Everything We Learned from the D23 Expo Disney Studios Presentation

The second day of D23 Expo kicked off with the Disney Studios presentation with new films coming from the studios of Disney, Walt Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Alan Horn, chief creative officer and co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios hosted the showcase and brought on Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, Disney live action’s Sean Bailey, Pixar’s Pete Docter, and Disney Animation’s Jennifer Lee.

Here are a few things we learned from the Walt Disney Studios Presentation:


    • Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams introduced some the cast of the the epic Skywalker saga conclusion, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams and included appearances from R2-D2, BB-8, and D-O. Russell revealed a little bit more about her character named Zorri Bliss who Russell describes as “shady.” Zorri is a criminal and an old friend of Poe’s. Isaac then joked, “Not anymore.” As for Carrie Fisher’s role as Leia, Abrams use unused footage of Fisher from the seventh film. A teaser trailer was shown to the audience with scenes from the original trilogy and from the recent films. Then, some footage from the new movie — several ships, a fight scene between Rey and Kylo on the ship, and Rey in dark robes with two red sabers. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 20, 2019.starwars
  • Marvel Studios

    • Ryan Coogler came on stage to announce the release date for Black Panther 2, which is May 6, 2022.RYAN COOGLER, KEVIN FEIGE (PRESIDENT, MARVEL STUDIOS)
    • The cast of The Eternals came on stage and included Richard Madden, who portrays the all-powerful Ikaris; Kumail Nanjiani, who plays cosmic-powered Kingo; Lauren Ridloff, who portrays the super-fast Makkari, the first deaf hero in the MCU; Brian Tyree Henry, who plays the intelligent inventor Phastos; Salma Hayek, who plays the wise and spiritual leader Ajak; Lia McHugh, who portrays the eternally young, old-soul Sprite; Don Lee, who plays the powerful Gilgamesh; and Angelina Jolie, who stars as the fierce warrior Thena. Feige revealed concept art images of each character, and announced three new cast members and their characters: Gemma Chan, who plays humankind-loving Sersi; Kit Harington, who was cast as non-Eternal Dane Whitman (but is Black Knight in the comics), and Barry Keoghan, who portrays aloof loner Druig. The Eternals opens on November 6, 2020. KEVIN FEIGE (PRESIDENT, MARVEL STUDIOS)
    • The cast of Black Widow could not make it to D23 as they are still filming for their May 2020 release. The audience was treated to a teaser with some footage shown from SDCC (the fight scene between Widow and Yelena, played by Florence Pugh). There are a few scenes with David Harbour’s character, Alexei the Red Guardian. Rachel Weiss as Melina was shown briefly in her Widow costume. In the final clip, we see Widow and Yelena on a road trip and Yelena makes fun of Widow’s fighting pose. In the clip, she says “Why do you do the thing? The fighting thing. The pose.” And proceeds to do the iconic pose.
  • Disney Live Action films

    • Jungle Cruise, a live action film based on the parks attraction, took to the stage with a boat riding Dwayne Johnson presenting a “trailer” that showed off his character — riverboat captain Frank Wolff who owns a jungle cruise boat named Quila. He runs an unsuccessful jungle cruise tour and is in dire need of money. In walks Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), who offers him money to take her on an adventure. Blunt, who saw Johnson’s trailer, came in with her own onstage which offered her own perspective. Disney revealed that none of these were the official trailer. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Disney’s Jungle Cruise hits theaters on July 24, 2020.48613652608_d3830f65a8_h
    • Angelina Jolie returned to the stage to talk about the upcoming Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the sequel to the hit 2014 film. Elle Fanning returns as Maleficent’s God-daughter, Aurora. Maleficent and Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and new dark forces at play. Aurora’s imminent marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration — however, Prince Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith, portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, challenges Maleficent’s role as Aurora’s mother figure. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Connal, one of the leaders of the dark fey who becomes Maleficent’s ally. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil arrives in U.S. theaters on October 18, 2019.48614006051_c799ab502f_h.jpg
    • Mulan director Niki Caro was on hand to share the upcoming live-action re-imagining of the 1998 classic animated film. Some footage was shown, which included Mulan with her family — including a sister — going to see the matchmaker. Mulan jokes with her sister about their makeup to see the matchmaker. As the matchmaker begins to tell Mulan what makes a good wife, a cricket goes underneath Mulan’s teapot. She is hesitant to move the pot, but is yelled at for not moving it. She does and the cricket begins to jump on everyone — causing havoc everywhere. Mulan and her family leave with th matchmaker telling her she brings shame to her family. Suddenly, soldiers from the palace come to request soldiers from each home. Mulan’s father accepts the decree to serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, despite having injuries. Mulan sees her father struggle and takes it upon herself to take her father’s place. She disguises herself as a man and bring honor to her family. In the clips, we see Donnie Yen, Yoson An, and Yi Gong. Mulan opens in theaters on March 27, 2020.
    • Disney showed a video of Emma Stone as she shared some information on the new feature film Cruella, the untold story of the dog-hating villain, Cruella deVille when she was young. Stone plays the young Cruella in the 1970s and looking punk rock. The film is direted by Craig Gillespie and opens in theaters on May 28, 2021.cruella.jpg
  • Pixar Animation

    • Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter revealed two new Pixar films in the works –– Soul and Onward.
      • Directed by Docter, Soul is a story about what makes YOU, you. The You Seminar is a fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities. The story centers around Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher and aspiring jazz musician who wants to perform at the Half Note, a prestigious jazz club. He is finally given the break he’s been looking for, but has several near-death experiences, one of which causes him to turn into a soul. He wants to return back to his body and perform and ends up at the You seminar. He meets Soul22, who has been at the You seminar for years because she thinks Earth is the worst. Soul22 helps Joe go back to his life. Of course, music is an important part of this movie, so the team at Pixar recruited Jon Baptiste, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross for the music. Joe Gardner will be voiced by Jamie Foxx with Tina Fey as 22. Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, and Daveed Diggs also joins the voice cast. Soul opens in theaters on June 19, 2020.48613648573_a150464bda_h.jpg
      • Onward stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as elf brothers Ian and Barley, respectively, and takes place in a modern fantasy world. Having lost their father when they were young, Ian and Barley are given a gift on tIan’s 16th birthday from their father. It’s a magical staff that is rarely found anymore and a gem that, when cast, would give the kids one day with their father. After an error occurs from the spell, leaving their father with just legs, Ian and Barley must find another gem to fix their mistake and be able to spend the full day completely with their father. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the boy’s mother, Lora Lightfoot.DAN SCANLON, TOM HOLLAND, CHRIS PRATT, KORI RAE
  • Walt Disney Animation

  • Walt Disney Animation Studios brought out their Chief Creative Officer, Jennifer Lee, to present their next two feature films.
    • Lee presented next year’s fantasy-action-adventures, Raya and the Last Dragon, inspired by Southeast Asian cultures and traditions. Written by Crazy Rich Asians’ writer Adele Lim, the film takes place in the fantasy world of Kumandra with five distinct clans, which all form the land of the dragon. Kumandra no longer has any dragons and evil has take over their land. Raya is determined to save her home and  teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon. Cassie Steele is the voice of Raya, while Awkwafina lends her voice as Sisu, the Last Dragon, who also takes human form. Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters on November 25, 2020.DEAN WELLINS, OSNAT SHURER, ADELE LIM, PAUL BRIGGS
    • Frozen II was last to be announced with new details on the film, including two new characters. Sterling K. Brown, who voices Lieutenant Destin Mattias, and Evan Rachel Wood, who voices Queen Iduna, Anna and Elsa’s mother. The film may answer some questions like ‘why does Elsa have powers?’ Why doesn’t Anna have powers? Where were their parents going? In never-before-seen-footage, Wood is heard singing to the girls a song called ‘All is Found.’ In another scene shown, Elsa has been hearing a siren sound, but had ignored it. Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Olaff (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Sven are playing charades. Olaff, who is able to transform himself into any shape and item, and Kristoff easily beat Anna and Elsa in the game. Distracted by the sound, Elsa excuses herself to her room. Anna, distracted by her sister, does not see Kristoff trying to propose to her and walks away to check on her sister. The sisters comfort each other and fall asleep next to each other. Elsa wakes up to the sound again and follows it. She sings a catchy song called ‘Into the Unknown.’ Frozen II ended the panel with a bang! After the footage was shown, Bell, Gad, Menzel, and Groff appeared on stage and began singing a new song from the new film called, “Some Things Never Change.” Frozen II opens in theaters in November this year.JOSH GAD, KRISTEN BELL, IDINA MENZEL, JONATHAN GROFF