This past weekend has been one of epic wonderment and hyped-up excitement, if one happened to be a fan of Disney, or its two major subsidiaries Marvel and Lucasfilm of “Star Wars” fame. That was the period of the 2019 D23 Expo, held at Anaheim Convention Center, and it was chock-full of some all-new reveals for what the three major branches of the Disney media umbrella. The announcements run the gamut from the upcoming blockbusters, to exclusives for digital streaming, and even a planned expansion area of attractions for one of Disney’s major theme parks. Let us consider them all.
Comic Book Resources has been a major treasure trove of information for what new stuff Disney has shared regarding a wide plethora of their future media across multiple platforms. As expected, a majority of the announcements during this year’s D23 Expo involved more content to expect when the exclusive digital streaming service Disney+ launches in November 12. A major portion of these are surprise additions to the already formidable lineup of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while others are spinoffs from “Star Wars” and a popular Disney Channel musical film franchise, along with yet more live-action adaptations of Disney animation classic.
To wit, Disney+ will have Marvel shows connected to the MCU such as “Ms. Marvel,” one of the early reveals before D23 started in earnest. Then there is “She-Hulk” and “Moon Knight.” The first two have connections to earlier MCU media – Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan to “Captain Marvel”/Carol Danvers and She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters the cousin of Avenger Hulk/Bruce Banner. Apparently they are also part of the MCU franchise’s “Phase 4.” Other newly-unveiled Marvel productions that are not necessarily MCU-related include animated series “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” for Disney Channel and “Spidey and His Amazing Friends” on Disney Junior, targeting younger audiences.
Back to Disney+, Lucasfilm finally showed their first ever trailer for “The Mandalorian,” a “Star Wars” spinoff series based on the space bounty-hunting society that was copied by Jango and Boba Fett. Next is “High School Musical: The Musical – The Series,” an awkwardly-named and ridiculously “meta” spinoff of the “High School Musical” film trilogy. Set in the “real-life” East High School, Albuquerque, where the movies were supposedly filmed, the student body is put up to produce a stage musical adaptation of “High School Musical,” and the romantic chaos it entails. Next, Disney+ proves it can carry live-action Disney Animated Canon adaptations with its first trailer for “Lady and the Tramp.”
Not everything shown in D23 this weekend was new or original. There were also updates on stuff already revealed earlier this year, with concept images for the MCU Phase 4 films “Black Widow” with Scarlett Johansson and “The Eternals” which now includes Kit Harington in cast, a new special preview for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” this December (featuring an apparent Sith-Rey), and new visuals on the next season of Marvel’s “Spider-Man” animated series (ironic since his MCU version is in limbo following the breakdown of the Marvel-Sony agreement).
Finally there is also new information regarding Avengers Campus, the long-awaited Disney theme park expansion area. Owing to a Marvel licensing deal with Universal Studios, Walt Disney World will not get its own version, but Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort will get one, added to Disney California Adventure. Disneyland Paris too will have its own iteration. Planned attractions include a “simulator ride” allowing guests to pilot an Avengers Quin-jet (similar to the Millennium Falcon on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge). What is more, the DCA Avengers Campus will apparently open next year, so it technically is not a long wait for Marvel fans.
There were plenty more surprises that Disney had to dazzle its loyal fandom during the 2019 D23 Expo weekend, but those which have been stated above are arguably the key elements of their ongoing quest to become a ubiquitous part of the world’s pop culture. Disney+ is in pretty solid shape for its opening just a few months from now. The last chapter of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy looks set to somewhat heal the divisive wounds of “The Last Jedi” and “Solo.” Marvel is apparently unfazed despite the potential loss of film rights to Spider-Man. And of course, there is a new Disney theme area to watch out for soon enough. To bet against Disney and its subsidiaries at this point is simply foolishness.
Images from: Comic Book.com, Syfy, Coming Soon, and Slash Film