Following the success of its live action remakes of Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and Cinderella, Disney has announced an impressive lineup of new, upcoming live-action reboots of its classic animated film catalogue. From Dumbo, to Pinocchio, to The Lion King, the Mouse House is reworking many of its titles that we know and love from our childhoods.
There have been mixed feelings from the public over putting these beloved films through the reboot machine, but so far Disney’s attempts to bring a fresh perspective to its animated classics has been financially and critically successful. There are sure to be some hits and misses on the horizon, considering that toying with universally beloved works can be a risky challenge. It begs the question: why there aren’t more original stories being worked on by the studio. But hey, why try something new when you could just slap a fresh coat of paint on something old?
Along with a whole list of confirmed reboots and live-action remakes, there have been many rumors floating around about some other potential projects that Disney has been thinking about announcing. Disney loves keeping people on their toes, so here are 15 Disney Movies That Are Currently In Development (And 10 That Are Rumored).
25. Confirmed: The Lion King
The Lion King was originally released in 1994 and has continued to be a firm favorite with audiences of all ages. The original cast featured the voices of Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson and many other prominent celebrities. In September 2016, it was announced that Disney was planning on on doing a CGI remake of this family favorite with Jon Favreau at the helm.
The plans were confirmed in November 2017, and so far, we’ve learnt that the new cast will include Beyonce (Nala), Donald Glover (Simba), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), JD McCrary (Young Simba), Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala), and the return of James Earl Jones (Mufasa).
It’s also been revealed that the remake will only include four of the songs from the original The Lion King soundtrack, but the filmmakers are looking to Beyonce and Elton John for some new musical material for this upcoming remake.
24. Confirmed: Mulan
The idea of a Mulan live-action remake has been in the works for a several years, but it was finally announced in 2016 that it would officially be getting a 2018 release date. Well, Disney has decided to bump the release of this particular reboot until 2020, due to the fact that it took so long to find a lead actress.
Finally, however, it seems the studio has found its star in Liu Yifei, a Chinese actress whose previous work includes the 2008 film The Forbidden Kingdom. Much to the dismay of the original film’s many fans, it has been revealed that this new Mulan movie won’t include any musical numbers.
The reboot’s director Niki Caro has instead suggested that the film will be mainly martial arts, telling Screen Rush: “the budget and the location and the story is offering such scope to me for [an] incredible, muscular piece of girly martial arts extravaganza in China. And I can’t wait. ”
23. Rumored: Princess Diaries 3
It’s been almost twenty years since the first The Princess Diaries was released, and it’s safe to say there’s been a Mia Thermopolis-shaped hole in many a fan’s heart since the sequel came out in 2004. It’s been speculated for a long time whether or not there might be a third Princess Diaries film on the horizon.
In July 2017, Meg Cabot, the author of the young adult novels that inspired the film franchise, told Entertainment Weekly that we might not have to give up hope of seeing a third film after all. “[It] could happen, as we say”, revealed Cabot, “I am not allowed to say.”
Apparently, before his passing in 2016, director Gary Marshall had been keen to make a third installment with Anne Hathaway reprising her role as Mia. We’ll see if a third film does pan out, but until then, we’ll be diligently practicing our mattress surfing in anticipation.
22. Confirmed: Prince Charming
Over the past few years Disney has been expanding its empire, but despite its ever-growing studio, it still loves making classic fairytale fodder. Building on its trending move towards live-action remakes of its animated films, Disney will be releasing a movie called Prince Charming with Wonder director Stephen Chbosky to write the script and possibly direct it too.
Following a similar pattern of Maleficent, Prince Charming will take some creative liberties with its storyline and is said focus on the point of view Prince Charming’s brother who never really fit in with the family’s standards. As for which “Prince Charming” the title refers to, well, it hasn’t been revealed yet. We could get a Snow White Prince Charming, a Cinderella one, or perhaps a whole new Prince. We’ll just have to wait to find out.
21. Confirmed: Oliver Twist
Charles Dickens’ famous story Oliver Twist is getting a reboot, this time with Hamilton director Thomas Kail in charge and Empire’s Danny Strong set to pen the script. Ice Cube and Eddie Redmayne have both been considered to play the part of Fagin, and British singer Adele has been approached to star as Nancy.
