The second day of the D23 Expo was again led off by a presentation of upcoming studio releases. While Friday’s day one presentation was focused on animation, the Saturday presentation was about live action films. Again, the presentation was segmented by the studio: LucasFilm, Marvel, Disney Nature, and Disney features. Part I of this post covers Marvel (and the tiny bit that was shared about LucasFilm).
Bob Iger again kicked things off, but then quickly handed off to Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, to talk about the upcoming films.
Alan shared that Disney has grown its portfolio of studios quite a bit over the past years; with the acquisitions of Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, and LucasFilm in 2011.
Alan welcomed LucasFilm to the Disney family but disappointed the audience by saying there would be nothing new to share regarding LucasFilm projects. He repeated some of what we already know — Episode VII will be released in Summer 2015; JJ Abrams will direct and is currently working on the screenplay with Michael Arndt; and John Williams will once again score.
Marvel has been a very successful acquisition for Disney; they have two of the top 5 grossing films of all time with The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Alan introduced Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to cover the upcoming Marvel films.
The Avengers was the culmination of Phase I of the Marvel cinematic universe. We are now seeing Phase II (which will conclude with Avengers 2). Iron Man 3 was the first of the Phase 2 films. There are 3 more Phase 2 films before we cap it off with Avengers 2.
Thor: The Dark World will be the next release. Director Alan Taylor took the stage and we got an extended first look at the feature. (I believe this same footage was shown at Comic Con). Cast members then came out on stage … Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman (Jane), and Anthony Hopkins (Odin). Hopkins received a standing ovation; I think most of the audience was surprised he was in attendance. Hiddleston did not sing for us this time. We saw a new clip, of Jane’s first day on Asgard where she is suffering some sort of infection. Odin insists that she be sent back to Midgard (Earth) where doctors there can take care of her. She is fascinated by the technology being used (and appears to understand it far better than the Asgardians expect of someone from such a primitive place). There is a good bit of humor in the scene while at the same time setting up a conflict between Thor and Odin regarding Jane that might be a significant plot point.
Captain American: The Winter Soldier was up next. We were shown two clips, both action-oriented fight scenes. The first, taking place in an elevator, was shown previously at Comic-Con. I believe the second scene, taking place (mostly) on a boat, was being shown for the first time; much of it was in pre-viz stage with very rough blocked-in CGI. Cast members Chris Evans (Captain America), Anthony Mackie (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky / The Winter Soldier) were on hand to talk about the film. Filming has been completed and the film is now being edited for an April 2014 release.
And now for something completely different. Guardians of the Galaxy is just underway (4 weeks into shooting). We were shown some footage assembled from the first few weeks of shooting, but surprisingly some of the CGI characters looked very good for such early footage — so clearly they wanted to have something flashy to show for Comic Con and D23, and it worked. The characters of Groot (an Ent-like character) and Rocket Racoon (I think that one is self explanatory 🙂 ) look amazing. This looks like it will be very humorous. Release scheduled for August 2014.
We were then shown a brief teaser trailer of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. There was nothing shown other than the face plate of the Ultron robot character. The feature is scheduled for 2015.
- Does ‘Star Wars Episode VII’s’ Absence At The D23 Expo Raise Bigger Questions? (slashfilm.com)
- ‘Captain America,’ ‘Thor’ strike at Disney expo (sacbee.com)
- Fans Disappointed As Disney Keeps Quiet About Episode VII At D23 (contactmusic.com)
- Disney’s D23 Expo Rundown: Pixar, Marvel and Angelina Jolie (newsy.com)