Thanks to Disney, the upcoming years are going to be epic.
Disney’s D23 Expo is over, and what a ride it was! Below is an outlined recap of the weekend’s presentations in the grand Hall D23. To those who were fortunate enough to snag a seat for all/any of the presentations (one of those being myself): has your mind recovered from being blown?
But, first, a look at Walt Disney Studios’ release schedule, for the following two years.
Upcoming Disney Movie Releases
Are you excited, yet?
Pixar Animation Studios & Walt Disney Animation Studios
- During day one, John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, had hosted the Pixar/Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films presentation. The presentation had commenced with a look at a project by DisneyToon Studios. The (still) untitled project is focused on aircraft, à la Planes, and is expected for release on April 12, 2019.
- Kristen Bell, the voice behind Princess Anna of Disney Animation’s Frozen, had appeared on the Hall D23 stage to discuss the upcoming short film, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The 21-minute (!) short film will open in theaters in November, in front of Pixar’s Coco. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will take place during the first winter, since Anna and her elder sister, Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) had reopened their castle. Bell had teased one of four new songs from the short film. Josh Gad, who voices Olaf, had joined her on stage to perform the song!
- Frozen’s directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, alongside its producer, Peter Del Vecho, had gone on an extensive research trip to both Iceland and Norway, for its sequel. They had shared footage from their travels, with stills from fjords, volcanoes, waterfalls, and the like.
- Sarah Silverman, the voice behind Wreck-It Ralph’s Vanellope, as well as its directors, Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, had appeared on stage to discuss the upcoming film, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. In an exclusive clip from the film, Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) takes both Ralph and Vanellope on a VIP tour of the Internet, ending up at ohmydisney.com. The meta of ohmydisney.com had included nods to both Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios, as well as Disney Tsum Tsum stuffed toys (or, “little furry sausages with faces”, as Vanellope had called them).
Additionally, the film will feature animated appearances by Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell and Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear, as well as a union of Disney Princesses, such as Anna (Bell), Ariel (Jodi Benson) of The Little Mermaid, Elsa (Menzel), Belle (Paige O’Hara) of Beauty and the Beast, Jasmine (Linda Larkin) of Aladdin, Merida (Kelly Macdonald) of Brave, Moana (Auli‘i Cravalho) of Moana, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) of Mulan, and Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) of Pocahontas.
- To serve as a segue to The Incredibles 2, Lasseter had shown a fun video to the audience, featuring a slew of designers and models talking about the talent of the visionary Edna Mode (Brad Bird), in which you can watch by clicking, here. Then, Bird, who also serves as director and writer, had joined Lasseter in discussing the upcoming film.
- All but one of the original voice cast will be returning (with the exception of Dash, who will be voiced by Huck Milner due to Spencer Fox’s deepened voice in the intervening years), including Samuel L. Jackson, who had surprised the audience by joining Bird and Lasseter onstage. Before wrapping the segment, Bird had shared a clip from the film, with Jack-Jack having an adorably hilarious encounter with a raccoon, and his father, Bob (Craig T. Nelson), discovering that he (Jack-Jack) has powers.
- Lasseter had expressed to the audience that Toy Story 4 is dear and near to his heart. Josh Cooley will be the upcoming film’s sole director. Cooley had shared a video, where we were introduced to a new character, Lulu, as well as unfinished models of other toys, including a blue, unnamed bunny.
- Finally, Pixar’s upcoming original, untitled film will be set in a modernized fantasy world. Dan Scanlon, who had appeared onstage, had shared details on the film. In collaboration with Kori Rae, the film will be based on his personal story.
- The focus of day two had been on Disney’s live action slate. Firstly, Sean Bailey, head of production for Walt Disney Pictures, had discussed the upcoming film, A Wrinkle in Time. The film will be an adaptation of the infamous novel, with Meg (Storm Reid) as the center of the story. Reid had presented a trailer to the audience, alongside co-stars Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, newly inducted Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon, and director Ava DuVernay. Additionally, they reveal a new teaser poster, in which everyone was provided a copy of.
- The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, will release on November 2, 2018. The cast will include Dame Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant, and Charles Riley, as the Mouse King. The Mouse King will be CGI, made of from “hundreds of mice”; however, the character’s movements will be based on Riley’s own. Then, Riley had appeared onstage for a live performance of said movements.
- Mary Poppins Returns is said to continue the story of the original film. Director Rob Marshall joins Bailey to discuss the project, alongside Emily Blunt, who will play the titular character. To prepare for her role, Blunt had said that she had watched about 15 minutes of the original but had stopped, because she had wanted to “carve new material for herself”. Blunt had promised that “no one is going to ‘out Julie Andrews’ Julie Andrews”.
