Every year, Disney produces more and more live-action retellings of their beloved animated features. 2019 saw three of their biggest remakes hit theaters: Dumbo, Aladdin, and now The Lion King. Yes, The Lion King is completely CGI, but that photorealism is precisely what we’re talking about. Realistic-looking takes on Disney classics gives them refreshing makeovers and another chance at the box office. With Disney’s massive library of classics, they have plenty of animated movies to choose from. What will they remake next?
For this list, we’re going to look at the current state of Disney’s live-action remakes. Which remakes are already in production? What Disney films deserve a live-action reboot? Some of these animated films should never be touched, but there are some that could benefit from a modern-day retelling. Here are 5 Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development (And 5 That Should Be).
10 In Development — Mulan
The new Mulan looks like the first of Disney’s remakes to diverge from its animated source material. So far, the marketing portrays a decidedly more serious, action-driven reboot. There seems to be an emphasis on the war-story elements of Mulan, with large battles, swordplay, martial arts on full display.
Not only does it look more intense than the original, but reports indicate that it isn’t a musical. Eddie Murphy’s Mushu has also been removed from the story. While some Disney fans see all of this as blasphemy, it might keep the story grounded and authentic. The remake sounds like it is actively trying to separate itself from the original — something the other Disney remakes have avoided.
9 In Development — Lady and the Tramp
Lady and the Tramp has been in the works for a while now. The film is awaiting release, as it will premiere on Disney+ upon the streaming service’s launch. This is indeed a live-action remake of the original film and not a photorealistic, CGI remake like The Jungle Book or The Lion King.
While Disney has not released any footage, the film is reportedly a throwback to the studio’s older talking animal movies like Homeward Bound. Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux voice the titular dog duo, supported by an all-star cast that features Janelle Monáe, Sam Elliot, Benedict Wong, and more.
Hopefully somebody overhauls that Siamese Cats song. We can’t imagine it could get any less problematic in live-action.
8 Deserves A Remake — Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Fans know Atlantis: The Lost Empire as the underrated gem of Disney’s modern era… or that one Disney movie that nobody remembers. Not a musical or princess adaptation, Atlantis is inspired by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and the visual style of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. It’s one of the more unique animated movies in Disney’s catalog and deserves a remake as soon as possible.
Just this month, Disney finally announced that an Atlantis remake is in development. The studio is looking at Guillermo Del Toro to direct and Tom Holland as the lead, Milo. It’s about time this movie another chance to shine!
7 In Development — Cruella
The Maleficent movie has a sequel on the way, despite the divisive and somewhat unnecessary original. In the same vein, a live-action prequel (to a live-action remake) is in the works for 101 Dalmatians. Set in 1980s London, Cruella will act as an origin story for Cruella De Vil and explain her hatred for dalmatians.
The work has been in development since 2015, with very few developments along the way. Emma Stone was cast as Cruella back in 2016 and Emma Thompson joined the project just last May as the undisclosed antagonist. The movie is set to release next year.
It’s not necessarily a remake, but it is yet another live-action adaptation that nobody really asked for.
6 Deserves A Remake — The Hunchback of Notre Dame
It seems like Disney is only now looking to capitalize on their lesser animated films from the 1990s (aside from all those straight-to-VHS sequels). A childhood favorite for many, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is in line to receive a live-action treatment.
Reports of the remake surfaced back in January with the working title Hunchback and Josh Gad as Quasimodo. Earlier this month, We Got This Covered reported that Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is being eyed to play Captain Phoebus.
While Disney remakes their more beloved classics, underrated films like Hunchback have gone ignored. This is one of the few animated Disney films to actually deserve a remake.
5 Deserves A Remake — Treasure Planet
Like Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet is a visual marvel that could benefit from live-action redesigns. It might only be Treasure Island but in space, but remaking Treasure Planet presents an opportunity for Disney to make more unique sci-fi fantasy than just Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.
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Earlier this month, reports of a Treasure Planet remake surfaced but only as a planned film and not one in active development. It’s likely among Disney’s next few choices, but this is a project that should be given some priority. Disney doesn’t like to take risks, but this one might pay off if it is released outside of the summer blockbuster season.
4 In Development — The Sword In The Stone
A remake of The Sword in the Stone was announced way back in 2015, right at the beginning of Disney’s remake extravaganza. Very little information has come of it since, other than the basics. It is helmed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, director of 28 Weeks Later, with a screenplay by Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman.
The Sword in the Stone is set to drop exclusively on Disney+ which, like Lady and the Tramp, suggests that it may have a slightly smaller production budget. It started shooting back in 2018, but with so many King Arthur films in the last decade, this likely isn’t a priority for the Mouse House.
3 Deserves A Remake — Pocahontas
At this point, it sounds like this list is just championing 1990s Disney, but with especially good reason for Pocahontas. It’s known as one of the lesser princess films, but Pocahontas has great remake potential. Not only would it call for a diverse cast, but a remake could rectify the historical inaccuracies and problematic overtones of the original.
Pocahontas is one of the many planned remakes up Disney’s sleeves. It’s only in conceptual stages, but this project sounds like (and should be) a priority remake candidate. It could easily take the place of another redundant remake or an unnecessary villain origin movie.
2 In Development — The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is getting a remake, which you probably already know about given the silly controversy surrounding it. Actor Halle Bailey, a young woman of color, is set to portray Ariel in the remake. Despite the fact that Ariel is a fish and fictional creature, a small but loud minority took to social media to express their invalid aggression.
In any case, Bailey joins an extremely talented cast that includes Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, and Melissa McCarthy. Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall will helm the project with music by Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda. The music in The Little Mermaid is some of the best in Disney canon. With such an intriguing crew behind it, this remake is one to look forward to.
1 Deserves A Remake — Hercules
Between the film and animated television series, plenty of fans love Hercules. Given the prevalence of the superhero genre, the mythological action-adventure story seems like an easy pick for a remake.
While Disney has not confirmed plans for a new Hercules, rumors and reports suggest that it is among the company’s choices. A recent report from MovieWeb suggests that Disney is looking for “outside-the-box” director and screenwriter choices before further development.
With plenty of movies to choose from, Disney may take its time developing this one. The company distributes plenty of action-comedies every year, so Hercules might be a longshot. Hopefully they bring Danny DeVito back if they go with it!
What Disney movies do you think deserve a live-action remake? There are plenty we couldn’t mention here. Make sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts!
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