Disney just dropped a megaton of television and movie news on us at its biannual D23 Expo. On Friday, Star Wars and Marvel fans got an epic trailer for Disney Plus show The Mandalorian, plus news of three new Marvel series: She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight. But on Saturday, the Walt Disney Studios panel had a “hold my beer” moment, showing off footage and trailers for Star Wars: Episode 9 The Rise of Skywalker, Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, Frozen 2, Mulan and more.
And Disney VIPs talked about animated films Soul, Onward and Raya and the Last Dragon. Black Panther 2 got a release date, and Game of Thrones star Kit Harington joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a character in Eternals.
Take a breath, because all that was announced in addition to even more stuff in a lengthy keynote presentation featuring tons of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Emily Blunt, The Rock, Tom Holland, Emma Stone, Chris Pratt, Kerri Russell, Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Awkwafina, Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown.
Sadly, Disney didn’t livestream this morning’s panel, so you can’t see most of the preview footage yet. But CNET was on the ground at D23 to bring you any tasty tidbits as they were served up. Here’s an overview the entire event (and we’ll update this story as more info emerges online).
Star Wars 9: The Rise of Skywalker
Director J.J. Abrams introduced the cast of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including R2-D2 and BB-8, and a new poster was revealed that shows Rey and Kylo Ren facing off in front of a shadow that looks like Emperor Palpatine.
During the panel, Disney showed new footage from The Rise of Skywalker. At one moment in the montage, Rey, wearing a black hood, wields a double-bladed lightsaber just like Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
Keri Russell from The Americans and Felicity plays Zorri Bliss in The Rise of Skywalker. She described having to wear a helmet as “strangely empowering”. She said, “I can’t wait for you to meet Zorri, she’s very cool and kind of shady. A criminal and sort of this old friend of Poe.”
Kit Harington joins The Eternals
After a day of rumors, Disney confirmed there’ll be a Game of Thrones reunion of sorts as Kit Harington joins Richard Madden in Marvel Cinematic Universe flick The Eternals, also starring Gemma Chan. Harington will play Dane Whitman, while Chan is portraying Sersi.
Black Widow trailer
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, showed off footage from upcoming film Black Widow, with Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff. The footage looked similar to what was shown at last month’s Comic-Con but with expanded scenes.
Black Widow enters an apartment with her gun drawn and gets into a fight with Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh. At one point Natasha gets up and says, “It’s good to see you too, sis.”
Later in the footage Yelena asks Natasha, “Why do you always do that thing? The pose, the fighting pose. You’re a total poser.”
Black Widow opens in theaters worldwide on May 1, 2020.
Pixar’s Soul and Onward
Pixar revealed its upcoming film Soul, which stars Jamie Foxx as a high school music teacher with a dream of playing a big jazz club. The film is about where souls come from and all the things that make you who you are. Jon Batiste is writing music while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are working on the score. Soul also stars Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad and Questlove and will be in theaters June 19, 2020.
Meanwhile there was a glimpse of new footage of Pixar’s Onward, which stars Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia-Louis Dreyfus.
The Rock and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise
One of the best parts of shows like D23 and Comic-Con is the live shenanigans studios pull — we just eat it up. Case in point: Disney showed off the upcoming film Jungle Cruise. It’s a buddy comedy starring The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson, with Emily Blunt. Out of nowhere, The Rock rode up into the convention hall on a jungle cruise boat called La Quila and announced, “Sometimes you need me to save the day.” He showed off his version of a trailer for Jungle Cruise and said the film was about “heroic men, kicking ass and saving the girl.”
At which point, Emily Blunt arrived in an old car, mad at the Rock’s footage. Blunt asked her co-star, “Did you cut that yourself?” Then she told the D23 crowd to forget everything they saw, revealing her own version of a trailer, in which The Rock’s name is smaller. Most ridiculous of all, neither of the trailers shown is the official one, which’ll hopefully come out soon.
Tom Holland, Mulan, Black Panther 2, Cruella and more
The announcements came fast and furious. But here’re a few other significant moments.
Tom Holland on the Spidey controversy: Spider-Man star Holland was at the event to promote Pixar’s Onward. But the actor sort of acknowledged the spider-battle between Sony and Marvel. After the panel, he gave more details about the controversy, but the cold, hard truth is, fans aren’t holding their breath for a resolution that makes everyone happy.
Black Panther 2: Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther and Creed, appeared for a moment to share that Black Panther 2 would be released May 6, 2022. He had very little else to say, but Feige taunted the audience with the idea that he was literally holding in his hands the treatment for the sequel.
Raya and the Last Dragon: The writer of Crazy Rich Asians, Adele Lim, reunites with one of the hit rom-com’s stars, Awkwafina, for an animated adventure about a lovable fire-breather. It looks beautiful, and according to CNET’s Caitlin Petrakovitz, it was so authentic-looking and breathtaking that the water in the scene shown to attendees seemed real.
The dragon, Sisu, is inspired by water spirit dragons, and when we meet her, she’s in human form, needing Raya and her band of friends to help her. Lim also said the film is inspired by her own background, “We’re bringing our childhood fantasies to life.”
Mulan: Disney showed a clip from the live-action remake of Mulan, reimagining the original film’s matchmaker sequence. It’s a classic: Mulan is visiting the matchmaker with her mother and family and disagreeing with the matchmaker, having just covered a spider with the teapot. In the ensuing chaos, our hero recovers all the cups flawlessly, only to flail and drop the cups and pot when her hair falls.
Disgraced, the family leaves the home only to be met by the cavalry, which demands that a son fight for the country. We see Mulan watch her father prepare to go in his place and leave for the front lines. There are brief cuts of some of the fighting and martial arts, and while the story is expected to be a departure from the animated version and more like the original legend, it still looks empowering as all get out.
Cruella: And while we’re on live-action remakes, Cruella stars Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. Stone plays a young Cruella de Vil before she got her hands on those 101 Dalmatians. It’s set in the 1970s in London, and the first image looks very punk rock.
In a video teaser from the set, Stone was in full-on character, chastising one of her puppy costars, acting holier-than-though and leaving to go “back to (her) trailer.”