This past weekend, I was at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California where I heard all the announcements and presentations from Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. Read on to learn all the upcoming movies and guest surprises from that day!
There are so many amazing films that are coming out in the next few years for Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. Many we already knew about, and many presented on Saturday, July 15 were a big surprise. I mean BIG BIG surprise. Read on my friends…..
The excitement and energy in the room was palpable as Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn took the stage. We couldn’t wait to learn about the upcoming film slate for each of these studios. Here’s a quick peek at what we experienced:
Live Action Slate for Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm
A Wrinkle in Time – March 9, 2018
Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, presented the Disney live-action slate, beginning with A Wrinkle in Time. Cast members Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine along with newcomer Storm Reid and director Ava DuVernay introduced the new teaser trailer. The film also stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, André Holland and Rowan Blanchard, with Zach Galifianakis.
The teaser trailer was visually stunning and left you wanting more. I am so excited to see this film with my family this Spring.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – November 2, 2018
I love the Holiday tale, The Nutcracker and I am excited to see this classic tale told differently in this new film. It stars Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, newcomer Mackenzie Foy as Clara, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, Morgan Freeman as godfather Drosselmeyer, and featuring a special performance by dancer Misty Copeland.
We saw a quick teaser trailer and then were treated to a special performance by Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck. He was the inspiration for the Mouse King, who in this film is CG-created and represented by thousands of mice. Filmmakers worked with Lil Buck to develop the Mouse King with his special style of dancing, called Jookin and he gave us a quick example of his style by dancing for us to some of The Nutcracker’s most recognizable songs. It was incredible!
Mary Poppins Returns – December 25, 2018
One of the most anticipated films for me, I was so happy to learn more information about Mary Poppins Returns from director Rob Marshall and Mary Poppins herself, Emily Blunt. It was great to hear that she wanted to honor Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins, but also wanted to carve out a place for herself. The movie is actually a sequel that takes place 20 years after the first, starring the Banks children as adults.
We were given an exclusive first look at the film, which was accompanied by a live orchestra performing original new music from the film conducted by composer Marc Shaiman. The crowd erupted into cheers when Mary Poppins appears in the sky and comes down to rescue the Banks family again:
“In this original musical sequel to the 1964 “Mary Poppins,” Mary and her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, embark on entirely new adventures with the next generation of the Banks family to help them find the joy and wonder missing in their lives.”
The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary’s William Weatherall Wilkins and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin Topsy. And as if that wasn’t enough star power for you, Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady and Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.
Dumbo – March 29, 2019
Legendary filmmaker, Tim Burton is directing the live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo. The film stars Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier, a former circus star and war-veteran charged with the care of a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock of an already struggling circus. The movie also stars Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton. While hearing a clip of Burton introducing the film, a life-sized Dumbo puppet was rolled onstage – he was precious!
The Lion King – July 19, 2019
Another exciting moment from the panel came without any introduction. A teaser clip of the opening to the live-action version of The Lion King that was eerily similar to the animated version was met with thunderous applause. Everyone – I mean everyone – had to have chills in the room when they showed us the precious Simba.
Jon Favreau, who also created the live-action remake of “The Jungle Book,” plans to use all-new filmmaking techniques that promise striking visuals never before seen on the big screen. He expressed the sentiment that most of us have for the animated version. “This is a story that belongs to everyone who grew up with the original film,” said Favreau. “I wanted to demonstrate that we could be respectful of the source material while bringing it to life using new techniques and technologies.”
The Lion King will star Donald Glover as Simba and James Earl Jones as Mufasa.
Other Walt Disney Studios Announcements:
- “Mulan,” a live-action take on Disney’s 1998 feature, which will be helmed by Niki Caro.
- “Jungle Cruise,” a live-action nod to the popular theme park ride will star Dwayne Johnson.
- “Aladdin,” directed by Guy Ritchie, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – December 15, 2017
Rian Johnson, the writer and director of the latest chapter in the Skywalker saga, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” took the stage and introduced the talent from the film, including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
We then saw this special sneak peek of behind-the-scenes footage:
“It’s about family. And that’s what’s so powerful about it.” – Carrie Fisher
Not a dry eye in the house after that one.
And it was incredible hearing the cast talk about the film. Touching to hear Mark Hamill speak so lovingly about Carrie Fisher. I mean really…..we were in the SAME ROOM as Luke Skywalker.
And to think you couldn’t top that moment…….
Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018
Can you believe that it will be the 10th Anniversary for Marvel Studios next year? Ten years since we met our first Marvel hero onscreen – IronMan.
Kicking off that anniversary is with Avengers: Infinity War starring every Marvel Super Hero we have met onscreen – Avengers, Guardians, Kings, and more! Head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige told us in the audience that even though Infinity War is in the middle of shooting, he decided to bring a few friends to show us the teaser from the movie.
And out walks Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Mackie and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bethany and Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland and Chadwick Boseman and Josh Brolin and Don Cheadle and Sebastian Stan and Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff!!!!! It was mind-blowing how many Marvel Heroes were onstage at once!!
And then the teaser for Infinity War – it did not disappoint y’all – can’t wait for it to be released!!
As a fan of movies, especially from the Disney brand, this was such an exciting panel. To be one of the very first to learn about new movie releases, secrets from upcoming films AND to see the stars themselves, it’s every movie fan’s dream! And believe me, I already have ALL these dates on my calendar! Which ones are you looking forward to most?
Other Fun News from the D23 Expo
Disclosure: I was invited by Disney to attend the D23 Expo, learn about DuckTales and visit Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes. All opinions are my own.