Things have changed a bit since the first D23 in 2009, but one thing remains the same: when it’s over, it leaves a herd of hyperactive, mewling fanboys and girls in its wake. It may not be as wildly popular as some other conventions, but with exclusives from properties like Star Wars and Marvel under the D23 umbrella, the hype was very real this year.
But with that much going on, some news can get lost among all the fanfare and celebrity appearances, so I am here deliver all the major announcements to you in delicious bite-sized chunks.
It seems that the biggest news this weekend was the Infinity War trailer and clips that were screened, but let’s touch on some other things before I go full-on screeching harpy as I describe my jealousy at not having seen those cinematic sneak peeks.
A Wrinkle in Time
Fantasy movies are taking over pop culture. The popularity of whimsical flicks has been on the upswing for decades now, and they’re no longer cherished only by small cults of nerds on the fringes of society. It seems as if every theater has one or two fantasies playing every time I check the listings. So with so many popping up, there are bound to be some real stinkers and bland offerings that dull your desire to see more over time. That’s where Ava DuVernay and her stellar team come in.
The trailer for A Wrinkle in Time, the film adaptation of the Madeleine L’Engle novel of the same name, is visually arresting, to say the least. The stacked cast, including the likes of Oprah and Chris Pine, look ethereal and otherworldly in all the best ways. The film is slated to hit theaters in early March 2018.
Aladdin, Dumbo, The Lion King and More
It seems like the world cannot get enough live-action versions cartoons and board games, and Disney is blessed with a wealth of stories to chose from to carry this trend into 2030.
The cast of Aladdin was announced, with Will Smith taking on the role of the Genie, a role made legendary by the late Robin Williams. I, like most ‘90s kids, grew up watching, with stars in my eyes, Williams in a plethora of roles, so it’s hard to imagine anyone stepping into that role. But Smith is very high energy, so it might work.
The effervescent Emily Blunt was at D23 to discuss Mary Poppins Returns, which is set to float calmly via umbrella into theaters on Christmas Day 2018. The musical will not be a remake of the 1964 classic, but a new film altogether, with elements of the original in place, paying proper tribute to Julie Andrews and the books. Dick Van Dyke makes an appearance in the trailer alongside Colin Firth, so it looks to be a great holiday film.
Jon Favreau worked some of the same magic on the live-action Lion King that he did on The Jungle Book, and unveiled a first look at the upcoming film adaptation. The footage, which was a recreation of the original animated “Circle of Life” scene, hasn’t hit the internet yet, but by all accounts, it is stunning.
Dwayne Johnson continues to dominate the family-friendly blockbuster market, and D23 proves it. Johnson will appear in a film adaptation of the Disneyland ride, the Jungle Cruise. You can’t make this stuff up, guys.
It was also announced that Tim Burton will direct a live-action Dumbo movie. So that will either be captivating or it will be haunting beyond measure. Let’s just hope they don’t give the live-action version of Bambi to Tarantino.
— Star Wars (@starwars) July 15, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
While there was no new trailer released, fans across the globe all got to peep some gorgeous, brand-new posters for the upcoming flick. There was no info about the Han Solo movie either, but we know that it’s is still on track to be released in May 2018. The best Star Wars-related news to come out of D23 was Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher (posthumously) being honored with Disney Legends Awards.
With that bit of intergalactic news out of the way, we can dive into the cherry on top of this slightly bittersweet sundae.
Avengers: Infinity Wars
Those people lucky enough to be at D23 got an exceptional treat: the world’s first look at this integral part of the current MCU. We are in a spoiler-free zone, so while I have read some second-hand accounts of what the trailer contained, I will not divulge those juicy secrets here.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building up to this movie, and judging from the standing ovation after the trailer, it was worth the wait. The good news is we probably won’t have to wait long to get a glimpse of this wondrous sight, as it is rumored to be among the slew of SDCC trailers coming next week. My assemble-cast-loving-Marvel-fangirl heart is beating a little too rapidly in anticipation of this movie.
Where do I even begin? There was bound to be some extraordinary announcements from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, given the fact that animation has long been Disney’s bread and butter, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for what dropped this year.
In terms of online hype, the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph seems to be leading the pack with the news that every Disney princess will appear alongside the original characters from the first movie. That isn’t all, though. TheWreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet footage shown boasts crossovers from Marvel and Star Wars.
Toy Story 4
A slight change was announced for Toy Story 4. Previously, John Lasseter was rumored to be returning to the director’s chair for the fourth installment of the popular franchise, but it was announced at D23 that Josh Cooley will be taking it on solo instead of co-directing with Lasseter. Though many are skeptical about a seemingly superfluous sequel, Lasseter said of the new director (via Gizmodo AU), “Josh Cooley was amazing; wait until you see it — he is so good.” I guess only time will tell.
Toy Story 4 is scheduled for a June 2019 release.
No clips from the sequel to Frozen were shown, but Kristen Bell did introduce a short starring the lovable snowman sidekick from the feverishly popular movie, Olaf. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will play before Pixar’s next big release, Coco, when it hits theaters on November 22, 2017.
The Incredibles 2
The Incredibles 2 trailer was another of the crowd favorites, and understandably so. It’s been thirteen years since the original came out and folks were getting restless. The Incredibles won two Oscars and, more importantly, won the hearts of many people, young and old.
The wait is nearly over for those ravenous fans, as the sequel should arrive in theaters next June with almost all of the original cast. If the teaser is any indication, we are in for another hilarious but heartwarming ride.
Other animated offerings included The Speed Test, a teaser for a film likely set in the Cars universe, and clips from Pixar’s Untitled Suburban Fantasy Movie.
Parks and Resorts
There was some exciting news for Disney parks and resorts, but at the moment, most are but a twinkle in the eyes of fans.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The much-anticipated Stars Wars-themed park, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, won’t open until 2019 at Disney World. A fully immersive Star Wars resort hotel has also been announced. Heaps more cool stuff is coming down the pipeline as well, such as Toy Story Land in 2018 and a Tron-themed attraction.
Kiddos, Epcot has some fun stuff on the horizon. Things like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. That’s right, after all these years, Mickey is finally getting his first ride. I didn’t believe it when I heard it would be the first one, but it’s true: the mouse himself has never been the primary focus of a ride.
A number of other new attractions are being introduced to celebrate Epcot’s upcoming 35th Anniversary. A live theater, a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, and a Ratatouille ride are coming to the park in 2021.
Now that it’s over I must say, the only thing outside of seeing Infinity War footage that made me insanely jealous of those in attendance was all the Instagram videos and pictures I saw of people jumping into Scrooge McDuck’s coin pit. That delightful bit of advertising was the coolest thing at D23, including Mark Ruffalo. Kudos to the DuckTales team for coming up with that childhood dream turned photo-op.
What are you most looking forward to out of all the news we got?