Despite how the lyrics to his wildly-popular Encanto song read, Lin-Manuel Miranda wants to talk about Bruno, and apparently, he’s been doing so with Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
Even if you’ve not yet seen Disney’s 60th full-length animated feature, you’ve probably heard the Encanto hoopla (and there’s a lot of it). The animation and storyline are very good, but it’s the music that really set this film on the path to super-fandom.
In Encanto, the family Madrigal lives in a huge house called casita deep in the Colombian mountains. Each family member has been given a magical gift, thanks to a miracle bestowed upon the family’s matriarch, Abuela Alma. That is, all except Mirabel Madrigal, who doesn’t seem to have a unique ability at all. The story of Encanto takes a closer look at intergenerational trauma, grief, the blessing of family, and the challenges of living as a family unit.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is responsible for the stick-in-your-head lyrics of some of the film’s most popular songs, like “Surface Pressure,” sung by actress Jessica Darrow, and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” sung by members of the Madrigal family.
Miranda has talked about working on both films for Disney, saying that the day after Moana was released, he called a member of the music department at Disney and told him he’d love to be a part of any Latin animated feature Disney was planning to create.“If you’re doing a Latin-themed animated musical,” he said, “you have to call me. I’ve been preparing all my life.”
Miranda says he wanted to do a Latin feature, but that it was directors Jared Bush and Byron Howard who chose Colombia as the setting for Encanto, calling the country the “home of magical realism, home to infinite diversity and biodiversity and lots of different things.”
In last week’s earnings call between C-level executives from The Walt Disney Company and some of Wall Street’s finest, CEO Bob Chapek praised the company’s earnings and revenue records. The company saw huge revenue gains across its theme parks division, to the tune of $7.2 billion. Chapek further praised the success of the company’s streaming platform, sharing that Disney+ now has some 130 million subscribers worldwide (and counting).
Also during the call, Chapek specifically mentioned the Colombian-set Disney animated feature as one of the best things for the quarter, even hinting at a possible Encanto-themed franchise.
Encanto became the company's "fastest title to cross 200 million viewing hours" on the service. He calls Encanto "the launch of a new Disney franchise." (Doesn't that mean a sequel?)
— Brooks Barnes (@brooksbarnesNYT) February 9, 2022
During an interview with The Wrap, Miranda was told this, and he was completely surprised.
“If I go to Disneyland, I’m going to get some sweet VIP access,” he responded. “I’m literally learning from you that Chapek said that.”
But Miranda says he’s already had a conversation with Chapek about an Encanto-themed Disney Parks experience. According to The Wrap, Miranda shared that he approached Bob Chapek to pitch that very idea.
“I talked to [Chapek] and said, ‘I know there’s a world in which this casita lives in a theme park, and we get to actually walk through it in real life,'” Miranda explained. “And that’s really exciting.”
Miranda apparently mentioned an attraction at Disneyland Resort as the type of attraction he sees as being fitting for an Encanto attraction. He specifically leans toward The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. But he also says that there are multiple opportunities for Encanto to continue growing (a bit like the miracle at the center of the film).
“The other byproduct of all these characters is that there’s a lot more folks want us to explore and a lot that’s being explored in fan art all over world,” he said. “I don’t know what form that takes. I don’t know if that’s an animated series. I don’t know if that’s a second movie. I don’t know if that’s a stage adaptation where we have a little more time to go deep.”
Lin Manuel Miranda says that he and Bob Chapek didn’t really get into specifics about a possible Encanto-themed attraction, and that anything along those lines is still in its very earliest days. So far, the only nod to an Encanto experience at Disney Parks is a single meet-and-greet with Mirabel at Disney California Adventure.
But wouldn’t an attraction be really cool? We think so too!