Zootopia Directors Reportedly Helming Disney’s Original Animated Movie Encanto

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Walt Disney Animated Studios reportedly set directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush to work on its upcoming movie Encanto as new details about the animated film are revealed. Howard and Bush were the creative duo behind Disney’s 2016 Academy Award winner Zootopia, another of Disney’s original offerings. Walt Disney Animation Studios has delivered a mix of originals and sequels in recent years, with Zootopia and Moana in 2016, then Ralph Breaks the Internet and Frozen II in 2019.

In terms of upcoming movies, the only confirmed film coming from Disney Animation Studios is Raya and the Last Dragon, which was pushed from a late 2020 release date to early 2021. Beyond that, the studio has claimed November release dates in 2021, 2022 and 2023, but has yet to confirm what in-development projects will debut on those dates. Now, a new report offers insight into at least one of Disney’s upcoming animated films.

The DisInsider is reporting that Howard and Bush’s next project with Disney will be Encanto. The report notes that the movie title could change, and that the story follows a young Brazilian girl whose family possesses magical powers, though she does not. The DisInsider also speculates that Encanto may take Walt Disney Animation’s November 24, 2021 release date. It was previously reported Bush will co-write the script with Charise Castro Smith (The Haunting of Hill House), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Moana) will write the music. Screen Rant has reached out to Disney for confirmation.

In the past, Disney has received criticism for insensitive depictions of Mexican and Latinx culture, particularly in the 1944 live-action animated musical Three Caballeros. More recently, fellow Disney animation studio Pixar received criticism for how it was handling the development of Coco, a movie about a Mexican family on Día de los Muertos. After receiving backlash for trying to trademark the phrase “Día de los Muertos,” Disney and Pixar hired on more folks to join Coco’s cultural consultant group, which included Marcela Davison Aviles, the former CEO of the Mexican Heritage Corp. It’s unclear as of yet whether Encanto’s production team will have its own cultural consultant group, but given the success of Coco, it could certainly help.