It’s that time again, a time all Disney fans excitedly anticipate: D23. D23 Expo is the one and only official Disney fan convention where all your wildest Disney dreams are made a reality: there’s panels, stalls, museums, celebrity guests, and so much more. But, of course, the most exciting part of it all is official announcements of upcoming movie productions in the House Of Mouse. Today I wanted to share with you all the D23 announcements, my thoughts on them and what I’m personally most excited for in the next coming couple of years; 2017 – 2019!
MARVEL – 6 of the announcements are additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have to admit, aside from Spider-Man and Guardians Of The Galaxy, I’m not really a Marvel fan, but I do know that Avengers: Infinity War went down an absolute storm with a trailer shown at the expo that made Marvel-maniacs’ heads explode with delight. Other Marvel movies coming our way soon are Thor: Ragnorok, Black Panther, Ant-Man & The Wasp, Captain Marvel, Inhumans and a currently “Untitled Avengers” production.
LUCASFILM – One of the most recent releases will, of course, be Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi which will be released this December. Within the next two years is another Star Wars Story following the success of Rogue One; an “Untitled Han Solo Film“. As the title suggests, LucasFilm are yet to officially give a cool title to the production, but it sure is an eagerly anticipated story for fans of the original trilogy and the ever-popular character made famous by Harrison Ford. Episode IX is also a part of the announcements as pretty much expected. It’ll also probably be some time before we have an official episode title, but I think it’s sensible to assume it’ll be well after The Last Jedi has hit and conquered box offices everywhere!
DISNEY ANIMATED CLASSICS/PIXAR – With live action productions on an all-time rise, there’s actually a distinct lack of animated productions that will be released up until 2019. Three of the announcements are Pixar, with Mexican folklore inspired Coco hitting cinemas very soon (January here in the UK) and the other two are the long-awaited The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4. The next two additions to the Disney Animated Classics canon will also be sequels: Ralph Breaks The Internet (Wreck-It Ralph 2) and Frozen 2.
I feel that out of the two, Wreck-It Ralph perhaps deserves the sequel slightly more as the underrated video game characters had a lot of potential storylines to work with, and I love the idea of Ralph and Vanellope getting lost in the world of websites in order to fix Sugar Rush. One particular parodical scene featuring every single Disney princess to date (with their original respective voice actresses in the roles) gossiping in a backstage area of a Disney website has had literally EVERYONE talking.
However, I am indeed a huge fan of Frozen, and despite most parents being beyond tired of hearing their children sing Let It Go on repeat, I am very much looking forward to a new chapter in the lives of Anna, Elsa and co. I’m just a little anxious that the story will not uphold to the absolute storm that was the original, and I’m interested to see exactly how they can take it further. More inspiration from the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, perhaps? Only time will tell!
DISNEYTOON STUDIOS – The only other animated movie to be announced is an “Untitled DisneyToon Studios” production slated for an 2019 release. No further information has been given, and I’m going to assume that this will be an original story as opposed to an already existing franchise such as the once-popular Disney Fairies movies produced by DisneyToon Studios (I wish it was though as I loved the Disney Fairies movies!) but for now, it’s a complete mystery.
LIVE ACTION – The biggest line of movie announcements is of course ALL the upcoming live action Disney productions. 6 in total (not counting Marvel and LucasFilm), 3 remakes, 1 sequel, and 2 original stories based on novels.
Let’s start with the new tradition of live action remakes of classic Disney movies that are coming 2018-2019: Mulan, Dumbo and The Lion King. I’ve got to be honest, after my bitter disappointment of Beauty And The Beast this year and hearing certain story-changing plot announcements about Mulan and The Lion King, I’m not entirely looking forward to seeing more of my favourite classic animations being “fixed” with live action treatment when there’s, well… nothing to fix.
However, when it comes to Dumbo, I am stupidly excited. It’s being directed by my all-time favourite director Tim Burton, and is starring some truly wonderful actors such as Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton and Eva Green. From what I can gather, there will be a lot more in-depth story than the original one-hour long animation, and contain more human characters as opposed to talking animals. A model of how Dumbo may look in the new movie was snapped at the expo, and he looks adorable. I definitely think Disney should focus more on adapting Golden/Silver Age Classics such as Dumbo, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Alice In Wonderland, and leave the masterpiece Disney Renaissance period alone.
Mary Poppins Returns has definitely been one of the most hyped live action movies yet to come. There was a lot of confusion with many fans believing the production to be a remake of the original, but once the “Returns” was added to the title and plot details were announced, it’s officially a sequel, and what looks like a fairly good one at that. Half of me still wonders if a sequel was needed (especially as writer P. L. Travers would be turning over in her grave), but Saving Mr Banks proved to be a success and make the magical nanny ever-popular once more, so of all classic live actions to make a sequel for, Mary is fairly obvious.
Two new original live action productions announced are A Wrinkle In Time starring Oprah Winfrey and Chris Pine, and The Nutcracker And The Four Realms starring Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren. Both films look set to be the first of a few in their own franchise (given that they will do well at the box-office, of course) which was probably spurred on by past blockbuster Disney franchises, namely Pirates Of The Caribbean, Walden Media’s The Chronicles Of Narnia and LucasFilm’s Star Wars. While A Wrinkle In Time is based on the 1960’s sci-fi fantasy novel of the same name, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is Disney‘s direct take on the classic 1800’s fairy tale of The Nutcracker And The Mouse King. It’s a shame that Disney‘s other recent live action classic novel adaptations such as Oz The Great And Powerful never got a sequel, but if these movies are anything like it, then I know I will thoroughly enjoy them.
THE FUTURE (2020 ONWARDS) – So while we’ve only had official announcements of productions up until 2019, we know for a fact there has been plenty of talk of movies further ahead. A live action remake has been announced at this year’s D23 for Aladdin with Will Smith tackling the iconic role of Genie, and Lin-Manuel Miranda has been in talks of producing the music for a live action remake of his all-time favourite Disney movie, The Little Mermaid. Upcoming Animated Classic Gigantic was announced at the last D23 but not much has been revealed about the production at this event, aside from it will most likely be the next in the Animated Classic canon to be realeased after Frozen 2. The internet has been alive with rumours of upcoming adaptations for a while, with everything and anything being stirred up, including a possible new franchise based on The Black Cauldron and a live action origin stories for Cruella starring Emma Stone and Tinker Bell starring Reese Wetherspoon. It seems that these days, literally anything is possible for the magical Walt Disney Company!
What was your favourite upcoming movie announcement at this year’s D23? Let me know in the comments!