If you caught my Live Action Disney Movie News earlier this week, then I know you’ll want to know all about the Animation news that broke at D23, too. Animation was the original foothold of the Walt Disney Company (it all started with a mouse!), and the three animation studios of the Disney family have some great films brewing.
John Lasseter greeting the Disney Animation panel audience teeming with t-shirt cannons, hoisting them into the air and giving away sketched t-shirts of Pixar characters… I was ONE row away from claiming a Woody tee, and it was fabulous! Lasseter then exclaimed, “I’m so excited about our upcoming movies; they are all hilarious, emotional, beautiful and make you think. It’s a great mix of incredibly creative and surprising new worlds and characters and stories we love returning to. Our filmmakers are putting so much heart into these films – I can’t wait for people to see them.”
The buzz around Coco is growing louder, and I expect it’s mostly because it’s the closest film release us, coming out in November. It was actually one of the last films covered in the panel, and ended the session with a blazing musical number complete with images from the film, a public performance of “Remember Me” sung by Benjamin Bratt, who lends his voice to Ernesto de la Cruz, and more than 160 performers who danced, played, sand and celebrated the film’s “broad landscape of music,” as related by director Lee Unkrich.
Unkrich, co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson shared details about the original story with the crowd. COCO introduces Miguel, an aspiring musician whose family long ago banned music. Desperate to prove his talent and follow in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel makes a fateful decision and finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he meets his extended family and charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal). Together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history (from the press release). Disney•Pixar’s COCO opens in theatres on November 22nd!
OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE
Okay, you tricky, tricky, cast of Frozen! When it came time to discuss the hot new short, Kristen Bell, OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE, Kristin Bell joined John Lasseter on-stage to discuss the plot, all new songs, and characters in the animation. The featurette can be seen in front of Coco, opening on November 22, 2017, and casts Idina Menzel as Elsa, Jonathan Groff as the voice of Kristoff as well as Josh Gad who returns as Olaf.
Lasseter and Bell decided to share one of the four all-new songs with the D23 audience, but a third of the way into the clip… the sound “broke.” It was only then that Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, surprised the crowd with a live performance of the all-new original song “That Time of Year,” written by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson. You can see the entire OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE when it opens in theatres everywhere in front of COCO on November 22nd!
FROZEN 2 (TITLE TBA)
Immediately after the thrill of our Josh Gad surprise, Bell, Gad and Lasseter teased us about Frozen 2. Several silly titles were tossed up on the screen, include Frozen Toe, Thawed, Frozen Solid and more, but the film still has no official title. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, the follow-up to 2013’s Oscar®-winning Disney animation film, FROZEN, is slated for theaters on November 27th, 2019! Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff are reprising their roles in an all-new story.
NO CAPES! That’s how the Incredibles 2 promo started at D23. John Lasseter, who’s looked forward to the return of everyone’s favorite family of superheroes since THE INCREDIBLES was wrapping up production, was excited to share with fans a look at what the fashion world thinks of super-suit stylist Edna Mode—the petite-but-powerful character introduced in Pixar Animation Studio’s 2004 Oscar®-winning feature. Personally, I adore E, who was modeled after Edith Head in real life. Her no-nonsense approach is one I wish I could channel:
What I didn’t know was that INCREDIBLES 2 director, Brad Bird, actually is the voice of Edna! He joined Lasseter on stage to welcome the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). Jackson was sporting an Incredibles shirt, too! The upcoming film expands upon the Incredible universe with new allies, a new villain and explores Jack Jack’s newfound powers. Disney•Pixar’s INCREDIBLES 2 hits theaters everywhere on June 15th, 2018!
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2
Ever since my family dressed up as Ralph, Vanellope and Felix, I’ve been waiting for a sequel to come out. Comedian Sarah Silverman, who returns as the voice of Vanellope von Schweetz, graced the stage to let us know more about the follow-up to 2012’s WRECK IT RALPH. Ralph and Vanellope leave the arcade behind, venturing into the expansive universe of the internet to fix Vanellope’s game. The internet, however, may or may not survive Ralph’s not-so-light touch.
Outcasts-turned-BFFs Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz are reuniting with Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Filmmakers also introduced a new character to us, Yesss, an algorithm who plays an important role in Ralph and Vanellope’s journey within the internet. We were thrilled to hear Golden Globe®-winning actress Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) is lending her voice to the character. “Yesss is a new character who owns the website Buzzaholic,” said Henson. “Yesss knows about everything cool and on trend. And she does spell her name with a triple ‘s.’ Yesss is very savvy, smart and sexy.”
The absolute highlight of the ENTIRE D23 conference was the global debut of a scene from the film that pays hilarious homage to the Disney Princesses. At first, we all thought it was a joke. The scene pokes fun at Disney and it’s fans, the tender makeup of the Disney Princess, as well as their pitfalls and weaknesses. The panel audience was rolling in the aisles and when the rough animation snapped to a highly rendered sequence… we knew it was real. In an amazing moment, Lasseter revealed that filmmakers had asked the original actresses behind the Princesses featured to reprise their roles for the sequence, and as Auli‘i Cravalho (“Moana”), Kristen Bell (Anna in “Frozen”), Kelly MacDonald(Merida in “Brave”), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in “Tangled”), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog”), Irene Bedard (“Pocahontas”), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in “Aladdin”), Paige O’Hara (Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”) were welcomed on stage, we were roaring with approval. RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 hits theaters on Nov. 21st, 2018!
UNTITLED DISNEYTOON STUDIOS FILM
Don’t be frustrated, but I have very little to share with you about this new “Speed Test,” as John Lasseter calls it. The entire panel was kicked off with the announcement of a Disneytoon Studios’ original new animated movie which is currently untitled. The theatrical feature explores the future of aviation—taking moviegoers to the edge of discovery in the air—and beyond, officials told us. Audiences at D23 were shown a short clip of fighter jets racing across landscapes with sonic booms and speeds that seemed above Mach 1. It was only towards the end of the clips that the planes BLINKED and seemed to resemble the word of CARS and PLANES. Shooting into outer space, the “Untitled DTS Film” is slated to hit theaters on April 12th, 2019.
TOY STORY 4
Toy Story 4 is coming, and it has a new director. We got a very small sneak peek about Josh Cooley, the new director for the feature, and his new directorial responsibilities at the PIXAR and Disney animation studio. But I must leave you hungry for more. Produced by Jonas Rivera, TOY STORY 4 is slated for release on June 21st, 2019, but we don’t know a shred about the storyline!
UNTITLED DAN SCANLON MOVIE
Director Dan Scanlon, who helmed Pixar’s “Monsters University,” joined Lasseter to share a few details about an all-new original feature film currently in production at Pixar Animation Studios. According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father?The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves,
This Disney animation story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls and sprites. It seems very much like a Zootopia world, where we see things we have every day, but with a twist. Instead of a subway for hamsters built out of tubes, we see mushroom houses with a satellite for TV on top. “In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father,” replays Scanlon.