Animated classics from Aladdin to The Lion King to The Little Mermaid and beyond are all returning in live-action form.
Between Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland, Disney has developed quite a knack for remaking their classic animated library in live-action and letting the money flow in. And like it or not, there are plenty more live-action remakes in the pipeline for years to come… with the announcement of the Disney+ streaming service only accelerating that process.
Read on for every one of these remakes currently in development — some are about to be released, some are still in production, and others are still in the scripting stages. From Mulan to The Lion King to Aladdin, these are the Disney movies that aim to keep the old favorites alive…
Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo is fast approaching, with the film currently scheduled for release on March 29, 2019. Directed by Tim Burton and written by Ehren Kruger, the new film features a CG-animated Dumbo and stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Alan Arkin.
At one point, Disney was considering a live-action prequel to 1992’s Aladdin called Genies. But in the wake of actor Robin Williams’ death, focus has instead shifted to crafting a direct remake. Guy Ritchie is directing, and the cast includes Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar and Will Smith as the Genie. The film is set for release on May 24, 2019.
THE LION KING
The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau is returning to the Disney fold for another remake, this time for 1994’s The Lion King. This is an interesting one in that while the film is being made via photorealistic computer effects, it is intended to look live-action even if it won’t actually be live-action. The cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumba. James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa. The film is scheduled for release on July 19, 2019.
LADY AND THE TRAMP
Tron: Uprising director Charlie Bean is helming a remake of 1955’s Lady and the Tramp, with the screenplay written by Andrew Bujalski. Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux are voicing Lady and the Tramp, respectively, while Kiersey Clemons is playing Darling and Thomas Mann is playing Jim Dear. The film is expected to debut on the Disney+ streaming service in late 2019.
Filming has wrapped on the live-action adaptation of Mulan, though it’s currently not scheduled for release until March 27, 2020. The film is directed by Niki Caro and written by Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Liu Yifei stars as Fa Mulan, with Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An and Donnie Yen also playing major roles. Despite rumors to the contrary, it appears that Mulan’s tiny dragon sidekick Mushu will also appear in the film, along with at least some of the classic songs.
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
As with The Jungle Book, Maleficent (formerly of Sleeping Beauty fame) was too big a hit for Disney not to move ahead with a sequel. Joachim Rønning is directing the sequel, with Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning returning as Maleficent and Princess Aurora, respectively. The film is scheduled for release on May 29, 2020.
THE JUNGLE BOOK 2
Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book remake turned out to be one of Disney’s biggest moneymakers of 2016, so of course a sequel is already in the works. Favreau is slated to direct again, with star Neel Sethi and screenwriter Justin Marks also expected to return. The sequel was initially rumored to be filmed concurrently with Favreau’s Lion King remake, but production will commence after that project is complete.
101 Dalmatians already got the live-action remake treatment, but Disney’s next attempt will borrow a page from 2014’s Maleficent and focus on the early years of dog-hating villainess Cruella de Vil. Emma Stone is expected to star, with Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) penning the screenplay and Alex Timbers (Mozart in the Jungle) directing.
Variety reports that The Wonder writer/director Stephen Chbosky has signed on to write and potentially direct Charming, a new take on the Prince Charming character. The film will apparently be set from the point of view of Prince Charming’s younger, less famous brother.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
A live-action remake of 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was announced in January 2019, with David Henry Hwang tapped to pen the screenplay. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will return to write the music, though it’s unclear how much will be new material and how much will be reused from the original. Josh Gad is producing and may also star as Quasimodo.
LILO & STITCH
One of the more recent live-action adaptations added to Disney’s lineup, Lilo & Stitch is currently being scripted by Mike Van Waes. Aladdin producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich are supervising this project as well. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lilo & Stitch will be a live-action/CG hybrid, and it’s unknown whether Disney is planning this film for theatrical release or as an exclusive for its upcoming streaming service.
THE LITTLE MERMAID
Disney’s Little Mermaid remake is one of several new takes on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in various stages of development. This one has a pretty big selling point, however, as Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will be producing the film and crafting a new lineup of songs alongside original composer Alan Menken. This will actually be Miranda’s third Disney project after Moana and Mary Poppins Returns. Deadline reported in December 2017 that Rob Marshall is Disney’s top pick to direct.
NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN
Disney seems disinterested in greenlighting another Fantasia sequel, but at least we’re getting a remake of this iconic segment from the original Fantasia. Night on Bald Mountain is being scripted by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and will reportedly apply the Maleficent treatment to Chernabog, the nocturnal, demon-summoning monster. Hopefully this remake will stick closer to the source material than 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
There’s been no shortage of live-action Peter Pan movies in recent years, but that’s not stopping Disney from revisiting their 1953 animated version. The remake is currently in the hands of Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery and screenwriter Toby Halbrooks, though there have been no casting announcements yet.
Pinocchio is another character every studio seems eager to take a crack at. Disney first tapped The Odd Life of Timothy Green writer Peter Hedges to adapt the 1940 animated movie, with later drafts being written by Chris Weitz and Jack Thorne. Paul King had been tapped to direct, though he dropped out in January 2019 due to personal reasons. Tom Hanks is reportedly in talks to star as toymaker Geppetto.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS
The very first animated Disney film is well on its way to getting a live-action remake, with a script from Erin Cressida Williams (The Girl on the Train) and a new assortment of songs from La La Land’s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Disney is also apparently developing a spinoff called Rose Red, which would focus on Snow White’s sister joining forces with the dwarfs to break her curse.
THE SWORD IN THE STONE
Disney is the latest studio to take a crack at bringing the story of King Arthur to life in live-action. Game of Thrones’ Brian Cogman has been charged with writing the screenplay, which we assume will maintain a lighter, more playful take on the story of Arthur’s ascension to the throne. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo will direct, and the film will be exclusive to Disney’s upcoming streaming service.
In addition to their Peter Pan remake, Disney is also developing a solo Tinker Bell movie. We don’t know if the two projects are linked, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, “it will play with the idea and the timeline of the well-known Peter Pan narrative.” Finding Dory’s Victoria Strouse is writing the screenplay, and Reese Witherspoon is attached to produce and star in the film.
Which of these live-action remakes are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments below.
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