Is it just us, or does it feel as though Disney announces a new live-action adaptation of their classic animated movies practically everyday? From The Jungle Book to Beauty and The Beast, Dumbo to Aladdin and The Lion King, it seems like our favourite characters are being brought to life so often it’s getting difficult to keep up – not that we’re complaining.
So, to make sure you don’t miss a thing with all these reboots, we’ve done some research and gathered all the deets on every single upcoming (and rumoured), remake that you need to know about – and boy, we are living the Disney dream…
The Lion King, released 19 July 2019
OK, it may be a bit of a stretch to consider this a ‘live-action’ movie when it’s actually a photorealistic CGI film full of animals and no real humans in it – but for conversation’s sake we’ll include it anyway.
The star-studded cast bringing our furry friends to life are: actor Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon, John Oliver as Zazu, Chitwetel Eijiofor as uncle Scar and the great James Earl Jones will be reprising his role as big ol’ daddy King Mufasa – Mufasa, Musafaaa!
Expect to hear reworked versions of ‘Can You Feel The Love’, ‘Hakuna Matata’, ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’, the goosebump inducing ‘Circle of Life’, plus a new spin on Scar’s ‘Be Prepared’ number. The remake is also around 30 minutes longer than the animation and we’re already quivering with excitement.
Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil, released 18 October 2019
Well, well! Angelina Jolie is back once again as Maleficent and her cheekbones are sharper than ever. Originally set to hit screens on 29 May 2020, Disney surprised fans by moving the release date forward by seven months. There wasn’t too much to decipher from the trailer, but it looks like our horned enchantress isn’t too pleased with little Beastie’s (Aurora), engagement to Prince Charming. We also get our first glimpse at two new characters, King John and Queen Ingrith, who is played by Michelle Phiffer.
Now supposedly on the side of good, Maleficent doesn’t take too kindly to Queen Ingrith sweeping Aurora under her wing as her own daughter (in law), and seems to go full-evil in the sequel as response. Can true love’s kiss fix this messy family feud? We can’t wait to find out.
The Little Mermaid, release date TBC
It’s official! The gorgeous 19-year-old singer and actress Halle Bailey (aka one half of R&B duo Halle x Chloe), is set to play the beautiful singing mermaid Princess Ariel. Alongside her are Awkwafina, who’s playing eccentric, gender-swapped Scuttle the seagull, and 12-year-old Jacob Tremblay, who’s playing Ariel’s bestie, Flounder.
There isn’t a confirmed release date as the film is still in pre-production, and Disney has yet to find who will play the violet villain, Ursula. Melissa McCarthy is still rumoured to be in talks to play the wicked sea witch, and according to Twitter, Harry Styles is also ‘in talks’ to play the dashing Prince Eric – naturally the internet went into meltdown.
As for the songs, Alan Menken (song composer of the original 1989 film) will be returning and collaborating with producer Lin-Manual Miranda on revamping the classic songs and working on some new ones.
Lady and The Tramp, released 12 November 2019
Digging deeper into the archives, Disney is bringing yet another age-old classic back to life: Lady and The Tramp. Similar to Beauty and The Beast, the tale of Cocker Spaniel Lady falling in love with a stray mongrel named Tramp will be adapted into a live-action CGI hybrid. Unlike its predecessors, this remake won’t be in theatres but on Disney’s own digital streaming service, Disney+, nearer the end of the year.
Actor Justin Theroux is voicing the charming Tramp, who swoons the upper middle class Lady (played by Thor: Ragnarok’s Tessa Thompson), in this romantic adventure film. Joining them is actress and singer Janlle Monáe as the pound dog, Peg, Ashley Jensen as Scottish Terrier, Jackie, and Benedict Wong as the English Bulldog, Bull. The movie will be directed by Charlie Bean, while actors Thomas Man and Kiersey Clemons are set to play their owners, Jim and Darling Dear.
Mulan, released March 2020
One year ago and over 1,000 actresses later, Chinese-American Liu Yifei (aka Crystal Liu) has landed the role of playing warrior badass, Mulan. To recap, Fa Mulan disguises herself as a man to fight in her father’s place in China’s imperial army and saves the whole of China. NBD.
Disney fans may be surprised to hear that the live-action remake won’t include any of the old catchy tunes, and the trailer suggests that the new film will be slightly different from the original – by which we mean very different. This version is focused more on reality rather than fantasy, with epic battle scenes and a plot more faithful to the original story of Mulan. Oh, and legendary Jet Li is playing the villain Gong Li, and actress Xana Tang will be taking the role of Mulan’s sister.
