Disney has become this large conglomerate that handles its film releases with such secrecy they might as well be matters of national security. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen the most whispered conversations behind closed doors of all Disney films, but the company also largely keeps mum about the proceedings of other movies it has planned.
Although the films are shot in secrecy, with hardly a spoiler known, Disney tends to announce a wide slate of releases years before the film is even shot. This helps them maintain the concealment of major points of their films as the media has too many films before them to focus on just one.
Quite often, films may never see the light of day despite having been announced years beforehand. This might be due to creative differences, controversies, or lack of interest from the studio. An event where years pass by without the film moving past its initial stages is known as “Development Hell.” In this scenario, the film’s script is slashed and modified over and again, with main cast members or directors exiting production in the interim, throwing the release date farther into the future.
In the current century, Disney has run with many fads that have brought them considerable success. This includes gender-swapping previously established characters, focusing on the antagonists of earlier films, and remaking animated films into live-action. Audiences have eaten up these offerings and Disney plans on churning out a lot of them in the future.
The following are 20 Disney Movies that have been confirmed to be in development, and 10 possibilities.
30 Coming Soon - Dumbo
After 78 years, we’ll be seeing Dumbo on the big screen again. This time, the film will be in live-action. The story is set in the ‘real world’ as opposed to the cartoon version where Dumbo was managed by an anthropomorphic mouse.
In a departure from his usual shtick, Tim Burton hasn’t cast Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter.
The filmmaker has been seeing diminishing returns as audiences have grown wearisome of the same style and cast from Burton. Dumbo seems to promise a departure for the better.
Releasing: March 29, 2019.
29 Coming Soon - Mulan
We could have seen this as early as in November, but Disney decided to push back its release to early 2020. Mulan was the pioneer of woman empowerment, tackling such issues before it was made ‘cool’ by this generation.
It’s remained a favorite among the generation born in the '80s and '90s, and with female-driven films being all the rage today, the newest generation will get a kick out of this film, too. Early response has been positive for casting actors of appropriate ethnicity.
Releasing: March 27, 2020.
28 Possibility - Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
In what is a real shame, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now officially on hold. Since James Gunn’s jokes on Twitter a decade ago caused a ruckus in the Disney camp, the director’s passion project franchise is now languishing in uncertainty.
The past couple months have been torrid for the cast.
Dave Bautista has been going on one tirade after another against Disney while the other cast members have kept quiet. With production officially called off, and other MCU films taking off in popularity, only time will tell if Vol. 3 will see the light of day.
Tentative Release: 2020.
27 Coming Soon - Frozen 2
Wildly unpopular opinion; but this writer here thinks Frozen was massively overrated. The film was nothing special and same waters had been tread with Tangled years before. For those who don’t find the Snowman Olaf and the younger sister Anna insufferably annoying, they are in for only a short wait until Frozen 2 comes along.
You can expect a similar signature song to Let it Go for the sequel, and we’ll be here stuffing our ears until that song fades away after everyone’s had their fun humming along to it.
Releasing : November 27, 2019.
26 Coming Soon - Spider-Man: Far From Home
Since Tom Holland ‘spoiled’ the name of the second Spider-Man MCU film, everyone’s been anticipating Avengers 4 even more. This guarantees Spidey, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill’s survival as the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home take place after the fourth Avengers film.
Marvel is clearly cashing in on pretty boy Tom Holland’s charm as the youngster will be in his fifth MCU film in only three years!
With another Spider-Man film planned after the first sequel, expect Far From Home to be among the early adventures of Tom’s Spider-Man when looking back a decade later.
Releasing: July 5, 2019.
25 Possibility - Disenchanted
The star-making turn for Amy Adams, Enchanted, is eleven-years-old now. And still the demand for a sequel remains strong as ever. The film’s premise was unique to say the least, and with splendid musical numbers still buzzing in our ears a decade later, no one is against the idea of a sequel.
Disenchanted, as the film is planned to be known as, has been in the pipeline ever since the first one became a smash hit; however, it remains uncertain when filming will begin.
24 Coming Soon - Aladdin
27 years after Robin Williams amazed everyone with his voice acting skills, be prepared to possibly be lifted off your boots in amazement by another top star taking the role of Genie in the form of Will Smith.
Aladdin shouldn’t feel too much of a stylistic departure due to its venture into live-action territory thanks to the characters primarily being human as opposed to other Disney films where the characters are supposed to be animals. The actors cast as Aladdin and Jasmine have been praised early on, and with Will Smith always delivering, this should be a good treat.
Releasing: May 24, 2019.
23 Coming Soon - The Lion King
Speaking of animal characters, here we have possibly Disney’s most popular franchise of all-time. The Lion King sees its live-action adaptation hitting the screens, looking similar to how The Jungle Book fared.
The film is directed by Jon Favreau, who had helmed The Jungle Book.
With a tried-and-tested director taking the reins, The Lion King is sure to be a critical gem. Add in the fact that everyone is crazy about Simba’s story, this film should easily cross the $1 billion mark at the box office.
Releasing: July 19, 2019.
Illustration by Dreaming Wanderer.
