[Op-Ed] My Thoughts On Disney’s Live Action Hercules Movies

Disney is working on a live-action remake of its animated Hercules adaptation. Released in 1997, the Mouse House’s animated Hercules re-imagined the tale of the titular mythological hero (and son of Zeus) as a zany musical fantasy-adventure, complete with memorable tunes like “Zero to Hero” performed by a group of wise-cracking Muses and Danny DeVito voicing Herc’s cantankerous trainer, the satyr Philoctetes (call him Phil). While it was less successful financially than other Disney Animation Renaissance movies from the ’90s, it was still a box office hit and went over well with critics. If anything, the film’s reputation has only continued to improve in the years since then.

With classic ’90s Disney animated movies like Beauty and the BeastAladdin, and The Lion King having been re-imagined as billion dollar-grossing live-action tent poles over the past few years (and Mulan expected to follow suit when it reaches theaters, even after being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic this spring), many have been waiting – and hoping – for Hercules to get a similar treatment. Sure enough, that’s exactly what’s happening, and with some top-level talent involved behind the scenes.

Screen Rant has confirmed that Disney is developing a live-action Hercules retelling, with Dave Callaham (The ExpendablesGodzilla 2014) writing the screenplay and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo producing. The news about a Hercules live-action remake was first reported by The Disneyinsider.

Whether or not this remake will add something new or stick to the same mold as the original remains to be seen. With Disney making profit after profit with (almost) each new remake, it only makes sense that they would be remaking Hercules next. However, this Disney remake might actually be harder to nail down only because Hercules is not as revered as the likes as Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. The only way it could conceivably stand out among those other films is as if it needs to pay homage to the original but also change the structure of the plot and add something that the original didn’t. That doesn’t just mean adding new songs and fixing plot holes. It means adding new consequences in the course of the film and more character development.

For example, if the remake were to go in a différent direction and not just focus on Hercules as the central character but also add a subplot that developed Zeus and Hades’ relationship as brothers, while possibly even changing the ending so it won’t be as predictable as the other remakes and even if it manages to succeed in that category, it may have a hard time trying to gain the same box office treasure as its predecessors. Usually, when most people are naming their favorite Disney movie, Hercules isn’t always on the top of the list. Only time will tell if this Russo Brothers remake will strike gold with its results. 

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