Release Date: March 27, 2020
Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Cast: Liu Yifei, Yoson An, Jason Scott Lee, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Ron Yuan, Jimmy Wong, Doua Moua, Chen Tang, and Jet Li
The studio’s live-action update of Mulan ruffled some features when a spec script surfaced that saw the titular character sidelined while a White Knight took the lead. Disney was quick to assert that the spec script was only ever intended as a starting point, and they intend to fill the cast with Chinese actors and actresses. And yes, Mulan is Chinese as actress Liu Yifei was selected for the role. Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are on screenwriting duty while Disney approached Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon filmmaker Ang Lee to take the helm, but he passed. Subsequently, the studio set Whale Rider and McFarland, USA helmer Niki Caro to take the helm, marking the studio’s second film budgeted over $100 million to be directed by a female filmmaker after Ava DuVernay tackled A Wrinkle in Time.
In a departure from the animated film, the villain of this new Mulan is a powerful witch played by Gong Li, instead of the Hun invader Shan Yu
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Director: Joachim Rønning
Writer: Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Noah Harpster
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Harris Dickison, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville
While not a remake per se, this is a sequel to one of the Disney films that kicked off this trend in the first place. A sequel to Maleficent has been in development ever since the 2014 film was first released, but the ball was very much in Angelina Jolie‘s court. She eventually committed to a follow-up as Disney enlisted Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales co-director Joachim Rønning to take the helm in October 2017, signaling forward momentum, and production officially began on May 29, 2018.
The sequel picks up several years after the events of the first movie and continues to explore the complex relationship between Maleficent and Aurora, who is soon to be Queen.
Lady and the Tramp
Release Date: TBA
Director: Charlie Bean
Writer: Andrew Bujalski
Cast: Tessa Thompson, Justin Theroux, Ashley Jensen, Kiersey Clemons, and Thomas Mann.
The new Lady and the Tramp remake will be a live-action/animation hybrid, avoiding an Air Bud-type situation. The LEGO Ninjago Movie director Charlie Bean is onboard to direct, and curiously Disney hired yet another indie filmmaker to pen the script: Computer Chess and Results writer/director Andrew Bujalski. Justin Theroux is voicing the titular Tramp, while Tessa Thompson will fill the role of Lady. The dogs in the film are being portrayed by real dogs.
This project is being eyed to debut on Disney’s streaming service, which launches in 2019, so it may not get a theatrical release.
Release Date: TBA
Director: Paul King (?)
Writers: Jack Thorne, Chris Weitz
A new version of Pinocchio has been in the works at various studios over the years, with folks like Robert Downey Jr. and Paul Thomas Anderson flirting with various adaptations, but Disney has a live-action version of its own in development. In 2015, Dan in Real Life scribe Peter Hedges came on to pen the screenplay, but Chris Weitz (Rogue One) subsequently came aboard to rewrite the script and produce. Sam Mendes (Skyfall), who was previously attached to James and the Giant Peach, was attached to direct for a while but eventually exited the project.
Paddington and Paddington 2 director Paul King entered talks to direct with an eye towards beginning production in 2019 but reports now have King off the project due to family issues, so the project may have to be reconceived.