What We Know About Disney’s Slate of Upcoming Live-Action Films

Karen Datangel
Movies Disney
Movies Disney

Disney will soon be bringing back your favorite classics, characters, and even a theme park ride on the big screen—live-action style. Thursday’s release of Alice Through the Looking Glass, the follow-up to Tim Burton’s 2010 live-action vision of Alice in Wonderland, is just the beginning of what may be a new renaissance for the Disney brand. Adding to the hype is Monday’s debut of the first Beauty and the Beast teaser, which broke records as the most-viewed trailer within 24 hours of its unveiling.

Though Beauty and the Beast may arguably be the most-anticipated film on the Disney live-action side, there is still a lot of other planned releases to pique your interest and make you nostalgic. Here’s what we’ve dug up so far on the upcoming live-action adaptations and sequels from Disney. Get your Mickey and Minnie ears and Hot Topic apparel ready, because if you can’t make it to Disneyland, then your movie theater is going to be the closest thing to it for the next couple of years.

Pete’s Dragon

Disney’s 1977 live-action/animation/musical hybrid tackled on heavy elements, but did it with heart. The film revolved around a nine-year-old orphaned boy named Pete, who tried to escape from his abusive adoptive parents and befriends a dragon named Elliott. The 1977 version of Elliott was bright and cartoony, but the modern version looks slightly more realistic…and furry (Ah, technology!). From the teaser trailer, Pete’s Dragon 2016 looks visually lush overall. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, and Robert Redford and you can catch it during the summer movie season on August 12th.

Beauty and the Beast

As the first big-screen live-action adaptation from the Disney Renaissance, it’s completely understandable why Beauty and the Beast has generated so much buzz. The teaser uses a revamped version of the familiar original score. What makes it better is that Alan Menken scores both the old animated film and this new take on the timeless tale. The Bill Condon-directed film also boasts a high-profile cast featuring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Beast, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, and Luke Evans as Gaston. Other key stars include Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Audra McDonald. As one of Disney’s most beloved and successful animated classics (It became the first animated film to receive a Best Picture Academy Award nomination after its 1991 release), the live-action version certainly has a lot to live up to. However, we’re already enchanted. Unfortunately, we have to wait until the film is released on March 17th, 2017 for the last rose petal to fall.

The Jungle Book 2

The Jungle Book

Jon Favreau’s live-action/CGI hybrid version of the animalistic classic was a critical and commercial success for Disney last month, and a sequel was already in the works before the film’s release. Favreau, writer Justin Marks, and Favreau’s co-producer Brigham Taylor are all set to return to work on the follow-up. Presumably, Baloo the bear (Voiced by Bill Murray), Bagheera the panther (Ben Kingsley), and Mowgli the human wolf-cub (Played by young newcomer Neel Sethi) would all return as well, though there are no cast updates yet. It’s possible that The Jungle Book 2 could be released in 2018, which would compete with Andy Serkis’ supposed darker live-action retelling of The Jungle Book.

Maleficent 2


The dark origin story of Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis came to light in 2014 with Angelina Jolie’s brilliant turn as the horned villain. All we know for now is that she’ll be back.



Following in the footsteps of Maleficent, Disney is bringing another villain’s origin story to the silver screen. 101 Dalmatians‘ fur coat-wearing and two tone-coiffed antagonist is so iconic, she really only needs one name, even though there’s a song in the 1961 animated film titled after her full name. Ms. de Vil will be portrayed by Emma Stone and is said to start shooting later this year. We’re already barking with joyful laughter.

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise

If you’ve been to Disneyland (And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!), you’ll recognize Jungle Cruise as a smooth boat ride with animatronic elephants, alligators, tigers, and lions on faux riverbanks and corny tour guide commentary. Dwayne Johnson is set to hop on board a live-action feature based on the Adventureland attraction. According to SlashFilm, Jungle Cruise will be a period piece set in the 1920s with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa of Bad Santa, Bad News Bears, and Focus fame working on the script. We’re hoping this one will somehow be more Pirates of the Caribbean and less Haunted Mansion.



The humongous-eared flying circus elephant will be getting the live-action/CGI hybrid treatment from a familiar face: Tim Burton. Burton’s adaptation of the 1941 animated tale is said to be different from the original. Whereas the animated film focused on the misfit elephant’s journey on the performance trail and his friendship with Timothy the mouse, the live-action version’s script is said to be a “family story that will parallel the circus Elephant’s odyssey.” No release date has been planned yet, but with the veteran Burton taking the reigns, we’re looking forward to seeing how this one soars.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke starred in Disney’s 1964 hit musical film, based on P.L. Travers’ children’s book series about a magical English nanny. Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda are set to star in an upcoming sequel, which will be set in Depression-era London and will revisit Ms. Poppins’ charges, Jane and Michael Banks. Both are now grown up, and Michael’s three kids need a nanny. Miranda will play a character named Jack, in a role similar to van Dyke’s in the first movie. Rob Marshall is currently attached to direct, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will compose an all-new score and original songs. With this much talent involved, this one might be worth more than just a spoonful of sugar!

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

The legend of the boy who never grew up has been told multiple times throughout Hollywood’s history and Disney’s only take came in the form of their 1953 animated feature. Now the studio plans on remaking it as a live-action feature. The only detail we know so far is that David Lowery and Toby Hallbrooks are attached to director and screenwriter duties, respectively. They are the same director-writer team behind the new Pete’s Dragon.


Tinker Bell

Speaking of Peter Pan, his fairy companion Tinker Bell has become legendary in her own right. Although she’s starred in her own under-the-radar animated films, she’s finally getting a solo live-action movie. Reese Witherspoon is set to star in and produce Tink, a story about everyone’s favorite pixie. Victoria Strouse—the screenwriter for the upcoming Disney sequel Finding Dory—has been tapped to write the script.

Karen Datangel
I'm a Marvel superhero / Disney princess / Sailor Guardian / dog whisperer hybrid under the guise of a native San Francisco techie who sometimes contributes articles to Fandom. Baseball is my religion.
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