#D23Expo: Walt Disney Studios first looks, announcements, and news; Cruella, Raya, Mulan and beyond
The entirety of the The Walt Disney Studios made a gigantic showing at the D23 Expo this weekend to announce and tease several of the projects currently in the pipeline under the house of mouse. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, Disney live action’s Sean Bailey, Pixar’s Pete Docter and Disney Animation’s Jennifer Lee were all assembled with chairman and Chief Creative Officer Alan Horn to stun and amaze the assemblage of more than 7,000 people at the Anaheim Convention Center!
If you missed our live Tweets (below) on Saturday then you can see a full recap which follows here!
— MouseInfo @ D23 Expo (@MouseInfo) August 24, 2019
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” director/writer/producer J.J. Abrams showcased the riveting conclusion to the Skywalker saga. Kennedy and Abrams revved up the audience, introducing nine stars from the film—many of whom marked this as their first D23 Expo appearance: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran and Billy Dee Williams, plus special appearances from R2-D2, BB-8 and the new droid D-O. A brand-new poster was revealed—and gifted to the entire audience. And all were given a look back at the incredible legacy of Star Warsstorytelling and treated to a sneak peek.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.
BLACK PANTHER 2
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, kicked off his presentation with a surprise visit from “Black Panther” director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. They gave us virtually nothing other than an opening date.
BLACK PANTHER 2 (working title) opens in theaters on May 6, 2022.
Feige segued to next year’s “The Eternals,” inviting cast members from the much-anticipated film to the stage: Richard Madden, who portrays the all-powerful Ikaris; Kumail Nanjiani, who plays cosmic-powered Kingo; Lauren Ridloff, who portrays the super-fast Makkari, the first deaf hero in the MCU; Brian Tyree Henry, who plays the intelligent inventor Phastos; Salma Hayek, who plays the wise and spiritual leader Ajak; Lia McHugh, who portrays the eternally young, old-soul Sprite; Don Lee, who plays the powerful Gilgamesh; and Angelina Jolie, who stars as the fierce warrior Thena. Feige revealed concept art images of each character, and announced three new cast members and their characters: Gemma Chan, who plays humankind-loving Sersi; Kit Harington, who was cast as non-Eternal Dane Whitman, and Barry Keoghan, who portrays aloof loner Druig, and was on hand for the event. Directed by Chloé Zhao, who helmed the critically acclaimed Sundance film “The Rider,”
THE ETERNALS opens in theaters on Nov. 6, 2020.
Feige concluded with “Black Widow,” the Cate Shortland-directed first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige shared a pre-recorded greeting featuring stars Scarlett Johansson, who reprises her role of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; David Harbour, who was cast as Alexei the Red Guardian; and Florence Pugh, who plays Yelena. The audience was also treated to an exclusive look at the upcoming film.
BLACK WIDOW opens in theaters on May 1, 2020.
— MouseInfo @ D23 Expo (@MouseInfo) August 24, 2019
Disney Live Action
Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, took the audience through upcoming releases for the studio, including next summer’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rousing adventure inspired by the classic theme-park attraction. Star Dwayne Johnson, who plays riverboat captain Frank Wolff, entered Hall D23 aboard an original Jungle Cruise boat, introducing a “trailer” that showed off his character—so much so, that co-star Emily Blunt, who portrays Dr. Lily Houghton, arrived via classic car to share with fans her own “trailer,” offering a different perspective—Bailey laughingly informed Johnson and Blunt that neither trailer was official. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.
JUNGLE CRUISE opens in theaters on July 24, 2020.
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
Bailey welcomed Angelina Jolie back to the stage to present exclusive footage and details about Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” the exciting follow-up to the hit 2014 film. Maleficent, portrayed by Jolie, and her goddaughter Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and new dark forces at play. Aurora’s imminent marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration—however, Prince Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith, portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, challenges Maleficent’s role as Aurora’s mother figure. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Connal, one of the leaders of the dark fey who becomes Maleficent’s ally. Ejiofor, Pfeiffer and Fanning were all welcomed to the stage by an enthusiastic audience. Directed by Joachim Rønning, who co-helmed 2017’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL in theaters on October 18, 2019.
Bailey next introduced acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro, director of “Mulan,” the upcoming live-action reimagining of the 1998 classic animated film. Caro expressed to fans her passion for the project, sharing several minutes of footage from the epic adventure inspired by one of China’s fiercest warriors. In Disney’s “Mulan,” the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders. So, the eldest daughter of an honored but ailing warrior masquerades as a man, transforming into a heroic warrior to ultimately earn her the respect of a grateful nation and a proud father.
MULAN opens in theaters on March 27, 2020.
Next up, Bailey shared details about “Cruella,” an all-new feature film starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. Stone, who plays the iconic “Cruella,” sent D23 Expo fans a greeting from the London-based set with help from a spotted, four-legged co-star. Fans also got a glimpse of an image of Stone in full costume with Cruella’s signature black-and-white hair. Director Craig Gillespie, who helmed “I, Tonya” and “The Finest Hours,” brings “Cruella” to the big screen with a fresh, 1970s, punk-rock approach.
CRUELLA opens in theaters on May 28, 2021.
Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios’ Chief Creative
SOUL opens in theaters on June 19, 2020.
Docter next introduced director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae, who shared details and more than ten minutes of exclusive footage from Pixar’s upcoming feature film “Onward.” The movie stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left in the world. Set in a modern fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” is inspired by Scanlon’s personal experiences with his brother. Holland, Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus—who voices Mom in the movie—joined the filmmakers on stage—much to the delight of the audience, who all received an exclusive “Onward” poster.
ONWARD opens in theaters on March 6, 2020.
Walt Disney Animation Studios
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee presented an overview of the studio’s next two features, beginning with the Thanksgiving 2020 fantasy-action-adventure,
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON opens in theaters on November 25, 2020.
Lee, who directs “Frozen 2” with Chris Buck, and wrote the screenplay, invited Buck to join her on stage as the Oscar®-winning duo revealed new details about the upcoming film. Lee and Buck introduced two new “Frozen 2” cast members: Sterling K. Brown, who voices Lieutenant Destin Mattias, and Evan Rachel Wood, who voices Queen Iduna, Anna and Elsa’s mother. The crowd—who received an exclusive D23 Expo “Frozen 2” poster—saw never-before-seen footage of the new characters, including a scene that featured Wood as Iduna singing to young Elsa and Anna. The song, “All Is Found,” is one of seven all-new original songs by Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The audience also saw a sequence from the movie that showcased Elsa’s yearning for answers about the past, culminating in another song, “Into the Unknown.” And a climactic performance of the song “Some Things Never Change” by Menzel, Bell, Groff and Gad brought the audience to its feet, capping off the studio presentation in extraordinary style.
FROZEN 2 ventures theaters on November 22, 2019.
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