If you missed my Disney Pixar Animation recap from earlier, you have to be sure to check that out here. I’ll be giving you the rundown of everything I got to experience this past weekend at the D23 Expo in Los Angeles. My hope is that you’ll feel like you were sitting right next to me (and that you put it on your calendar for 2019).
So let’s get into it! This was my favorite presentation because so many films I’ve been waiting to get more information on, were revealed and I’m giving you the scoop right here. Check out what Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm have been working on.
A Wrinkle In Time (#WrinkleInTime)
As soon as this film was announced from the D23 Expo stage, I got excited because I was sure that Disney would have most/all of the cast there. As soon as Ava DuVernay announced the cast members for this film last year, I started the countdown. So when I realized she might actually be in the building, I was ecstatic.
Sean Bailey (President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production) welcomed the cast members Disney Legend, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine along with newcomer Storm Reid and visionary director Ava DuVernay to the D23 stage, where they surprised us with a first look at the film’s teaser trailer and teaser poster.
And then, as if we were on The Oprah Winfrey Show (and only as she could do), Oprah emphatically yelled: “And you get a poster! You get a poster! You get a poster! Everyone gets a posterrrr!” Hey, it wasn’t the car all 7,000 of us were hoping for, but I gladly took the poster! #classic
Directed by Ava DuVernay (yaaassssss) from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, A WRINKLE IN TIME is produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer.
The film also stars:
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw
- Michael Peña
- Levi Miller
- Deric McCabe
- André Holland
- Rowan Blanchard, with Zach Galifianakis.
About the film:
Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who is desperate to fit in. As the daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it for herself.
Making matters even worse is the baffling disappearance of Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) to three celestial guides—Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)—who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they set off on their formidable quest.
Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are soon transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must look deep within herself and embrace her flaws to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness closing in on them.
Here is the new teaser trailer for A WRINKLE IN TIME:
A WRINKLE IN TIME opens in theatres everywhere on March 9th, 2018!
Also related: Ava DuVernay Announces Cast of A Wrinkle in Time
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms
Everyone knows and loves this classic. It will never get old, so I’m thrilled that Disney is giving it new life.
Starring 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 Misty Copeland, the movie is inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is directed by Lasse Hallström and produced by Mark Gordon and Larry Franco.
The film largely takes place in a strange and mysterious parallel world—home to Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. But it’s the ominous Fourth Realm where Clara must take on a tyrant called Mother Ginger as well as a gang of mice who’ve stolen a coveted key from Clara.
I loved the opening with Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck when he hit the stage at D23 Expo 2017 to demonstrate the kind of street dancing—called jookin—that informed the way his character moves in the film. The performance brought the crowd to our feet. There was so much passion coming off of that stage!
THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS open in theatres everywhere on November 2nd, 2018!
Mary Poppins Returns (#MaryPoppinsReturns)
Us D23 fans were in for a treat when Emily Blunt, the star of Disney’s sequel Mary Poppins Returns, took to the stage with director/producer Rob Marshall to talk about the eagerly-anticipated return of the practically-perfect nanny.
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.
Blunt and Marshall answered questions from Sean Bailey, with Blunt offering insight on how she made the character her own. “I needed to try to pay homage to Julie Andrews, but carve out a new space for myself,” said Blunt. “And we were very loyal to the books.” Rob Marshall shared, “I was incredibly honored to be approached by Disney about directing a sequel. This is a brand-new original film musical from top to bottom, which is very rare, and it is a wonderful opportunity to create something specifically for the screen.”
D23 attendees were then treated to 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, eliciting thunderous applause. Talk about AH-MAZING!!!!
MARY POPPINS RETURNS opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th, 2018
D23 Expo 2017 fans were greeted from across the pond by visionary filmmaker Tim Burton, who is busy directing his next project—a live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic DUMBO.
Who doesn’t love Dumbo? Do y’all remember how he got his name? Here’s a cute refresher for you. They brought out the real live sculpture of the Dumbo they will use in the live-action film, and let’s just say, he is every bit as cute as he was back in the day when he was first introduced. I’m so excited about being able to relive so many Disney childhood memories with my own children. Dumbo is one of them.
DUMBO flies into theaters everywhere on March 29th, 2019!
The Lion King (#TheLionKing)
Alan Horn joined Sean Bailey to surprise the D23 Expo crowd with a special look at director Jon Favreau’s new live-action take on Disney’s 1994 classic animated film THE LION KING.
The technology team behind the movie are introducing all-new filmmaking techniques that promise striking visuals never before seen on the big screen—bringing celebrated characters to life in a whole new way.
Honestly, when the picture first popped up on the screen, I swore we were looking at a Disneynature film. This is how real it looked. Baby Simba is the absolute cutest and I just wanted to hug him through the screen. I’ll be getting a Simba stuffed animal as soon as they’re out 🙂
I am so excited that the team decided to do something special for the D23 Expo audience and give us a first look at what they’ve been up to.
THE LION KING is one of the biggest animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office gross of $968.8 million!!! In 1997, the stage production inspired by the film made its Broadway debut, subsequently winning six Tony® Awards; 19 years later, it remains one of Broadway’s biggest hits.
Starring Donald Glover as Simba, and James Earl Jones as—naturally—Mufasa, Favreau’s live-action version of THE LION KING is produced by Favreau, Jeffrey Silver and Karen Gilchrist.
We also got to attend a special Lion King celebration and hear all about how the Lion King almost didn’t happen. Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing more on this later.
THE LION KING roars into theaters everywhere on July 19th, 2019!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (#StarWars, #TheLastJedi)
Alan Horn welcomed Rian Johnson, the writer and director of the latest chapter in the Skywalker saga, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Johnson thrilled the audience by introducing talent from the film, including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
We were then treated to a special sneak peek of behind-the-scenes footage from the highly anticipated movie:
In Lucasfilm’s STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of THE FORCE AWAKENS join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman are producing, with J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theaters everywhere on December 15th!
Avengers: Infiinity War (#Avengers, #InfinityWar)
Stop.the.PRESS!!! This is pretty much what I yelled once this part of the session got started. This was a perfect way to close out this part of the D23 Expo.
Kevin Feige took to the stage for Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. To start the ball rolling, Feige unveiled the Marvel Studios’ official 10thanniversary logo to the excited audience.
Three words: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. It’s coming, and it can’t get here soon enough!
In celebration of Marvel’s 10th anniversary, fans can expect exclusive consumer products and collectibles, along with in-theater events and much more in the coming months.
Say what now?! Oh I am here for allllll of this! We are totally a Marvel family and I couldn’t wait to share with my husband and son all that we got to experience from this panel.
As if getting an exclusive early look at footage from the movie wasn’t enough, the ultimate surprise that brought the house down was when talent from the film made a grand entrance, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff.
An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR opens in theaters everywhere on May 4th, 2018!
In addition to all of the above: Sean Bailey confirmed and revealed new films underway at the studio including:
A live-action take on Disney’s 1998 feature, which will be helmed by Niki Caro (“McFarland, USA,” “Whale Rider”).
JUNGLE CRUISE (#JungleCruise)
A live-action nod to the popular theme park ride. The studio is working with Dwayne Johnson, recently heard as Maui in MOANA, on the project.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie.
Seriously: if you’re not as excited as I am about all this magic that’s about to happen, something is seriously wrong! So be sure to tell your fellow Disney enthusiasts all about happenings by sharing this with them so you can all mark your calendars!
Disclosure: This trip to the Disneyland and D23 Expo was sponsored by Walt Disney World. As always, the thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information about #D23Expo click here.