Our D23 Expo adventures continue today with a recap of the Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Panel from the convention’s Friday line-up. IT was amazing to be in the room when these announcements were made, and when the celebrities hit the stage! Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios plan to take us all over in the next few years: The Dinosaur age, The South Pacific, the seas of Monterey, and more! Check out wait we can anticipate from now until 2018.
The Good Dinosaur
The Good Dinosaur introduces audiences to Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home, and Spot, Arlo’s unlikely human friend.
Director Peter Sohn shared a special story about his mom with the panel attendees. He said that Dumbo was one of the first movies that he and his mom, who didn’t speak English, enjoyed together at the theaters. The animation told the story, not the words, so they were able to bond over what they watched on-screen. When explaining The Good Dinosaur, Sohn remarks “Arlo and Spot journey through a world that has been greatly inspired by the American Northwest. It is epic in scope, soul-enriching and simultaneously beautiful and treacherous. In this world, we meet up with a very special family of T-Rexes, who help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he’s truly made of.”
“The Good Dinosaur” opens in theaters nationwide Nov. 25, 2015.
Ginnifer Goodwin, the voice of the film’s rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps, Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore, and Producer Clark Spencer greeted expo attendees to share fun sneak peeks and hilarious scenes from the upcoming film. There’s a great scene that involves sloths and the DMV. I could stop chuckling when I saw it!
There was also a tease of the all-new original song, “Try Everything,” written by singer-songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate, and performed by Shakira. Shakira is lending her Grammy®-winning voice to Gazelle, the biggest pop star in ZOOTOPIA.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ZOOTOPIA opens nationwide March 4, 2016.
As you can imagine, the crowd when crazy during the Finding Dory portion of the panel. We were joined by Ellen DeGeneres (the voice of everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang), Ed O’Neill (who lends his voice to Hank, a cantankerous octopus), Ty Burrell (the voice of Bailey, a misguided beluga whale), Kaitlin Olson (who voices Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark), Oscar®-winning Director Andrew Stanton, co-director Angus MacLane and Producer Lindsey Collins. The film also features the voices of Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton.
This all-new story reunites Dory with friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?
Teaser: In the clip we watched during the panel, Dory mentions “the jewel of Monterey, California.” Do you think that might be important to her backstory? Hint: it most certainly is.
Disney·Pixar’s FINDING DORY swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
When Dwayne Johnson hits the stage, you know you’re in or an epic announcement. Johnson was all smiles and excitement when introduce the audience to Moana, the new animated film based in the South Pacific.
Johnson lends his voice to the mighty demi-god Maui in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ MOANA. Renowned Directors John Musker and Ron Clements, and Producer Osnat Shurer shared dazzling early test footage and revealed plans for the film’s inspired music and the extraordinary team behind it. Tony®-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i, founder and lead singer of the band Te Vaka, blend their diverse and dynamic talents to help tell the tale of a spirited teenager who sets out to prove herself a master wayfinder.
Musker states, “we are incredibly lucky to be able to work with three amazing artists who are the absolute best at what they do. The sounds they create will be something we’ve never heard before—but it’ll feel like it’s been part of this world forever.”
MOANA sails into U.S. theaters on November 23, 2016.
Toy Story 4
As someone who grew up with the Toy Story films, the announcement of Toy Story 4 warmed my heart. The fact that Toy Story is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary makes me even happier. It’s exceptionally awesome to know that my kids are growing up with the same movies that shaped me as a person, and that this story will go on in a new feature film!
Director John Lasseter said, “All the characters from ‘Toy Story’—especially Woody and Buzz—are so close to us. They seem more like family members than just creations. Not only do we dearly love the characters, but we also love the world of ‘Toy Story’—the world where toys come to life when people are not in the room has always been rich with many story possibilities.”
Also joining in the celebration were TOY STORY 4 co-director Josh Cooley and Producer Galyn Susman. Screenwriters Rashida Jones (go Rashida!) and Will McCormack joined Buzz, Woody and Bo Peep for the celebration. “I’m very proud of our films,” said Lasseter. “When we made the first three TOY STORY films, we didn’t realize what we had done was to change the genre of each of the films’ story. For TOY STORY 4, we are doing a type of story we have not done before: a love story. It’s a story about a relationship between Woody and Bo Peep. ”
TOY STORY 4 is slated for release on June 16, 2017.
Jack and The Beanstalk is a story well-known throughout the world, and now Walt Disney Animation Studios will provide their version! GIGANTIC, Disney’s unique take on “Jack and the Beanstalk,” will feature music from Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who we all know and love from their work on FROZEN(Let It Go, anyone?).
Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s GIGANTIC follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality—and who knew giants were so down to earth?
Inma was actually inspired by a larger-than-life Spanish girl that the crew encountered during a trip through Spain. Once they determined her as a “ham,” they knew that they needed to base the 11 year old giant around her personality. How fun is that?
GIGANTIC hits theaters in 2018.
Director Lee Unkrich and Producer Darla K. Anderson revealed the title of their upcoming film: Disney·Pixar’s COCO is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.
“As artists and filmmakers, we couldn’t help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos,” said Unkrich and Anderson. “But it was the celebration’s core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message.”
“In our story,” they continued, “the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance.”
The visuals we watched from this upcoming film were beautiful, full of life, dancing and fun that popped right out of the screen.
Coco hits theaters November 22, 2017.