From Peter Pan to Lilo & Stitch, these Disney favorites are heading to the big screen!
It’s a good time to be a Disney fan. Over the course of the past decade, Disney has pulled some of their most beloved animated classics out of the vault and given them the live-action treatment.
These modernized movies give fans the chance to relive their favorite films and share them with a new generation. And since these live-action remakes have fared so well at the box office, Disney has no plans to slow down. At the moment, the studio has over 15 live-action adaptations in the works — and there’s sure to be more to come!
Here’s what Disney films fans can expect to see…
Disney’s latest animated flick to get the live-action treatment will be “Peter Pan & Wendy,” based on the J.M. Barrie novel. Originally released in 1953, the upcoming Disney+ exclusive will take viewers back to Neverland when it’s released on April 28. Newcomer Alexander Molony will star as Peter Pan while Wendy Darling will be played by “Black Widow” actress Ever Anderson and Yara Shahidi will shine as Tinkerbell.
Disney’s highly anticipated live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” is set to hit theaters on May 26. The film, directed by Rob Marshall, will feature new music written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Halle Bailey will star as Ariel — a casting choice that has been subject to hateful backlash because of Halle’s race. Despite the response, Disney has stuck by their decision and Halle has spoken out about how important it is for children to see people who look like themselves on screen.
“What that would have done for me, how that would have changed my confidence, my belief in myself, everything,” Halle explained. “Things that seem so small to everyone else, it’s so big to us.”
“Snow White” will hit the big screen in a live-action adaptation, set to premiere on March 22, 2024. Disney put together an all-star team for the film, including Greta Gerwig, who penned the script alongside “The Girl on the Train” writer Erin Cressida Wilson. Meanwhile, “La La Land” duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are working on brand new songs for the film. Rachel Zegler is set to star as Snow White while Gal Gadot will play the Evil Queen.
“Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me,” Rachel said of her role. “You don’t normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent. Even though Snow White is really a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries…When it was announced, it was a huge thing that was trending on Twitter for days, because all of the people were angry. We need to love them in the right direction. At the end of the day, I have a job to do that I’m really excited to do. I get to be a Latina princess.”
4. “Mufasa: The Lion King”
Next year, Disney fans will get a follow up to 2019’s “The Lion King,” in a highly anticipated prequel. Although not much is known about the plot of the CGI-crafted flick, a teaser shown at D23 appeared to depict Rafiki telling the backstory of Mufasa to Timon and Pumbaa. Much of the first film’s team is set to return, including writer Jeff Nathanson and producer Jon Favreau. Barry Jenkins will serve as director and Hans Zimmer will once again compose the score with help from Pharrell Williams.
Pre-production is currently underway for a live-action remake of 2002’s “Lilo & Stitch.” The Disney+ exclusive will feature a mix of live footage as well as CGI, with many fans assuming that Stitch will be digitally edited into the film. Meanwhile, newcomer Maia Kealoha has been cast as Lilo and Zach Galifianakis will appear in a yet-to-be-announced role. While THR reports that they have found Lilo’s older sister and legal guardian Nani in Sydney Elizabeth Agudong.
In 2020, Disney announced plans to bring a live-action version of “Hercules” to the big screen. Guy Ritchie, who helmed the live-action remake of “Aladdin,” is set to direct while “Avengers: Endgame” directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, will serve as producers. While discussing the flick, Joe shared that the film will be a musical and may be inspired by TikTok.
“There are questions about how you translate it as a musical,” he told Variety. “Audiences today have been trained by TikTok, right? What is their expectation of what that musical looks like and feels like? That can be a lot of fun and help us push the boundaries a little bit on how you execute a modern musical.”
Following the box office success of the live-action “Aladdin” flick, Disney now has a sequel in the works. While it’s unknown if original stars Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith will return, executive producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich have already signed on. While speaking about the future of the film, Dan expressed that it was “not going to be a direct remake of any sequel that’s come out” although he plans on studying films like “Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar.”
Disney has plans to release a follow up to 2016’s “The Jungle Book” although not much is known about the sequel just yet. So far, fans know that director Jon Favreau will return and will be joined by producer Brigham Taylor. Screenwriter Justin Marks is also said to be reprising his role.
9. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
A live-action version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is in the works with Josh Gad set to executive produce and potentially star as Quasimodo. Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang has also been announced to pen the musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will write the music, although it will differ from the stage production that the duo previously collaborated on in Europe.
The first “Cruella” live-action flick may have just come out in 2021, but there’s already a sequel in the works. Emma Stone has signed on to star in the upcoming flick and the film’s original director, Craig Gillespie, and writer, Tony McNamara, are set to return as well.
Although the “Peter Pan” live-action film has yet to be released, Disney already has a spinoff titled “Tink” in the works. Variations of the film have been previously announced, most recently with Reese Witherspoon attached to both star in and produce the movie. Although Reese’ production company is still affiliated with the flick, it’s unclear if she will star or Disney will recruit Yara Shahidi from “Peter Pan & Wendy” to play the part.
12. “The Sword In The Stone”
“The Sword In The Stone” is set to get a live-action adaptation based on the classic Arthurian legend. The film will be directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and penned by “Game of Thrones” writer Bryan Cogman. There hasn’t been any updates on the film since 2018 so additional details about the flick are not known.
In early 2020, Disney announced that a live-action/CGI hybrid “Robin Hood” flick was in the works. While not much is known about the Disney+ exclusive, Carlos López Estrada has signed on to direct while Kari Granlund will pen the script. No cast has been announced yet but Chris Evans recently shared that he would love to voice the lead.
A live-action/CGI hybrid version of “Bambi” will be brought to the big screen sometime in the future. After being announced in early 2020, it was revealed that Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Lindsey Beer will pen the screenplay for the film.
It was recently announced that Questlove will make his feature film directing debut when he brings “The Aristocats” to the big screen in a live-action/CGI hybrid. Not only will he be in the director’s chair but he’ll also be overseeing the film’s music. Will Gluck and Keith Bunin are set to pen the script.
The most recent addition to Disney’s live-action lineup is a remake of “Moana.” The “reimagining” of the 2016 animated film will feature Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the original Moana herself, Auli‘i Cravalho, as producers. Dwayne will also be reprising his role as Maui but it’s unclear who will take on Moana.
“Like its animated predecessor, the film will celebrate the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path,” a release from the studio shared. “Moana’s journey of self-discovery and reflection on the lives of her ancestors won hearts worldwide, as did her newfound friendship with an exiled demigod named Maui.”