Here’s what we learned about Disney’s upcoming films at the D23 Expo
R2-D2 and BB-8 attend Go Behind The Scenes with Walt Disney Studios during D23 Expo 2019 at Anaheim Convention Center on August 24, 2019 in Anaheim, California.
Frazer Harrison | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Disney is the king of the box office. The company, which houses a half dozen studios under its film umbrella, has hauled in nearly $8 billion globally since January, and still has three more film releases before the end of the year.
On Saturday, the company gave fans more to feast on. In addition to providing information about already announced and upcoming releases like “Frozen II,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Black Widow,” Disney shared details about previously unannounced projects like “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Black Panther II” during a panel at its D23 Expo in Anaheim.
The panel was packed with more than 7,000 Disney fans eagerly awaiting every scrap of a detail or glimpse into Disney’s upcoming catalog of feature films.
Here’s a breakdown by studio of what movie audiences can expect from Disney in the coming years.
Co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn was the host of the panel Saturday. He began the presentation showcasing the titles from 20th Century Fox that Disney had acquired and would be released in the next year and beyond.
“Ford v Ferrari” will hit theaters in November; “Spies in Disguise,” an animated feature comes in December; “The King’s Man,” arrives in February of next year; and the first sequel to “Avatar” will be released in 2021.
The recent Fox acquisition is just another feather in Disney’s cap and the work of CEO Bob Iger. Horn praised Iger’s 14-year tenure at the helm of the company saying, “three of the studios we are celebrating today wouldn’t be possible without Bob Iger.”
Fox marks the fourth major studio acquisition that Iger has completed during his time with the company.
“The Rise of Skywalker,” the final film in the Skywalker saga arrives to theaters in December. The much anticipated film has been kept under wraps by the folks at Lucasfilm. A teaser trailer was released in April at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, but very few stills, clips or videos have been released since.
Fans got a brief glimpse at another teaser which received deafening applause and chants for it to be played again.
In the footage was a duel between Rey and Kylo Ren, C-3PO with red eyes, a glimpse of General Leia and shots of the group of heroes standing on a cliff above a bustling desert city. However, the shot that truly made the crowd roar was a quick scene with Rey in a hooded black robe unfolding a red double-sided lightsaber.
“It’s hard for me to understand the story is ending,” said Anthony Daniels, the actor behind C-3PO said on stage at the Expo. “But what an ending. You’ll love it.”
Fans are still eagerly awaiting an official trailer for the upcoming film, but these new visuals will keep them buzzing until one is released.
The 23 film epic that is the “Infinity Saga” has ended and Marvel is headed toward a new beginning. Old favorites and new faces met at D23 as the studio announced a sequel to “Black Panther” due out in May 2022, as well as the cast behind the upcoming “Eternals.”
“Game of Thrones” alum Kit Harrington was announced as the character Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight, and Angelina Jolie was revealed as the warrior Thena.
Other cast members include Richard Madden as Ikaris, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Dong-seok Ma as Gilgamesh and Lauren Ridloff as Makkari.
Also during the panel, Marvel revealed footage from “Black Widow,” which teased that fans will finally get to see exactly what happened in Budapest all those years ago.
Following the monumental success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, Disney will release a film based on the iconic Jungle Cruise ride.
The film features Dwayne Johnson as the skipper and Emily Blunt as a scientist looking for a magical tree with healing properties.
The company also provided more context for its upcoming sequel to “Maleficent.” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” takes places several years after the first. Aurora is now older and she and her adoptive mother must deal with a world that wants to keep them apart.
Jolie, who reprises her role as Maleficent, said the film explores how family is not just defined by blood, but love.
Still from Disney’s remake of “The Lion King” featuring Mufasa and a young Simba on Pride Rock.
Disney showed several clips from “Mulan,” which hits theaters next year. The scenes detail the epic battle sequences and costuming for the reimagining. The film will blend together elements of the original ballad of Mulan with the animated Disney feature.
The studio also revealed an image of Emma Stone in “Cruella,” but not much else was revealed about the film. Stone did reveal via a video that the movie is set in 1970’s London.
Next year, Pixar will release two original features “Onward” and “Soul.”
“Onward,” which will arrive in theaters in the spring, centers around two elf brothers who lost their father at a young age. The pair are given a chance to see him via a magic spell. However, when they attempt to perform the spell, something goes wrong.
The brothers now must travel on a quest to complete the spell and reunite with their dad. The story takes place in a mythical realm where centaurs, unicorns and gnomes roam.
The second film, due out in the summer, is “Soul.”
The feature focuses on the question “why am I here?” and tells the story of how each person on the planet received their soul. Souls are trained in a place called the “You Seminar,” and only after completing the course are they placed into a body.
Pixar executives explained that the film details how souls earn their personalities, traits and quirks.
The story centers around Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher who dreams of becoming a famous jazz musician. Gardner has a misstep on the streets of New York and is accidentally transported back to You Seminar. There he meets a soul named Twenty-Two, who has been at the Seminar for years, and is terrified of Earth.
Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Daveed Diggs are all lending their voices to the film.
Walt Disney Animation
To end the presentation, Disney revealed its Thanksgiving feature for 2020: “Raya and the Last Dragon.” The animated adventure film centers around Raya, a warrior in search of the last dragon in the fictional world of Kumandra. The production team pulled inspiration from South East Asia.
However, when she finds this creature, it’s not quite as she had expected. Sisu is trapped in human form and needs help to reclaim her power and transform into her true form.
Cassie Steele voices Raya while Awkwafina voices Sisu.
Disney releases Frozen II trailer to hit theaters in Nov. 2019.
The studio also revealed the first glimpses of “Frozen II,” including three new songs. If you thought “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go” were catchy — just wait. Bobby and Kristen Lopez, the Academy Award-winning duo behind the music of the first film, have returned with gusto.
The film will answer questions like “why does Elsa have powers, but Anna doesn’t?” “Where did Elsa get her powers?” and “Where were Anna and Elsa’s parents going when they died?”
The creative team revealed that Evan Rachel Wood would voice Anna and Elsa’s mother in a flashback and Sterling K. Brown would voice Lieutenant Mattias, the leader of a group of people who have been trapped in an enchanted forest for decades.