You’ve heard of the D23 Expo, the weekend event that’s a celebratory fanfest of presentations, panels, and most of all, stuff that gets the Internet buzzing: all the big reveals on Disney’s slew of upcoming films, games, and events. By now, you must have seen brief snippets of it on your social media timelines, but in case you’ve been missing out, here are the most jaw-dropping, possibly tears-inducing, and definitely fist-pumping news we’ve heard, in order of our excitement:
Avengers: Infinity Wars
We honestly thought we’d be talking about Star Wars, really, especially since the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi is due this December, but it was clear that Avengers: Infinity Wars stole the show — prior to their San Diego Comic-Con panel too (22 July).
This time, we got a huge, um, assemble of the cast members, and that’s a lot of them by the way. It started off pretty low-key, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige introducing Josh Brolin (Thanos), followed by a couple more members including Don Cheadle (War Machine) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), and then, the newer members of the Marvel franchises, Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) and Tom Holland (Spider-Man), which brought along more fanfare. After that came the heavyweights — Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and Robert Downey Jr. (Ironman). Obviously, everyone in the room was in a frenzy by then.
Finally, director Joe Russo came on stage to give the audience a retrospective look back at the last 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the truly exciting stuff: straight up, it’s the first-ever trailer of this mega-crossover instalment, which, unfortunately has not yet been released to the public. What we have are incredibly vivid accounts though. Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy finding none other than Thor, lost in space. Back on Earth, it starts off suspenseful enough, with cut scenes that include Peter Parker on the move and his Spider-Sense tingling… which marks the first time he’s on screen as part of the Avengers even, and features his fancy new suit. And there’s a lot of intense fighting, with Loki and the Tessaract, Doctor Strange and Thanos battling, with the Infinity Gauntlet by the way. The fighting is described as larger-than-life, with nemesis Thanos being as formidable as we’ve seen him so far.
We also got confirmation that next February’s Black Panther will set up the events of Avengers: Infinity War, out 4 May 2018. That means two movies out before June hits us! Fingers crossed that we’ll all get to see the new footage when Comic-Con comes around.
- New Avengers: Infinity Wars trailer, not yet released to the public
- Avengers: Infinity War, out 4 May 2018
2. Star Wars
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
At the Star Wars slot, director Rian Johnson took the stage with Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Benicio Del Toro (DJ) and Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo) to discuss the movie, though of course the crucial plot details were still kept secret. Boyega reveals Finn has a major fight with someone in the film, and quickly looks over at Christie. What a tease. Later, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) joins the panel, which leads to this touching behind-the-scenes footage (lots of General Leia):
And up next, posters! Rey’s in a captivating Jedi-like cloak, General Leia looks absolutely regal with her high collar and jewellery, while it seems Finn’s still borrowing Poe’s jacket, and these are done highly stylised. They certainly look great as a collector’s item. The fact that they’re painted red though, traditionally Sith colours, could hint at something more sinister… Could they be trying to find balance in the Force, will there be some revelation on the Dark Side, or can this all be a red herring? We’ll find out soon enough when Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres on 15 December this year.
Star Wars at Disney Parks
Ah, the next big reveal. There was plenty of new info about an entire Star Wars land that sounds very much like a Westworld — over the weekend, Disney announced more details for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where guests will get to visit “a remote trading port on the edge of wild space”, an immersive experience that will be at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019. Other than encountering familiar faces such as BB-8 and Chewbacca, or things like trying out blue milk at the cantina, what we’re truly excited about are the rides/attractions. Yes, we’re talking plural here. One of them’s supposed to make you feel like you’re on a Star Destroyer inside a hangar bay, and the other will have Star Wars fans swooning. You’ll get to fly the Millenium Falcon, doing a Han Solo basically, and that means piloting and shooting blasters at the same time, or preparing the ship for hyperspace — plus, it’s a mission that actually tests your skills, so you’ll earn galactic credits at the end of that. There will also be a Star Wars-themed resort at Walt Disney World where you get to become “a citizen of the galaxy”.
- New Star Wars: The Last Jedi behind-the-scenes video — movie out 15 December 2017
- New Star Wars: The Last Jedi posters
- Details on Star Wars theme parks and resort — called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
3. Disney’s Live-Action Films
Following the success of The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, it looks like Disney’s strategy of turning its animated classics into live-action films is finally seeing a breakthrough, which means we’ll be treated to a whole lot of upcoming films, including Aladdin, Dumbo, and The Lion King.
Well, we already know that they’re doing an Aladdin remake, and the studio confirmed their lead actors, namely Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Mena Massoud as Aladdin, while Will Smith will be playing the Genie. The location Agrabah is said to be a vibrant, cosmopolitan city inspired by various eras from the Middle East.
Another big reveal was that they’ll be producing a live-action Dumbo, with director Tim Burton behind the helm. Filming in London is already underway, and it will star big names that include Colin Farrell (Holt Farrier), Danny DeVito (Max Medici), Eva Green (Colette Marchant) and Michael Keaton (V.A. Vandevere). Dumbo will be out 29 March 2019.
