ANAHEIM, CA – D23Expo is the three-day event where fans of the wider Disney universe have gathered every two years at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, since 2009, when the company’s official Fan Club was formed.
After a break due to the pandemic -the last meeting was held in August 2019-, the D23 convention returned this weekend with the Disney Legends awards, a huge showroom with dozens of stands and thousands of items for sale, and massive presentations in which studio managers announced the upcoming movies and series.
During the afternoon, in a huge room with thousands of people, Walt Disney Studios – both the Live Action and Animation divisions – and Pixar presented their novelties. Many of them will be released directly on the Disney + streaming service, but some will still go through theaters first.
Disney turns 100
The presentation began with a video on the 100 years of Disney and immediately after Cynthia Erivo – who has just released the live-action version of “Pinocchio”, in which she plays the Blue Fairy – came on stage to sing the Disney anthem.
It was also the time to reveal the new Disney logo to commemorate the centenary that we will see from now on at the start of all its productions.
Next, in blocks grouped by each studio, the Disney titles for the remainder of 2022, 2023 and 2024 were announced. Many projects were already known, but more details and first glimpses of clips and trailers were given.
Disney Live Action movies for theaters
1. The Little Mermaid
On May 26, 2023, “The Little Mermaid” (“The Little Mermaid”) will arrive, directed by Rob Marshall (Oscar winner with “Chicago” and director of “Mary Poppins Returns”). Marshall announced that the soundtrack will have 4 new songs composed by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The film stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as the evil Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as the voice of the crab Sebastian, with Awqwafina and Jacob Tremblay also among the voice cast.
The entire sequence of “Part of the world” was shown on the screens in the room only for the fans present. Then they also shared the first teaser of the film:
“Since I was a little girl, I swam in the pool dreaming I was a mermaid, I would never have imagined that this could come true,” said Bailey on stage.
2. Snow White
The first princess in Disney history will be embodied in the skin of Rachel Zegler. Gal Gadot will play the Evil Queen. Premiere in 2024.
“As a Disney fan, I can’t believe I’m on this side of the stage. I have to pinch myself. Playing this role has been my life’s dream,” Zegler said onstage alongside Gadot.
3. Mufasa, The Lion King
The Lion King is such a successful franchise for Disney that after the pseudo-live action remake of 2019 now comes the origin story of the beloved Mufasa. Director Barry Jenkins – an Oscar winner with “Moonlight” – took the stage to talk about “MUFASA, The Lion King” which will be released in 2024. It is the origin story of how Mufasa grew up as an orphan to become the Lion King. The teaser could be seen in the room.
4. Haunted Mansion
A film based on a classic Disney park attraction, as it was done in 2003. Its director, Justin Simien, shared that when he was a teenager he worked at Disneyland and the Haunted Mansion attraction was one of his favorites. Simien shared the first trailer for the film that features a spectacular cast: Rosario Dawson, Lakeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, Jared Leto, Danny DeVito and Jamie Lee Curtis, who appeared by surprise in a chair moving… and didn’t say a word. “Haunted Mansion” will premiere in 2023.
Disney Live Action Movies for Disney+
Sean Bailey, president of Live Action films at Walt Disney Studios, highlighted the importance of the streaming service: “Disney+ gives us a lot of freedom to continue exploring original stories.”
1.Peter Pan & Wendy
New version of the classic that puts the focus more on Wendy. We will see an unrecognizable Jude Law as Captain Hook. He will arrive on Disney + in 2023 without going through theaters.
2. Hocus Pocus 2
Before, this September 30, “Hocus Pocus 2” will arrive on Disney + with the young Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo and Lilia Buckingham as protagonists. The film is the sequel to the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus” and will bring back actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy 30 years later.
Disenchanted, the sequel to “Enchanted” (2007), will once again star Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Idina Menzel. Maya Rudolph joins them. Premiere November 24 on Disney+.
Pixar movies and series
Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar, presented the novelties of the award-winning animation studio, which always takes risks with its bets.
“We want to make films that entertain, surprise and connect authentically,” said the animation director who has won the most Oscars.
1.Inside Out 2
One of the best critically acclaimed films in Pixar history is getting a sequel. “Inside Out 2”, directed by Kelsey Mann, will arrive in the summer of 2024. Almost nothing is known about the film, but the protagonist, Riley, will be a teenager.
In the spring of 2024, “Elio” will arrive, the story of a boy who, by mistake, has to act as ambassador of the Earth in the Universe among aliens. Directed by writer Adrián Molina (“Coco”), it features America Ferrera in the voice of Elio’s mother. Yonas Kibreab will voice Elio.
Pixar’s 27th film will be released in June 2023 and it promises to be excellent. “Elemental” is directed by Peter Sohn, the son of Korean immigrants to the Bronx in the early 1970s. That family experience inspired him for the film.
The plot takes place in a city where the important thing is the element with which each one is made, Amber, made of fire, falls in love with Wade, made of water. How can two characters be related that are made of elements so opposite that they can’t even touch each other?
4. Win or Lose, series for Disney +
Until now Pixar produced “features” and short films that used to precede the movie in theaters. Now Pixar’s first long-form series is coming to Disney+. “Win or Lose” is about a co-ed softball team coach (voiced by Will Forte), but each episode is told from the point of view of each member of the team on their way to the final, which takes place in the final episode.
Walt Disney Animation movies and series
The last block was presented by Jennifer Lee, president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, “where everything was born a hundred years ago.” The company’s revered division announced three titles — two movies and a series — before Ariana DeBose closed the presentation by singing the theme song for “Wish,” in which she will provide the lead voice.
This film will be released in 2023 to celebrate the 100 years of the studio. It is supposed to combine styles from the more than 60 animated films in Disney history. Co-director Chris Buck summed up the spirit of “Wish”: “There is no stronger power in the universe than someone who has a true wish.”
“Wish” will be a musical featuring songs by Pink and Selena Gomez, among other artists. The plot takes place in the Kingdom of Roses, a world where wishes come true. The protagonist is Asha, a 17-year-old girl who makes a wish to the stars with all her heart. And one of them, Star, becomes her inseparable companion…
Another Disney Animation bet will be “Strange World”, an adventure film in an imaginary world with unknown creatures. It will be released in theaters in November 2023. Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid and Lucy Liu will voice the leads.
This November, the series “Zootopia+” will premiere on Disney+. Of course, it is based on the 2016 movie “Zootopia”. It will have 6 episodes.
The studio’s most original bet will be “Iwájú”, the studio’s first original series and Disney Animation’s first collaboration with another studio in its 100-year history. It will be with the Kugali comics studio and publisher, whose mission is to tell stories inspired by Africa.
“Iwájú” is a futuristic series in a city divided in two: a poor island and the rich mainland. It will premiere in 2023 on Disney+.