On Saturday, the Anaheim Convention Center opened its doors for the second day of Disney‘s D23 Expo. Thousands of fans flocked to the convention for looks at movie props and exclusive collectibles to take home but the big event of the day was Disney’s live action presentation.
Thousands of attendees, many of whom lined the sidewalks for hours the night before, took their seats in Hall D23 for the main event which includes looks at films from Disney, Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios.
The panel kicked off around 10:35 am PT…
The panel started with a sizzle reel, including footage from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Cars 3, The Jungle Book, Pirates of the Caribbean, Rogue One, Doctor Strange, Coco, Civil War, The Last Jedi, The Incredibles 2, Wreck It Ralph 2 and Black Panther.
Chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn takes the stage. He jokes about the audience not getting much sleep but he got a wake up call from Mickie Mouse himself. The audience cheers for the opening sizzle reel and Horn promises many of the people we saw are backstage. “All of this is a thank you to all of you. These have bee na phenomenal few years at Walt Disney Studios,” Horn said, before thanking the entire group of fans for the support.
“I have to tip my hat to Bob Iger,” Horn said. “He doesn’t like to be mentioned but I already did! Not only did he have the vision to bring these studios together under one roof, but you could not ask for a better boss, a better colleague, and a better friend. So, thanks.”
Horn highlights the successes of 2016, with Disney having the top five hits including Civil War and Rogue One, before recounting the major successes of 2017 already.
Horn introduces the Head of Production from Disney’s live action studio Sean Bailey. Bailey starts by discussing the successes of Beauty and the Beast and the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean. “It has to be a story worth telling,” Bailey says of their films.
A Wrinkle In Time
Bailey leads off with A Wrinkle In Time which hits theaters in March of 2018. It is directed by Ava Duvernay. “New and unique interpretation that stays true to the heart of the original. The film is written by Jennifer Lee, writer and co-director of Frozen. Meg Murray, parents are physicists, working with the idea of wrinkling time and space.
“Meg embarks upon a dangerous journey” Bailey said, in an effort “to save her father” with her friend Calvin. Along the way, she is introduced to three celestial beings, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.
Storm Reid is Meg Murray, Reese Witherspoon is Mrs. Whatsit it, Mindy Kaling is Mrs. Who, Oprah Winfrey is Mrs. Which, Chris Pine is Dr. Alex Murray and the cast also features Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Levi Miller, Micheal Pena, Zach Galifinakas.
Several members of the cast take the stage, including brand new Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey.
Duvernay talks about the film with this talented cast. She worked to create a cast of “all different kinds of people” who “look like you, who look like the real world!”
“Reid admits to being nervous but is excited to be here. “Working on the film in general was amazing. Ms. Ava is so patient,” she said. “Me and Mr. Chris, we had some intense scenes, and just being able to see him work and see how focused he was, was amazing. Ms. Reese and Mindy, you guys are amazing and you made me feel like you were my mom on set. Seeing Ms. Oprah work was magical because you can tell that she really loves what she does. She just made me feel comfortable and she’s an amazing actress.”
Bailey congratulates Pine on Wonder Woman. Pine says he was interested in the role for Ava Duvernay, alone. “This happens a lot. These things are about chemistry and alchemy. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Within five minutes of meting Ava, I knew I was gonna have to do it.”
“As someone who is a chatterbox, I thought that was actually very challenging but it’s wonderful because this is a character who only speaks in the wisest sayings,” Kaling says of her character, who only speaks in riddles. “There’s so much wisdom in the world and I think I quote Jay-Z in the movie, in addition to traditional more classic scholars.”
Bailey turns his attention to Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey and asks why she was interested in the film. “I had not read the book, either,” she said. “When Ava mentioned it to me and told me it was a character who is one of the wisest women in the universe and is an angelic celestial being who is going to get to wear amazing costumes and work with Reese and Mindy as a part of the Misses team, who wouldn’t say yes to that?!”
