Monday, July 17, 2017

Highlights of Disney's D23 Expo 2017 with Kingdom Hearts 3 in Tow

Disney. This company founded by Walt Disney in 1923, taking his passion for cartoons and turning Disney into what would become one of the largest Multimedia companies this world has ever seen. From animations to live action, Mickey Mouse and beyond Disney has a built up a massive collection of movies, TV shows and even Video Games that have touched the lives of many, including mine. With Disney still pumping out animations and movies they’ve added to their library through acquisitions of Marvel Studios and LucasFilms. I’ve discussed a bit about Disney’s future movie plans for the next few years a few blogs ago and they’ve expanded on their future releases at the Expo dubbed “D23” which occurred this past weekend. D23 is to the point Disney’s version of E3 and like E3 I’ll be covering what they announced today. Sadly once again I was not able to make it to D23 this year so my knowledge may be limited to what they let the public know, apparently a lot of private screenings happened for press. I’m not going to be able to touch on everything but I’ll mention all what I can and leave some things for separate blogs.

Of course D23 isn’t just some event where announcements are dropped this is a huge Disney gathering for fans of all ages with events happening that’ll definitely spread some magic. Events were kicked off with the Disney Legends awards with some new Disney family members receiving the awards. Stan Lee, the man who crafted some of Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes and a pretty awesome guy to boot, Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself and the voice of a certain mad clown we all love and Whoopi Goldberg (Who just so happened to wear Minnie Mouse inspired shoes, which looked incredibly stylish.) where among the winners of the Disney Legends award. Other Disney Legends included Oprah Winfrey, Wayne Jackson (Who helped develop some of Disney theme park’s beloved attractions), and Julie Taymor. Posthumous awards went to the late Clyde Geronimi (The Legend behind Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella and Peter Pan.), Manuel Gonzales, Gary Marshall Jack Kirby (The other man behind some of Marvel’s greatest heroes.) and of course Carrie Fisher who played Leia Organa in Star Wars. (But you knew that.)

Following some wonderful performances from the cast of the Broadway version of “The Lion King” and Anika Noni Rose singing “Go the Distance” from “Hercules” and a panel which featured some previous Disney Legends such as Goofy… I mean Bill Framer we go into the Marvel TV Animation Panel headed by Cort Lane, Marvel’s Senior Vice President along with Joe Quesada, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer. For the most part the panel centered on the new “Marvel’s Spider-Man” animated series which is replacing the 2012 born Drake Bell ran “Ultimate Spider-Man”. I actually lost track of that show and I’ve only watched the first three seasons but it seemed like they were wrapping up the storyline anyway. (I’ll watch the series for you guys at a later point.) Anyway this new animated series seems to be taking inspiration from the MCU (To the point I almost thought it was tying into the MCU and Spider-Man Homecoming but I can’t actually find any confirmation on that.) in that sense we’ll be getting Spider-Man’s origin story again, poor Uncle Ben. (Which Homecoming actually skipped.) There were some new trailers released for this show but they were D23 exclusives. However Disney has a sneak peak released for your viewing pleasure: . This new Spider-Man series will be airing August 19th at 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m. EDT on Disney XD (Does Disney Channel even exist anymore?) with Robbie Daymond voicing the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. (He also voices Tuxedo Mask in the Sailor Moon Crystals Dub, who knew.)

It seems this Spider-Man series will be taking Spider-Man back to his beginnings with a new fresh coat of paint. The storyline of this series will be based on Dan Slott’s current run on The Amazing Spider-Man so it could be interesting. Though if Ultimate Spider-Man is canceled what is happening with the other animated Marvel series? They all seemed to be connected in an Animated Universe of sorts so with the announcement of this new Spider-Man series I was unsure if the other running animations were being replaced but it seems every show other then Ultimate Spider-Man will be continuing for at least another season. That brings me to some announcements regarding the Guardians of the Galaxy animation series (Which I’ve not watched either.) that will be heading into its third season dubbed “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout”. The Guardians at some point will split up while being targeted by the Collector leaving to some solo adventures with a bunch of different animation styles. An entire episode dedicated to Baby Groot? Sign me up! I heard there are some connects between this show and the new Spider-Man show which is completely confusing but I’m probably missing something. This new season will air at some point in the near future but I can’t quite find a release date.

