Nothing But Sequels: Disney Faces Major Setback

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Elsa is being replaced by Zootopia

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

This week, the Walt Disney Company had its annual shareholders meeting. Shortly after, a full release calendar for the studio appeared on social media (Shared by Scott Gustin below). While there are certainly some exciting titles coming our way, there is also a significant absence.

Walt Disney Studios has several marvelous and highly anticipated films coming out this year, including Inside Out 2 (2024), Moana 2 (2024), and Mufasa: The Lion King (2024). However, most 2024 releases under the Disney name have one thing in common: They’re sequels. Even looking forward to 2025, the only original animated feature from Disney is Zootopia 2, and Disney Animation isn’t even seen again until the following year.

Related: ‘Once Upon a Studio’ Reunites Original Disney Cast Members

Although it’s undoubtedly a smart financial strategy to invest more in successful properties that have a massive fanbase and will generate even more potential revenue than they do now, men cannot live on sequels alone. Unless something on the calendar changes with the untitled projects, we will not see an original project from Disney Animation until 2026.

Is Disney Animation Doomed?

Mickey Mouse scared, screenshot from the Mickey Mouse Shorts episode "Wish Upon a Coin"
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Disney CEO Bob Iger made headlines with his comments about no longer believing in certain projects at the studio and that chicken has come home to roost with this new detail. The sequels of Zootopia, Moana, and Inside Out aren’t a new factor, but they are a consequence of some of the studio’s more recent box office failures.

Related: Mickey Mouse Goes Broadway in Gory New Musical

If we’re being entirely honest, things have been rough at Walt Disney Animation Studios, especially with movies like Strange World (2022), leading it into what some call Disney’s “Flop Era.” Even though the most recent animated feature, Wish (2023), was marketed as Disney’s triumphant return, it failed to live up to expectations, plunging things deeper into despair.

While it’s exciting to see Moana, Nick, Judy, and Riley’s emotions back on the big screen, this comes off as Disney softening the blow after an underwhelming performance last year. Even so, a Disney drought might not be something most are prepared for.

We Will Rebuild!

Image of 'Frozen II' poster as more families relying on Disney for parenting advice
Credit: Disney

This isn’t the first time Walt Disney Animation has gone for a year or two without an original production, as demonstrated by Frozen II (2019) and Raya and the Last Dragon (2021), but this does come off the heels of some of the studio’s least successful work. In short, Disney needs time to heal.

Related: ‘Encanto’ Project Replacing ‘Frozen’ After Recent Update

Big things are still in development at the House of Mouse, but Iger is clearly standing by his word and allowing things at Disney Animation to cool off before attempting anything that might jeopardize their audience. We’re not being left empty-handed in the meantime, but two years without an original concept will significantly affect the studio.

What do you think will happen in 2026? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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