The Walt Disney Company has now remade nearly a dozen animated classics as feature-length, live-action films—and that’s not counting spinoffs (Maleficent), semi-sequels (102 Dalmations), or completed films yet to reach theaters (Mulan). Unsurprisingly, Disney isn’t stopping there, and its next expected remake will be part of another new trend for the company: a straight-to-Disney+ launch plan.
The Hollywood Reporter had Friday’s scoop: Disney has begun pre-production on a live-action, CGI-filled remake of 1973’s Robin Hood. Since the film’s planning was reportedly finalized before a wave of set shutdowns across Hollywood, major details such as casting decisions and timeline estimates are not yet available. So far, only a director (Blindspotting‘s Carlos Lopez Estrada) and a writer (Kari Granlund, from last year’s Lady and the Tramp remake) are attached.
THR believes this remake will play out as a musical, much like the first Disney version, and will star “anthropomorphic” animals “in a live-action/CGI hybrid format.” It has not confirmed whether fans should expect the same casting of animal species to key roles, including Robin Hood and Maid Marian as foxes, Friar Tuck as a badger, and Little John as a shameless repeat of the popular Baloo from 1967’s Jungle Book. (THR also didn’t have any comment on whether to expect these remade CGI animals to wear tights or otherwise become enduring sex symbols for a generation.)
The new film’s mix of live-action and CGI footage won’t be the first of its kind for a Disney remake launching on Disney+; that honor goes to 2019’s Lady and the Tramp remake. However, that remake leaned on its source material’s inclusion of human characters to balance out its issues with the uncanny valley. Should Robin Hood try to do the same, it will require some heavy lifting in the rewrite department. Otherwise, a fully CGI cast will put this straight-to-streaming film’s effects pipeline through serious scrutiny, especially if it doesn’t receive the same holy-cow effects budget that was given to 2019’s gorgeous-but-uneven Lion King remake.
But the 2016 Jungle Book CGI remake is an example of how a live-action Robin Hood could very well succeed—especially if it nails its casting for key, humorous characters. Christopher Walken and Bill Murray did well to recapture their source cartoon’s levity, and Robin Hood‘s enduring popularity—especially during the VHS era, which put the film into countless families’ VCRs—would be paid forward handsomely by a cast that understands the fun of song-and-dance sequences like “Oo De Lally.”