By: Ryan Jenkins
The D23 Expo was a wealth of information this year regarding updates on numerous upcoming Disney projects; this includes working titles for animated and live action films, newly disclosed details for announced sequels on some cult classics and reference to progress being made on upcoming games, so let’s jot them down:
Kingdom Hearts III
After over a decade and a half, a definitive release date has been given for Kingdom Hearts III. Apparently a lifetime in the making, the D23 Expo sees a new trailer that depicts some interesting and vibrant worlds added the story, including Toy Story. At the end of the trailer, we are given a rough 2018 release date; took them long enough.
Toy Story 4
A fourth instalment is in the works for the 3D animated franchise that made Pixar a household name. During the conference, John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Pixar announced that he is no longer co-directing Toy Story 4, handing the project over to his fellow director Josh Cooley. A definitive release date has been set for June 21st 2019.
Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet
A sequel was announced for Wreck-It Ralph, which as indicated by the title, sees the main protagonist break beyond the shackles of his 8-bit world once again, this time to take on World Wide Web. Co-directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore took the opportunity during the expo to announce a new character that will be added to the sequel, named Yesss (voiced by Taraji P. Henson). This new addition to the cast is comprised of an algorithm designed to power a viral news site called Buzzaholic. This introduces an interesting narrative regarding today’s technological state within marketing and media. Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet is due to come out on the 21st November 2018.
Though a release date has yet to confirmed for Frozen 2, Kristen Bell was in attendance at the expo to update us regarding the progress being made on the sequel. Kristen Bell, along with CCO John Lasseter disclosed that co-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have recently travelled to Norway, Finland and Iceland to do research regarding the different landscapes. Unfortunately, not much else was disclosed during the discussion, except that a working title has yet to be decided upon, other than Frozen 2.
Definitely one of my personal favourites, a second film has FINALLY been officially announced to the general public, with director Brad Bird (also the voice actor for Edna Mode) introducing returning actors Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Craig T. Nelson. During the course of the session, the director noted how today’s technology will have a significant impact on the aesthetics of the second movie, relative to the first instalment released all the way back in 2004. Brad elaborated on how the studio is able to make the character much more expressive and realistic, stating that he played around with several animation tests using updated character models and archived audio. Good news is that we won’t have to wait too long, with The Incredibles 2 due to come out on June 15th 2018
Live Action Disney
Over the course of the panel, more information was freely given regarding upcoming live action adaptations of some notable Disney classics; these included Dumbo, The Lion King and Aladdin. The last couple of years has need a slew of Disney classics taking the live action route and now to the studio has confirm that Tim Burton will be taking on the reigns for Dumbo, with Guy Richtie set to direct Aladdin.
Avengers: Infinity Wars
The D23 Expo concluded with an extensive all star panel of Avengers cast member, including a teaser trailer setting the stage for the biggest showdown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The panel consisted of:
Robert Downey, Jr.
The panel was shortly followed by Joe Russo, one of the co-director. Unfortunately, as of this writing the trailer has yet to be released to the general public, though will most likely be released on July 22nd, during Marvel Studio’s appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con.