Bailey reveals a brand new teaser poster for the film. “Everybody gets a poster!” Winfrey calls. “You get a poster! You get a poster!”
Duvernay introduces a clip from the film which she warns is slightly incomplete.
Alex Murray narrates the footage, questioning time travel. Meg stands in the woods with Calvin as a dust cloud storms towards them. Dr. Murray looks pushed to the edge. Meg meets Mrs. Which and is encouraged to stop what her father started. The three misses watched closes. Pena has red eyes. Megs stands in a neighborhood where kids bounce red balls in sync, everything looks perfect, and the mothers call the kids inside for dinner. “The only thing faster than light is the darkness,” Mrs. Which said. Meg and Calvin charge toward what looks like a tornado and hide among the chaos.
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms will include The Land of Flowers tended by Hawthorne, The Land of Snowflakes commanded by Shiver and The Land of Sweets commanded by the Sugar Plum Fairy, played by Keira Knightly
Footage plays with Christmas music behind it. The young girl looks through an extravagant hallway as Morgan Freeman narrates. A colorful and vibrant world is revealed, dancers take stage, soldiers march, colorful costumes let and right. Nutcrackers march. Sword fights ensue. “Time has come.” The logo takes the screen.
Charles Riley, also known as Lil Buck, takes the stage for a dancing performance in the vein of The Nutcracker.
Sean Bailey compliments the music of Disney films and goes on to highlight the Sherman Brothers, the musicians behind the original Mary Poppins.
Rob Marshasll directs Mary Poppins with John DeLucas and Marc Platt producing, with Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman composing the music.
“Two dozen years beyond the events of the original films,” “As we know it here in the States, the Great Depressions.”
The heartless Bank Manager, Mr. Wilkins played by Colin Firth, wreaks havoc on their life. “Dame Andrews is a very, very tough act to follow but I think we can agree that, in Emily Blunt, we have found the perfect actress to fill those shoes.”
Bailey runs through images of the cast and crew, including Lin Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, and Dick van Dyke. Emily BLunt and director Rob Marshall take the stage. Marshall is excited to make the film about Mary Poppins as others as older characters.
“We both and the entire company and the creative time feel very protective of the original film because we love it so much,” Marshall said. “That’s that and will always be that. This is living in that world with a foot in the past and a foot in the future and telling that story.”
“I watched about 15 minutes of the original and then just stopped watching it,” Blunt said. “I had to do my version of her. I think we were very loyal to the books.” She says they went in a direction of the books which see Poppins as a sarcastic, often rude yet fun character.
“It’s a dream cast,” Marshall said. “Every person we approached said yes immediately.” He goes on to call this film “a gift to the world” while it needs something of the sort before telling a story about Dick van Dyke coming on set. “He said, ‘It feels exactly the same. The same feeling of joy in making the film.’ And that was the highest compliment.”
“Poppins is a big ole musical,” Blunt said.
Marshall points out that the new film uses set items and props from the original film. He was ecstatic to point out they got the original table with the phone on it.
Marshal says the composers “bring a new joyous humor to it,” calling their work “clever” and “smart,” before introducing a bit of new footage, calling it “a taste of what’s to come,” teasing a “wonderful surprise.” The Disney orchestra and Mark Shaiman will score the trailer as it plays.
Footage of the iconic house starts. Various characters flash by. A kite is taken from the ground and into the wind before a boy plays with it and the screen reads, “A new story to tell.” A storm catches the kite until the clouds clear and Mary Poppins is hanging from it. Later, she enters the house. The music becomes more upbeat. A captain fires a cannon. Poppins pulls her umbrella from a sink’s drain. More extravagant shots of characters amd dance numbers. Men dance on lamp posts, swing form ladders. The cast are introduced with names, right up to Dick van Dyke dancing on a table. Poppins slides up a railing to end the trailer.
The Lion King
Bailey introduces a look back at Disney Animated classics.
Beauty and the Beast takes the screen, then Malifcent, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon and Cinderella. Bailey takes the stage again to stress the responsibility the story films to adapt these titles into live action.
