Disney, The Latest Animation News

New Disney Animation Films Announced: ‘Zootopia’, ‘Giants’, ‘Moana’ & More!

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Walt-Disney-Animation-StudiosBig, big news for Disney animation fans! Turns out Disney is working on some fabulous animated films due out in the next 5 years, including the Zootopia, Giants, a Polynesian film called Moana, and more!
Woah, woah, woah! This is huge! A few weeks ago, the WDAS release dates through 2018 were announced, but unfortunately the majority of the films were labeled as “Untitled.” According to Blue Sky Disney, this “untitled” business confused some people: the films weren’t really untitled, but rather simply unrevealed. Thanks to the team over there, they were given permission (by, I presume, someone from within Disney) to give a bit more information and tidbits about these Disney animated films. For convenience, here is a snapshot of WDAS’ six-film animated slate through 2018 (we’ve attached them to the known Disney release dates):

Frozen (November 27, 2013)
Big Hero 6 (November 7, 2014)
Zootopia (March 4, 2016)
Giants (November 23, 2016)
Moana (March 9, 2018)
Untitled Dean Wellin’s Animated Feature (November 21, 2018)
We already know a lot about Frozen and Big Hero 6. But let’s discuss what we know about each of the new films thus far:

 

Zootopia (March 4, 2016)

After Big Hero 6 is released, WDAS will take a year off before releasing two films in 2016. The first is  currently called Zootopia, which will be directed by one of Tangled‘s co-directors Byron Howard. This film will star Jason Bateman (who previously been penned to voicing a character in this film) who is supposed to voice a fox character. Unfortunately, that’s about all we know about Zootopia…for now.

To me, Zootopia sounds like a big city that is filled with animals. Or it could be a story about a zoo. But then again, that seems a bit too much like Madagascar and Into the Wild. Since Bateman is voicing a fox, obviously the main characters will be animals. Not sure whether they will just be simply talking animals or more anthropomorphic like the animals in Robin Hood. Either way, it sounds exciting! Disney sure does love its talking critters!

Giants (November 23, 2016)

Next comes Giants, which will be directed by the other Tangled co-director Nathan Greno. This film will be a new twist and take on fairy tales. It’s good to see that Disney will continue its fairy tale film legacy after Frozen. Fairy tales are so key to the company, its legacy, parks and future, it makes sense that it will continue producing films here and then in this direction. It makes sense that Giants possibly could be The Name Game, which was a Disney animation film reportedly based on the Rumpelstiltskin.

With a title like Giants and a fairy tale theme, one can only suppose (and rumors are flying) that this could be a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. We all know that Disney produced one of the best versions of the story many years earlier, Mickey and the Beanstalk, but I have a feeling that this will be much more epic in scale.

Moana (March 9, 2018)

Next comes the return of the famous Disney directing duo Ron Celements and John Musker with Moana. This film is a Polynesian story that follows island inhabitants and tiki idols “made famous the world over.” This very much gives an Enchanted Tiki Room vibe and could be a potential tie-in to that ride and the parks. The style of this film’s animation is unknown, but it will either be their first CGI film or a CGI/2D hybrid much like the short Paperman.

Honestly, this film has me the most excited! Lilo & Stitch gave us a teeny hint of Polynesian culture (however, that film was a bit more modern and western), but an entire film devoted to this culture? Yes! really love the idea of a tiki idol character or plot because it just all seems very Disney-esque to me and that this film will fit in perfectly with the rest of the Disney canon.

Untitled Dean Wellin’s Animated Feature (November 21, 2018)

Dean Wellin (writer on Tangled and animator on Princess and the Frog) will tackle the last film of the bunch which is a “teenage space race” that has a story very unusual for Disney Animation. Apparently, much like Big Hero 6, this film will help to change and mold the public’s perception about what to except from the Mouse House.

Even More Future Films? Feature Length Mickey Mouse Film? No Wreck-It Ralph 2 or King of the Elves?

After that, we don’t know much. Disney hasn’t released the schedule or release dates for films past 2018, but apparently even now there are still a few other project in development (one can only presume very early development).

Also, a few years ago longtime Disney animator and employee Burny Mattinson spoke about a feature-length Mickey Mouse movie that was in works at the studio. None of these titles seems to fit the bill. Personally, I think that a Mickey Mouse movie (instead of a direct-to-video film like the 3 Musketeers or Mickey’s Christmas Carrol) is definitely in order and would be a big step for the studio. If the timing is right, a Mickey film could be the 60th animated film released and would be a real treat. But then again, maybe the audience just isn’t there anymore for Mickey (then again, I have a hard time believing that considering how iconic and popular and his gang still are).

Within weeks of the release of Wreck-It Ralph, director Rich Moore and others started talking about creating a sequel known as Wreck-It Ralph 2. This would be the second official sequel to be released under the Walt Disney Animation banner (unless Disney chooses to release it under the DisneyToon Studios brand). Based on this list, it seems unlikely that we’ll see WIR 2 anytime soon.

And lastly, it seems that King of the Elves is nowhere to be found. And, honestly, I’m not surprised. The story was shelved in 2009, but much like Pixar’s Newt, fans just can’t seem to let the concept go (especially since concept art was released). It’s unfortunate that we’ll never see that film (at least during the next five years), but then again, there are probably very good reasons it was cancelled: it probably wasn’t that good. And do you want a crappy movie in your Disney canon, especially when the studio is on the upswing? I didn’t think so. I don’t think Disney does either.

Final Thoughts

Remember, this list and information came not from Disney itself, but a Disney-related blog. While we don’t doubt the veracity of the information or believe that they are lying, we still have to take all this with a grain of salt. The majority of the films, plots and directors seem to match up well with previous stories and news that have been reported. But until an official Disney press release regarding the matter is released, it’s best to ere on the side of caution.

Apparently Disney is trying to push the envelope in its style and content, for some of its film. It seems to be striking a nice balance between more traditional (fairy tale-based) films and those that are more progressive. And the studio seems to be on track to releasing possible two animated films per year, allowing it to catch up to other big players in the industry like DreamWorks. Hopefully the animation and story quality will continue to be top notch, but no doubt it will be with John Lasseter at the helm.

For which new Disney Animation film are you most excited?

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