The Walt Disney Studios continued to fuel the fire ignited at yesterday’s showcase with a jam-packed presentation from the teams at Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios and 20th Century Studios this morning at the Anaheim Convention Center as part of D23 Expo 2022. Thousands of fans were among the first to hear new announcements, see never-before-seen footage and hear from the stars of the industry’s biggest streaming and theatrical titles slated for the coming months and beyond.
Alan Bergman, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, welcomed a fired-up crowd to Hall D23. Bergman reflected on the 13-year history of D23 Expo and the evolution of the Studios group. “That [first] year, none of the iconic studios you’ll hear from today were part of the company,” he said. “It was just Disney Animation, Disney Live Action and Pixar. We announced the Marvel acquisition just before our first Expo in 2009. Then three years later, we added Lucasfilm, and in 2019, 20th Century Studios. I’ve been at Disney for 26 years, so it’s been incredibly exciting to welcome each of them to our Studio family. And like Disney and Pixar, each of these studios has a phenomenal legacy of storytelling.”
Joining Bergman to walk fans through the upcoming slate of films were studio executives Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm; Kevin Feige, producer and president of Marvel Studios; and James Cameron, director of 20th Century Studios’ “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The showcase included the following highlights.
Bergman introduced Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, who guided the audience through the incredible lineup ahead. “As you can see, there is an immense amount of exciting new Star Wars storytelling to come from Lucasfilm. The quality, creativity, and variety these teams are bringing to Disney+ is absolutely remarkable, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience each of them.”
First up,“ANDOR” a 24-episode spy thriller that features one of the central characters in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Kennedy welcomed to the stage stars Genevieve O’Reilly, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona and Cassian Andor himself, Diego Luna, as their character posters were unveiled. A highlight for all was the showing of the final trailer for the spy thriller filmed over two 12-episode seasons. The era featured in “Andor”—the five years before the events of “Rogue One”—is filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero. “Andor” presents Star Wars from a different perspective, focusing on everyday people whose lives are affected by the Empire. The decisions they make have real consequences, and the stakes for them—and the galaxy—couldn’t be higher. The series also stars Stellan Skarsgård, Forest Whitaker, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw and Faye Marsay. Toby Haynes, Susanna White and Benjamin Caron direct specific episodes, and Kathleen Kennedy, Tony Gilroy, Sanne Wohlenberg, Diego Luna and Michelle Rejwan executive produce. Tony Gilroy is also the creator and showrunner. With action, adventure and suspense filmed against a cinematic landscape, the first three episodes of season 1 premiere exclusively on Disney+ on September 21.
Kennedy reflected on the world created in 1988 by George Lucas and Ron Howard that inspired the next step in the magical journey—a new live-action fantasy-adventure series “WILLOW,” from Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment. Kennedy introduced Warwick Davis (Willow Ufgood), who shared his excitement to return to Andowyne before being joined by series stars Joanne Whalley (Sorsha), Ruby Cruz (Kit), Erin Kellyman (Jade), Ellie Bamber (Dove), Dempsey Bryk (Airk), Amar Chadha-Patel (Boorman) and Tony Revolori (Graydon). To the delight of surprised fans, Christian Slater was also welcomed to stage as a member of the ensemble cast. The excitement continued when a brand-new trailer was shown. Set in a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls and other mystical creatures flourish, “Willow” is the story of an unlikely group of heroes who set off on a dangerous quest, facing their inner demons and coming together to save their world. An epic period fantasy told with a modern sensibility and plenty of humor, heart, energy and vibrancy, “Willow” begins streaming on Disney+ Nov. 30.
Executive producer Dave Filoni joined Kennedy on stage for a host of upcoming titles, streaming on Disney+.
· Filoni showed a new image from the upcoming 16-episode second season of the animated series “STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH.” Months have passed since the events on Kamino and the Bad Batch continue their journey navigating the Empire after the fall of the Republic. They will cross paths with friends and foes, both new and familiar, as they take on a variety of thrilling mercenary missions that will take them to unexpected and dangerous new places. “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” features the voices of Dee Bradley Baker and Michelle Ang, with Filoni, Carrie Beck, Athena Portillo, Brad Rau and Jennifer Corbett serving as executive producers. Rau is also serving as supervising director with Corbett as head writer. Revealed today: the series will begin streaming on Disney+ with a two-episode premiere on Jan. 4, 2023.
· Filoni segued to “STAR WARS: TALES OF THE JEDI,” six brand-new animated shorts featuring parables built around Jedi from the prequel era. Journey into the lives of two distinctly different Jedi—Ahsoka Tano and Count Dooku—each will be put to the test as they make choices that will define their destinies. To the delight of the audience, Filoni shared the official trailer for the series and announced that all six shorts will debut Oct. 26 on Disney+. The series is created by executive producer Dave Filoni, with Carrie Beck and Athena Portillo serving as executive producers.
