Back before Moana had even been released, Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed that he was already working on another potential project with Zootopia director Byron Howard. A few bits and pieces of rumors came out over the last couple years, but last week we received a lot of new information about the alleged new project, and now Lin-Manuel Miranda himself has confirmed most of it.
Speaking on Good Morning America, mostly about the pending Disney+ release of Hamilton, the writer, actor and singer confirmed that he is fact working with "the Zootopia guys", and Jared Bush, who wrote the screenplay for Zootopia and Moana, on a new animated Disney musical. Beyond that, the only thing he confirmed was that the movie will take place in Colombia, rather than Brazil, which is what the initial report had indicated.
The movie taking place in Colombia rather than Brazil makes a bit more sense, as all indications were that the main character of the film would be Latina, and so a story set in the one nation of South America where people speak primarily Portuguese rather than Spanish didn't quite fit.
According to the previous report, the film is currently going by the title Encanto and will focus on a family of magic users, though the film's main character, a young girl, is for some reason without magic.
The setting is interesting for other reasons as well. Animated Disney musicals are, whether they're based on fairy tales or not, usually set in fictional places. While the inclusion of magic certainly means that the story will still be full of fantasy the fact that it will be set in an otherwise real place will set the movie apart from most Disney films that have come before it.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has been spending a lot of his time working with the House of Mouse in recent years. In addition to making the deal to give Disney distribution right to Hamilton and writing the music for Moana, he also had a key role in Mary Poppins Returns. And in addition to writing the music for this new animated film, he's also involved musically in the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
Moana was one of the best Disney animated musicals ever, and an absolutely phenomenal soundtrack is part of the reason for that. Whatever Lin-Manuel Miranda is working on for this new project is likely to be just as special.
Now, the only question is just how long are we all going to need to wait to get a look at this new project? Walt Disney Animation Studios has a pair of Untitled projects slated for the Thanksgiving Weekend in both 2021 and 2022, and if this project has already been in the works for a couple of years, either of those dates could work. Some rumors have indicated Encanto will be Disney Animation's holiday 2021 offering, but that, like most of the rest of the details, is still without any confirmation.
Walt Disney Animation's next project Raya and the Last Dragon, is now set for release March 12, 2021.