The 411 at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA
Central Bureau Chief
Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” When my mother and I traveled to Anaheim for the D23 Expo, I pondered on the recent success of Disney.
In Disney›s prime, they’ve acquired 20th Century Fox, helped Avengers: Endgame become the highest-grossing movie of all time, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in the American Disney Parks. After reading the previously mentioned quote from the creator and owner of my childhood, Disney keeps moving forward. Every two years, the D23 Expo is a 3-day experience that provides updates on the Disney company at the Anaheim Convention Center. Disney reveals exciting updates on the theme parks, movies, television shows and the new streaming service platform titled “Disney Plus.”
During my fascinating experience, I only attended two of the three days. On the first day, I joined three panels, including the Disney Legends, the Virtual Reality game, Vader Immortal, and Marvel Animation.
First on my list included the Disney Legends panel. According to the D23 Expo 2019 Event Guide, “Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony honors those who have made remarkable contributions to the Walt Disney Company.” Iger kicked off the expo with a brief monologue about the future of Disney which was followed by a performance of Reflections from the Mulan soundtrack by Christina Aguilera. All Disney fanatics were enthusiastic to see Christina Aguilera, Wing Chao, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Bette Midler, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer inducted. It’s astonishing to see history made while you’re in the same room with these legends.
Particularly when you meet a legend while having a cup of coffee [looking at you Wing T. Chao].
The subsequent panel involved the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Vader Immortal promised gamers an immersive experience in the world of Star Wars. Dan Brooks from starwars.com transcribes that “Vader Immortal, written and executive produced by David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight, Secrets of the Empire), sends fans to the iconic Sith Lord’s castle on the lava-world of Mustafar first seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Vader Immortal consisted of three episodes with only one out; the panel promoted the next chapter. As ILMxLab writes “Director Ben Snow, Senior Experience Designer Jose Perez III, and Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Matt Martin took the stage for conversation with film critic Todd Gilchrist, where they unveiled new creatures, footage, at a glimpse of what it’s like to use the force in the wild new Lightsaber Dojo II.” As a Star Wars fan, it’s spectacular to be under Darth Vader’s wing while experiencing new locations.
In my perspective, the next panel, Marvel Animation is not worth talking about since it’s nothing special.
On Day 2 of D23, Disney: Behind the Scenes showcased a glimpse of upcoming movies and projects. Lucasfilm President Kathlyn Kennedy and Star Wars Episode VII and IX Director, J.J Abrams came out to talk about the new Star Wars movies, “Rise of Skywalker.” Right after, the cast of “Rise of Skywalker” appeared on stage and introduced a new clip of the film. As we move past a galaxy far, far away, President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige announced the new Eternals, Black Panther 2 and Black Window movies.
Additionally, Pixar announced two new original movies with both casts appearing on stage. The films were titled Onward and Soul. On the live-action side, we have Jungle Cruise, a jungle adventure flick starring Dwayne the Rock Johnson and Emily Blunt. In addition, Disney announced that Emma Stone will star as Cruella Devil in her solo live action film.
All in all, D23 incorporated a lot of excitement and magic into the air. Disney fans dressed in costumes, there was a massive shopping plaza and other mini panels with Q & A’s. Getting to attend the D23 Expo was an invaluable experience and witnessing the magic first hand was a way better option than watching it on the YouTube stream. For more updates on the D23 expo, visit d23.com.