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Hercules
Directed by James Gunn
Produced by James Gunn
Kevin Feige
Written by James Gunn
Based on Disney's Hercules
by Ron Clements
John Musker
Donald McEnery
Bob Shaw
Irene Mecchi
Starring Chris Evans
Tessa Thomspson
Vin Diesel
Patrick Stewart
Rene Russo
Danny DeVito
James Wodds
Ernie Sabella
Jim Carrey
Frank Welker
Score by Alan Menken
Songs by Alan Menken
David Zippel
Edited by Paul Rubell
Production
company
Walt Disney Pictures
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date May 30, 2027
Country United States

Hercules would be a 2027 American fantasy musical comedy-adventure film written and directed by James Gunn, with Gunn producing alongside Kevin Feige. The film would be a live-action remake of the 1997 animated Disney film of the same name, itself a loose adaptation of the mythological character of Heracles. The film would star Chris Evans as the title character, alongside Tessa Thompson, Vin Diesel, Patrick Stewart, and Rene Russo, as well as the voices of Danny DeVito, James Woods, Jim Carrey, Ernie Sabella, and Frank Welker. Alan Menken and David Zippel would return from the original film to re-write the film's songs, with Menken also returning to score the film.

Plans for a live-action remake of Hercules would be announced during the D23 Expo 2024, with Gunn being set to write and direct the film. Evans would sign to star in early 2025, with principal photography taken place in Atlanta, Georgia, from July to November 2025. Gunn would draw inspiration on Greek mythology, particualrly Hercules' 12 labors, and would work with experts on Greek mythology in order to combine the myths and the original film.

Hercules would be released on May 30, 2027, and would meet a positive critical reception, who would praise its direction, faithfulness to the original film, performances, music and humor. The film would also be a commercial success, earning 745 million dollars at the box-office over a budget of 150 millions.

Synopsis

In Mount Olympus, Zeus and Hera celebrate the birth of their son, Hercules. However, Zeus' younger brother, Hades, who is plotting to take over the Olympus, learns that Hercules may pose a threat to his plans in the future, so he orders his minions, Pain and Panic, to turn Hercules into a mortal and kill him. However, they end-up only partially fullfilling the task, leaving Hercules on Earth as a mortal with god-like strength, who is raised by Amphitryon and Alcmene. While growing up, Hercules faces discrimination due to his strength and clumsiness, causing him to wonder where he belongs. This search for answers eventually makes him discover his true heritage by mouth of Zeus. Sadly, Zeus informs him that only a god can live in Mount Olympus, but reveals that, if Hercules becomes true hero, then he will become a god. Hercules then trains under the tutelage of Philoctetes, eventually landing on the city of Thebas. However, Hades becomes aware of his survival, and sends monsters to kill him. As Hercules tries to prove himself to be a true hero, an encounter with the femme fatale Megara may cause him to discover where he truly belongs.

Cast

  • Chris Evans as Hercules:
    A demi-god who is turned into a mortal and left on Earth, forcing him to prove himself a true hero in order to return to Mount Olympus. Producer Kevin Feige would say that "[the filmmakers] took the discrimination he faces, and made it an even bigger part of his arc and the story". Director James Gun would further explain that "[he] wanted his 'find your place' arc to be even more promenient than the hero thing". Evans would say that the film "really explore the relationship between Herc and the people of Thebes", unlike the original film.
  • Tessa Thompson as Megara:
    A sardonic femme fatale with a broken heart who is forced by Hades into finding Hercules' weakness, only to fall in love with him. Director James Gunn said that "[the filmmakers] really wanted to go deep on" Megara's feelings after being abandoned by her ex-boyfriend. Gunn would also say that he wanted her number, "(I Won't Say) I'm In Love", to feel "earned", and that "[he] didn't wanted her whole arc to be solved in a three-minutes number", so he would re-write the plot "so it can take its time in developing her".
  • Patrick Stewart as Amphitryon, a farmer and Hercules' adoptive father.
  • Rene Russo as Alcmene, a farmer and Hercules' adoptive mother.
  • Ariana Grande, Halle Bailey, Zendaya, Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Rihanna as the Muses, the godess of the arts and Hercules' biggest fans, who serve as the film's narrators. Grande previously sang the song "Zero to Hero" in the album We Love Disney.

