Disclosure: This event and trip to LA was an all expense paid journey sponsored by Disney. All thoughts, experiences and opinions are 100% my own!
D23 Expo 2017 Recap: Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm Live-Action Slates
Yesterday I shared with you the exciting news and announcements from Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Today, I’m back with more awesome and exciting news and this time, it’s from the live-action side of things. In case you missed it, I attended the D23 Expo in Anaheim, and it’s the best place to be for the latest dish on all of the hot news coming out of these studios.
About D23 Expo 2017
D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which will take place July 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. For the latest D23 Expo 2017 news, visit D23expo.com. Presentations, talent, and schedule subject to change. To join the D23 Expo conversation, be sure to follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, and use the hashtag #D23Expo.
So buckle up, because next I’ll be sharing with you the amazing announcements that we heard in terms of the live-action slate for Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm:
A Wrinkle in Time
Coming March 9th, 2018
This was one of my favorite books as a kid, so I’m really excited to see what they are doing with this one. The cast is amazing and includes 2 of my favorites: Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon! Also in this film are Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine along with newcomer Storm Reid and visionary director Ava DuVernay.
Cast members took to the stage and shared with us a peek at a teaser trailer and then in true Oprah fashion, she gave everyone a poster!! It was hilarious… she was yelling “…and you get a poster, and YOU get a poster… and YOU get a poster…” so much fun. The film, which is an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic, takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and ultimately, the triumph of love. Here’s a peek at A Wrinkle in Time:
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Coming November 2, 2018
Another exciting announcement include the fact that Disney will be creating a new take on an old classic! THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS will star Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, newcomer Mackenzie Foyas Clara, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, Morgan Freeman as godfather Drosselmeyer, and a special performance by Misty Copeland. THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is directed by Lasse Hallström and produced by Mark Gordon and Larry Franco.
And when I said Disney is putting a new take on it, I meant it! Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck hit the stage and shared with us a special kind of street dancing with is called jookin, it was amazing and the performance earned him a standing ovation!
Mary Poppins Returns
Coming December 25, 2018
Probably one of my favorite announcements, I can’t wait for Mary Poppins Returns. To see this film come to live-action is so exciting to me and I almost cried when I heard and saw that Dick Van Dyke will have a role in this movie!!
Director/Producer Rob Marshall took to the state with Emily Blunt, the star of Disney’s sequel MARY POPPINS RETURNS, and shared with us how Emily came to play the practically-perfect nanny Mary Poppins. This movie takes place 25 years in the future (since the last time that we saw the banks family) and focuses on Michael Banks (who was one of the children in the original Mary Poppins) who is now grown up and raising his own children.
We were able to see an amazing clip from the film which was accompanied by a live orchestra performing original new music from the film conducted by composer Marc Shaiman, the audience went nuts with applause. The clip that we screened showed Mary making her first appearance and I got chills when she appeared. I can’t wait for this one!
Also. Guess who plays Mary’s sidekick in this new Mary Poppins movie? Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Jack, Mary’s friend and optimistic side-kick in the movie. I rest my case. This is going to be unreal.
Coming March 29, 2019
I am so excited that they will be making a live-action version of Dumbo. They confirmed that it will be directed by Tim Burton, who couldn’t be there in person but sent a video message sharing that he will be leading the charge as they create a live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic DUMBO. “’Dumbo’ was always one of my favorite Disney films,” said Burton. “We’re trying to give it the same heart, feeling and emotion that we all loved about the original.”
The Lion King
Coming July 19th, 2019
This one, probably more than any other, literally had tears streaming down my face. I actually didn’t realize how much it would effect me, until it did. They played for us a teaser clip in which they show the live-action baby Simba being raised up (you know the scene) and I lost it… my heart just burst. I canNOT wait for you all to see the way they have recreated our favorite characters into live-action and very realistic looking creatures.
I can’t even explain to you how crazy real these animals look, even more so than they did in the live-action Jungle Book movie, and I didn’t really think you could get much more real than the animals were in that film. The technology team behind the movie are introducing all-new filmmaking techniques that promise striking visuals never before seen on the big screen—bringing celebrated characters to life in a whole new way.
Of course this film is under the direction of Favreau, who was also behind the 2016’s blockbuster live-action remake of THE JUNGLE BOOK. Favreau shared with the audience that, “This is a story that belongs to everyone who grew up with the original film, I wanted to demonstrate that we could be respectful of the source material while bringing it to life using new techniques and technologies. We wanted to do something special for the D23 Expo audience and give them a first look at what we’re up to.”
They definitely did that. Honestly one of my favorite D23 Expo moments. The cast for this one is amazing as well: Donald Glover as Simba, and James Earl Jones as—naturally—Mufasa, Favreau’s live-action version of THE LION KING is produced by Favreau, Jeffrey Silver and Karen Gilchrist. I wish I had more images for you on this one, but I’ll share more as soon as I have it!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Coming December 15, 2017
This is a movie that we have all been waiting patiently for. Before this presentation, we had the chance to attend the Disney Legend Awards in which both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill received Legend Awards. Since Fisher passed away earlier this year, it was a very emotional ceremony, and Hamill paid special tribute to her while accepting his award. It was really neat to see him back on stage a bit later as they all shared with us the hype about this upcoming film!
Rian Johnson, the writer and director of the latest chapter in the Skywalker saga, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI started out alone on stage and by the end he had introduced so many actors from this movie, including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
It was SO amazing to see all of them up on stage together. I can’t WAIT for this film. Here’s an awesome behind the scenes look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
Avengers: Infinity War
Coming May 4, 2018
As if things weren’t awesome enough (seriously!!?) then came the Avengers: Infinity War presentation. It was like the end of a fireworks show when things start to get intense and crazy.
Kevin Feige came out to share that the Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary begins with the release of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. I’ll be honest, the order of the next few things is a blur to me. I think an amazing Marvel video. Goosebumps. and then. Chaos. One after the other the talent from the film began to appear on stage: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff.
To top it all off, the thrilled fans got an exclusive early look at footage from the movie, introduced by Joe Russo, one of the directors. It was insanity. Earlier we had seen the Disney Princesses all on stage. Now this. I die.
How crazy is this?? Honestly… it was truly unreal.
A few other live-action projects in the works:
A live-action take on Disney’s 1998 feature, which will be helmed by Niki Caro (“McFarland, USA,” “Whale Rider”)
A live-action nod to the popular theme park ride. The studio is working with Dwayne Johnson, recently heard as Maui in MOANA, on the project.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie.
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.
How to become a D23 Member
Fans can join D23 at Gold and General Membership levels at D23.com and at DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
And stay tuned for more awesome D23 Expo 2017 updates… I’m not even close to done talking about this awesome event, I have so much more to share with all of you!!