Disney's dozen: what we learnt at D23 movies panel

AFP , Monday 26 Aug 2019

Attendees visit the Disney+ streaming service booth at the D23 Expo, billed as the "largest Disney fan event in the world," August 23, 2019 AFP

Disney on Saturday released plans for a dozen upcoming movies, ranging from Marvel superhero films and Star Wars blockbusters to Pixar and Disney animations.

Here is a run-through of everything newly announced at the D23 fan fest's movies panel in Anaheim, California:

- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Lucasfilm is "hard at work" finishing an official new trailer, but unseen footage and a new poster showed Rey and Kylo Ren locked in a duel. The final seconds showed Rey wielding a red, double-sided lightsaber -- immediately dubbed "Sith Rey" online. Naomi Ackie and Keri Russell join the cast.

- Black Panther 2
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and returning "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler would not even confirm the hotly anticipated sequel's title, but did set a release date -- May 6, 2022.

- The Eternals
"Game of Thrones" star Kit Harington and "Crazy Rich Asians" actress Gemma Chan will join an ensemble cast already boasting Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. Harington will play a "non-eternal."

- Black Widow
An extended version of last month's Comic-Con footage featuring Scarlett Johansson locked in a fight in a Budapest apartment was shown. New clips showed motorcycle chases, mountains and Rachel Weisz.

- Jungle Cruise
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt rode into D23 on a riverboat and a vintage car to promote their live-action film based on Disney's theme park ride. In a good-humored takedown of alpha-male action heroes, Blunt introduced her own trailer telling the story from her character's perspective -- with Johnson's name in comically tiny font.

- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor join the cast for the sequel to the live-action 2014 hit centered on Snow White's villain. A lengthy clip showed Aurora preparing to marry Prince Phillip -- leading to an extremely frosty dinner between her godmother Maleficent and his parents which quickly descends into conflict.

- Mulan
The panel for Disney's live-action remake was notable for the absence of Chinese-American star Liu Yifei, who triggered the #BoycottMulan movement with her criticism of Hong Kong protests. Film footage showed a young Mulan's disastrous meeting with a highly-strung matchmaker, before teasing fight scenes as she takes the place of her ailing father in the Imperial Army.

- Cruella
This live-action "101 Dalmatians" prequel will be set in "punk rock" 1970s London. Emma Stone sent a video from the British capital, where filming has begun, and shared a first image of herself in character sporting a Vivienne Westwood-esque shock of black and white hair. Emma Thompson joins the cast.

- Soul
Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey were announced as the lead voices of metaphysical jazz adventure "Soul." Prominent musicians including Jon Batiste and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will feature in the film, where souls are trained at an otherworldly "You Seminar" before being dispatched to Earth.

- Onward
Julia-Louis Dreyfus was revealed as the mother of protagonists Ian and Barley. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt introduced footage setting out plot details of their characters' botched quest to bring back their dead father with a magical spell in a faded fantasy world.

- Raya and the Last Dragon
Cassie Steele and Awkwafina lead the voice cast in this animated fantasy featuring the search for dragons in a fictional, Southeast Asian-inspired world.

- Frozen 2
The sequel will explore where Elsa got her powers, and a mysterious past involving her parents. Evan Rachel Wood ("Westworld") and Sterling K. Brown ("This Is Us") join the cast, with original songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez returning. Footage showed flashbacks of sisters Elsa and Anna with their mother, an enchanted forest, and a new song for Elsa (Idina Menzel.)

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