ANAHEIM — Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm just announced the details of their upcoming live- action film at the 2017 D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Centre in California.
The highlight of the event was when Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn brought on stage the talent from the new film “Avengers: Infinity War” — Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Paul Bettany (Jarvis), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Tom Holland (Spiderman), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Dave Bautista (Drax), Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) — followed by an exclusive early look at footage from the movie.
“At The Walt Disney Studios, we could not do what we do without the support of the many Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars fans around the world,” said Horn.
“We feel like our fans are a part of the family, and the D23 Expo is our chance to give a little something extra back to them.”
Fans at the expo were also treated to sneak peeks at The Lion King, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mary Poppins Returns, and more.
Here are some of the highlights from the event.
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time cast members including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine along, Storm Reid and director Ava DuVernay were on stage to give fans a first look at the film’s teaser trailer.
A Wrinkle in Time will be released on March 9, 2018.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Disney’s new take on The Nutcracker stars Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mackenzie Foy as Clara, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, Morgan Freeman as godfather Drosselmeyer, and features a special performance by Misty Copeland.
Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck will play the Mouse King who will be represented as thousands of mice. Lil Buck took to the stage to demonstrate the kind of street dancing, called “jookin”, his character performs in the film. It earned him a standing ovation.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be released on November 2, 2018.
Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt, the star of Disney’s sequel Mary Poppins Returns, took to the stage with director and producer Rob Marshall to talk about the remake of the classic musical.
Blunt said “no one is ever going to out do Julie Andrews” when discussing her character. “It’s my version of her.”
Marshall said he was “incredibly honoured” to be directing a sequel.
“This is a brand new original film musical from top to bottom, which is very rare, and it is a wonderful opportunity to create something specifically for the screen,” he said.
Fans were then treated to an exclusive first look at the film, which was accompanied by a live orchestra performing original new music from the film.
Mary Poppins Returns will be released in December 2018.
While Disney didn’t release much information, it did confirm Mulan, a live-action take on Disney’s 1998 feature, is underway at the studio.
Similar information was given about its new film Jungle Cruise, a live-action nod to the popular theme park ride. The studio confirm it is working with Dwayne Johnson on the project.
It was the same story for a remake of Aladdin. Disney confirmed the film would be directed by Guy Ritchie, and star Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie.
Filmmaker Tim Burton was announced as the director of a reimagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo.
“’Dumbo’ was always one of my favourite Disney films,” he said. “We’re trying to give it the same heart, feeling and emotion that we all loved about the original.”
The film will star Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito and others.
Dumbo will be released on March 29, 2019.
The D23 Expo crowd received a special look at the new live-action take of Disney’s 1994 classic animated film The Lion King.
Jon Favreau, who was behind The Jungle Book, will direct the movie.
“This is a story that belongs to everyone who grew up with the original film,” said Favreau.
“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.”
The Lion King is one of the biggest animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office gross of $968.8 million.
It will be released on July 19, 2019.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rian Johnson brought on stage the stars from the film, including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
The audience was also treated to a sneak peek of behind-the-scenes footage from the movie.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on December 15, 2017.
Avengers: Infinity War
For the finale, Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios came to the stage to announced the release of Avengers: Infinity War in celebration of its 10th anniversary.
He then introduced talent from the film who joined him on the stage, in an event which brought down the house.
Fans also got an exclusive early look at footage from the movie.
An Avengers untitled film was also touted for 2019 in celebration of the Marvel anniversary. More on that will be revealed in the coming months.
Avengers: Infinity War will be released on May 4, 2018.
*This author travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Disney.