Hot Off The Presses-All Your D23 Expo 2019 News
Right here, hot off the presses is all your D23 Expo 2019 News straight from the Anaheim Convention Center.
Now in its the tenth year, the D23 Expo is the biggest Disney fan event celebrating everything from Disney to Disney Parks, to the highly anticipated One Day At Disney, movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, the all-new addition Sony, Lucasfilm, Broadway and so much more. Tickets for this every other year event sold out in record time this year with a record amount announcements and excitement.
From the all-new out of this world Star Wars-themed hotel adjacent to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to an all-new look for Epcot including an interactive immersive Moana themed immersive experience,
the addition of Disney+ Streaming to the addition of the Marvel Campus, Frozen 2, too many new movie titles to count, here’s what we know so far.
DISNEY+ ANNOUNCES SIX NEW TITLES AND SHOWCASES EXCITING SLATE OF
HIGHLY ANTICIPATED ORIGINAL SERIES AND FILMS
Disney+ made its D23 Expo debut with its first-ever showcase presentation, announcing six new series in development and revealing key details about the highly anticipated streaming service to an enthusiastic audience at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim. The event showcased the sweeping array of talent with in-person and video appearances from the stars of Disney+’s slate of originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic and included sneak peeks, trailer premieres, and exclusive news about the service and its upcoming projects. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who stars in the Disney+ original film “Lady and the Tramp,” hosted the lively presentation, welcoming Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International, to the stage to kick off the show.
“With less than three months until launch, Disney+ will soon entertain and inspire audiences of all ages for generations to come, and we’re excited to preview some of the amazing original content being created for the service exclusively from our world-class brands today at the D23 Expo,” said Mayer. “Storytelling is the cornerstone of The Walt Disney Company and we’re thrilled to unveil a new slate of original shows from the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes, along with popular television franchises set to return with all-new series streaming only on Disney+.”
New Series Revealed
As part of the presentation, some of the creative minds behind Disney+’s content slate including Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios; Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm; and Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channel Worldwide, gave fans a first look at the service’s upcoming originals and announced exciting new titles:
● Ewan McGregor made a surprise appearance to announce his return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new untitled series from Lucasfilm.
● Kevin Feige announced that Marvel Studios is developing three new live-action series: “Ms. Marvel,” “Moon Knight” and “She-Hulk,” all derived from Marvel comics.
● Hilary Duff surprised the audience when it was announced she will reprise the role she made famous in an all-new Lizzie McGuire series from Terri Minsky.
● Forty years after leaving the swamp in his big-screen debut in “The Muppet Movie,” Kermit the Frog is heading upstream with Miss Piggy, and the gang, bringing a new kind of mayhem and laughter to Disney+ with their first-ever unscripted short-form series, “Muppets Now.”
World Premiere Launch Content Previews
During the 90-minute presentation, a parade of celebrities, filmmakers, and creatives treated the 6,800-person audience to the first public preview of Disney+’s original movies and shows set to stream when the service launches on November 12:
● For Lucasfilm’s “The Mandalorian,” executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni joined series stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, along with Taika Waititi, who brings the droid IG-11 to life, to premiere the teaser trailer for the first Star Wars live-action series. Earlier in the day at the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, announced that new Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen will join the cast of the series. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, “The Mandalorian” follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
● The talented up-and-coming cast of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” brought down the house with a live performance of the multi-platinum hit song, “We’re All In This Together.” Immediately following the presentation, cast members Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Julia Lester, Larry Saperstein, Dara Reneé, Frankie A. Rodriguez, Kate Reinders, Mark St. Cyr, and Showrunner Tim Federle invited 3,600 fans to watch the first episode in the D23 Expo Arena and revealed the series’ teaser trailer. The 10-episode scripted series, set at the real-life East High, where the original movie was filmed, follows a group of students as they countdown to the opening night of their school’s first-ever production of “High School Musical.”
● Host Yvette Nicole Brown joined fellow “Lady and the Tramp” cast members Rose (“Lady”) and Monty (“Tramp”)—the canine stars of the film—to premiere the first trailer from the film. In the timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.
