D23 Expo teases live-action remakes of ‘Little Mermaid’ and ‘Snow White’

Animation might have been at the heart of Friday’s D23 Expo, but fans also got an early glimpse of many exciting live-action projects.

When Walt Disney Studios President Sean Bailey took the stage at D23 Expo to preview the studio’s upcoming live-action films, he made it very clear that the remakes are going nowhere.

Heavily focused on live-action and CGI remakes of Disney’s most popular animated films, his presentation delighted nostalgic fans with early glimpses of films like Snow White, Peter Pan and Wendy and The Little Mermaid. The enthusiastic reception of the star-studded event was a reminder that Disney’s pairing of classic material with A-list talent remains a very profitable formula. Read on for a recap of all the live-action projects previewed during day one of the fan event (for those interested in our animation coverage, click here).

“Hocus Pocus 2”

Bailey kicked off the event by giving fans a look at some highly anticipated direct-to-stream sequels, starting with Hocus Pocus 2. The film continues 29 years after the end of the “occult classic” and reunites Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy for more Hyjinx from Salem with the Sanderson Sisters. The three actresses appeared in a pre-recorded video expressing their excitement at reprising their iconic roles, before delighting fans with a new trailer for the Halloween-themed sequel, streaming September 30 on Disney+ becomes.


It’s been 15 years since Enchanted first hit theaters, but if the thunderous applause the cast received is any indication, enthusiasm for the musical has only grown. A new sequel, Disenchanted, is coming to Disney+ this Thanksgiving, and the cast came out in full force. Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel, Gabriella Baldacchino, Jayma Mays, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Maya Rudolph (who joins the franchise as the sequel’s villain) were all on hand to promote the film, with Rudolph joking about how difficult that was being mean to amy adams. A new trailer showing Gisele and Prince Edward adjusting to life in the suburbs promises another charming musical that blends fairy tale magic with the mundanities of modern life.

“Peter Pan and Wendy”

Following the success of Pete’s Dragon, The Green Knight director David Lowery returns to Disney to adapt another popular animated film. Alexander Molony and Ever Anderson, who play the titular couple, appeared alongside Jude Law, who plays Captain Hook. The film is set to explore the backstory that led to Peter Pan and Captain Hook becoming sworn enemies, with Law joking that the film will explain to audiences why the villainous pirate is actually “the good guy.” Peter Pan & Wendy is slated to premiere on Disney+ in 2023, though no release date has been announced.

“Haunted Mansion”

The most original live-action project discussed on Friday was Haunted Mansion, Justin Simien’s new horror comedy based on the iconic theme park ride. Set in New Orleans, the film features a star cast that includes Danny DeVito, Winona Ryder, Jared Leto, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Dan Levy and Jamie Lee Curtis to name a few. Simien enchanted the crowd with stories from his days at Disneyland as a teenager before showing an exclusive trailer that has not been released to the public. Footage shows that the mansion of the same name was never built, but just showed up fully developed one day, and strange things have been happening there ever since. Characters investigating the mansion eventually find a hidden seance room (after Wilson accidentally breaks a sconce he mistook for a lever), and fans got a glimpse of the paranormal beings haunting the mansion (including Leto’s hatbox -Spirit). Simien ended his presentation by announcing that “the queen of scary movies” had joined the cast before welcoming Jamie Lee Curtis onto the stage in a Doom Buggy from the Haunted Mansion ride. The two rode off the stage together, saying they needed to get back to work on the film.

“Mufasa: The Lion King”

Barry Jenkins’ sequel to Jon Favreau’s The Lion King has been one of the more mysterious projects on Disney’s slate for a while, but Jenkins has emerged to bring some new details to D23 Expo audiences. As it turns out, his film is actually a prequel, telling the story of Mufasa’s rise to power and appropriately titled Mufasa: The Lion King. Jenkins spoke about his passion for the original film and his desire to tell the “origin story of one of the greatest kings in the history of Pridelands” while also sending a message about the power of friendship. He then showed some brief footage showing Aaron Pierre and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as young versions of Mufasa and Scar, in the same style of CGI animation Favreau used in his remake.

“Snow White”

In 2024, Disney fans will finally get to see a live-action remake of the first full-length animated film ever made. That’s some serious pressure, so Disney and director Marc Webb have enlisted some serious star power in the form of Rachel Zegler, who plays Snow White, and Gal Gadot, who plays the Evil Queen. Though no footage was shown, Gadot and Zegler took the stage to talk about the “surreal” experience of bringing the iconic film back to life, with Zegler promising that her character “is still the girl you think of.” remembered, but it is made for the modern age. She added that the film will explore what it really means to be “the fairest of them all” as Snow White tries her best to become a just ruler.

“The little mermaid”

The presentation ended with a section on one of Disney’s most anticipated remakes, Rob Marshall’s upcoming reimagining of The Little Mermaid. The live-action remake is an A-list affair starring Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy, Awkwafina and Daveed Diggs, and starring Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel. Marshall announced that the film will feature four new songs co-written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda, in addition to the classical music from the original film. And as if that wasn’t enough, they wowed the crowd by revealing the full clip of Ariel singing “Part of Your World” from the new movie. The footage is essentially a shot-for-shot remake of the same scene in the original film (albeit beautifully rendered), but Bailey demonstrated the undeniable singing talent that earned her the coveted role in the first place.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/09/d23-live-action-movies-little-mermaid-snow-white-1234760732/ D23 Expo teases live-action remakes of ‘Little Mermaid’ and ‘Snow White’

Lindsay Lowe

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