D23 Expo 2022 Recap: Disney and Pixar Announcements
Everything announced by Disney Live Action, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
D23 returned for another year with exciting announcements, details and future plans from Disney Live Action, Pixar and the Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Here’s a recap of everything shown off on Day One.
DISNEY LIVE ACTION
Hocus Pocus 2
Fans got a wicked greeting from Hocus Pocus 2 stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, who appeared magically via video to surprise the room with a new trailer.
It’s been 29 years since the 17th-century sisters have been resurrected and they are looking for revenge. It’s up to three high-school students (Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham) to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.
Directed by Anne Fletcher, Hocus Pocus 2 debuts exclusively on Disney+ September 30.
Featuring music from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, Disenchanted picks up 15 years after Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Partrick Dempsey) get married, when their family heads to suburbia in search of happily ever after.
Fans were among the first to see the first trailer of the film, which is directed by Adam Shankman. Disenchanted streams on Disney+ beginning November 24.
Peter Pan & Wendy
Disney revealed a brand new Peter Pan film with an exclusive first look for the D23 Expo audience.
The new film dives deeper into Wendy’s story as she joins the boy who refuses to grow up on a magical journey to Neverland and reveals the history behind Peter Pan’s rivalry with one of Disney’s most memorable villains, Captain Hook.
Peter Pan & Wendy will stream on Disney+ in 2023.
Haunted Mansiondirector Justin Simien—who actually used to work at Disneyland—took to the D23 Expo stage to discuss the ghostly adventure.
Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, Haunted Mansion is about a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. They shared a sneak peek of the film exclusively with the D23 Expo crowd, then welcomed the queen of scary movies, Jamie Lee Curtis, who made an unforgettable entrance aboard a Haunted Mansion doom buggy. Curtis plays Madame Leota in the film, which releases next year.
Mufasa: The Lion King
A prequel to The Lion King, Mufasa won’t release until 2024, but director Barry Jenkins was on hand to show a never-before-seen sneak peek and share a little about the film, which is currently in production.
Told in flashbacks—Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa tell the story of Mufasa to a young lion cub—Mufasa reveals the rise of one of the greatest kings of the Pride Lands.
A live-action reimagining of the classic tale, Snow White stars Rachel Zegler in the title role and Gal Gadot as Snow White’s Stepmother, The Queen. The film’s two stars talked about their roles and shared a very early glimpse at the iconic characters in the 2024 film, which is directed by Marc Webb.
The Little Mermaid
Director Rob Marshall took a break from post-production under the sea to share more about the live-action version of the beloved tale. He played the “Part of Your World” sequence for fans in Hall D23 and invited on stage Ariel herself, Halle Bailey, who shared her excitement about her new role.
Marshall concluded by introducing the new teaser trailer, available worldwide today. Featuring fan-favorite songs plus four new songs penned by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the feature film also stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Javier Bardem as Triton. The Little Mermaid swims onto the big screen next year.
PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS
Elemental is an all-new, original feature film releasing on June 15, 2023. Peter Sohn, who directs the film, shared the personal inspiration behind the film—a story of immigrants pursuing dreams in beautiful neighborhoods where language and cultures come together.
Audience members at the D23 Expo got an exclusive look at the film and received a mini-poster featuring Ember and Wade.
Win or Lose
Directors Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates provided a closer look at Pixar’s first-ever long-form series and what inspired it.
Win or Lose follows the Pickles, a co-ed middle school softball team, in the week leading up to their championship game. Each episode takes place that same week, highlighting the perspective of a different main character—players, their parents, the umpire—each reflected in a unique visual style.
Hobson and Yates revealed that Will Forte will voice Coach Dan in the series, and shared a shout-out Forte recorded for the occasion, followed by a special clip just for fans. Win or Lose streams on Disney+ in 2023.
Following flickering lights and an ominous message reading “Bring Us Your Leader,” director Adrian Molina and producer Mary Alice Drumm showcased for the first time ever plans for the original feature film Elio.
In the story, 11-year-old dreamer Elio is artistic, creative and an avid indoorsman who finds it hard to fit in. Meanwhile Mom Olga, who runs a top-secret military project, is working to decode a strange signal from outer space. But it’s Elio who makes contact, gets beamed into space and is subsequently mistaken for an intergalactic Ambassador for Earth.
