Last week, Disney unveiled a jaw-dropping list of upcoming projects to let shareholders and competition alike know that — pandemic or not — the shows(s) must go on. The impressive lineup included productions across the main Disney entertainment properties, including Star Wars, Marvel, Walt Disney Productions, and Pixar. And it all started with a Tweet:
Over the next few years, roughly 10 @Marvel series, 10 @StarWars series, 15 Disney live action, @DisneyAnimation, and @Pixar series, plus 15 all-new Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features will be released directly on @DisneyPlus.
— Disney (@Disney) December 10, 2020
In a word: WOW.
But the amazement didn’t stop there — with global audiences electing to stay home en masse, every project was announced as being either a digital exclusive (via Disney+ or Hulu) or a simultaneous theatrical/streaming release. However much longer the global lockdown continues, Disney fans can rest assured that they’re not going to run out of things to watch anytime soon.
Without further ado, here are 8 of Disney’s biggest upcoming projects!
Sweet, simple, and loyal to a fault, Dug the dog (voiced by Bob Peterson, Monsters, Inc.) was one of the highlights of 2009’s brilliant Up. Previously appearing in a standalone short, Dug’s Special Mission, the beloved golden retriever with a translator collar returns in a new animated series that will show him getting all sorts of misadventures. Keeping an eye on Dug is the hero of Up, the ever-curmudgeonly Mr. Fredrickson (played by the inimitable Ed Asner, Elf, Justice League Unlimited). Aside from the fact that Mr. Fredrickson’s not living in the middle of a construction site, precious little has been revealed about the new series. Since we have no idea how much time has passed for the characters, we can’t wait to see if any of Up’s other characters (including a certain Wilderness Explorer!) will be making an appearance.
After far too many years of doing sequels to pay the bills, it’s refreshing to see Pixar getting back into their groove of doing original material. This time around, it’s Turning Red, the feature-length debut of director Doomee Shi, who first drew attention for her Academy Award-winning short, Bao. Set for release in March 2021, Turning Red is a coming-of-age comedy about Mei, a shy young teen who transforms into an oversized red panda when she gets too excited. We don’t know much more beyond that, but to be honest, we were sold from the moment we heard “red panda”. Go ahead and Google them, we’ll wait (you can thank us later!).
Hocus Pocus 2
A Halloween staple since its 1993 release, this sequel to the Bette Middler (First Wives Club), Kathy Najimi (Sister Act), and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City)-starring horror-comedy is on the way, courtesy of Adam Shankman (Hairspray, A Walk to Remember). While not an immediate hit, the film has since grown into a cult classic through the magic of home video and repeated broadcasts on cable tv. Talk of a sequel has been rumored for years, reaching a fever pitch when Middler, Najimi, and Parker reprised their roles as the Sanderson witch sisters for a fundraiser in October of this year. According to Middler back then, “They want to make a movie, they’ve asked us if we were interested and of course, all of us said yes,” she said. “I’m game, I’m totally game.”
Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers
When the wildly successful Ducktales reboot worked in a backdoor pilot to the upcoming Darkwing Duck revival, it was widely believed that Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers would return via the same route; after all, they’d already made a cameo appearance earlier this year. But that’s not what happened, as Disney threw everyone for a loop by announcing that Rescue Rangers would be getting a live-action/animation hybrid, starring John Mulaney as Chip and Andy Samberg as Dale! As much fun as it would have been to see a traditional take on Rescue Rangers, one desperately wants to see Mulaney and Samberg’s takes on everybody’s favorite rodent Indiana Jones and Magnum P.I. cosplayers.
Released in 2007 the original Enchanted was a loving, whimsical send-up of decades of Disney princess and fairy tale tropes that endeared Amy Adams (Arrival, Man of Steel) to a generation. Long rumored, but delayed for various reasons, the sequel has finally been announced, with Adams confirmed as returning as Giselle! Out of all the delightful actors that were in the original that could possibly appear — including Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise), Timothy Spall (Harry Potter), Idina Menzel (Rent, Frozen), and Patrick Dempsey (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) — it’s James Marsden (X-Men, Sonic the Hedgehog) as the blissfully un-self-aware Prince Charming we want to see more of.
Sister Act 3
Between returning for Sister Act 3 and reprising her Star Trek: The Next Generation role of Guinan in Picard’s second season, Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, The Color Purple) seems deadset on reliving her early ’90s heyday. While 1993’s Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit didn’t receive anywhere near the critical acclaim of the first film, it holds a special place in many ’90s kids’ hearts, and who doesn’t want to see more hip-hop singing nuns? This time around, Goldberg will be doing double duty as a producer, joined by Tyler Perry (Alex Cross, Gone Girl), who will also be producing. With any luck, they’ll bring back the energy and musical stylings that made the original films hits, and, more importantly, that Kathy Najimi (Hocus Pocus), Wendy Mackenna (Air Bud), and, yes, Dame Maggie Smith (Harry Potter, Downton Abbey) are able to return as Goldberg’s nun friends/enablers.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
Quack! Quack! Quack! The team that introduced the notion of ice hockey to non-North American moviegoers is back, and they’ve got their original coach, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez, Young Guns, Mission: Impossible) along for the ride! To be honest, we don’t know much about this reboot, other than the first trailer shows that it won’t be straying far from the original formula of an underdog team of misfits overcoming better, more-experienced opponents. Here’s hoping that more of the original Ducks show up to provide coaching/pep talks/general inspiration/etc. for the new team (to say nothing of nostalgic feels for the audience’s parents!).
Now, this was the one nobody saw coming. With Toy Story 4 effectively ending the adventures of everybody’s favorite playtime adventurers, and an animated Buzz Lightyear series already having been done in the past, who would have guessed that a real, honest-to-goodness Buzz Lightyear movie was in the works? And voiced by Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame, Knives Out), to boot?! According to Pixar Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up), “Back when we created the very first Toy Story, we designed Buzz Lightyear with the idea that he was a toy based on some really cool character in an epic blockbuster film. Well, all these years later, we decided it’s time to make that film… it reveals how this young test pilot became the Space Ranger we all know him to be today.”
Guys, look at it this way: it’s freakin’ Captain America as the star recruit of an intergalactic peacekeeping force. What’s not to love?!
Which of these Disney titles are you most excited for?