D23: Disney Rules the World

This weekend marked the annual D23 Expo, one of the biggest Disney Conventions dating back to 2009. D23 is the official name of the Disney Fan Club, named because 1923 is the year that Walt Disney left Kansas for California and begin his domination of the planet. Over the past few years, and thanks in no small part to the Disney Corporation’s need to buy major brands from the Muppets to Pixar to Marvel to Star Wars, D23 has become one of the biggest places for Geek-related news, rivaling even San Diego Comic Con. In fact this year D23 even had more Marvel related news than SDCC.

We here at The NYRD are going to give you some of the highlights that came out of Anaheim this weekend.

Jump to: Disney Live Action, Disney Animation, Marvel, Star Wars

Disney Live Action:
Perhaps the two biggest properties announced were the two movies no one expected or even really believed we would ever see again. They also have one eye-liner heavy character in common, Johnny Depp. Disney will be producing Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2016, which isn’t being directed by Tim Burton, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales in 2017, because surely those were the movies that everyone had been clamoring for. Depp will step back into his roles of the Mad Hatter and Jack Sparrow respectively, and even more interesting Orlando Bloom will also be reprising his role as Will Turner, because Hobbit cameo money doesn’t last forever. If there is one thing you have to hand to Disney, they are more than ready, and able, to squeeze blood from a dry stone, and we can only wait and see to how much money these two properties have yet to make the House of Mouse.

In other news, a live action remake of the Jungle Book is also set for 2016, staring Bill Murray as Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and Christopher Walken as himself in the role King Louie. There will also be a live-action/CGI remake of Beauty and the Beast, staring Emma Watson as Belle, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellen among others. That movie is set for 2016. Lastly, there will be a remake of Pete’s Dragon, staring Bryce Dallas Howard also in 2016, because that is certainly a 1977 classic everyone was clamoring for.

alice-through-the-looking-glass-poster-1bjpg-4352a3 JBPoster-720x1066

It seems that Disney is putting all their eggs in the live-action remake/sequel basket. Other than Chris Pine’s new Finest Hour there was not one original live action movie announced under the Disney title for next year.  This is a bit disheartening, especially since, for better or worse, Disney is a large trend setter for the entertainment industry. They have the resources, the money, and the time to burn and experiment on new projects, but perhaps after the middling response to this year’s Tomorrow Land, the corporation giant has backed off on taking risks for a while.

Disney Animation/Pixar:
On the animation side of things, there is some hope, other than the announcement of Toy Story 4, where Buzz and Woody go on an adventure to find Bo Peep, because why let a movie trilogy end gracefully and on that right bittersweet note when you can just keep pumping it for more cash? The Pixar movie is set for 2017. Disney and Pixar also announced Finding Dory, which will be hitting theaters in 2016, staring Ellen DeGeneres. They also premiered an Inside Out short entitled, Riley’s First Date.

In other news, Disney will also be producing a 2017 animated cartoon called Coco, based upon the Dias de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. The Rock himself then took stage to promote his new 2016 musical animated movie, Moana, which is based in South Pacific mythology, and will be about a young girl who teams up with a legendary demi-god named Maui, played by the Rock to figure out why people have stopped exploring. Disney is definitely trying to reach more diverse audiences with these two movies, which is a good thing.

Clips were shown from 2016’s Zootopia, which is a buddy cop movie that takes place in a city made up of anthropomorphic animals, staring Once Upon a Times’ Ginnifer Goodwin. Lastly, Disney will be producing Gigantic, the supposedly “definitive” Jack and the Beanstalk story for the big screen. This movie very much seems to be aiming to be in the tradition of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, to become another Disney animated musical classic.


Perhaps one of the most anticipated panels of the Expo, Kevin Feige took to the stage to introduce the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War. The trailer is not currently released for public consumption, except in leaked form. Please note that we will not show you that trailer, because we at The NYRD do not support leaked footage. Also, why would you want to watch some grainy, shaky-cam footage that some jerk took on his phone from the 103rd row? Disney and Marvel will release the trailer on their own schedule and we are sure it will turn plenty of heads when it finally hits YouTube and movie screens. Until then, we are content to wait for all the Civil War goodness.

Marvel also premiered a small movie showing concept art from Doctor Strange, along with a video love letter from Sir Benedict Eggs Over Easy Cumbersome Batching. He has the best, most British name. Unfortunately we have no footage of those pictures, either. really we are saying we have nothing visual to show for Marvel. However, it was announced that Tilda Swinton will be playing Strange’s mentor, the Ancient One, though she admits that she is yet uncertain if she will be playing the part as a man or as a woman.

Star Wars:
Last but not least, it was Star Wars again that shook down the house. The panel had everything, complete with a show stopping appearance by Han Solo himself. Well, it had everything except for a new Star Wars trailer, which JJ Abrams said would not be out till the Fall. The audience also got to hear from Gareth Edwards who will be directing the first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One. The movie is set to be a gritty war drama that takes place during the Rebellion Against the Empire, and possibly involves the stealing of the Death Star plans. In other words, forget everything you learned while playing Dark Forces, Kyle Katarn forgive us. We did get the first cast photo. This movie stands out as a interesting concept, though we are still unclear as why they called it Rogue One. After all, that would have been Luke or Wedge Antilles’ callsign during the Rebellion, but then again, who really knows what is canon anymore, Wes Janson forgive us. The movie began principal photography this month.


Finally, and perhaps the biggest announcement was the fact that Disney World and Disneyland will both be opening new Star Wars-theme parks. The new parks will be based around two signature rides, including one where you will be able to pilot the Millennium Falcon. The second one will give guests the chance to be in the midst of a battle between the First Order and The Resistance. Both will be based in the lore of the new trilogy, because why base rides on classic Star Wars. When will we get Admiral Ackbar’s Crazy Trap Ride?

Despite our snark and our disbelief, we will ultimately end up going to the parks and seeing the movies, because of course we will. No matter what your opinion of the mouse-led entertainment behemoth, there is one thing that you have to admit is for certain, Disney stands to make all the money… like all of it.

Photos and video courtesy: https://d23.com/


Join the discussion