Unfortunately for the fan dressed in an inflatable Baymax costume (which was so big he couldn’t fit into any of the convention centre’s seats), Friday’s Pixar and Disney Animation panel at D23, Disney’s fan expo, didn’t provide confirmation on sequels to either “Big Hero 6” or “Zootopia”. But host John Lasseter, head of Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Studios, did have plenty of scoop on “Frozen”, “Wreck-It Ralph 2”, “The Incredibles 2” and more!
The panel began with a return to Arendelle — starting with the 21-minute short film, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” (debuting in theatres ahead of “Coco” on Nov. 22). Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, was on hand to explain that, “[Anna and Elsa] don’t actually have any holiday traditions of their own, and it breaks Olaf’s tiny, little icy heart.” The crowd aww-ed as a photo of sad Olaf appeared onscreen and Bell squealed, “I know!“
D23 attendees were then treated to a silly scene of Olaf (Josh Gad) trying to decide if various Christmas traditions are “special enough,” before Gad made a surprise appearance to live-debut one of the four new songs called, I believe, “That Time of Year.”
As for “Frozen 2”, we still don’t know the title — though, it’s not “Disney’s Thawed” — but instead, saw home video of directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s research trip to Norway, Iceland and Finland. These “adventures,” we were told, will inspire the sequel, which hits theatres on Nov. 27, 2019.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2”
In “Wreck-It Ralph 2” — the full title is quite a mouthful — the arcade is connected to “wee fee” (that’d be WiFi) and, as Princess Vanellope herself, Sarah Silverman, revealed, “Vanellope’s game, ‘Sugar Rush’, breaks and she has to travel with Ralph into the Internet to find a part to fix the game.” There, they will meet new characters like Yesss (played by Taraji P. Henson), the shape-shifting algorithm of a trend-making website called Buzzaholic.
In the most synergistic but uproarious clip, Yesss gives Ralph and Vanellope a VIP tour of the Internet that culminates in a visit to OhMyDisney.com, where “Star Wars”, Marvel and classic Disney characters roam. Vanellope sneaks off to mess with the Disney princesses, which does not go well. (Cinderella breaks her glass slipper into a shank.) It only gets better and more meta from there, i.e. the princesses declare that none of them have daddy issues!
As a special surprise for D23, each princess’ original voice actor was on hand to announce they will reprise their role in the movie — from Ariel and Belle to Merida and Tiana, Anna, Moana and more! “Ralph Breaks the Internet” arrives in theatres on Nov. 21, 2018.
“The Incredibles 2”
“It’s like, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Edna,” so said a supremely amusing featurette that intro’d “The Incredibles 2” portion, which featured the likes of Zac Posen, Heidi Klum, Kendall Jenner and Rachel Zoe, among other models and fashion experts, discussing the “visionary” and “iconic” Edna.
Writer, director and the voice of Edna, Brad Bird, took the stage to show off new and quite improved test footage of the entire family back in action. The sequel (out June 15, 2018) reunites nearly the entire original cast and also features a brand spankin’ new superhero lair and a “greatly expanded” world with superheroes whose powers might just rival the Incredibles family.
“You’ll see a lot of Elastigirl. A chain of events puts her at the forefront of the action, while Bob has to stay home,” Bird explained of Mr. Incredible’s own challenge: “He still doesn’t know that Jack Jack has these powers.” A work-in-progress clip had Jack defending the home from a raccoon he mistakes as a burglar, resulting in an outrageous backyard brawl.
“Toy Story 4”
There wasn’t much to share about “Toy Story 4” — the movie’s official title — as the fourquel doesn’t hit theatres until summer 2019. But Lasseter announced that he will not direct it, officially passing the reigns to Josh Cooley (the Oscar-nominated writer of “Inside Out”), though the animation legend will stay on as an executive producer and mentor.
Cooley brought along a video tour of the “Toy Story” offices, which yielded little information regarding the film’s plot — except a hint that it may or may not involve an RV trip? (During D23 2013, it was revealed that the story would be a love story for Woody and Bo Peep.) But we do know the aliens are back, as the montage included the first line of dialogue recorded for “Toy Story 4”: the alien’s signature, “Oooo.“
“Untitled Pixar Suburban Fantasy World Film”
One of two untitled projects teased during the panel — the other from DisneyToon Studios may be a “Planes” sequel, about jets that can travel into space. This movie comes courtesy of “Monsters University” director Dan Scanlon and takes place in, yes, a suburban fantasy world.
“This film takes place in a fantasy world; however, it is a modern fantasy world,” explained Scanlon. Long ago, there was magic, but because it was complicated to learn, eventually the citizens invented machines that could do magic for them, like light bulbs, cars and fast food. (One chain is called “To-N-Fro Burger.”) There are no humans in this fantasy world, but the land is populated by elves, trolls and sprites — “Anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” Scanlon joked — and where unicorns are rat-like pests.
The actual story follows two teenage brother whose father died when they were too young to remember him, so they set out on an adventure to somehow find a way to spend one last magical day with him.
As “Coco” hits theatres this Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much news to break about Pixar’s Día de los Muertos movie, which Lasseter called “breathtaking” and “incredibly emotional.” It’s set in Mexico and follows 12-year-old Miguel, who learns he is the great, great grandson of the most famous musician in all of Mexico, Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt).
Miguel’s family has banned music for many generations so, in one clip previewed for Hall D23, Miguel tries to sign up for the town’s talent show but isn’t able to without a guitar — which leads him to break into Ernesto’s tomb and steal his legendary guitar, setting off a series of supernatural events that transports him to the land of the dead. Another clip took place in the Department of Family Reunions, packed with skeletons and talk of curses and the adorable scoundrel of a dog, Dante.
Mostly, the Coco portion provided a grand finale to the panel, a live mariachi performance by Miguel himself, actor Anthony Gonzalez, and Bratt, complete with a spectacular shower of confetti.
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