“We are indeed in pre-production on a live action Mulan.” Nikki Cairo will direct, more announcements in the coming moments. Dwayne Johnson is working with Disney for Jungle Cruise. “In development on a new iteration of Aladdin from Guy Ritchie. “Draws inspiration from 1992 animated classic and xxxxx nights.” Aladdin wills mbe played by Mena Massoud with Jasmine played by Naomi Scott. Genie will be played by Will Smith.
“We have just begun production on a new live action Dumbo,” Bailey said. Tim Burton at the helm. “We just started so there’s not a lot we can show you yet.” Burton sent a greeting. The circus elements play, including a train.” He is aboard a train and reveals Dumbo is one of his favorites among Disney movies and heads “off down the tracks” aboard the train.
Bailey brings a maquette of the actual size Dumbo as he will appear in the film. The elephant is brought onto the stage, equipped with massive ears. Dumbo will hit theaters on March 29, 2019. There is one more special surprise.
The screen fades into The Lion King footage. The sun rises of a “Disney Presents” logo. The iconic musc beings. The animal kingdom comes to life. Bugs carry leaves. Elephants start;e small birds. Rafiki, Simba, and the animal kingdom unite as Simba is held above them, with “The Circle of Life” blaring.
Jon Favreau take sthe stage to a roaring applause.
“Thank you all so much,” he said. “Those of you here two years ago, we showed you what we were thinking with Jungle Book…I want to thank Disney but also thank the fans for trusting us with this. We know how important this is…As soon as I found out we were gonna be doing this film, my first question was, when is D23? The team, a lot of people scrambled for something to show you…we’re working hard, we love you guys, and thank you so much for the opportunity.”
Bailey turns his attention to Star Wars. “Last December we tried something new, we launched the very first standalone film, Rogue One, and then we killed them all,” Bailey said.
Bailey points out that Kathleen Kennedy couldn’t make it to D23 and begins talking about the Han Solo. “Looking forward to sharing more details with you in anticipation of our release,” Bailey said, before diverting to The Last Jedi.
“We’re gonna pick up right where we left off,” Bailey said of The Last Jedi.
“We’re all stunned and shocked that [Carrie Fisher] had passed away,” Bailey said. “I know it seems hard to imagine that you could love her more than you already do but you will really, really appreciate her performance in this film.”
Bailey calls director Rian Johnson a Jedi Master. “He’s as nice as he is talented,” Bailey said. “He’s put together a spectacular Star Wars film.” Johnson takes the stage.
This is Johnson’s first D23 but not his first time working for Disney. He produced the “Coming Up Next” commercials for the TV station. “I am here to talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi!”
“We’re in post-production right now. We’re actually mixing the film right now.”
He credits the incredible cast and crew for his experience on the film being so enjoyable, prompting the introductions of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Gwendoline Christie. He will also introduce new faces from the Star Wars universe, starting with Kelly Marie Tran, then Laura Dern and Benecio del Toro.
Johnson discusses his favorite time on set, which was in Ireland, which is accompanied by a photo of Rey in the cockpit with Chewbacca, as they prepare to shoot. “A few of us were in Ireland, not really much to say, except we had a really fantastic time and on the last night, Rian and I jigged for about an hour,” Ridley said. “We love Ireland and we love the Irish and it was a beautiful backdrop to what we did.”
Boyega will speak next.
“Finn’s about to have a fight with a formidable opponent,” Boyega said before going face to face with Christie who is about a foot taller than him.
Tran speaks about her involvement. Johnson said she treated her involvement like Mr. Rogers, asking everyone what they do. “My mindset was, I got this golden ticket,” Tran said. “I felt like I was Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. I felt like I wanted to do everything I could until I got in trouble and I didn’t get in trouble!”
A photo of Dern in the fog as Holdo, holding a gun, takes the screen. Dern would say “Pew” when firing her gun. She calls joining Star Wars “the dream of our lives.” She adds, “I didn’t remember you don’t have to say the words you say when you’re eight.” A photo of Dern, with pink her and a neck wrap on, seemingly intimidating Poe, takes the screen.
