Disney’s Aladdin prequel and 5 other live-action ideas that don’t seem ridiculous any more

The genie of the lamp is the latest Disney character to be dragged out of the archives...


Over the last few years Disney have been ditching their paintbrushes and remaking their animated classics into live-action blockbusters.


We’ve had Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, seen Lily James don glass slippers as Cinderella and watched Angelina Jolie terrorise royalty as Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent. Emma Watson is currently taking singing lessons to play Beauty and the Beast’s Belle, while The Jungle Book, Dumbo, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh and Pinocchio are all in line for the live-action treatment, too. 

The most recent tale to be recast is Aladdin: the 1992 Disney classic is getting a live-action prequel titled Genies, which will focus on the man in the lamp and how he got there in the first place (presumably featuring some hefty CGI or a lot of actors dipped in blue paint).

You might think there’s nothing left for Disney to drag out of the archives. But if you ask us, there are still countless animated tales ripe for a live-action retelling… 

The Little Mermaid 

We are surprised a live-action take on this classic tale hasn’t already made it to cinemas. Rumours have swirled in the past that Fifty Shades of Grey scribe Kelly Marcel is working on a script that’ll bring Ariel’s underwater adventures to life, while Sofia Coppola reportedly walked away from a mermaid project at Universal earlier this year. But very little has been said or confirmed by the filmmakers.

It’s message might need a little rejig for a modern audience, but with true love, magic spells, shiny scales, handsome princes and underwater kingdoms – plus a catalogue of incredibly catchy tunes – The Little Mermaid is itching for another go at the cinema. And if an aquatic happy-ever-after doesn’t float Disney’s boat this time around, there are buckets (and spades) of potential for a dark Into The Woods-style twist on the redhead’s love story. Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale ends on a much darker note than Disney’s 1989 original… 

The Lion King

This might be a little tricky to pull off, but if Dumbo – Disney’s tale of a big-eared, self-conscious elephant whose journey of discovery begins in a bucket of champagne – can get the live-action treatment, we see no reason why Simba, Timone and Pumba can’t too. 

The hit 1994 animation spawned two direct-to-video films and two TV series plus that internationally successful stage musical. So there’s definitely an appetite for all things Pride Rock. It’s time for an epic remake featuring real animals and the impressive landscape of the African plains. Maybe add a human storyline too so those lions can have a bit of downtime in their trailer. Makes sense. It’s the circle of life. 

The Aristocats 

The Aristocrats are personal favourites of mine. It was the first film I ever saw at the cinema, which is probably why I think it’s an underrated classic. Just like 1996’s 101 Dalmations, which was one of Disney’s first live-action remakes, you’ve got spunky animals – sassy kittens, scatting cats and forthright horses – an evil villain, a kindly owner and some seriously close scrapes. It’s also got the added bonus of a little romance and those catchy tunes, courtesy of some jazzy felines. 

Trust us, the tale of an elderly French opera singer who decides to leave all her money to her cats is crying out for a remake. Because everybody really does want to be (read: watch) a cat. 


The Marmite of the Disney canon: either adored or detested (by those of us who never got over the fact there’s no dialogue). This 1940 classic is made up of eight animated sequences set to classical music. A live-action version would requite so much CGI that it would surely bankrupt Hollywood – or so we thought until we recently learned that it’s actually happening. Odder still, the duo behind Dracula Untold are making a whole film out of a 10-minute segment of Fantasia – the creepy bit in which a winged creature known as the Devil Chernabog revives spirits from the dead, known as Night on Bald Mountain. Let’s hope there are words this time round. 

Lady and the Tramp

A live-action remake of this sweet love story between an upper-class pooch and a stray would be a tricky one to pull because it involves barely any humans (and only their lower halves), and would run the risk of being a little bit Cats & Dogs. But there’s already source material to work with if Disney decides to pad down that route: they’ve already filmed the famous meatball scene with a couple of well-behaved hounds. What do you think? Cute, right?



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