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D23 Expo 2019 Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars Movie Predictions

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We are under a month away from Disney’s bi-annual D23 Expo, and one of the most anticipated panels is the movie panel which previews the upcoming projects from Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm. So let’s dive into the panels and what we expect could be revealed.

Walt Disney Studios 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

We have already received two trailers for the upcoming sequel with returning stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, so it is safe to say a new trailer could be shown along with an extended look at the film.

The years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora. Their relationship, born of heartbreak, revenge and ultimately love, has flourished. Yet the hatred between man and the fairies still exists. Aurora’s impending marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration in the kingdom of Ulstead and the neighboring Moors, as the wedding serves to unite the two worlds. When an unexpected encounter introduces a powerful new alliance, Maleficent and Aurora are pulled apart to opposing sides in a Great War, testing their loyalties and causing them to question whether they can truly be family.

Directed by Joachim Rønning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) the film also stars Michelle Pfeiffer (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Queen Ingrith, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange), Ed Skrein (Deadpool), and Robert Lindsay, and Harris Dickinson joins as Prince Phillip, replacing the original films Brenton Thwaites. Additional cast members returning from the 2014 film include Sam Riley as Diaval; Imelda Staunton as the pixie Knotgrass; Juno Temple as the pixie Thistlewit; and Lesley Manville as the pixie Flittle.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is set to hit theaters on October 18, 2019.

Mulan

We received the first trailer and poster for this upcoming live-action adaptation back in June. At the expo we expect additional footage to be shown, along with Bob Iger likely addressing the changes this adaptation will make that differ from the animated film including the music and the lack of Mushu.

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation… and a proud father. “Mulan” features a celebrated international cast that includes: Yifei Liu as Mulan; Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.”

Disney’s Mulan will hit theaters on March 27, 2020.

Artemis Fowl

We don’t expect Disney to focus on this movie too much as it was pushed from August 2019 to May 2020 and is currently undergoing various reshoots. A new trailer is possible but highly unlikely in our opinion.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh and based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl follows 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.

The film stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonzo Anozie, with Josh Gad, and Judi Dench. Judy Hofflund and Kenneth Branagh are producing with Angus More Gordon and Matthew Jenkins serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Conor McPherson.

Jungle Cruise

We expect the first trailer and poster to be shown to those in attendance at the panel whether they drop online for the world to see is another question entirely, but our guess is it will. The studio will want to build hype here as the success of this film could help Disney re-evaluate projects like the Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows, The Commuter), the film stars Dwayne Johnson is as Frank; A witty riverboat captain cursed with immortality who takes Lily Houghton down the river. Blunt will play Lily Houghton, Spunky scientist in search of the Tree of Life. Her quest is inspired in part by the death of her brother, which was caused by an infectious disease. Jack Whitehall will play Blunt’s brother. With Edgar Ramirez and Jesse Plemons joining as villains, and Paul Giamatti as crusty harbormaster. With an appearance by Trader Sam.

Jungle Cruise hits theater on July 24, 2020.

Cruella

We expect the studio to officially announce the full cast with a logo reveal, and teaser poster, and that’s about it, as the film won’t be going into production until September.

Directed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), the film is set to star Emma Stone as the classic Disney villain, with Emma Thompson as the Baroness, and Paul Walter Hauser as Horace.

Cruella will is scheduled to play in theaters on December 23, 2020.

The Little Mermaid 

All eyes will be on this live-action adaptation getting officially announced. Expect the main cast for the film to be announced, with details on how this film will be shot from a technical standpoint, along with an official release date for the film, which is likely going to be somewhere in 2021.

Other Projects that could be announced

The studio has dated 7 untitled live-action projects over the course of the next 3 years, and while it is expected to feature new projects our guesses that the studio may officially announce the future installments in the Pirates and TRON franchises, as well as live-action adaptations of Snow White, Peter Pan, and our surprise prediction the long-awaited Enchanted sequel.

Disney Animation

Frozen II

The next film coming from Walt Disney Animation is Frozen II, which will be in theaters this November. At the 2013 Expo, ahead of Frozen which was released that November, Idina Menzel came to the stage and sang the brand new song, “Let It Go.” Based on this, I would not be surprised if Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel show up during this year’s panel and one or perhaps both sing a new song from Frozen II. I also expect to see some new footage that will not be from a trailer, such as the opening scene from the film.

