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Disney, Marvel, & Lucas Films – First Looks at D23 Expo

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Disclosure: I was included on a press trip hosted by Walt Disney Studios. While posts were expected, opinions are 100% my own.

A seat at the Live Action Panel is one of the most coveted seats at D23 Expo, many people wait for more than 24 hours for the opportunity to hear never revealed information about upcoming movies from today’s hottest movie studios.  Disney, Marvel, and Lucas Films did not disappoint. Movie producers, directors, and actors from the industry gave fans so much information and sneak peeks at upcoming movies – some I had never even heard of before! Disney, Marvel, and Lucas Films shared about over a dozen movies that are coming up – my son is obviously most excited about the upcoming Star Wars movies, especially The Force Awakens!  Marvel is of course bringing out some new superheroes as well as one we have already seen on the big screen.  And Disney has so many amazing stories including several based on true stories as well as live action remakes of beloved animated tales (The Jungle Book anyone?!).

Oh how I wish I could share with you the movie sizzle reel we saw at D23 Expo, sadly recording was frowned upon – I will share more as it becomes available – here is just a little peek for you too……


Dr. Strange we saw the first glimpse of Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE, featuring  a video greeting by Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the complicated Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange is a brain surgeon turned superhero and many other superheroes will make an appearance! Dr. Strange opens in theaters on October 26, 2016.


Captain America – Civil War We cannot wait for the next Captain America movie! From the teasers we saw Marvel has done it again!  Captain America – Civil War picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their ongoing effort to save all of humanity. The all star cast includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd and many more!  Captain America Civil War opens on May 6, 2016.

When Chris Evans surprised the audience on stage people went a little crazy.  Now, I am a married woman and all men (other than my husband) look exactly the same and not at all attractive – but other people in the audience said he looked really handsome in his snazzy blue sweater; but I can’t speak to that.  I just took their word for it…. they were probably right.


The Finest Hours

I know superheroes are flashy and do amazing things that people can’t do, but I love me a good ‘based on true story’ movie.  I love seeing movies about real people who do things that others might not do and it makes the world a better place.  These movies make my heart sing and restore my faith in a time when I sometimes feel like we have lost our way.  The Finest Hours is one of those movies that warms my heart.  The Finest Hours is based on the exciting and true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard.  Chris Pine plays Bernie Webber, the captain of the rescue boat.  As the story goes, it was nothing short of a miracle when a small coast guard boat went out in a storm to save the crew of a barge that is damaged and doomed to sink.  It’s an against all odds and do the right thing kinda story.


It’s the movie you can take your kids, your spouse, your parents, and your grandparents to.  There aren’t enough films like this nowadays, but I love them! We will be there when it opens in theaters on January 29, 2016.


The star of The Finest Hours Chris Pine made an appearance, and just like Chris Evans everyone in the audience was all “Ohhh!  He is SOOO handsome!” and I am over here all “I’m a married spud, I’m a married spud.” (Obscure Toy Story reference but I digress) Apparently he is good looking too.  That part aside, he was charming and well spoken and had nothing but wonderful things to say about the making of this film.  We will be in the audience for sure!


The Jungle Book

You guys.  I almost died here. I love this thing that Disney has been doing where they remake an animated classic in live action.  The Jungle Book looks straight up amazing!


The all star cast includes Christopher Walken,Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, and many more. THE JUNGLE BOOK hits theaters in  3D and IMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.


Alice Through the Looking Glass – Mia Wasikowska returns as the iconic Alice in this all new feature film. The cast includes many of the favorites from Alice in Wonderland – Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Boham Carter are all back! Sacha Baron Cohen is new to the cast playing “Time” and it is all kinds of amazing.  Alice Through The Looking Glass opens on May 27, 2016.


Pete’s Dragon

OK friends, this one really got me excited.  I remember watching Pete’s Dragon all the time as a kid (my mom taped it off the Disney Channel!), it was one of my favorites.  We saw a teensie teaser that shows the re-imagined version is much more intense – but with all the magic! Pete’s Dragon is the story of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott the Dragon.  Pete’s Dragon will star Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Robert Redford, and many more.  Pete’s Dragon opens in theaters on August 12, 2016.


Queen of Katwe

So who here is with me in believing Lupita Nyong’o can do no wrong? That alone made me sit up in my seat when I found she was the star of this new movie I had never heard of.  Queen of Katwe is based on a true story which also has me sold from the start.  Queen of Katwe is an inspirational true story of a girl from the slums of rural Uganda who dreams of becoming a champion chess player.


You guys, they only talked about this movie for like 5 minutes and I cannot tell you how many feels it stirred up.  This is my movie you guys. I know there are some really big light sabery movies coming up and I will get to those in a minute, but can we rest for just a moment and say a quick ‘Hallelujah’ for living in a time where this is a story Disney is making into a feature film? There is no release date for Queen of Katwe just yet, but I should let you know that all the coolest of the kids will be there opening night. I will keep you posted – see you there cool kids!


Beauty and the Beast

Once again, I love, love, love Disney’s trend of taking animated classics and reinventing them into live action films.  Emma Watson plays Belle and while we saw no footage we did see a lovely message from her about how excited she is about filming.  Josh Gad (who plays Lafou and is also well known as a silly snowman from a sorta kinda popular from two years ago where everything is cold) and Luke Evans (Gaston) sang for us, it was magical. The original songs from the animated movie as well as new songs will be shared in this film. Again, very little to share at this point but I cannot wait to share more as it becomes available! Beauty and the Beast is coming to theaters on March 17, 2017.


Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales

So I should start by letting you all know Johnny Depp came out on stage.  Or should I say Jack Sparrow came out on stage – Johnny Depp came out and cosplayed Jack Sparrow at D23 Expo….. so meta.  At one point he threw grapes at the audience and I kid you not everyone lost their minds.  And rightfully so, that guy is awesome.

Fans of the original will be excited to hear an all new adventure is on the way! We are going to have to wait FOR-EV-ER though – Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales will not be in theaters until July 7, 2017 (I know that isn’t that far, but it seems like a long time when you just saw Jack Sparrow in person).


OK, OK and here is what I think most of you are here for….. Star Warsy Stuff – well I have lots to share so you are super excited!


Star Wars Episode VIII, Star Wars Expisode IX, “Untitled Hans Solo”, Rogue One, and of course Star Wars : The Force Awakens


Just about everyone is well aware that Star Wars : The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.  My husband and son will totally be camped out!  Here is a trailer that has been viewed a couple times already….

So many other Star Wars movies are in the pipeline as well! STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII opens on May 26, 2017. STAR WARS: EPISODE IX, which is scheduled for release in 2019.

Rogue One is the first of the stand alone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen and will be in theaters on December 16, 2016. My Star Wars contributors will obviously be lining up for that one as well!

The new Star Wars stories series will include “Untitled Han Solo” a stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018.


Here is a recap in just 3 short minutes – so fun!

These are just sneak peeks at what is to come!  I hope to share more with you as more fun entertainment news, trailers, photos, and info becomes available!

Until Next Time ~ Kate
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