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The Lion King (2019) - baby Simba being held up by Rafiki Walt Disney Pictures

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Every Disney ‘live-action’ remake in the works

Your beloved childhood classics, but real-ish

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Disney’s live-action take on the beloved animated film Aladdin hit theaters in May, just two months after Disney’s live-action take on the beloved animated film Dumbo. The two movies represent just half of Disney’s 2019 remake slate, with two more features hitting theaters later this year (The Lion King and Maleficent 2), and another (Lady and the Tramp) arriving at the launch of the Disney Plus streaming service in November.

Once upon a time, a hit Disney animated film received a direct-to-home video sequel. Now they now get shiny, live-action — or in the case of The Lion King, photorealistic — remakes. So which Disney films will be reimagined in the near future? When are they coming out? Who’s involved?

Here’s the who/what/where/when of every upcoming Disney remake planned, rumored, and in the works. (We can only speculate about the why.)

Disney remakes with set release dates

Mufasa and Simba in The Lion King. Image: Walt Disney Studios

The Lion King

When? July 19, 2019
Where? In theaters
Who? Starring Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Oliver as Zazu, and James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa.
What? A remake of 1994’s The Lion King

Yes, yes, yes — this isn’t a “live-action” remake, it’s a “photorealistic CGI” remake. The upcoming redux of The Lion King supposedly won’t be a shot-by-shot recreation of the 1994 classic, though the trailers play up the similarities between the original and the new version. Sporting a stellar voice cast — Donald Glover as Simba! Beyoncé as Nala! Seth Rogen as Pumbaa! — The Lion King also adds new characters, like an elephant shrew voiced by Amy Sedaris. Jon Favreau, best known for the OG Iron Man and the live-action Jungle Book, directs, with composer Hans Zimmer returning for the score. Elton John is also back to re-tailor the soundtrack and collaborate on a new song with Beyoncé(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Walt Disney Pictures

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

When? Oct. 18, 2019
Where? In theaters
Who? Starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Elle Fanning as Aurora, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Warwick Davis in undisclosed roles.
What? Sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, a prequel and retelling of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty

At the end of Maleficent, the witch’s love for Aurora revived the sleeping princess, the two defeated King Stefan, Aurora was crowned Queen, and Maleficent regained her great wings. Picking up a few years later, the sequel will explore the complex relationship between the two characters as Aurora and Maleficent team up to save the magical forest. The trailer showed potential conflict in the form of Queen Ingrith.


Lady and the Tramp

When? Nov. 12, 2019
Where? Streaming on Disney Plus
Who? Starring Tessa Thompson as Lady, Justin Theroux as Tramp, with Sam Elliot as Trusty, Benedict Wong as Bull, and Janelle Monae as Peg
What? Based on 1955’s Lady and the Tramp

Unlike the photorealistic animals of The Lion King, the remake of Lady and the Tramp uses real animals. The first of the live-action remakes to exclusively hit Disney Plus, Lady and the Tramp puts some twists on the original: For one, Jock the Scottish Terrier is now Jackie (voiced by Ashley Jensen), a new human character named Marco joins the cast, and Janelle Monae replaces the controversial Siamese cat song with something less offensive.

Liu LiFei as Mulan


When? March 27, 2020
Where? In theaters
Who? Starring Liu YiFei as Mulan, Jet Li as the Emperor, and Tzi Ma as Hua Zhou, with Donnie Yen as new character Commander Tsung and Yoson An as Shang Li’s replacement Chen Honghui
What? Based on 1998’s Mulan

On paper, it appears the live-action version of Mulan will make major changes to the original — more so than most of the live-action remakes, which tend to court nostalgia. The character of Li Shang is replaced by ambitious recruit Chen Hongui, an evil witch played by Gong Li joins the bad guy, Mulan has a little sister, and the film will reportedly not be a musical, with a focus on the action and martial arts instead. Mushu is also said to appear, though has not been cast. Original versions of the script racked up controversy for including a white male lead, but the rewrite by Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver allegedly combines the 1998 animated movie and the original “Ballad of Hua Mulan.”

Though Disney tried to find a Chinese director to take on the adaptation, even courting two-time Academy Award winner Ang Lee, it settled on New Zealand director Niki Caro, known for the 2002 film Whale Rider. The live-action Mulan was supposed to come out in November 2018, but The Nutcracker and the Four Realms took the spot instead.



When? Dec. 23, 2020
Where? In theaters
What? Based on 1961’s 101 Dalmatians, technically a prequel to the 1996 live-action
Who? Starring Emma Stone as Cruella De Vil and Emma Thompson in an undisclosed role

If a villain origin story worked for Maleficent, why not make it work for another iconic Disney villainess? Word’s out on whether this take on Cruella will paint her as sympathetic as Maleficent, or show her descent into puppy-killing fervor. Directed by Craig Gillespie of I, Tonya and Lars and the Real Girl, Cruella takes place in the ’80s and has a “punk” vibe. Glenn Close, who portrayed the villainess in the 1996 live-action version, is one of the producers. Cruella has not yet started filming.

