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The biggest announcements from this year's D23 Expo
Concept art of the newly announced Star Wars Land at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said that all the employees would be dressed as if they are characters in the Star Wars universe. - photo by Jeff Peterson
Last weekend, Disneys most diehard fans gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center for the fourth biennial D23 Expo basically San Diego Comic-Con for Disney nuts. From Aug. 14-16, studio heads and big-name Disney stars like Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford took to the stage to reveal whats coming down the pipeline.

For many families, these announcements will pretty much form the basis of their media consumption for the foreseeable future. So, buckle up. This could be what the next few years trips to the movie theater are going to look like.

Disney Animation and Pixar

Gigantic Following hits like Tangled and Frozen, Disney is putting its own spin on another classic fairy tale, namely Jack and the Beanstalk. This one has been rumored for years, but its finally official. And as director Nathan Greno (Tangled) said (via The Wrap), We hope (Gigantic) will be the definitive version of Jack and the Beanstalk, with comedy and deep emotion.

Transposed from the English countryside of the original fairytale to Spain during the Age of Exploration, Gigantic will follow the adventure-seeking Jack, who discovers a world of giants living in the clouds, including a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old giant named Inma.

Gigantic, which is slated to hit theaters in 2018, will also feature original music by Frozen songwriting duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez just in case Let It Go was starting to get old.

Toy Story 4 John Lasseter, who acted as emcee through much of the expos animation presentation, provided some new details on Pixars first-ever fourthquel, which he will be co-directing with relative newcomer Josh Cooley. Toy Story 4, he revealed, is going to be a love story about Woody and Bo Peep. Lasseter said, Its a very personal story for me, because its inspired by my wife, Nancy.

An initial story treatment by Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton is being rewritten by Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, who previously collaborated as writers on Celeste & Jesse Forever.

Toy Story 4 is scheduled for release in 2017.

Shakira The Grammy Award-winning Colombian singer-songwriter was announced as part of the voice cast for Disneys upcoming buddy cop comedy Zootopia, alongside stars Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin and Disney regular Alan Tudyk. She will play a gazelle pop sensation named wait for it Gazelle.

Zootopia arrives in theaters March 4, 2016.

Finding Dory cast Ellen DeGeneres took to the stage to discuss Pixars long-awaited Finding Nemo sequel, and she was joined by a trio of new cast members: Modern Family co-stars Ty Burrell and Ed ONeill, and Kaitlin Olson (Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia). ONeill is set to play Hank, a curmudgeonly, seven-legged octopus (septapus?), while Burrell will play a beluga who thinks he suffers from a head injury. Meanwhile, Olson will play Dorys adoptive sister, a whale shark. They join an already top-notch voice cast that includes Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton and The Wire co-stars Idris Elba and Dominic West.

Finding Dory comes out June 17, 2016.

Coco The last big announcement from the animation portion of the expo was for Pixars Dia de los Muertos movie, now officially titled Coco. The film, which is scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend 2017, was described as the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.

Coco is being helmed by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich.

Disney live-action

Orlando Bloom The foil to Depps Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom will be reprising his role as Will Turner in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, according to Walt Disney Studios president Sean Bailey (via Screenrant).

The fifth installment in the massively successful franchise will arrive in theaters July 17, 2017.

Perhaps significantly, 2017 will be exactly 10 years from the time that Bloom last played Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, in which his character was bound to the Flying Dutchman and cursed to only be able to set foot on land every 10 years. Previous rumors have indicated that the story may involve Turners son (played by Brenton Thwaites) looking for his father.

The Jungle Book Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) showed off some of the first footage from Disneys upcoming reimagining of Rudyard Kiplings The Jungle Book. And by all accounts, it looks stunning.

The live-action/CGI hybrid of which, before now, very little was known other than casting details is pushing to be one of the most technologically advanced movies ever made, according to Bailey (via Film School Rejects), who also described it as having more heft, more gravitas and digging a little deeper than previous adaptations of Kiplings story.

Favreau said it uses every bleeding edge technology out there to create the illusion of reality. The best CGI, he said, is the CGI that disappears.

The Jungle Book is set to hit theaters April 15, 2016.

Marvel Studios

Captain America: Civil War Stars Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie (Cap and Falcon, respectively) showed up fresh off a plane from where they were filming in Germany to present footage from the upcoming film, which comes out May 6, 2016. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from the Civil War presentation, though, was that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige called it the end of the Captain America trilogy, according to As comic fans have probably already surmised, that seems to point in a very specific direction for the character.

Doctor Strange The Sorcerer Supremes debut movie hasnt even begun filming yet, but director Scott Derrickson narrated a trailer scraped together from concept art and test footage. The overall impression from those in attendance seems to be that Doctor Strange will live up to its name. Previously described as Marvels Fantasia, the stuff shown at D23 has been garnering comparisons to Inception and some of the weirder magical moments from the Harry Potter movies.

Whats more, it also seems to be hewing very close to the comics, including showing concept art of the titular Stephen Strange in full-on red cloak with Dracula collar.

Doctor Strange comes out Nov. 4, 2016.


Drew Struzan Also revealed was a new poster for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens by none other than Drew Struzan, the artist behind the iconic artwork for both the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequels (along with so many other classic movie posters). The 68-year-old came out of retirement for this, which immediately adds a whole lot more of that classic feel that fans are so desperate for.

Not only that, but the new poster also reveals an interesting new (possibly spoiler-y) detail: John Boyegas character holding what appears to be Luke Skywalkers original lightsaber.

The Force Awakens comes out Dec. 18, 2015.

Rogue One cast The first Star Wars spinoff movie, directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), Rogue One unveiled its first official cast photo during the expo, showing stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen and Riz Ahmed in costume as the rebel spies sent to capture plans for the Death Star prior to the events depicted in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

Additionally, two new cast members were announced: Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, TVs Hannibal) and, playing a motion-capture character, Alan Tudyk.

Rogue One recently began filming and will be released Dec. 16, 2016.

Rogue One title change Also noteworthy, Rogue One has gotten a slight title change. Previously known as Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One, the logo displayed at D23 Expo instead read Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Its not entirely clear yet whether or not the Star Wars Anthology branding has been dropped entirely.

Episode IX This one has been rumored for a while, but Star Wars: Episode IX has now officially found its director in Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World). He will pick up the main Star Wars storyline after Rian Johnson finishes his work on Episode VIII, which is slated for release on May 26, 2017, with Episode IX arriving two years later.

Star Wars Lands Finally, the big announcement of D23: themed Star Wars worlds are coming to both Disneyland and Disneys Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Orlando, and theyre going to be huge. Said to be the biggest single-themed land expansions in the history of either park, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger (via the Disney Parks blog), the new development will involve 14-acre areas, both based on a brand-new planet in the Star Wars universe.

This new 14-acre land will be occupied by many inhabitants, aliens, droids. The attractions, entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling, transporting our fans to a world of fun, said Iger. Every restaurant, building, everything will be inhabited by the aliens and droids youd expect to find there. Youd expect to find a cantina and there will be one.

The areas will feature two new rides, one of which puts guests on the deck of the Millennium Falcon.

No timeline has been given yet, but as with all park expansions, expect this to take a few years at least.

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