ANAHEIM, Calif. – Disney debuted an exciting lineup of new announcements, new details and future plans for Disney Live Action, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Friday night at the D23 Expo.
D23 Expo is dubbed the Walt Disney Company’s biggest fan convention. Over the weekend, the ultimate Disney fan gathering features a number of exciting events, including a highly-anticipated presentation from Disney Parks, Experiences and Products on Sunday.
[TRENDING: Last chance to win Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights tickets | Why are speed limits different on same stretch of road? | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
Fans in Hall D23 were among the first to see all-new feature film trailers, studio artwork and so much more.
D23 leaders said the showcase began in true Disney style with a look back at special moments in studio history and Cynthia Erivo’s breathtaking performance of the classic Disney song “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Disney’s all-new live-action version of “Pinocchio,” now streaming on Disney+.
“What a way to kick off the show,” said Alan Bergman, chairman of The Walt Disney Company’s Studios division. “Of course, ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ was first heard in the animated film ‘Pinocchio’ in 1940. It’s a motto about dreaming big, dreaming the impossible and making those dreams come true. And that’s something we try to do each and every day at the studio.”
Following that presentation, Disney fans were among the first to see a brand-new logo introduction of the iconic Disney castle, which now features a platinum look in honor of Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder celebration. The new Disney castle introduction will play ahead of all Disney theatrical and streaming releases starting this fall.
Take a look at some of the exciting first looks below and descriptions from D23.
Disney Live Action
Hocus Pocus 2
It’s been 29 years since the 17th-century sisters have been resurrected, and they are looking for revenge. It’s up to three high-school students (Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham) to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve. Directed by Anne Fletcher and produced by Lynn Harris, “Hocus Pocus 2″ also stars Sam Richardson, Tony Hale and Hannah Waddingham. It debuts on Disney+ Sept. 30.
See the new trailer below
Featuring new music from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, the musical comedy picks up 15 years after Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) get married when their family heads to suburbia in search of happily ever after. Disney fans were among the first to see the first trailer of the film, which is directed by Adam Shankman, produced by Barry Josephson, Barry Sonnefeld and Adams. “Disenchanted” streams on Disney+ beginning Nov. 24.
See the new trailer below
Peter Pan & Wendy
The new film dives deeper into Wendy’s story as she joins the boy who refuses to grow up on a magical journey to Neverland and reveals the history behind Peter Pan’s rivalry with one of Disney’s most memorable villains. The cast, starring Alexander Molony (Peter Pan), Ever Anderson (Wendy), Alyssa Wapanâtahk (Tiger Lily) and Jude Law (Captain Hook), discussed what fans can expect from the new film and revealed an exclusive first look at the film for the D23 audience. Directed by David Lowery and produced by Jim Whitaker, the live-action reimagining of the 1953 animated classic begins streaming on Disney+ in 2023.
Inspired by the classic Disney Parks attraction, “Haunted Mansion” is about a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. Director Justin Simien shared a sneak peek of the film exclusively with the D23 Expo crowd. Fans were also surprised to see Jamie Lee Curtis, who made an unforgettable entrance aboard a “Haunted Mansion” doom buggy. Curtis will play Madame Leota in the film, which releases in 2023.
Mufasa: The Lion King
D23 said the film is a prequel to “The Lion King,” and won’t release until 2024. Director Barry Jenkins was on hand to show a never-before-seen sneak peek and share a little about the film, which is currently in production. Jenkins said the story is told in flashbacks — Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa tell the story of Mufasa to a young lion cub. “Mufasa” reveals the rise of one of the greatest kings of the Pride Lands.
The film is a live-action reimagining of the classic tale starring Rachel Zegler in the title role and Gal Gadot as Snow White’s Stepmother, The Queen. The film’s two stars were on hand to talk about their roles and to share a very early glimpse at the iconic characters in the 2024 film, which is directed by Marc Webb, produced by Marc Platt and features new songs by Tony, Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriters Pasek and Paul.
The Little Mermaid
Featuring fan-favorite songs, plus four new songs penned by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the feature film stars Halle Bailey as the famous mermaid character, Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as Triton. Director Rob Marshall took a break from post-production under the sea to share more about the live-action version of the beloved tale at D23. “The Little Mermaid” swims onto the big screen next summer.
See the new trailer below
Pixar Animation Studios
“Elemental” is set in a city where fire, water, land and air-residents live together. Ember is a tough and fiery young woman, and Wade is a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy. Peter Sohn, who directs the film, shared the personal inspiration behind the film — a story of immigrants pursuing dreams in beautiful neighborhoods where language and cultures come together. The all-new, original feature film releases on June 16, 2023.
Win Or Lose
“Win or Lose” follows the Pickles, a co-ed middle school softball team, in the week leading up to their championship game. Each episode takes place that same week, highlighting the perspective of a different main character — players, their parents, the umpire — each reflected in a unique visual style. Directors Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates revealed that Will Forte will voice Coach Dan in the series debuting only on Disney+ in Fall 2023.
In the original feature film, 11-year-old dreamer Elio is an artistic, creative and avid INdoorsman who finds it hard to fit in. His mom Olga, who runs a top-secret military project, is working to decode a strange signal from outer space. But it’s Elio who makes contact, gets beamed into space and is subsequently mistaken for an intergalactic Ambassador for Earth. The voice of smart and super-confident Olga is America Ferrera and the voice of Elio is Yonas Kibreab. The film hits theaters Spring 2024.
Inside Out 2
Director Kelsey Mann, producer Mark Nielsen and writer Meg LeFauve are hard at work on the all-new adventure inside the head of now-teenager Riley — who may or may not be feeling all kinds of new Emotions. “Inside Out 2,” the follow-up to 2015′s Oscar and Golden Globe-winning feature film, is slated for release Summer 2024.
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Launching on Disney+ Nov. 9, the new short-form series, which heads back to the fast-paced mammal metropolis, dives deeper into the lives of some of the Oscar-winning feature film’s most intriguing residents.
The all-new original long-form series was created in collaboration with Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali. Kugali filmmakers Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, Hamid Ibrahim and Tolu Olowofoyeku introduced the setting of the series, calling it a love letter to Lagos, Nigeria. Olowofoyeku and Ibrahim described the world of “Iwájú” as a futuristic depiction, a world bursting with color, unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos, which is physically divided into an island and a mainland separated by both water and socio-economic status. The coming-of-age story introduces Tola, a young heiress from the wealthy island, and her best friend Kole, a self-taught tech expert and loving son from the mainland. The new series is coming to Disney+ in 2023.
Debuting in theaters Nov. 23, the all-new film is about an incredible family who must get past their differences to save a strange world full of danger and surprises. The D23 audience was treated to an all-new trailer from Disney Animation’s 61st feature film before voice cast members Jake Gyllenhaal (Searcher Clade), Dennis Quaid (Jaeger Clade), Jaboukie Young-White (Ethan Clade) and Lucy Liu (Callisto Mal) joined the festivities.
See the most recent trailer below
Directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn outlined the story, which is set in Rosas, the kingdom of wishes where wishes can literally come true. Attendees were introduced to 17-year-old Asha—an optimist with a sharp wit who cares endlessly about her community. In a moment of desperation, Asha makes an impassioned plea to the stars, which is answered by a cosmic force, a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, they face the most formidable of foes to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen. “WISH,” set to release Fall 2023, during the studio’s 100th year. Actress Ariana DeBose stars as Asha in the film and sang the all-new original song written by Julia Michaels, “More for Us.”
Click here to see the full schedule of events coming to D23 Expo.
Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com In the Loop: Theme Park Scoops newsletter, sent every Friday morning.