New Disney movies aren’t just a distraction right now, they’re a necessity. The House of Mouse’s patented brand of magic has served up smiles and created childhood memories for decades, and the next few years are sure to do the same in a time where we desperately need it.
Disney’s live-action and animation wings, plus Pixar, have so much to offer and we thought it’d be best to collect them all into one place. That includes those that are in pre-production, and even movies that have only been whispered about in the hallowed halls of the Magical Kingdom.
Aladdin 2, Cruella, and even a Little Mermaid remake are all in the works and there’s even more to make even the most diehard of Disney fans sit up in awe at everything they’ve got planned right up until 2023. There's even news of Mulan coming to Disney Plus, a rarity for any summer blockbuster, let alone one as big as that.
Plus, if you’re looking for new Disney movies beyond its main studios, be sure to get your eyes on what the MCU is offering as part of Marvel Phase 4 as well as all the upcoming Star Wars movies in a galaxy far, far away.
Release date: September 4
The all-singing, all-dancing aspect of Mulan is gone, and red dragon Mushu is MIA, but Mulan's trailer captures all the spirit of the original. Yifei Liu stars as Mulan, while the likes of Donnie Yen and Jet Li will also play a part in the Mulan live-action remake.
Yes. It's a remake, but not as you know it. Your memories of the 1998 animated movie will thankfully be left intact as Disney's 2020 take is going to take more than a few cues from the original source material, the Ballad of Mulan, instead.
Judging by the trailer, that means a more authentic look, plus vibrant colours that shimmer on the screen. In animation, everything is colourful as a rule; here, the rich reds and gorgeous greens pop in a way rarely seen in live-action cinema.
It's also been recently announced that Mulan will head straight to Disney Plus, forgoing a cinema release. It'll cost $30 to own from September 4 and you can keep it just as long as you remain subscribed to the streaming service.
Release date: November 20, 2020
Soul has been moved from its prime summer June slot to November. That has also seen Raya and the Last Dragon retreat into 2021.
So, what is Pixar's second movie of the year all about? Soul will feature a struggling teacher, voiced by Jamie Foxx, who has grand aspirations to play at New York's hottest jazz club. In a bizarre twist, however, his soul departs from his body (is he dead? It isn't clear) and must attend a You Seminar to help train the soul.
Along the way, Foxx's character meets 22, voiced by Tina Fey.
It all sounds delightfully dark and, if Pixar's involvement is any indication, it's sure to have a lot of heart and, yes, soul.
New Disney movies (2021)
Raya and the Last Dragon
Just Announced: Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, starring @cassandrasteele (Raya) and @Awkwafina (Sisu, the Last Dragon). Check out all-new concept art, and see the film in theaters November 2020. #D23Expo pic.twitter.com/V40bv64IIpAugust 24, 2019
Release date: March 12, 2021
The last of 2020's new Disney movies, Raya and the Last Dragon was first announced at D23 2019.
Set to be an epic tale taking place in the fictional land of Lumandra, Raya and the Last Dragon will follow the titular Raya (voiced by Cassie Steele) as she sets out in search of the last dragon. No trailers or images yet, but we also know that Awkafina will be voicing the Last Dragon. There's also a just-released concept art for you to feast your eyes on.
Just Announced: Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, starring @cassandrasteele (Raya) and @Awkwafina (Sisu, the Last Dragon). Check out all-new concept art, and see the film in theaters November 2020. #D23Expo pic.twitter.com/VPqCroDkeHAugust 24, 2019
Release date: May 28, 2021
It's been over three years since rumours surfaced that Disney is working on a Cruella origins movie. Then, towards the end of 2018, it was officially confirmed that a) it's happening, and b) Emma Stone is set to play the fur-crazed fashionista herself. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be directed by Craig Gillespie (of I, Tonya fame) and will be set in the 1980s "with a punk vibe".
At D23, we finally got a look at Emma Stone as Cruella. It was well worth the wait. Rocking a black-and-white hairdo that only Emma Stone and probably Helena Bonham Carter could make not look totally silly, Cruella is accompanied by three dalmatians (98 to go...) and a pair of menacing henchmen.
It's got a release date now, too! It's coming to cinemas on May 28, 2021.
Release date: July 30, 2021
Somehow not the first Disney movie based on a theme park ride (Pirates of the Caribbean got there well over 15 years ago), Jungle Cruise recruits Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's comedic action chops and throws them in with Emily Blunt, who plays the swashbuckling scientist Lily. The pair embark on an adventure to find the Tree of Life. UK fans will also be pleased to know that comedian Jack Whitehall is also along for the trip, playing Lily's brother.
It's worth noting, however, that those expecting it to come out this year are up you-know-what without a paddle. That's because Disney recently delayed a bunch of movies, including Jungle Cruise by a whole year.
