The world is full of many different opinions, views, beliefs and etc. People are like snowflakes, no two are the same. But just because we're all different doesn't mean we can't have similar interests, or in this case, similar backgrounds. You see, no matter where you grew up, or how you spent your childhood, chances are that you and your neighbor both grew up with Disney.
Whether you were a '00s kid, a '90s kid, or even a '30s kid, Disney has surely touched your heart. A lot of early Disney films can be regarded as timeless classics.
A kid today knows more about Snow White and her seven dwarf pals than you'd think, despite the film coming out over 70 years ago! It's clear that these movies can stand the test of time, along with the stories that they tell.
Still, a movie like Snow White or Cinderella was certainly created for a different generation, and kids today might want some fairy tale classics of their own. Of course, this doesn't mean that all of their classics will be original.
Behold, The Reboots!
Disney has been making reboots of their films for quite some time now, with it all starting in 2010 with Alice in Wonderland—a reboot/sequel to the original movie. Disney has plans to reboot a ton of their classic films, from Beauty and the Beast, to Pete's Dragon, to The Jungle Book!
These movies will give today's generation of Disney fans their own takes on beloved classics. They will also give those who grew up with the classics (or at least, saw them at a very young age) the chance to see them again in a newer way.
But what if these movies are more than just remakes? What if Disney has something else in mind besides the obvious popularity of a new Mulan film? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but there's something awfully fishy about these upcoming Disney remakes...
See, Disney's future films have more in common than just being based on old Walt Disney properties: they are also, all live-action!
I know, it's hard to believe. But it's true, all of Disney's upcoming films are indeed, live-action! But seriously, it's more than just the fact that they are all of the non-animated variety that's got me looking at these movies funny.
There happens to be a trend going around in Hollywood, one that Disney coincidentally helped start with the help of Marvel back in 2008 in Iron Man. That trend is known as "the cinematic universe". So what's my point? Well, as I said, Disney sort of started this current trend, and these live-action movies have me believing that they may just be continuing it!
The DCU! No, Not The DCCU.
I can already sense some of you closing this tab or slamming your laptops shut in anger/disappointment, and this is as I'm writing this article. But before you give up on me and turn a cold shoulder, hear me out. First of all, this is all speculation, I don't have strong proof that Disney is doing this, but that comes with most theories in their earliest stages anyway. What I do have, is observation. First let's talk about why it matters that Disney is taking the live-action route for all of its upcoming reboots.
This may just be a smart move on Disney's part. Turning their animated princes and princesses into live-action characters portrayed by successful actors and actresses is a surefire way to bring in the dough. Having Angelina Jolie portray Maleficent in a live-action adaptation, rather than an animated one, makes a lot of sense (she's an Oscar-level actress after all). But that's mainly because Maleficent is already very human-like.
Notice that in Cinderella (the animated version), the mice talk and play a significantly larger role in the film. While in the live-action version, they don't talk and barely get any screen time. Why? Well, aside from the fact that Disney finally realized that the movie is called 'Cinderella' and not 'Gus-Gus,' it's because 'CGI meets live-action' is a really risky move.
CGI is a costly affair, a lot of time and money is put into making CGI animated films. At the same time, if those films tank, a lot of money is lost on them. Mixing CGI with live-action is such a risky move because one, it costs even more and two, it can easily turn the movie into something really weird to look at. Just look at The Smurfs for a good example of that. They tried the CGI/live-action mix twice until cutting their losses and making a 100% CGI film.
With that in mind, I just think it'sinteresting that Disney is making a live-action Winnie the Pooh. From a bussiness perspective I feel like it's a risky move, because they could just as easily make an animated movie and profit from it just as easily. It's not like there's anything you could do in an a live-action Winnie the Pooh or The Jungle Book that you couldn't do in an animated version. If you want to fill it up with famous actors and actresses, just have them voice the characters, there's not much need for them to physically be on screen.
But despite the bad rep I'm giving it right now, mixing CGI with live-action isn't always a guaranteed bad move. A lot of successful movies have done it (looking at you Paddington, not looking at you Spongebob).
