Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn presents at the 2017 D23 Expo.
Photo: Jesse Grant ((Getty Images)

In the last few years, one thing has become abundantly clear in the world of entertainment. That world belongs to Disney and we’re just living in it. That becomes even more prevalent next weekend when the D23 Expo returns to Anaheim, California. Could it bring a certain Jedi Master with it?

The D23 Expo, named after D23 Disney fan club—which itself is named after the year Walt Disney started the company—runs Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25. It’s basically Comic-Con but for only Disney projects. There’s a huge convention floor filled with exhibits and vendors, tons of exclusive merchandise, as well as panels looking at the past, present, and future of Disney in all areas: from TV to movies, theme parks and more.

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This, of course, means tons of news about what’s coming from Disney and below we’ll tell you some of what we’re excited to find out and see at the 2019 convention.


Mission Breakout is getting a theme park family.
Image: Disney Parks

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Marvel theme park news

First, it was Avatar. Then Star Wars. Next, the world of Marvel will be getting its own dedicated theme park sections in Walt Disney theme parks. And though construction is well underway at Disney’s California Adventure park ahead of a 2020 opening, there hasn’t been much in the way of specifics of what’s coming. Something Spider-Man we think? Something Avengers maybe? Ant-Man is rumored? But, at D23, we’re likely to find out exactly what these attractions are and when they’ll be opening.

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The droids are us, waiting on Star Wars news.
Photo: Disney

New Rise of Skywalker...something

Having skipped Comic-Con, fans are desperate for something new from the world of Star Wars. D23 will deliver that. The question, however, is what specifically will it be? In the past, conventions like this have revealed never-before-seen behind the scenes footage like this reel from The Force Awakens and this one from The Last Jedi. Will J.J. Abrams and company follow suit, or will we get a new trailer? We’ll find out very, very soon.

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Disney+ will probably look like this.
Image: Disney

Disney+

A new era of Disney content starts this November when its new streaming service, Disney+ launches. We know a lot about the service—how much it’ll cost, what will be on there—but we haven’t quite...seen it yet. That changes at D23 as fans will not only get to see what the service looks like but will have a chance to get hands-on with it and even subscribe, if so inclined. There’s also a massive panel on the Disney+ original content which should reveal new news on all the upcoming Marvel shows, some animated stuff, movies like Lady and the Tramp, oh, and this...

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The Mando is coming.
Photo: Disney

The Mandalorian

We suspect, when D23 is over, the Star Wars footage everyone will be talking about won’t be seen on the big screen. It’ll be from The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars show coming to Disney+. While the footage screened at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago earlier this year made its way online in an unofficial capacity, there’s still no official trailer for the show. And it’s coming in November. Which is very, very soon. So expect the expo to be the place where a trailer is revealed that, most likely, makes its way out into the world. Plus, who knows what kind of new revelations and mysteries that itself could hold.

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That’s not even it for what we could hear from Star Wars when it comes to Disney’s new streaming service, either. After all, there’s also the Cassian Andor show on the way—and, of course, as we mentioned earlier, there are those new rumors about Ewan McGregor returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Even with a new Mandalorian trailer, that could be the big Star Wars TV news out D23 this year.

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Tom Holland and Chris Pratt reunite in Onward.
Image: Disney

The future of Pixar

Coming off Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4, Pixar is going back to originals for the foreseeable future. That starts with Onward and Soul, coming out March 6 and June 19, 2020, respectively, and while we’ve seen a little from Onward (which we first learned about at the last D23), Soul is mostly a mystery to us. We know it’s the latest from Pete Docter, whose track record (Monsters Inc., Up, Inside Out) is practically spotless, so we’re excited to learn what it’s about, perhaps see some footage, and maybe even hear what else Pixar has coming up beyond these two movies.

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Frozen 2 is coming.
Image: Disney

Frozen 2 and more Disney Animation

Sticking with animation—as it is Disney’s bread and butter after all—D23 is likely to reveal new footage and information on the highly anticipated sequel Frozen 2. Which is exciting, for sure, but we’re even more interested to find out what’s next from Disney Animation. They have a movie scheduled for next November that hasn’t been revealed yet and certainly several other projects in the works. What’s ready to be announced? Zootopia 2 perhaps?

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Will Marvel even attempt to top moments like this at the D23 Expo?
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez ((Getty for Disney)

A Marvel surprise, maybe?

After the shocking and jam-packed panel at San Diego Comic-Con, what could Marvel Studios possibly bring to D23 that’s new? Well, we don’t know, but with Black Widow and Eternals coming out next year, as we well as The Falcon and Winter Soldier on Disney+, there’s a chance we could learn more about those. Or, maybe, we’ll get a bit more clarification on the overarching theme or story of Phase 4. We’re confident, even after Comic-Con, Marvel will have something up its sleeve. They don’t need to, but they probably will.

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The return of Toy Hunter

One of my favorite shows of the past decade was Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter. It was basically American Pickers meets Pawn Stars, but only with vintage toys, and if you are into that kind of thing, it was the best. It’s been off the air since 2014 but at this year’s D23, host Jordan Hembrough, the Toy Hunter himself, is bringing it back. Hembrough has adapted the idea of geeking out over old, valuable, vintage toys and turned it into a game show that he’ll host at the convention, and it should be a lot of fun.

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Disney nostalgia

You can’t have a Disney convention without celebrating the things that fans love about Disney. And this year’s D23 Expo will do just that, including panels on Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Haunted Mansion, and more. There probably won’t be much news out of those panels, but it’s always special to meet the people behind your favorite pieces of pop culture and revel in the joy they still provide.

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There’s so much more, too: We’ll finally get to see Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise, we’ll learn more about Darth Vader’s evil ways in Episode II of the VR game Vader Immortal, Fox properties like The Simpsons will take center stage among their new family...it’s going to be a fun weekend, and we’ll have you covered, right here on io9!

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Correction: Toy Hunter was on Travel Channel, not History Channel. Also D23 is the fan club, the event is called the D23 Expo. Those changes have been made.


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