One movie that kind of slid under the radar at the D23 expo in Anaheim this weekend was Disney’s reboot of the 1977 musical “Pete’s Dragon.” A small amount of footage was debuted on stage with cast member Bryce Dallas Howard showcasing a new, furry dragon tail. That’s a big change from the original flick, so what else was removed or updated?
Speaking with Howard on the D23 press line, we zeroed in on the big differences between this remake and the original.
One, there will be no singing. Two, the new dragon will have fur. And three, Howard implied that the outdated songs about child abuse from the original villains, the Gogans family, would possibly not be present from this “very different” story.
FULL COVERAGE: D23 EXPO
Here’s our full interview and transcript:
“Pete’s Dragon” has a lot of beautiful songs in it, “Candle on the Water,” are you guys revising that in any way?
Bryce Dallas Howard: No. I don’t think we could do it any better. Honestly. This is not a musical, although Wes [Bentley] and I tried really hard to work in some music here and there. There’s a few humming moments. But no, this is a partially animated film, of course, because of the dragon. But it’s very different from the original in that way.
The original dragon was this really adorable flat, 2D creature. Can you describe for us what the dragon looks like to you, and is he still green?
Well huge, yes green. Furry, friendly.
Furry that’s new.
Yeah. He’s like a puppy dog. Just really sweet. I just want a pet dragon so badly.
There are also a lot of odd elements that don’t really hold up to time in “Pete’s Dragon” like the kid comes from a family that kind of abused him and they have a whole song about it. How are you guys going to tackle that, is it gone? Is the kid not from that family anymore?
It’s really different this story. It still has the essence of what was so great about the original “Pete’s Dragon.” This is a story of an orphaned boy whose best friend is what everyone thinks is an imaginary character, and it’s actually a real dragon. And during the course of his journey he finds his family. So that’s still intact. But everything else is very different. Everything else.
How hard does the town actually fight him on this? They go pretty far in the original film.
Yeah, definitely people don’t believe him, at first. I’m actually one of those characters. My character is a woman who is very pragmatic, a realist. And during the story she comes to realize that maybe magic is possible. So yeah there’s some conflict around that for sure.
Too bad about the singing, however here’s hoping that all signs of the Gogans and their songs about child abuse will be gone from the new adaptation. The new “Pete’s Dragon” is slated for release almost a year from now on Aug. 12, 2016.
MORE D23 EXPO: