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The Latest from Disney and Pixar Animation at D23 Expo (Live Blog)

The first big panel of D23 Expo 2017 is the Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films, hosted by John Lasseter. We’re about to get a look at the upcoming animated slate, likely including such films as The Incredibles 2, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, Coco, and much more. Keep your eyes on this post because we’ll be sharing the biggest news from the panel as it happens. What are you most looking forward to seeing?

Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter kicks things off. He says about the panel, “We’re going to show you things no one has seen outside the walls of our studio. We’re going to make some announcements for new stuff you haven’t heard.”

NAME THAT TUNE – In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel’s love of music ultimately leads him to the Land of the Dead where he teams up with charming trickster Hector. “Coco” features an original score from Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino, the original song “Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco and co-director/screenwriter Adrian Molina. Also part of the team is musical consultant Camilo Lara of the music project Mexican Institute of Sound. In theaters on Nov. 22, 2017. © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The footage is starting with a look at a project by Disney Toon Studios, with a working title Space (they joked they haven’t come up with a title yet). It will be out April 12, 2019. It’s focused on vehicles a la Planes and is all about the wonder of aviation.

Kristen Bell takes the stage to discuss Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The 21-minute short will air with Pixar’s Coco this November. The entire original cast will be back in the short that takes place during the first winter since Anna and Elsa have reopened the castle. They want to celebrate the holidays together, but they realize they didn’t grow up with any holiday traditions. Olaf decides to help by going door to door around Arendelle and asking villagers about their traditions so he and Sven can present all kinds of traditions to Anna and Elsa. We’ll get four new songs.

They’re showing a screen from the film teasing one of the new songs, and Josh Gad joins the stage to perform it live against the footage. It’s a catchy jingle with Olaf asking about the traditions with a refrain of “thank you for sharing what you do at that time of year.”

Now, it’s time to talk Frozen 2. Lasseter said they don’t really like that title either, so he thought they’d look up what “2” is in Norwegian and it’s “To.” So, they didn’t go with that option or Thawed or Chilled to the Throne or… they’re going to keep calling it in Frozen 2 for now.

Directors Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and producer Peter Del Vecho went on an extensive research trip to Norway and Iceland for Frozen 2. They’re sharing vlog style footage from the crew’s travels with stills from volcanoes, fall in the country, waterfalls, fjords—you know, your basic stunning scenery.

A trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 time! Vanellope and Ralph get sucked into the internet. Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston come to the stage and say the sequel is about going somewhere big, hence the internet. It’s a whole new universe to them.

Sarah Silverman, voice of Vanellope von Schweetz, is here to tell us about Vanellope’s arc. Her game, Sugar Rush, breaks so Vanellope and Ralph travel to the internet to find a replace part. She says it’s a vast, unexplored world—they show an animation test with a look at the internet. Ralph and Vanellope will meet a character named Yesss who is an expert.

Yesss is an algorithm of a trend-making site called Buzzaholic. She can constantly shift look of hair and clothes because she knows all the trend. Her clothes are made of fiber optics. She’ll be voiced by Taraji P. Henson.

WRECKING THE INTERNET — Wreck-It Ralph is heading back to the big screen—this time he's wrecking the internet. John C. Reilly returns as the voice of the bad-guy-turned-good, Ralph, and Sarah Silverman once again lends her voice to the girl with the game-winning glitch, Vanellope von Schweetz. Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, and produced by Clark Spencer, the untitled sequel hits theaters on March 9, 2018. (Concept Art) © 2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s look at an exclusive clip from Wreck-It Ralph 2: Yesss takes Ralph and Vanellope on a VIP tour of the web that ends up at The meta tour of the website includes nods to Star Wars, Marvel, with a Marvel Yourself booth and a Stan Lee cartoon cameo. There’s animated appearances by Buzz Lightyear and Tinker Bell and nods to popular Disney merchandise like Tsum Tsum plush toys, or as Vanellope calls them, “little furry sausages with faces.”

