These days, Disney is a pop culture behemoth of its own right. With Marvel Studios, Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm all under its umbrella, complementing its own mega franchises such as Mickey Mouse and friends, the Disney Princesses, Disney Animation Studios and the increasingly popular and lucrative live-action adaptations of its animated classics.
The studio really flexed their muscles recently at their biennial D23 Expo, showing off trailers and footage from its upcoming films, but also more details on its theme parks and other properties.
Here are five of our favourite movie-related revelations from D23:
Make mine Marvel
Marvel Studios paraded almost the entire cast of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War at D23, but it was the exclusive footage they showed that has us really, really excited.
While we have yet to see it, the descriptions we’ve read online have been pretty overwhelmingly positive so far.
It apparently opens with Thor going splat on the windshield of the Milano, the Guardians Of The Galaxy’s spaceship, and ends with Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to hurl an ENTIRE PLANET at the heroes.
With the Avengers teaming up with the Guardians, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange against Thanos and his notoriously evil Black Order, this is THE mother of all Marvel Studios movies.
Sure, there’s still Thor: Ragnarok to come this year, but we’re already contemplating using our Time Stone to fast forward to May 2018, when Avengers: Infinity War is released.
Pixar gets Incredible
Pixar’s sequels have been a mixed bag so far – ranging from great (Toy Story 3), entertaining (Finding Dory) to downright forgettable (Cars 2, Monsters University).
But there is one sequel that should blow them all away – The Incredibles II, which will open in the United States in June 2018.
According to director Brad Bird, the upcoming sequel to the 2004 hit Pixar movie about a family of superheroes is set one minute after the original film’s final scene in which the Parr family was suiting up and getting ready to take on the Underminer (“I’m always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me!”).
This pretty much means we’ll get a superhero fight from the get-go. And that’s not all, attendees also got to see footage of the baby of the family, Jack-Jack (whose powers manifested his powers at the end of the Incredibles) in action.
Disney’s animation arm also highlighted a few upcoming projects, including a yet-unnamed aviation/space related film, Frozen short Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Pixar’s upcoming original feature Coco, and an “Untitled Pixar Film That Takes You To A Suburban Fantasy World”.
Speaking of animation, the sequel to the 2012 hit film Wreck-It Ralph sees the titular character moving out from the video game arcade into the world wide web of weirdness that is the Internet.
While we doubt the actual movie or the trailers for this will actually break the Internet, one particular announcement should at least come close to bringing down some servers for any dedicated Disney Princess forums out there.
In footage shown at D23, Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope von Schweetz ends up in a room with a host of Disney princesses, including Snow White, Moana, Anna (Frozen), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty And The Beast), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and even Medina from Pixar’s Brave.
If the appearance of all these beloved characters was not enough, Disney even roped in each Princess’ original voice actresses (with the exception of Snow White’s Adriana Caselotti, who passed away in 1997), and gathered them on stage at D23. Talk about a magical Disney moment.
Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet is coming on Nov 2018.
The last of Leia
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson took to the stage with cast members Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern, but very little was revealed about the plot of the upcoming movie.
They did, however, reveal some cool new character posters, and played a nice little behind-the-scenes video that had some poignant scenes of the late Carrie Fisher fooling around on set.
It ends with Fisher saying: “It’s about family. That’s what makes it so powerful.” That got us a little teary-eyed, since The Last Jedi will be her final movie as the great Leia Organa.
The Circle of Live-Action
Of late, Disney has had some degree of success adapting its animated classics like The Jungle Book and Beauty And The Beast into live-action films. At D23, they made some big announcements on their next entries in this increasingly lucrative franchise.
First up, was the announcement that a live-action version of the classic 1941 film Dumbo is already in production, with Tim Burton at the helm. The cast for the upcoming Guy Ritchie-directed Aladdin was also announced, with relative unknown Mena Massoud in the titular role, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the motor-mouthed Genie (voiced in the original 1992 animated version by the late Robin Williams).
What we’re most excited about, however, is The Lion King. Having already done the animal-centric The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau is now tackling one of Disney’s most successful animations ever.
He even showed off the opening scene from the movie – an almost identical recreation of the animated feature’s iconic opening scene (you know, the one with Elton John’s Circle Of Life) – and judging from the reactions after that, this is one live-action adaptation that is set to roar when it opens in 2019.