Films in development


The Sword in the Stone

When? TBD
Where? Disney Plus
What? Based on 1963’s The Sword in the Stone

No casting information has been revealed, but Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) will reportedly direct with a script from Bryan Cogman, best known for his work on Game of Thrones — so expect the movie to flex that medieval fantasy knowledge. Much like the animated film, the focus will be on young King Arthur, mentored by Merlin.

Ariel singing “Part of Your World” and reaching a hand out to the surface Image: Disney

The Little Mermaid

When? TBD
Where? In theaters
What? Based on 1989’s The Little Mermaid

Disney announced this project in 2016, tapping Alan Menken to return as composer, as well as recruiting Lin-Manuel Miranda to co-write new songs. Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns) signed on to direct in 2017. Filming is set to start in 2020.

Update (July 31): Singer Halle Bailey was tapped for the role of Ariel, with Jacob Tremblay (The Room) and Awkwafina (The Farewell) joining as Flounder and Scuttle. Melissa McCarthy is rumored to play Ursula and Harry Styles is a front-runner for Prince Eric.

Lilo & Stitch Disney

Lilo and Stitch

When? TBD
Where? In theaters
What? Based on 2002’s Lilo and Stitch

Announced in October 2018, Lilo and Stitch’s remake will be a hybrid live-action CGI film. And no — the photorealistic fanart floating around online is not actual concept art of the movie. Mike Van Waes, an upcoming screenwriter, children’s book author, and big Lilo and Stitch fan, will pen the script. There is no casting news or set release date.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Quasimodo holding onto a rooftop cross Disney

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

When? TBD
Where? In theaters
What? Based on 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken will return to compose and write songs for the live-action Hunchback film, with Tony-award winning playwright David Henry Hwang penning the script. The remake will draw on both the animated film and the original Victor Hugo novel. Josh Gad is producing and rumored to be the frontrunner for the role of Quasimodo. No other casting rumors or production news has surfaced.


When? TBD
Where? In theaters
What? Based on 1940’s Pinocchio

A Pinocchio live-action movie has floated around Disney since 2015. This is not to be confused with Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming Pinocchio movie with Netflix. Paul King was originally set to direct, but stepped down in 2018 due to family reasons. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks is reportedly the frontrunner to play Gepetto. The script was originally penned by Peter Hedges (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?), then Chris Weitz (Cinderella) took over, but Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) is reportedly the latest writer to step in.

Other planned projects

Mowgli with Baloo Walt Disney Studios

The Jungle Book 2

What? Sequel to 2016’s live-action The Jungle Book, which was based on the original 1967 movie

A sequel to the live-action Jungle Book was announced in 2016 after the success of the first film. In 2016, Jon Favreau was set to direct again, with a 2018 release date. But the project was put on hold so that Favreau could focus on The Lion King remake. Justin Marks, who penned the first live-action Jungle Book’s script, finished a draft of the sequel in January 2018, expanding Kipling’s world and also drawing on scrapped elements from Bill Peet’s original 1967 script.

wendy and peter pan in front of big ben Disney

Peter Pan

What? Based on 1953’s Peter Pan

David Lowery, who wrote and directed the 2016 Pete’s Dragon remake, is set to write and direct a live-action Peter Pan. Originally set for theaters, a July 2018 rumor suggested that the Peter Pan film may premiere on Disney Plus instead.



What? Based on 1953’s Peter Pan, possibly the 2008 - 2014 direct-to-video Disney Fairies movies

In 2015, Disney announced a live-action film about Tinker Bell with Reese Witherspoon playing the sassy fairy and a script by Finding Dory screenwriter Victoria Strouse. No further news has been revealed since the original report.

Snow White in Disney’s original animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She is in the forest and five small birds are pulling at her cape. Image: Disney

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

What? Based on 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Disney announced a live-action Snow White — not to be confused with Snow White and the Huntsman or Mirror, Mirror, both of which are not Disney — in 2016, with The Girl on the Train screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson attached to pen the script. In May 2019, Disney hired the lyricists from La La Land, Benj Pasek and Justin Paulare, to write new songs for the movie (they also wrote “Speechless” from the Aladdin remake). Along with the songwriter duo, Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man) was rumored to be on the shortlist to direct Though there is no official date, it is rumored that the live-action Snow White will come out sometime in 2023, around the 85th anniversary of the original film.

Image: Disney

The Chronicles of Prydain

What? Based on 1985’s The Black Cauldron

Disney’s plans to return to the world of The Black Cauldron were revealed in 2016. The 1985 film is based on the second of Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain novels. Inspired by Welsh mythology, the Chronicles of Prydain books were published in the 1960s.

If you love Prince Charming, watch Cinderella III: A Twist in Time


What? Based on 1950’s Cinderella

With a script from Perks of Being a Wallflower author Stephen Chbosky, Charming reportedly focuses on Prince Charming’s point-of-view. The original pitch centered on the prince’s less than charming younger brother, but that appears to be ditched in favor of focusing on the Disney prince. There is no further information about Charming.

Chip & dale’s rescue rangers Disney Animation

Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers

What? The 1989 Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers animated series

The live-action/CG hybrid will be “meta” and “self-referential,” according to breaking news surrounding the project (though plot details are being kept under wraps). Lonely Island member Akiva Schaffer is set to direct, with a script from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand.


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