7 Disney Films We Can’t Wait to See in 2023
We’re now into the second week of 2023, which means that most New Year’s Resolutions (including those set by our Disney character friends last week) have likely been long since abandoned. Don’t feel too guilty. Instead, distract yourself with this list of a few of Disney’s most anticipated film projects releasing this year.
As a quick disclaimer, due to space constraints, we couldn’t talk about EVERY Disney film coming out this year. Some, like Wish, Peter Pan & Wendy, and The Marvels, are sure to be fantastic. That said, here are the seven we’re most excited about at the moment.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Paul Rudd is the hero that the world needs, even if we do not deserve him. That’s why it is incredibly good news that he will return to the MCU this year as Ant-Man in the movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
The movie, the first film in Marvel’s phase five, will hit the theaters on February 17. It will feature Ant-Man and the Wasp (Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly respectively) exploring the Quantum Realm and taking on Kang the Conqueror (depicted by Jonathan Majors).
For fans not familiar with Kang, he made his first comic book appearance Fantastic Four #19 (published in 1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, though at the time he was known as Rama-Tut and somehow linked to Doctor Victor von Doom. He would not adopt the name Kang until Avengers #8, which was released in September 1964.
Maybe it’s time for a Honey, I Shrunk the Audience type attraction that takes us to the Quantum Realm (and yes, I am aware of the reason Marvel is not in Walt Disney World, but a guy can dream).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
It’s almost unfair that we have to wait until May 5 for the latest installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy series. The last feature-length installment was all the way back in 2017, and that’s simply too long to go without Groot, Rocket, and the rest of the gang (not to mention its always awesome soundtracks).
Based on all indications, this will be director James Gunn’s last Guardians film, and should the franchise extend further it will likely be with a radically different cast with actor Dave Bautista (Drax) indicating that he is ready to move on from the role.
But let’s not dwell too much on goodbyes. I’m just ready to party one more time with Starlord and company as they dive once more into the trenches.
The Little Mermaid
Re-envisioning a classic is always a fraught prospect, especially when it’s a film as beloved as Disney’s The Little Mermaid. But the truth is that classic stories, such as folktales and fairytales, have been re-told, re-imagined, and changed for every generation that shares them. It’s what keeps them alive and vibrant.
The cast of the upcoming live-action remake, which is scheduled to be released May 26, is sure to amaze. With Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, and Daveed Diggs, the cast is bursting with talent. Add that to the fact that the film has co-produced by Lin-Manual Miranda, who also provided lyrics for new songs, and it’s safe to say that the film’s legacy is in good hands.
The next Disney/Pixar film to hit the big screen will be Elemental, greeting the world on 16. Pixar has described the story as follows:
“In a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common.”
In addition, director Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur) has indicated that the film draws heavily from his own experience as the child of immigrants growing up in New York City, in addition to drawing inspiration from his marriage.
At the Disney Content Showcase in Singapore, he stated, “I married someone that wasn’t Korean, and there was a lot of culture clash with that in my world. And that brought to me to this idea of finding opposites. And the question of what if fire fell in love with water came. As an animator, what could be a fun world to play with… so the fire and water is one thing. But then tying that to culture clash, was part of that metaphor. And then in that world, all of a sudden this idea of sacrifice, and understanding what our parents had given started to make the soup of what this film is.”
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Look. There’s not much more that needs to be said here: New. Indiana Jones. Movie. If that doesn’t make you jump out of your seat with excitement, I don’t know what will.
Harrison Ford returns as Indy and Phoebe Waller-Bridge will play his granddaughter. Mads Mikkelsen will play a Nazi (because even though the film is set in 1969, it is still an Indiana Jones movie, which means Nazis are de rigueur). Long-time fans will be thrilled to know that John-Rhys Davies will also reprise his role as Sallah. Antonio Banderas will also feature in the film.
The film’s release date is set for June 30.
Disney has released a Haunted Mansion movie before (the 2003 Eddie Murphy comedy), but that iteration bears no relation to the film coming in August of this year.
The road to the movie’s release has been something of a journey, with Guillermo del Toro as writer and producer. Ryan Gosling was also in negotiations to star. Disney later decided that del Toro’s script and concept for the film were a bit too scary, and Katie Dippold was brought in to write something new.
The film will star Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny Devito, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jared Leto, among others, and will tell the story of a single mother who moves into a haunted house in New Orleans and needs help getting it exorcised.
Utkarsh Ambudkar, star of the CBS comedy “Ghosts,” is the star of World’s Best, a film that he conceived and also helped write. Directed by Roshan Sethi, and also starring 15-year-old Manny Magnus, the film will follow the story of Prem, a young math genius. After learning that his late father was a rap star, he decides to become the world’s greatest MC.
The film will be released on Disney+ this summer.
Speaking to Deadline, Utkarsh stated, “Collaborating with Disney on a feature about a nuclear South Asian family with music at its heart means a lot to me personally. I can’t wait to bring World’s Best to life with friends and colleagues I’ve known a long time, as well as people whose work is relatively new to me. After seeing his first feature, I knew Roshan Sethi could capture the intricacies, humor and energy of World’s Best. Manny Magnus is a special find. He’s been dancing and performing his own music since he was 6 years old. And I know firsthand that Punam Patel will bring laughs and warmth to the role of Priya, the matriarch. I hope World’s Best will be super fun, both to make and watch.”