As you may have seen, Disney is pushing ahead quickly to get a photo-realistic Lion King sequel up and running. However, we’re hearing this is just the beginning.
The latest scuttlebutt is that Disney has seen some significant weaknesses in their portfolio during the pandemic. One of those problems reportedly identified is that Disney is too reliant on actors and actresses at a time when it simply isn’t necessary anymore. Marvel actors getting older while unable to film new movies? Doesn’t have to be a problem. The window for a main actor being able to play a part quickly closing? Doesn’t have to a problem.
What we’re hearing is that the push for photo-realistic CGI in a Lion King sequel is only part of a much larger imperative from within the company. We believe this is a major and very quietly-held initiative. Disney may be working on pushing the needle much further on realistic depictions of human characters, and the actors who have previously played them. Indeed, Mark Hamill has already confirmed that he signed away his likeness for such actions into perpetuity.
Some of the rumors being bandied about are that Disney is interested in using photo-realistic CGI to develop a young Luke Skywalker project. That could be TV, movies, Disney+… at this point, we’re unsure the ultimate goal, and it could easily fluctuate. We’re also hearing that a young Indiana Jones franchise could launch in a similar manner. But really it doesn’t have to be limited to these endeavors.
Consider when Toy Story originally launched in the 90’s. Perhaps you thought then that computer animated films were a novelty. For some time you were correct. But now the number of computer animated films is so great compared to traditionally animated films that you’d be hard pressed to even find a traditionally animated film in theaters.
The powers that be in Disney (and the film industry at large) may be recognizing the same sea change is occurring for “live action” films. Perhaps when the current Marvel Cinematic Universe ends, the next might be completely computer animated… yet so expertly produced by artists and servers that the average human can’t tell the difference. There are many advantages for Disney the quicker they can bring this into reality. For one, they could completely bypass the need to replace face actors for movie roles. And while this might have caused a huge uproar with actors in the past, the pandemic is giving movie studios cover to pursue this as a means to never be stuck sitting on their hands again.
One can easily imagine the near future having voice actors and body actors take over the reigns from the celebrity culture we’ve experienced the last 100 years. Perhaps CGI is just the new makeup of the rising 21st century?
What do you think about the film companies pushing towards a more realistic CGI industry? Do you think it will reach the point where nobody can tell the difference?