· Filoni shared how much the character of Ahsoka means to him—having crafted her story since her 2008 debut in the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” through her live-action debut in “The Mandalorian.” “AHSOKA” is a new live-action series heading to Disney+ starring Rosario Dawson in the title role. Fellow executive producer Jon Favreau joined Filoni on stage to talk about the project and shared first-look images with attendees. Set after the fall of the Empire, “Ahsoka” follows the former Jedi knight Ahsoka Tano as she investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy. The new series is slated for 2023 and will be exclusive to Disney+. The executive producers are Filoni, Favreau, Kennedy, Colin Wilson, Carrie Beck with Karen Gilchrist as co-executive producer.
· Favreau and Filoni were joined by “STAR WARS: SKELETON CREW” creators Jon Watts and Christopher Ford, who talked about the series, which is coming soon on Disney+. “Skeleton Crew” tells the story of four kids who find themselves lost in in the vastness of the galaxy trying to find their way home. Applause erupted when star Jude Law came out to greet fans. Favreau, Filoni, Watts, Ford, Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan executive produce.
· Favreau and Filoni were excited to discuss season 3 of “THE MANDALORIAN,” inviting executive producer Rick Famuyiwa to join them on stage, as well as stars Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff, Amy Sedaris, Giancarlo Esposito and Emily Swallow. Together, they shared the season 3 teaser trailer with the audience. In the third season of “The Mandalorian,” the Mandalorian and Grogu have been reunited and continue their journey through the lawless galaxy. Season 3 is set to launch exclusively on Disney+ in 2023. Kennedy and Colin Wilson also executive produce, with Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck as co-executive producers.
Before Kennedy concluded the Lucasfilm presentation, she had one more title to share. “I couldn’t leave here without talking about one other project we’ve been hard at work on at Lucasfilm—Indiana Jones,” she said as the familiar theme played and the crowd erupted. “I’m thrilled to welcome to the stage our director, James Mangold. Mangold wowed the crowd with some new details along with a sizzle reel from the upcoming fifth installment of the immensely popular “INDIANA JONES” franchise, which opens in theaters June 30, 2023. Joining Kennedy and Mangold on stage was the one-and-only Harrison Ford alongside co-star and Emmy® winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Ford, who was a little emotional on stage, said, “Thank you for making these films such an incredible experience for all of us. I’m very proud to say that this one if fantastic, and [Waller-Bridge] is one of the reasons.
“Indiana Jones movies are about fantasy and mystery, but they’re also about heart,” continued the actor. “I’m really, really happy that we have a really human story to tell, as well as a movie that will kick your ass.”
Greeting fans at D23 Expo 2022, Kevin Feige said he’s been coming to D23 Expo for years—taking in all the performances the other studios in the Disney family bring to the stage. “I’ve always been a little jealous,” Feige admitted. “Why can’t we get our own musical number?” That kicked off a show-stopping performance of the buzzy fan-favorite “I Could Do This All Day” from the show-within-a-show “Rogers: The Musical” in last year’s Disney+ series “Hawkeye.” Bringing it to life live on stage were 22 performers, a six-piece live rhythm section and composer and conductor Marc Shaiman, who wrote the song for “Hawkeye.”
Feige returned to the stage, reviewing recent announcements including the Multiverse Saga—the conclusion of Phase 4, the Phase 5 slate and the Phase 6 titles that include “Fantastic Four” and two new Avengers films: “The Kang Dynasty” and “Secret Wars.”
Marvel Studios continues to create exciting and connected MCU storylines for Disney+, including:
· “IRONHEART” executive producer Ryan Coogler offered fans an early look at the new series that takes place after the events of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Dominique Thorne returns as Riri Williams, a young, genius inventor determined to make her mark on the world. Her unique take on building iron suits is both brilliant and flawed, and “Ironheart” delves into the dynamics of tech versus magic. Feige invited Anthony Ramos to the stage to greet fans and share a little about his character, Parker Robbins aka The Hood. The new series is slated for Disney+ next year.
· Streaming on Disney+ beginning Oct. 7 is Marvel Studios’ first-ever special presentation, “WEREWOLF BY NIGHT.” Director Michael Giacchino joined Feige on stage alongside stars Gael García Bernal and Laura Donnelly to give fans new details and the first trailer for the upcoming special that Feige called “fun-scary.”
· The thrilling new series “SECRET INVASION” launches on Disney+ in 2023. Don Cheadle, who reprises his role of Colonel James Rhodes, was on hand to talk about the new show. The cast includes Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos—plus Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke and Kingsley Ben-Adir. Fans were shown a scene and the brand-new trailer from the event series that showcases a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls who have been infiltrating Earth for years.