The film is set to remake the 1968 Carol Reed musical Oliver!, which featured music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. It has yet to be revealed whether this remake will take place in the modern day or not, or whether it will be set in the USA or the UK. Disney previously worked with Oliver Twist source material for its 1988 animated film Oliver and Company, which followed the adventures of cats and dogs on the streets of New York City.
20. Rumored: Father of the Bride
Good news Steve Martin fans, it looks like a long-awaited Father of the Bride 3 might actually be happening. And, what makes this news even better, is that the whole original cast could be coming back to do it.
When George Newbern, who played Bryan MacKenzie in the 1991 comedy, sat down with US Weekly, he revealed that Charles Shyer, the director of Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride 2, had written a script for the third installment. Newbern also said he thought most of the original cast would probably be up for a third film: “I’m sure most of the cast would be into it if the script was right. So maybe that’s just a question of that happening.” We’ll just have to wait and see.
19. Confirmed: Dumbo
Dumbo might not seem like the most obvious choice for a live-action remake, but sure enough, this tale about a flying elephant is in line to get a major re-working with Tim Burton in the director’s seat. Burton’s last few films haven’t exactly gone down well with audiences or critics, and when he’s given a large-scale budget, things tend to spiral out of creative control.
However, perhaps this is the formidable director’s chance to make good on his prior flops, and with the original Dumbo’s Oscar-winning history, this new version could bring home gold too. Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, and Eva Green are all on board to star in the Dumbo remak. The film will be part live-action, part CGI.
18. Rumored: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
While Disney is certainly busy making plans to remake many of its original animated films, the studio seems to have its eyes on rebooting some of its live-action classics as well, including the oft-forgotten gem that is Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Originally released in 1989, this family adventure film starred Rick Moranis as a scientist who accidentally shrinks his kids, forcing them to make their way through the dangerous world of their own backyard in order to get back home safely and return to their normal size.
It’s surprising that this movie hasn’t already been churned through the reboot mill, seeing as today’s technology could really create an impressively wacky adventure film. Well, we might just get a 21st century retelling of this family-favourite as Disney has been in talks to get this remake off the ground.
17. Confirmed: Cruella
With Emma Stone reportedly set to star as infamous Cruella de Vil, Cruella will be set in London during the late 1970s. The idea is to frame the movie during a time when the UK punk scene was coming to a close, which would provide an interesting backdrop for the fashion-loving Cruella to come to the fore.
This new live-action movie will be a prequel to 101 Dalmatians and will focus on the origin story of Ms. de Vil. Seeing Cruella portrayed by a young, attractive actress will be a fascinating twist on the usually older version of the villain we’ve seen. Perhaps this also means that we’ll get a more sympathetic portrayal of the fur-loving de Vil, but everything at this point is just speculation.
16. Confirmed: Pinocchio
Another Disney film getting the live-action makeover is the 1940 animated classic Pinocchio. The studio has already been in talks with Paddington director Paul King to take charge of this new project, which could bode well for this Pinocchio reboot since King has earned himself a stellar reputation for his marmalade-loving bear films.
It will be interesting to see what direction Pinocchio takes, as many of the darker elements of the original (such as the delinquent toys in Pleasure Island drinking, smoking, and gambling) might not fit the mold Disney is trying to cast these days. Although the idea of having yet another re-telling of the marionette seems a little stale from where we’re standing, with Paul King at the helm, there might just be some hope for this one.
15. Rumored: The Parent Trap
Along with Father of the Bride and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the other family title being eyed up for a potential remake is The Parent Trap. We’ve already seen two variations of this film come out, the first being the Hayley Mills original in 1961, and the other being the 1998 remake with Lindsay Lohan. Mills actually starred in three sequels to the original 1961 film, but these are not remembered very well at all.
It will be interesting to see if Disney does go ahead with its plans to reboot this well-worn tale of the twins who plot to get their parents back together, and how they might put a new spin on it News about the potential remaking of The Parent Trap doesn’t offer up any further details on Disney’s plans, but we can probably look forward to hearing an announcement about it in the next few years.
14. Confirmed: Frozen 2
Since its release in 2013, Frozen has become the highest-grossing animated film in history, so it’s no wonder that a sequel to this smash hit has been eagerly anticipated since the original first wowed audiences worldwide. Expectations are pretty high for this next installment of Elsa and Anna’s frozen adventures in Frozen 2, and there has been a clamouring from fans, especially in the LGBTQ community, to give Elsa a female love interest.
