D23 Expo: 5 Biggest Reveals From Disney's 'Ultimate Fan Event'
If you were one of the thousands of attendees at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim over the weekend, you likely stood in line. A lot.
But Disney did its best to make those waits worth it -- trotting out major stars, making big announcements and debuting a slew of footage from several highly anticipated movies and series. (And in case you missed this year's expo -- the third ever -- Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced during Saturday's Disney Legend Awards that there are already plans for a fourth one, set for 2015.)
Here are the five biggest reveals from the 2013 event:
1. Surprise! It's Angelina Jolie.
The crowd at Saturday's live-action presentation was shocked -- and drawn to their feet -- when the star of the upcoming Maleficent took the stage. "Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite. I was terrified of her, but I was always drawn to her," Jolie told the audience, who also was treated to new footage showingJolie's Maleficent casting a spell on Sleeping Beauty.
2. The biggest news about Star Wars? That there would, in fact, be no news about Star Wars.
The crowd at Saturday's live-action presentation was audibly disappointed when Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn started off his presentation with Lucasfilm but didn't share any fresh news about Star Wars. And later in the day, at a Star Warssession led by Lucasfilm’s resident authority, Pablo Hidalgo, that was titled "Crash Course in the Force: Star Wars Saga 101," several audience members left the room when Hidalgo announced at the start that there would be no news or big reveals during the session. And oward the end of the hour, before the audience Q&A portion began, a large portion of the audience made a mad dash for the Star Wars exhibit downstairs after Hidalgo revealed that special Darth Vader pins were being handed out.
3. The mysterious Tomorrowland was inspired by … mystery.
Disney’s Tomorrowland film has been shrouded in mystery, but at the Expo, director/co-writer Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof revealed their inspiration for the George Clooney-starring film: a box full of mystery. The duo showed off some of the items contained in the box -- which they claimed was from the Disney archives -- including sketches and photographs. They also showed a short clip in the style of 1960s animation, which they said was from a disk in the box. The video warned of the dangers of progress and technological development -- such as nuclear warfare. While the whole presentation was strangely cryptic, it was at least a bit more information about the highly anticipated 2014 film.
4. Zootopia is uncaged.
At Friday's animation session, Disney revealed plans for a 2016 film titled Zootopia from director Byron Howard and writer Jared Bush. The duo introduced the look at the world of Zootopia, with includes such sites as Tundra Town, for cold weather animals; Sahara Square, a cross between Dubai and Monte Carlo; a Rain Forest district; Little Rodentia, home to mice; and Burrow Borough, home to rabbits. A giant air-conditioning system maintains the various climates, and the animals use “Rabbit Transit” for public transportation. The movie's main characters are Nick Wilde, a fox; and Lt. Judy Hops, a rabbit, who are natural enemies who form an unlikely friendship. Other characters include Gizelle, an outspoken pop star.
5. A slew of A-listers -- or at least their voices -- are heading to a theater near you.
Also at Friday's animation session, the all-star voice casts for several animated movies were revealed. Oscar winnerPete Docter (Up) and producer Jonas Rivera previewed Inside Out, slated for release in 2015, and revealed the cast, which includes Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith.Smith and Hader appeared in character at the event. Also on Friday, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter previewed The Good Dinosaur, where it was revealed that the movie will feature the voices of John Lithgow, Frances McDormand,Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer and Lucas Neff. (Clips also were shown.) Disney also announced that Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy andTy Burrell will joinEllen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks intheFinding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory. Meanwhile, to close out the animation session, Idina Menzel, who voices Elsa in the upcoming Frozen, performed "Let it Go," a new original song from the movie, which hits theaters Nov. 27. She got a standing ovation.