Lin-Manuel Miranda seems on track to become one of the most well-known names in animated films. If you’re somehow not aware, he’s the man behind Hamilton. The immense success of the historical rap musical led to him writing the songs for Disney’s Moana, and that seems to have opened all kinds of doors for the man.
And why not? Hamilton is brilliant, and the songs of Moana are genius. The man himself is so engaging and creative that Miranda might as well be a Disney character himself. I’m kind of a fan, if you can’t tell.
More Disney Movies with Lin-Manuel Miranda
Here’s what Miranda has going on at Disney. Of course, this is after the inevitable award wins for Moana.
In June, The Hollywood Reporter detailed how Disney has been courting Lin since 2013. It seems like a great match, and some interesting projects are coming down the pipe.
In 2018, he’ll feature in Mary Poppins Returns as Jack. The movie is a sequel, taking place in the 1920s and focusing on the now-grown Banks children. Jack is a new character who is clearly modeled on Bert, the lovable chimney sweep from the original film.
Meanwhile, Lin is already working on the just-announced “live-action” remake of The Little Mermaid. He’ll score the film, write songs, and serve as a producer. Presumably he’s also getting his Jamaican accent on so he can play Sebastian.
We say live-action remake, but there aren’t likely to be many human characters in the film. Like The Jungle Book, all of the many animal and supernatural characters will necessarily be computer-animated.
Finally, he’s in the beginning stages of a brand-new project with Byron Howard, co-director of Zootopia. Details are still unannounced, other than it’s an entirely new property.
The Disney ties go back several years in some surprising ways. Did you know Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a song for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? The track that played in Maz’s castle is actually part of an entire reggae song about Jabba… sung in Huttese.
Here’s the man himself performing “Jabba Flow” in its entirety.
Branching Out to Other Studios
Miranda has another animated feature on the books, and it’s not a Disney flick. Sony Pictures Animation has signed him onto Vivo, an upcoming musical animated feature.
The story centers around a capuchin monkey who makes his way from Havana to Miami. That’s a familiar theme to anyone who reads the news, of course, and the movie should have a great deal to say about immigration in general, and particularly the massive influx of Cuban culture into Florida over the years.
Vivo is written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Lin’s collaborator on his first stage musical In the Heights. The Like the musical, Vivo is expected to feature a great deal of Cuban and other Latin music. Rhumba, salsa, and other Latin styles are a passion of Miranda’s, who spent time in Puerto Rico as a child.
By the way, if you’re a Hamilton nut and haven’t listened to In the Heights… please do.
What’s Next for Lin-Manuel Miranda in Cartoons
Who can say, besides him? Whatever he ends up doing after this next round of projects, we can say two things with certainty.
They will be good. And there will be a lot of them.
After all, he really does write like he’s running out of time.