Walt Disney Animation Studios released its 60th animated feature film last month with Encanto, but it did so without the slightest hint of what the 61st animated film would actually be. We know another animated Disney movie is set to open next Thanksgiving, and now we finally know a little something about it. It’s another original story, called Strange World, and it’s probably not a musical.
Strange World is being directed by Don Hall who helmed Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon and it’s inspired by the pulp adventure novels from the first half of the 20th century. The story will focus on the Clades family. They’re a family of adventurers who are on a mission to strange and uncharted places, but the differences between the members of the family “threaten to topple their latest—and by far— most crucial mission.” The concept art above is our first look at what the film will deliver visually. The film is co-directed and written by Raya and the Last Dragon’s Qui Nguyen.
The image shows two characters, one adult and one teen or child, overlooking an amazing landscape. It’s full of strange creatures that only vaguely resemble animals we’ve seen before. Some look like they could be dinosaurs, but they have strange growths on their backs. Some of the flying creatures have something similar attached to them. The landmasses seem to defy gravity. This could be a Journey to the Center of the Earth sort of story, or this could be some strange unexplored jungle. Whatever it is, it’s a place no humans have ever seen.
Don Hall has given us some of Disney’s most action oriented movies with Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon, and it sounds like Strange World is going to very much follow in that vein. The pulp novels of the early 20th century gave us great action heroes like Doc Savage and The Shadow that are still with us today. The latter of these got his own movie in 1994, which is better than its given credit for, and the former has been rumored for a film adaptation for years that has never materialized.
These stories were always larger than life with heroes that could do anything and usually had zero flaws. That’s one part that will likely change in this new Disney story. The characters will clearly have flaws that will likely be the major obstacle to overcome.
Animation and pulp adventure stories will likely fit together perfectly. Both forms of storytelling are essentially limitless, there’s nothing that can be conceived of that can’t be created, no matter how fantastical.
While Walt Disney Animation Studios has always been synonymous with musicals, movies like Raya and the Last Dragon have shown just how far the studio has come in creating more action-focused stories and Strange World sounds like it could be the next chapter in that progress. Disney is clearly holding back any look at the actual film, so we won’t know what we’re really getting until sometime next year. But Strange World is less than a year away, set to release November 23, 2022.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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