In Friday’s animation presentation at the D23 Expo and Saturday’s live action one, Disney showed a sizzle reel of its films, including some upcoming ones. And both times, the biggest cheer went up for Lin-Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins Returns. It’s not surprising then that the film received huge applause and stirred up a lot of emotions for the crowd when the trailer was finally revealed.
Emily Blunt was on hand to talk about taking on Julie Andrew’s iconic Mary Poppins. Realizing no one could outdo Andrews, Blunt is doing her own interpretation of the role and keeping it in line with the first film. Director Gary Marshall said they were doing everything possible to preserve the feel of the original film. He said Dick Van Dyke, who will be in the sequel, said the movie has the same feel as the first time and that’s the kind of high praise the crowd loves.
The trailer showed a grown Michael and Jane Banks once again getting a visit from the superb Mary Poppins. She flies in on the kite Michael’s children are flying, with the help of Lin-Manuel’s Jack. And they’re off on a new adventure, even as the Banks grown ups wonder if all these wondrous things from their childhood really happened. They don’t see Mary ascending the staircase by sliding up the banister behind them.
Other films discussed in the live action presentation included A Wrinkle in Time, due out March 9, 2018. The visually stunning adaptation of the classic book features Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, and newcomer Storm Reid. Director Ava DuVernay said of the story, “I saw myself in it, and I saw so many different kinds of people in it.” DuVernay added, “[It’s] a family story wrapped in an epic adventure where you see worlds you’ve never seen before.”
There was also new footage for Disney’s take on The Nutcracker. In a re-envisioned story, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) travels to four realms where she encounters the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley) and Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman). Other characters are played by Eugenio Derbez, Helen Mirren, Miranda Hart, Ellie Bamber, and ballerina Misty Copeland. The trailer makes the film look very Alice in Wonderland in style with lots of dancing, elaborate gowns, and just a touch of garishness. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be in theaters November 8, 2018.
Coming up in Disney’s quest to remake their animated classics as live action films are Aladdin, Dumbo, and The Lion King. Although there were rumors of Hugh Jackman being cast as Scar, there was no announcement made. Mena Massoud has been cast as Aladdin with Power Rangers’ Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie. Not sure how I feel about Smith taking on Robin Williams’ role but we’ll see.
The Tim Burton directed Dumbo is looking at a 2019 release. Cast members announced include Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Danny DeVito, and Michael Keaton.
It’s worth noting, Mulan is also on the schedule list for 2019 but no new details were revealed. All I need to know is if Ming-Na Wen is involved.
To end the panel, a scene from the live action remake of The Lion King was screened. It was the same opening as the animated classic but done with realistic-looking animals and the crowd was overcome with emotion. I had actual chills. If Disney can truly pull it off, this might be their greatest remake yet.
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