D23 Expo: Disney Informs About Many Animation Projects

Likewise, there was talk of some live-action movies

by Pierre Lorenz on September 14, 2022

Past week, the D23 Expo took place in Anaheim, California, for the first time since 2019. One of the key announcements concerned a whole range of animated films and series planned for the future. When it comes to the topic of "animation" and "Disney", the in-house Pixar Animation Studios must of course be mentioned. As Pixar CCO Pete Docter disclosed at the panel, there are currently four projects scheduled. 

The first is "Elemental", a movie announced back in May. The content is about a world full of beings, each based on the four elements of fire, water, earth and air. So it happens that a fiery young woman and a rather laid-back young man meet and have a lot in common despite their apparent differences in character. At the time of the announcement, Pixar also directly provided concept art showing the two main characters. "Elemental" will be released in cinemas in the summer of 2023 and marks the beginning of Pixar's upcoming projects. 

Second, we can look forward to a Disney+ series from Pixar after a long time, namely "Win or Lose". Basically, it is about a softball team one week before a major championship game. What makes it special is that each episode takes place on one day in said week before the game, so you can expect a narrative without big time jumps. In addition, the main character changes with each episode, allowing viewers to follow the turbulent preparations for the important game from different angles. The premiere is planned for Fall 2023. 

"Elio", in contrast, is a Pixar project of which no details had been given before. Director Adrian Molina and producer Mary Alice Drumm announced that the film revolves around 11-year-old Elio. He is artistically talented, but has trouble getting out of the house and making friends. Through a secret project of his mother, he eventually comes into contact with aliens who mistake the insignificant boy for Earth's very official ambassador. The movie will be released in Spring 2024. 

The last remaining sequel is to "Inside Out" from 2015. As CCO Docter announced, main character Riley has grown up to be a teenager by now and has to struggle with whole new emotions that need to be dealt with. Pixar is targeting a Summer 2024 release. 

Pixar's counterpart Disney Animation, which excels in frequent fairy tale references and handmade animation, also had plenty of new projects to announce. There's "Zootopia+", for example, a string of different short stories about the most relevant characters from the film "Zootopia". The release is already slated for this November. 

On Thanksgiving this year, animation fans can also look forward to the movie "Strange World". A first trailer already provided us with a sneak peek at the Clades, a family of explorers who must overcome a variety of challenges together in an unfamiliar landscape.

In 2023, the schedule continues with "Iwaju". This is a Disney+ series set in Nigeria and centers on the heiress Tola and the poor boy Kole. Likewise anticipated in 2023 is "Wish", a film based in the Kingdom of Rosas: a place where wishes come true. Solely Asha is able to perceive darkness in the kingdom, and in her desperation she turns to a star, which eventually shows up for her. 

Live-action movies did not fall short on the Disney panel either. The next feature is "Hocus Pocus 2" and is scheduled for release on Disney+ on September 30. It will be followed on November 24, also on Disney+, by "Disenchanted", the sequel to the 2007 movie "Enchanted". There was also a first teaser for "Indiana Jones 5". It is said to be quite action-packed and show fast-paced fights reminiscent of the old parts. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan was also cast again, back then he played the role of Shorty in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". The official title, by the way, has still not been revealed, which means that we can keep on guessing. Recently, there have been further rumors about a return of Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, who even became Indy's wife after the last part. Fans of "Avatar 2: The Way of Water" were also treated to a pleasant surprise, as not only were those attending allowed to talk to James Cameron about his new film, but they were also given the chance to watch never-before-seen clips with 3D glasses. The theatrical release of "Avatar: The Way of Water" is on December 16, 2022. 

In 2023, Disney fans can look forward to "Peter Pan & Wendy," "Haunted Mansion" and "The Little Mermaid", to name but a few. The latter in particular has long been a topic of discussion among movie fans, as not everyone is happy with the casting of the fairy tale adaptation by Hans Christian Andersen. At least at the D23 Expo, main actress Halle Bailey was warmly welcomed on stage. 

In 2024, the influx of new Disney projects is not going to be any less either, with projects such as "Mufasa: The Lion King" and "Snow White" on the schedule.