The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the biggest juggernaut in entertainment today, creating a shared cinematic universe that's more ambitious, and ultimately successful, than any other model in the industry. Since Disney acquired both Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, the MCU and Star Wars universes have only grown in scope and ambition - and fans have wondered how long it might take for Disney to do the same with its extensive lineup of animated films and characters.
Well, THR had a chance to speak with Disney's production chief, Sean Bailey, who addressed the question of how Disney films keep up with big shared universe frnachise like Marvel or Star Wars. According to Bailey:
"Just as Marvel has Iron Man and Thor and Captain America, maybe Belle and Cinderella and Mowgli and Simba are our superheroes. But we're not going to interconnect them in a universe anytime soon, I promise. Simba isn't in Jungle Cruise. (Laughs.)"
At the moment, Disney's big plan for its library of animated titles is remaking them as modern, live-action features. The live-action remakes of The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Maleficent, and Beauty and the Beast have all been big hits for the studio, with Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan all set to be even bigger smash hits in the next few years. Given the success of that trend, there's really no reason to mash Disney properties into one shared space - especially when Disney animated films like Ralph Breaks the Internet are bringing multiple Disney franchises together for fun cameos and such.
Of course, trends can only last so long. Once Disney blows through it's library of live-action remakes, it wouldn't be too crazy or out of the question for the studio to combine it's live-action franchises together in some kind of shared universe or crossover movie. After all, Disney always has the option of not only combining its live-action properties into one shared universe, but also tapping into the appeal of the gaming crowd, through something like a Kingdom Hearts movie. That video game franchise is built on the idea of Disney, Pixar, and Final Fantasy characters into a fantasy action/adventure tale. Disney could definitely approach a project like that from any number of directions, from combining live-action casts to stealing a page out of Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, by combining 3D CGI and hand-drawn animation to adapt the Kingdom Hearts video game/anime aesthetic for the screen.
Would you actually be down for a Disney shared universe? How would you like to see it done? Let us know in the comments!
The next big Disney live-action movies are Aladdin on May 24th and The Lion King on July 19th.