- Bailey had confirmed that a live action adaptation of Mulan is in pre-production, as well as a project based on the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Jungle Cruise attraction, featuring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. There will also be an adaptation of the animated Aladdin, with their Agrabah being a vibrant cosmopolitan city, inspired by various eras of the Middle East. Aladdin’s titular character will be played by Mena Massoud; Genie will be played by Will Smith; Princess Jasmine will be played by Power Rangers’ Naomi Scott.
- Dumbo had begun production in London, and the audience was given a glimpse of the three-and-a-half-foot Dumbo maquette that they will be using in the film. Dumbo will be released on March 29, 2019, and will feature Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, and Michael Keaton.
- Footage of the upcoming live action adaptation of The Lion King had featured a baby Simba, Pride Rock, Rafiki, and the song, “The Circle of Life”. Similar to the animated film, baby Simba sneezes before Rafiki blesses him. The film will feature Billy Eichner, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, John Oliver, and Seth Rogen.
Walt Disney Studios chairman, Alan Horn, had come out to present, on behalf of Lucasfilm. Horn had told the audience that Kathleen Kennedy is currently in London, working on the untitled film based on the Star Wars character of Han Solo. Rian Johnson, director and writer of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, alongside its stars, Benicio Del Toro, Daisy Ridley, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, John Boyega, and Laura Dern, had appeared onstage to discuss the film. Mark Hamill, the face of the Star Wars franchise, joins those on the stage and, upon Johnson fanboying over Hamill, introduces a behind-the-scenes video.
Finally, Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, had begun the Marvel Studios presentation with a new 10-year anniversary logo for the studios. He had exclaimed that Avengers: Infinity War will be “a culmination of [the studio’s] 10 years, and that Thanos (Josh Brolin) is the collection”. Brolin had joined Feige onstage, as well as Anthony Mackie, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Dave Bautista, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Karen Gillan, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Pom Klementieff, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, and Tom Holland.
Then, director Joe Russo had appeared onstage, to present a look back at the last 10 years of Marvel Studios: the destruction of Stark Tower, the Infinity Stones, the origins of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Downey), Thor’s hammer (Mjölnir), and other various scenes from the 16 Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date, all of which is culminated in a shot where Thanos is picking the Infinity Gauntlet up in his grasp.
But, then, the reel transitions into an Infinity War tease (!). The tease had begun with Thor (Hemsworth) slamming into the windshield of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s starship, which had kicked off a montage of scenes, (probably) from the film’s first cut. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is seen grasping the Tesseract, and Iron Man is with the Guardians; Thanos is battling Star-Lord (Chris Pratt); Peter Parker (Holland) is seen wearing his upgraded Spider-Man suit (in which die-hard fans, such as myself, had recognized it as a variant of the famed armor from the Marvel comic books).
Oh, and Captain America Steve Rogers has a beard, similar to below. Swoon.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
- Also, during day two, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts had revealed the name of the Star Wars-inspired lands, expected to open in both the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort in 2019. The name had been revealed to be—insert drum roll technique, here— Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
- Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, had also confirmed that a Star Wars-inspired resort is in the works, at Walt Disney World! Chapek had said, “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with adventures, characters, and stories that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits”.
- Toy Story Land will open at Walt Disney World, in the summer of 2018 (just in time for my 30th birthday)! Toy Story Land will include two new attractions: Alien Swirl Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash!
- A Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction, a TRON-themed attraction (similar to TRON: Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland), and new Minnie Mouse-themed vehicles for the Disney Skyliner are also in the works at Walt Disney World.
- You will be able to dine in space at a restaurant close to Mission: SPACE at Epcot. Also, coming to Epcot: a Guardians of the Galaxy experience in Future World, and Ratatouille: The Adventure 4-D Experience in the France Pavilion!
- Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will be a new Marvel Studios-themed re-imagination of the Disney’s Hotel New York at Disneyland Paris. Chapek had said, “[Disney Parks] is going to create a hotel at Disneyland Paris that would make Tony Stark proud. I’m thrilled to announce that Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will transport our guests to the action-packed, inspiring world of superheroes including [the Avengers and Spider-Man]”.
- Pixar Pier will be taking over Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure Park. Additionally, a brand new Pixar-themed fireworks display will be coming to Disneyland.
- Finally, it seems as if someone at Disney had read my article, for there will (finally) be a “Marvel Studios Land” of sorts, at DCA! Soon, the Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by the Avengers and Spider-Man, in what will become an immersive superhero experience at the park. These new additions will build on the success of the new and (already) popular Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction.
I know, I know…that was a lot to take in! What was your most favorite reveal? Least favorite? Let me know, in the comments! I hope to see you at the next D23 Expo, in 2019!
(Featured image via Disney D23)