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Encanto - What We Know So Far

After the extreme success of 2016's "Moana," and taking a note from Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios is focusing on more diverse stories in recent years. Although many people get confused about the two, Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation, while both owned by Disney, are two entirely separate companies that produce different films.

For Walt Disney Animation, the stories are usually centered around fairy tales or existing IP, with the most recent films to be released from the studio being "Raya and the Last Dragon," "Frozen II," and "Ralph Breaks the Internet." "Raya and the Last Dragon," which was released on March 5, 2021, is about a young woman named Raya, the daughter of the chief of her tribe, who must recover the pieces of a magical dragon gem in order to save her people and dispel the evil spirits taking over. The film was well-received by critics and audiences alike, receiving a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes with a 97% Audience Score.

As the studio's next project, Walt Disney Animation is bringing the magic to Columbia with "Encanto." First reported by publications like Discussing Film back in January 2020, the upcoming movie will be about the Latinx Madrigal family, and looks to be another colorful, special musical adventure for the whole family. With the release of the movie still a ways away, there's unfortunately a lot about the movie that's still unrevealed.

Based on what's been made public so far, here's what we know about the next must-see Disney film, "Encanto."

What is the release date of Disney's Encanto?

Luckily for fans of Walt Disney Animation films, you're getting two in one year. Despite very little details about the film being released yet, the movie has an official release date of November 24, 2021. The magical family film will be Disney's major Thanksgiving release for the year. While 2020 was a bit of a wash for films, the 2019 November release from Disney was "Frozen II," while 2018's was "Ralph Breaks the Internet," so you can tell that this is a very successful time to release movies theatrically.

For this year, "Encanto" will be going up against highly anticipated releases like "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," while the Marvel film "The Eternals" will be released at the beginning of the month, on November 5, 2021. Considering that the release date is only a handful of months away, it's very likely that Disney will be revealing more about "Encanto" soon, and it will be the 60th film to be produced by Walt Disney Animation.

Who is in the cast of the upcoming Disney movie?

As of right now, nothing official is known about the cast of "Encanto." Many publications, including The DisInsider and The Illuminerdi, have reported that Stephanie Beatriz, known for playing Detective Rosa Diaz on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," will be voicing the lead character, a young teenage girl named Mirabel. TheDisInsider also posted "exclusive" details earlier this year about supposed characters in the film, roles that will need to be filled by musically-inclined actors. A few of the characters include Juana, a woman in her mid 40s who is either Mirabel's mother or mother-figure, Ines, a woman in her early 20s who is likely Mirabel's sister, and Carlos, a teenage boy who is Mirabel's enemy. It's worth noting that TheDisInsider reports Mirabel's name as Mariana, but their source could've come from an early draft of the film, before a name change.

Aside from the voice cast though, there is a lot of information about the minds behind the film. Two of the directors behind "Zootopia," Byron Howard and Jared Bush, are directing the upcoming film, which will also be co-directed by Charise Castro Smith. Co-written by Bush and Castro Smith, the music in the film, which will consist of songs in both English and Spanish, will be written by Lin Manuel-Miranda, the writer of "Hamilton," "In the Heights," and the music for another hit Disney film, "Moana."

What is Encanto about?

According to Disney's official synopsis, the film "Encanto," a word that means charm or enchantment in Spanish, "tells the tale of a family called the Madrigals, who live in an enchanted town in the mountains of Colombia. Every child but one in their magical house has been granted a unique ability such as strength or healing powers. Mirabel, the only ordinary child, discovers the magic is under threat and she may be the only one able to save it" (via Animation World Network). Following many common themes in Disney films, Mirabel is a strong-willed girl who steps up when her family needs help, pushing through any self-doubt about her own worth, only to find out that she's more special than she thought.

Looking at the character descriptions from TheDisInsider, it seems like Mirabel, reportedly around 15 years old, has a rambunctious family, led by a matriarch in her 70s who is witty and stubborn. Mirabel's older sister appears to be perfect in every way, and Mirabel has trouble finding her place in her family and the enchanting world around them. As a musical comedy, all of the characters are expected to sing as well, and there is a strong focus on humor. While there was a little teaser clip revealed at Disney Investor Day, hopefully in the coming months Disney will provide a closer look at what's in store for audiences in "Encanto."