Brace yourself for the nostalgia. Disney announced earlier this year that it has 22 new live-action films in the works, out in theaters sometime in the not-near-enough future. Beauty and the Beast got the ball rolling when it debuted in March 2017 with a star-studded cast, including Emma Watson as Belle. The others will be a mix of adaptations of animated classics and spinoffs of characters from those films.
We’re of the mindset that there can never be too many Disney movies, partially because they took up a large, meaningful part of our childhood and partially because their quality as works of art rarely disappoints. But when you start reimagining such beloved classics, you run the risk of letting down viewers simply because nothing can compare to the original. (Here’s how Disney’s Frozen was almost a massive failure.)
So here’s the lowdown on the remakes we’re most excited about—and also some wishful thinking about how Disney can please both the critics and its devoted fans.
What we know: Its scheduled release date is November 2, 2018. Disney president of production Sean Bailey told Entertainment Weekly the movie is “not currently intended to be” a musical like the animated original, but that “nothing is off the table.”
What we’re hoping for: A musical! It wouldn’t be Mulan if it didn’t include a rousing rendition of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” that gets people out of their seats and/or loudly singing along. Besides, you can learn impressive words from those Disney songs.
Mary Poppins Returns
What we know: This technically-a-sequel is scheduled to come out Christmas Day, 2018. Emily Blunt will star as Mary, with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as the lamplighter Jack. Dick van Dyke will sadly not be returning as Bert, though he is confirmed for a cameo.
What we’re hoping for: Constant quips from Wordsmith Miranda and high-energy dance numbers
What we know: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the lyrics for the Academy Award-winning film La La Land, will be heading the music. There’s also a spinoff about Snow White’s sister, “Rose Red,” from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
What we’re hoping for: That Rose Red has her own squad just like Snow White has her dwarves. Maybe seven talking rabbits, or five opinionated fairies, or three French hens…
What we know: As you may have guessed, this is a spinoff of 101 Dalmatians about the aptly named Cruella de Vil. Emma Stone will star in this villain’s origin story. According to IMDB, it is currently scheduled to premiere sometime in 2018.
What we’re hoping for: To see a totally different side of Emma Stone. We’ve seen her fight villains in The Amazing Spider-Man franchise. Now we want her to bring a combination of evil-doing, major attitude, and irresistible charm that makes her the villain we love to hate.
The Lion King
What we know: This remake will stick fairly closely to the original animation’s plot. Jon Favreau will direct, and no release date has been announced.
What we’re hoping for: Since Favreau also directed the live-action remake of The Jungle Book, we can expect an equally realistic CGI Simba and friends on Pride Rock. But he could also go the master puppetry route that the Broadway musical took. Only time will tell.
The Little Mermaid
What we know: While Universal Studios is already working on its own version, the Disney one will include new music from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken.
What we’re hoping for: First off, a killer toe-tapping soundtrack (How can you go wrong with a Miranda-Menken collab?). And if the presumably CGI underwater scenes could look as believable as possible, that would be great.
What we know: In addition to a remake of the original, Disney is also planning the prequel Genies, which tells the story of how Genie ended up in his lamp. Guy Ritchie will direct the new Aladdin, which will definitely be a musical.
What we’re hoping for: A comedian who can do Robin Williams justice in the role of Genie, for both films
via imdb.comWhat we know: Its director will be David Lowery, who also directed a remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. Disney is also working on the spinoff, “Tink,” about the one and only Tinker Bell. Reese Witherspoon is slated to star.
What we’re hoping for: A look at this classic story that still feels different from the plethora of other Pan-inspired movies (Hook, Pan, Finding Neverland, et al.)
What we know: Tim Burton will direct the part CGI-part live-action remake. No real elephants will be used in production.
What we’re hoping for: Something not too dark (visually and thematically) as some of Burton’s other films, but we can forgive him that if he gives Johnny Depp a role. The two have teamed up for eight movies, including a remake of Alice in Wonderland.