by Liz Driscoll
Let me preface this by thanking my friend Mark for getting into line at 3:45am! I posted on Facebook to see if he was in line yet, and he posted back “RUN”! I ran over around 6:45am as they were letting everyone inside to queue in rows. When the auditorium opened we were about ten rows from the front. I can’t thank him enough for inviting me to join him in line.
Given that this was a two hour session, we had a lot of ground to cover!
Hosted by Alan Horne and Sean Bailey, the session started with a wink at not mentioning Star Wars.
First up was Marvel’s Kevin Feige. He started with “Thor: The Dark World”. Thor is battling to save the universe. An ancient race wants to send the universe into darkness. More amazing than the movie preview was what happened next. Kevin announced Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston! Each actor spoke about their part for a minute or two. To be in the room with these actors was exciting.
Up next was “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” Captain America has a new enemy… the Winter Soldier. Black Widow is there to join in the battle. We also have a new ally… the Falcon. Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie joined Kevin on stage. The audience loved the stories they shared with us.
Kevin Feige also shared a clip from “Guardians of the Galaxy”. While this film is not due until around this time next year, they were able to share a clip introducing each of the guardians.
The final Marvel announcement was a teaser for “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, due out in 2015.
Next up was Disney Nature’s “Bears”. Alan Horn announced that, during opening week, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund will donate a portion of each ticket to the National Parks Foundation. Two cubs growing up in Alaska with their mother have to learn to survive the challenges of their surroundings. Look for “Bears” the week of April 18th, 2014.
Sean Bailey joined us as we continued to be wowed. “Muppets Most Wanted” is slated to open March 21, 2014. Kermit is in hot water as he is mistaken for a criminal! Comedy ensues after Kermit’s doppelganger Constantine, along with Dominic (Ricky Gervais), cause trouble for our Muppet friends. Ty Burrell, our French Interpol agent, arrived on stage in the smallest car “Le Maxium.” After a quick chat, it was surprising to see Burrell get back into the car to exit the stage! I’m not sure how he fit!
“Into the Woods” is slated for late 2014. While there was not a lot of information about the movie to share, several cast members were announced. Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kenrick, Chris Pine, and Emily Blunt were all announced. I am a fan of the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim production so I am looking forward to this coming to the big screen!
“Cinderella” is in the very early stages, as it is not due until March 2015. Kenneth Branagh appeared via recorded message. He shared some of the cast with us. Lily James (Cinderella), Richard Manning (Prince Charming), Cate Blachette (stepmother), and Helena Bonham Carter (Fairy Godmother) were all announced to the cheers of the audience. They also shared some costume tests of Cinderella’s gown, subject to change of course!
At the announcement of “Maleficent,” the audience cheered. The July 2014 release can’t come soon enough! In a heartbeat Angelina Jolie was announced as Maleficent and she appeared on stage! Jolie shared her excitement at being a Disney character and wanting to greet visiting children at the studio. Much to her dismay, the children were afraid of her! She related that her daughter “may” have been cast as young Aurora due, in part, to her not being afraid of Maleficent.
Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof walked on stage to introduce “Tomorrowland”. They announced George Clooney as the inventor. Following the brief casting information, out came “the box”. The box had a “That Darn Cat” label and 1952. One item in the box was a hoax picture of Walt and Amelia Earhart dated 1945. There was also a piece of cardboard with small rectangles cut out that aligned to a 1928 “Amazing Stories” magazine page to reveal a message. A blueprint was taken out of the box and a black light revealed a “hidden” plan. Also in the box was a scratched orthacoustic transcription disc. On the disc is animation. They show some fragments of what has been recovered so far. I really wanted to get a shirt like the one Brad Bird was wearing, but by the time I got to the store… there were none left other than XXL.
Last, but certainly not least, was “Saving Mr. Banks”. While most of the audience has seen the trailer online, we had an extended trailer showing about five minutes of a scene. From P.L. Travers’ arrival at the studios to her meetings with writers and the Sherman brothers, you feel part of the story. A fun story was that they had “Walt” crash a few meetings while at the studios! Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak came on stage to share their stories about portraying the Sherman brothers. They related their meetings with Richard Sherman to taking a master class in songwriting! A piano rolled out and they started the audience singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”. Many people starting hurrying out to beat the crowd at this point. About a minute later… out walked Richard Sherman and a group of performers with kites! We sang and swayed and sang louder! What a moment to freeze in time!
I know this blog post was long, but two hours flew by and it was an amazing part of D23 Expo!
By the way… nobody in the audience was allowed to take pictures. The ones used here are courtesy of the D23 Media library.
All attendees at this presentation were given a copy of the “Saving Mr. Banks” promotional poster. Leave a comment on this blog, telling us which upcoming live action Disney movie you are most anticipating–and we will select one person at random to receive a Saving Mr. Banks poster!
Liz Driscoll went to Walt Disney World for the first time when she was five years old, though her Disney passion began seven years ago. She has visited Walt Disney World about twelve times in the past seven years. In the non-Disney world, she is a teacher who enjoys bringing a little bit of pixie dust in the classroom each day.