D23 Expo’s Walt Disney Studios Presentation Gives Look at ‘The Muppets,’ ‘The Avengers,’ and More
A few days ago, we told you about the impressive look that D23 Expo audiences received at some upcoming films from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and now we’re here to share some details about the other films from Walt Disney and Marvel Studios that audiences were treated to at the packed Expo event. Walt Disney Studios President Rich Ross and President of Production Sean Bailey were on hand to introduce a series of films that will be coming soon from Walt Disney Studios, and it looks like audiences have a lot to look forward to from the Studios in the near future.
This section of the presentation began with a look at upcoming film John Carter. We gave you a look at the film’s first trailer a few weeks ago, but D23 audiences were treated to extended clips from the film, including John Carter’s arrival to Mars and first encounter with the Martian race of the “Tharks,” a scene between John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) and Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), and two action-filled scenes in which Carter is held captive in a Thark nursery and a rival Thark clan’s gladiatorial arena. Director Andrew Stanton, best known for his work at Pixar Animation Studios on such films as Wall-E and Finding Nemo, was on hand to discuss the film, explaining the passion he has had for the original source material of John Carter since he was young, and how he hoped that the film would help to better flesh out the characters and bring that story to life. The film’s stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, and Willem Dafoe also made an appearance at the presentation, discussing the hard work that went into the production of this sure-to-be-spectacular film. John Carter will debut in theaters on March 9, 2012.
Next up was the film Frankenweenie, the upcoming stop-motion animated film from the imagination of iconic director Tim Burton. The film is the classic “Frankenstein” story, but with a twist: faced with the death of his beloved dog Sparky, a young boy named Victor seeks to reincarnate his dog and bring him back to life. Once he does, of course, chaos ensues, and the consequences of Victor’s actions wreak havoc on his town. The story is based off of a short live-action film of the same name that Burton made in 1984, but is expanded and will now reflect Burton’s original vision for the project, which he originally conceived as a feature-length stop motion film. While Tim Burton himself was unable to attend the presentation, executive producer Don Hahn (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) and producer Allison Abbate were there to give audiences a look at the upcoming stop-motion film, which will be filmed entirely in black and white. Behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film was shown, giving a look at the meticulous process of stop-motion animation as well as interviews with some of the people behind the film. The film will feature voices from many of the “Friends of Tim” group that have worked with Burton on previous projects, including Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, and Martin Landau; the film will also feature a score by frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman. Over 200 set pieces and and puppets were created for the new film, and Hahn and Abbate brought one of them, a puppet for the character Sparky, out for the Expo audience to see, demonstrating how the puppet could be manipulated. Frankenweenie will make its debut in theaters on October 5, 2012.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Audiences were treated to a special appearance by star Jennifer Garner to introduce this new film, which we showed you the trailer of a few weeks ago. The film centers on a couple that wants to have children, but unfortunately are unable to, until one stormy night when a young boy named Timothy unexpectedly shows up at their house. The only footage shown from the film was the previously released trailer, but Garner promised that audiences will all “fall in love with CJ Adams [Timothy]” and that the film appeals to anyone who has, is, or wants to be a parent. Garner also praised the film’s director Peter Hedges and how he has dealt with the subject of parenting on such films as Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, citing his skill with the subject as a reason that she wanted to be a part of the film. The Odd Life of Timothy Green will debut in theaters on August 15, 2012.
Oz: The Great and Powerful
A short behind-the-scenes clip was shown from this upcoming film, which is currently filming in Michigan. The film, which centers on the life of the Wizard of Oz himself and where he came from, will take place in the magical land of Oz. This elaborate setting is what we got a taste of during the behind-the-scenes clip, with glimpses of the wonderful world that is being created for the film and short interviews with some of the film’s stars. Actors James Franco, Zach Braff, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams will star in the upcoming film, which makes its debut on March 8, 2013.
A short look at this new film from DisneyNature was shown as well, which tells the story of a chimpanzee who is adopted by a new family after getting separated from their biological one. This heartwarming and sure-to-be-adorable film is scheduled to debut on April 20, 2012. Check out the trailer for the new film below:
We didn’t think it was possible to be any more excited for the debut of The Muppets in a few months than we already were, but after seeing the two clips that Expo audiences were treated to at the presentation, our excitement for The Muppets is through the roof. As promised, Kermit the Frog, actor/writer Jason Segel, and the fabulous Miss Piggy were on hand to introduce the clips, with Miss Piggy making a grand entrance onto the arena stage via motorcycle. However, it was then up to Kermit and Segel to break the news to Miss Piggy that she was not, in fact, in any of the clips being shown, a decision that she was none too thrilled about (And that’s certainly one pig you do not want to upset!).
We were then shown two clips from the film, which, despite their lack of Piggy, certainly lived up to our expectations for the much-hyped film. In the first scene, we saw the two leading human characters Gary (Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams), along with the newest Muppet, Walter, arrive at the house of Kermit the Frog. Walter insists on being thrown over his fence in an attempt to get inside, and although that fails, the group soon run into Kermit and find themselves in the house of America’s most beloved frog. The second clip highlights the Muppets’ return to the Muppet Theater, the former home of The Muppet Show. However, the theater has seen much better days and is currently in a state of disrepair. This leads to a montage of Muppet silliness as they set to work on restoring the theater to its former glory, all set to Starship’s 1985 hit “We Built This City” (This 80′s reference, seemingly, is one of many that will be found in the film.). Both clips were spectacularly hilarious and muppetational, with just the right amount of nostalgia. It’s clear that although the film may boast a bevy of celebrity cameos and the performances of Segel and Adams, this truly will be the Muppets’ film, and so far looks to be some of the best work they’ve done since Jim Henson’s untimely passing in 1990. Whether you’re a lifelong Muppet fan with fond memories of The Muppet Show, or are just being introduced to the zany and lovable group for the first time, this is not a film you will want to miss when it makes its theatrical debut on November 23.
In what was perhaps the most-anticipated section of the presentation, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige took the stage to introduce the upcoming film The Avengers, and a short clip was shown of footage from the film. While no major spoilers or plot points were given, we saw a clip of Nick Fury with Loki, who is in a large cylinder on the S.H.E.I.L.D. Helicarrier, questioning Fury’s power. We then see the Avengers themselves, as they look in at the Fury/Loki exchange. Fury explains the idea of bringing together an extraordinary group of people who can fight battles that he never could, and we then see Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) standing behind a bar, fixing a drink as he does a “roll call” of the Avengers. This roll call is intercut with footage of each Avenger, and ends with a shot of Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk looking menacingly at the screen as Stark tells Loki that while he may have an army, “We have a Hulk.” The clip certainly gave the audience a taste of the intensity of this sure-to-be-impressive film, and we can’t wait to see it when it debuts in theaters in May 2012. The audience at the presentation then got a special treat, as the majority of the Avengers took the stage to assemble before our eyes. In attendance were Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey, Jr., with Downey Jr. taking the mic to say a few brief words before the audience was treated to the preview clip one more time. The intense clip and the presence of these well-regarded celebrities were certainly an impressive way to bring the presentation to a close, and we can’t wait to see more from this exciting new film.
From what we were treated to at the D23 Expo, it certainly looks like there will be much for Disney and Marvel fans to look forward to in the coming months and years. From The Muppets to John Carter to The Avengers, there are a lot of exciting new films coming up from Walt Disney Studios, and from what we’ve seen so far, audiences will not be disappointed. What film(s) from Walt Disney Studios are you most looking forward to seeing in theaters? Leave a comment and let us know.