22 Possibility - Father Of The Bride
Going hand in hand with live-action adaptations of cartoons is the trend of reboots. We’ll be seeing a lot of these in the coming years, with the possibility of Father of the Bride rebooted.
If you want to feel old then let’s remind you that the bride will probably be someone born in the 21st century!
It’s been almost thirty years since the original, after all. Steve Martin has denied any involvement and stated he hasn’t even been approached. Considering he’s in his seventies by this point, it’s unlikely we’ll be getting Steve as the dad again.
21 Coming Soon - Maleficent II
Don’t think we forgot another trend Disney loves now, and that would be films focusing on the antagonists of their classic cartoons. Maleficent turned out to be an unexpected hit at the box office and a sequel was appealing enough to bring back Angelina Jolie; a big achievement considering the actress has been in about three films in the past decade.
Oddly, filming has concluded as of writing but the movie’s release is two years in the future. Still, don’t be surprised if Maleficent II overtakes the first installment at the box office.
Releasing: May 29, 2020.
20 Coming Soon - Toy Story 4
The only series to rival The Lion King’s popularity will see its latest release soon. Toy Story 4 promises a love story as the central plot focus as Woody and friends embark upon a mission to find Woody’s long-lost love, Bo Peep.
With a nine year gap between the third and fourth part, the anticipation will see this film top the charts.
Toy Story 3 had become the first animated film to cross the $1 billion figure in 2010, and Toy Story 4 should overtake that handily.
Releasing: June 21, 2019.
19 Possibility - Doctor Strange 2
Up until Thor: Ragnarok, the solo film field of MCU films wasn’t as abundant as one might think. Now, with Black Panther and Captain Marvel joining the fray, along with many more to follow, Doctor Strange 2’s release might be a long way afar.
Strange himself has been seen in Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, meaning he hasn’t been forgotten in the slightest. In the short-term future, his role might be to make up the numbers with the other heroes as opposed to going on a solo outing.
18 Coming Soon - Cruella
Glenn Close’s Cruella was so popular that 102 Dalmatians was essentially about her, making Cruella the main character in many ways. However, the character will truly take center stage in a film soon as Emma Stone has been confirmed to play her.
Judging by past performances, she is the perfect choice.
We can expect Cruella to be shown as a sympathetic figure in the same vein of Maleficent, but it will be interesting to see how the currently 29-year-old Emma Stone can pull off a character traditionally in her middle age.
17 Coming Soon - Prince Charming
While this is in the ‘Coming Soon’ category, the film itself hasn’t been locked down for a date. You can expect this to happen soon, though, as Disney has almost exhausted all of its female-centric characters for live-action reboots.
Bagging a hunky looking actor will no doubt plant early interest in Prince Charming as the point of view of his character should be interesting. Prince Charming should also be the first of many more Prince-centric films to be released in the future, should it perform up to standard.
16 Possibility - Pirates Of The Caribbean 6
Dead Men Tell No Tales left us with the cliffhanger of the possibility of Davy Jones’ revival (which would be a crappy storyline, to be honest). The film was the second lowest-grossing of the series but still made a hefty profit.
The main actors are contracted to return should there be plans for a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean, and as the franchise has been going strong since 2003, it’s entirely plausible we’ll be seeing Jack Sparrow swinging by a rope onto the Black Pearl once again.
15 Coming Soon - Rose Red
Not only does Disney intend to focus on antagonists or supporting protagonists, they’re also looking to branch into minor character territory.
No one would be aware of Snow White’s sister.
But the film Rose Red will make her the central character. It’s probably not going to be the most alluring project for consumers, but Disney must be confident in its brand value to rely on a character whose existence hardly anyone is aware of. Still, this should be a hit-or-miss venture for the studio; a hit should open doors for dozen other minor character focused films.
14 Coming Soon - Jungle Cruise
The Rock has been hot on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook over the filming of Jungle Cruise. Not only did Disney bag The Rock for the lead, they managed to secure Emily Blunt to play his love interest. Suffice to say, this film will likely be a global hit the same way Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle took the world by storm.
With promotion already underway, despite the film over a year away from release, the hype train is up and ready.
Releasing: October 11, 2019.
13 Possibility - Sky High 2
Sky High was a concept like no other back in 2006. Had the film been released today, with all the Superhero furor at its peak, Sky High would have been a resounding box office success. Perhaps Disney sees it this way too as Sky High 2 was announced to be in the works in November 2016.
We haven’t heard anything else since this news, and with two years gone by now, Sky High 2 remains a possibility for the future.
12 Coming Soon - Star Wars: Episode IX
All the nerds raging on the internet over Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’s story can whine all they want over the sequel trilogy’s direction, but Star Wars: Episode IX is a confirmed entry in the main series chronology.
It will be the culmination of the Skywalker saga.
Or so it has been announced for the foreseeable future. All the main cast will return (even Carrie Fisher, using archive footage) in what will surely be an explosive finale. Let’s hope the internet doesn’t ruin this film, too.
Releasing: December 20, 2019.
