Disney’s ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ Director Shares the Film was Supposed to Get a Sequel in Theaters. As 3D animation quality improved rapidly between the 90’s, 00’s and 10’s the fight for 2D animated films to stay relevant and exciting caused several fantastic stories to be overshadowed by films featuring the latest in animation techniques. Though we thoroughly enjoy 3D animated films, there is just something about 2D animation that helps us to remember a simpler time and see the talent and effort the ink and paint artists had to give in order to bring us unforgettable stories. Authors Note: We LOVE our VFX and CGI artists out there, and your work is absolutely incredible, but we gotta give our favorite 2D animated films some love here!
One such 2D animated film from Walt Disney Studios is Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The film has been a fan favorite for nearly two decades now and with the surge in animated film remakes by Disney, it has easily climbed to the top of the “most wanted remakes” list. Many fans believe the film was not given enough credit and claim it was at an instant disadvantage when it premiered in theaters alongside the highly anticipated films Shrek (Dreamworks) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Paramount Pictures).
Had the movie been a box office success it is more than likely we would have seen a full fledged sequel premiere in theaters. Actually it’s more than likely. We WOULD have seen a sequel in theaters, at least according to the films director Kirk Wise. Kirk shared that not only was the film intended to get a sequel, but Disney had gotten so far as to create an outline and storyboard for the shelved sequel.
“Believe it or not we did,” Wise revealed. “[Story supervisor] John Sanford, Gary and I actually concocted an idea for a sequel to Atlantis. It had no relation to the Atlantis TV series that was being developed at Disney Television Animation. This was a feature-length, full-on, full-blown sequel to Atlantis.”
“We were going to have a new villain in the story. The villain was going to be wearing big, scary, wool, bulky, World War I-style clothing with a frightening gasmask to obscure it’s face; a little Darth Vader-esque,” Wise continued. “And this villain was going to try and retake Atlantis and finish the job that Rourke was unable to accomplish. And the big twist in the climax of the movie is that the villain is unmasked and it turns out to be Helga Sinclair. Plot twist!”
You may be asking yourself, “Now wait a minute, didn’t she die in the first film?” The short answer is No, we never actually see Helga Sinclair die on screen. It’s just assumed she would have either succumbed to her injuries from her fall or to the lava flow when the volcano erupted. But according to Kirk’s statement, Helga miraculously survived the whole ordeal!
Instead, Disney created a direct-to-video sequel called “Atlantis: Milo’s Return”. In this animated sequel to “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” the discoverer of the submerged continent, Milo, and his new wife, Queen Kida, are startled when friends led by explorer Preston tell them that the monsters meant to protect their land are causing destruction on the surface. Milo travels with Preston and his crew to Iceland, Arizona and Norway to stop the havoc, while Kida considers having Atlantis make contact with the outside world.
Though the sequel’s performance was subpar, the story wasn’t nearly as bad as the degraded animation quality made it appear. It seems the intended sequel storyline by Kirk and Gary would have made the audience more invested in the continuing story, but such is life.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire fans have been waiting patiently to hear from Disney about the rumors circulating that they are developing a live-action remake of the 2001 animated film. The claim has gone so far as to share that the studio is reportedly looking to cast Tom Holland as Milo Thatch.
My two cents on the matter, IF Disney does decide to do an Atlantis: The Lost Empire live-action film I actually would love to see it turn into a trilogy. There are so many avenues to explore and stories to be told about the lost city of Atlantis and the thematic elements would be spectacular in theaters. I mean come on, those crystal necklaces and the journal from the film practically sell themselves, Disney.
An official announcement has yet to be made by Disney regarding a live-action remake, but if the project does get the green light what are some of the casting choices you would like to see for the live-action film? Would you rather see a live-action remake or a full fledged animated sequel in theaters? We would love for you to share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.
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Featured Photo Credit: Disney
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