When last we saw Pete’s Dragon he (and it) looked like this:

So as you can see, this version is not quite the same thing. Most significantly, the new Pete’s Dragon is not a musical. For another, it’s directed by David Lowery, formerly best known as an indie director of such fine films as Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. While it maintains the central premise of the original film from 1977, Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon will clearly be a different animal entirely. Here’s the official plot description from Disney:

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.

Hmmm, what could the truth be? Could the truth be that there is in fact a dragon? (Actually, it would be kind of cool if the twist was there wasn’t in this version.)

The trailer looks vaguely Jungle Book-y to me (which is interesting, since Disney is also releasing a live-action version of The Jungle Book this year, directed by Jon Favreau. In addition to Lowery and the fascinating combo of indie sensibilities and Disney children’s movie, the movie also has a strong cast, with Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley, and Karl Urban.

Pete’s Dragon opens in theaters on August 12.

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