D23 Expo 2019—Disney's Biggest Reveals

The entrance to D23 Expo 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center

The Ultimate Disney Fan Event and one of the biggest industry events of the year, D23 Expo 2019, was held this past weekend in Anaheim, CA. The company revealed exciting news on all their properties in front of thousands of Disney fans who packed the Anaheim Convention Center for four days of shows, presentations, and panels. Upcoming movies and series from Disney Live Action, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm provided some of the biggest news. A star-studded presentation on Friday previewed the upcoming streaming service, Disney+, and its exciting slate of original movies and series. Then on Saturday, studio leaders and filmmakers offered the packed audience of nearly 7,000 a captivating look behind-the-scenes of Disney’s upcoming movie slate. 



Friday’s Disney+ presentation saw the official trailer release for The Mandalorian, the first Star Wars live-action series which makes its debut on the streaming platform November 12, 2019. The series focuses on the travails of a lone gunfighter operating in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic. The trailer provided our first glimpse at new characters including Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) while delving deeper into the titular character, played by Pedro Pascal. We got a glimpse of riveting action scenes, exotic locations, and a few nods to classic Star Wars iconography, including original stormtroopers and a character frozen in carbonite à la Han Solo from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980). 

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The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) firing a blaster in the official trailer for the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian

President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) director/writer/producer, J.J. Abrams, showcased the ninth episode in the Star Wars saga during Saturday’s marquee presentation. In wrapping up the Skywalker storyline, the movie brings to an end over 40 years of storytelling. Nine cast members from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams—entered the stage to help debut a brand-new poster and a sneak peek of their upcoming blockbuster alongside special appearances from R2-D2, BB-8, and the new droid D-O. 

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The footage shown at the presentation revealed the return of Darth Vader’s crushed mask (which we first saw in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens), an epic-looking duel in the rain between Rey and Kylo Ren, a seemingly twisted-looking C3PO with glowing red eyes, Rey wielding a double-bladed, red lightsaber, and the return of Emperor Palpatine, who will be played by the original actor, Ian McDiarmid. 

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The official timeline of the Star Wars franchise

We also received the official timeline of the Star Wars franchise, which debuted new names for the three eras previously referred to as the Prequel, Original, and Sequel trilogies. The new names are Age of Republic, Rebellion, and Resistance, respectively. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes to Regal December 20, 2019. 



Marvel properties Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel were revealed to be getting shows on Disney+, which opens up the possibility of these characters appearing in upcoming movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  

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(left to right) Writer/director Ryan Coogler joins the President of Marvel, Kevin Feige, during their Black Panther 2 (2022) presentation at D23 Expo 2019

The president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Fiege, kicked off his section of Saturday’s presentation with a surprise visit from Black Panther (2018) director and co-writer, Ryan Coogler. Together they announced that Black Panther 2, which Coogler will write and direct, is schedule to be released May 6, 2022.

The cast of next year’s The Eternals were introduced on-stage in front of their character renderings, which gave us our first look at the costume design of the much-anticipated Marvel movie. The cast includes: Richard Madden (all-powerful Ikaris), Kumail Najiani (cosmic-powered Kingo), Lauren Ridloff (super-fast Makkari), Brian Tyree Henry (intelligent inventor Phastos), Slama Hayek (wise and spiritual leader Ajak), Lia McHugh (eternally young, old-soul Sprite), Don Lee (powerful Gilgamesh), and Angelina Jolie (fierce warrior Thena). Three new cast members were officially added two new members to its cast—Gemma Chan (humankind-loving Sersi), Barry Keoghan (aloof loner Druig), and Kit Harrington (non-Eternal Dane Whitman). The Eternals comes to Regal November 6, 2020. 

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The cast of Marvel's Eternals on stage at D23 Expo 2019

Scarlett Johansson called in to Hall D23 from the set of her upcoming movie, Black Widow (2020), to treat audiences to exclusive footage. This gave us our first look at David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow during events that take place between Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Black Widow comes to Regal May 1, 2020. 



