Disney may not have announced its 2022 animated film yet, but speculation is growing about “Searcher Clade.” The project is poised to be the studio’s next major animated release after 2021’s “Encanto.” As with any Disney property, there’s still a lot to learn about the film.
Thanks to some new public reports, fans are starting to get their first details about the mysterious project. Trademark filings, for instance, may reveal the film’s possibly pivotal characters, while leaked casting notices also shed some light on its central ensemble (via DisInsider). Rumors even point to “Searcher Clade” having a biracial teenager as its lead. If true, the film could mark another exciting step towards increased on-screen diversity on the part of Disney.
The studio also appears to have given the film a coveted 2022 holiday slot. It’s a period that has paid off well for Disney before. “Frozen II,” for example, earned $1.45 billion worldwide after making its late November premiere in 2019 (via BoxOfficeMojo).
Right now, it looks like November 2022 is the earliest that animation fans should expect to see “Searcher Clade.” Disney Animation has already set November 23, 2022, as a release date for one of its upcoming titles — and many believe “Searcher Clade” is the film that will fill that space. Of course, release dates can be changed at any time — especially for animated films. However, if Disney were to push “Searcher Clade” from its presumed November 2022 premiere, that would likely mean the studio would have to release it sometime in 2023.
There has also been no word as of yet about whether or not the film will receive a day-and-date release on Disney+. After experimenting with the strategy over the past year, the studio seems to be, once again, prioritizing giving its titles exclusive theatrical windows ahead of on-demand or streaming premieres. For example, Disney announced its upcoming animated film, “Encanto,” will have a 30-day exclusive theatrical window before heading to Disney+. “Searcher Clade” may very well be released in a similar fashion.
Additionally, the film could become available through Disney+’s Premier Access level, which allows its users to view select first-run films on the streaming service only after paying an additional fee. Disney+ subscribers have previously been offered early Premier Access to films like “Mulan,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and “Black Widow.”
As of now, it is unclear who will star in “Searcher Clade.” That said, some early, allegedly leaked information points to a 14-year old teenager named Ethan Clade being the film’s lead (via DisInsider). Described as being both Caucasian and African American, the character may be a member of a biracial community often ignored in animated films. Of course, Ethan isn’t the film’s only character. Some of the other figures said to be appearing in the film include Meridian Clade and Captain Calypso Kahn, though, no details have been provided that hint at what either of their roles could be in the movie’s overall story.
All of which is to say that Disney fans will just have to wait to find out more about the cast and characters of “Searcher Clade.” Fortunately, Disney has a pretty good track record when it comes to casting its animated films, and there’s no reason to believe that streak will be broken this time.
Disney is not divulging the plot of “Searcher Clade” just yet. As a result, early speculation is based solely on the film’s rumored characters and tried-and-true Disney animation tropes. However, the film’s creative team is, notably, filled with some proven Disney talent.
For instance, director Don Hall and screenwriter Qui Nguyen are teaming up once again for the film. Their last outing, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” proved to be a success for Disney and earned widespread critical acclaim when it was released in March. The film currently holds an impressive 94% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 97% audience score.
To his credit, Hall also has a long history with Disney. His previous directing work includes “Moana,” “Big Hero 6,” and 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh.” Nguyen, meanwhile, has worked on noteworthy shows like “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” “The Society,” and “Incorporated.” Together, the pair should be able to turn “Searcher Clade” into another memorable Disney animated adventure.