As exciting (and noisy) as the animation panel was exciting I was in for a big surprise with the live-action panel at the D23 Expo. I am not kidding when I say the room when NUTS on several occasions. People camped out for hours to get into the room packed with 7,500 people, and they were anxious to find out what Disney, Marvel and Lucas Films have in store. All three film studios represented well with huge announcements and even bigger guest appearances. And I have to admit, I may have lost my voice screaming along!
As to which movie I am most excited to see, I want to see them all — now!
Marvel’s Doctor Strange
Marvel fans get ready for a movie that’s a little strange as in Doctor Strange (said with my most villainous voice). Kevin Feige gave us a glimpse into the world of Marvel’s Doctor Strange including a pre-production presentation filled with concept art of what Doctor Strange and his powers might look like. The presentation also included a video greeting by Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the title character.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Kevin Feige started by telling audiences that cast and crew are currently filming in Germany so he was sorry they didn’t have much to share, but they did have one special hero on hand Anthony Mackie and oh, by the way he brought his friend Chris Evans. (Insert crazy pandemonium here.) What’s more, they brought with them never-before-seen-footage from the movie. And I have to tell you, the movie looks fantastic!
Filled with superheroes including Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Falcon and, of course, Captain America I was most excited to see the appearance of Ant Man in the film. Yes, the newest Avenger is already taking his place in the Marvel World.
Look for a very special Easter Egg in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, a nod to D23, which opens May 6, 2016.
I have to add, that Chris Evans knows how to rock a blue sweater. That is all.
The Finest Hours
Changing direction a little, we learned about a the everyday heroes from The Finest Hours. I love Disney’s ability to choose captivating re-life stories to retell so that the rest of the world can learn of the greatness that happens everyday and after seeing the trailer for The Finest Hours, there is no doubt this movie will live up to its predecessors.
The Jungle Book
A classic Disney animated film turned into a live-action movie for the whole family, of course I am excited. The Jungle Book stars Neel Sethi (man-cub Mowgli), Ben Kingsley (panther-turned-mentor Bagheera) and Lupita Nyong’o (mother wolf Raksha) took the stage to talk about their roles in the film. Then together we all watched a brand new trailer, that even the stars had not yet seen.
At the end of the trailer the D23Expo audience was on its feet cheering and the cast was all smiles giving each other giant high-fives. This looks to be a fantastic retelling of the beloved tale. And my favorite moment in trailer was seeing Baloo (Bill Murray) humming the Bare Necessities as he floated on his back down the river with Mowgli on his belly.
I have to mention that it seems the lovely Lupita Nyong’o has become Disney’s darling taking the stage for her role in a total of three movies during the live action panel. Go Lupita!
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Things got, “Curiouser and curiouser!” when Mia Wasikowska took the stage to share a preview of Alice Through the Looking Glass. In the film, Alice travels back to the whimsical world of Underland where a lot has changed since she left. In order to save the Mad Hatter she meets Time himself and must travel back in time, but will she be able to save him? Find out May 27, 2016.
During the expo I had a chance to look through the looking glass, and I find a digital version of myself who looked like the Red Queen (in a creepy sort of way) at the Through The Looking Glass booth.
When it came time to talk about the new Pete’s Dragon it dawned on me that my girls have never seen original. So I hurried over to Amazon, where I was delighted to find I can rent Pete’s Dragon for my family. (Good old Amazon!) With that out of the way, I was ready to learn about the new version slated for April 12, 2016.
For those who aren’t familiar with Pete’s Dragon (other than seeing him in the Main Street Electrical Parade), it is the heartwarming adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. Bryce Dallas Howard talked about her starring role as Pete’s mom in the reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film.
Queen of Katwe
I mentioned Disney’s darling for the day Lupita Nyong’o who made her second appearance on stage for her role in Queen of Katwe. The movie is based on the inspirational true story of a girl from the poverty-stricken slums of rural Uganda who dreams of becoming a champion chess player. No word on a release date yet.
Beauty and the Beast
The tale as old as time is getting a brand new look with a live action film starring Emma Watson. It was confirmed at the D23 Expo that Beauty and the Beast will be a musical, and Luke Evans and Josh Gadd sang a few bars via video message of “Gaston.” Oh the hilarity. Although we didn’t get any new looks at the film, we did learn that there will be two new original songs for the movie. Be our guest March 17, 2017.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
In classic style, Johnny Depp had the audience going crazy when he arrived in full Jack Sparrow regalia — throwing grapes at the audience no less. Oh Johnny! But his arrival was nothing (especially since everyone knew he was at D23 the day before) compared to the announcement that Orlando Bloom will return as Will Turner.
Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas. Join the crew July 7, 2017.
And the audience nearly fell apart with announcement after announcement that rocked the galaxy. Where to start? There were announcements made for Episodes VII, VIII and IX plus TWO stand-alone Star Wars films. TWO!
Let’s just go in chronological order.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Did you know The Force Awakens teaser had 30,000 million views in 24 hours. With Episode VII in theaters December 18, 2015, there weren’t many big announcements for the film. But good old Lupita Nyong’o was back on the stage again for her role as Maz Kanata.
On the heels of Episode VII in 2016 Lucas Films will release the first stand-alone Star Wars movie, Rouge One. Telling the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star the film is slated for December 16, 2016. And the D23 Expo audience got the first look at the cast.
Star Wars Episode VIII
In 2017 Lucas Films will release Star Wars Episode VIII. Although this film was just briefly mentioned it is slated for May 26, 2017.
Untitled Han Solo
Speaking of Han, Star Wars fans will get yet another stand-alone movie in 2018. This still untitled film will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay. Slated for May 25, 2018.
Star Wars Episode IX
And the Star Wars news kept coming with a giant announcement for Episode IX that Colin Trevorrow has signed on to direct. The final chapter in the Star Wars saga is scheduled for 2019.
Yes, after decades of waiting there will be a new Star Wars film in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019!!! Clearly Disney Parks’ announcement of Star Wars Land coming to both Disney World and Disneyland was on point.
Whew! It was a huge day full of announcements from Disney that clearly the audience was excited to hear. Here’s a three-minute recap of the excitement.