'Star Wars' and 'Frozen 2' footage wows Disney fan fest

Cast of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' makes an appearance plus Tom Holland promotes 'Onward'

Agence France-Presse

Published: 10:36 AM August 25, 2019

Updated: 10:37 AM August 25, 2019

STAR WARS. Kelly Marie Tran, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' take part in the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disneys D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, California. 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' will be released in the US on December 20, 2019. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney/AFP

ANAHEIM, USA — New Star Wars footage, sequels to Frozen, and Black Panther, and an animated epic fantasy about dragons were among a raft of movies presented to screaming fans at Disney's D23 convention Saturday, August 24. (LIST: Disney's big announcements at the D23 expo 2019)

Hollywood's reigning hitmaker Disney set out a full roster of its upcoming films in a wide-ranging, two-hour "studio spectacular" in Anaheim, California, where devotees assemble every two years dressed as their favorite princesses, pirates and superheroes.

The cast of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — including three droids — assembled on stage to kick off the star-studded event.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Star Wars (@starwars) on Aug 24, 2019 at 6:18pm PDT

A brief clip appearing to show a darker version of heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) wielding a red, double-sided lightsaber briefly silenced the cavernous, 6,800-capacity hall — before triggering an immediate social media frenzy.

Director JJ Abrams paid tribute to Princess Leia actor Carrie Fisher, describing how footage shot before her death in 2016 will be used in the upcoming film to put her "at the heart of the story."

Disney chief creative officer Alan Horn pledged that the film, out December 20, will "bring this 40-year saga to its epic conclusion."

"It's kind of hard for me to understand that the story is ending — but what an ending," said Anthony Daniels, who plays droid C-3PO in all 9 of the "Skywalker saga" films, which conclude with the upcoming release.

At least two separate "Star Wars" trilogies are in the works, along with three live-action television shows for streaming service Disney+.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Star Wars (@starwars) on Aug 24, 2019 at 10:26am PDT 

'Love you 3000' 

Spider-Man actor Tom Holland drew a raucous cheer as he appeared to promote new Pixar film Onward, just days after it emerged his web-slinging superhero could disappear from the Disney-owned Marvel movie universe due to a row between rival studios.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Disney D23 (@disneyd23) on Aug 24, 2019 at 12:26pm PDT

"Everyone listen, it's been a crazy week. I want you to know that I'm grateful from the bottom of my heart and I love you 3000," he said, borrowing a phrase from the Marvel films' Iron Man character, in his first public comment on the split.

Extensive footage from Onward, set in a fantasy world where magic has been replaced with humdrum, modern-day realities, showed brothers Ian (Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) on a botched quest to bring back their dead father with an obscure spell.

It was one of two Pixar originals on display, with Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey announced as the lead voices of metaphysical jazz adventure Soul.

SOUL. Writer Mike Jones, Co-Director Kemp Powers, Producer Dana Leigh Murray and Director Pete Docter of 'Soul' at the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disneys D23 EXPO 2019. 'Soul' will be released in the US on June 19, 2020. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney/AFP

Prominent musicians including Jon Batiste and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will feature in the film, where souls are trained at an otherworldly You Seminar before being dispatched to Earth.

From Disney's own animated studio, the first footage was shown of fantasy Raya and the Last Dragon, which sees a young girl seeking the help of a dragon to fend off sinister forces invading a fictional, Southeast Asian-inspired world.

The filmmakers said they had toured Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam during research for the film, which will feature Awkwafina as the voice of a shape-shifting dragon.


Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige followed up his detailed Comic-Con presentation last month on upcoming superhero movies by confirming Saturday that a Black Panther sequel will be released in May 2022.

Returning director Ryan Coogler appeared on stage, but teased the crowd by refusing to share any details of the sequel to the only Marvel superhero film to earn an Academy Award nomination for best picture.

BLACK PANTHER. Ryan Coogler of 'Black Panther 2' and President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige talk about the upcoming sequel of 'Black Panther,' scheduled for release on May 6, 2020. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney/AFP

Elsewhere in the most successful film franchise of all time, it was announced that Game of Thrones star Kit Harington will join a star-studded lineup for The Eternals, due out in November next year.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Marvel Entertainment (@marvel) on Aug 24, 2019 at 10:45am PDT

The presentation was rounded off with footage from Frozen II, the highly anticipated sequel to Disney's 2013 musical animation.

FROZEN 2. Josh Gad and Kristen Bell of 'Frozen 2' take part in the D23 Expo to talk about 'Frozen 2.' The movie hits theaters on November 22, 2019. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney/AFP

Original songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez, who penned Oscar-winning smash hit "Let It Go," will return for the film, which explores heroine Elsa's past. — Rappler.com