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Sketchy Information

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.

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9 comments to Sketchy Information

  • elan

    You have bad information. Just sayin. 10% of this is accurate

  • That’s always a possibility, unfortunately. Which 10%?

    Anyone is free to email me at any time to correct me; as for now, I will just say that my sources for the story are people whom I actually know to know things, but also that things are always a little dodgy at WDAS.

    Again, though, corrections are always appreciated.

  • apperantly snow queen has not been cancelled as you claim, it has been put on hold as the Disney corporation want to give us a good story. and as far as king of the elves goes it has never fully been confirmed yet…. and john musker and ron clements are rumored to be working on their newest feature for disney named Amina the jungle cell

  • Another Voice

    I believe the technical term for the current state of the Walt Disney Studios is “floundering”.

    There are a thousand people there who can say “no”, but not one has the guts to say “yes”.

  • Well, “canceled” covers a wide spectrum of possibilities. It’s canceled in that it’s not currently in development to our knowledge; Don Hahn recently used the word “shelved” but the meaning is the same – they’re not working on it right now. Will it come back? Probably. Snow Queen has, after all, been in and out of development at least three times since 2000 (twice as 2-D and once as CG animation). There are projects that are CANCELLED that we’ll never see (“Wild Life”), and there are projects that are canceled but could re-emerge tomorrow (“Snow Queen”).

    I’m not sure about KotE being “fully confirmed” – its original development was announced publicly, then the directors were replaced and the film was taken off the release schedule. Some said it was canceled and others said it was in turnaround, and now it appears to be returning from that limbo. It’s true that Disney hasn’t announced it again, though

    As to Ron&John, I knew they had something ready to pitch or had pitched it already, but I hadn’t heard about that specific 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. (Source) […]

  • Ally

    Hello Michael!

    Thank you very much for all your articles… I follow your blog every day and when I’m not too busy I try to comment your articles because I love your work! thank you.

    I read that Jack and the Beanstalk has been shelved too… sigh!

    I want to ask you a thing: do you know something about Ron Clements & John Musker new movie? is it a animal movie? I hope to see another movie with human characters because I think Ron&John are great when they create animated movies with human characters… I read they are working on a movie totally new…
    Do you know something about Chris Buck new project (after Snow Queen and Jack and the beanstalk)? I read he is working on another classic story… but I don’t know more…

    Thank you by advance.



  • Ally,

    I’ve heard a few things about the next Clements-Musker film, but I’m trying to get some confirmation. If what I hear is true, it will have human characters and will be very different from previous efforts.

    I don’t know what Chris Buck is up to. I hadn’t heard that about Jack and the Beanstalk – I’ve been kind of out of the loop. I’ve taken a break from trying to figure out what Disney Animation is up to; I figure that since they don’t seem to know what they’re doing either I’d let them just run in circles for a while. It’s a waste of time to try and pin down what’s going on when it changes daily!

  • Ally

    Dear Michael,

    I read today your answer! You are a very nice person… I appreciate your professionality and you great … so, excuse me because in the other article I ask you again news about Chris Buck’s movie… excuse me, dear Michael!
    I read about Ron&John movie, I think it will be great and powerful and very original! Thank you for all your articles, I love too much your blog and your personality, you are great!


    your friend Ally.

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