Nautilus on Disney+ will be a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea prequel

Walt Disney's 1954 adaptation of Jules Verne's iconic novel is getting a live-action prequel series exclusively on Disney+.


In the franchise-fueled world of modern media, no IP will stay unturned for long.

It has been revealed that Disney commissioned an exclusive series to debut on the Disney+ streaming service and which will act as the prequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The show is going to be called Nautilus, after the fantastical submarine central to the plot.

The legendary Jules Verne novel is no stranger to being roped into franchise schemes. Verne's own publisher had the writer develop a temporally unreconcilable sequel which also acted as a cross-over with his other novel, In Search of the Castaways. Since then, numerous adaptations have tackled the original story, while themes and characters have been lifted for other works, such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

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Disney adapted the novel directly in 1954, and it is to this film that Nautilus will act as a prequel to. Since the company only just announced plans to create the show, practically nothing is known about the production at this point. The series will be live action, and so far 10 episodes have been ordered.

The title Nautilus refers to the high-tech submarine of scientist and exile Captain Nemo, whose expedition is as much about seeking new knowledge as seeing revenge on those who wronged him. The show will be more concerned with Nemo's backstory than with any of the other characters in the novel.

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Fleshing out the past of the captain is something many adaptations have chosen to do, including the novel's original sequel, The Mysterious Island. This is partially due to the interesting real-world history of the character's development, who was initially conceived as a Polish nobleman whose family was murdered by Russians.

Nautilus is the name of Nemo's advanced submarine, mistaken by governments for a sea monster.

Russia and France were allies at the time of publication, so references to this were removed and an alternate origin was implied. Verne later changed things entirely, revealing Nemo's identity as a deposed East Indian prince. This characterization stuck with most adaptations, but the open ended nature of the original novel led to some deviations.

So far one script and further outlines exist, with production set to begin in 2022. Cast and crew have yet to be attached to the project, and since Disney has a history of false starts with attempts to return to 20,000 Leagues, we'll believe it when we see it. If we had to guess, the story will depict the traumatic event that leads to Nemo's self-imposed exile and the development of the Nautilus craft itself.

Nautilus has no projected release date, but will be exclusive to Disney+.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing, editing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.