Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm presented their live action film slates at the D23 Expo 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The presentations, which revealed exclusive news and details about the upcoming live action films, were aided by live and video appearances from talent and filmmakers. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn hosted the highly anticipated biennial event.
“It’s quite something to be able to have Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm all on the same stage, and it’s tremendously gratifying to unveil our upcoming projects to our most dedicated fans first,” said Horn. “We always have an incredible time at the D23 EXPO.”
After welcoming the crowd to D23 EXPO 2015, Horn introduced Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, and Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, to present overviews of the Marvel Studios and Disney live action slates. Later Horn returned to the stage to present the Lucasfilm film slate to the enthusiastic audience.
The titles, which were revealed included Marvel’s Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch, opening in US theaters (October 2016); Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War with Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie; The Finest Hours with Chris Pine (January 2016); Disney’s The Jungle Book with newcomer Neel Sethi (April 2016); Alice Through the Looking Glass with Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp (May 27 2016); Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson, Josh Gad and Luke Evans (March 2017); and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales with Johnny Depp (July 2017).
More Stars Wars films
Horn took the stage again to present the Lucasfilm slate and timeline to the D23 EXPO fans. Horn told the audience that there were only 124 days to the release of Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on December 18 and added that there have been record-breaking trailer views and fantastic fan response.
Touching on Star Wars: Episode VIII, Horn reminded the audience that Rian Johnson will be directing the film slated for release on May 26, 2017. Then in a surprise announcement, Horn informed everyone that Colin Trevorrow has signed on to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, which is scheduled for release in 2019.
Moving on to the new Star Wars stories series, Horn touched on the “Untitled Han Solo” stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018 by reminding everyone that it will be directed by Christopher Miller & Phil Lord, with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay.
Horn then took the audience by surprise, announcing the cast for Rogue One, the first of the standalone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen, which has commenced principal photography. Gareth Edwards is directing the film, which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.
The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role in The Theory of Everything; Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk and Riz Ahmed. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.
Then, in a bringing-down-the house surprise moment, Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo, joined Abrams on stage to wild applause.