The Lion King
What we’re truly captivated about, and the world too, is this: The Lion King. Heck, we even got our dream casting list somewhere in our heads (Simon Pegg as Zazu, anybody?), but this time, we may put those to rest. Director Jon Favreau is back in the fold, and word is that we’ll get a similar feel to his earlier effort in The Jungle Book, basically a stunning CGI and motion capture-heavy process that will see the animals walk and talk as realistically as possible.
What was unveiled though had everyone close to tears — at least, we will be if we were there. Just for the audience (ugh), they got a shot-by-shot recreation of the original’s memorable opening scene. Yes, that moment on Pride Rock that sees Rafiki triumphantly lifting Simba towards the sky, the scene you’ve recreated a hundred times from your humble bedroom.
As for the casting, here’s what we know so far: James Earl Jones (Mufasa), is back to reprise his role in the original, Donald Glover (Simba), Billy Eichner (Timon), Seth Rogan (Pumbaa) and John Oliver (Zazu). Note that there’s so far no confirmation on Hugh Jackman being cast as Scar. The Lion King is slated to hit theaters on 19 July 2019.
Mary Poppins Returns
— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) July 15, 2017
We know that Emily Blunt will be playing Mary Poppins; the new intel though is that the film will continue the story in London two dozen years after the original film. Michael Banks is a widower trying to raise his children, and Mr. Wilkins (Colin Firth) at the bank is giving them trouble. This will be a story for the new generation, we’ve heard, and of course, Blunt adds an interesting nugget: she only watched about 15 minutes of the original before stopping. “No one is going to ‘out Julie Andrews’ Julie Andrews,” Blunt says, as the talks about making the role her own.
A Wrinkle In Time
Who hasn’t read this sci-fi classic? If you haven’t, do pick it up — it’s quite a fast read, and very entertaining as well. And before the movie, please. Director Ava DuVernay came on stage with the cast to talk about the movie: “It’s a family story wrapped in an epic adventure where you see worlds you’ve never seen before”. What we know is that Storm Reid will be playing Meg Murry, the girl at the centre of the tale, and will be accompanied by Chris Pine (Mr. Murry), as well as Whatsit, Who, and Which, played by Resse Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey respectively. The movie will be released 9 March 2018. Watch the trailer here:
- Aladdin casting: Mena Massoud (Aladdin), Naomi Scott (Jasmine), Will Smith (Genie)
- Dumbo directed by Tim Burton, starring Colin Farrell (Holt Farrier), Danny DeVito (Max Medici), Eva Green (Colette Marchant) and Michael Keaton (V.A. Vandevere) — out 29 March 2019
- New The Lion King footage of opening scene; starring James Earl Jones (Mufasa), Donald Glover (Simba), Billy Eichner (Timon), Seth Rogan (Pumbaa) and John Oliver (Zazu) — out 19 July 2019
- Mary Poppins Returns will continue the story in London, 24 years after the original — out 25 December 2018
- New A Wrinkle In Time trailer — out 9 March 2018
4. Disney’s Animated Films
Toy Story 4
We’re not 100% on board… especially since John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, and DisneyToon Studios, will no longer be co-directing the film, but hey, that’s a chance for John Cooley to shine solo, and perhaps give the film the focus it needs. Toy Story 4 is scheduled for release on 21 June 2019.
Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet
This sequel will see Ralph leaving behind the world of video games and now getting used to the World Wide Web; at the event, directors announced new character names Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) who’s an algorithm used to power a viral news site Buzzaholic — this obvious dig clues us in on the show’s intentions, how it could potentially be a hilarious and cutting commentary on the Internet, and us. There was even a scene reveal that dared to poke fun at the Disney princesses — Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) is basically put in the same room as the other Disney heroines, from Snow White and Ariel to Moana, and like the best of webcomics, discuss their problematic past. An animated movie that’s witty and smart? Well now. Ralph Breaks the Internet will be out 21 November 2018.
The Incredibles 2
Um hello, everyone loved The Incredibles right? We honestly haven’t met a person who doesn’t have anything good to say about the Pixar-favourite film, which is why it’s about time we got a sequel. First up, a hilarious tribute from the fashion world to the film’s most unexpectedly lovable character, Edna Mode.
It’s amazing how they got so many voices to weigh in, but anyway, the point is that the audience got to see new footage from the film, as well as cast members Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson on stage. Today’s technology has enabled the film and its characters to be more expressive and realistic, says director Brad Bird, before unveiling a scene where baby Jack-Jack battles a poor raccoon with his superpowers. On top of the newfound animation prowess, the scene is said to be as lighthearted and hilarious as the original. The Incredibles 2, out 15 June 2018.
- Toy Story 4 — out 21 June 2019
- Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet, new characters and new footage shown — out 21 November 2018
- New footage of The Incredibles 2 screened — out 15 June 2018