ANAHEIM, Calif. (Aug. 15, 2015) — Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm presented their live action film slates this morning at the D23 EXPO 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The presentations, which revealed exclusive news and details about the upcoming live action films, were aided by live and video appearances from talent and filmmakers. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn hosted the highly anticipated biennial event.
“It’s quite something to be able to have Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm all on the same stage, and it’s tremendously gratifying to unveil our upcoming projects to our most dedicated fans first,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “We always have an incredible time at the D23 EXPO.”
After welcoming the crowd to D23 EXPO 2015, Horn introduced Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, and Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, to present overviews of the Marvel Studios and Disney live action slates. Later Horn returned to the stage to present the Lucasfilm film slate to the enthusiastic audience.
A recap of the presentation follows:
· Kevin Feige led off with a glimpse into the world of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” featuring a video greeting by Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the title character, followed by a pre-production piece that offered fans a taste of the look and feel of the upcoming film, opening in U.S. theaters on October 26, 2016.
· Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” marched into D23 EXPO with an introduction by its producer, Kevin Feige. To the delight of the audience, Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie showed up on stage to help Feige show never-seen-before footage from the movie. Before the footage rolled, Feige revealed that there was a special “Easter egg” for fans to find: it was aptly a nod to D23 EXPO.
Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.
The movie stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” opens in the U.S. on May 6, 2016.
· Alan Horn took the stage again to present the Lucasfilm slate and timeline to the D23 EXPO fans. Horn told the audience that there were only 124 days to the release of Episode VII, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” on December 18, 2015 and added that there have been record-breaking trailer views and fantastic fan response. Touching on “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” Horn reminded the audience that Rian Johnson will be directing the film slated for release on May 26, 2017. Then in a surprise announcement, Horn informed everyone that Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) has signed on to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” which is scheduled for release in 2019.
Moving on to the new Star Wars stories series, Horn touched on the “Untitled Han Solo” stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018 by reminding everyone that it will be directed by Christopher Miller & Phil Lord, with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay.
· Horn then took the audience by surprise, announcing the cast for “Rogue One,” the first of the standalone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen, which has commenced principal photography. Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) is directing “Rogue One,” which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.
The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award® for her leading role in “The Theory of Everything”; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar®-winning “Milk” and the critically acclaimed “Killing Them Softly”; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy® for his leading role in “Bloodline” and co-starring in the upcoming “Mississippi Grind”; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in “Ip Man” and “Blade II”; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning “Let the Bullets Fly” and “Devils on the Doorstep”; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and winner of an Academy Award® for his leading role in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in “The Hunt” and was the memorable villain from 2006’s “Casino Royale”; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in “Rogue One,” stars in the soon-to-be-released “Con Man” series and “Trumbo,” which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in “Nightcrawler” and starred in the BAFTA-winning film “Four Lions.”
The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.
· “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ended the live-action presentation with a bang as J.J. Abrams introduced stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong’o. The crowd cheered when John Boyega announced that everyone there would get a Drew Struzan D23 EXPO commemorative poster to take home. Then, in a bringing-down-the house surprise moment, Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo, joined Abrams on stage to wild applause.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” releases in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.