I think we have to call this official: Lin-Manuel Miranda has been fully absorbed into the Disney family. We already knew he wrote songs for the upcoming Moana, and will appear alongside Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns. He also co-wrote the new Cantina song in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he’ll be involved in the live adaptation of The Little Mermaid, though we don’t yet know in what capacity.
And now he’s teasing another super-secret Disney project, which, given the glacial pace at which these things move, LMM is probably going to be entrenched in Disney for basically forever. Because if you thought I was being hyperbolic when I said these things are glacial, well, yes, sure, technically I guess I was. BUT BARELY. Lin-Manuel was brought onto Moana BEFORE HAMILTON WAS EVEN A THING. And We’ve been hearing about the new Mary Poppins for a while now, and it has a Christmas 2018 release date. Things work so slowly, Lin doesn’t even know what his job title or category is on The Little Mermaid!
We’re in super-early talks — I literally don’t have a title for what my job on The Little Mermaid is yet… If this requires new music, I’m here for that, and if this requires me weighing in on who makes this thing, I’m here for that. If this requires me just saying, ‘That doesn’t look like it’s underwater, I’m even here for that! It’s going to be a huge challenge to not make it feel uncanny valley-ish.
So back to that new secret project. If Mary Poppins is over a year out, Little Mermaid is going to be well beyond that, so it’s going to be a long, LONG time before we know what this one will be, which is disappointing, because the very few details we do know are exciting.
Basically, all we know is that Disney chief creative officer John Lasseter introduced him to Zootopia’s co-director Byron Howard and said ‘hey you two kids, go make a thing.’ And yes, that is enough to be excited about. Zootopia was brilliant and original and feminist as fuck, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is, well, you know. Perfection.
Plus, Vulture describes the project as “a new animated film they are building from the ground up.” Ground up. That implies no remakes or reboots or live-actioning or sequels. So let’s start speculating and forming wishlists for what Lin and the Mouse might bring us. And then let’s not stop for however many years this takes.
The other exciting thing here is that Disney is known for sweeping their Oscar categories. I know we all want that Hamilton movie, but Miranda might get that well-deserved EGOT many times over in the meantime.