Animation

Highlights from Disney’s D23 Expo

Blake Harris 08.17.2015

This past weekend, Disney held their annual D23 Expo in which they discussed many of the upcoming happenings in the House of Mouse. Perhaps unsurprisingly—as the company most synonymous with animation has evolved into other forms of media—a large amount of attention was focused on revelations related to their Marvel and Star Wars properties.

With so much going on, we wanted to parse through the fanfare and highlight some of the most interesting developments:

Gigantic: Disney is making what they hope will become the definitive retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with a film called Gigantic. Here’s a description from Disney about the project: “Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s Gigantic follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality—and who knew giants were so down to earth?” 

Moana: From the directing team of Ron Clements and John Musker (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog) comes Moana. Here’s the official synopsis: “Moana introduces a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. She meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage.”

Coco: Pixar announced that it will be moving forward with their project based on the Mexican Day of the Dead. The film, titled Coco, and will be directed by Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and will follow the story of a Mexican boy named Miguel who gets the opportunity to meet his long-dead family members.

Pete’s Dragon: Disney is officially rebooting their 1977 musical, but this time there won’t be any singing. To generate excitement, cast member Bryce Dallas Howard showed off a new, furry dragon tail and a small amount of footage was presented.

Shakira Joins Cast (and Soundtrack) of Zootopia: In Disney’s upcoming animated buddy cop movie (centered around a talking fox and rabbit), Shakira will play Gazelle, described as “Zootopia’s biggest pop star.” She’ll also voice a new song called “Try Everything.”

Director Selected for Star Wars Episode 9: Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow has been tapped to direct the third film in Star Wars’ upcoming trilogy; the first of which has been directed by J.J. Abrams (coming out December 18, 2015) and the second of which will be directed by Rian Johnson (slated for release in May 2017).

Star Wars Headed to Theme Parks: Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Disneyland and Disneyworld will receive “our largest single-themed land expansion ever” with a pair of Star Wars-inspired attractions.

Marvel Mania: Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, presented first looks at next year’s Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War. These two films will kick off “Phase 3” of Marvel’s overarching plan for their cinematic universe.

Jack Sparrow is Back…Literally: To tease “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the fifth installment in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise, Johnny Depp appeared at D23 dressed fully as Jack Sparrow. “I came to sing you a song!” Depp declared with a stagger, before being playfully ushered off the stage by Walt Disney Pictures’ president of production Sean Bailey.

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

Similar Stories