I’m back home after the BIGGEST bi-annual event of the year. D23EXPO! We have lots of news to get out to you so keep checking in over the next few days. Warning: This RECAP may be EPIC. We are back at it again today with the LIVE ACTION PANEL RECAP During #D23EXPO Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn hosted as Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm presented their live action film slates. This was all big news in one place PLUS live and video appearances from talent and filmmakers. So be prepared to get exciting just from reading! Let’s get down to business. UPCOMING MOVIES!
A Wrinkle In Time March 9, 2018
Sean Bailey welcomed “A Wrinkle in Time” cast members Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine along with newcomer Storm Reid and visionary director Ava DuVernay to the D23 stage, where they thrilled fans with a first look at the film’s teaser trailer and teaser poster. 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.
Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who is desperate to fit in. As the daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it for herself. Making matters even worse is the baffling disappearance of Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) to three celestial guides—Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)—who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they set off on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space are known as tessering, they are soon transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must look deep within herself and embrace her flaws to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness closing in on them. “A Wrinkle in Time” opens nationwide March 9, 2018.
WOWZA! A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books growing up so I was nervous about it being a movie, but once again Disney does not disappoint! Everything we saw had me clapping and wanting more! I will be buying my tickets in advance and watching this with my entire family multiple times!
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms November 2, 2018
Sean Bailey shared with D23 Expo 2017 fans Disney’s all-new take on a classic story in “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, newcomer Mackenzie Foy as Clara, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, Morgan Freeman as godfather Drosselmeyer, and featuring a special performance by Misty Copeland, the movie is inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. The film will open in U.S. theaters on Nov. 2, 2018,of
I had honestly never heard anything about this film till we saw the sneak peek of it at D23. It looks epically beautiful with gorgeous casting and great dance sequences. Can’t wait to share more as it becomes available.
Mary Poppins Returns December 25, 2018
To the delight of D23 fans, Emily Blunt, the star of Disney’s sequel “Mary Poppins Returns,” took to the stage with director/producer Rob Marshall to talk about the eagerly-anticipated return of the practically-perfect nanny. In this original musical sequel to the 1964 “Mary Poppins,” Mary and her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, embark on entirely new adventures with the next generation of the Banks family to help them find the joy and wonder missing in their lives.
Blunt and Marshall answered questions from Sean Bailey, with Blunt offering insight on how she made the character her own. “I needed to try to pay homage to Julie Andrews, but carve out a new space for myself,” said Blunt. “And we were very loyal to the books.” Rob Marshall shared, “I was incredibly honored to be approached by Disney about 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.” D23 attendees 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 conducted by composer Marc Shaiman, eliciting thunderous applause.
This had one of the largest reactions in the crowd, except for Infinity War which we will get to in a few moments. This resonated with me as a true Disney classic. They could not have done any better in casting. Both Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda were basically leaping of the film in more ways than one. To see Mary Poppins gliding down from the sky yet once more had joy in my heart and a grin plastered on my face. This one will be wonderful and magical.
“Mulan,”a live-action take on Disney’s 1998 feature, which will be helmed by Niki Caro (“McFarland, USA,” “Whale Rider”). “Jungle Cruise,”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. “Aladdin,”directed by Guy Ritchie, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie.
At this point, my head was almost spinning with information! Will Smith as Genie?!?! What What?!?! The energy in the room was SOARING!
DUMBO March 29, 2019
D23 Expo 2017 fans were greeted from across the pond by visionary filmmaker Tim Burton, who is busy directing his next project—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 film stars Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier, a former circus star and war-veteran charged with the care of a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock of an already struggling circus. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins were cast as Holt’s children, who discover that Dumbo can fly. Danny DeVito portrays circus owner Max Medici who tries to capitalize on the novelty. And Michael Keaton is persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere who swoops in with aerial artist Colette Marchant, portrayed by Eva Green, to make Dumbo a star.“Dumbo” is slated for release on March 29, 2019.
I’m LIVING for all these animated movies of my childhood to become Live Action Remakes. We saw a prototype of what they are using as Dumbo and it was too cute! PLUS, with Tim Burton attached I’m all the way in!
Lion King July 19, 2019
Alan Horn joined Bailey to surprise the D23 Expo crowd with a special look at director Jon Favreau’s new live-action take on Disney’s 1994 classic animated film “The Lion King.” 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.
Favreau, who was behind 2016’s blockbuster live-action remake of “The Jungle Book,” joined Bailey on stage. “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.”
Starring Donald Glover as Simba, and James Earl Jones as—naturally—Mufasa, Favreau’s live-action version of “The Lion King” is slated for theaters on July 19, 2019. This is the one I bawled like a baby when the footage played. The snippet we saw was the first part of the movie. The Circle of Life playing. Animals coming to see the new cub. Rafiki putting the “paint” on Simba then holding him up on pride rock. The reality of the footage tugged at my heart strings. There was something so blissful. So peaceful. So entirely everything I was hoping it would be. If you ask the people in the room what their most favorite part of the live Action panel was I’d bet most of them say the Lion King footage. As soon as I can share it I will!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi December 15, 2017
Alan Horn welcomed Rian Johnson, the writer, and director of the latest chapter in the Skywalker saga, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Johnson thrilled the audience by introducing talent from the film, including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro. The audience was then treated to a special sneak peek of behind-the-scenes footage from the highly anticipated movie.
In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. The movie stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro. Here is the footage we saw:
I’ve rewatched this a ton to see if I could find any hidden clues. I’m sure you will too! Everyone had a moment in the panel as we were listening to Mark Hammil talk about Carrie Fisher on stage. Everyone is not so patiently waiting for this one!
Avengers: Infinity War May 4, 2018
For the finale, Horn brought Kevin Feige to the stage for Marvel Studios’“Avengers: Infinity War.” To start the ball rolling, Feige unveiled the Marvel Studios’ official 10th-anniversary logo to the excited audience. Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary begins with the release of “Avengers: Infinity War” and covers an impressive decade of Marvel Studios’ blockbusters released from 2008 through the “Avengers” untitled film in 2019. In celebration of the anniversary, fans can expect exclusive consumer products and collectibles, along with in-theater events and much more in the coming months.
Then, in a surprise for all that brought the house down, talent from the film made a grand entrance, including 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.
You guys…. I WISH I had the words to describe the insanity that happened as each cast member walked out. It was intense! The cheers in the room kept escalating and escalating. I think a few people may have passed out from excitement. THEN we watched the footage. INCREDIBLE. The footage won’t be released for awhile, but I can say that in the beginning, we witnessed Thor flying through space and landing on the Guardians of Galaxy’s ship. YES!!! THOR + Guardians! We also saw a lot of Thanos who kicks major butt. SO MUCH was going on! It was incredible.
An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
WHEW! That’s it for the LIVE ACTION PANEL. I know there are a few releases not on here, but those will have big panels at the upcoming Comic Con. I’ll share those when I can!
***Disclosure: I attended the #D23EXPO My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***