Upcoming Movies

The Sequel Years: Upcoming New Disney, Pixar, and Marvel Movies Through 2026

May 26, 202411 Mins Read

The Walt Disney Company has one solution for all of its financial woes: make a sequel, then another sequel, then get another sequel going.

The last several years have seen the mighty Disney company show cracks in its armor. Before stepping down as CEO (for the first time, anyway), Bob Iger controversially invested billions of dollars into purchasing massive IP treasure troves like Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios. Things went great for a while.

A smiling Bob Iger is superimposed in front of a colorful montage featuring the characters from the Avengers film series.
Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

Movies like Up (2009), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and Avengers: Endgame (2019) made billions at the box office and even more via merchandise and streaming rentals. Disney owned the world’s largest catalog of solid gold IP, and it seemed like the grosses would never end. But they did.

Disney has faced five straight years of diminishing box office returns, and there is no end in sight. Financial analysts estimate that the Mouse lost over $1 billion in 2023 in theatrical releases alone, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, The Marvels, the live-action Little Mermaid remake, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny all bombing to some degree or another. When you factor in Bob Iger’s revealing that the Disney+ streaming service has lost some $4 billion since it launched in 2019, it’s a grim picture.

Bob Iger with a serious expression standing beside the iconic disney logo with a blue gradient background.Bob Iger with a serious expression standing beside the iconic disney logo with a blue gradient background.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: With Mark Hamill Replaced, Disney Begins Updating the ‘Star Wars’ Sequel Era

Despite the fact that Disney has been losing its shirt producing sequels nobody asked for, it is pretty much the only strategy that Bob Iger, Kevin Feige, Kathleen Kennedy, Dave Filoni, and Jennifer Lee have going for them. Here’s what you can expect to see from Disney in the next two years:

‘Inside Out 2’

Four Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Anxiety (Maya Hawke), and Envy (Ayo Edebiri) in Inside Out 2 characters showing varying emotions and styles plus colorful backgrounds: blue drenched and sad, pink and surprised, orange and quirky, and purple and dreamy.Four Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Anxiety (Maya Hawke), and Envy (Ayo Edebiri) in Inside Out 2 characters showing varying emotions and styles plus colorful backgrounds: blue drenched and sad, pink and surprised, orange and quirky, and purple and dreamy.
Credit: Pixar

First up, we have Inside Out 2, the sequel to the well-liked Pixar blockbuster of 2015. This time around, Riley (voiced by Kensington Tallman, replacing Kaitlyn Dias) is a now teenager and has to deal with the terrible rigors of puberty, crushes, and competitive hockey. The official Pixar synopsis reads:

Inside Out 2 returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley just as headquarters is undergoing a sudden demolition to make room for something entirely unexpected: new Emotions! Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, who’ve long been running a successful operation by all accounts, aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety shows up. And it looks like she’s not alone.

Inside Out 2 will hit theaters on June 14. It features the returning voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan, with new actors Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, and Kensington Tallman joining to either replace previous actors or as new emotions like Anxiety, Envy, Ennui, and Shame. Kelsey Mann directs the film (in his feature debut) from a screenplay written by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein.

‘Deadpool & Wolverine’

A heart made with Deadpool and Wolverine's handsA heart made with Deadpool and Wolverine's hands
Credit: Marvel Studios

Now that The Walt Disney Company owns 21st Century Fox (rebranded as 20th Century Studios) and all its mutant-related Marvel Comics material (plus the Fantastic Four), it was inevitable that the X-Men would come calling for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios is taking the somewhat novel approach of using Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) to port over the X-Men to the MCU, aided by the Time Variance Authority introduced in the Disney+ series Loki. He’ll also have some help from Wolverine (a returning Hugh Jackman) and the sheer power of nostalgia for the Fox X-Men franchise, plus the inherent draw of being the second sequel to the massively popular Deadpool (2016).

The official synopsis for Deadpool & Wolverine is short and to the point:

Wolverine is recovering from his injuries when he crosses paths with the loudmouth, Deadpool. They team up to defeat a common enemy.

