The past decade has seen a tremendous increase in the live-action remakes of classic Disney films. We have 2019’s Lion King, Beauty and the Beast (2017), Mulan (2020), Aladdin (2019), Dumbo (2019), Christopher Robin (2018), Lady and the Tramp (2019), The Jungle Book (2016) and countless versions of Cinderella and Snow White.
Disney is on a roll, with more live adaption remakes in the works. While some have received the green light, others have just been announced or rumored and are yet to enter production.
This post looks at the live-action Disney animated classics to expect in the coming years.
Though a live-action Hercules film was produced almost ten years ago starring Dwayne Johnson as the titular character, Anthony and Joe Russo will have another go at it, serving as the producers of this upcoming Disney live adaptation. Adding to the list of Marvel Cinematic Universe perfectionists is Dave Callaham of Ant-Man and Shang-Chi serving as the movie's scriptwriter.
The Russo brothers have promised that the film won't be a shot-to-shot copy of the animated 1997 version but will offer a mix of old and new.
We don’t know anything else about the film yet, including its cast list and release date. But we’ll keep you in the loop when more materializes.
2. The Little Mermaid
This is one live-action remake worth talking about not forgetting its case diversity to include a lead character of color, as opposed to its 1989 cartoon predecessor.
Walt Disney Studios released the movie's teaser almost a week ago, and already has 18 million views and still counting.
The Little Mermaid is directed by Rob Marshall, who wrote the screenplay alongside Jane Goldman and David Magee.
Alan Menken, who composed the music for the animated version returns in the remake. He will also produce new songs together with Disney lyricist Howard Ashman and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Disney fanatics have been on high alert for news concerning the film since the company announced that musician Halle Bailey would portray the lead character Ariel in July 2019. It's been a long wait, but finally, The Little Mermaid has a premiere date- May 26 2023.
Bailey is joined by some of Hollywood’s finest, including Melissa McCarthy as the sea witch Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Art Malik as sir Grimsby, Eric’s loyal steward.
It seems like Ariel will have a mother in the remake, a new development from the classic animation. The character will be portrayed by Noma Dumezweni as Queen Selina. Other new characters for the film are Lorena Andrea as Perla and Kajsa Mohammas as Karina. Our biggest guess is the duo are Ariel's sisters, but we'll confirm once the film premieres.
The Little Mermaid wouldn't be complete without an amazing cast of voice stars, including Daveed Diggs voicing Sebastian, King Triton’s loyal crab, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, Ariel’s best fish friend and Awkwafina as Scuttle, a female diving bird and Ariel’s friend (a slight change from the male seagull in the original version).
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is Disney's first animated feature film which premiered in 1937. Though there have been as many live-action remakes of the film as the grains of sand, Disney is now putting its best foot forward to redefine its vintage crowning glory.
Marc Webb of The Amazing Spider-Man directs the reboot adaptation from a screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson and Greta Gerwig.
Rachel Zegler of West Side Story (2021) plays the titular role, while Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot portrays the Evil Queen. Other casts confirmed for the film are Andrew Burnap, Martin Klebba, Dujonna Gift and Joshmaine Joseph.
The fairy tale movie will feature new music composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote music for La La Land and The Greatest Showman.
Zegler talked about the upcoming adaptation film at the D23 Expo. She said, 'Snow White is a noteworthy classic character, but she can also be modified for the modern era. There's something deeper about what it means to be the fairest of them all. Snow White finds herself and her inner voice so that she can be a wonderful ruler and queen.'
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a risky live-action venture for Disney, provided the animated version, released in 1996, fell through.
But even with Netflix aspiring to remake the film, Disney’s version is probably the best-known adaptation of the mammoth novel written by Victor Hugo.
The comedic actor Josh Gad, who played LeFou in the Beauty and the Beast live adaptation, produces The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also voices Quasimodo’s singing voice, with Andy Serkis playing the deformed titular character.
