All the Disney live-action adaptations in the pipeline

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Stylist Team

Mark your calendars. 

From the all-star retelling of The Jungle Book to recent smash-hit Beauty and the Beast, it seems that the world loves a live-action Disney remake.

So it was no surprise that news of The Lion King’s official release date was greeted with wild excitement. Starring Donald Glover, James Earl Jones and – if the rumours are to be believed – Beyoncé, the ultimate Kenya-set epic will be hitting the big screen in July 2019.

Which got us thinking… what else do the folks at Disney have up their sleeves?

From an epic all-Asian adaptation of Mulan to a Dumbo remake directed by Tim Burton, here’s everything the dream weavers at Disney currently have in the pipeline.

Words: Amy Lewis, Moya Crockett and Susan Devaney

Images: Rex Features

  • Mulan

    Starring: TBD, but an all-Asian cast

    Slated release date: 2 November 2018

    The 1998 animated version of Mulan was a retelling of an ancient Chinese legend. Now, the story is getting another remake – this time a live-action one.

    Director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) has confirmed that her version of Mulan will not feature any of the original cartoon's beloved songs, prompting consternation from some Disney fans. Mulan's love interest, Li Shang, will also be replaced with a new character.

    The film’s producers have also promised that Mulan will feature an all-Asian cast – a relief to fans sick of seeing Asian roles whitewashed out of existence in Hollywood.

    The full cast is yet to be confirmed, but the character of Mulan has been cast as of November 2017. Due to be played by Chinese actress Liu Yifei, whose nickname is apparently ‘Fairy Sister’, was chosen from 1,000 candidates, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

    Caro describes her vision for the Mulan remake as “a big, girly martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”

  • The Lion King

    Starring: Donald Glover, James Earl Jones and Beyoncé (maybe)

    Slated release date: 19 July 2019

    You’ve got every right to feel a nervous excitement over this one – The Lion King, being among the most successful animated films of all time, has a whole pride of loyal fans. But with Jungle Book director Jon Favreau at the helm, we feel it may be in safe hands.

    Favreau confirmed via Twitter this week that The Lion King remake will hit cinemas in summer 2019.

    Simba will be played by Community and Atlanta star Donald Glover, with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa. Timon and Pumba will reportedly be voiced by Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner – and thrillingly, Beyoncé is thought to be considering taking on the role of Nala. We can’t wait.

  • Aladdin

    Starring: Will Smith, apparently

    Slated release date: TBD

    The live-action remake of Aladdin will apparently be a “non-linear and non-traditional” take on the 1992 animation – albeit one that still features all of the original’s songs (to which we can only say: hallelujah).

    Guy Ritchie is on board to direct the film, from a script by Big Fish screenwriter John August.

    Will Smith is in talks to play the Genie, the role made iconic by the late Robin Williams. Producers have yet to find their Jasmine and Aladdin, but a casting call for the central duo was recently released – revealing that they’re looking for actors of Middle Eastern origin, aged between 18 and 22, who can sing “at a Broadway level”. Despite being of Italian, not Middle Eastern heritage, Skins actor Luke Pasqualino has also been linked to the role of Aladdin.

    Filming is expected to start in the UK this summer and wrap early in 2018.

  • Mary Poppins

    Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke

    Slated release date: Christmas Day 2018

    OK, so this is technically more of a sequel than a remake. The story of Mary Poppins Returns will pick up 20 years after the end of the original 1964 film, with Jane and Michael Banks now young adults struggling to deal with a “personal loss” in depression-hit Thirties London.

    Emily Blunt will play Mary Poppins in the new film, directed by Into the Woods’ Rob Marshall. That casting decision has been enthusiastically OK’d by the original Mary, Julie Andrews. “I am a great fan,” said 81-year-old Andrews in March. “She is terrific and a perfect pick.”

    While it doesn’t look as though Andrews will make an appearance in the new Mary Poppins, her counterpart in the original film – mockney Dick Van Dyke, now 91 – is set to appear. Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (playing street lamp-lighter Jack) are also signed on.

