D23 Expo got the weekend off to a strong start on Friday with the first-ever showcase presentation for upcoming streaming service Disney+, during which six new series in development were revealed and key details about hotly anticipated originals were debuted to fans in the Anaheim Convention Center.
“With less than three months until launch, Disney+ will soon entertain and inspire audiences of all ages for generations to come, and we’re excited to preview some of the amazing original content being created for the service exclusively from our world-class brands today at the D23 Expo,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International. “Storytelling is the cornerstone of The Walt Disney Company and we’re thrilled to unveil a new slate of original shows from the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes, along with popular television franchises set to return with all-new series streaming only on Disney+.”
Some of the creative minds behind Disney+’s content slate — including Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios; Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm; and Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channel Worldwide — gave fans a first look at the service’s upcoming originals and announced exciting new titles:
- Ewan McGregor made a surprise appearance to announce his return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new untitled series from Lucasfilm.
- Kevin Feige announced that Marvel Studios is developing three new live-action series: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk, all derived from Marvel comics.
- Hilary Duff surprised the audience when it was announced she will reprise the role she made famous in an all-new Lizzie McGuire series from Terri Minsky.
- Forty years after leaving the swamp in his big screen debut in The Muppet Movie, Kermit the Frog is heading upstream with Miss Piggy, and the gang, bringing a new kind of mayhem and laughter to Disney+ with their first-ever unscripted short-form series, Muppets Now.
Coming exclusively to #DisneyPlus in 2020, @TheMuppets proudly present MUPPETS NOW, a new short-form unscripted series! I’d love to tell you more, but Joe The Legal Weasel is right behind me. Gulp! pic.twitter.com/UCXdaopQJR
— Kermit the Frog (@KermitTheFrog) August 24, 2019
During the 90-minute presentation, a parade of celebrities, filmmakers, and creatives treated the 6,800-person audience to the first public preview of Disney+’s original movies and shows set to stream when the service launches on November 12:
- For Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian, executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni joined series stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, along with Taika Waititi, who brings the droid IG-11 to life, to premiere the teaser trailer for the first Star Wars live-action series. Earlier in the day at the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, announced that new Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen will join the cast of the series. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, The Mandalorian follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
- Host Yvette Nicole Brown joined fellow Lady and the Tramp cast members Rose (“Lady”) and Monty (“Tramp”) — the canine stars of the film — to premiere the first trailer from the film. In the timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.
- Tony Hale, who reprises his craft project turned toy role from Toy Story 4 in the new collection of Pixar animated shorts Forky Asks A Question, premiered the first short (“What Is Money?”). In the 10 shorts, Forky explores important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time?
Disney+ also rolled out the red carpet for its titles set to premiere after the service launches, inviting stars to share new details for their upcoming projects:
- Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh’s musical stepbrothers return in the newly titled Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. Set within the timeline of the TV series, the feature adventure will set the bros on a race against time to rescue their sister from a terrible fate: abducted by aliens to live in a littler brother-free utopia on a far-away planet.
- Kathleen Kennedy announced that the highly anticipated new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will stream on Disney+ in February 2020. The Emmy Award-winning animated series will be returning with 12 all-new episodes and will mark the return of classic characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and fan-favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex.
- Director Kari Skogland introduced Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, the stars of Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which finds Falcon and the Winter Soldier teaming up after Avengers: Endgame. Emily VanCamp came on stage and Feige revealed that she will reprise her role as Sharon Carter. Then, he introduced the crowd to Wyatt Russell who will play John Walker — a character from the comics coming to the screen for the first time. Head writer Malcom Spellman was also on hand to greet the crowd. Launches in 2020.
- Monsters At Work stars Ben Feldman and Aisha Tyler unveiled the latest design of their characters Tylor and Millie. Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award-winning feature film Monsters, Inc., the new series from Disney Television Animation returns to Monstropolis and follows a new cast of monsters with special appearances from Mike and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman).
- Stars Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen were on hand for their new series, Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Bettany returns as Vision and Olsen as Wanda Maximoff — two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives who begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. Kevin Feige surprised the audience by bringing to the stage Kat Dennings and Randall Park who will reprise their roles from Thor and Ant-Man and The Wasp, and then he introduced Kathryn Hahn who has been cast as a new character in the series. Director Matt Shakman and head writer Jac Schaeffer joined everyone on stage to reveal that the streaming series will blend the style of classic sitcoms with Marvel Cinematic Universe. Premieres in 2021.
- Kevin Feige welcomed the director Kate Herron and head writer, Michael Waldron of Loki to the stage. In Marvel Studios’ new Disney+ series, Tom Hiddleston returns as the mercurial Loki, the god of mischief and everyone’s favorite villain in stories that take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Debuts in 2021.
- For Marvel Studios’ What If…? Hayley Atwell was on hand to greet the audience. Atwell will voice Peggy Carter in Marvel Studios’ first animated series that focuses on different heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and imagines what would happen if the events in the films worked out differently. Kevin Feige also introduced director Bryan Andrews and head writer Ashley Bradley to the crowd. Premieres in 2021.
- Stars Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk joined Kathleen Kennedy to introduce the audience to the second Lucasfilm live-action series for Disney+, which is now in development. Both actors are reprising their roles from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the stories follow Cassian Andor’s adventures as a rebel spy during the formative years of the Rebellion, before the events of A New Hope.