D23 was a huge event this year with a lot of exciting announcements. In a massive presentation hosted by Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, a great number of titles were revealed including productions by Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.
Kevin Feige of Marvel gave an advance look at their upcoming film Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch, set to debut on October 26, 2016. Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie also showed up to promote the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, the third installment in the Captain America franchise. We have information from the press release on what we can expect from Civil War.
- Marvel's Captain America: Civil War picks up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.
- The movie stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Marvel's Captain America: Civil War is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D'Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Marvel's Captain America: Civil War opens in the U.S. on May 6, 2016.
Sean Bailey talked about Disney's upcoming live-action film The Finest Hours starring Chris Pine, based on a true story about a daring Coast Guard rescue. Chris Pine also joined Bailey on stage to talk about the film. Here is some of the information we have:
- Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, the film, which is directed by Craig Gillespie and also stars Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana, transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale.
- The Finest Hours is produced by Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero and Doug Merrifield is the executive producer. The film is based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and the screenplay is by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. The Finest Hours storms into U.S. theaters on January 29, 2016.
Jon Favreau will be directing Disney's upcoming film The Jungle Book, and he took to the stage with several cast members from the film. This included newcomer Neel Sethi who will be playing Mowgli, as well as established actors Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong'o. Kingsley will be playing panther-turned-mentor Bagheera and Nyong'o will be playing the protective mother wolf Raksha. Favreau treated fans to a sneak peek of footage from the film, and each guest received a copy of the dramatic teaser poster following the presentation. The all-new, live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli's journey of self-discovery when he's forced to abandon the only home he's ever known.
- Based on Rudyard Kipling's timeless stories and inspired by Disney's 1967 animated classic, the film features state-of the-art technology that immerses audiences in the lush world like never before. The Jungle Book also features the voices of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken. Jon Favreau and Brigham Taylor produce and the screenplay is by Justin Marks. The Jungle Book hits theaters in stunning 3D and IMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.
Mia Wasikowski appeared to talk about Alice Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland film. Director James Bobin will be bringing his own vision to this installment, in which Alice travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. The film, which once again features Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, introduces several new characters as well: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter's father, and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.
- Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, and Tim Burton produce and John G. Scotti is the executive producer. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.
Bryce Dallas Howard joined Bailey to talk about her starring role in Pete's Dragon, a reimagining of the old Disney classic. The heartwarming adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. Pete's Dragon is directed by David Lowery and it will star Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, and Robert Redford. It is scheduled to open in theaters on August 12, 2016.
Nyong'o came on stage again to talk about her upcoming film Queen of Katwe, based on the inspirational true story of a girl from the poverty-stricken slums of rural Uganda who dreamed of becoming a champion chess player. Queen of Katwe will be directed by Mira Nair. It will also star David Oyelowo and newcomer Medina Nalwanga.
Promoting the new film Beauty and the Beast, cast members Emma Watson, Josh Gad, and Luke Evans sent a musical greeting in from their London set. The cast will also include Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, and newcomer Nathan Mack. Beauty and the Beast is scheduled to open in theaters on March 17, 2017.
Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance completely in costume as Captain Jack Sparrow to promote the new installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
- Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea...including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.
- The film is directed by Espen Sandberg & Joachim Rønning and stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kevin R. McNally, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush. Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer and Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor serve as executive producers. Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales releases in U.S. theaters on July 7, 2017.
Alan Horn took the stage again to present the Lucasfilm slate and timeline to the D23 EXPO fans. Horn told the audience that there were only 124 days to the release of Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on December 18, 2015 and added that there have been record-breaking trailer views and fantastic fan response. Touching on Star Wars: Episode VIII, Horn reminded the audience that Rian Johnson will be directing the film slated for release on May 26, 2017. Then in a surprise announcement, Horn informed everyone that Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) has signed on to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, which is scheduled for release in 2019.
Moving on to the new Star Wars stories series, Horn touched on the Untitled Han Solo stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018 by reminding everyone that it will be directed by Christopher Miller & Phil Lord, with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay. Horn then took the audience by surprise, announcing the cast for Rogue One, the first of the standalone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen, which has commenced principal photography. Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) is directing Rogue One, which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award® for her leading role in The Theory of Everything; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008's Oscar®-winning Milk and the critically acclaimed Killing Them Softly; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy® for his leading role in Bloodline and co-starring in the upcoming Mississippi Grind; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in Ip Man and Blade II; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning Let the Bullets Fly and Devils on the Doorstep; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels' The Butler and winner of an Academy Award® for his leading role in 2006's The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in The Hunt and was the memorable villain from 2006's Casino Royale; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in Rogue One, stars in the soon-to-be-released Con Man series and Trumbo, which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in Nightcrawler and starred in the BAFTA-winning film Four Lions. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended the live-action presentation with a bang as J.J. Abrams introduced stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong'o. The crowd cheered when John Boyega announced that everyone there would get a Drew Struzan D23 EXPO commemorative poster to take home. Then, in a bringing-down-the house surprise moment, Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo, joined Abrams on stage to wild applause. Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan. Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.