Disney Golden Boy Lin-Manuel Miranda Wants to Make “Weird Little Musicals”

in Disney, Entertainment

lin-manuel miranda in mary poppins

Credit: Disney

If you want to know where Disney’s future is headed, one of the significant factors you need to look at is its composers – and right now, Disney’s favorite composer seems to be Lin-Manuel Miranda.

For decades, Disney has owed its success to the unexpected popularity of the movie musical. When Jeffery Katzenberg was waffling over whether too many kids would “wiggle” during “Part Of Your World” in The Little Mermaid in 1989, and Howard Ashman demanded the song be left in, nobody was ready for the boom the resulting musical would create.

Since then, whenever Disney has stuck with or returned to the musical model, they’ve found success: the Disney Renaissance was mainly powered by Broadway-made duo Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, and musicals like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin; Frozen brought the company back from an unsure future in 2013, with Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson Lopez at the helm.

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lin-manuel miranda in hamilton
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Now, Disney has found a new Broadway Golden Boy in Lin-Manuel Miranda. After his musical Hamilton became the hottest ticket in New York, they tried him out on the music for the 2016’s Moana, to great success – children everywhere loved the music, especially the signature rap breakdown in Dwayne Johnson’s popular song “You’re Welcome.”

Deciding they liked the outcome of this partnership, Disney enlisted Miranda’s help again, first in the remake of Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt, then on his own signature project: 2021’s smash-hit Encanto.

With Encantoand the new songs for the live-action Little Mermaid – under his belt, the world wonders what Lin-Manuel Miranda wants to do next. His answer?

“I want to direct funky little musicals that no one else would make as a movie.”

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Lin-Manuel Miranda opened up at the Tribeca Festival, saying, “My responsibility as a filmmaker — and I really hope to make more movies — is to make the weird little musicals that no one else can get made.”

Miranda highlighted Tick Tick…Boom! his recent project about the creation of Rent, starring Andrew Garfield, is about the right size for the type of production he’d like to do. He also mentioned that the Wicked movie was far too large a spectacle and something he “would never” undertake (though he’s looking forward to seeing how it turns out just as much as the rest of us.)

So what does this mean for his future at Disney?

Will Lin-Manuel Miranda Keep Making Disney Musicals?

dwayne johnson as maui in moana singing you're welcome by lin-manuel miranda
Credit: Disney

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Luckily, the future Lin-Manuel Miranda has imagined for himself does not rule out working on future Disney projects. While it’s clear that he wants to spread his wings and work on other projects, Disney is also likely to stay in the mix because they provide an experience that the composer needs: The spirit of collaboration.

“I’ll never write a memoir. I’ll never write a book. I’d feel alone a lot of the time. … Writing is tough because you have to be alone. You have to marinate and daydream and take long walks. But if you’re writing a musical, you get to bring it in to someone else.”

While we’re sure that Miranda will have plenty of filmmaking projects of his own in the future, we do not doubt our minds that the spirit of cooperation inherent in the animated musical-making process will keep him coming back to work with Disney again and again – especially after the death of Stephen Sondheim, which, Miranda said, left him feeling a renewed calling for his work.

The Madrigal family in Mirabel dream sequence in Encanto waiting for a miracle
Credit: Disney

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After the legendary composer died, Miranda said that he remembers hearing “this loud, clear directive either from God or Sondheim: ‘Get back to the piano. Get back to the writing.’

I want to just get as much that’s in me out of me as possible…Sondheim was in his 90s, and it still doesn’t feel like enough time.

Fans of Miranda’s musical Hamilton will no doubt find that line familiar. Miranda’s obvious desire to “write like he’s running out of time” will most likely lead to a flurry of projects from the composer that we have only just begun to see, and given his relationship with Disney, the question is not whether any of them are theirs, but “how many?”

What do you think Lin-Manuel Miranda’s next project could be? What do you hope it is? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments.

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