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All the Disney, Marvel, and STAR WARS Film Updates from the D23 Expo Panel

Saturday morning of D23 Expo 2017 is all about the live-action slate. Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm will be sharing news about films dropping later this year, such as The Last Jedi and Thor: Ragnarok, and looking further into the future with movies like Avengers: Infinity War, A Wrinkle in Time, Mary Poppins Returns, and more. Besides behind-the-scenes looks and maybe some news, we’ll be seeing exclusive clips and perhaps teasers and trailers. Keep your browsers pointed to this post, because we’ll be sharing the biggest news from the panel as it happens–including descriptions of footage–from 10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. PT.

The panel is kicking off! It’s beginning with a sizzle reel of live-action and animated films, including the tiniest look at Lin-Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins Returns and a glimpse at A Wrinkle in Time.

Chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn takes the stage to, uh, set the stage. He says he’s very proud to be part of Disney and say though the Disney companies are all different they’re stronger together. He says their sole purpose is to tell the best stories no matter where they come from. He shares a massive release slate photo with everything we know, confirming live-action The Lion King, Dumbo, and Mulan.

A Wrinkle in Time
Head of production for Walt Disney Live-Action Studios Sean Bailey takes the stage. First up: A Wrinkle in Time. He discusses how it will be adapted from the novel, with Meg at the center of the tale. She goes on a dangerous journey to save her father and, perhaps, the universe. She’ll travel with family and Whatsit, Who, and Which—played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey, respectively.

Director Ava DuVernay, Storm Reid (Meg Murry), Chris Pine (Mr. Murry), Witherspoon, Kaling, and Winfrey come to the stage to present the trailer. Regarding what attracted her to the project, a very enthusiastic DuVernay says, “I saw myself in it. I saw so many different kinds of people and personalities in it. It’s a family story wrapped in an epic adventure where you see worlds you’ve never seen before.”

DuVernay says they made an effort to put together a cast that looks like the real world. She says everyone there was her first choice for their respective roles. Pine said he was interested in the film because, “Ava. Period.” He wasn’t at all familiar with A Wrinkle in Time before she approached him. Neither was Winfrey.

Kaling said her character, who is known for only speaking in other people’s words of wisdom and advice said DuVernay and the writer, Jennifer Lee, updated a lot of the quotations in the book. “I quote people like Jay-Z,” she said.


They reveal the new teaser poster, above, and Winfrey gets to say, “Everybody gets a poster.” And now, it’s time for the first teaser:

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Bailey announces Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be out on November 2, 2018. The cast includes: Richard E. Grant as Silver, Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger, Mackenzie Foy as Clara, Morgan Freeman as Drosselmeyer, and Charles Riley, a.k.a. Li’l Buck, as the Mouse King. The Mouse King will be a strictly CGI character, made from hundreds of mice, but will be based on Riley’s movements. Riley gives a look at his skills in a live performance.

Mary Poppins Returns
After going over the talent behind Mary Poppins Returns, Bailey talks about how the new film will continue the story in London two dozen years after the original film. Michael Banks is a widower trying to raise his children, and Mr. Wilkins (Colin Firth) at the bank is giving them trouble. They need a little Mary Poppins magic in their lives.

Director Rob Marshall and Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins) join Bailey to discuss joining the project. Marshall says they took the ideas in the books by P.L. Travers and applied it to the new generation. Blunt says she was a fan of Mary Poppins, the person, as a kid and found the idea of her really comforting. To prepare for the role, Blunt says she watched about 15 minutes of the original but stopped because she wanted to carve new material for herself. “No one is going to ‘out Julie Andrews’ Julie Andrews,” Blunt says.

Mary Poppins Returns features new music from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Marshall’s excited about creating an entirely new musical. Though they just finished filming, Marshall has a teaser for us and it’s being accompanied by Shaiman and the Disney orchestra performing live. They’re beginning with a piece of the original score and then transitioning to images from the film. Footage includes a look at the home on Cherry Tree Ln, “where laughter once dwelled,” and a very stressed Banks family. But then, Mary Poppins appears by a grand arrival on a kite. Admiral Boom is back, there’s a look at an animated and live-action combo sequence, Angelea Lansbury, and much more.

Disney’s Live-Action adaptations
Bailey confirms they are in pre-production for Mulan and more announcements are coming soon. They are also working with The Rock/Dwayne Johnson on a Jungle Cruise project. But the project with the most details: Aladdin. Bailey says their Agrabah is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city inspired by various eras from the Middle East. Aladdin will be played by Mena Massoud, Jasmine will be played by Naomi Scott, and the Genie will be played by Will Smith.


We get a brief look at Tim Burton’s Dumbo, which has started filming in London, and a 3.5 foot maquette of the Dumbo model they’ll use in the film. Dumbo will be in theaters on March 29, 2019. The film will include Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, and Michael Keaton.

To wrap the Disney portion, we have footage from The Lion King live-action adaptation complete with Pride Rock, Rafiki, baby Simba, and the song “The Circle of Life.” Baby Simba sneezes before Rafiki blesses him and everything. This movie looks more beautiful than I was prepared for.

Star Wars
Horn is moving us into the Lucasfilm portion of the presentation. He mentions Kathleen Kennedy is currently in London working on the untitled Han Solo film, but they’re not giving any other details about that movie right now. They’re keeping the focus on The Last Jedi, and director and writer Rian Johnson is here to talk about it. along with Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio Del Toro.

Johnson talks with the cast, and Boyega says Finn has a fight with a formidable opponent in The Last Jedi and then looks at Christie. Finn and Phasma fight?! While they talk, we see a photo of Tran’s Rose undercover in a First Order officer uniform. Dern jokes she couldn’t refrain from saying, “Pew!” when she fired blasters on set.

Mark Hamill joins everyone on stage, and after Johnson fanboys over Hamill, they introduce a behind the scenes piece. The glimpses include the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca in curlers, new creatures, and lots of General Leia.


Marvel is last but not least with Kevin Feige. He starts by unveiling a new 10 year anniversary logo for Marvel Studios. He says Avengers: Infinity War next year will be the culmination of the 10 years, and that Thanos is the collection. He has Josh Brolin in the house, as well as Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, and Robert Downey, Jr.

Finally, Joe Russo comes to the stage to present a look back at the last 10 years with Marvel and it transitions into an Infinity War tease replete with intense footage including Spider-Man in both his Homecoming and the other suit from Tony Stark, Thor encountering the Guardians, Loki, Doctor Strange, Thanos engaging the heroes in battle and using the Infinity Gauntlet, and so much more.

And that’s a wrap on the panel, folks! Seems like they may be keeping that teaser from going online for now, possibly to show again at Comic-Con. We’ll keep you posted if it shows up.

In the meantime, what was your favorite reveal? Let us know below.

Featured Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

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