That was it for the Marvel TV animation panel but not the end of the superhero news… No now we’re diving into the Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios panel. John Lasseter (Rocking this sweet Pixar character shirt instead of his usual Hawaiian shirt.) hosted the panel and dropped some big news regarding the future of Disney and Pixar animation. It’s not too much of a surprise as it was announced a while ago but some news regarding the “Incredibles 2” was revealed. I’m a huge fan of the “Incredibles” and the first movie was an absolute blast so a sequel was a high request from me and many other fans. We’re finally getting the sequel we always wanted come 2018 and quite a few juicy details have dropped. This is spoilers but remember in the first movie how the movie ends with the Underminer drilling up to the surface? Well this movie takes place exactly one minute after the original movie ends making this a direct continuation, which is great I always wanted to know how the fight between the Incredibles Family and the Underminer would go down. Afterwards it seems the movie will focus mostly on Elastigirl with Mr. Incredible taking the role of a more stay at home dad with Jack-Jack who seems to be developing his own powers. “Incredibles 2” releases June 15th, 2018. Courtesy of Pixar they also released this really awesome concept art from the movie.

Next up they dropped more details and footage for “Wreck-It-Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.” The sequel to the Video Game love letter “Wreck-It-Ralph.” When I first heard a sequel was in the works I was hyped but apparently this movie will be taking Ralph and Vanellope to the internet and seems to be edging away from the Video Game theme, which I thought was the whole point of Wreck-It-Ralph so I’ve actually lost most of my excitement for this movie. Let’s hope they do filter in at least some Video Game aspects at least an not flood it with internet Memes. (Which they probably will.) The two will be traveling to the internet to search for a missing piece of Vanellope’s game, Sugar Rush. Apparently Star Wars and Marvel characters as well as every Disney princess will make an appearance, which is also nothing to do with Video Games and seems to be just a big advertisement for other Disney IPs. (Unless you count the Star Wars, Marvel and Disney Princess games, haha.) This movie will be releasing November 21st, 2018.

Two untitled movies were hinted at, one from the Monsters University director who seems to be basing the story on something that hits close to his home and has something to do with the main character’s father dying before they could remember him. Oh yeah and it’s going to be a super fantasy story with elves, trolls, sprites and no humans with Unicorns being overpopulated, so that could be a fun movie but sounds like another one of Pixar’s heart wrenching movies. Another untitled movie is a Disneytoon Studios film which was responsible for Chicken Little and a bunch of sequels that shouldn’t of been made, most of the time these movies are direct-to-video but occasionally they make it to theatres. Disneytoons are usually the lower end movies compared to Walt Disney Animations and Pixar but hey A Goofy Movie was a pretty good movie so they drop some gems every so often. They’re also responsible for the “Planes” movie which was a spinoff to “Cars”. It seems this new movie will be space themed and also based in the cars universe. So yeah “Rockets” coming to theatres April 12, 2019, kidding this movie isn’t titled yet but it is releasing April 12th so I guess we’ll hear more information soon. I’ve never seen Planes so I can’t say anything on that. Are the Cars franchise characters actually in the movie? If so are we going to get a Space Mater? Haha.

You know maybe I should have split this blog into separate blogs because we are far from done just yet and I’ve actually been listing off reveals out of order but to wrap up this segment Olaf’s Frozen Adventure which is coming out this Holiday alongside Coco in theatres. (Which also had some more information dropped but I think as that’s coming out November 22nd this year I’ll discuss Coco in a later blog near the release date.) Apparently some Audio issues during the clip they showed accord but hey Josh Gad to the rescue with a live performance of the song “This Time of Year” from the releasing short. Hope you Frozen fans are ready because this adventure is looking… Cool. A terribly bad pun aside, Frozen 2 is still happening and will be releasing November 27th, 2019. Just let your impatience go, let it go.

Before I move on it seems John Lasseter is dropping out of being Co-Director for Toy Story 4 and becoming more of a mentor to Josh Cooley who will be the director of the movie. Josh has been with Pixar for a long time now and started off as an intern in 2003 while Pixar was working on “Cars.”! It’s crazy to see how far he’s come and it’s really inspiring. Toy Story 4 will hopefully be releasing June 21st, 2019 I don’t expect they’ll delay it again.

Well that was pretty much it for Day 1 announcements; it only took 1,700 words to fit all that in. Day 2 may hold the best announcement however. I said back during E3 that Square Enix would be dropping some news during D23 regarding Kingdom Hearts 3 and oh boy did they ever. It seems after 13 years (Wait, 13 years, Organization 13? NOMURA DID YOU PLAN THIS?!), Kingdom Hearts 3 might only be one year away. They dropped a brand new trailer showcasing a brand new world and while speculation was there before this my jaw is still dropped.

Toy Story will be a world featured in Kingdom Hearts 3.

BOOM! Big reveal! Yes Sora, Donald and Goofy will be shrinking down to toys and dropping into Andy’s room and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Andy’s room this fleshed out. I’m still not absolutely sure what the whole story of Kingdom Hearts 3 but I’m pretty caught up as far as Dream Drop Distance. It seems you’ll be exiting Andy’s house and into the town to get to a store by the name of “Galaxy Toys.”. Aw they could've made it Al’s Toys, that would have been incredible awesome but this seems based on Toy Story 1 not Toy Story 2 as this is Andy’s original house so Al’s Toy Barn missing is understandable. Before I talk anymore about what was seen let’s go ahead and dive into the trailer!