● “Noelle” stars Anna Kendrick and Billy Eichner joined Sean Bailey to announce their film will premiere on Disney+ on November 12 before sharing a new trailer. In the upcoming holiday comedy, Kris Kringle’s daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something “important” like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over from their father this Christmas. When Nick is about to crumble like a gingerbread cookie from all the pressure, Noelle suggests he take a break and get away…but when he doesn’t return, Noelle must find her brother and bring him back in time to save Christmas.
● Jeff Goldblum, who stars in and hosts “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” from National Geographic, gave fans a peek inside the series including a new trailer for the show. Through Goldblum’s always inquisitive and highly entertaining mind, nothing is as it seems in this new 12-episode series.
● Executive Producer Kristen Bell shared a first look trailer and a taste of what’s to come in the unscripted series, “Encore!” that brings together former castmates of high school musicals, tasking them with re-creating their original performance years after they last performed it, in a high school reunion like no other.
● Tony Hale, who reprises his craft project turned toy role from “Toy Story 4” in the new collection of Pixar animated shorts “Forky Asks A Question,” premiered the first short (“What is Money?”). In the 10 shorts, Forky explores important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time?
DISNEY PRESENTS UPCOMING LIVE-ACTION AND ANIMATED MOVIE SLATE
The Walt Disney Studios—including studio leaders and filmmakers from Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Disney live-action, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios—wowed an audience of nearly 7,000 this morning at D23 Expo 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. Alan Horn, co-chairman and chief creative officer, The Walt Disney Studios—joined by Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, Disney live action’s Sean Bailey, Pixar’s Pete Docter and Disney Animation’s Jennifer Lee—offered guests a captivating look at Disney’s upcoming film slate, including never-before-seen footage and a host of stars, plus a spectacular performance from “Frozen 2” voice cast members Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad.
“You’re not just fans, you’re family,” said Horn to the packed room. “It’s because of you that we keep working so hard to make great movies, and we love D23 Expo because it’s where we can share them with you first.”
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 of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 20, 2019.
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, kicked off his presentation with a surprise visit from “Black Panther” director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. Together, they revealed that “Black Panther 2” (working title) will hit U.S. 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 U.S. theaters on Nov. 6, 2020.
Feige concluded with “Black Widow,” the Cate Shortland-directed first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which hits U.S. theaters on May 1, 2020. 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.
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, Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” hits U.S. theaters on July 24, 2020.
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” arrives in U.S. theaters on Oct. 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,” which opens in U.S. theaters on March 27, 2020, 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.
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 on May 28, 2021, with a fresh, 1970s, punk-rock approach.
PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS
Pixar Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter guided the audience through Pixar’s upcoming film slate of originals. Docter began with next summer’s release, “Soul,” which he directs. The film journeys from the streets of New York City to the never-before-seen cosmic realms and “The You Seminar,” the fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities. Producer Dana Murray, co-director/writer Kemp Powers and writer Mike Jones joined Docter on stage, and together they set up the film for the audience and shared a sneak peek. The team revealed members of the voice cast who joined them on stage, including Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx. Foxx lends his voice to Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. Fey plays 22, a soul-in-training who has an unexpected encounter with Joe when he accidentally finds his way to the “You Seminar.” Together, the two are going to find a way to get Joe back to Earth, making him think again about what it truly means to have soul. Filmmakers also revealed that globally renowned musician Jon Batiste will be writing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar®-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, will compose an original score that will drift between the real and soul worlds. Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” opens in U.S. 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, which opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020, 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.
WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS
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.” Directors Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins (“Big Hero 6,” “Frozen”), producer Osnat Shurer (“Moana”) and writer Adele Lim (“Crazy Rich Asians”) joined Lee on stage to set up the film, which introduces Raya, a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra who teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world. The D23 Expo crowd was the first to get a look at the new film, viewing an exclusive three-minute piece. They also met two newly announced members of the voice cast: Awkwafina lends her voice to Sisu, the Last Dragon, who was left on Earth in case dark forces return to the world, and Cassie Steele voices the lead character, Raya. Exploring themes of community and hope, and inspired by the beautiful and diverse cultures of Southeast Asia, the fantasy-action-adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 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, which opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22. 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.
But wait-there’s still more to come! Stay tuned right here for all of the updates from the biggest Disney fan gathering in the world-the D23 Expo 2019. What announcement are you most excited for?