Since its founding and humble times of drawing the beloved mouse and his gang, Disney has grown exponentially, into a $52 billion company actually. Now we can go to theme parks all over the world and visit our celebrated characters or play video games where we fight alongside our favorite heroes and heroines. The beauty of the Disney corporation is that each of their characters and films makes us beg for more, which is why this year we will see some of our favorites come back to life in series recreations, continuations and even reboots of vintage classics.
Between cartoons and live action, feature films and Disney animated series, there are so many avenues for the Disney corporation to venture down in the next year. If our aim is to visit Disney parks then we can expect new and revamped rides to be coming next summer as well as additions to parades. But if we’re more of the movie going type there are so many amazing films coming out of Walt Disney Productions as well in 2017. Not to mention the couple of television stations that Disney owns are coming out with series based on favorite films and even the DuckTales animated series from the 1990s. We can’t wait for these various Disney products to enter our lives next year!
15. Frozen Holiday Special on ABC
Two directors, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton, have teamed up with Disney on some shorts in the past and will now direct the Christmas special that is said to focus more on our favorite snowman Olaf than the queen and princess. Those behind the Christmas special haven’t revealed too much, but we do know that Roy Conli producer of Tangled and Big Hero 6 will also be producing this. The music both for Frozen and Frozen Fever was written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez but there is no word yet as to whether or not they will be contributing to the Olaf holiday special set to air in 2017.
The special will be focused on the warm-hearted snowman Olaf but Sven, Ana, Kristoff, and Elsa are all confirmed to return as well. Kristen Bell recently stated that recording the special has been “A lot of fun” in lieu of recording Frozen 2. Like most holiday specials the Olaf Holiday Special will be about half an hour with commercial breaks.
14. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 Premieres May 5
The first Guardians was a huge success so it’s no surprise that the sequel is due out in 2017. All of the original cast have signed on to the Disney superhero flick and a few new stars will join in as well. Among the things to be excited about is the mystery of the shrinking Groot. The huge character that appears as a tree will have experienced some changes in the second movie. Volume 2 will pick up a couple of months after the first film and more deeply explore what the relationships can withhold between this makeshift family of Guardians.
While learning to exist with each other the gang will go on an adventure to the outer reaches of space looking for Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father. Kurt Russell actually came out at Comic Con with the secret that he will play Ego, Quill’s father. They came out with the news because they didn’t want emphasis of their journey through the film to be placed on the search for his father, as the movie is about different types of people getting along.
13. Cars 3 Premieres June 16
Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt and Cheech Marin are among the actors that will be recording for Cars 3. The latest in the Cars trilogy, this story will focus on veteran racer Lightning McQueen as he races in different tournaments around America with old friends Ramone, Sally and Mater. New friends Cruz Ramirez and foe Jackson Storm will be by McQueen’s side every step of the way but Disney has yet to announce who will be voicing these characters.
Cruz Ramirez is more than just a friend in the new film, he is a trainer that will help McQueen keep up with the fast-moving tech times of racing. As more and more of his peers ask when he will retire, McQueen begins to get edged out by up and comer Jackson Storm. This movie should be full of twists and plenty of turns and we can’t way until it hits theaters.
12. Big Hero 6 Series Premiere on Disney XD
Creators Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley the creators of vintage Disney Channel animated series Kim Possible will help us enjoy the series airing on Disney XD. Using traditional animation the creators are looking to pick up right where Big Hero 6 the movie left off. 14-year-old genius Hiro and his robot Baymax combine the powers of scientist Honey Lemon, fanboy Fred, utter weirdo Wasabi and Go Go who tells it like it is to make up the Big Hero 6 superhero team.
Hiro also joins the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and begins dealing with the usual troubles of the new kid at school. We will get to go along as Hiro deals with trials at school and protects San Fransokyo as technically advanced villains continue to assault the safety of the citizens. The show should be fun, exciting and just modern enough to keep every kid (and adult) interested.
11. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Closes at Disneyland
This is sort of a sad announcement but it is something to keep mind of, The Tower of Terror is an institution at the original Disney theme park. The last day that we can ride this classic is January 2, 2017, when it gets a revamped into Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: Breakout!. When the closure was announced Twitter went up in arms and petitions were started to save the ride, but on September 1, 2016, the park announced the final date of operation.
Thankfully Disney isn’t closing the ride down without some much-deserved hullabaloo. They have added new commemorative merchandise with special performances occurring outside of the attraction. The coolest thing that is happening up until closure is “Late Check-Out” from Sept 9 – October 31 where the ride will operate in complete darkness, the most terrifying that it’s ever been! Luckily if Tower of Terror is our most favorite ride the same attraction is still alive and well in Orlando at Disney World.
10. New Rides at Disneyland This Summer
When it comes to Disney, if one thing goes another one is born; and that is the case with the previous news about Tower of Terror. With the death of that ride a brand new one is born, Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: Breakout! opens in Disney California Adventure this Summer. The ride is supposed to put park goers right in the action with their favorite superheroes from space in the exciting new ride. This ride addition marks the beginning of what will probably be a growth of superhero characters and rides at Disney California Adventure.
Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad will both open up this summer as well. Rivers of America includes the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, “Fantasmic!” and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. We will get to see the amazing “Fantasmic!” night show featuring Mickey Mouse himself in New Orleans Square and ride Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes across the vast waterway. Lots of fun is coming to the Disneyland Parks this Summer.
9. Tangled: Before Ever After on Disney Channel
After the original Tangled came out there was a short entitled Tangled Ever After, and the Disney Channel original series is to take place between these two features. We will be right by her side as Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) navigates this brand new relationship with her parents and the new place that she’s living and will one day rule. Claire Keane, daughter of Disney legend Glen Keane, is drawing the cartoon and has decided on traditional 2D animation; the initial animation samples give the feel of the 2010 movie while still maintaining their own style for the television series.
Aside from Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi will also reprise his role as Flynn Rider from the original. Throughout the series there will be a common theme, Rapunzel will put off being Queen and the duties of royalty to explore and adventure now that she has freedom. This will bring up obvious struggles with her parents who never got to experience her childhood and are now raising an independent young woman.
8. Coco Premieres November 22, 2017
The newest Disney Pixar movie concept to be released will be Coco which is based on the Mexican holiday Dia De Lose Muertos. Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, will be directing the film which stars 12-year-old Miguel. In order to honor Mexican tradition, the team has taken many trips down to Mexico to get acquainted with the reality of the holiday. Unkrich was originally inspired by the combination of bright, happy colors and skulls but over time has been consumed by the facts of the holiday.
Coco will follow Miguel who gets involved in an epic adventure that leads to solving a centuries-old mystery. It seems that Disney will help to solve a mystery that has spanned generations with his passed family members. Despite some uprising from the Mexican and Mexican-American communities after Disney tried to trademark “Dia de los muertos,” the film is still a go.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales Premieres May 26
Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp will return for the fifth film of the Pirates series as Will Turner and Jack Sparrow. The film franchise has continued to deliver weaker and weaker box office results with the lowest low being the last film On Stranger Tides. Dead Men is meant to breathe life into the dying franchise and work as a sort of reboot for the films, although the movie will follow the continuity timeline of the previous film.
Jack Sparrow will spend Dead Men being pursued by his age-old rival Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) after his crew wreaks havoc on the ocean when they’re freed from the Devil’s Triangle. It seems that this film will close doors for some characters while opening them for others. The producer, writer and director all hope to bring new blood and magic to the franchise by bringing back the essence of what made the first films take off in 2003.
6. Disneynature Documentary Born in China Premieres April 21
Disneynature is an independent film unit of Walt Disney Productions based out of Paris, France and founded in 2008. Their films are budgeted between $5 and $10 million with the Walt Disney Studios’ distribution and marketing teams at their backs. Born in China is an ambitious project that follows three Chinese animals through the wilds of China. We will watch as the camera crews follow the snow leopard, panda and golden monkey.
Not only will we get to see into the daily lives of these glorious and elusive animals, we will be able to walk rarely seen terrain. Watch intimate moments of the animal kingdom from the heart of the bamboo forest to the highest peaks. If we go to the movie during the opening week, the company will donate to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect wild pandas and also create new ways to protect the elusive snow leopard.
