The Disney+ panel at the company’s D23 expo is about to be amazing. Today, Disney announced a new series, Book of Enchantment, based around Serena Valentino’s books on several popular Disney villains. Quantico‘s Michael Seitzman is set to write the series, which has been reportedly in the works for months now.
There’s no word yet on what the actual plot will be, or what villainous characters will appear (I would bet Ursula and the Evil Queen are on lock though).
This won’t be the first time that Disney villains are getting the live-action treatment. Maleficent billed itself as a backstory for one of Disney’s most famous witches (the film is getting a sequel), and the Disney Channel original franchise Descendants drew a huge fanbase. Given the nostalgia factor, this might be more like Once Upon a Time and be aimed at a more grown up audience.
Valentino has written five books for Disney based on villains. Her work has focused on the Evil Queen, Ursula, Mother Gothel, and Maleficent. Interestingly enough, she has also written a book in the series about the Beast, who probably falls more under the antihero category, depending on your take on the story. The books all involve three characters called the Odd Sisters, who are responsible for helping to corrupt and twist the characters into the villains we know today.
The Disney series could, hypothetically, center on the Odd Sisters as narrators and have them interact with the different villains. That would make it more of an anthology style show, with an episode or two focusing on one particular baddie before jumping to a new character. That way, they could also get some excellent, A-list talent signing on without needing to keep them around for multiple seasons.
It would also give the show a set arc. Disney probably won’t pull a House of Mouse and just have the characters hanging out outside their respective canons. Disney movies might not have the same timelines Marvel or Star Wars do, but the company isn’t likely to just have them hanging out at a café like they’re Batman’s rogues’ gallery in the seminal Batman: The Animated Series episode “Almost Got ‘Im.”
A “here’s how the villains were made”-type show allows them to get attention without pulling them out of their narratives.
Overall, this could either be an excellent idea (like Once Upon a Time season one) or a terrible idea (like Once Upon a Time after season one). Disney has a fantastic array of villains, and I wouldn’t mind getting to see them take the spotlight, especially if the shows don’t try to turn them all into secret good guys or victims. Sometimes people are evil, and the show should lean into that.
Above all else, I just want the show to be fun. Villains are the best when the actors playing them have fun with their evilness. I hope the entire series is fun to watch, even if it will never win any Emmys. Plus, if Alan Menken writes a couple new villain songs for some characters, I certainly won’t complain.
(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Disney)
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