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8 amazing highlights from the Disney Expo #D23


Everything great, good and downright amazing about Disney was celebrated this past weekend at the annual D23 Expo convention. The Mouse House presented tantalising teases of their awesome movies coming to screens over the next couple of years – here's a rundown of the unmissable highlights...

1) War is coming

Marvel premiered the first ever footage from next year's Captain America: Civil War, the superhero epic that's set to open Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel President Kevin Feige was in attendance along with stars Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie, both of whose characters (El Capitan and The Falcon) feature in the footage, which sees Falcon using a drone known as Redwing in an epic battle against villain Crossbones (Frank Grillo, last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier). 

Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow also helps out but perhaps even more exciting is the presence of new face Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman, sensational as James Brown in last year's Get On Up). There's also an appearance from a certain Paul Rudd as Ant-Man too... Darn it, 29th April 2016 can't come soon enough.

2) Jack's back!

Everyone's best friend – if your best friend were a pirate – Cap'n Jack Sparrow appeared in person to the delight of the crowds. Actor Johnny Depp was in town to promote Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth movie in the swashbuckling franchise that's due for release on 7th July 2017. The high seas rapscallion this time is set to face off against Javier Bardem's baddie Captain Salazar. But the big news is British heartthrob Orlando Bloom is set to return to the Pirates series as Will Bloom.

3) Han drops by

Harrison Ford and J.J. Abrams were in attendance and sending the crowds wild whilst promoting this year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "My goodness, thank you so much," Ford said to the ecstatic crowds. "You guys have made my life."

So how can it possibly get any better than Han Solo walking among us mere mortals? 

4) The Force is with us

How about this – Disney unveiled these images of not one but two incredible  Star Wars theme parks, due to open in Disneyland California and Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We want to go there. Now.

5) Belle of the ball

Emma Watson stunned in the debut footage of Disney's sumptuous-looking Beauty and the Beast. Due for release in 2017, the live-action take on their 1991 animated classic pairs Watson as heroine Belle with Dan Stevens as the Beast and is directed by Twilight's Bill Condon. Emma Thompson will voice Miss Potts, Frozen's Josh Gad plays baddie Le Fou and the original film's composer Alan Menken is set to return. Check out the following video from the film's on-stage panel discussion, featuring a special message recorded by Watson for the fans.

6) Going Rogue

The Theory of Everything Oscar nominee Felicity Jones takes centre stage in the first image from director Gareth Edwards' Star Wars spin-off movie, Rogue One. Also featuring: Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Jiang Wen and Donne Yen. It was also announced that Jurassic World filmmaker Colin Trevorrow will bring Star Wars: Episode IX to the screen in 2019.

7) Bear Necessities

Disney released this visually beautiful poster of Iron Man director Jon Favreau's live action Jungle Book reboot starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, due for release on 15th April 2016.

They also teased exotic footage from the movie, including narration from Johansson's character Kaa: "Far from the dark of the jungle, men stay in their village. But sometimes they travel, and their caves breathe in the dark. It brings warmth and light and protection.” We're also introduced to Idris Elba's silky voiced tiger villain Shere Khan, who tells hero Mowgli (Neel Sethi): "The jungle is no longer safe, I’ll return you to where you belong." He then promptly chases the former off the cliff. And for an extra bit of warm nostalgia, Baloo (Bill Murray) is also heard singing The Bear Necessities. The footage was so good it got a standing ovation.

8) Making waves

Finding Nemo scene-stealer Ellen Degeneres couldn't contain her enthusiasm for Pixar spin-off Finding Dory, which swims onto screens in June 2016. The movie will focus on everyone's favourite, forgetful fish and DeGeneres says we can expect great things.

"This is so exciting for me. I'm really proud of this film," she told the cheering crowd at D23 on Friday. Frankly, next June can't come soon enough.

Phew, that's quite a round-up. Which Disney movie are you most looking forward to seeing over the next couple of years? Tweet us @Cineworld.