Disney has so many remakes planned that a few of them have become lost in the shuffle. However, one of the remakes we haven't heard from in a while is back in the news, indicating a strong move forward. It's been years since it was announced that Disney's Sword in the Stone would receive a live-action remake, but now the project may be very close to locking in a director, specifically Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, director of the zombie thriller 28 Weeks Later.
Disney's original Sword in the Stone was released in 1963 and followed Arthur as a boy who becomes a pupil to Merlin and is taken on unusual adventures thanks to Merlin's magic. It was July of 2015 when it was first announced that Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman was working on a script, but we've heard essentially nothing since then, leading us to wonder whether or not this project was still an active concern. We now know that it is, as The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is close to signing a deal to direct the movie based on Cogman's script.
Between the screenwriter's Game of Thrones pedigree and the director's tendency to work on horror or other darkly dramatic material, one gets the impression that the live-action Sword in the Stone will be very different from its animated predecessor. The original film was more a loose collection of shorts than it was a cohesive story, as Merlin would transform himself and Arthur into different animals, and they'd go a brief adventure as a fish or squirrel, before changing back. The titular sword in the stone was a near afterthought, being introduced at the beginning of the story, showing up again at the end, and being completely ignored in between. This sounds like the plan is to make the live-action Sword in the Stone a bit more of a traditional sword and sorcery sort of movie.
Disney's current live-action remake slate consists of the Winnie the Pooh movie with Ewan McGregor, Christopher Robin, set for later this year, with Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King all set for 2019. After that, however, things get murky. Mulan was originally set to be released later this year but the film has been pushed back to an unspecified date. Numerous other live-action adaptations have been announced but have been keeping silent in much the same way Sword in the Stone was previously.
Following the massive success of Beauty and the Beast as well as the other adaptations that came before it, Disney is clearly going to want to keep this franchise going. Finding a director could mean that Sword in the Stone is about to get more active. It, along with possibly Maleficient 2, could be the films keeping this train rolling into 2020 and beyond.