Big Disney Updates: Muppets, Pirates, & Guillermo, Oh My!
by Ethan Anderton
September 11, 2009
More and more news just keeps flooding from the D23 Expo and thankfully they sent us press releases, so we don't have to physically be there to hear about a few big announcements. I'll be honest and say that I'm not absolutely enthralled with all three of the following announcements, but two out of three isn't bad. So first let's jump right into the one that I'm not entirely psyched about, but I'm sure that plenty of other people are. Johnny Depp was on hand as Captain Jack to tell everyone about the title of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment of the series to be released summer 2011.
Though plot details are scarce at this time, the crew at Cinematical might have an interesting lead on the story. It seems there exists a a novel by Tim Powers, that just happens to be about pirates, and just happens to be called On Stranger Tides. Even more interesting is that the online summary of the book mentions The Fountain of Youth as a plot device for the novel. You may remember that at the conclusion of the third Pirates installment, At World's End, there's reference to the mythical wonder of the world, and that has always been the assumed direction the next film in the series would make. Of course all we can do is speculate, but it's definitely something to ponder. All I know is that it's going to take one hell of a story for me to get psyched for another Pirates flick. The sequels definitely ran their course on my patience.
Another long-standing series of sorts got a big push today as The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made! was also unveiled through a song and dance number by a whole slew of Muppets on stage. The film is indeed being written by Jason Segel (as we first found out about over a year ago) and it seems like the idea for this flick comes from another that was in development by Jim Henson himself back in 1985. The idea had Gonzo directing a Hollywood movie and very quickly running out of money to make it, and it seems this same story will be at the heart of Segel's Muppet movie. Though some of the more recent Muppet fare has been lackluster (Muppets from Space anybody?) I love these fuzzy puppets, and with Jason Segel writing, I don't think this can go wrong.
Finally, another cool announcement came in the form of a new animation endeavor that has writer/director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) and Disney launching a new toon label called Double Dare You which will focus its energy on making darker, edgier animated films. Del Toro will produce all the films under the new banner and will also step up to direct a couple of them himself. Regarding the announcement Del Toro said, "As a director, I love to take audiences into fantastic new worlds and provide them with some anxious moments in the process. It is part of the Disney canon to create thrilling, unforgettable moments and villains in all their classic films." The first picture from Double Dare You will be Trollhunters based on an original story by del Toro, but more interestingly, he says that all the flicks will be tied together by "one feature that shall remain secret, but that you shall soon be very familiar with."
But who knows how soon these projects will get off the ground, because Del Toro is one of the busiest guys right now. He'll be spending the next 3 years getting his two-part adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit into theaters, as well as three remakes set up at Universal (Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kurt Vonnegut's sci-fi classic Slaughterhouse-Five). Today was definitely a big news day for Disney, and I'm sure there's plenty of more coming with all the Marvel tomfoolery that's still being tossed around. Stay tuned for more news from the D23 expo and these brand new projects. Which of these excite you the most?