ByD.C. Fenoff, writer at
Writer. Adult-ish. Oh, And I Really Like Crossword Puzzles. Twitter: OaODCFenoff
D.C. Fenoff

Disney has had so much success, it is almost inconceivable that, in the 1980s, the animation giant was nearly at the brink of extinction. Now, could the very film that once nearly brought down the House of Mouse be reinvigorated in a new era of cinema? In the process, it might even finally earn the long-overdue status of a true masterpiece.

I'm referring, of course, to The Black Cauldron.

The Black Cauldron, released in 1985, was a financial disaster for Disney. In the '80s, the film was considered too dark and frightening for the same tender Disney audience that had recently enjoyed The Fox and The Hound. Despite misfiring at the box office, however, The Black Cauldron has grown to cult classic status over the course of the past few decades.

Now that Disney is making great strides in their current live action remake trend, it's the perfect time to consider revisiting this property, and in so doing giving it a deserved chance to rewrite its unhappy end with The Black Cauldron 2.

Here's how it can work:

Audiences Are Ready For This Now

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures)
Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures)

The Black Cauldron didn't work for audiences in the '80s because they just weren't ready. Despite the success of dark fantasy in that decade, including classic films like Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story, and Legend, the time was not right for Disney to take such a dramatic step away from its wholesome, family-oriented company image.

But that was then and this is now. The slew of gritty, realistic live-action reboots of the past few years has opened the door for another try. Audiences flocked to theaters to see these colorful stories come to life – and the new films are far more dark and intense than what offered up.

Disney films like Maleficent, Alice In Wonderland, and even by all impressions the upcoming Beauty And The Beast have all adopted darker tones than their animated cousins to fit in the new age of cinema. It's a way to keep the nostalgia of properties past but update it to suit the more complex tastes of now-adult audiences.

Disney Is A Much Different Company Than It Was In The 1980s

Back when the original film was being made, Disney wasn't exactly in a place where they had all their ducks in a row. There was a lack of focus and general leadership within the company. This affected almost every aspect of the company, including the division. Because of this, when test audiences were shown the film and did not give off the expected response, the company utterly failed to come together to craft a better movie.

In short, the finished product was a mess. A mess that, by Disney's modern standards, would've never been allowed to see the light of day. Nowadays, the entertainment company has several proper safeguards in place to make sure only the best is released to the public.

Just Imagine The Franchise Potential

Okay, so yeah, we never actually got to see a . Based on how the film performed the first time around, that's really not surprising. But with Disney now masterful at creating viable franchises, The Black Cauldron is tailor-made to become Disney's next big franchise.

The Black Cauldron was based on the first two in a series of six total novels by Lloyd Alexander called The Chronicles of Prydain. The novels follow the story's main protagonist, Taran, as he embarks on a journey from youth to maturity. Alongside him are his close friends Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Flam; a bard, a man-beast named Gurgi, and a little Dwarf called Doli. Because Disney did such shoddy work the first time around, they definitely owe these characters another shot to tell their fascinating tales.

While we do still have plenty of films to look forward to, gaps left by the absence of Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of The Rings, and others have created a void in the storytelling realm that must be filled. We had thought some hope arrived when Emma Watson signed on for Queen Of The Tearling, but that's still quite a few years away, if it makes it to the big screen at all. This is why now is the perfect time for a film series full of wondrous adventure with tales of kings, dragons, magic, journeys through mystic lands, and all the splendor that comes right along with it.

See Also:

Film Franchise Or Netflix's Next Huge Hit?

This could also be an excellent opportunity to take things to the next level with Disney. As of now we've only really seen the few Marvel series at with the Defenders universe and two on ABC with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the now-canceled Agent Carter. While the current shows, and the ones in development, are both exciting, enticing, and give us that little bit of zest to make it between one release to the next, they're still a bit too deep in the superhero genre box. Yes, there is , but nothing like The Black Cauldron currently exists in Disney's TV offerings. Branching outside of Marvel with Netflix is a step that Disney has long-needed to take in genre entertainment.

An adaptation of the Prydain series could really help set Netflix and Disney up to fill the gap in people's hearts once Game of Thrones closes up shop, which will be quite the lucrative market in the coming years. Getting ahead of the game, as I'm sure other networks are working tirelessly at it, is the one thing Disney can do now to ensure that audience happily drifts towards their offering instead of the likely sea of competition that's sure to spring up within the next five years.

The live-action movie remakes are wonderful - for now. Eventually people will want more. The Black Cauldron 2 offers that "more." All that's needed is to be true to the story, to the characters, and to the audience. Combine all that - on either film or on tv - success and redemption will most definitely come its way.


Do you think Disney should consider rebooting 'The Black Cauldron'?


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