Luke Owen looks to the future of Disney’s live-action output…
Following the announcement of a live-action version of The Lion King [read my thoughts on that here], I thought we should collate together all the information we have on Disney’s other upcoming live-action adaptations. To date, there are a whopping seventeen of these in development, but all are at very different stages.
We’ll try and keep this page as updated as possible.
Beauty and the Beast (release date: March 2017)
Based on the Award-winning 1991 classic, Beauty and the Beast features an impressive all-star cast and is directed by Bill Condon (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2). Emma Watson will play Belle against Dan Stevens as The Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston with Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor Ian McKellen, Josh Gad Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw providing supporting roles. A teaser trailer was released a few months ago [watch it here] and we got our first look at Stevens’s Beast before Disney asked us to take the picture down. You can see him in his Prince form here, as well as images of McGregor and McKellen’s Lumiere and Cogsworth here. A full trailer for the movie should be released very soon, considering the film is only six months away.
The Lion King (release date: TBA)
Announced in September 2016, The Jungle Book and Iron Man director Jon Favreau will return to the adaptation world to bring The Lion King to life. Little is known about the movie at present, but Favreau will likely employ similar photo-realistic animation just as he did with The Jungle Book.
Dumbo (release date: TBA)
Announced in 2014, Tim Burton will also return to the live-action world following 2010’s billion-dollar winner Alice in Wonderland with a new version of Dumbo. Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Age of Extinction) signed on to write the script, and the last update we’ve heard is that the film was still in script stage as of April 2016.
Nottingham & Hood (release date: TBA)
Also announced in September 2016, Nottingham & Hood is interestingly not a live-action adaptation of their 1971 classic Robin Hood, so we can probably expect to see human actors rather than anthropomorphic foxes. Disney purchased a spec-script by Brandon Barker (his first screen credit) which is a revisionist approach to the story and is similar in tone to Pirates of the Caribbean with plenty of ‘franchise potential’. Some say that Disney purchased the script as they were worried that Sony might do one better than them with their version of Robin Hood that is also in development. No director has been attached to the project yet, and one wonders whether Barker will be adapting his script to fit in with Disney’s live-action cannon.
Mulan (release date: November 2018)
A live-action 3D adaptation of Mulan was slated for production in 2010 with Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) leading the movie and Chuck Russell (The Mask) directing, but plans fell through. It was then reported in 2015 that Disney were again broaching the idea of a live-action remake again with Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek writing the script. This script appears to be getting a re-write from Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (War of the Planet of the Apes) and it was announced recently that Disney were looking to cast a Chinese actor to play Mulan, with a target release date of November 2018. There had been some rumours of white-washing, but Disney quickly shot those down. Sony also have a live-action Mulan in development.
Winnie the Pooh (release date: TBA)
Little is known about the live-action Winnie the Pooh, other than it is currently being written by Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip) and will focus on a grown up Christopher Robin returning to the Hundred Acre Wood.
Pinocchio (release date: TBA)
In 2015 it was announced that Disney were doing a live-action remake of their 1940 classic Pinocchio, the tale of a wooden boy becoming real, with Peter Hedges (The Good Dinosaur) writing the script. Like Nottingham & Hood and Mulan, Pinocchio won’t be the only adaptation of the tale, as Warner Bros. have a live-action version of the movie in development with Ron Howard (Inferno) and Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers), and Guillermo del Toro also has a version in the works. However the Disney version could be the first off the ground, as the Warner Bros. film was optioned in August 2016 with no other news, and del Toro’s appears to be in Development Hell (like a lot of his films).
Genies (release date: TBA)
The first prequel on our list, Genies tells the story about how The Genie got trapped in the lamp, with the idea for it to lead into a live-action remake of 1992’s Aladdin. The script is being written by Damien Shannon and Mark Swift (Freddy vs. Jason) and the project was still in script stage as of August 2016. Disney had wanted to use outtakes from Robin Williams’s performance as The Genie from the original movie for either this prequel or a forth animated feature, but his estate has said that the studio cannot use his work for another twenty-five years.
Aladdin (release date: TBA)
It was revealed in October 2016 that Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) was in talks to direct the live-action Aladdin based off a script by John August (Big Fish). The remake “will keep many of the musical elements of the original” and is described as “an ambitious and non-traditional take” on the material, which will incorporate Ritchie’s signature non-linear style. The report goes on to state that the approach to the Genie is still to be determined, and it’s also unknown whether this is connected to Genies.
The Little Mermaid (release date: TBA)
Announced in May 2016, The Little Mermaid still doesn’t have a writer or director, but it does have original composer Alan Menken returning to write new songs. Like Nottingham & Hood, Mulan and Pinocchio, there are other live-action versions of The Little Mermaid in development, with Universal working on a version with Rebecca Thomas (Looking For Alaska) in the director’s chair. However that film recently lost is main star Chloe Grace-Mortez and is reportedly still in script stage. Another version, set for release next year, is directed by Chris Bouchard (Hackney’s Finest) and Blake J. Harris (Console Wars).