D23: MARVEL, LUCASFILM & WALT DISNEY PICTURES Panel

D23 Expo 2015
D23 Expo 2015
Credit: Disney

Disney's D23 Expo 2015 is going on now at California's Anaheim Convention Center, and for many the centerpiece of the three-day event is Saturday's "Worlds, Galaxies & Universes: Live Action at the Walt Disney Studios" panel in Hall D23. The panel, scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. PST, will reportedly feature presentations from Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and Disney's own Walt Disney Pictures.

The movies announced to be discussed in this panel are Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Jungle Book, and Alice Through The Looking Glass, but show organizers also said to expect "much, much more."

J.J. Abrams stated earlier in the week not to expect any new footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn said no announcements will be coming from his film.

No announced actors from Marvel or Lucasfilm productions have been cited at D23 Expo 2015, but Johnny Depp appeared at an awards ceremony yesterday and could be a part of this panel, promoting Alice Through The Looking Glass.

The panel begins with the Disney sizzle reel shown at Friday's animation panel at D23, highlighting movies across the Disney line including Captain America: Civil War and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Upon its conclusion, Disney Chairman Alan Horn takes the stage and breaks the ice by asking, "Seen any good movies lately?" After some banter about him watching the just-completed sizzle reel "over 100 times," Horn talks about Disney as "full of worlds with iconic characters and incredible stories," specifically namechecking Big Hero 6's Baymax, Iron Man, Mad Hatter and Ant-Man.

"This collection didn't just happen," says Horn. "I have to tip my hat to our CEO, Bob Iger."

Horn mentions last night's festivities with Dwayne Johnson making an unnannounced appearance in support of his animated film Moana, joking that Horn "could take him."

Horn then points to the big screen behind him, which lists Disney's slate of movies for the next two years, joking that Marvel won an arm-wrestling contest to go first today, and with that he introduces Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feige.

Feige started up by joking about those who slept in line to get into Hall D23 for this presentation, saying that he slept here too, before referring to the nearby hotel at Disney Land.

"This is the fourth D23, and after seeing the showfloor I think it's the best one yet," Feige said. "At the first one, we had just done Iron Man. At the second, we showed the first clip to The Avengers. And then at the third D23, we showed clips from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy."

Feige talks about how Ant-Man completed "Phase 2" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it now being "time to talk about 'Phase 3.'"

"The first one I'm going to talk about today is Doctor Strange," Feige revealed. "It's a project we've been working on since before the conception of the MCU."

Feige explains that with each MCU film, Marvel attempts to "expand" on the ground it covers. He briefly touches on the cast and director, with lead star Benedict Cumberbatch sending in a recorded message for D23 Expo attendees.

"I'mv ery lucky and excited to be playing Doctor Strange for Marvel," Cumberbatch stated. "He's an extraordinary character and brings in new dimensions to the Marvel Universe. It will be a mind-blowing experience, with girls, cars, explosions, and a bit of astral projecting into multiple dimensions -- the usual fare."

A video package follows, narrated by director Scott Derrickson , showing concept art for Doctor Strange. Derrickson hits upon Strange being the "top neuro surgeon in the world," before a car accident "mangles" his hands. Just as in comic books, this leads Strange "on a quest looking for healing -- looking to recover -- and he meets the Ancient One."

The concept art shows Strange casting spells, pulling on giant chains, and looks like being transported to other dimensions. The concept art shows Strange in his classic red cape, and also briefly shows him fighting what looks to be Baron Mordo.

After that, they segue into Captain America: Civil War with Anthony Mackie (a.k.a. the Falcon) coming on stage. Mackie talks about flying into California late last night from the movie's filming in Germany, and introduces a friend he brought -- Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America.

"Oh man, I'm so happy to be here," said Evans. "I'm a big, big, big Disney fan. My whole family grew up loving Disney; it's my idea of heaven. It's an amazing experience to be involved with them in any capacity."

And with that, they segue to footage from Captain America: Civil War with Feige promising an easter egg.

Credit: Marvel Studios

In the footage we get our look at Falcon's ertswhile companion Redwing making his MCU, althrough it's robotic. Falcon is with Captain America and Black Widow in pursuit of Crossbones. Cap makes contact first with Crossbones, while Natasha and Falcon tangle with his henchmen.

