There is going to be a sequel to the delightful Inside Out, a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, a prequel to The Lion King, and another whole new world from Pixar, Elemental. These were some of the announcements at the Anaheim Convention Centre at the D23 Expo 2022.
Each of the star visits from Jake Gyllenhall to Jude Law and Jamie Lee Curtis was greeted with rapturous enthusiasm. Starting with Cynthia Erivo’s rendition of the classic ‘ When you Wish Upon a Star’ from Pinocchio (1940), the presentation offered a delirious 150-minute preview of the coming attractions. Erivo incidentally plays the Blue Fairy in the live-action Pinocchio which dropped on Disney+Hotstar on September 8.
The new logo in honour of Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder was revealed. Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, revealed three titles in the Disney Live Action slate. The Hocus Pocus 2 announcement had Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy from the 1993 film lend a bit of stardust to the proceedings via zoom. The sequel directed by Anne Fletcher drops on Disney+ on September 30.
Enchanted, that sweet 2007 rom-com gets a sequel, Disenchanted, which sees the return of Amy Adams, and Patrick Dempsey 15 years after their marriage and happily ever after. Directed by Adam Shankman, Disenchanted streams on Disney+Hotstar from November 24.
Peter Pan & Wendy, is another look at the boy who did not want to grow up. In the true tradition of A-listers playing wicked Captain Hook, was Jude Law, who came on stage with other cast members including Alexander Molony (Peter Pan), Ever Anderson (Wendy) and Alyssa Wapanâtahk. (Tiger Lily). Directed by David Lowery, the film is set to stream in 2023.
Theatrical releases in 2023 and 2024 include Haunted Mansion, with scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis zooming on stage in a buggy, The Lion King prequel, Mufasa: The Lion King, where director Barry King explained his reading of Simba’s father (no mention of Scar though), Snow White directed by Marc Webb, where Wonder Woman Gal Gadot who plays the wicked stepmother said she usually is on the other side of the line and The Little Mermaid, where director Rob Marshall played the ‘ Part of Your World’ sequence.
The live-action version has four new songs by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and apart from Halle Bailey as Ariel, stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as Triton.
Pixar Animation Studios
Then it was the turn of Pete Docter, the chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios to unveil what Pixar has in store. Peter Sohn and Denise Ream talked about their film Elemental, which is releasing in June 2023. The film is a love story set in a city of elemental (air, water, fire and land) beings. What happens when fiery Ember (Leah Lewis) meets chilled-out Wade (Mamoudou Athie)?
Docter also spoke of Win or Lose, directed by Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates and out in the fall of 2023. The long-form series follows Pickles, a co-ed middle school softball team. Each episode focuses on the week before the championship game but from different perspectives.
Elio, out in 2024, directed by Adrian Molina tells of an 11-year-old, Elio, (Yonas Kibreab) who makes contact with aliens and is mistaken for the intergalactic Ambassador for the earth. There is the sequel to Inside Out directed by Kelsey Mann where the now teenage Riley still has warring emotions in her head.
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Then it was the turn of Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios to talk of coming attractions including a new series, Zootopia+, based on the 2016 film dropping on November 9 on Disney+Hotstar, a long-form series, Iwaju, in collaboration with Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali and the feature film, Strange World directed by Don Hall and Qui Nguyen.
The voice cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White and Lucy Liu (Callisto Mal) came on stage to talk about the film which releases on November 23. Wish, is set to release next year and looks at the origins of the wishing star upon which so many Disney characters wish. Directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, Wish features the many adventures of 17-year-old Asha (Ariana DeBose).
The writer was at D23 Expo 2022 at the invitation of The Walt Disney Company