Magical Highlights from Disney D23 Expo

Kettlemag, Film, Disney, D23, Andrew McIntyre
Written by andrewmci

The Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim opened its doors to millions of adoring fans around the world to give us all a taste of the magic to come in the next few years. The head honchos and creative minds from each Disney studio, not to mention the many celebrity guests, showed off what they have in store and there is lot to be excited about.

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige spent most of his time at D23 discussing the launch of Marvel’s Phase Three with two big upcoming films. The world was first introduced to Doctor Strange starring national treasure Benedict Cumberbatch. Doctor Strange, which follows the superhero antics of the titular neurosurgeon turned sorcerer actually represents something rather unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it introduces more of the wackier stuff from the comics like magic and mythical powers that were only really touched upon in previous films. The fact that Feige even described the film as “weird” at D23 really peaked my interest as lately Marvel films have become rather formulaic and are in need of something fresh. But the biggest news came from Captain America himself as the Captain America: Civil War trailer brought to life every nerd’s fantasy of watching their favourite superheroes pummel each other. It may have only been a trailer and some concept art, but it’s definitely enough to get me excited for Phase Three of the MCU.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII as director J.J. Abrams took to the stage with original cast member Harrison Ford and some of the new blood to show off the first official poster. However, this main attraction was overshadowed by the snippets of information releaed by LucasFilm concerning their future projects.

In a controversial announcement Disney chaiman Alan Horn confirmed that Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow would be helming the ninth episode in the Star Wars saga. Whether you thought Jurassic World  was just good fun or a bloated mess of a film not worthy of its namesake, Trevorrow is indeed coming to Star Wars. In less controversial news, the very first image from the spin-off film Star Wars: Rogue One was released showing the new cast of rebels led by Felicity Jones in a darker, grittier side of the Star Wars universe. This comes as a great relief as it shows that these anthology films are trying to be something unique instead of just poor imitations. Ending on a high, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Star Wars is coming to Disney theme parks as their “largest single themed expansion ever” which is great news for all.

After a brief look at some of their upcoming original titles including The Queen of Katwe, historical drama Finest Hours, and yet another Pirates of the Caribbean film, Disney treated us to Alice through the Looking Glass. The sequel to Tim Burton’s 2010 film will see the original cast members returning to Wonderland alongside comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as the character known as Time.

But it’s the live-action remakes of Disney classics that stole the spotlight. I’m not the biggest fan of Maleficent but the all-star casts of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book are not something to be ignored. Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson, Josh Gad, and Ian McKellan, seemingly born to play Cogsworth, is just something you can’t help but smile about. While I’m quietly confident that Iron Man director Jon Favreau, working alongside greats like Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray, will do justice to the The Jungle Book. 

Finally comes the barrage of announcements from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. Yes, Toy Story 4 is a love story between Woody and Bo-Peep. Yes, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton are the perfect choice for Dory’s parents in Finding Dory. Yes, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing the demi-god Maui in Polynesian adventure Moana. It’s all great news, but it pales in comparison to the dark horse of D23. And that’s Gigantic. Coming in 2018, this animated adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk sees Jack helping an 11 year old giant named Inma to defeat the evil storm giants in the clouds. As if a new animated Disney film based on a classic fairy tale wasn’t enough to send your inner child into a frenzy, it was also confirmed that Tangled director Nathan Greno is on board and musical masterminds Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the team behind the infectious Frozen soundtrack, are also working on Gigantic.

So a mixed bag of things to look forward to over the years, but above all else the most exciting news for me is Gigantic which I’m expecting will be something truly special! 

What are you most looking forward to from Disney? Let us know in the comments below!