In light of the magical, record-breaking reveal, Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast is the talk of the town at Disney, after the first trailer stormed past 90 million views in only 24 hours.
Pegged to dance into theaters in early 2017, Condon’s modern reimagining is part of a grand vision at the House of Mouse to reintroduce its prized catalog of fairytale adventures, replete with live-action sequences and bleeding-edge CGI. In 2016, we’ve already seen The Jungle Book and, more recently, James Bobin’s fantasy prequel Alice Through the Looking Glass maintain that momentum, which will eventually lead to Angelina Jolie’s return in Maleficent 2.
Beyond a confirmation that it exists, there’s not much to report regarding the nascent sequel. But while doing the rounds for Alice Through the Looking Glass, esteemed Disney scribe Linda Woolverton offered a brief status report on the film, revealing that at “this very minute, it’s blinking at my computer.” Woolverton remained mum on story details, but did go on to tease that Maleficent 2 represents “the next step in the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora.”
In the grand scheme of things, and now that Disney has staked out a number of release dates through 2019 (namely July 28, 2017, April 6, 2018, Aug. 3, 2018, Dec. 25, 2018 and Dec. 20, 2019), we fully expect Jolie to make her return as the gleefully dark fairy at some point before 2019.
As for Beauty and the Beast, Woolverton went on to heap praise on the film’s reveal trailer, before pointing to the complex relationship between Belle (Emma Watson) and the Beast (Dan Stevens).
“It makes me really, really happy,” she said, upon learning how many people watched the teaser in such a short amount of time. “It’s fantastic. I’m really excited about what they’re doing.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about Stockholm syndrome, that [Belle] fell in love with her captor,” she said. “But I disagree! She was captured, but she transformed him. She didn’t become, you know, an object. [Laughs] She didn’t turn into a beast! She transformed him. So it was certainly the transformative power of love and what it can do.”
Beauty and the Beast has been penciled in for a release on March 17, 2017. As for Maleficent 2, Disney is yet to unveil its release plans for the fantasy sequel, but it’s expected to occupy one of those aforementioned dates.