Deadpool & Wolverine is scheduled for release on July 26. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Emma Corrin as Cassandra Nova, Matthew Macfadyen, Morena Baccarin, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Aaron Stanford, and Jennifer Garner. Shawn Levy will direct from a screenplay he co-wrote with Ryan Reynolds, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Zeb Wells.

‘Moana 2’

official 'Moana 2' logo on a black backgroundofficial 'Moana 2' logo on a black background
Credit: Disney

In many ways, Moana 2 represents Disney’s desperation for a sure thing, regardless of the source. This new Walt Disney Animation Studios project began as a Disney+ sequel series, only to be hastily reworked into a theatrical film when the company C-suite suddenly realized that they might be able to make more money by selling tickets to a movie than streaming subscription fees. The resulting Frankenstein of a TV series sequel turned feature-length film will arrive in theaters on November 27.

The official synopsis for the film says:

After receiving an unexpected call from her wayfinding ancestors, Moana journeys to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she has ever faced.

Moana 2 will star returning voices Auliʻi Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, and Alan Tudyk. It is written and directed by David G. Derrick Jr. and will feature music by Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear.

‘Mufasa: The Lion King’

A young lion cub stands atop a rocky ledge overlooking a vast, arid savannah landscape with sparse vegetation and distant mountains under a clear sky, in The Lion King: MufasaA young lion cub stands atop a rocky ledge overlooking a vast, arid savannah landscape with sparse vegetation and distant mountains under a clear sky, in The Lion King: Mufasa
Credit: Disney

The 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King (1994), featuring the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, Beyoncé, and James Earl Jones, made a whopping $1.6 billion at the box office, despite nobody really liking the Jon Favreau-directed movie all that much.

That made Mufasa: The Lion King a shoo-in to be produced, although Walt Disney Pictures zigged instead of zagging and produced a prequel rather than a sequel. This time around, Mufasa (voiced by Aaron Pierre) is a young and untested cub who must find his way to becoming the thunder-voiced monarch of the original.

The official synopsis:

Mufasa: The Lion King enlists Rafiki to relay the legend of Mufasa to young lion cub Kiara, daughter of Simba and Nala, with Timon and Pumbaa lending their signature schtick. Told in flashbacks, the story introduces Mufasa as an orphaned cub, lost and alone until he meets a sympathetic lion named Taka—the heir to a royal bloodline. The chance meeting sets in motion an expansive journey of an extraordinary group of misfits searching for their destiny—their bonds will be tested as they work together to evade a threatening and deadly foe.

Mufasa: The Lion King is directed by Barry Jenkins from a screenplay by Jeff Nathanson, who also scripted the live-action Lion King. The prequel will feature the voices of Aaron Pierre, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Tiffany Boone, Mads Mikkelsen, Thandiwe Newton, Lennie James, Blue Ivy Carter, and returning cast Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Kani, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. It will be in theaters on December 2o.

Related: Leaning Into Sequels, Disney Revives Two More Pixar Franchises

‘TRON: Ares’

An evil red program appears in Tron AresAn evil red program appears in Tron Ares
Credit: Disney

TRON: Ares is Disney’s second attempt to reboot the cult science fiction franchise, after Tron: Legacy (2010) did well in theaters but not enough to keep it going until things got desperate.

This time around, the plot of the original Tron (1982) is flipped; rather than a human (Jeff Bridges) being sucked into a strange digital world of gladiatorial contests, a computer program named Ares (Jared Leto) is brought out in the human world for a dangerous mission. Disney is keeping the actual plot of the film mostly under wraps at the moment, but the synopsis reads:

TRON: Ares follows a highly sophisticated Program, Ares, who is sent from the digital world into the real world on a dangerous mission, marking humankind’s first encounter with A.I. beings.

TRON: Ares is directed by Joachim Rønning from a script by Jesse Wigutow and Jack Thorne. It stars Jared Leto, Greta Lee, Evan Peters, Hasan Minhaj, Jodie Turner-Smith, Arturo Castro, Cameron Monaghan, Gillian Anderson and Sarah Desjardins. Jeff Bridges has been announced to reprise the role of Kevin Flynn. It arrives in theaters on October 10, 2025.

