The 2017 D23 Expo is over, but my excitement over the upcoming movies and parks news is just starting! On Saturday I attended the 2017 D23 Expo Live-Action panel and had my mind BLOWN.
This was my big “need” on a very long wish list of wants for the D23 Expo experience (the 2017 D23 Expo Animation Panel was a close #2!)
Basically, I was there for the Marvel.
I mean, look at me leaving the airport. This was not intentional, but when I stopped to check my hair in the mirror I just had to laugh.
If being a FanGirl is wrong, I don’t want to be right!
I hoped we’d have Black Panther & Thor: Ragnarok announcements, but of course would take a little Avengers: Infinity War as well.
After the blue sweater Chris Evans incident of 2015, I hoped I’d have a chance to see another Chris (or two? Three? ALL FOUR?!) show up.
My goal was to breathe the same air as Thor. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, amirite? #ThorAir is a thing, my friends.
How did we make it into the hottest panel a thing the expo? Long story short, D23 Expo wasn’t a perfect experience. There was some line drama that had a domino effect, even if you were not directly involved. So we knew tensions would be high & people stressed about getting into the panel. We were in that camp when we saw huge lines forming around 8 pm on Friday night.
So we hunkered down for the night in Hall E (aka, the basement of the Anaheim Convention Center) with pillows, air mattresses, ear plugs and eye shades.
In the morning, we were lead into the D23 Hall and I couldn’t believe my luck: a center aisle seat, which meant a clear view of all the happenings on stage.
Here’s the rundown of what we saw and what we all have to look forward to from the Disney owned studios in the next 2 years.
2017 Live-Action Panel Recap
A Wrinkle in Time
I, along with every lady I know my age, loved the book as a kid. Disney has assembled a cast that is sure to live up to the magic of the novel by Madeleine L’Engle.
The cast includes Hollywood perfection in my eyes: Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey.
And hey, guess who showed up? A Chris! Chris Pine also stars along with newcomer Storm Reid as part of the Murry family.
Here’s the trailer they shared with us and I think you’ll agree that this will be a can’t miss movie!
We also had our own D23 Expo “Oprah Moment” when she pointed to the audience and announced, “YOU get a poster, and YOU get a poster, and YOU and YOU and YOU get a poster!”
I think Chris Pine was as excited about it as I was!
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
This one is coming November 2018 and promises to be a new spin on a favorite holiday story.
The film largely takes place in a strange and mysterious parallel world home to Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. But it?s the ominous Fourth Realm where Clara must take on a tyrant called Mother Ginger as well as a gang of mice who’ve stolen a coveted key from Clara.
President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey said, The Mouse King is made up of thousands of mice a cutting-edge CG creation. But we wanted him to move in a way that would be wonderfully surprising and incredibly cool, so we called on Lil Buck to provide the style of dance that defines the character. He is so talented and the way he makes this character move is unbelievable.?
Disney treated us to a performance from Lil Buck that was simply amazing. I’d love to have a pinky finger amount of talent as him.
Mary Poppins Returns
The room exploded with glee when Emily Blunt came on stage to talk about the next adventure of a Disney favorite, Mary Poppins.
She confirmed that she even dances a bit in this one, but declined to show us the moves. And no worries: she’s not trying to out Julie Andrews, Julie Andrews.
“I needed to pay homage to Julie Andrews but carve out a space for myself,” Blunt said.
We were treated to a small set of clips from the movie and it looks as beautiful and heartwarming as the original.
I’ll be first in line to see Lin-Manuel Miranda singing and dancing as Jack in this one.
The Lion King
Turning our animated classics into live-action movies is here to stay, people! I know there are some fans that are not in love with this idea but I have not been disappointed by anything I’ve seen so far. And I’d say by the Box Office receipts, you guys are right there with me.
The Lion King was teased for us with a stunning live-action opening scene that had everyone reaching for their tissues.
It’s so beautiful, we wept. At least I sure did.
Starring Donald Glover as Simba, and James Earl Jones as naturally Mufasa, Jon Favreau’s live-action version of The Lion King is slated for theaters on July 19, 2019.
Dumbo, Jungle Cruise, Mulan, and Aladdin were all confirmed live-action productions that we can look forward to seeing! (Alan Menken later confirmed the Little Mermaid as well.)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Now we moved to the biggies: first up was Star Wars writer and director Rian Johnson who is clearly as big a Star Wars fan as we are.
He welcomed to the stage some of the stars of the next film & we were treated to a few moments from some heavy duty hitters: Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
And he brought us exclusive backstage footage from the filming.
Did you cry a little? It’s not just me, right?
I mean, every time I see Carrie Fisher my heart breaks just a wee bit.
RIP, General Organa.
Avengers: Infinity War
After almost 2 full hours of awesome, the moment arrived.
Alan Horn, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios, joked that even though Spider-Man Homecoming was put out by Sony Studios, it was still Marvel- so it made us “frenemies or something.” It was a funny moment and all the Spider-Man fans went nuts.
Marvel President Kevin Feige next came on stage and started us off by unveiling the Marvel 10-year anniversary logo.
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since we first met Robert Downey, Jr’s Iron Man? Amazing how time flies when you are saving worlds, meeting gods, and crushing aliens!
The big reveal for this panel turned out to be the Avengers: Infinity War.
I was way ok with this news! Especially when Kevin told us that filming wrapped in Atlanta the day before and a few of his friends got on the plane last night to see us.
I was on the edge of my seat as one by one Thanos, Avengers and Guardians paraded out on stage.
I pretty much lost it when he said, “And we have a Hulk!” and Mark Ruffalo jogged out.
But it got better.
He quickly moved on quipping, “Mark, you brought a friend from work, right?” Which is a direct reference to the Thor: Ragnarok trailer.
I might have been standing ON my chair at this point, who knows? But I have to say at least I wasn’t running down the aisle.
Yep. That happened.
Dreams come true, people: I was breathing in all the #ThorAir at this point. Chris Hemsworth arrived and at some point, I stopped screaming long enough to watch the first D23 Exclusive Avengers Infinity War sizzle trailer from the movie.
I wish I could describe all that happens because it was AWESOME. I just sat there with my mouth hanging open starting about 10 seconds into the clip.
Whoa, this movie is going to bring so many of our favorites together (included a bearded and bedraggled Steve Rogers) to fight Thanos.
An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios Avengers: Infinity War brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.?
Chills, y’all! Is it May yet?!
What movie do you want to know more about? What’s on your must-see list?
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.