The D23 Expo, which takes place this weekend in Anaheim, California, is like Comic Con for Disney fans. But it’s more than a place to buy the latest Mickey Mouse t-shirt. Disney now uses the convention to break news on their big properties like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and more.
So what’s on tap this year? Well, a lot, quite frankly. The full schedule is at this link, but here are the five things we’re really hoping to see at the D23 Expo.
1. More Sci-Fi in the Theme Parks
Ever since Disney purchased both Marvel and Star Wars fans have been wondering when those properties would get major additions to their theme parks, especially in America. Shanghai Disneyland is getting some cool stuff and America already has Star Tours, but we want more. We want want Disney is doing with Avatar in Orlando. Big, exciting, new Disney rides and areas for Marvel and Star Wars. And ever since the D23 Expo in 2013 (they happen every two years) rumors have been that this D23 Expo will finally cement some of those details.
What are the latest rumors? That Disneyland in Anaheim will be getting a full land dedicated to Star Wars, taking over the currently location of Toontown and more. There are also rumblings its sister park, California Adventure, will be getting a Marvel section. Plus, Hollywood Studios in Orlando is likely changing its name and both Marvel and Star Wars have been rumored to get a bigger presence there. If any of these rumors come true at the D23 Expo, it’ll be the biggest news of the event.
2. Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
If you’ve really been paying attention (and if so, thank you) when io9 spoke with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for Ant-Man a few weeks back, he heavily teased that the D23 Expo would hold some exciting things for Marvel, especially since they weren’t at San Diego Comic-Con. What could that mean?
Well, footage from Captain America: Civil War is pretty much guaranteed. They’ve been shooting for several weeks and screened footage overseas. What’s in this footage is the bigger question. Will we see Spider-Man’s new suit or suits? It sounds like a good bet. Black Panther’s too. There’s also a chance we’ll hear something new about Doctor Strange, which goes into production soon. The film after that, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, won’t be represented however. Writer/director James Gunn confirmed that fact on Twitter.
3. Some Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but maybe Rogue One
J.J. Abrams came out and told everyone there would be no new footage played at the D23 Expo, which is why Star Wars drops a bit on the list. But even, if a few images and quotes can set the world on fire when it comes to Star Wars I’d imagine they have some good stuff in store for the Disney fans. Maybe we’ll get the first look at some fully CG characters like Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong’o) or Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). With the toys being released in just a few weeks, there are still some characters that they need to reveal.
An even better bet is some news about Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. Last year, Disney made a deal with Paramount Pictures to not promote the 2016 spinoff film until after the similarly titled Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation was out, which now it is. Rogue One is now shooting so it seems like a good bet we’ll get an official announcement of the cast and maybe even a few seconds of footage.
4. Pixar’s upcoming films, maybe even Incredibles 2 or Toy Story 4
Though they’ve been a little overshadowed in recent months by the other Disney acquisitions, Pixar is likely to come strong to the D23 Expo. They had a massive hit in Inside Out and have a new movie coming out this November, The Good Dinosaur. Surely that film will be focus as it’s the next big Disney movie scheduled for release. (Interesting note, at the D23 Expo 2013, they also featured The Good Dinosaur but almost the entire movie, including the cast, has changed in that time.)
Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, will also likely debut its first footage. From there, things get a bit murkier. Pixar is confirmed to be working on a lot of highly anticipated sequels (The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4) and there’s a shot we’ll get some news on those at the event, maybe even official titles or plot descriptions.
5. Exciting new Disney themed video games
To be fair, this is kind of an extension of #3 because Disney’s Interactive panel at the D23 Expo will focus mostly two Star Wars-centric video games. There’s Disney Infinity 3.0, which will incorporate Star Wars characters from the prequel, sequel and original trilogies. Then there’s Star Wars Battlefront, the EA and Dice multiplayer action game that looks just absolutely stunning. Expect new trailers, footage and information from each.
What else? There’s a ton, but most of it isn’t exactly io9 material. But if you got this far, you’ll probably be interested to hear there will likely be the first footage from the live-action Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, Disney Legends awards giving to Danny Elfman and George Lucas, panels celebrating the anniversaries of Toy Story and Aladdin, a reunion for The Goofy Movie and much more. Like I said above, the D23 Expo is a convention just for Disney fans and you really don’t know what magic the mouse has in store.