Crossbones taunts Cap for "dropping a building on my face," and snidely refers to "your pal, your buddy," Bucky Barnes - a.ka. the Winter Soldier.

Hinting at possibly the Sokovia Accords, Thunderbolt Ross (played by William Hurt) tells Rogers that while "the world owes you an unpayable debut," some are afraid of him and see him as a "vigilante."

We get a quick glimpse of an extended version of the end-credits scene of Ant-Man, with new footage of Bucky acknowledging Captain America.

That leads to a a clip of Ant-Man being introduced to Captain America, with Paul Rudd bringing the comedic relief.

"Captain America! It's an honor. I'm shaking your hand too long. You're really great," says Rudd as Lang, gushing. "I know you know a lot of superhero people, so thanks for thinking of me."

Then we get to the meat of the Captain America: Civil War conflict, with Cap and Iron Man verbally sparring.

Cap: "I know we're not perfect, but the safest hands are still ours."

Iron Man: "If we have no limitations, we're no better than the bad guys."

How does Marvel top that sting? Why the first footage of Black Panther, briefly but big for anyone.

After the footage end, Disney chairman Alan Horn returns to the stage with a joke about Marvel's immense output.

"We've done four films since the last time I was here for D23, so that leaves 6,996 Marvel movies to go. It'll take some time."

Thus ends the Marvel Studios' portion of the event, with Horn introducing Walt Disney Pictures' production president Sean Bailey to talk about their film The Finest Hours.

Newsarama will take a break from coverage now, but will return when Star Wars and any further Marvel talk happens.

And we're back; after discussion of several of Walt Disney Pictures' films, Alan Horn turns to talk Star Wars -- beginning with nice little scene of the Walt Disney castle before with an X-Wing swooping in.

Horn begins by talking about the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers.

"We released a teaser in December, which instantly set records," Horn said. "Records that were promptly broken with our second teaser in April, which set Guinenss World Records for trailer views: 350 people started watching it per second in the first 24 hours."

Horn then announces that the as-yet-united Star Wars: Episode IX will be directed by Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow.

They then jump over to Rogue One, revealing a new logo that rebrands it as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. A brief video message from director Gareth Edwards follows, along with a cast photo of some of the Rebel Alliance soldiers.

Credit: Lucasfilm

J.J. Abrams then joins Horn on stage, and thanks fans for their support.

"This is more exciting than I can put into words. To see it coming together... it's truly remarkable," said Abrams. "To hear the music John Williams is proding and hearing the themes. he played some for me on his piano at his home, and it was like hearing the music of the gods."

Abrams then teases some "epic news," before welcoming Luipta Nyong'o, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega to the stage. They then show a new poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens by what looks to be Drew Struzan, but more importantly -- shows Boyega holding a lightsaber.

Harrison Ford then joins his younger co-stars, to huge applause.

"Thank you so much. I don't know what to say," said Ford. "I was very happy, yesterday, to follow in the footsteps of George Lucas, the author of the early chapters of my story. And I'm very happy to be here now with J.J. Abrams and Disney, who continues this in an extraordinary way."

The cast is then joined by Disney CEO Bob Iger, talking about directing.

"First of all, I speak for Alan as well in thanking J.J. Figuring out who would direct this film was not an easy task. We knew we needed someone great; someone we could trust; and someone who had great casting sense. J.J. and I worked together at ABC, and he brought together this wonderful cast for Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Iger said that Abrams is currently editing the film, with it currently sitting at 125 minutes. And with that, Abrams and the cast exited the stage... but the Star Wars news isn't over yet.

Iger says the rumors of a Star Wars "land" for Disneyland are true, and he's proud to say that it's the "largest-ever single-themed land expansion ever" with 14 acres planned at Anaheim's DisneyLand and then also a land at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Every store and restaurant in the land will be by characters: "local inhabitants," Iger explained. Visitors will bump into aliens, droids, and even be able to visit a cantina. There will be two main attractions upon opening, one of which being a ride in which you can pilot the Millenium Falcon.

And that ended the panel. No opening date was given for these Star Wars themed areas at the Disney parks.

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