Then, a stormtrooper is seen escorting Disney Princesses. Vanellope really wants to mess with the Disney princesses. She goes into their dressing room and encounters Moana, Pocahontas, Merida, Cinderella, Elsa, Anna, Jasmine, Snow White, Tiana, Rapunzel, Aurora, Ariel (with legs), and Belle. They end up becoming friends with the princesses questioning Vanellope about her princess qualifications. They determine she meets the requirements with this question: “Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big, strong man showed up in your life?”

Cut to all the princesses hanging out with Vanellope, slumber party style. Vanellope points out the princesses aren’t flawed and it makes them kinda cool. The princesses start confessing to their flaws, and no one can understand Merida, saying, “She’s from the other studio.”

All the actresses who originally voiced the princesses (and are still living) reprised their roles.

C-3PO comes to give princesses a five minute call time to show. They call him R2-D2 and then BB-8. Threepio exclaims, “You’re good with princesses they said, you’ll love this job. How I long for the days of Captain Solo.”


We’re switching to Pixar with Incredibles 2. Lasseter says there’s one character from the first film people keep asking about: Edna Mode. A fun video shows a slew of models and other designers talking about the talent of the amazing visionary Edna Mode (watch it above). Then, writer and director Brad Bird joins Lasseter to discuss the movie along with the voice of Edna… who is also Brad Bird.

Bird points out The Incredibles is a superhero film with family at its heart, and that aspect sets the world apart. “With this new film, we’re excited to jump back into that world,” Bird said. He said technology has advanced so that they can finally show the characters as they wanted to present them: “They’re still the same characters, but it’s like having a new car to drive. We’re able to do more.”

The Incredibles family is dealing with the human parts of being heroes. They’re still unaware that Jack-Jack has powers. While Bob may be taking more of a stay-at-home dad role, Elastigirl will be at the forefront of the action.

The original voice cast is returning, including Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone, with the exception of Dash. He’ll now be voiced by an older actor.

Before they wrapped The Incredibles 2 segment, Bird shared a rough clip. He set it up, saying: “On the original film, Teddy Newton had one of these ideas and it’s always been on my ‘want to do list.’ This idea is that bob has fallen asleep watching the television with Jack-Jack, and Jack-Jack hears something outside.” The clip shows that Jack-Jack ends up having an adorably hilarious encounter with a raccoon, and Bob discovers Jack-Jack has powers and that he has seemingly all of the powers.

Lasseter says Toy Story 4 is near and dear to his heart. Josh Cooley has been bumped from co-director to sole director, while Lasseter will take on an executive producer role. Cooley’s first lesson involves showing up at D23 Expo. He shared a video showing what he and his crew having been working on. We saw a look at a new character, Lulu, and some unfinished models of other toys, including a blue bunny.

Pixar’s next original film is set in a as yet untitled suburban fantasy world. Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae are working together on the film, and Scanlon came onto stage to share details. He said, “This film is based on a personal story. When I was a year old, my father passed away. I don’t remember him and neigher does my brother, who was three at the time.”

Scanlon continued on to say they never heard their father’s voice, but a relative sent them an audiotape when they were teens. All their father said on the recording was, “Good-bye.” Scanlon said it was magic to his brother and him. He’s always wondered who is father was and the question became the blueprint for this movie. The story centers on two teenage brothers who lost their father. As teens, they head out on a quest into the fantasy world to spend one more day with the father.

As for the type of world in the animated film, it’s a modern fantasy world. Long ago there was real magic but it was hard to do and learn, so people lost interest. They created appliances to do what magic could: light bulbs, stoves, etc. Scanlon described the world as a mix of the fantastic and everyday. This world has no humans but fairies, trolls, and elves. Oh, and it has unicorns in droves. They’re the rodents of this world.

Which news from the animation panel has you most excited? Tell us in the comments.

Featured Image: Disney

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