‘Zootopia 2’

Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps, as portrayed at Walt Disney World.Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps, as portrayed at Walt Disney World.
Credit: Disney

Zootopia (2016) was a rare modern blockbuster based on an original idea rather than a franchise IP. The film, directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, made over a billion dollars and won Best Animated Feature at the 89th Academy Awards, and spun off a Disney+ animated series, which is all pretty good for a buddy-cop cartoon about talking animals.

Naturally, a sequel is being produced, though less is known about it than some of the previous entries on this list. Star Ginnifer Goodwin posited the idea of a role reversal, saying:

“You and I know what happens at the end of the movie, and I would like them to along on this adventure in their new roles. But because they are playing new roles, I would also like to see Nick [Wilde] have to be the one to convince Judy [Hopps] that the world is worth fighting for.”

While co-star Jason Bateman was more basic about things: “The two of us, kicking ass out there. Cleaning up the streets. We’re a couple of new cops out there. So, bad guys, be warned.”

Zootopia 2 is scheduled for theaters on November 26, 2025, and will be directed by Jared Bush and Josie Trinidad from a script by Bush. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman are expected to reprise their roles.

‘Frozen 3’

Elsa in promotional art for FrozenElsa in promotional art for Frozen
Credit: Disney

If Walt Disney Animation Studios has a modern iconic feature, it is unquestionably Frozen (2013). The original film, starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana, eventually turned writer Jennifer Lee (who co-directed with Chris Buck) into the Chief Creative Officer of the studio and made “Let It Go” into the most ubiquitous Disney ballad in decades.

While Frozen 2 (2019) was not quite as critically acclaimed as the first movie, it made even more money at the box office, which means that Frozen 3 and, likely another sequel after that, was inevitable. Disney has not yet released a synopsis, with Idina Menzel telling Billboard:

“I don’t know a lot. To be completely honest, they teased it to us, and I have no idea. They don’t show you a script. They don’t show you anything. All I know is, yeah, we are gonna make one, and that’s it. So, I’m like cool I will be able to pay my bills.”

Frozen 3 has not yet confirmed a director or returning cast but is scheduled to be released in 2026.

‘Toy Story 5’

Woody laughing at Buzz Lightyear on a cowboy bedWoody laughing at Buzz Lightyear on a cowboy bed
Credit: Pixar

When Toy Story 4 was released in 2019, series star and voice of Woody Tom Hanks openly told talk show hosts that it would be the final movie in the franchise. However, he did not count on Disney and Pixar desperately needing a ringer to round out its upcoming release schedule, and here we are: Toy Story 5.

There are no plot details for the latest installment of the original Pixar franchise, but Pete Docter and Bob Iger have both stated that Woody and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) will both return. Whether that means Tom Hanks has been recast is currently up in the air, but, one way or another, it is scheduled for release on June 19, 2026.

‘Avengers 5’

Jonathan Majors looking stern as Kang the ConquerorJonathan Majors looking stern as Kang the Conqueror
Credit: Marvel Studios

Not that long ago, the fifth Avengers movie was officially subtitled The Kang Dynasty and was to star Jonathan Majors as the eponymous new Big Bad of the MCU. That is no longer the case after Majors was arrested on charges of assault, strangulation, and harassment charges, eventually convicted of third-degree reckless assault and harassment, and was ordered to attend a 52-week-long domestic violence intervention program. Needless to say, Majors is no longer working for Disney and Marvel Studios.

Reportedly, Marvel still intends to use Kang the Conqueror as a character, but it is unknown whether that means recasting the character or some more abstract portrayal of the Multiversal villain. Either way, Avengers 5 is being described as somehow being a “grounded” and “gritty” film that still deals with a bad guy who crosses dimensional boundaries and fights Earth’s mightiest heroes. It is currently scheduled for theaters on May 1, 2026.

What Disney sequel are you looking forward to the most? Tell us in the comments below!

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