After years of anticipation, Disney has started to offer fans a first look at the live-action versions of some of its most beloved tales. Short trailers for The Lion King and Aladdin revive nostalgia while offering a revamped look as Disney pushes further into the world of live action remakes.
Disney’s latest live-action offering, Dumbo, hit theaters on March 29. The updated version of the 1941 classic stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton and Eva Green. Tim Burton directed the film, which expands on the original narrative by adding a human family to care for the beloved circus elephant.
While the trend of remaking animated classics isn’t new, many of Disney’s upcoming live-action movies — including Mulan, The Lion King and Aladdin — come from the company’s famed Renaissance period, which started in 1989 and captivated a generation of viewers with songs and characters that remain influential today.
Here’s every live-action movie Disney has planned through 2020.
Write to Mahita Gajanan at email@example.com.
Aladdin (May 24, 2019)
A live-action remake of the 1992 Disney movie, which won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song, will premiere on May 24, 2019, with director Guy Ritchie at the helm. Many of the movie’s musical elements will stay the same, although it is unclear how the Genie — voiced by the late Robin Williams in a career-defining role — will be portrayed. Will Smith will portray the Genie in this new version.
Smith will put his own spin on the Genie, a character made famous by the voice of Robin Williams in the 1992 animated movie, Disney executives said at CinemaCon on April 24. Variety reports Smith plans to imbue his version of the Genie with a sensibility that recalls the actor’s turn as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Hitch.
Disney released a teaser trailer for the live-action remake of Aladdin in October.
Disney put out a casting call last year for lead characters Aladdin and Jasmine that explicitly noted the characters are Middle Eastern. Actors Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott were later announced to play Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively. Producer Dan Lin told Collider that he and Ritchie want to make a movie that’s authentic to the world of Aladdin and includes diversity.
Jasmine will also be a little more feminist minded than she appeared in the original movie, Scott said. “Jasmine is strong and speaks her own mind,” according to Scott.
On Dec. 19, Entertainment Weekly released the first official images of the Aladdin cast in costume, including Smith as the Genie.
The Lion King (July 19, 2019)
The beloved characters of Simba, Nala, Mufasa and Scar will return in a live-action/CGI version of Disney’s The Lion King, which became one of the biggest animated films ever when it was released in 1994. The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau will direct, with a star-studded voice cast with Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and John Oliver set to portray some iconic roles. Disney’s live-action remake is set to hit theaters on July 19, 2019.
James Earl Jones — who voiced Mufasa in the original animated movie — will return to reprise 1994 role as patriarch Mufasa.
Disney released a teaser trailer for The Lion King on Nov. 22, showing a live-action take on some of the original animated film’s most notable moments. Disney released the first full trailer for the film on April 10, which you can watch above.
Mulan (March 21, 2020)
The tale of a Chinese woman who disguises herself as a man to fight in her father’s place during a war, Mulan returns to theaters on March 21, 2020. Chinese actor Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, will portray the iconic warrior in Disney’s live-action remake. Rumors of whitewashing swirled when a person who claimed to have read the Mulan spec script said the movie would feature a white male lead. However, a source close to the film told Vulture that “all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.”
Viewers will notice one difference between the 1998 animated film and the live-action version right away: director Niki Caro has said it will not be a musical, shattering hopes of a live rendition of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
“It’s a big, girly martial arts epic,” Caro told Moviefone. “It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”
Disney released the first picture of Yifei as Mulan on Aug. 13 to announce that production had begun on the film.
Maleficent 2 (May 29, 2020)
Four years after Maleficent came raked in $758 million at the global box office, Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning are returning for a new Maleficent movie, with a cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Juno Temple and Harris Dickinson.
The Maleficent sequel will see Maleficent (Jolie) and Princess Aurora (Fanning) find new alliances along with enemies as they fight to protect their enchanted forest kingdom and everything that lives within it, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Filming on the Maleficent sequel began in May, which Fanning celebrated with a behind-the-scenes look at her and a horned Jolie on set.
Cruella (101 Dalmatians) (TBD)
The origin story of villain Cruella de Vil is the focus of this Disney live-action movie, Cruella. Emma Stone is set to play the dog-obsessed villain in a film directed by I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s the second time Cruella De Vil will be portrayed in a live-action movie — Glenn Close played the character in the 1996 live-action 101 Dalmatians and the 2000 follow-up 102 Dalmatians.
Peter Pan (TBD)
Disney is developing a live-action movie about J.M. Barrie’s best-known character with David Lowery set to direct and co-write the script, according to EW. Peter Pan has seen several live-action adaptations over the years, including 1991’s Hook, a 2003 version by the same name and 2004’s Finding Neverland.
Reese Witherspoon is reportedly set to play the beloved fairy who loves Peter Pan in Tink. Victoria Strouse, who co-wrote the screenplay for Finding Dory, will pen the script for this Disney live-action movie.
The Sword in the Stone (TBD)
Brian Cogman, a writer-producer for HBO’s Game of Thrones, is set to write a live-action remake of The Sword in the Stone, a Disney animation from 1963 that tells the story of a young King Arthur.
Pinocchio might have the chance to truly become a real boy in this Disney live-action movie based loosely on the original morality tale of the puppet who is brought to life. Writer Peter Hedges is attached to the project, which is still in early stages of development at Disney. Paul King, who helmed the Paddington movies, was recently announced as the project’s director.
Rose Red (Snow White) (TBD)
For this live-action movie, Disney is planning a revisionist take on the classic fairytale by detailing the story of Snow White’s sister, Rose Red, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rose Red appeared in the Grimm brothers’ original fairy tale, though she had no relation to the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In the retelling, Rose Red works with the dwarves to bring Snow White back to life after she eats the poison apple.
Prince Charming (Cinderella) (TBD)
Prince Charming comes to life in this live-action movie focusing on the handsome prince — although it is unclear whether the plot will center on the beau of Snow White or Cinderella, since they share the same name in both original animated films.