You know those photos of people camping out overnight at D23 Expo 2015? Well, they were likely hoping to get into the panel featuring the live action film slates from Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm aka Star Wars called “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios.” The energy was amazing as the most die hard fans anxiously awaited any new information to be announced, especially since 18 films (both live action and animated) are planned from now until the next D23 Expo.
Marvel Studios Live Action Film Slates
As a long-time comic fan girl, I was giddy that the panel started with Marvel. Kevin Feige thanked the audience for a successful completion of Phase Two of the movies. Benedict Cumberbatch, the title character of the upcoming Dr. Strange, gave a video greeting from London and we were then treated to pre-production images. Dr. Strange will start filming this November and opens October 26, 2016.
The last week of filming for Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is happening now. Fortunately, Anthony Mackie and Chris Evans flew in for the day just so they could greet the D23 Expo fans. The never-before-seen footage was so good I had hold back my inner geek from squealing throughout. No cameras or photos were allowed so I have no images to leak. However, I can share this Easter Egg from the movie. The film opens in the U.S. on May 6, 2016.
Disney Live Action Film Slates
Based on a true story, The Finest Hours recounts the most daring Coast Guard rescue mission. According to Chris Pine, The Finest Hours come from a time with no cell phones and when people just did good because it was the right thing to do. This drama will be out January 29, 2016.
Director Jon Favreau came out with cast to talk about the live action film of The Jungle Book. Footage with key scenes from the animated film but now in live action brought smiles and laughs. “When I was about Neel’s ages, I heard “When I Wish Upon a Star” and something popped,” Ben Kingsley said as he thanked Disney. The Jungle Book will be in 3D and IMAX 3D April 15, 2016.
Alice Through the Looking Glass brings Alice back to Underland so she can go back in time to help Mad Hatter. Mia Wasikowska shared her affection for the role and her glee in returning to play Alice once again. In the sizzle, we meet the person known as time as well as many of the characters from the first film.
Another classic is in the works. Pete’s Dragon will be about an orphaned boy in the forest, discovered by a forest ranger played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Robert Redford will also be joining the cast. Pete’s Dragon opens August 12, 2016.
Another sports movie based on a true story was announced. It follows a poor, young girl in Uganda who finds she has a love of chess and the gift to excel at it. Lupita Nyong’o again graced the stage she spoke more about playing the mother of this exceptional girl in the film, Queen of Katwe.
The upcoming Beauty and the Beast will indeed be a musical live action. Emma Watson sent her greetings from the London set while Luke Evans and Josh Gad sang a verse from “Gaston” for us in the video. Alan Menken will return with two new songs alongside his original classics. Expect Beauty and the Beast March 17, 2017.
To work up excitement for the third title in the franchise, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Jack Sparrow stumbled on stage. Yes, Johnny Depp was in full character as he threw grapes into the audience and wooed the audience. Will Turner was announced to return in this film.
Lucasfilm Live Action Film Slates
With 30 million views in 24 hours for Star Wars: The Force Awakens on YouTube, Episode VII is being early awaited by fans. Alan Horn surprised the audience by announcing that Colin Trevorrow, who recently finished with Jurassic World, will be directing Star Wars: Episode IX for release in 2019. Another surprise was the announcement of the cast for Rogue One and an official promotional photo of them. Rogue One is will be out December 16, 2016.
Director J.J. Abrams came out to chat and introduced stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and Lupita Nyong’o to the stage and announced that everyone in attendance at the panel would receive a commemorative poster. Then Harrison Ford walked out. The cheering and standing ovation was an apt welcome for the star who brought Han Solo to life so many decades ago and who will reprise the role. Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.
After all of that, Bob Iger dropped the bomb and announced the building of a new Star Wars land at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. More information on that was presented the next day during the Parks and Resorts panel.
Wow. Fan boy and fan girls have been heard and were greatly rewarded with all the news in this panel. Even the talent that showed up was beyond awesome. With so many brilliant movies on the way, Disney just needs to take all my money now!
Which live action films are you looking forward to in the next couple of years?
I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Disney in honor D23 Expo. Images are courtesy of Walt Disney Studios. All opinions are my own.