Release date: Summer 2021
The latest new Disney movie to be announced is Luca, an animated adventure from Pixar due to hit cinemas next summer.
You can see the first concept art here but, as a taster, here's the synopsis: "Our all-new film will introduce a boy named Luca as he experiences an unforgettable summer in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera," Pixar revealed.
It will be directed by Enrico Casarosa and will be the third Pixar movie released in just over 12 months, which is slowly becoming the norm for a studio that often took years between releases with a more sporadic output.
New Disney movies (TBC)
Thought an Aladdin sequel was wishful thinking? Think again. The billion-dollar live-action hit is being primed for an original follow-up. The Hollywood Reporter let the genie out of the bottle, confirming that Disney are working on Aladdin 2. Not only is Guy Ritchie set to return as director, but a writers’ room has been working on new ideas for the sequel by reading through stories from One Thousand and One Nights, the source material upon which the original Aladdin was loosely based.
That means any Aladdin sequel, which is being penned by Real Steel’s John Gatins and Straight Outta Compton’s Andrea Berloff, is unlikely to take its cue from the direct-to-video Return of Jafar, which followed on from the original 1992 animated smash hit starring Robin Williams. At this early stage, the cast haven’t been confirmed, though Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith are "expected to reprise their roles."
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Another live-action remake is joining the ranks of the new Disney movies on the horizon, and it's been confirmed that M. Butterfly playwright David Henry Hwang is on board to direct this adaptation of the 1996 animated film, Hunchback of Notre Dame. According to a report from Deadline, Josh Gad may be in line to play the lead, but no solid casting decisions have been made just yet. In terms of how it'll play out, the film - apparently simply called Hunchback - will pull from both the animated film and the original Victor Hugo novel. Apart from that details are light, so we'll have to wait a little longer to find out more about this particular Parisian adventure.
One of the most recent Disney movies rumoured for release, Knights is going to be a live-action movie purportedly set in the Middle Ages. Collider confirmed that writer Matt Orton will be on script duties, though production remains in the very early stages as of writing.
Lin Manuel-Miranda's unnamed Disney animated movie
Lin-Manuel Miranda is writing an animated movie for Disney.
During a recent GMA appearance (H/T Deadline), Miranda said, “I’m actually writing a new animated musical with Disney Animation. I’m collaborating with the Zootopia guys and Jared Bush, who wrote Moana with me. It’s set in Colombia, in Latin America and that’s all I can say before Bob Iger just shows up in my home.”
Mary Poppins Returns 2
Release date: TBC
Mary Poppins Returns only arrived at the end of 2018, but that hasn't stopped it being a huge hit. It raked in over $260 million worldwide in its first month, so it doesn't come as much of a surprise that there's already a sequel in the works. According to director Rob Marshall, speaking to The Sun, the sequel is in the "early stages" of development. "It is early stages but I will say right now that there were eight books, so there's a lot of great material still to mine. That's what we worked from, those incredible eight books of P.L Travers. So, you know…" said Marshall. Looks like we're going to see a lot more of Mary Poppins. Potentially seven movies more.
Since that 2019 interview, though, there has been nary a spoonful of sugary-sweet speculation to get us worked up. File this one under 'in limbo'
Release date: TBC
It turns out that there's more of the Peter Pan story to tell, because Disney is making a brand new live-action version of the 1953 animated film. Director David Lowery, though, is confident that he can do something a little different with the remake, although it's not clear exactly how.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, producer Jim Whitaker said that "it'll be a big, rollocking adventure", which is kind of what you would hope for with a Peter Pan movie. Apparently, it's still very much in the script-writing stage though, so don't expect an official release date anytime soon.
Recently, news broke (via Variety) that a Wendy was cast, with Ever Anderson stepping into the role, while Peter Pan will be played by Alexander Molony.
Release date: TBC
Another live-action movie in the works is Pinocchio. The story of the puppet-turned-real-boy is about to get a lot more real. This live-action remake has been in development for quite some time, with Paddington director Paul King taking over the film in 2018, which suggest that the timeline may be moving forwards at last. Filming is due to begin this year, but that's basically all we know about the film so far. However, it's not to be confused with another Pinocchio film that's quite different.
According to Variety, Guillermo del Toro is also current producing, writing, and directing a stop-motion, musical version of Pinocchio exclusively for Netflix. Knowing del Toro's penchant for combining childlike wonder with the macabre, you can bet that his adaptation will follow the darker elements of the original 1883 novel much more closely. It's set in 1930s Italy for a start, during the rise of Mussolini's fascism, which certainly doesn't sound very Disney to me. Neither del Toro's take nor Disney's adaptation have release dates as yet.