Voice cast

  • Vin Diesel as Zeus:
    Hercules' father, Hades' brother, and the ruler of the Olympus. Gunn would cast Diesel in the role due to his "gentle giant" roles in The Iron Giant (1999) and Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy films. Diesel would provide both the voice and motion-capture for the character. According to Gunn, the character would be "more flawed" than in the original film, as he would want to make him "the dad Hercules would like to have, but ultimately not the dad he would be happy to be with".
  • Danny DeVito as Philoctetes/Phil, a satyr and an old trainer of aspirant heroes who grew disillusioned with his job after being disappoited by his trainees, only to become Hercules' mentor. DeVito, who would reprise his role from the original animated film, would be brougth in to reprise his role as Phil by director James Gunn, who would feel that "his age is a complement to his role".
  • James Woods as Hades:
    The Lord of the Underworld and Zeus' brother who, jealous of his brother's position in Mount Olympus, tries to overthrown him, forcing him to target Hercules once he learns that he is a dangerous threat to his plans. Woods would reprise his role from the original animated film. As in the original film, Woods would improvise many of his lines during recording. Producer Kevin Feige would explain that Woods was cast to reprise his role because "[he and Gunn] felt that Woods and Hades are one and the same".
  • Ernie Sabella as Pain, one of Hades' minions alongside Panic, who ends up usually getting comically injured in many accidents. Sabella would reprise his role from the 2019 stage adaptation.
  • Jim Carrey as Panic, one of Hades' minions alongside Pain, who is cowardly, nerveous, paranoid, and at times cynical.
  • John Oliver as Hermes, the god of travelers, who is the royal messanger of the gods and Zeus' personal servant.
  • Frank Welker as Pegasus, Hercules' winged horse, steed, and best friend who has the personality of both a horse and a bird, througth still is a reliable and loyal friend. Welker would reprise his role from the original animated film.

Music

Alan Menken, who previously scored the original film, would return for the remake. Menken would research Greek music for the score, in order to create a score that was accurate with the film's setting. Menken would also reprise his themes for the original film.

Menken and lyricist David Zippel would also return from the original film to work on the remake's songs. Director James Gunn would say that his approach for the film's songs would be "kinda similar" to the Guardians of the Galaxy films "in the sense that give a hand in developing the characters and fit the film's tone". Menken and Zippel would re-write the first two parts of the song "The Gospel Truth" in order to feature Hades' backstory and feelings over working as Lord of the Underworld. Menken and Zippel would also re-write the song "A Star Is Born" in order to tie the song's lyrics with the film's themes. Menken and Zippel would also write a new solo for Hercules, titled "My Place". Zippel would say that "while 'Go the Distance' is about Hercules wanting to go to where he belongs, 'My Place' is about Hercules asking where that place is". Menken amd Zippel would also split the original film's song, "(I Won't Say) I'm In Love in two, with the song's final verses serving as a reprise, which Gunn would explain would be done in order to "give Megara a more natural development".

Differences from the original film

  • The muses Erato and Euterpe weren't featured in the original film, througth they were featured in the original Greek myths.
  • The Fates would be refered to as the Moirai, which is how they are known in Greek mythology.
  • The Moirai's appearances in the film wouldn't be that of three hag-like creatures, nor they would own an eye to see the destiny. This would be due to those traits being more similar to the Graeae. Additionally, the Moirai would be stated as being the only beings superior to Zeus, which is how certain sources claim them to be.
  • In this version, Hades would arrange a meeting with the Moirai to ask them to help him to overthrow Zeus, which is why they would tell him to free the Titans. In the original film, the meeting was to know if Hercules may pose a threat to his plans in the future.
  • In the remake, the Moirai would choose to tell Hades his fate upon realizing in what would end.
  • The Titans featured in the remake would be the actual Titans from Greek mythology, while in the original film, they were original creations.
  • While the original film depicts the Titans being imprisioned by Zeus alone, the remake would show that Hades helped in their defeat, and that Zeus was the only one to be praised, which would be one of the reasons of Hades' jealousy.
  • In the original film, Hades' poison was simply shown in another part of his lair in the Underworld, the remake would show him creating the potion from the blood of the Lernean Hydra.
    • Additionally, in the original film, Hades removed Hercules' strength magically after agreeing to free Megara, while in the remake he would use a drop of a different version of the same poison
  • In the animated film, Hercules accidentally destroys his market town while playing. In the remake, he instead would destroy the school he would attend to during a music class, alongside some near buildings.
  • In the remake, Hercules would be helping his adoptive father, Amphitryon, attend cattle before singing "Go the Distance". In the original film, he was simply walking with him
  • In the original film, Hercules saved Megara from a centaur named Nessus, while in the remake, he would instead save her from the Nemean lion.
  • In the remake, a flashback of Megara being left by her ex-boyfriend would be shown, instead of being simply mentioned by Hades as in the original film.
  • Hercules' adoptive fathers, Amphitryon and Alcmene, would have a bigger role in the remake, moving to Thebes and being visited by Hercules and Megara.
  • While the original version had Hades asking Meg to find Hercules' weakness, the remake would feature him telling Megara to distract Hercules.
    • Additionally, Hades would later conclude that he has to make Hercules drink the posion again while torturing Pain and Panic, througth he would ask the latters to tell Megara of his new orders and give her a poison since she would already be with Hercules.
  • The sequence in which Hercules and Megara date would be significantly expanded, and would feature a visit to Zeus' temple and a fight with one of Hades' monsters.
  • Unlike the original film, the song "(I Won't Say) I'm In Love" would be featured twice in the film, with the second time being when Megara finally accepts she loves Hercules.
  • In the remake, Hercules would get a new solo, titled "My Place" after dating Megara.
  • In the original fim, the Fates weren't seen again until when they cut Megara's Thread of Life. In the remake, the Moirai would go to the Olympus to "see personally the outcome" of Hades' plan, and would later reappear in the Underworld.
  • In the remake, Hades would sent his dog, Cerebrus, instead of a cyclops, to kill Hercules.
  • In the remake, not only Phil, but all of Theebs would motivate Hercules to defeat Cerebrus.
  • In the original film, the Fates tried unsuccesfully to cut Hercules' Thread of Life, while in the remake, the Moirai wouldn't even try, aware of his destiny.
  • When Hercules tells Zeus that he wants to live on Earth, Zeus would at first hestiate, arguing that life on Earth is severe whie on Mount Olympus is pleasant, but Hercules would reply that, while severe, it would be glorious. Additionally, the Moirai would tell Zeus that Hercules is indeed meant to be on Earth.

Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film would have an average rating of 80%, with an average rating of 7/10, based on 273 reviews. The website's consensus would read: "While not in the level of the original film, Hercules is an update with enough charm, fun, and enjoyable music to leave fans of the animated film satisfied, while also giving the rest an enoyable experience". On Metacritic, the film would have a weighted rating of 69 out of 100, based on 46 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Trivia

  • The film would be James Gunn and Kevin Feige's first musical film.
  • The film would mark the first time Tyler Bates dosen't score a film directed by James Gunn.
  • Hercules would be both Danny Devito, Frank Welker, John Oliver, and Tessa Thompson's second Disney remake, after Dumbo (2019), Aladdin (2019), The Lion King (2019), and Lady and the Tramp (2019), respectively.
  • James Woods and Danny DeVito would be the eight actors to reprise their role for a Disney remake of a previous Disney animated production after Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett (both of who reprised their roles as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, also voiced by Cummings since the late 1980s, and Eeyore, whom Garrett voiced previously in Animated StoryBook: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and recently in Ralph Breaks the Internet, in 2018's Christopher Robin), Nancy Cartwright  and Patton Oswalt (both of who reprised their roles Rufus and Professor Dementor in the live-action Kim Possible film), Welker (who reprised his roles as the vocal effects for Abu and Rajah and the voice of the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin), James Earl Jones (who reprised his role as the voice of Mufasa in 2019's The Lion King), and Chris Sanders (who is set to reprise his role as the voice of Stitch in the upcoming Lilo & Stitch remake).
  • The film would be the fourth Disney remake to have the same composer as the original film, after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin (both of whom were also scored by Alan Menken), and 2019's The Lion King (which was scored by Hans Zimmer).
  • The film marks the second time Alan Menken, David Zippel, and Kevin Feige work together on a film, after Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), for which Menken and Zippel wrote the songs "Star Spangled Man".
  • When calling Pain and Panic to tell them to inform Megara of his new plan, Hades would refer to the two as "Dummy and Dummier", a reference to the film "Dumb and Dumbier", starring Panic's voice actor Jim Carrey.
  • While the film is a remake of the original film, director James Gunn would drawn inspiration from the 2019 stage adaptation for the film's changes.
  • During an interview, Gunn would reveal that he would approach the remake similarly to how he approached Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, stating that "in both cases, what [he does] is take that property and its characters, and try to expand on that, while keeping what people love about them", througth he would admit that "Hercules was harder to use that approach" than Guardians of the Galacy Vol. 2 due to having also directed the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.
  • Hercules accidentally destroying his school while on music class and later being seen helping Amphitryon to tend cattle would be a reference to the original myths, where he was forced to help his adoptive father tend cattle on a mountain after killing his music tutor.
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