Disney’s Upcoming Live-Action Adaptations

From “Cinderella” to “Beauty and the Beast,” Disney has been dominating the box office with their live-action adaptations of beloved animated classics. With the success of these films, it’s no surprise that the company is continuing this trend with even more upcoming live-action adaptations in the works. The nostalgia factor and the opportunity to reimagine these timeless stories have attracted audiences worldwide, making them some of the most highly anticipated releases in recent years.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptations, from casting announcements to production updates, as well as the impact they have on the entertainment industry and the Disney brand.

Overview of Disney’s Live-Action Adaptations Trend

Disney’s live-action adaptations began in 2010 with the release of “Alice in Wonderland,” directed by Tim Burton. This film was a massive success, earning over $1 billion at the global box office and garnering three Academy Award nominations. This success paved the way for future live-action adaptations, such as “Maleficent” in 2014 and “Cinderella” in 2015.

However, it was the release of “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017 that solidified Disney’s live-action adaptations as a major trend in Hollywood. The film became the highest-grossing live-action musical of all time, earning over $1.2 billion worldwide. This success continued with the releases of “The Jungle Book” and “Aladdin,” both earning over $1 billion at the box office.

This trend shows no signs of slowing down, with several upcoming live-action adaptations already in the works. Let’s take a closer look at some of these highly anticipated films.

List of Upcoming Live-Action Adaptations

Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Adaptations


One of the most highly anticipated live-action adaptations is “Mulan,” set to be released on March 27, 2020. The film tells the story of a young Chinese woman who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the army.

Casting for this film has caused some controversy, as the decision was made to cast Chinese actress Liu Yifei in the lead role. Many fans were disappointed that the character of Mulan, who is Chinese, was not played by a Chinese actress.

Production for “Mulan” faced some delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the film is set to be released in theaters and on Disney+ as a premium access title.

The Little Mermaid

Another highly anticipated live-action adaptation is “The Little Mermaid,” based on the 1989 animated film of the same name. Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel, and she will be joined by an all-star cast, including Awkwafina as Scuttle and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.

Production for “The Little Mermaid” was scheduled to begin in early 2020, but it was delayed due to the pandemic. However, production has now resumed, and the film is set to be released sometime in 2022.

The Lion King Prequel

After the success of the live-action “Lion King” remake, Disney announced a prequel to the film, focusing on the backstory of Mufasa. This prequel will be directed by Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins and is set to explore the origin of Mufasa and his relationship with Scar.

While there is no official release date for this film, it is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2023.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Disney’s first animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” is getting a live-action adaptation, titled “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Rose Red.” This adaptation will focus on Snow White’s sister, Rose Red, and her adventures in the Enchanted Forest.

The film is currently in development, with no release date announced yet. However, it is expected to be a part of Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+.

Casting Announcements and Updates

Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Adaptations

One of the most exciting aspects of these live-action adaptations is seeing the new actors taking on iconic roles. Here are some recent casting announcements and updates for upcoming Disney live-action adaptations.


“Cruella” is a live-action prequel to “101 Dalmatians,” focusing on the origin story of the infamous villain, Cruella de Vil. Emma Stone has been cast as Cruella, and the film will also star Emma Thompson and Mark Strong.

Initially set to be released in December 2020, the film’s release was pushed back to May 28, 2021, due to the pandemic.

Peter Pan and Wendy

The upcoming live-action adaptation of “Peter Pan and Wendy” has recently announced its lead cast. Newcomers Alexander Molony and Ever Anderson have been cast as the beloved characters of Peter Pan and Wendy.

Production for this film is currently underway, with no official release date announced yet.

Tinker Bell

After playing Tinker Bell in the live-action adaptation of “Peter Pan,” Reese Witherspoon is now set to produce and star in a standalone Tinker Bell film. The film is expected to explore Tinker Bell’s backstory and how she became the sassy fairy we all know and love.

No release date has been announced for this film yet.

Production and Release Dates

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many film productions have faced delays, and Disney’s live-action adaptations are no exception. Here are some updates on the production and release dates for upcoming films.

The Little Mermaid

As mentioned earlier, production for “The Little Mermaid” was delayed due to the pandemic. However, filming has now resumed, and director Rob Marshall has confirmed that the film will be released sometime in 2022.


The live-action adaptation of “Pinocchio” has faced some production delays, with initial plans for filming in March 2020. However, it is now set to begin filming in early 2022, with Tom Hanks confirmed to play Geppetto.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is also facing delays, with no update on when production will begin. Josh Gad is set to produce and star as Quasimodo in this retelling of the classic story.

Comparison with Original Animated Versions

One of the most discussed aspects of these live-action adaptations is how they compare to their original animated counterparts. While many fans are excited to see these stories brought to life in a new way, there are also concerns about staying true to the source material.

With advancements in technology, Disney’s live-action adaptations have been able to create visually stunning films that closely resemble their animated counterparts. However, this has also led to criticism that these adaptations lack originality and rely too heavily on nostalgia.

Some live-action adaptations have put their own spin on the story, such as “Maleficent,” which tells the story from the perspective of the villain. This adds depth to the character and provides a fresh take on the classic story.

On the other hand, some adaptations have received backlash, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” which faced criticism for not adding anything new to the story and being almost identical to the animated version.

It remains to be seen how future live-action adaptations will balance staying true to the source material while also bringing something new to the table.

Impact on Disney’s Brand and Industry

Disney’s live-action adaptations have not only been a success at the box office but have also had a significant impact on the company’s brand and the entertainment industry as a whole.

These adaptations have allowed Disney to capitalize on the nostalgia factor, attracting both old and new audiences. They have also provided a new revenue stream for the company, with merchandise and licensing opportunities for these highly popular films.

Furthermore, these live-action adaptations have sparked a trend in Hollywood, with other studios following suit and creating their own live-action adaptations of animated classics. This has led to fierce competition and a focus on creating visually stunning films that stay true to the original stories.

Disney’s live-action adaptations have undoubtedly solidified the company’s dominance in the entertainment industry and set the bar high for future adaptations.


Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptations are highly anticipated by fans worldwide, with a star-studded cast, exciting updates, and the nostalgia factor driving the hype. While there have been some criticisms regarding casting and staying true to the source material, there is no denying the impact these adaptations have on the entertainment industry and the Disney brand.

With production delays due to the pandemic, some release dates may have been pushed back, but fans can still look forward to seeing their favorite stories brought to life in a whole new way. Whether you’re a die-hard Disney fan or just looking for some nostalgic entertainment, these upcoming live-action adaptations are sure to impress and delight audiences of all ages.

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