Disney has been remaking their own classic animated films in live-action from the beginning of the current decade. The results have decidedly been mixed, but that does not seem to have stopped the House of Mouse.
It began with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) a remake and a sort of sequel to the well-known story of little Alice being bored and travelling to this fantasy land where she has many adventures. In Burton’s remake, Alice is an adult and the adventures are kind of different and dark.
Disney continued this with Maleficent (2014), a spinoff/remake of Sleeping Beauty, Cindrella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Christopher Robin (2018), Dumbo (2019) and most recently Aladdin.
Here we list the upcoming live-action remakes by Disney.
The Lion King: This film is live-action in the sense that the environments are real. The animals are still computer generated, but they are lifelike as opposed to 2D animation in the classic 1994 film. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film features an all-star cast with James Earl Jones returning from the original as the wise, kind King Mufasa. Donald Glover voices the adult Simba, with Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé also lending their voices. The film releases on July 19.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil: Angelina Jolie returns to portray the titular role. The film is set seven years after the events of the first film, Maleficent. Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville return in their roles, while Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Skrein, and Chiwetel Ejiofor join the cast of the film. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will release on October 18, 2019.
Lady and the Tramp: This film is the remake of an animated feature of the same name that released way back in 1955. The logline of the film says it follows “an upper-middle-class American cocker spaniel named Lady who meets a streetsmart, downtown stray mongrel called the Tramp, and the two embark on many romantic adventures including that iconic spaghetti smooch scene.” Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux voice the two main characters and Sam Elliott, Ashley Jensen, Benedict Wong and Janelle Monáe also lend their voices. Kiersey Clemons, Thomas Mann, Yvette Nicole Brown, Adrian Martinez and Arturo Castro play the live-action roles. The film will release on November 12, 2019.
Mulan: The first look at this remake of 1998 film was released recently. Set in China during the Han dynasty, Mulan follows Hua Mulan, a young woman who enlists in the Imperial Army, disguised as a man, so her sick father will not have to go to war. Mulan will be released on March 27, 2020.
Cruella: This film is an origin story based on the villain of 101 Dalmatians, Cruella de Vil. Emma Stone will play the titular role. Emma Thompson is also part of the film’s cast. Craig Gillespie, known for helming I, Tonya, is directing Cruella, which is slated to be released on December 23, 2020.
The rest of the movies do not have any release date yet.
The Sword in the Stone: Based on the 1963 film The Sword in the Stone that itself was based on legends of King Arthur, the live-action remake is described as a lighthearted take. The film will be helmed by 28 Weeks Later’s Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. The Sword in the Stone will not release in theaters but will instead arrive on Disney+, Disney’s upcoming streaming service.
The Little Mermaid: Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel in this live-action remake of the 1989 movie The Little Mermaid. There has been predictable backlash by people protesting against the casting of a black Ariel in a role that, they say, should be reserved for a white actor. The original is credited to be the first in a golden age of Disney animated movies. Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns) will direct The Little Mermaid.
Snow White: A movie on one of Disney’s best known animated features is also in development. Erin Cressida Wilson was set to write the script in 2016. In 2019, Marc Webb (known for The Amazing Spider-Man films) was confirmed to direct Snow White.
Pinocchio: A film on Pinocchio is also in the pipeline. Paddington films director Paul King was set to direct the film, but he had to exit due to family issues. Tom Hanks was supposed to play the role of Geppetto before King quit. The film will have to contend with Guillermo del Toro’s more realistic and darker take on the character (as opposed to Disney’s sanitised and fun version) which will be a Netflix original. del Toro’s film is set to release in 2021.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A remake of the 1996 film that was based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel of the same name, not much is known about the film. David Henry Hwang is set to pen the screenplay and Josh Gad will produce the film but beyond that, we know little.
Prince Charming: This film will be a spin-off of the character who has appeared in Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty (and which was parodied in the Shrek franchise). Stephen Chbosky is writing the film and may also direct.
Oliver Twist: The film will be a new-age version of Charles Dickens’ famous novel. Hamilton director Tommy Kail is currently on board to helm Oliver Twist and Ice Cube is in the cast to play Fagin.
James and the Giant Peach: A live-action version of stop-motion animated version of James and the Giant Peach is in early development. The film will be based on Roald Dahl classic of the same name. Nick Hornby is attached as a writer.
Tink: A spinoff of Peter Pan, a live-action film on Tinkerbell is also said to be in the works. Reese Witherspoon is currently attached to star and Finding Dory writer Victoria Strouse is, reportedly, scripting the movie.
Peter Pan: The classic 1953 film will also get a live-action remake. The story is based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by JM Barrie. David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks are writing the film with Lowery also set to direct.
Lilo & Stitch: The latest remake said to be in the works at Disney is Lilo & Stitch, whose original film released in 2002. Aladdin producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich are bankrolling the project. The only other thing we are told as yet is that Mike Van Waes, who is also scripting Conjuring spinoff The Crooked Man, is writing the film.