Dragon Empire

Dragon Empire is expected to be the 2020 untitled release, and we should expect casting announcements, a poster, concept art, and quite possibly a small teaser for the film.

Paul Briggs who was head of story on Big Hero 6 and Frozen will make his directorial debut alongside Tangled animator Dean Wellins on the film. At this point, not much is known regarding the film’s story. However, the outlet states the movie has an Asian element running through it and a female protagonist. This film is not expected to be a musical.

Untitled Zootopia Sequel

We haven’t heard much about Zootopia in a while, I mean the first made over a billion dollars at the global box office. However, we have now heard whispers that a sequel announcement will be made, If true, expect Disney Animation CCO Jennifer Lee to announce the returning cast along with a release date.

Other Projects that could be announced

A couple of months ago, Disney released their upcoming slate of films for the next several years. Among the named films, there were many untitled Disney animation entries on that list, the nearest one being released on November 25, 2020. I predict that not only that film will be announced, but the next 4 or so animated films in development will also be announced and perhaps detailed as well. Hopefully, some pieces of art and early designs will also be showcased for some of these films.

Pixar

Onward

A trailer recently debuted, so the most we expect from this film is a quick unfinished clip, and additional cast announcements. Written and directed by Monsters University’s Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae (UpIncredibles, Monsters Inc.) the film will feature the talents of Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer, and will revolve around two young elf boys whose father passed when they were young and embark on a quest to learn more about him.

The story takes place in a modern fantasy world where there once was magic, but over time it has lost its sense of meaning, wonder and excitement, a topic unlike many of Disney’s genres where magic is consistently used.

Onward is scheduled to hit theaters on March 6, 2020.

Soul

Not much on this film, so we expect to get additional story details from director and Pixar COO Pete Doctor, along with casting announcements and first-look footage.

“Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams, and your interests come from? What is it that makes you… YOU? Soul takes place between New York City and the cosmic realms.”

Soul will hit theaters on June 19th, 2020.

Other Projects that could be announced

Disney animation has one other untitled film slated, we may get some details regarding but do not expect more than concept art at the very least.

Marvel Studios 

Image courtesy of DSNY Newscast

Just last week learned from a lot regarding Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 slate during SDCC. So we expect Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to finally reveal some additional information on Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Captain Marvel 2, as well as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

Lucasfilm

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

One of the most anticipated films of the year, The Rise of Skywalker, will be presented during D23’s big Walt Disney Studios panel and there’s a lot that they could bring for us. J.J. Abrams will definitely be in attendance, with likely appearances from Daisy Ridley (Rey), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose) and Naomi Ackie (Jannah). Hopefully, Adam Driver surprises fans with his presence, but I wouldn’t hold my breath since he usually skips out on these kinds of events.

Since Lucasfilm didn’t release an official poster during Star Wars Celebration Chicago, I can almost guarantee that they’ll release one now. I also suspect that they’ll bring another behind the scenes video of Episode IX, just like they did with The Last Jedi and hopefully, they’ll be a little more generous with plot details since they were so secretive at SWCC.

Star Wars: Episode IX is set to hit theaters on December 20, 2019.

Indiana Jones 5

New reports are dropping that the long-awaited fifth film in the storied franchise starring Harrison Ford is expected to begin next April, so it is likely we could get a title announcement for the film, nothing more.

Indiana Jones 5 is expected to hit theaters on July 9, 2021.

Other Projects that could be announced

Since we already know there are three Untitled Star Wars films in the works, they’re likely to release a Star Wars film slate graphic and possibly more details and maybe even a title for the trilogy to come. It’s a long shot, but we’ll cross our fingers.

Fox Studios

Its is unclear how much we will get from the newly acquired Fox Studios, but it is a safe bet the Avatar sequels will be the main attraction.


The big The Walt Disney Studios panel will take place on Saturday, August 24, at 10 a.m. PST.

What do you think of our predictions? Do you agree? What did we miss? Let us know on social media, and make sure to stay up to date on all the news and information that drops from the D23 Expo as we get it.

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