11 Coming Soon - Indiana Jones 5
LucasFilms was acquired by Disney in 2012, meaning Indiana Jones became the property of the House of Mouse. With the backing of Disney, and the direction of Steven Spielberg, the higher-ups have been convinced it’s a good idea to bring back 77-year-old Harrison Ford as the whip-wielding, sardonic Indiana Jones.
Production is scheduled to begin by April 2019, after being pushed back from its initially scheduled December 2018 window. While it’s not been announced, the widespread expectation is that this film definitively closes out the series.
Releasing: July 9, 2021.
10 Possibility - National Treasure 3
The odd case of National Treasure 3 continues well into the late-2010s. In 2007, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets stamped its claim at the box office with a gross of $457 million. But it’s been next to impossible greenlighting National Treasure 3, for some reason.
All the cast has been willing to return, and the studio has voiced its approval. Yet, the film still languishes in uncertainty. Disney has announced a third installment in the future, but when this future will be realized we have no way to be sure.
9 Coming Soon - Lady And The Tramp
A whole slew of live-action films will be shown on our cinema screens in the near future, and this would include the movie with a pair of dogs sharing a plate of spaghetti. Lady and the Tramp will be seen with two actual dogs, or most likely CGI dogs, in what will be an interesting take on the cartoon film.
Unlike the other animal-based films, this one will have human characters, too.
Thus, it should be fascinating as to how Disney plans to present the film to fans and avoid the movie looking like Cats & Dogs.
8 Coming Soon - Pinocchio
Still viewed as the best cartoon film of all-time, Pinocchio was always a hundred percent possibility on the live-action front. The original film remains the best-reviewed cartoon movie ever, and the responsibility on the shoulders of director Paul King is immense.
Filming is expected to begin some point in late-2019, with the film’s release date still not announced. However, it should be expected to be on screens in the early 2020s, if all goes as planned for Disney and co.
7 Possibility - Splash Remake
We all love ourselves some Tom Hanks, but the fact of the matter is the actor is now in his sixties, making Hanks a tad too old to star again in a Splash remake.
What’s rather disturbing to know is Channing Tatum’s attachment to the film as its protagonist.
Gender swapping is also among the latest fads in the movie business, and Tatum might just go full Magic Mike on us depending on how he is directed. This is a remake we’re pretty hesitant about. Let's see if it enters into production or not.
6 Coming Soon - The Little Mermaid
The Disney renaissance began in 1989 with the release of The Little Mermaid. For the next ten years, we saw films of the highest quality in animation. The Little Mermaid was responsible for this upswing in classics, and a live-action is in the works to be part of Disney’s live-action initiative.
Chris Evans and Lindsay Lohan have announced their interest to star, but it’s unlikely the pair will be cast considering their ages. Regardless, in December 2017, director Rob Marshall was the hot favorite to helm the project.
5 Coming Soon - Kim Possible
You won’t have to call or beep her if you want to reach her, because Kim Possible will be back on the Disney Channel screen by next year – this time in live-action. Similar to Dora the Explorer, which is also going live-action, Kim Possible will draw in new fans and bring back loyalists as the critically acclaimed series returns.
Disney hasn’t gone all out by bringing the film on the big screen, but you can be certain should Kim Possible be a success it will either see a global release or at least a TV series in the future.
4 Possibility - Oz The Great And Powerful 2
The problem with Oz The Great and Powerful was the protagonist’s innate unlikable personality. The film’s direction and spectacle style presentation was praised, but hardly anyone rooted for Oz himself.
However, the movie did score big at the box office in 2013, and there was bound to be some lingering interest in a sequel. In recent years, the topic hasn’t come up much, with Sam Raimi confirming he won’t be directing a follow-up. But the cast members have remained A-List stars and a sequel should be a success if released.
3 Coming Soon - Oliver Twist
You can trust Disney to turn a tragic tale into a family movie. Oliver Twist is almost certainly going to be family affair. Oddly enough, Ice Cube is expected to be the main protagonist here. Most likely, the planned musical will be akin to Annie, which released in 2014.
Ice Cube is also taking a writer role for the film, with the music said to be focusing on hip-hop. This strange mix with the tragedy of Oliver Twist is sure to be fascinating, although a release date still hasn’t been announced.
2 Coming Soon - Peter Pan
Peter Pan doesn’t feel too old in our minds. It probably has to do with the relatively recent releases of Return to Neverland and Finding Neverland, as well as the live-action sequel Hook, starring Robin Williams, and the panned (pardon the pun) 2015 film, Pan.
Now, a full-fledged remake is in the works, of course being developed in live-action. This time, there will be no full-grown Wendy or a Peter in adult form, it’ll be the 1953 film adapted in live-action.
1 Possibility - Magic Kingdom
Jon Favreau may have directed The Jungle Book and leading production of The Lion King, but the director’s passion project has remained to be Magic Kingdom. In fact, Favreau declined directing Iron Man 3 in order to focus on Magic Kingdom a few years back.
Those plans still haven’t come into fruition but you can be certain Favreau won’t let the idea go that easily. With Jungle Cruise set to be released, Magic Kingdom’s development might as well be just a little ways down the road.