Here's Everything We Learned at the Live Action Panel at D23 2019
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
August 24, 2019
The hits keep on coming for fans attending the 2019 D23 Expo, Disney's three-day convention in Anaheim, California. The biennial event has quickly become a favorite for fans who have flocked to the Anaheim Convention Center to get the inside scoop on some of their favorite properties.
Saturday's Live Action Panel gave fans an exciting look at its slate of upcoming slate of blockbuster and animated films coming from Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars.
Marvel fans excited for the return of Black Panther will be pleased to know the king of Wakanda returns to theaters on May 6, 2022. Director Ryan Coogler joined Marvel super-producer Kevin Feige to make the announcement about T'Challa's return to the big screen. However the pair remained mum on details on a possible title or plot for the Black Panther fans in the audience.
We also learned more about the upcoming 'The Eternals' movie, with news that Game of Thrones alum, Kit Harrington will be joining the cast as the Black Knight, Dane Whitman. The movie is bringing together a cast of heavy hitters that already includes Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, and Kumail Nanjiani as the swordsman Kingo. Bryan Tyree Henry will be playing weapon-maker Phastos, and Lia McHugh will play Sprite for the movie set to debut in 2020.
Next, fans got a glimpse of the upcoming Black Widow movie with most of the footage already making its debut earlier this year at San Diego Comic Con. The trailer (which hasn't been released online yet), begins with a montage of footage featuring Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow from the previous Marvel movies she's appeared in, including The Avengers, Avengers: Endgame, and Captain America: Civil War.
The trailer was filled with a series of amazing-looking fight scenes, including one between Romanoff and a mysterious woman named Yelena Belova, who is referred to as Romanoff's sister in the footage. In the comics, Belova takes up the mantle of the Black Widow from her sister.
The film has been confirmed to be a prequel to the events prior to Romanoff joining the MCU in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers as she will have to deal with the film's main villain, Taskmaster.
Next, it was Star Wars's time to shine as they took over the stage to give fans a look at a new trailer for the upcoming "Rise of Skywalker," the final chapter in the 'Skywalker saga.' The trailer began with glimpses from previous Star Wars films with a grave voiceover describing "a thousand generations," of Jedi, "but this is your fight."
Fans were treated to footage of Daisy Ridley's Rey and Kylo Ren preparing to dual on a war-torn planet, even as Rey dual-wields a red-lightsaber (which are usually reserved for Sith, for those playing at home).
Even as we get closer to the highly-anticipated final chapter for the Skywalkers, it comes with the knowledge that it will be awhile before fans get a chance to visit the galaxy far, far, away. Disney CEO Bob Iger has pointed to audience fatigue as a possible reason for the poor reception for some of the previous Star Wars movies released over the last few years, saying the studio will take a break until the new movie created by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss premieres in 2021.
Pixar had their chance to shine as well as they gave fans a look at their upcoming movie, 'Onward', starring Tom Holland and Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. A new posted, an image and eight minutes of footage was shown to the fans gathered at D23. The crowd went wild when Holland and Pratt took the stage, as Pratt professed his admiration for his fellow Marvel alum.
"I do feel like Tom is like a little brother to me and you see that reflected in this movie," Pratt said. "It’s really cool to have that because we get to do a Pixar movie and that’s awesome to be able to do that but also to share that experience with somebody that you love, that’s really cool. It amplifies the experience in a way. We can look at each other and say, ‘Holy crap, can you believe that this is happening right now?'"
"Last time we were here we were like space buddies fighting on Titan and now we’re elf buddies fighting in L.A.,” Holland said, referencing the last movie they were in together, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
'Onward' is due to hit theaters, March 6, 2020.
Holland also took a moment to address a controversy that erupted after Disney and Sony announced that the MCU Spider-Man would no longer appear in the Disney movies.
"Hey everyone, it’s been a crazy week but I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart that I love you 3,000," Holland said, to cheers from the crowd.
Disney also gave fans a closer look at Emma Stone's Cruella de Vil in Disney's upcoming 'Cruella.' The film, which also stars Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry, is set to debut in theaters on May 28, 2021.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was joined onstage by Emily Blunt, his co-star in the upcoming 'The Jungle Cruise' movie. Disney has had a mixed-track record when it comes to converting their rides into movies (for every Pirates of the Caribbean, there's a 'The Haunted Mansion'), but Johnson's dynamic energy and Blunt's charisma point to another hit for the Mouse House.
Johnson arrived in style, riding a jungle cruise boat called 'La Quila' as he told the audience that "Sometimes you need me to save the day!" Blunt, not to be upstaged, entered the arena in a classic car.
The Adventureland ride has been re-imagined as a 'buddy comedy' for Johnson and Blunt with fans seeing a clip from the upcoming movie set to debut July 24, 2020.
Finally, the audience was treated to an update on the long-awaited Frozen sequel, with stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff appearing on stage for a showstopping performance. Joining the cast for the sequel is Sterling K. Brown, who will be playing a character named Lieutenant Matthias, and Evan Rachel Wood, who is set to play Queen Iduna. The sequel will focus on how Elsa gained her powers as the gang attempts to save the kingdom.
A clip from the upcoming sequel was played for attendees that showed Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Sven playing a game of charades, with Elsa distracted thanks to a mysterious voice that keeps singing.
Frozen II arrives in theaters on November 22, 2019.