Gal Gadot is on fire with Disney adaptation roles as she’s set to step into the skin of Esmeralda, the gypsy woman. Other A-listers lined up for the film include Chris Evans as Captain Phoebus, Peter Capaldi as Claude Frollo, Jack Black as Hugo, Tim Allen as Victor, Glenn Close as Laverne, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Clopin, Wallace Shawn as the Archdeacon and Selena Gomez as Quasimodo’s mother.
Alan Menken also produces music for this film alongside Stephen Schwartz.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is expected to make its debut in July 2024.
5. Peter Pan & Wendy
The name of this live-action suggests that the eldest darling child will receive just as much attention as the boy who wouldn't grow old nor age. Peter Pan & Wendy depicts a fascinating dynamic between Peter remaining youthful and Wendy being torn between growing up and clinging to childhood.
David Lowery, the director, told Collider that the film is loosely based on his life. “I’ve got a classic case of Peter Pans where I don’t wanna grow up… who does? And I thought that was going to appeal to me about the movie. But in making it and writing it and directing it and seeing it come to life, I’ve realized that the movie is about me letting go.”
Alexander Molony plays Peter Pan while Ever Anderson plays Wendy Darling, Joshua Pickering portrays John Darling, Wendy’s middle brother and Jacobi Jupe as Michael Darling, Wendy’s little brother.
Other casts in the movie include Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, Jude Law as Captain Hook, Jim Gaffigan as Mr Smee, Alan Tudyk as George Darling, Wendy’s father and Molly Parker as Mary Darling, Wendy’s mother.
Though Disney is yet to announce the film’s release date, it is expected to land sometime in 2023.
6. The Aristocats
The classic animated version was the last feature film that Walt Disney approved before he died. And even though The Aristocats (1970) didn't enjoy as enormous success as many of its counterparts, it still brought the jolly on with its toe-tapping 'Everybody wants to be a Cat' song.
Nothing much has come to light about the remake since its production announcement in January this year. Will Gluck of Peter Rabbit directs the film while Keith Bunin pens the script.
There’s a good foundation for the live-action to build upon, especially if they land an acclaimed physical comedian like Rowan Atkinson to play Edgar the butler.
The 1973 animated version has seen live adaptation human film remakes in the years, including the comedy parody film Robinhood: Men in Tights featuring Princess Bride's Cary Elwes in the titular role.
A remake consisting of anthropomorphic CGI characters is a new and interesting venture, which Carlos Lopez Estrada took up as the director. He is joined by Kari Granlund of Lady and the Tramp as the scriptwriter and Justin Springer as the producer.
8. Lilo & Stitch
Fans of the animated Lilo & Stitch movie weren't happy when Disney announced its plans to remake a live adaptation in 2018. Either way, it's happening, with a confirmed release date of May 10 2024.
Dean Fleischer-Camp serves as the director, while the screenplay writers are Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders and Mike Van Waes.
The only confirmed cast as of now is Chris Sander, who voices the outlandish insolent Stitch.
Let’s hope the live-action film gets on the good side of diehard fans.
Disney announced its plan to reboot the 1942 animated version on January 24 2020, utilizing the same CGI technology applied in The Lion King, Lady and the Tramp and The Jungle Book to make the animals look more realistic.
While information is still pretty meager, Geneva Robertson-Dworet of Captain Marvel and Lindsey Beer of Sierra Burgess is a Loser, serve as the scriptwriters.
10. Mufasa: The Lion King
Disney’s successful live adaptation of The Lion King in 2019 earned it a follow-up. So in 2020, the company confirmed that Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins of Moonlight will spearhead the prequel project Mufasa: The Lion King.
The film sees Mufasa, an orphaned cub exploring the savannah on his own and experiencing an epic journey that led him to become the greatest king in the Circle of Life. Mufasa’s story is narrated by Timon, Pumbaa and Rafiki.
Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen and John Kani reprise their voice casting roles as Tinom, Pumbaa and Rafiki, while Aaron Pierre voices Mufasa and Kelvin Harrison Jr. voices Scar.
The anticipated sequel film will premiere on July 5 2024.