Walt Disney Animation Confirms Four Directors for New Projects

While the exact projects they are attached to have not yet been revealed, Walt Disney Animation Studios today announced four filmmakers who are working on new projects for them -- two newcomers to the company and two Disney veterans. Variety reports that the filmmakers include incoming directors Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting) and Suzi Yoonessi (Unlovable, Dear Lemon Lima), as well as Disney veterans Josie Trinidad and Marc Smith. Trinidad joined the company in 2004 and has worked on projects like Ralph Breaks the Internet, Tangled, Zootopia, and The Princess and the Frog.Smith joined Disney in 1993 and has worked on numerous projects including Trasure Planet, Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia. He served as the story director for Frozen 2.

Yoonessi directed the direct-to-video Scooby-Doo prequel Daphne and Velma for Warner Bros., which starred Sarah Jeffery, who would go on to appear on The CW's Charmed reboot. She also worked on several shorts for Funny Or Die. Estrada worked on the award-winning film Blindspotting with Daveed Diggs and recently took on an episode of the X-Men spinoff series Legion.

Like much of Disney, which has drawn criticism in recent years for not taking any chances on diverse talent while the studio was making record profts, Walt Disney Animation's chief creative officer Jennifer Lee is working "to increase the studio's commitment to diversity and inclusion." To that end, one of their next upcoming films is Raya and the Last Dragon, starring Awkwafina and written by Adele Lim.

"We aim to have Walt Disney Animation Studios serve as the premiere home for filmmakers interested in telling engaging stories within the limitless animation medium," Lee, who wrote and directed Frozen and its upcoming sequel, told Variety in a statement. "Carlos and Suzi are two incredible, inventive filmmakers who have both received acclaim for their work. Josie and Marc, master, lead story artists, have been instrumental in shaping such films as Zootopia and Frozen 2. We are so thrilled to have these four talented artists join our 96-year-old studio as directors and help us build the stories of our future — adventures in completely original worlds, stories from around the globe, and the next generation of musicals."

Frozen 2 is directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, produced by Peter Del Vecho, and features the songwriting of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The film stars Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), Josh Gad (Olaf), Santino Fontana (Hans), Evan Rachel Wood (Iduna), and Sterling K. Brown.

"Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom," reads Disney's official synopsis for Frozen 2. "Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen 2, she must hope they are enough."

What do you think of the new Frozen 2 poster? Are you looking forward to seeing the movie later this year? Let us know in the comments!

Frozen 2 is set to hit theaters on November 15th.