Movies Movie News Disney Exec Compares The Lion King Remake to Star Wars
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The Lion King remake could end up the first installment in "a big, epic saga" on par with Star Wars, according to Disney executive Sean Bailey.
Bailey, who is president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, talked up the 2019 film's franchise-spawning potential in an interview with The New York Times. "There's a lot of room to run [with the Lion King series] if we can find the stories," he said. Directed by Jon Favreau, The Lion King used photorealistic CGI to retell the traditionally animated 1994 classic of the same name. A prequel movie titled Mufasa: The Lion King and helmed by Barry Jenkins is slated for release in July 2024.
Bailey is also overseeing several other projects inspired by Disney's existing library of animated features. Of these productions, the next to arrive in theaters is a live-action retelling of 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Snow White remake cast Rachel Zegler in its titular role in June 2021, and the star has since confirmed that the production will tweak its source material's story to fit modern sensibilities. "People are making these jokes about ours being the PC Snow White, where it's like, yeah, it is -- because it needed that," she said.
Disney's Slate of Live-Action Remakes Gathers Steam
Snow White will be followed by a reimagining of Lilo & Stitch that is slated to premiere in May 2024. Dean Fleischer Camp will oversee the live-action adaptation, which announced many of its key cast members prior to the start of principal photography in April 2023. Actors confirmed to be onboard for Lilo & Stitch include Maia Kealoha (Lilo Pelekai), Zach Galifianakis (Dr. Jumba Jookiba), Sydney Agudong (Nani Pelekai) and Billy Magnussen (Agent Pleakley). Kahiau Machado was originally set to play Nani's love interest, David, however, he was replaced by Kaipo Dudoit after social media posts he made featuring racist language were brought to Disney executives' attention.
Disney is also developing remakes based on Moana, The Aristocats, Hercules and a number of other animated classics, which suggests the studio's pipeline is quite full at the moment. This hasn't stopped The Little Mermaid's Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy from pitching a spinoff to that film focusing on the shared history between their respective characters, King Triton and Ursula. There's currently no indication that such a spinoff is in the works, however.
The Lion King is currently streaming on Disney+.