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What classic titles could Disney revive as streaming shows after Willow?
Disney is in full IP mode, building out franchises and rebooting old properties on its streamer Disney Plus. One big-ticket new show, released alongside a string of titles like The Mandalorian and Andor, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Disenchanted, The Santa Clauses, and more, is Willow, a big-budget follow-up series to the 1988 fantasy film of the same name. All of these new streaming shows and movies beg the question: Which classic title will Disney reboot next?
With Disney now owning Marvel, National Geographic, Lucasfilm, and what used to be known as 20th Century Fox, the entertainment behemoth has a lot of classic titles to work with. Willow was not a massive hit on release, and it got pretty mixed reviews from critics. Still, it developed a modest following over the years. The story of a young man who finds an abandoned baby destined to defeat an evil queen has a lot of parallels with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, so it’s not hard to see why Disney might use it as the basis for its own fantasy epic. Amazon has The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, HBO Max has Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, and Netflix has The Witcher, after all.
So, below is a list of titles that Disney could potentially revive. Many are from Lucasfilm, though this list includes titles from across Disney’s holdings. They’re not all likely to come to fruition as Disney Plus reboots, but it never hurts to wonder at what’s possible.
You can check out the new Willow series on Disney Plus as of November 30 by hitting the link below.
Disney-owned titles waiting to be revived
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal has already been revived as a streaming series at Netflix, but what about his other 80s fantasy classic? Willow is often discussed in the same category as Labyrinth. Rumors of a sequel have swirled for years, with various directors attached, but so far nothing has come of it. A series set in the mythical maze could be a great jumping off point for more adventures, perhaps with a new goblin king, as David Bowie has passed away. There would be plenty of ways to bring in new human characters too.
This one’s a no-brainer, and in fact Disney is already looking to develop a series set in the Indiana Jones universe. Until then, we’ll have to wonder what’s in store. The biggest Lucasfilm property after Star Wars, Disney still hasn’t done anything with Jones, though a fifth film is currently in the works, with Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. There are plenty of directions an Indiana Jones series on Disney Plus could go. Maybe another prequel about young Indiana Jones, like the short-lived Family Channel series. Or a look at Indy after the events of The Last Crusade. There’s also a host of secondary characters who could anchor a spinoff.
George Lucas’s American Graffiti probably isn’t at the top of Disney’s list for a Lucasfilm revival on Disney Plus, but it could make for a fun show regardless. The original, a portrait of youths in the 1960s, could easily be brought back, looking at a new generation of kids and checking in on their boomer parents. We’re not holding our breaths, but Disney has the rights. It would be a fun alternative to the big-budget fantasy series currently coming out of the company’s Lucasfilm acquisition.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest
On the animation side, Disney has inherited many films once considered competition for its own animated output. One such film is FernGully. The star-studded feature follows inhabitants of a rainforest set to be torn down by a logging company. The film’s environmental message could surely be updated to address today’s global challenges. Whether animated or live-action, a FernGully revival on Disney Plus would likely attract many fans of the original.
Westerns aren’t currently the hottest genre around, but maybe they’re due for a comeback. Based on a true story, Young Guns sees a group of gunfighters hired to protect a rancher’s land from armed criminals in New Mexico in the 1800s. The film could either be remade or adapted as a series. A revival series on Disney Plus could also see the band coming back together, joined by young new recruits, for a new adventure.
Ron Howard was first approached by George Lucas about directing Willow while he was wrapping up production on Cocoon, distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film, about aliens inadvertently granting extended youth to the residents of a Florida retirement home, already has a sequel. There’s no reason Disney couldn’t launch a show or movie franchise around the aliens returning to Earth and encountering a new batch of humans.
Cocoon isn’t currently streaming anywhere or available on VOD.
Howard the Duck
Bridging the gap between Marvel and Lucasfilm is Howard the Duck, a legacy character who already made a cameo appearance in the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy films and What If…? animated series. The film, produced by George Lucas, sees a duck from a duck planet accidentally transported to Earth. Howard the Duck bombed, but it has developed a cult following since then. Lea Thompson, who starred in the original film, has expressed interest in revisiting the property and would even like to direct a rebooted film. So far, Disney hasn’t budged, but maybe a Disney Plus series would be a good movie.
This one might be a little R-rated for Disney Plus, but the streamer has loosened its stance on content made for more mature audiences of late. This 2009 cult favorite about a teen girl possessed by a demon and going on a murder spree bombed when it came out. Since then, it has been celebrated as a queer, feminist horror classic. Screenwriter Diablo Cody and star Megan Fox have both expressed an interest in making a Jennifer’s Body TV show, so it’s not entirely out of the question.
Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes has been revived many times. First with numerous sequels, then with a 2001 remake by Tim Burton, and again with an acclaimed trilogy of new films in the 2010s. Disney’s 20th Century Studios is already working on follow-ups to the last three films. But perhaps the world of Planet of the Apes could support a series on Disney Plus too. Set in the original film series timeline, we could return to the more established ape civilization still in its infancy in the more recent prequels.
Those are a few titles that could easily lend themselves to Disney Plus revivals. What are your favorite films and shows you’d like to see revived? Let us know in the comments.