· Cheadle segued into another Disney+ project he’ll star in, “ARMOR WARS.” Rhodey fans will see the character in a whole new light, and considering the title of the series, audiences can look forward to all-new suits for the hero, featuring different types of armor.
· Production for season 2 of “LOKI” is already underway. Arriving to D23 Expo directly from the set were Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino and Ke Huy Quan. Fans also got a glimpse at the upcoming season that picks up in the aftermath of the shocking season finale when Loki finds himself in a battle for the soul of the Time Variance Authority. Season 2 of “Loki” begins streaming on Disney+ in 2023.
· Cast members from “ECHO,” including Alaqua Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Devery Jacobs, Graham Greene, Cody Lightning and Chaske Spencer, hit the stage in Hall D23, providing some insight about Maya Lopez, whose ruthless behavior in New York City catches up with her in her hometown. Audience members were treated to a special look at the upcoming series that also stars Tantoo Cardinal and Zahn McClarnon. The new series will stream soon on Disney+.
· Production doesn’t kick off till next year for “DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN,” but Feige and D’Onofrio were eager to chat about the new show coming to Disney+. Fans went wild when Charlie Cox appeared on stage to discuss the 18-episode new season of the show. And since production isn’t yet underway, fans were treated with a clip from an upcoming episode of “She Hulk: Attorney at Law”—now streaming on Disney+—that features the superpowered hero.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to thrill fans of the big screen, starting with the last film of Phase 4.
· “BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER” director Ryan Coogler shared an exclusive look at a scene and some highlights from the much-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s “Black Panther.” Much to the crowd’s delight, cast members Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku) and Tenoch Huerta (Namor) joined Coogler and Feige on stage. In the story, the Wakandans fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. The heroes must band together to forge a new path for the kingdom. Also starring Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Florence Kasumba (Ayo), Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams), Michaela Coel (Aneka), Mabel Cadena (Namora), Alex Livinalli (Attuma) and Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is produced by Feige and Nate Moore, and hits the big screen on Nov. 11.
· Joining Feige on stage to officially kick off Phase 5 of the MCU were “ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA” stars Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp) and Jonathan Majors (Kang). The audience was treated to an exclusive look at the film that features Super Hero partners Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, who team up with Hope’s parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Scott’s daughter, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), to explore the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible. Hitting theaters Feb. 17, 2023, the film connects to “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” said Feige.
· Feige officially confirmed that Matt Shakman, who directed every episode of 2021’s “WandaVision” would be directing “FANTASTIC FOUR.” The film opens in theaters on Nov. 8, 2024.
· Continuing Sam Wilson’s journey as Captain America is a brand-new film heading to theaters in 2024.“CAPTAIN AMERICA: NEW WORLD ORDER” director Julius Onah joined Feige on stage. Together, they welcomed “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” returning stars Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Captain America), Danny Ramirez (Joaquin Torres) and Carl Lumbly (Isaiah Bradley). They join new cast members Tim Blake Nelson (The Leader), who was on hand at D23 Expo today, as well as Shira Haas (Sabra). “Captain America: New World Order” hits theaters on May 3, 2024.
· The identities of the “THUNDERBOLTS” were unveiled this morning as Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Valentina Allegra de Fontaine), David Harbour (Red Guardian), Hannah John-Kamen (Ghost), Sebastian Stan (James “Bucky” Barnes/The Winter Soldier) and Wyatt Russell (John Walker/U.S. Agent) joined director Jake Schreier on stage to thunderous applause. The esteemed team also features stars Olga Kurylenko (Taskmaster) and Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova)—Pugh recorded a greeting for the D23 Expo audience. “Thunderbolts” opens in theaters on July 26, 2024.
· Feige capped the Marvel Studios presentation with “THE MARVELS,” revisiting key moments in the MCU before welcoming to the stage director Nia DaCosta and cast members Iman Vellani (Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel), Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau) and Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel). Fans were given a special look at scenes from the new movie, which opens in theaters on July 28, 2023.
20TH CENTURY STUDIOS
Alan Bergman returned to the stage and was joined virtually by Academy Award®-winning producer/director James Cameron, currently in New Zealand, where he is still hard at work readying the release of the highly anticipated sequel to the biggest film of all time, “Avatar.” “AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER,” which opens in theaters on Dec. 16, welcomes back to the big screen returning cast members Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldaña (Neytiri), Sigourney Weaver (Kiri) and Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch), who appeared on stage with producer Jon Landau. The crowd was treated to some fun anecdotes and exciting revelations about the new film before meeting the new-generation cast members Jamie Flatters (Neteyam), Jack Champion (Spider), Bailey Bass (Tsireya) and Trinity Jo-Li Bliss (Tuk). Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies they endure. Before the show concluded, the lucky fans learned they’d be among the first to see scenes from “Avatar: The Way of Water”—right now. Each was invited to don a pair of Dolby 3D glasses—a Hall D23 first—to get fully immersed in the brand-new footage.