yet to be officially established:
"We're in super-early talks — I literally don't have a title for what my job on The Little Mermaid is yet. Right now, it's the guy who wears the 'don't mess it up' hat. If I could sign a contract with that job title on it, that would be great! But that's sort of where we are."
In terms of Miranda's new Disney animated project, little is known about it -- even Miranda himself seems to be figuring it out through his "plotting" with Howard. Considering how many films Miranda is apart of, as well as the lengthy development and production process of animated movies, it's likely we won't know specific details about the feature for some time. But with that said, fans of Zootopia and Miranda's work have at least one more film to anticipate, which should be good news.
- Moana (2016) release date: Nov 23, 2016