Pixar Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer, Pete Docter, provided new details regarding Pixar’s upcoming slate of movies. Soul, which Docter directs, will take audiences on an epic journey from the streets of New York City to the never-before-seen cosmic realms. While the premise and title art were revealed back in June, we learned more about the story during Saturday’s presentation. The journey into the cosmic realms will include a visit to the “You Seminar,” described as “the fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities.” 

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Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), the lead character in the upcoming movie Soul (2020)

We also learned new information regarding the movie’s voice cast, many of which were introduced on-stage. Jamie Foxx lends his voice to a middle-school band teacher, Joe Gardner, whose true passion is playing Jazz. Joe has an unexpected encounter with a soul-in-training, 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), when he accidentally arrives at the “You Seminar.” Joe must work with the soul-in-training to find a way back to Earth, forcing him to consider what it really means to have soul. Soul will feature an original score composed by Oscar®winners and Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Soul comes to Regal June 19, 2020. 

Director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae shared details on their upcoming movie, Onward, coming to Regal March 6, 2020. More than ten minutes of exclusive footage, along with a new poster, was revealed of the Pixar movie, which stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left in the world. Holland, Pratt, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (the voice of Mom) were all in attendance. 

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Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt made an appearance on Saturday to debut two new “trailers” of their upcoming feature, Jungle Cruise, each centered around their respective characters. Johnson entered Hall D23 first on an original Jungle Cruise boat to show off his character, riverboat captain Frank Wolff. Blunt then arrived in a classic car to share her character, Dr. Lily Houghton. The live-action movie based on the classic Disney ride comes to Regal July 24, 2020. 

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Dwayne Johnson entering Hall D23 at D23 Expo 2019

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Emily Blunt entering Hall D23 at D23 Expo 2019

Emma Stone greeted fans in Hall D23 from the London-based set of her new movie, Cruella, based on the iconic character from 101 Dalmations (1961). We got our first look of Stone as the titular character in an image that features her in full costume, complete with the signature black-and-white hair, along with Paul Walter Hauser (Horace), Joel Fry (Jasper), and their spotted, four-legged co-stars. Cruella comes to Regal May 28, 2021.

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(left to right) Horace (Paul Walter Hauser), Cruella (Emma Stone), and Jasper (Joel Fry) for the upcoming live-action feature, Cruella (2020)

The director of Mulan (2020), Niki Caro, also took the stage to share her passion for the live-action reimagining of the 1998 animated classic. She treated fans to several minutes of footage from her upcoming movie. Mulan comes to Regal March 27, 2020. 



Directors Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, producer Osnat Shurer, and writer Adele Lim joined Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creatiev Officer, Jennifer Lee, on stage Saturday to debut new information regarding their fantasy-action-adventure, Raya and the Last Dragon, coming to Regal Thanksgiving 2020. 

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Artwork for Raya and the Last Dragon (2020)

Raya is a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra who joins forces with a team of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to the world. Two newly announced members of the voice cast joined the filmmakers on stage—Cassie Steele and Awkwafina. Steele lends her voice to the lead character, Raya, while Awkwafina voices the Last Dragon, Sisu, who was left on Earth in case dark forces return to the world.  

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Lieutenant Destin Mattias (voiced by Sterling K. Brown) and Queen Iduna (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood) in Frozen II (2019)

Saturday’s marquee presentation, bringing together the worlds of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, culminated with a look at Pixar’s upcoming feature, Frozen II (2019). The characters of new cast members Sterling K. Brown (Lieutenant Destin Mattias) and Evan Rachel Wood (Anna and Elsa’s mother, Queen Iduna) were revealed along with never-before-seen footage, including a scene in which Iduna sings a new original song, “All Is Found,” to young Elsa and Anna. Another song, “Into the Unknown,” debuted with a scene of Elsa showcasing her yearning for answers about the past. Returning stars form 2013’s Frozen—Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), and Josh Gad (Olaf)—took the stage to cap off the presentation with a performance of their new song, “Some Things Never Change.”