Everything we know about Disney's live-action Lilo & Stitch remake

Disney heads to Hawaii for its latest live-action outing

A still from 2002's Lilo and Stitch
Disney is working on a live-action Lilo & Stitch remake. (Disney/Alamy)

Forget pens, pencils and pixels — Disney has found recent success with a string of live-action remakes and their latest, a retelling of the alien tale Lilo & Stitch, aims to be out of this world.

Following in the wake of 1990’s animated hits Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, original movie directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois set their sights on Hawaii where we meet a young island girl named Lilo Pelekai who befriends a wild blue animal known as ‘extraterrestrial creature Experiment 626’ who she playfully renames Stitch.

Released back in 2002, this touching adventure was Walt Disney Feature Animation’s 42nd release and one of the studio’s few hand-drawn successes of the studio’s post-animation renaissance of the early 2000s. However, while not a huge hit by Disney’s regular standards, Lilo & Stitch has developed a strong cult status among fans in the years following.

Read more: All the Disney live-action remakes in development

Cut to today and Disney has found box office gold by reimagining their nostalgic favourites with the latest CGI technology and storytelling. A Lilo & Stitch live-action remake is next up to bat but who’s directing, who’s already cast and what do we know about it so far? Let’s take a look.

A still from 2002's Lilo and Stitch
The original film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. (Disney/Alamy)

At the time of writing, no confirmed release date for Disney’s live-action Lilo & Stitch remake has been revealed.

News of a remake first broke back in 2018, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that Disney had hired a relatively new writer named Mike Van Waes to pen a script. The same story also let us know that the film will be produced by Jonathan Eirich and Dan Lin, the same duo that helped bring 2019’s live-action Aladdin to screens.

Later in 2020, it was reported that Wicked: Part One director Jon M. Chu was circling the project with an eye to direct before it was ultimately revealed that Dean Fleischer Camp, director of this year’s charming and Oscar-nominated Marcel The Shell With Shoes On would helm the film.

A still from 2002's Lilo and Stitch
The animated favourite is available to stream on Disney+. (Disney/Alamy)

While the official log-line for this Disney reboot simply cites its storyline as being a “live-action remake of Disney's animated classic Lilo and Stitch,” if previous live-action Disney retoolings are anything to go by, we can probably assume that this new take will stick fairly closely to the original.

If you need a refresher, 2002’s Lilo & Stitch followed a young Hawaiian girl named Lilo who, while still recovering from the death of her parents, meets a boisterous blue alien who she names Stitch, telling people it’s her new dog.

Together, the pair form a strong bond that echoes elements of ‘Ohana,’ a Hawaiian term meaning ‘family,’ all while avoiding the authorities on Stitch’s tail.

It’s currently unclear whether the film’s live-action twin will deviate any further from the plot of its predecessor.

Zach Galifianakis
Zach Galifianakis was first to be cast in Disney's Lilo & Stitch remake. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

In February 2023, The Wrap revealed that Zach Galifianakis was the first actor cast in the project, with The Hangover star set to play Pleakley, an alien tasked with recapturing Stitch.

Meanwhile, after an extensive open-call search, newcomer Maia Kealoha was cast in the titular role of Lilo. This joined the previously announced news that original Stitch voice actor Chris Sanders will return to the role he first created in 2002.

Sydney Agudong joined the cast as Nani, Lilo’s older sister who was voiced by Wayne’s World star Tia Carrere in the first film.

Read more: Everything we know about Frozen 3

Later, it was confirmed that Courtney B. Vance had joined the cast as Cobra Bubbles, one of the film’s authority figures and a social worker whose visit to Lilo’s guardian Nani is interrupted by Stitch’s chaos.

No Time To Die’s Billy Magnusson has also been cast in an as-yet-undisclosed role.

2002's Lilo & Stitch is currently available to stream on Disney+.