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Over the past several years, Disney has focused a lot of energy on reimaginings and adaptations of its beloved films. Now, it looks like we’re in for yet another fairytale remake, albeit possibly with a bit of a twist. A decade after the release of Tangled, the studio appears to be hard at work on a live-action version of Rapunzel.
It’s not clear whether this new adaptation, revealed by The DisInsider, will follow in the footsteps of Disney’s original version of the long-haired princess’ story, or take a new approach. Though it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for the studio to leverage Tangled’s popularity. Released in 2010, the animated film -- starring the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, and Donna Murphy -- was a huge hit, grossing $593 million worldwide. The film’s sustained popularity was enough to spawn a short film, a television film, and an animated series for the Disney Channel.
Tangled also diverged heavily from the Brothers Grimm’s original Rapunzel story, which sees the young girl trapped in her tower until a prince climbs her hair and tries to rescue her. The 2010 film gives Rapunzel a lot more agency, casting her as the long lost princess of Corona, and letting her spend the majority of the film outside of her tower. (To be fair, that’s a lot more empowering and relevant to a 21st century audience.)
There are few details about how Disney will approach its latest Rapunzel adaptation. The studio is reportedly looking for a director to helm the film, which appears to be set for a wide release as opposed to a direct-to-Disney+ streaming release. If it moves forward, it will mark the latest in a slew of live action adaptations, both for the big screen and for Disney+.
The studio has seen some incredible success with films like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin managing to cash in on both the nostalgia factor and a whole new generation of eager eyes. It’s also found an audience for films that diverge from the source material, like Maleficent. But Disney’s also seen that the live action approach isn’t foolproof, with Dumbo underperforming.
The big question is whether or not audiences will still be on board the Disney remake train by the time this rumored Rapunzel adaptation hits theaters. In the next few years, there will be a ton of live action remakes for us to feast our eyes on. The already divisive Mulan is soon to hit theaters, but the studio is also developing new versions of The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Sword in the Stone, Lilo & Stitch, and Bambi, just to name a few. While there are some rumblings from fans that enough is enough, it seems there are other fans who still can’t get enough. And they may be excited for yet another live action princess to root for.