Did you see that Mech you can control? Yeah you can control a MECH! This game looks like an absolute blast. Speaking of that we get to see quite a bit of gameplay mechanics, it seems like this game can get pretty hectic but hey you get to have Buzz and Woody on your side, that’s pretty incredible. They won’t let you down, unlike a certain Duck. Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally going to be releasing next year in 2018… Wait what was that? Sorry I just got word that Kingdom Hearts will actually be releasing in 2028 instead due to them working on Sora’s left zipper. Just kidding it’s coming 2018, hopefully. I’ll be discussing this game more in the future. Really hope Tom Hanks and Tim Burton can reprise their roles in this game.

Moving on we’re going back to some movies, live action movies to be more exact. I remember somewhere somebody saying there wouldn’t be any Marvel news at D23 but I’ll put that down to rumors because they revealed a LOT. Avengers: Infinity War was the big focus and after a lot of behind the scenes footage we finally got to see some footage from Avengers: Infinity War as well as the reveal of Thanos’s Children into the MCU. A massive gathering of the Avenger actors happens on stage and a big trailer/clip occurs but sadly this was D23 exclusive and I didn’t get to see any signs of it easier. All I do know is The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy finally team up with Spider-Man in tow and apparently Thanos throws a moon at the Avengers, yeah that’s a thing. It sounds like this will be the Avengers to end all Avengers with the biggest gathering of Superheroes to date. “Avengers: Infinity War” will be releasing May 4th, 2018.

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi dropped some behind the scenes footage which really shows how much work is going into this movie outside of the computer.

Even the aliens and creatures still have a lot of puppetry at work with them. Computers are nice and can make a filmmaker’s life easier (Or more difficult.) but there’s just something magical about doing the special effects in real life, even if it’s dangerous. Did you see that explosion? I’m eager to see the storyline set in stone by The Force Awakens continue but the wait won’t last much longer as this movie releases December 15th, 2017. This will also be the late Carrie Fisher’s last role, ever so hopefully she goes out with what looks like her best performance.

I got two more movies to discuss and then you can finally be at ease and I can finally stop writing this blog. First up Aladdin has finally found it’s leading cast. First up Noami Scott will be playing Jasmine which is a big surprise to me. Who says being a Power Ranger will get you nowhere in Hollywood? Mena Massoud who is a fairly new actor will be playing Aladdin in what might help his career kick off. Finally Will Smith will be playing the Genie in the lamp, okay so not the man I would of picked to replace Robin Williams but my opinion has no place here.  Even though the two main actors look perfect for the roles seems everyone’s upset, again. Regardless I’m eager to see how Noami and Mena pull their roles off. Nothing else has been said about the movie but it’s currently in pre-production so we may see it release around 2020.

Finally, yes finally, a brand new trailer for “A Wrinkle In Time” has been released. I read “A Wrinkle In Time” years ago and it’s an absolute science fantasy classic but my memory seems to be a little rusty regarding the story. You can watch the new trailer for the movie below. Apparently Oprah is playing Mrs. Which.

That’s a wrap for D23! Oooh boy that was a hefty one I was hoping there wouldn’t be too many announcements for writing sake but hey we got a lot of awesome announcements, a lot I didn't even get to put in this blog. I could of split this up into two blogs and posted the rest on Wednesday but I don’t think you guys would of wanted to wait for that. For those who didn’t have time to read through all of this, forgive me I’ll make Wednesday’s blog a bit shorter. Actually I can already announce that Wednesday’s blog will be knitting related, knitting needle related to be more exact. I may or may not have a review coming your way so be sure to come back Wednesday for that!

You can read more about D23's announcements and what I didn't cover here: I actually didn't cover the Disney World announcements, so be sure to go check them out. (There's going to be a Toy Story attraction at Disney World, get hyped.)

You know what? Let’s make this blog even longer, here’s a FREE knitting pattern share! Okay I wanted this to be Disney themed but man this was a struggle, a lot of the patterns I found were dead and gone but I finally found this “Mickey Mouse Hat Pattern” by Ikumi Kayama.

While the Mickey Mouse part isn’t super prominent those little mouse heads are a perfect touch to this otherwise great colorworks beanie. Just in time to start your Christmas knitting too! You’ll need some US4 or US5: 16” Circular and DPN needles with US2 or US3: 16” circular. It depends on your gauge and the size you want but I believe the smaller needles are for the rim. The colorworks chart shouldn’t been too complicated but the challenge will be worth it. You can check out this pattern by following this link: I need to do another colorworks beanie this year, and hopefully not make it too big.

This was ZAK Entertainment, See you on Wednesday!

[Photo Credits: Disney, and Ikumi Kayama]

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