Another year, another peak behind the curtain of the planet’s most beloved and most profitable mouse rights advocacy groups. The D23 Expo was always a promise of shock and awe, given Disney’s more recent acquisitions of Marvel and Star Wars. But even though we expected a lot, there was still more besides to surprise the sailor suits off us! Let’s revisit them shall we?
1. Disneyworld is getting Star Wars-y
It was inevitable, but it’s still hard to believe that Disney World will soon have a whole quadrant dedicated to a galaxy far, far away. Both Orlando and California will be getting lands dedicated to Star Wars rides and entertainment, with a 14-acre expansion in the works. There’ll also be one ride dedicated to the battle between the resistance and the first order. Get excited right now!
2. The Iron Man Experience
Who doesn’t want to be Iron Man? I mean sure, Downey Jr. is probably a little bored of the facial hair by now, but even he’ll be queuing up for Iron Man Experience! So if you happen to find yourself in the Hong Kong branch of Disneyland and just so happen to wander into Tomorrowland, you’ll only have to wait until Autumn 2016 to get on the ride!
3. Rogue One Cast List and Photo
Subtle, but jaw-dropping. While we still reel from the trailer for Episode VII we got our first proper look at Star Wars spin-off Rogue One, along with a cast list to go with a pretty stern class photo. Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen and Felicity Jones are some of the names connected to this story, and they all look ready to go on a daring adventure.
4. Colin Trevorrow to Direct Episode IX
We knew he wasn’t coming back for Jurassic World 2, but who’d have thought he’d trade so up so quickly? Sure, Episode IX is still a few parsecs away (is that a correct use of it?) But doubtless Trevorrow is already rolling up his sleeves and trying to figure out how he can fit his T-Rex vs Ton-Ton battle into the second act of the last of the upcoming trilogy.
The award-winning Frozen songwriters are back, and they’re teaming up with Tangled director Nathan Greno to work on this new take on the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale. Greno made some hulk-sized waves with his work on Big Hero 6, so hopefully he can bring the same dazzling direction to a more standard Disney tale.
6. Doctor Strange Footage and Civil War Footage
Kevin Feige was kind enough to get Phase 3 affairs off to a bamboozling start. Not only did we get a Doc Strange art and visuals reel, we got a promo of Civil War. Who’s in the promo? Oh I don’t know, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, General Ross, Falcon, and Hawkeye choking out Black Widow. Best line from Tony Stark:“Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.” Make no mistake both of these movies are gonna turn the MCU on its head.
7. Jungle Book Poster
All we had was a star-studded cast list including Scarlet Johansson, Bill Murray and Idris Elba, and now we’ve got a delicious poster to go along with it. Sporting Bagheera, voice by Ben Kingsley, Johansson’s Ka and Neel Sethi‘s Mowgli, there looks to be some stunning visuals in this here Kipling adaptation.
8. Moana Footage
Moana is a pacific islander whose chief father doesn’t approve of her desire to go on an oceanic escapade. She meets a demi-god (Dwayne Johnson), visits the underworld and communicates with the ocean – oh yeah, the ocean’s a character. D23 gave us a first look at some footage of the aquatic adventure. It’s gonna be big, and it’s gonna be beautiful, at least we know that for sure now.
9. Force Awakens Poster
Finally, we get to see a guy wielding a light-saber that isn’t red and triple-edged. It may seem underkill to release a poster this late in the game, especially given all the footage we’ve seen. But the poster is a classic, with John Boyega sporting the bluest of sabers. We’ve also got Kylo Ren, Ridley Ray and Han Solo looking dashing as ever. A giddying vision of things to come.
10. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Despite the fact that it was as unpopular as it was financially successful, the sequel to Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland was bound to be a visual doozy. Along with a poster or two, we also got to see some characters, including Sacha Baron Cohen as Time. James Boben is taking over the director role from Burton, and hopefully this time around we’ll get something solid in a department other than cinematography and effects.
11. Pete’s Dragon
Producer Sean Bailey has promised that the remake of Pete’s Dragon will make us laugh and cry. There’s definitely going to be some mouths agape at how different the plot is from the original. Sure, we’ve still got a boy and the unbreakable bond with his best friend – a dragon. Bryce Dallas Howard was at the expo to describe her role as a forest ranger who discovers the boy in a feral state in the middle of the woods after six years. The biggest goosebumps line? “He wasn’t alone”.