Nothing at this point has been confirmed or denied whether or not we will indeed see Elsa getting a girlfriend. Jennifer Lee, the co-director of the sequel, told the Huffington Post that Disney is having “tons of conversations” about the potential surrounding this particular storyline. Although details of the film’s plot have yet to be revealed, the original cast – including Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, and Jonathan Groff – will all be returning for the sequel.
13. Confirmed: Aladdin
Guy Ritchie is taking the director’s seat for this remake of the 1992 animated Aladdin. The cast has already been revealed, with Will Smith playing the Genie, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Mena Massoud as the titular role. It will undoubtedly be a huge task for Smith to take on the role of Genie, a part that was formerly voiced by the late Robin Williams, but there are high hopes that the Fresh Prince star will be able to give his own, unique spin on such an iconic character.
There has already been some backlash from the public over Disney’s decision to “brown up” its white cast members for non-white parts in this remake, which is a rocky start to the film, especially considering Guy Ritchie will be hoping his Aladdin reboot might redeem him from his last flop film, King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword.
12. Rumored: A Bug’s Life 2
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since A Bug’s Life was released, and with Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 on the horizon, it’s got us wondering why Disney/Pixar has waited so long to re-visit this spectacularly underrated film.
Well, we might have something to celebrate soon, as the company may have hinted that A Bug’s Life sequel could be in the works. Last month, Disney/Pixar tweeted a still from the movie, with the caption “Try a new perspective.”
While this message doesn’t exactly scream “Yes, we’re making A Bug’s life 2”, it did send fans into a bit of a frenzy, wondering if this was a cryptic sign that our favourite bugs were going to make a long-overdue comeback.
11. Confirmed: Maleficent 2
Maleficent received a lot of positive reviews from audiences and critics when it came out in 2014, so it’s no wonder that a follow-up film was swiftly given the green light. The original film revolved around a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, where the villainess Maleficent had turned evil because she had been wronged by the world of men.
It’s uncertain what path this sequel will take, however now that the inclusion of the existing Sleeping Beauty tale has been addressed, the sequel’s plot could pretty much take its story anywhere. Angelina Jolie played the titular role in the first film, and it has been confirmed that she will be returning for the same role in Maleficent 2, although it’s not certain at this point whether Elle Fanning will come back to play Aurora.
10. Rumored: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
While we’ve had solid confirmation that many of Disney’s classic animated films are getting a live-action remake, there are a few that still haven’t been entirely green-lit. One such film that seems to still be in talks over whether or not it will get a reboot is The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
In an interview with NME, Disney’s brilliant songwriter and composer Alan Menken was asked whether or not Hunchback would be getting a remake, to which he replied: “Possibly, I can’t say anything yet but I think Hunchback would make an amazing live-action musical.”
9. Confirmed: Tink
Not much has been said yet about this new version of the classic Peter Pan tale, but from its title, it’s pretty clear that this reboot called Tink will be focusing mainly on Pan’s fairy friend Tinkerbelle.
There have been several retellings of Peter Pan over the years, including the 1991 fantasy adventure Hook starring Robin Williams, the 2003 live-action reboot with Jeremy Sumpter, the J.M Barrie-focused family drama Finding Neverland, and of course, the original 1953 Disney animated film. The source material is anything but new.
However, focusing on sassy fairy Tink will undoubtedly be a fresh, fun take on this well-weathered tale, especially since Reese Witherspoon is said to be taking on the lead role, and might even be producing this new spin-off too.
8. Confirmed: The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is another Disney classic that seems hard to imagine as a live-action film. Nonetheless, Disney has confirmed plans to put a real-life spin on this underwater tale. Rob Marshall, who most recently directed Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and who previously helmed the billion dollar-earning Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is said to be the studio’s first choice right now for directing The Little Mermaid remake.
The reboot is also apparently getting new musical numbers by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken, with Miranda and Marc Platt set to produce the film. There hasn’t been word yet on any casting decisions, so it will remain to be seen who gets the much-coveted Ariel lead role.
7. Rumored: National Treasure 3
There’s a good chance people aren’t clamouring for National Treasure 3, but it’s safe to say we probably wouldn’t be angry if a third installment of the Nicolas Cage-led franchise was announced. In fact, it would be pretty fun if the team got back together for some more artefact antics.
