A trio of anticipated live-action Disney films took center stage at D23, with looks at the new The Lion King prequel, White as snow and The little Mermaid.
Filmmaker Barry Jenkins has teased a preview (and revealed the title) of his upcoming The Lion King take with Mufasa: The Lion King bowing out in 2024. Jenkins also revealed that it follows the rise of Mufasa and features young versions of the characters Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen will return as Timon and Pumbaa respectively.
“Mufasa was actually a little orphan who had to navigate the world on his own, and in telling this story we discover the real journey of how Mufasa found his place in the circle of life,” Jenkins said of the character, who becomes Simba’s father.
The film follows Jon Favreau’s acclaimed 2019 remake, which grossed $1.66 billion worldwide.
Following a look at Mufasa, White as snow took the stage, with Rachel Zegler (Snow White) and Gal Gadot (The Evil Queen) appearing together.
Zegler got emotional, taking the stage after the brief sequence, which showed her with Gadot in character.
“Snow White is the girl you remember, but she’s definitely made for the modern age. There’s so much emphasis on what it means to be the fairest of them all,” Zegler said. “For Snow White, it’s about finding her voice and finding her agency so she can be a fair and just ruler.”
Gadot, meanwhile, loved going from Wonder Woman to being the villain. The actor said, “The fact that I could go peekaboo and go crazy and dance, it was delightful.”
Zegler plays in White as snowwhich is led by The Amazing Spider-Man filmmaker Marc Webb with Tony winner Andrew Burnap also on the call sheet. the original movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsdebuted in 1937 and in recent years there have been other live-action takes on the Brothers Grimm tale, including Lilly Collins’ Mirror Mirror and Kristen Stewart Snow White and the Hunterboth released in 2012. The new White as snow will feature new songs from The greatest showman and Dear Evan Hansenby Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
The audience then got a glimpse of The little Mermaidwith a full preview of “Part of Your World” for the crowd, and a trailer that was released online afterwards.
“That sequence was the greatest experience of my life, really,” Bailey said of filming “Part of Your World.”
Director Rob Marshall said the new version would feature four new songs and that he had a particular fondness for the 1989 original. “When it opened in 1989 … the musicals were gone,” Marshall said. “Even though it was animated, you could hear people singing again in the cinema.”
The little Mermaid stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, with a cast that also includes Javier Bardem, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay and Melissa McCarthy. The film is slated for a May 26, 2023 release date.
Bailey, best known as one half of R&B duo Chloe x Halle, joined the project in July 2019 as the latest live-action remake star. West Side Story escape Rachel Zegler has White as snow coming from Disney as well.
Disney released the original The little Mermaid in 1989, the film winning Original Song and Score Oscars for Alan Menken. Menken returns to update his score and write a new song with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Disney shared logos for its films on Friday.