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9 magical Disney highlights from this year's D23

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It's official: Disney rules the near future. Don't believe the hype? Check out our round-up of the movie highlights from this year's sensational D23 Expo. You'll want to make a date in your diary for these upcoming releases...

A Wrinkle in Time

Released: 23rd March 2018

Selma and 13th director Ava DuVernay shifts into family friendly territory with this adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's bestselling novel.

It's the story of a young girl, Meg, who, following the disappearance of her scientist father, is sent on an epic quest into space to go and find him.

With DuVernay marshalling a superb cast including Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Zach Galifianakis, plus an onslaught of eye-widening visuals and a winning central performance from newcomer Storm Reid, this is a Disney epic to watch out for.


Avengers: Infinity War

Released: 27th April 2018

Footage from the new Avengers movie was reported to have brought the D23 crowd to its feet. Hardly a surprise given this teams the familiar superhero team with the likes of the Guardians, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, also responsible for last year's Captain America: Civil War, io9 reports that the footage begins with Thor smashing into the Guardians' spaceship. There's also a dramatic reveal for big bad Thanos, played by Josh Brolin.

Marvel and Disney are yet to release said footage – but here's the cast's reaction to it.


The Incredibles 2

Released: 13th July 2018

We've been waiting 13 – count 'em – whole years for the follow-up to Pixar's superb superhero adventure. Frankly, we deserve a medal for our patience. 

Fortunately, we're about to get a lot more than that in the form of Brad Bird's superpowered sequel, one that picks up directly after the events of its predecessor.

Apparently Elastigirl takes centre stage this time and Jack Jack's flegling powers will also be a key factor. But crucially, costume designer Edna Mode (voiced by Bird himself) will be back. Check out this viral video.


Aladdin

Released: TBC

Guy Ritchie's live-action retelling of Disney's 1992 masterpiece has been in limbo for a while, as the search for the perfect central pairing continued.

However our new Aladdin and Jasmine have been confirmed in the form of TV star Mena Massoud and Power Rangers actress Naomi Scott, with megastar Will Smith replacing Robin Williams as the Genie.

There's no release date yet but with a script from Big Fish writer John August, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful.


Dumbo

Released: 29th March 2019

Director Tim Burton previously scored a blockbusting live-action Disney hit with Alice in Wonderland, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide.

Little wonder he's now crafting his next Disney live-action project. We can only imagine how the Edward Scissorhands director will interpret the endearing story of the big-eared elephant but with a top cast including Michael Keaton, plus Burton regulars Eva Green and Danny DeVito, we can expect something enchanting.

Green plays French trapeze artist Colette who is employed by Keaton's villain, Vandemere. De Vito plays a circus owner and Colin Farrell plays a widowed father whose life crosses paths with that of Dumbo.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Released: 15th December 2017

Looming on the horizon and steadily drawing us in with the implacable calm of a Death Star tractor beam, the new Star Wars movie generated a level of hype unlike anything else at D23.

Let's allow the following sizzle reel to speak for itself. And, as attendee Mark Hamill himself said: "Unexpected is good."


The Lion King

Released: 19th July 2019

No, Hugh Jackman is not voicing Scar. That turned out to be fake news. However, Jungle Book director Jon Favreau's re-interpretation of Disney's 1994 blockbuster has gathered an outstanding cast including Donald Glover, a returning James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen and John Oliver.

Tantalisingly, D23 audiences got to see the reworked 'Circle of Life' opening sequence. No such luck for us though. We'll presumably have to wait for the trailer. According to The Hollywood Reporter the clip features photo real African landscapes and culminates in the iconic image of Rafiki holding Simba aloft atop Pride Rock.

Wreck-It Ralph 2

Released: 30th November 2018

Disney's candy-coloured blast of animated nostalgia was celebrated for gathering together many of our favourite retro video game characters.

By the sounds of it they've stepped it up a gear for the sequel, subtitled Ralph Breaks the Internet, as John C. Reilly's titular arcade baddie returns for another adventure said to mix in references to Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Mary Poppins Returns

Released: 21st December 2018

Is there a better person to take on the role of the flying nanny than Emily Blunt? Not only does she have the sort of winsome twinkle in her eye that honours the spirit of predecessor Julie Andrews. She can also belt out a show tune with aplomb, as Disney musical Into the Woods proved.

Rob Marshall's sequel to Disney's enduring classic sees the grown-up Banks children and their own brood once again visited by Mary following a personal tragedy. Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw and Hamilton sensation Lin-Manuel Miranda join a returning Dick Van Dyke and veteran Angela Lansbury for the movie. Check out the first motion poster below.

What Disney release are you most looking forward to over the coming years? Tweet us @Cineworld.

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