Saturday 15 August 2015

D23 Expo: What the Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Revealed

Once every two year, Disney is holding a big event, where they announce and tease upcoming projects. And luckily for us, it's happening this year - more precisely, this very weekend. See what the Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar have in store in the upcoming few years after the break.

The panel was hosted by John Lasseter, and began with the upcoming films from the Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Zootopia (to be released in March, 2016) came first. Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore, along with producer Clark Spencer, arrived on stage to show various designs and clips of secondary characters (including a dancing tiger).
Then Ginnifer Goodwin, the voice of Judy Hopps in the film, came to talk about her character, a rabbit coming from a small town who wants to prove herself.
Two clips were shown: one where Hopps meets the other main character of Zootopia, Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman); and another one with Wilde at a DMV where every character is a sloth.
It was also revealed that Shakira would provide a voice in the movie: she is playing Gazelle (pictured below), and will perform a song called 'Try Everything'.

The next announcement was a big one: Gigantic will be a film based on the Jack and the Beanstalk story. It will be directed by Nathan Greno and produced by Dorothy McKim. In this version of the tale, Jack will be Spanish and he will meet an eleven year-old giantess called Inma (pictured below).

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Frozen) will write songs for the movie. Hopefully one of them will be called 'Let it Grow'.
The film is currently set for a 2018 opening. 

Up next was Moana. Directors John Musker and Ron Clements were on stage to talk about the film.
Also there was Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, the voice of demi-god Maui. His character can apparently create islands, using his giant fish-hook to pull them out of the sea. In the story, Moana runs off with her pig Pua and her roster Hei Hei, looking for a lost island. A few test scenes and clips where shown, including one featuring a volcano creature.
The musical team for Moana includes Opetaia Foa'i, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda. A song from the film was performed on stage by Te Vaka.
Moana will arrive in US theaters on the 23rd November, 2016.

Now, to Pixar. Josh Cooley was there to introduced the short film Riley's First Date? to the panel audience. The rest of us will have to wait for the release of Inside Out on Blu-Ray or Digital HD to see it.

The Good Dinosaur was up next, with director Pete Sohn and producer Denise Ream taking the stage. It was revealed that Arlo's family of Apatosaurus lives at the base of Claw Tooth Mountain.
No less than four clips were shown, as well as a few creature designs. The Triceratops seen in the latest trailer apparently believes each animal living on him gives him a different power.
Here's a new picture of the three T-Rexes with Arlo and Spot:

Then it was time for Finding Dory, the Finding Nemo sequel. Andrew Stanton (director) and Angus MacLane (co-director) were on stage.
The first new bit of information that we got is that Nemo was recast - quite obviously. Alexander Gould is now too old to voice the character he played more than 12 years ago, and Hayden Rolence will reprise the role.
They showed a clip, where Dory remembers her parents (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and decides to find them.
New characters were introduced. We already knew about Bailey, the beluga voiced by Ty Burrell. But we didn't know about Hank (pictured below) a seven-armed octopus voiced by Ed O'Neill, and Destiny, a whale shark voiced by Kaitlin Olson.

The director-producer winning team of Toy Story 3 (Leek Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson) arrived after that to present their upcoming film, based on the Mexican day of the dead. We knew about this project already (as the Dìa de los Muertos project), but it's nice to see that it's moving forward, with a title : Coco.

It will feature the first latino protagonist in a Pixar film: Miguel, a 12 year-old boy.
Coco will be released in the fall of 2017.

We quickly moved on to Toy Story 4. John Lasseter is directing this one, with Josh Cooley co-directing. This will be a love stroy between Woody and Bo Peep: Woddy and Buzz are going on a quest to find Bo.
Randy Newman came on stage and performed 'You've got a Friend in me', which probably means he'll be back to write the score.

That's it for the animation panel. If you're also interested in the live-action announcements, come back tomorrow.

Sources: various official twitter feeds related to Disney and

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