A photo of del Toro on set, in a chair on a ship, lined with black interior as he wears a stylish leather, takes the screen. “I saw the original one, the 1977 one, when I was 10,” del Toro said. “When you called me up and you mentioned the title alone, I was like, let’s go! Let’s play! So, thank you.”
Johnson has one last character he wants to introduce: Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill.
A photo of Hamill sitting on set, wearing a beanie and leather jacket, reading takes the screen. It’s a rocky setting. Then, he is on set of the cliff with Rey, wearing green rings on his fingers of his right hand.
“This is a real gamechanger,” Hamill said. “I said about seven, I just told all the fans, remember it’s impossible to please everyone. Headline: Star Wars 7 bound to disappoint says Mark Hamill! Not quite the way I phrased it, I don’t think!”
Johnson introduces a behind the scenes piece from the film.
Footage of various sets flash by. The droids are prepped. Various space crafts are parked. “Ryan has written a story that’s unexpected but right,” Ridley said. Rey hands Luke the lightsaber in an emotional moments. “It feels like its own thing,” Ridley said. An explosion takes place in a bunker. Stormtroopers prepare for choreography. Johnson makes Wookie sounds ith Chewbacca. Rey charges down a water line with a lightsaber in her hand. Luke stands on an age. Leia is shown. Del Toro stands in his ship. Driver trains for a lightsaber fight. Ridley ains for a three on one fight. Johnson hopes the film will be “a little shocking.” Kylo Ren helmets are on display — some are damaged. Explosions aboard ships play. Rey poses with a ligghtsaber. “It’s about family, and that’s what’s so poerful about it,” Fisher said. General Ackbar is shown at the very end.
Bailey has seen the movie four times and promises it is “everything” fans want.
Bailey teases that Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures are now “frenemies” following the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming. He introduces Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to the stage.
“We call it the first ten years because we hope there will be many more,” Feige said. On Feige’s first trip to the D23 Expo, Disney bought Marvel while he was on the way. He runs through the successes of the studio to date and highlights previous D23 presentations and the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland.
“There’s one thing we’re doing next year that really is the culmination of these 10 years and it’s called Avengers: Infinity War,” Feige said.
“Almost every single hero that we’ve ever introduced is gonna be in that film…because one person…you saw him grab a golden gauntlet at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Feige said, before introducing Josh Brolin to the stage.
Brolin calls his work on Infinity War “powerful.”
“Just yesterday in Atlanta, we wrapped the half-way mark of this production,” Feige said. He introduces some Avengers to the stage: Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olson. Then come some Guardians of the Galaxy: Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, and Dave Batista. Then, there’s more: Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr..
“Drax ain’t shit,” says Brolin.
After a cast photo, director Joe Russo takes the stage to introduce a “look back” package as celebration of the 10 years.
Avengers tower comes into frame. Clips from The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3 play. “We are arriving Mantis said to the Guardians. Teenage Groot in a seat. THe body of Thor lands on their windshield. His hair is short. Rocket is startled. Mantis wakes him up. Thor is startled. The Guardians look at him and he asks who they are. THe ship zips through the cosmos. Wanda dodges something and it breaks a truck. Loki stands in ruin, presenting the Tesseract to someone. Peter’s spider-Sense takes off as he rides a bus. Tony prepares for battle. He is in space with the Guardians. “Fun really isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe,” Thanos said. “This does put a smile on my face. The Guardians observe ruin in many places. THhnos warps into a new world. Star-Lord battles him. Strange battles him. Spider-man, in his new suit, battles. Winter Soldier battles. Wakanda readies to defend their territory. Cap steps out of the shadows. Hulbusyter fights Wakanda fight the four legged creature from Infinity. Thor’s head is squeezed ny Thanos Thanos beats Iron Man. The Gaurdaisn are thw defeated. Thanos has assembled his gauntlet. He throws energy from a hole in space.