All I'm saying is that it's an odd direction for them to go in. As such, CGI/live-action being a risky move is of course not my only argument for why Disney might be making their own connected universe. Come on, you know me better than that, whoever it is that is reading this at this moment.
Disney Loves Charting Their Plans!
This is a chart containing every upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film. The MCU, if you didn't know, is a connected film universe featuring Marvel's coolest heroes. Films like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy all exist in the same universe, and this chart is Marvel/Disney's way of telling us their plans for the future of the MCU.
Disney and LucasFilms have also charted their upcoming Star Wars connected film universe plans, telling us what films they plan on bringing to theaters in the near future. Though, they haven't made a really cool looking chart with the logos of all their movies yet.
The point is, Disney seriously loves long-term planning, just as much as they love revealing minor details about their long-term plans. As if they were some conniving evil villain with an uncontrollable desire to spill all of their diabolical beans!
And just look at what they're doing now, revealing reboot after reboot of their classic properties! Pinocchio, Dumbo, Mulan, the list goes on and on. Even Prince Charming is getting his own movie! Although, if it's the "Robb Stark" Prince Charming from Cinderella, I'll be totally fine with it.
So does Disney charting out their upcoming classical reboots mean anything? No, not really. It could, but it also could not just as easily. After all, Disney doesn't need a reason to tell the world about a majority of their upcoming movies, other than hype really. And that's all it could be, hype for younger fans and older fans alike to latch on to. So why do I really think Disney could be setting up their very own cinematic universe?
It's 100% Possible, And They've Done It Before (Several Times)
Disney is not shy at all about crossing over their many lovable characters, they do it a lot. You can find Disney characters conversing in videogames, most notably the Kingdom Hearts series and Disney Infinity. You can find them in live-action form on TV, with the series Once Upon a Time. Heck, if you've got some time and money to spare, you can head on down to Disneyland or Disneyworld and see Mickey Mouse and co. hanging out with each other in real life (yes, I know they're only mascots but still)!
Disney owns pretty much all of their iconic characters, so they can easily have them go on adventures together without any legal issues. Why, if they really wanted to, they could have classic Disney villains like Jafar, Ursula and Hades team up to overthrow a nightclub owned by Mickey Mouse on Halloween night! That's not me spouting nonsense, they've actually done that.
Mickey's in way over his head and he knows it.
Have they ever done it on a big-budget movie scale? No, but that doesn't mean they couldn't if they wanted to. Like I said, all these upcoming reboots are based on classic movies and characters that everybody already knows. Kids know Tinkerbell from her recent animated movies and because she's the fairy that taps the Walt Disney logo with her wand in every movie.
Kids know Cinderella and other Disney princesses because of marketing like toys, clothing and etc. And kids know Winnie the Pooh because...well because he's Winnie the Pooh. Who doesn't know him? The next big step Disney could easily take would be to gather up a bunch of their old and timeless characters, and have them crossover. Of course, there'd have to be a good enough plot for it to work, but Disney's an expert at making fantastical and exciting stories for the kid in all of us to enjoy.
Plus, if they really were setting up some sort of Disney Cinematic Universe, who would be mad? We love Disney, that's evident in the movies we watch, the clothes and toys we buy as kids and for our kids, and the thousands upon thousands of 'Let it Go' covers you can find on the internet. If anything, we'd probably welcome this DCU with open arms.
Anyway, that's my sort of theory. I say "sort of" because as I said before, I don't really have much to back it. Yet.
But perhaps I'll revisit this crazy theory 'o mine once Disney's 'New Renaissance' era truly kicks in!
So what do you think? Is Disney setting up some future cinematic universe where our favorite iconic Disney characters will join forces for whatever reason (probably to save the world, it's always that)? Or am I simply reading way too much into this, and it's merely Disney's classic approach?
Either way, we will know sooner or later. In the meantime, I'm going to go petition that Disney make a live-action version of The Incredibles, full of Marvel superhero cameos. Because I don't care how old you are, you know you'd go see that at least twenty times!
Thanks for Reading!
Illustrations by Stephen Webster