We recently got the opportunity to attend the D23 Expo and one of the panels we knew we weren’t going to miss the Live Action Walt Disney Studios panel. It’s where they announce all the upcoming amazing Disney, Marvel, and now Lucas Film movies!
They showcased my favorite Star Wars and spoke about how excited they were to have Lucas Film now part of Disney. There are sure to be so many amazing things to come with Disney and Star Wars.
First up at the panel was President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige.
They showcased the upcoming Thor: The Dark World and Mr. Feige brought out Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins. The crowd cheered for these fan favorites but it should be known that Sir Anthony Hopkins was greeted with the first standing ovation of the day.
In addition to the exclusive footage that has only been seen by Comic Con audiences, a scene involving Jane Foster’s first day in Asgard was also shown to our audience. Thor: The Dark World will be in theaters November 8th and it promises more fantasy adventure and more Asgard and the Nine Realms.
For Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan were brought out by Mr. Feige. During some shared stories Chris Evans mentioned that when in Anaheim he meets up with some buddies and hit up Disneyland. So if on August 10th you did a double take and thought you saw Steve Rogers at Disneyland, it just may have been him. The footage shown was also a mix of Comic Con second serving as well as something new for the D23 audience only. From the footage shown, this promises to be a more action packed adventure with a great deal of involvement from S.H.E.I.L.D. Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4th, 2014.
Footage from Guardians of the Galaxy was the last shown from Marvel. This was the same footage that has only been seen at Comic Con. Mr. Feige explained that the film is still shooting and has only been in production for a few weeks. All I can say is that for just a few weeks the film looks amazing. While Guardians of the Galaxy is not the most famous of Marvel comics, this film is guaranteed to elevate its popularity as well as the popularity of its star Chris Pratt as Starlord. Guardians of the Galaxy will arrive in theaters August 1st 2014.
Once the superheroes left the room, Disney Nature took the stage. Disney Nature has brought us such films as African Cats and Chimpanzee. Their newest feature is Bears. Bears of course will follow a family of bears starting with a cub’s introduction to the world. Through the footage shown, we can expect to see more beautiful images and a touching story that is relatable to the whole family. Bears will be in theaters April 18th 2014.
Disney Live Action was next with President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey. This is where some of the most exciting exclusive news was divulged.
Walt Disney is doing a new live action Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branaugh, or Sir Ken as Mr. Bailey referred to him. They have just begun the process of filming but Sir Ken was brought to us via video where he discussed with such passion the fantastic direction in which he is going to bring the story. We were also shown set designs which show a kingdom that has never been done in live action before. From his beautiful work on Thor, I am excited to see the fantasy that he brings to the screen for his vision of Cinderella. This version of Cinderella is currently slated to be in theaters March 13th 2015.
Announced for winter 2014 is a live action screen adaptation of the popular fantasy musical Into the Woods. It was also announced that Johnny Depp will be playing The Big Bad Wolf and Meryl Streep will be The Witch with Rob Marshall (Chicago) directing.
To promote the newest Muppets film, Muppets Most Wanted, actor Ty Burnell (Modern Family) drove out in what can only be described as a car so small it must have been designed for only Muppets. Through an amazing display of contortionism, Mr. Burnell not only climbed out of the car, but was able to contort back into the car and drive off stage. The footage shown were some quick excerpts from the film and a musical number starring Ricky Gervais as number 2 to an evil mastermind that is a Kermit doppelganger. March 23rd 2014, Muppets Most Wanted will break into theaters.
The next classic Disney Feature to get an updated Live Action version is Maleficent. Maleficent is of course the villain from the famous story Sleeping Beauty but this time the story is from her point of view and delves into what makes her the way she is and why she does what she does. Bringing Maleficent to life is the amazingly talented Angelina Jolie who was brought out on stage to the second standing ovation of the day. Through the footage shown, it seems that even though the film is from a different viewpoint, there are some scenes from the classic story as well that will be shown in live action. Jolie as Maleficent seems to be having a devilishly good time in the role and apparently is doing so well that she is frightening small children. This is no joke; so many children would cry on set that for a few scenes Jolie’s own daughter had to be used because she was the only little girl that would not cry. Maleficent will be in theaters July 2nd 2014.
The next feature discussed was Tomorrowland, also slated for winter 2014. For Tomorrowland director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol), Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus), and an old dusty box labeled 1952 were brought out. Tomorrowland is an original story based from items that were in the dusty old box. The dusty old box had been sitting in the archives for years and contained many obscure and strange items including an animated clip that was digitally remastered. The film is still very much a mystery but apparently is actually about unraveling a mystery and will star George Clooney.
Saving Mr. Banks, coming December 20th 2014, was the last film discussed for the event. The film stars Emma Thompson Pamela L. Travers (author of the book Mary Poppins) and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney himself. The story is about why and how the book of Mary Poppins became the now classic and beloved Disney film. Joining us from the film were stars Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak. Who play Richard and Robert Sherman (songwriters of some classic Disney films including The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and Mary Poppins). While footage was shown from the film and the film does look every bit as charming and inspiring as a Disney Film should be, the real surprise was Schwartzman and Novak pulling out a piano to perform “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” while an entire platoon of people dressed in costumes from Mary Poppins came out to perform a musical number with kites.
It was truly a magical experience to see all that is in store for Disney Pictures. We can’t wait for 2015!