Now that Disney+ Day and the full D23 Expo is over, we can start processing all the cool stuff that was announced.
This year, Disney+ Day was moved up two months earlier, happening in September instead of November like last year. It was done so that Disney+ Day could lead into D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event. The event happens every other year, and celebrates the Walt Disney Company and all of the company’s stories, worlds, and characters. In case you were wondering, the D obviously stands for “Disney,” and the 23 refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney founded the company.
2-Day Studio Showcase Featuring Tons of Announcements
We knew that the D23 Expo this year would feature a bunch of fun announcements, but I’m not sure anyone was prepared for so many! In fact, the Studio Showcase was actually so gigantic that they had to split it up into two separate days of presentations. Across both days, fans were treated to new announcements, unseen footage, new trailers, and even some of the stars of the projects.
Because Disney encompasses so many different studios, the presentations were divided up accordingly. Day one focused on what we think of first when talking about Disney: Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. It was a pretty good mix of both animated and live-action projects that we can expect – some as early as this month! Day two of the Studio Showcase jumped into announcements from Star Wars, Marvel Studios, and the recently acquired 20th Century Studios.
Clearly, that’s a lot of announcements to sift through!
First up, let’s look at all the major announcements from Disney and Pixar. I can’t really give you all the exclusive live performances from dazzling guest stars or anything, but I can fill you in on everything we can expect to see between now and 2024 from Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios
Fans of 2007’s Enchanted are finally getting a sequel with Disenchanted. Hey, it only took fifteen years! The cast took the stage at D23 to reveal the teaser trailer. This Disney+ exclusive film is expected to be released in November to coincide with the first film’s 15th anniversary.
The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite rides at Disney World, so I’m excited to see a new movie based on it. After all, the 2003 installment starring Eddie Murphy wasn’t exactly all that great. Coming in 2023, us foolish mortals will get a new Haunted Mansion starring the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, and more. During the presentation, Jamie Lee Curtis even rolled up in a doom buggy!
Hocus Pocus 2
The Sanderson sisters are finally back, as Hocus Pocus 2 hits Disney+ later this month. The first official look at the sequel was revealed in honor of Disney+ Day 2021, and D23 Expo gave us a fresh look. The original stars, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jesica Parker return to wreak some Halloween havoc on Salem. Although we already knew this one was coming, everyone was still excited to see the film’s stars take the stage.
Introduced as a love letter to Lagos in Nigeria, Iwájú is set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria. Disney is teaming up with Pan-African comic book and entertainment company Kugali for the series, making it the first time Disney has collaborated with an outside studio in 100 years. The coming-of-age story is expected sometime in 2023.
MUFASA: The Lion King
The Lion King franchise is growing again. As you can probably guess by the name, this prequel will focus on Mufasa and his rise to becoming king of the Pride Lands. The film’s director was at D23 to reveal a sneak peek of the film, which will be told in flashbacks by Rafiki, Timon, and Pumbaa. We weren’t really given a date for this one, just to expect it in 2024.
Peter Pan & Wendy
The D23 audience got to see an exclusive first look at Peter Pan & Wendy, a live action reimagining of the animated classic. It’s expected to further explore Wendy’s backstory and the history of Pan and Hook’s rivalry. Ever Anderson and Alexander Molony star as Wendy Darling and Peter Pan, respectively. Yara Shahidi is Tinker Bell, Jude Law is the villainous Captain Hook, and Jim Gaffigan is the bumbling Mr. Smee.
The Fairest of Them All is also getting the live-action treatment, when Snow White premieres in 2024. Rachel Zegler stars as the title character, while Gal Godot has been cast as the Evil Queen. Other than a brief teaser that shows Zegler and Gadot, we haven’t gotten much else so far. There isn’t any indication how close it will stick to Disney’s animated version. There has been some talk that the film will replace the seven dwarfs with “magical creatures” after being called out by actor Peter Dinklage for reinforcing negative stereotypes. But if it isn’t going to debut until 2024, it’s likely that we’ll see more details in 2023.
D23 featured a glimpse of Strange World, Disneys upcoming movie that premieres in November this year. The Clades family are explorers on a mission to a mysterious planet full of danger and surprises. Jake Gyllenhall, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, and Dennis Quaid provide voices for the film.
The Little Mermaid
I feel like most Disney fans have already heard about the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey as Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. We have finally seen the official teaser trailer, which gives a glimpse of Ariel and her underwater world. However, the live D23 audience was treated to the full sequence for “Part of Your World.” If you weren’t lucky enough to attend D23 Expo in person, you can see it when The Little Mermaid will be swimming onto the big screen in May 2023.
Wish is an original feature film from Disney Animation that is set to release in fall of 2023 to coincide with the studio’s 100th year. Inspired by Disney’s legacy, it’s supposed to explore how the wishing star came to be. During D23, it was said that Wish will take place in Rosas, a kingdom of wishes where wishes really do come true. The Showcase also featured Ariana DeBose, who will voice the main character, singing one of the original songs.
Audiences were treated to some details for the new limited TV series Zootopia+, which (as you can probably guess by the name) will dive back into the bustling metropolis that’s home to anthropomorphic animals from Zootopia. There still isn’t a trailer, but we cacn assume that there will be half a dozen episodes. Six episode titles were revealed and include the likes of “The Real Rodents of Rodentia” and “So You Think You Can Prance.” I guess we will find out for sure when the series hits Disney+ on November 9th.
Live audience members at D23 were treated to an exclusive look at Elemental, a new original film from Pixar. The trailer featured two characters that reside in Element City: Ember, a tough and fiery character made of literal fire, and Wade, a chill go-with-the-flow kind of guy made of water. Fire and water will come together and discover their similarities – despite their obvious differences – when the film comes to movie theaters on June 16th, 2023.
The D23 Studio Showcase introduced (for the first time ever) plans for the feature film Elio. There’s a lot of sci-fi coming, and this one is joining the ranks. It’s about a creative young boy who finds it hard to fit in. Meanwhile, his mom is running a top-secret military project trying to decode a signal from outer space. But it’s Elio who makes contact, finds himself transported across the galaxy, and accidentally becomes Earth’s intergalactic ambassador. It stars Yonas Kibreab as Elio, and America Ferrera as Elio’s mom, Olga. Pixar is planning on a Spring 2024 release.
Inside Out 2
If you need a little extra Joy in your life, Inside Out is finally getting a sequel! Amy Poehler, the voice of Joy, arrived on stage at D23 to announce that Inside Out 2 is in the works. It will still take place inside the head of Riley, with all those original emotions from the original returning for the sequel. This time around Riley is feeling all kinds of new emotions because she’s now a teenager. As of right now, the film is in early production, but it’s expected to come out in the summer of 2024.
Win or Lose
D23 also featured a first look for Win or Lose, which will be Pixar’s first ever full-length series. It follows the Pickles, a co-ed middle school softball team. Will Forte will voice the team’s coach. The episodes take place during the week leading up to the team’s championship game. But, each episode will highlight the perspective of a different character, showing it from the viewpoint of players, their parents, or the umpire. It looks like Win or Lose will be up to bat in 2023 when it premieres on Disney+.