This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A “Whole New World”: Race and Representation in Disney’s Live-Action Remakes of Aladdin, The Lion King, and Mulan




Elmogahzy, Amany

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


When Disney began adapting their animated classics into live-action remakes, the studio assumed that this representational shift would be a perfect fit for their audiences. However, these films, specifically quickly became contested sites of cultural discussion, with audiences demanding inclusivity and diversity in their production practices. This study examines how audience discourses are shaping public understanding of Disney’s films with regard to their racial politics. In critically examining the representations and the paratexts surrounding both the animated and live-action texts of Aladdin (2019), The Lion King (2019), and Mulan (2020), this analysis interrogates the racial ideologies which have defines Disney’s representations of race historically and in contemporary contexts. Ultimately, this study evaluates to what extent the pre-reception discourse continues to influence Disney’s approach to the casting of their films.