Well, for all those of you secretly hoping and wishing to see Nic Cage steal some more national treasure, you might be getting your lucky day any day now as Cage revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that work was still apparently being done on a script: “I know that it’s been a challenge to get the script where it needs to be. That’s as much as I’ve heard. But they’re still working on it.”
6. Confirmed: Kim Possible
Kim Possible is well known for being a Disney Channel classic but this TV series is getting the silver screen treatment with a live-action movie scheduled to be coming out in the next few years. The show revolves around Kim, a teenage girl who tries her best to balance her work as a secret agent and regular high school life, and this animated TV series aired on the Disney Channel from 2002 to 2007.
There have already been two animated films featuring Kim, but details of the plot for this live-action version have yet to emerge and casting is in its very early stages at this point too. Disney announced its plans to make a live-action movie of the show on Twitter and asked followers to tweet whom they thought should star as the titular lead.
5. Rumored: Haunted Mansion
It’s been a great year for Guillermo del Toro so far, having released his smash-hit creature-feature love story The Shape of Water, which won him an Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture. With so much success coming his way, it’s only natural to wonder what de Toro might start working on next, and the answer could very well be a remake of Disney’s 2003 animated feature The Haunted Mansion.
Apparently del Toro has been planning a reboot of it since 2010, and honestly it could use a reworking, as the 2003 film starring Eddie Murphy got a pretty sour reception. In 2016, Guillermo del Toro tweeted that he was still working on his Haunted Mansion project, but little has been said about it since.
4. Confirmed: The Sword In The Stone
Few details have been released yet about Disney’s remaking of the 1963 animated classic The Sword in the Stone, but what we do know is that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the man behind 28 Weeks Later, is on board to direct it. It has also been said that Bryan Cogman, who is a writer-producer for HBO’s Game of Thrones, has written a script for the project.
The original The Sword In The Stone is famously the last film released by the Mouse House before Walt Disney’s death and holds a special place in the Disney canon. It will be interesting seeing how Fresnadillo decides to tackle this film, and we can probably expect a darker reimagining of the film, considering the director’s past work in the horror genre.
3. Boba Fett: A Star Wars Story
The Star Wars franchise opened itself up to a series of spin-offs with 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. These spin-offs widened the storylines of the galaxy far, far away, and many people started wondering whether or not we would eventually see a film dedicated to Boba Fett.
Although there was never an official announcement that Lucasfilm was making a spin-off film revolved around the Mandalorian bounty hunter, various reports have surfaced that a film of this nature has been in early development stages for years but has fallen through at multiple hurdles.
OmegaUnderground has recently revealed however, that director Simon Kinberg is still interested in making this movie happen and has been linked to an upcoming Star Wars project with the code name “Tin Can,” the title of which is speculated to be in reference to Boba Fett’s armor.
2. Confirmed: Toy Story 4
Pixar movies famously take an age to make, which is no wonder considering the painstaking detail the animators apply to each project and the deeply-layered writing process that goes into each film. It’s surprising then to hear that Toy Story 4, which was meant to get a 2019 release, has hired yet another screenwriter, Stephany Folsom, to work on this fourth installment of the franchise.
Obviously, because Toy Story is so beloved and revered, Disney will be making sure this fourth film gets finished as a top priority. However, whether or not they’ll meet their expected release date remains to be seen. In terms of plot, Toy Story 4 is reportedly going to explore the love story between Woody and Bo-Peep and might involve a storyline about a family vacation.
1. Rumored: Pirates of the Caribbean 6
The seemingly never-ending Pirates of the Caribbean franchise could be getting yet another sequel. Variety reported that producer Jerry Bruckheimer said an additional sequel is very much up to the fans: “[If] Johnny wants to do another one and Disney wants to write a check, we’ll be there.”
The last installment of the Pirates franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, received mixed reviews from audiences and critics and the slow but steady unravelling of Johnny Depp’s career was made even more evident in his half-hearted attempt to keep his Jack Sparrow charade going for what seemed like the umpteenth time.
The post-credits scene at the end of Dead Men Tell No Tales indicated where the next film could possibly go in terms of of its next plot line, but we’ll just have to wait and see if Depp agrees to flogging this limp, dead Pirate horse one more time.
What Disney movie are you most excited for you? Let us know in the comments.
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