My very first D23 Expo can’t be summed up in one word or feeling. Words like ‘mind-blowing’, ‘overwhelming’ or even ‘shocking’ could never do it justice by themselves. Disney secret movie previews, behind-the-scenes shots, huge Disney parks announcements, more celebrity cameos than you can shake a magic wand at… it all happened! This year’s Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios presentation was one that attendees are still talking about and one that nearly broke the internet, Wreck It Ralph style.
Over the next two years, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios will roll out a slate of films that fans are already buzzing about.
“I’m so excited about our upcoming movies; they are all hilarious, emotional, beautiful, and make you think,” John Lasseter, CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and DisneyToon Studios, said. “It’s a great mix of incredibly creative and surprising new worlds and characters and stories we love returning to. Our filmmakers are putting so much heart into these films—I can’t wait for people to see them.”
Wreck It Ralph Breaks The Internet, As Does The Presentation
“We are going to show you things that no one has seen outside the walls of our studio,” promised John Lasseter, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer, and he did not disappoint.
Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston stole the show at D23 Expo when they made film and stage history.
Those lucky enough to be front and center in D23 Hall (myself included) were the first to see the global debut of a scene from the film that pays a comedic homage to the Disney princesses. The debut of the scene had the crowd roaring with laughter! Then, in a moment that no Disney fan will likely forget, Lasseter revealed that filmmakers asked the original voice actresses behind the Princesses featured to reprise their roles for the sequence. Brought on stage one-by-one were Auli‘i Cravalho (voice of “Moana”), Kristen Bell (voice of “Anna”), Kelly MacDonald (voice of “Merida”), Mandy Moore (voice of “Rapunzel”), Anika Noni Rose (voice of “Tiana”),Irene Bedard (voice of “Pocahontas”), Linda Larkin (voice of “Jasmine”), Paige O’Hara (voice of “Belle”) and Jodi Benson (voice of “Ariel”) in a celebration fit for a princess.
A New Untitled Disneytoon Studios Film
In a new Disneytoon Studios that has yet to be named, the studio explores the future of aviation. Lasseter presented the crowd with a “speed test” preview, depicting two zooming jets facing off against one another, a bit reminiscent of a Top Gun scene. The studio didn’t make clear if it’s connected to DisneyToon’s Planes, but a release date of April 12, 2019 has been set.
Pixar’s New Feature Film Coco
The animation panel presentation also treated fans to the first-ever public performance of “Remember Me” from Pixar Animation Studios’ upcoming feature film COCO. On stage were Anthony Gonzalez, who provides the voice of Miguel in the film, and Benjamin Bratt, who lends his voice to Ernesto de la Cruz, who teamed up to perform the song.
The performance also featured more than 160 musicians including the Grammy®-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea and Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles under the direction of Kareli Montoya, and the Grammy®-winning Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band.
Coco opens in theaters on November 22, 2017. In the film, we meet Miguel, a boy who dreams of becoming a musician like his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz. Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead, meeting a few of his ancestors along the way.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
Paired with Coco, which opens in theaters on November 22nd, will be the Frozen spin-off featurette, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. After what seemed like a technical glitch while Kristen Bell (who voices Anna in the films), was a surprise musical number from Josh Gad reprising his role as Olaf.
Yes, Virginia, There Is A Frozen 2 In The Works!
Bell also broke news about the upcoming sequel to the mega-hit Frozen, Frozen 2. At this time, there was no other title revealed, but original film directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee traveled to Iceland, Norway, and Finland to do research for the landscapes for the film.
The Incredibles 2 Is Coming To Theaters
During yet another amazing announcement during the animation panel was the announcement of, and trailer for, The Incredibles 2. Director Brad Bird (who, in case you didn’t know, also voices the Edna Mode) introduced returning cast members Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Those in attendance were given a peek at an in-progress look at the film that featured a scene in which baby Jack-Jack terrorizes a raccoon with his newly-developed superpowers. Actors Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Mrs. Incredible), Sarah Vowell (Violet), and Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone) were reunited on the Expo stage, joined by newcomer Huck Milner (the voice of a more grown up Dash). Incredibles 2 is set to open in theaters on June 15, 2018.
And only famed fashion designer, and exclusive Incredibles costume designer, Edna Mode could inspire fashion icons such as Zac Posen, Rachel Zoe, Kendall Jenner and more. NO CAPES!
Toy Story 4 Gets A New Director
During the presentation, John Lasseter invited Pixar’s Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?” short) to the stage, revealing that Cooley is the new director of the feature film, TOY STORY 4. The pair brought with them a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the director’s life at the Northern California studio. Produced by Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out”), TOY STORY 4 is slated for release on June 21st, 2019!
Untitled Dan Scanlon Standalone Film
Director Dan Scanlon, who helmed Pixar’s “Monsters University,” joined Lasseter to share a few details about an all-new original feature film currently in production at Pixar Animation Studios.
According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father? The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director. “In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.” Kori Rae (“Monsters University”) will produce.