The voice of smart and super-confident Olga, America Ferrera, was invited on to the D23 Expo stage alongside Yonas Kibreab, who lends his voice to Elio himself. Kibreab revealed to the audience that Elio releases in 2024.
Inside Out 2
Amy Poehler arrived on stage to huge applause—especially when she informed the D23 expo audience that Inside Out 2 is in the works at Pixar. Director Kelsey Mann, producer Mark Nielsen and writer Meg LeFauve are hard at work on the all-new adventure inside the head of now-teenager Riley—who may or may not be feeling all kinds of new Emotions. Inside Out 2 the follow-up to 2015’s Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winning feature film, is slated for release Winter 2024.
WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee received a warm welcome from fans who were delighted to hear details about the studio’s plans for the yearlong 100-year anniversary celebration.
“At Walt Disney Animation Studios, the studio that started it all, on the eve of our 100th anniversary, we see today as a moment of privilege and promise,” said Lee. “A privilege to be stewards of a studio and a dream that Walt and his brother, Roy, started a century ago. And a promise to continue to take risks in our storytelling—and to explore and expand and turn the possible into the actual, just as Walt did.”
Lee discussed the opportunities Disney+ has created at Disney Animation, reviewing the slate of shows heading to the streamer, including new series like Zootopia+, launching on Disney+ November 9. Fans saw a trailer for the new short-form series, which heads back to the fast-paced mammal metropolis, diving deeper into the lives of some of the Oscar®-winning feature film’s most intriguing residents.
Coming to Disney+ in 2023 is IWÁJÚ, an all-new original long-form series created in collaboration with Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali. Lee invited to the stage Kugali filmmakers Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, Hamid Ibrahim and Tolu Olowofoyeku, who introduced the setting of the series—a love letter to Lagos, Nigeria.
Olowofoyeku and Ibrahim described the world of “Iwájú” as a futuristic depiction—a world bursting with color, unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos, which is physically divided into an island and a mainland separated by both water and socio-economic status. The coming-of-age story introduces Tola, a young heiress from the wealthy island, and her best friend Kole, a self-taught tech expert and loving son from the mainland. Filmmakers shared a first look of the new series.
Director Don Hall and co-director/ screenwriter Qui Nguyen revealed their personal connections to the film that’s about an incredible family who must get past their differences to save a strange world full of danger and surprises.
The audience was treated to an all-new trailer from Disney Animation’s 61st feature film before voice cast members Jake Gyllenhaal (Searcher Clade), Dennis Quaid (Jaeger Clade), Jaboukie Young-White (Ethan Clade) and Lucy Liu (Callisto Mal) joined the festivities.
Fans also got a glimpse at an action-packed sequence from the film and received an exclusive poster. Produced by Roy Conli, “Strange World” also features the voice of Gabrielle Union (Meridian). The film opens in cinemas November 24, 2022.
In the finale moment of the presentation, Lee returned to the D23 Expo stage to officially unveil Disney Animation’s next original feature film, Wish set to release November 2023, during the Studio’s 100th year.
A film that could only come from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the epic animated musical is inspired by the legacy of films from the studio and asks the question: “How did the wishing star, upon which so many characters wished, come to be?” Directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn outlined the story, which is set in Rosas, the kingdom of wishes where wishes can literally come true.
Attendees were introduced to 17-year-old Asha—an optimist with a sharp wit who cares endlessly about her community. In a moment of desperation, Asha makes an impassioned plea to the stars, which is answered by a cosmic force, a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, they face the most formidable of foes to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
Disney Animation good-luck-charm Alan Tudyk joined filmmakers on stage to share an animation test for his newest character, a goat named Valentino. Buck, Veerasunthorn and Lee then introduced the voice of Asha, actress Ariana DeBose, who brought down the house singing an all-new original song written by Julia Michaels, who’s writing all of the songs for “Wish.”
DeBose’s captivating performance of “More for Us” closed the showcase in signature Disney style. Lee is a writer on the film, Peter Del Vecho produces and Juan Pablo Reyes co-produces.