Is Disney still doing a remake of The Sword in the Stone?

The "Damsel" director of the planned live-action version of The Sword in the Stone has given an update if a remake of the animated classic is still coming!

Damsel. Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie. Cr. John Wilson/Netflix ©2023
Damsel. Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie. Cr. John Wilson/Netflix ©2023 /

It looks like yet another live-action Disney adaptation is being put on hold. Here's what we know about the new version of The Sword In the Stone. 

Often considered one of the more overlooked and underrated Golden Age Disney animated films, 1963's The Sword In the Stone was Disney's take on the King Arthur legend. It focuses on young Arthur (or Wart), a puny squire taken in by the quirky Merlin, who teaches him to rely on his brain rather than brawn. It pays off with Arthur pulling the titular sword and becoming King of England. 

The film came between 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book, and while it has its moments (the shape-changing magic duel between Merlin and Madam Mim) and is notable for the first Disney work by the Sherman Brothers, it doesn't have the wide-spread appeal other Disney films of that era possess. It has gotten some releases on various forms of physical media, but you don't really see its impact at Disney parks. 

However, in 2018, Disney announced plans for a live-action version of the story as part of the wave of remakes happening at the time. Not much has been said yet, but it seems an update has come, just not the one fans might have wanted. 

What's going on with The Sword In the Stone remake?

It was announced that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo would direct the film. The Spanish writer/director is known for projects such as 28 Weeks Later. He's also directed the upcoming Netflix fantasy film Damsel, which makes him a logical pick for a movie about magic, dragons and a legendary king.

Speaking to Screen Rant on Damsel, Fresnadlillo was asked about The Sword In the Stone and shared an update on how it appears to be stalled. 

"That was a project that I was attached to years ago, but it was put on hold. From this day, to be honest with you, I don't know what's gonna happen. I think it's a great project and a great story that needs to be told, but I don't know what is gonna happen. Let's see; fingers crossed. As you can imagine, with all these movies, you never know when it's going to happen. I really hope that Disney greenlight the movie, but right now, I don't know anything about it. Also, the experience that I have now after [Damsel] would be would be fantastic to apply to The Sword in the Stone, for sure."

Obviously, many productions at Disney were put off first by the COVID-19 pandemic and then the 2023 Hollywood strikes. There's also the diminishing returns of some of the live-action adaptations, and the recent shake-up at Disney's film division might end up putting more planned projects off. 

It's all too common for various projects to be put off in the movie world. Indeed, the original Sword in the Stone came about because Disney animators could never get a movie based on the story of  Chanticleer going. 

It's a shame as, while not as well regarded, The Sword In the Stone does have its charms and under Fresnadillo, it could have been a fun film. For now, it appears this may be one Disney animated classic that does not make it to the live-action format after all. 

The Sword In the Stone is streaming on Disney+.