5. Beauty and the Beast Live Action Movie Premieres March 2017
Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast brought us one of our favorite Disney princesses, and now the movie is literally being brought to life. With Emma Watson as Belle, fans were immediately excited about seeing an age old love story played out in real time. Another exciting casting for the film is Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, a duo that will play off of each other well.
The film is directed by Bill Condon and produced by Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman. Writers Stephen Chobsky and Evan Spiliotopoulos kept the film very close to the 1991 original animated version when it comes to the storyline, although Disney is barring Gaston (Luke Evans) from bearing a bare chest. The film will also feature all of the songs from the Broadway musical to make it a completely straightforward adaptation of the pop culture that already exists around the tale as old as time.
4. Marvel Duo Cloak and Dagger Hit Freeform
The adaptation of the Marvel comic Cloak and Dagger will be featured on Freeform, the network formerly ABC Family. Cloak and Dagger’s origin story has them meeting as foes and walking away fast friends to fight the war on drugs and terror of their newly found city. Tyrone “Ty” Johnson (Cloak) ran away when his stutter stopped him from saving his friend’s life, while Tandy (Dagger) is a rich girl from Ohio who ran away because her mother didn’t give her enough attention. The television show will focus less on the politics of our heroes and more on the romantic aspects of their relationships.
John Ziffren, of Switched at Birth fame, is the only person who has been confirmed as a part of the project. The duo has been seen in popular series Spiderman and X-Men but the story is definitely ready for its own series or movie. These 2 teenagers from completely different economic and racial backgrounds fall in love which awakens newly acquired superpowers, it is truly the perfect story for Freeform since the story is clearly catered to young adults and teens.
3. New DuckTales Series on Disney XD
Scrooge McDuck is back with his grand-nephews Huey, Dewey, Louie and even Donald Duck himself are coming back in the beloved series DuckTales (1987-1990). The original show was inspired by Disney legend Carl Barks’ comic books and this endeavor is no different. It is possible that the Emmy award winning series was so popular because the sly sense of humor and dedicated animation appealed to both children and adults.
Other characters that will be featured in the reboot are Gyro Gearloose, Duckworth, Launchpad McQuack, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell & Poe, the Beagle Boys & Ma Beagle along with Mrs. Beakley and Webbigail Vanderquack. It seems that this is a straightforward remake which makes all of us DuckTales fans super happy. We can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Scrooge McDuck’s grand nephews will get into and let’s be real, we all can’t wait to see him dive into his piles of gold coins once again.
2. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue Release
A video game that incorporates all of our favorite Disney villains and heroes? Yes, please! This exact thought is probably why Kingdom Hearts is one of the most popular video games in the world. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 is the prologue to Kingdom Hearts 3, the two games are actually being developed alongside each other. With this 9th and 10th game involved in the story, the original Kingdom Hearts is now pictured as a future from this series.
The HD Collection is being made to be compatible with Playstation 4 and contains an HD port of Dream Drop Distance since the original was developed for the Nintendo DS across 2 screens. Dream Drop Distance also went through a massive configuration in this process which will make it worth playing even for the gamer that’s beaten it. Join Sora and Riku will take on the Mark of Mastery and prepare for coming threats in this epic adventure video game when it comes out in January 2017.
1. Star Wars Episode VIII Premieres December 16
Every single actor from the box office smash Star Wars Episode VII has signed on for the sequel. As always with Disney films very little has been revealed about what will surely be an instant classic but we do know a couple of things that make us extra excited. As we pick up in the movie right where we left off we get to watch Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) lead Rey (Daisy Ridley) on a journey to finding the Force and speculatively face off once again with Skywalker’s own nephew Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
A large change from the first film is that J.J. Abrams stepped down from his director position but stayed on as a producer. Episode VIII is both written and directed by Rian Johnson who also directed quirky comedy The Brothers Bloom, thriller Looper and even a couple of award winning episodes of Breaking Bad. Even amidst these changes, fans of the series are just as excited as they were for Episode VII, and so are we.