During the D23 Expo Disney-Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios shared news about their gigantic (pun intended) lineups of animated films currently in production. It was crazy to be in the audience as 7,500 fans went crazy over each huge announcement and guest appearance. Listening to the three-hour presentation everyone grew more and more excited with each surprise. In the end I was left quite unsure as to which movie I am most excited about – perhaps all of them!
From talking animals to princesses and new stories to a retelling of classic tales and, of course, the continuing story of beloved characters Disney was ready to wow the audience with an inside look at Zootopia, The Good Dinosaur, Gigantic, Moana, Finding Dory, Coco and Toy Story 4.
Ginnifer Goodwin took the stage for Zootopia to talk about her role as rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps who plans to be, “best parking meter attendant ever!” The big surprise for Zootopia was the announcement of Grammy®-winning Shakira joining the cast as Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia.
In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends.
See Zootopia in theaters March 4, 2016.
The Good Dinosaur
Set in prehistoric times The Good Dinosaur follows the story of Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home, and Spot, Arlo’s unlikely human friend. “Arlo and Spot journey through a world that has been greatly inspired by the American Northwest,” said Sohn. “It is epic in scope, soul-enriching and simultaneously beautiful and treacherous. In this world, we meet up with a very special family of T-Rexes, who help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he’s truly made of.”
See The Good Dinosaur in theaters November 25, 2015.
Gigantic is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, which John Lasseter told the D23 Expo audience is favorite fairy tale of all time. And this version, Lasseter assured the audience, is to be the “definitive version.” We saw a sneak peek at some early sketches of the film, and it was clear to see this is not your ordinary Jack and the Beanstalk tale. For one, Jack’s giant is a girl!
The music of Gigantic will come Oscar-winning Frozen songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez who treated the audience to one of the early songs from the film. In the song an 11-year-old giant named Ima, who is 60 feet tall treats Jack like her very own dolly. I can’t wait to learn more about the world at the top of the beanstalk.
See Gigantic in theaters in 2018.
Disney’s newest princess will be a 16-year-old Samoan girl who wants to explore like her ancestors. Once the strongest sailors in the world, her people no longer explore the ocean. Despite of the wishes of her father, King Tui, Moana sets sail on a mission to prove herself with her pet pig, Pua, her rooster, Hei Hei, by her side.
Moana will be a musical with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i working on its songs. Although there is still no word on who will voice Moana it was announced during the D23 Expo that Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, will voice the demigod Maui.
See Moana in theaters November 23, 2016.
Ellen Degeneres has waited 12 years for this day, and she looked as please as she could be to take the stage at the D23 Expo to talk about Finding Dory. The highly-anticipated sequel to the beloved Finding Nemo will follow Dory’s journey to find her family. But Ellen isn’t the only big name to take to the sea, joining her on stage was Ed O’Neil (Hank, a cantankerous octopus), Ty Burrell (Bailey, a misguided beluga whale) and Kaitlin Olson (a kind-hearted whale shark). The cast also includes Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy and Albert Brooks.
See Finding Dory in theaters June, 16, 2016.
The newly titled Pixar movie Coco is a Day of the Dead celebration based off the spirited skeleton characters in Disney’s It’s a Small World ride. With vibrant colors and music it is described as celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion. Staring a 12 year-old boy living in rural Mexico named Miguel, Coco is like a big family reunion between living and the dead.
See Coco in theaters fall 2017.
Toy Story 4
The final animated film discussed at the D23 Expo was Toy Story 4. In celebration of the original’s 20th anniversary John Lasseter promised that he always said that they “would not make a Toy Story 4 unless the story was as good or better than what they did in the first three.” And guess what, they did it! The big surprise announcement was that Toy Story 4 will revolve around a love story between Woody and Bo Peep as Woody and Buzz set off on an adventure to save Bo Peep.
See Toy Story 4 in theaters June 16, 2017.
Randy Newman closed the event by performing You’ve Got A Friend In Me as Green Army Men swung from the rafters and Toy Story toys took the stage. It was a production fitting of the legacy of Disney-Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
There are so many exciting movies planned from both companies, which one are you most excited about?