It’s been a while since things went rather quiet at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the wake of several canceled projects, awkward renamings, and general confusion and lack of direction. All that remained on the studio’s animated slate were this year’s Tangled, next year’s Winnie-the-Pooh, and Reboot Ralph – the computer animated film that has mutated from ex-Disney artist Sam Levine’s Joe Jump. It left the animation community wondering… what’s next?
Word has started to emerge that the gears are turning at Disney once more. King of the Elves, a fantasy based on a story by Philip K. Dick, was originally scheduled for a 2012 release before development was scrapped. Happily, allegations have recently emerged that work has resumed on this project. Even better is the recurring rumor that the film has been retooled as a traditionally animated feature, giving Disney’s artists something meaty to work on after Pooh.
Animation fans were further intrigued recently when word emerged, most notably on the Animation Guild blog, that a new project had been greenlighted for development. Note that this is only a go for development, not production, and that innumerable projects have traveled that road without making it to theaters. But if this is a project new to development, and not a revived concept like Elves or the still-dormant Snow Queen, what could it be?
Would you believe… Jack and the Beanstalk? That’s what I’m hearing, at least. As part of Disney marketing’s panicked flight from all things female in the wake of Princess and the Frog‘s underperformance, the next animated film to go into development at Disney is a “boy” film.
Haven’t we seen that before? Some dude with mouse ears? In Fun and Fancy Free? Ah, well.
You should consider this information ultra-dicey at the moment, but some rumors are too good not to share. And remember – while I definitely trust my source, things change on the ground all the time. Is that CYA? You bet, but it’s also true.
Have you heard anything about Jack and the Beanstalk? If so, shoot me an email…
UPDATE: This is apparently director Chris Buck’s new project, following the cancellation of Snow Queen. Again, please remember that being greenlighted for development is not the same as getting the go-ahead for production.
UPDATE THE SECOND: Sources report that Chris Williams (Bolt) is now in the director’s seat for the revived King of the Elves. Also, I have some doubt as to the earlier rumors that it would be traditionally animated; it’s looking more likely that it will be another CG production. This leaves only Winnie the Pooh on the hand-drawn slate, although Ron Clements and John Musker are said to have a few new proposals in the pipeline.