I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I was in Anaheim at the D23 Expo for the upcoming Disney, Marvel & Lucasfilm live action film announcements. It was my first time at D23 Expo, and if you are a Disney fan, please try to go to the next one in two years! This was one of the most exciting events I have ever attended, and the movies coming out from these three studios are mind-blowing!
It’s quite something to be able to have Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm all on the same stage, and it’s tremendously gratifying to unveil our upcoming projects to our most dedicated fans first,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios.
Disney, Marvel & Lucasfilm Live Action Film Announcements
Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE (#DoctorStrange)
Kevin Feige led off with a glimpse into the world of Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE, featuring a video greeting by Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the title character, followed by a pre-production piece that offered fans a taste of the look and feel of the upcoming film, opening in U.S. theaters on October 26, 2016.
Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (#Captain America & #CivilWar)
Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR was introduced by its producer, Kevin Feige. And then, oh my gosh y’all, Captain American and Falcon walked on stage!! YES! Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie showed up to help Feige introduce never-seen-before footage from the Civil War!
Before the footage rolled, Feige revealed that there was a special “Easter egg” for fans to find: it was aptly a nod to D23 EXPO.
Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.
The movie stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR opens in the U.S. on May 6, 2016.
THE FINEST HOURS (#TheFinestHours)
Sean Bailey walked on stage to introduce THE FINEST HOURS, based on the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard. This film is going to be on the edge-of-your-seat insane!
Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, the film, which is directed by Craig Gillespie and also stars Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana, transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale.Chris Pine, who plays the captain of the rescue boat, Bernie Webber, joined Bailey on stage to give fans a sneak peek at the heroic action-thriller.
THE FINEST HOURS is produced by Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero and Doug Merrifield is the executive producer. The film is based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and the screenplay is by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. THE FINEST HOURS storms into U.S. theaters on January 29, 2016.
THE JUNGLE BOOK (#TheJungleBook)
Jon Favreau, director of Disney’s upcoming THE JUNGLE BOOK, introduced newcomer Neel Sethi, selected from thousands of candidates to play man-cub Mowgli. He is so stinkin’ cute! And anything with Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o, I’m in! Also starring is another Oscar® winner, Ben Kingsley, who helps bring Bagheera to life. Each guest received a copy of the amazing teaser poster when leaving the presentation. I left Anaheim for vacation and carried my posters on the plane there and home, guarding them with my life so we can frame them!
The all-new, live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s 1967 animated classic, the film features state-of the-art technology that immerses audiences in the lush world like never before. THE JUNGLE BOOK also features the voices of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken. Jon Favreau and Brigham Taylor produce and the screenplay is by Justin Marks. THE JUNGLE BOOK hits theaters in stunning 3D and IMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (#DisneyAlice)
Next to the stage was Mia Wasikowska, where fans were thrilled with a preview of the all-new spectacular adventure, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, which features unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.
Director James Bobin brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” in which Alice (Wasikowska) returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. The film, which once again features Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, introduces several new characters as well: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father, and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.
Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, and Tim Burton produce and John G. Scotti is the executive producer. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.
PETE’S DRAGON (#PetesDragon)
PETE’S DRAGON, a reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, was next on stage. This is the heartwarming adventure of an young orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon.
PETE’S DRAGON is directed by David Lowery, produced by Jim Whitaker, and executive-produced by Barrie Osborne, and also stars Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. PETE’S DRAGON opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.
QUEEN OF KATWE (#QueenOfKatwe)
Sean Bailey, helped by Lupita Nyong’o, introduced everyone to the upcoming film QUEEN OF KATWE.
The film 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. Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler based on the book by Tim Crothers, QUEEN OF KATWE stars Nyong’o, David Oyelowo and newcomer Medina Nalwanga.
The release date has not yet been announced.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (#BeautyAndTheBeast)
We were treated to a musical greeting from stars of Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson, Josh Gad and Luke Evans, sent all the way from the London set where they are currently filming!
The live-action musical, a retelling of the studio’s animated classic, stars Watson, Dan Stevens, Evans, Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald and newcomer Nathan Mack. The film is directed by Bill Condon. Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated classic, provides the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Tim Rice, as well as several new songs. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (#PiratesOfTheCaribbean)
One of my favorite moments of the D23 Expo was when Johnny Depp showed up on stage completely decked out as Captain Jack Sparrow and tossing grapes out into a thrilled audience! I can’t wait for the next exciting film in the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES!
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 (Javier 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.
The film is directed by Espen Sandberg & Joachim Rønning and stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kevin R. McNally, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush. Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer and Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor serve as executive producers. Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES releases in U.S. theaters on July 7, 2017.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (#StarWars & #TheForceAwakens)
Finally, we were able to hear the Lucasfilm slate and timeline!
Fans were told there are only 124 days to the release of Episode VII, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, on December 18, 2015!
When Harrison Ford took the stage, the crowd went absolutely crazy, and the standing ovation went on for quite some time. I may have had tears in my eyes, it was just so incredible to be there.
Here’s the trailer!
Touching on STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII, Horn reminded the audience that Rian Johnson will be directing the film slated for release on May 26, 2017. Then in a surprise announcement, Horn informed everyone that Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) has signed on to direct STAR WARS: EPISODE IX, which is scheduled for release in 2019.
Moving on to the new Star Wars stories series, Alan Horn touched on the “Untitled Han Solo” stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018 by reminding everyone that it will be directed by Christopher Miller & Phil Lord, with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay.
ROGUE ONE (#RogueOne)
Horn then took the audience by surprise, announcing the cast for ROGUE ONE, the first of the standalone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen, which has commenced principal photography. Gareth Edwards(“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) is directing ROGUE ONE, which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.
And oh to be backstage…
Whew! After you get your heart rate back to normal, tell me which of these films you are most looking forward to!
And here is a recap of the D23 Event so you can see what it feels like to be in the room!
In case you missed any of the other events at the D23 Expo, check them out below! There’s still more to come!