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The D23 Expo was over this past weekend and man, it was a big event. We (or at least the people in attendance) saw stuff from Star Wars, Marvel, numerous Disney animated and live-action movies, and we got news on video games and theme park attractions. It was great to see so much coming from the House of Mouse, however, when the dust settled, we realized that there were a few things we expected to see that never popped their heads up.
In at least one case, the lack of news was understandable, though still a bad move, in my opinion. However, in the case of the others, we have to wonder why we never saw anything. Is no news really good news in this case, or was the fact that certain films were not mentioned an indication that things might not be moving quite as quickly as we might hope? Here's the news we didn't get at D23.
Going into D23, Walt Disney Animation Studios had several films locked and loaded on their release schedule and the assembled crowd saw, or at least heard about, all of them, except one. Gigantic is Disney's take on Jack and the Beanstalk and it was announced at D23 a couple years ago with a release date of 2018. It was then set for spring 2019, then pushed to fall when Wreck-It Ralph 2 was announced, then pushed into 2020 following the announcement of Frozen 2. Seeing it moved to make way for big sequels is no shock but the fact that it was pushed out a year after this last schedule change, and that it was completely ignored this weekend, makes us wonder if there really isn't something going on here that might mean the film is having gigantic (get it?) problems.
The Untitled Han Solo Movie
The fact that we didn't hear anything about the still untitled Han Solo film is far from surprising. The movie is going through a lot of backstage turmoil due to the director shift from Phil Lord and Chris Miller to Ron Howard. Things have been crazy and it's unlikely Disney wanted to draw more attention to the situation. However, if the movie, which is less than a year away at this point, could have shown something, anything, it might have been a great way to put fans at ease and assure them that the project is going to turn out ok, even with all the problems. We didn't even need to see film footage. Just having some of the cast show up and tell us it's all going great would have been fine. If things are really going well, act like it.
Disney's plan to turn all their great animated films into live-action classics continues on and at D23 we got news on several of them. The upcoming Aladdin movie now has a lead. Tim Burton's Dumbo has a cast and a release date, and Jon Favreau's The Lion King even had a scene shown to the audience. However, before all of those movies come out, we're supposed to see a live-action Mulan and we didn't hear a word about it. The film has a release date of November 2018 and outside of a director being chosen, no major announcements of any kind have been made. We have no lead and production has yet to begin. One wonders if that release date may need to slip.Perhaps Aladdin, which was supposed to be going into production soon, will go into high gear and try to be Disney's 2018 holiday release.