Prince Charming (Cinderella)
Release date: TBC
Rather than the villain-led spin-offs like Maleficent or brand new Disney movie Cruella, Prince Charming is - you guessed it - all about the man in our princess' life. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this brand new live-action movie will actually follow Prince Charming's brother, who "never quite lived up to the family name". It's not clear as yet which of the Prince Charming characters this is the brother of - after all we've had Prince Charmings in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves already - but it could turn out to be quite the different spin on your classic Disney fairytale.
Pirates of the Caribbean reboot
Release date: TBC
A potential Pirates of the Caribbean sequel/reboot/reimagining isn't out of the question, but a sixth entry in the popular Disney franchise remains moored for now.
Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were originally brought in to write the script but departed some time in early 2019. Since then, THR reported that Ted Elliott and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, who will also be working on The Last of Us HBO series, have stepped in to replace the pair.
Pirates of the Caribbean (with Margot Robbie)
Release date: TBC
Arr, me mateys! We could be getting a double dose of rum-and-sailin' shenanigans if this Pirates report rings true.
Sources close to The Hollywood Reporter indicate that Margot Robbie will take the lead in a female-fronted original movie set in the Pirates universe, wholly distinct and separate from a likely sixth Pirates of the Caribbean mainline movie.
Release date: TBC
It's been nearly 50 years since Disney's seminal Robin Hood animated movie. The Prince of Thieves is due a return, don't you think? Disney think so too, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that Carlos Lopez Estrada is in line to direct what is said to be a live-action/CGI hybrid remake but development is still in the very early stages.
Rose Red (Snow White)
Release date: TBC
It turns out that there are technically two characters in the original Grimm's Fairytales called Snow White, with each character taking the lead in their own story. There's the classic Snow White story, but then there's Snow White and Rose Red, where two young sisters live with their mother in a cabin in the mountains and they meet a mysterious dwarf and an enchanted bear. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is now planning to combine both stories into an inventive new live-action film simply entitled Rose Red. The titular sister will be added into the story as Snow White's sibling, who seeks out and teams up with the seven dwarves when Snow White is indisposed by the Sleeping Death of the poison apple. It's Rose Red that ends up undertaking a dangerous quest that could revive Snow White, which might nudge ol' Prince Charming out of the picture entirely. This could well be the sisterhood Frozen story of the Snow White universe.
The Little Mermaid
Release date: TBC
Still no release date for the live-action The Little Mermaid remake, although some casting info is beginning to surface. US singer Halle Bailey will be playing Ariel, while original Game of Thrones prequel creator Jane Goldman will be penning the script. Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay have also been cast.
No news yet on who will be playing Ursula, though the likes of Melissa McCarthy have recently been mooted. Expect more big news to bubble up over the coming months, especially as there are already so many more new Disney movies coming out in the next year.
The Sword in the Stone
Release date: TBC
Although not a lot is known about the upcoming live-action remake of The Sword in the Stone, it could well be something a lot, lot darker than the 1963 animated fantasy. Back in early 2018, it was confirmed that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo would be directing the movie, from a script written by Bryan Cogman, a writer-producer on Game of Thrones. Now, bare in mind that Fresnadillo is best known for directing one of the best zombie movies of all time, 28 Weeks Later, along with another horror movie, Intruders, and you've got the idea of what The Sword in the Stone could be, particularly with a writer well-versed in dragons and fantasy. Unfortunately, that's all we currently know about the new Disney movie.
The Merlin Saga
Release date: Unknown
Based on a 12-book series by author T.A. Barron, The Merlin Saga has been a project that has floated around in limbo for a couple of years now and would presumably chart the life and early years of the wizard Merlin. Intriguingly enough, Ridley Scott has been attached to direct the live-action movie but very little is known other than that.
There are several new Disney movies that have been pencilled in for future release. Pixar on its own has four on the way right up until 2023. Expect them to land on the following dates, though plans may change considerably given the current real-world situation.
- June 18, 2021
- March 11, 2022
- June 17, 2022
- June 16, 2023
Then there's the crop of TBA live-action and animated Walt Disney Studios productions that lie tantalisingly just over the horizon. It's likely that most of these will eventually be attributed to the pile of movies above that are in various stages of pre-development/development.
- November 19, 2021 (live-action)
- November 24, 2021 (animated)
- April 8, 2022 (live-action)
- May 27, 2022 (live-action)
- August 12, 2022 (live-action)
- November 4, 2022 (live-action)
- November 23, 2022 (animated)
- March 10, 2023 (live-action)
- May 26, 2023 (live-action)
- July 14, 2023 (live-action)
- August 11, 2023 (live-action)
- October 6, 2023 (live-action)
- November 22, 2023 (animated)
- December 15, 2023 (live-action)