Those of you who have been bemoaning the lack of original live-action content from Disney Studios theatrical arm, put your worries on pause because Disney has plans for a new live-action project that could be incredible.
Deadline was the first to break the news that Disney is in the process of developing Knights, a live-action adventure movie set in the Middle Ages. It’s planned to be a twist on the typical knight’s adventure tale, with the story focusing on a willful young woman who joins a knight on a quest to find a mysterious and powerful artifact before it falls into the wrong hands. World-destroying McGuffins, you know how it goes. Matt Orton (Operation Finale) is working on the script. Longtime Disney Production VP Jessica Virtue and Chaz Salembier will be producing.
Disney apparently has plans to hit us with a wave of medieval period-set content in the next few years; Knights is just the tip of the iceberg. They also have plans to adapt The Merlin Saga, based on the book series by T.A. Barron, with Ridley Scott attached to direct. That’s potentially set to start filming this fall, but there have been no new developments in the last few months and it’s entirely likely the Disney-Fox merger switched around the timeline. It will be Scott’s first dip back into the medieval epic genre in almost a decade and a half; his last one was 2005’s Kingdom of Heaven.
It was also announced earlier this year that Disney has plans for a live-action Sword in the Stone remake directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) with a script by Game of Thrones‘ Bryan Cogman.
Regardless of how you feel about medieval epics, the announcement of Knights is only a positive. Disney’s acquired brands of Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars are rock-solid in their original IP content. But Disney Studios itself has struggled with its own live-action output, relying heavily on live-action remakes of its animated classics that have made billions of dollars but have been argued as being creatively bankrupt. On top of that, right now, Disney+ seems to be Disney’s focus – which is understandable, as it is a major part of the entertainment giant’s future plans. It’s reassuring to know Disney is still committed to making original live-action content rather than relying solely on existing IP. Family-friendly original live-action movies have been hit-or-miss in recent years – one need look no further than the delightful but critically underseen The Kid Who Would Be King bombing earlier this year. But if any studio has the clout and the marketing arm to get families to turn out for something wholly original, it’s Disney. It can only be a good thing that Disney is making movies based on original scripts.