It’s been reported that the songs featured in the film will be purely instrumental and that wise-cracking dragon, Mushu, has been replaced with a Phoenix instead, although this is still yet to be confirmed.
Cruella, released 23 December 2020
Looks like every Disney film and its dog is getting a remake these days, eh? Not much has been said about this yet as the movie is still in its infancy, but we managed to dig up this: Hollywood heavyweight Emma Stone is confirmed to play the leading role of dog-hating fashionista, Cruella de Vil. Another candidate rumoured to join the lineup is actress Emma Thompson, but it’s still unsure who she will be playing. The official trailer has still yet to be released.
Rumoured Disney films that are coming for your childhood
The Sword in the Stone
The remake of young King Arthur and his lessons with wise wizard Merlin will be written by (one of) the Game Of Thrones writers and producers, Bryan Cogman. So long as it’s nothing like GoT’s season 8 (yeah, we said it), we’re confident of the medieval vibe he’ll bring to the table.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was been named as the Director back in January 2018, and the remake is said to only be featured on Disney’s online streaming service. According to Disney.Fandom the film will launch this Autumn but this is yet to be confirmed.
The Jungle Book 2
Disney had already confirmed that a sequel was in the works even before the first remake hit the big screens. We probably won’t get much confirmation on this one until director Jon Favreau (who also worked on The Lion King remake), starts working on the film. But with so many Disney remakes scheduled for 2020, it’s likely we won’t hear (or see) anything until 2021. Fingers crossed that the cast and voice actors still remain the same.
Remember the terrifying villain from the 1940 Mickey Mouse musical anthology, Fantasia? He’s was Disney’s own depiction of the devil. There isn’t much information on this right now, but the stand-alone film will be made in line with Maleficent, so putting the big bad boy front and centre, complete with his own backstory. Screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless will be executing and producing the film. Maybe Chernabog is actually just a nice, misunderstood guy? Maybe not…
Details are scarce for this one, and despite there being a few live-action retellings on the tale of The Boy Who Never Grew Up both David Lower and Toby Halbrooks will be writing the remake, with Jim Whitaker directing the film. That’s pretty much all we know for now.
Yep, Peter Pan’s right-hand gal is getting her very own movie too! Announced back in 2015, the sassy fairy will be played by golden-haired actress Reese Weetherspoon. There haven’t been any updates since, but it seems there’s hope for Tink to get the attention she deserves – because without it she dies, ya know.
Director Stephen Chbosky has reportedly been signed on to direct the live-action film, Cinderella’s Prince Charming, putting a new spin on Cinderelly and her glass slipper. But the spotlight will be on Prince Charming this time around. We’re here for it.
Talking of spin-offs, for those who have ever wondered how Aladdin’s Genie got locked in a lamp, Disney Studios is developing a live-action comedy adventure all about the magical blue spirit, which will be written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift.
After three different writers were rumoured to be attached to the project at different times throughout the past few years, the job was reportedly put in the hands of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Jack Throne to adapt into a live-action movie. Nothing more to report on this one right now unfortunately, though hopefully Thorne can pull a few strings at Disney to speed things up!
Lilo & Stitch
Also heading straight to Disney’s online streaming service rather than the cinema, Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich are producing a Lilo & Stitch live-action film. The duo are the team behind the recent Aladdin remake, and they’ve snagged Mike Van Waes to write the script, but there are no deets on the release date. We can’t wait to see CGI renderings of alien Stitch and cutie pie Lilo. Ohana!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
According to Deadline, composers Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz (who teamed up on the original Pocahontas film) will write the music to accompany the remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Frozen’s Josh Gad will produce the tale of orphaned Quasimodo. It’s still unclear whether this movie will be exclusively on Disney+, or in cinemas for theatrical release.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
We don’t know much about this remake, except that the soundtrack will be EPIC. Embellishing the Oscar-nominated score with new songs, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (whose credits include La La Land and The Greatest Showman, FYI), are teaming up once again on the live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Oh, the duo also penned ‘Speechless’ in the Aladdin remake and worked alongside Disney veteran Alan Menken. This is going to be a showstopper.
Did you know that Snow White has a sister named Red Rose? Neither did we. Red Rose may not have appeared in the original ‘30s animation, but she did appear in the Grimms Fairy Tales and in other stories that Walt Disney based his movies off. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the plot will be about Red Rose and the seven dwarves embarking on an adventure to save Snow after she bites the poisonous apple. Oh, Snow.
James and The Giant Peach
Director of the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, Sam Mendez has apparently been introduced by Disney to another familiar James, to work on turning the Ronald Dahl story into a live-action flick. There hasn’t been any updates on this since 2015, but we can only hope that it’s next in line for a makeover.