  • Dumbo

    Starring: Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell, Eva Green

    Slated release date: TBD

    Tim Burton has been snapped up by Disney to direct the remake of Dumbo, thought to be a CGI/live-action hybrid in the style of The Jungle Book. According to film industry bible Variety, Burton’s version of the heartrending tale of the flying elephant will “expand and deepen” Dumbo’s circus story, featuring a villain who buys a circus with hopes of exploiting the elephants.

    Former Batman Michael Keaton is reportedly in negotiations to play said villain, with Tom Hanks also rumoured to be considering the role. Colin Farrell and Eva Green are also in talks to appear in the film, although it’s not clear what parts they would play.

    Dumbo is of the more psychedelic films from Disney’s extensive back catalogue – and so the fusion of the 1941 original and Burton’s unique style is set to be a must-see.

  • Snow White

    Starring: TBD

    Slated release date: TBD

    We’ve already had Snow White and the Hunstman and Mirror Mirror, but Disney clearly believes that the world hasn’t had enough of Snow White yet.

    Erin Cressida Wilson (who wrote the script for The Girl on the Train) will reportedly pen a live-action musical adaptation of Disney’s 1937 animated film.

    While details are yet to emerge about who will star in the Snow White remake, it has been confirmed that the film will include new songs written by La La Land lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – so you know they’ll be good. Marc Platt, who is also working on Mary Poppins Returns, will produce.

  • Cruella

    Starring: Emma Stone

    Slated release date: TBD

    After the success of Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, Disney are preparing to delve into the origins of yet another classic villain. Emma Stone has already been confirmed to be taking on the titular role of Cruella de Vil, exploring how the glamorous 101 Dalmatians baddie came to be so brilliantly wicked.

    In December 2016, it was reported that two-time Tony nominee and Mozart in the Jungle writer and director Alex Timbers was in negotiations to direct Cruella.

  • Tinker Bell

    Starring: Reese Witherspoon

    Slated release date: TBD

    Reese Witherspoon has been confirmed to be stepping into Julia Roberts shoes (who played Tink in 1991’s Hook), taking on the role of Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell for a live-action film focusing on the mischievous fairy.

    Details surrounding release dates are vague at best. However, it’s thought that Witherspoon – who is also signed onto the film as producer – will be sprinkling her fairy dust over the project at some point over the next three years.

  • Sword In The Stone

    Starring: TBD

    Slated release date: TBD

    Arguably one of Disney’s funniest animations, 1963’s The Sword In The Stone follows orphaned Arthur and his journey to become the rightful King of England, coached by fickle wizard Merlin. According to reportsGame of Thrones writer-producer Bryan Cogman is working on the script, while Brigham Taylor will produce.

  • Peter Pan

    Starring: TBD

    Slated release date: TBD

    Following the success of Pete’s Dragon, director David Lowery is said to have agreed to helm a live-action remake of the ultimate Disney classic: Peter Pan.

    There’s no word yet on whether Reese Witherspoon will appear in the role of Tinkerbell, though since she’s set to star as the lead in the fairy’s own standalone film, it sure makes sense.

  • Prince Charming

    Starring: TBD

    Slated release date: TBD

    Lacking somewhat in details, but far less in interest and intrigue, Disney is said to be working on a Cinderella-style remake for Prince Charming.

    If early reports are to be believed however, the film is set to shift its focus from the seemingly flawless prince, following the story of a haphazard brother instead, who struggles to embody the family name.

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    Starring: TBD

    Slated release date: TBD

    Details remain scarce, but one thing’s for certain: Disney is bringing a live-action remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the big screen. Still in the early stages, a cast line-up has yet to be announced but the story of the bell-ringer at the Notre Dame Cathedral and his friendship with the gypsy Esmeralda looks set to be as magical as we’d expect. So far, David Henry Hwang is attached to the script


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