The Must-Know News From Disney’s Big Fan Event
The movies and attractions to look forward to from Disney’s D23 Expo, the biannual fan convention.
There are plenty of things to get excited about in the next couple of years if you’re a Disney fan. The company announced a slate of new offerings—from much-anticipated movies to theme park additions—at the D23 Expo, the biannual convention for fans. Star Wars fans will geek out over the next film in the series premiering this December, plus the coming attractions at the Disney theme parks (including a hotel). While those who get nostalgic about classic films including Dumbo and Mary Poppins can feast their eyes on the respective remakes featuring stars like Colin Farrell and Emily Blunt. And anyone planning a trip to one of the Disney theme parks in the near future will want to schedule their vacations around the new Toy Story Land, which opens in summer 2018 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, and Pixar Land at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim.
Below, we’ve rounded up a list of the most exciting news from the expo.
The trailer for the film adaptation of the beloved children’s book premiered at the expo, with director Ava DuVernay and stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Chris Pine on hand to present it. From the clip, it looks like it’s going to be an epic science fiction journey with impressive special effects. We’ll have to be patient, though—the film premiers March 2018.
The much-anticipated next film in the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters in December, and fans got a first look at the movie. During the expo, the film’s director and stars shared a behind-the-scenes look at the film, which included footage of the actors rehearsing fight scenes, a sneak peek at new characters (both human and creature-like), and shots of the late Carrie Fisher.
But it doesn’t end there for fans. Two Star Wars-inspired lands will open in 2019, both called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, at Disneyland and Disney World. The two lands will have two big attractions (one will have guests piloting the Millennium Falcon), a cantina that serves blue milk, and familiar faces from the franchise milling about. Additionally, visitors to Disney World can book a room at a Star Wars-inspired resort, which will be completely immersive—guests will become “citizens” of the galaxy, even wearing galactic attire. The resort opening date has not yet been announced.
If Star Wars isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there’s a lot more to get excited about when planning a visit to Disneyland or Disney World. The big news is Toy Story Land, opening in summer 2018 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, which will take guests into Andy’s backyard. Epcot will get two new attractions based on the movies Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille—they’ll open in time for the Walt Disney Resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
On the west coast, Pixar Pier will open at Disney’s California Adventure park in 2018, featuring characters from The Incredibles, Inside Out, and Toy Story. The theme park will also get an “immersive super hero universe” with appearances by the Avengers and Spider-Man.
Get ready for some sequels. Frozen 2 will premiere on November 27, 2019, but fans don’t have to wait to get their Arendelle fix—the animated short, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, will be shown before screenings of Coco, the latest Disney-Pixar film, which opens in November 2017. Not to be outdone, the follow-up to the 2012 hit, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 will feature all the Disney princesses in one epic scene (many of the original voices of the princesses returned for this special sequence, including the actresses who portrayed Belle, Jasmine, and Ariel). Moviegoers will get to check it out when it comes to theaters in November 2018. Release dates for The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 were also announced at the expo: June 2018 and June 2019, respectively.
If you loved the live-action versions of Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast, there’s plenty more where that came from. New footage was shown from Dumbo and The Lion King at the event. Tim Burton is directing Dumbo, which stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Eva Green. It will premiere on March 29, 2019. The Lion King will be released in 2019 and features the voices of Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver—it’s directed by The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau.
The star power was overwhelming during the Avengers: Infinity War presentation. Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, and many more all on one stage? It’s just a sign of what’s to come in the next Avengers movie, which is set to open in theaters on May 4, 2018. And the sight of all the stars together might have to tide us over for now—the exclusive footage shown to fans at the event has not been released to the public.
Disney also released a short teaser for Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, and Colin Firth. Although it doesn't tell you much—it’s more like an animated poster of Emily Blunt as the famous nanny—it gives you a closer glimpse at Poppins’ updated costume. The film opens on Christmas Day 2018.