Josh takes you through the process of us lining up at D23 Expo 2015, followed by a recap of the Marvel Studios portion of the “Worlds, Galaxies and Universes: Live Action at the Walt Disney Studios” panel, which took place on Saturday, August 15!
D23 Expo 2015 started up for us at about 4:15am. Violet and I got up, dressed, and we were in the car. Luckily it wasn’t too far away, about 20 minutes or less from our house. We hit the parking garage, and made our way to the front of the Anaheim Convention Center. There were small packs of people outside Hall E who were lining up to be scanned. Unlike most other conventions, Disney’s D23 Expo scans everyone entering the building. It can be a bit of a pain because it throttles the line, but it is also understandable–they want to try to cut down on the freeloaders who try to sneak in.
I guess a public service announcement for people who attend D23 Expo in 2017: Make sure you pick up your badges from Will Call prior to the morning you are going. Especially if you plan on camping out the night before or getting to the Convention Center really early. A woman who had her printout to get her badge was not allowed into the Convention Center because she didn’t have her badge yet. The bad news for her was that Will Call did not open until 7:00 am. She was pleading with the staff to let her in, but they wouldn’t budge. It was unfortunate, but with a little planning, issues like that can be avoided. We bought our tickets early enough to be mailed to us this year, and the previous D23 we picked them up from Will Call a couple days prior. It would be nice for Disney to have some sort of policy in place to help attendees out in this situation, though.
We entered the Convention Center, and found ourselves with 3 paths–sitting in section A, B, or C. B was the middle area, but the most crowded. C was the lightest, and on the right side when facing the stage. Violet and I figured C would be fine, since there should be monitors everywhere anyway. It was about 5:00am by the time we got in line, whereas attendees had been allowed to line up inside of Hall E since 10:00pm the night before, with many having waited in line outside for hours prior to that.
So we settled in to what has probably become about 50% of what we do at Conventions–sitting in line. The sections were taped off into narrow columns, and we were on concrete–very uncomfortable. Within about 10 minutes our friends David and Tamara showed up. Sadly, we learned from our friends that the woman who was trying to get into the hall was still trying to figure a solution out. But anyway, David and Tamara made it to us in section C, and we began the long 5.5 hour wait. During this time, we discussed a very morbid topic–the terribleness that is The Fantastic Four. They had just seen it the week prior, so we had to catch up to discuss in depth how terrible this movie was. You can check out our review of the horrendous film here.
After a couple hours, the conversation about Fantastic Four died out, and we did the stare out our phone thing. I wound up playing Angry Birds 2 until I ran out of lives (a mobile game I highly recommend, by the way. You can play for free with really no “freemium” things that are required). Then I moved on to playing a game called “Can You Escape” which was also free, and had you figure out how to unlock 8 rooms. It harkened back to games like Zork and Myst, which was entertaining for a bit. The group reconvened to playing a board game called Pass the Popcorn. It is a pretty entertaining movie trivia game where you have to guess a movie based on the year, genre, and various clues you can ask for such as cast, character, plot or a famous quote. If you’re into movies and board games, it is another highly recommended game. It’s great for Conventions because clean up is pretty easy and it can take a large number of people at once.
We didn’t get to play for long though, as shortly after, the staff announced we would be moving in soon. Unfortunately, we had to lock away our phones and cameras into bags, so we were not able to get any photos inside the Live Action panel. Finally though, we filed into the 7,500 seat Hall D23, and were seated by around 10:10 am.
Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at the Walt Disney Studios
The host for the morning was Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn. But before he came out, we were shown a montage of recent Disney films, as well as films coming out in the next couple years. Then Alan Horn came out, and talked about the different “arms” of Walt Disney Studios, which includes Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation and the Live Action part of Disney. He then showed the upcoming movie slate for Disney through 2017–which is quite large. Here is a photo of the upcoming film slate (courtesy of D23’s press site):
Then it was time to get into the meat of the panels–Alan Horn introduces Kevin Feige to get into the super-powered Marvel Studios. Feige begins the panel with discussing the success of the Marvel films, with Ant-Man being their 12th number one movie to be released (check out our review of Ant-Man here if you haven’t read it yet). He also discusses the success of Phase 2, ending with Age of Ultron (check our review of Avengers 2 here) and Ant-Man. Feige then discusses the parallels of D23 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how they both seem to be growing at the same time. But then he gets into the good stuff–discussing the beginning of “Phase 3”.
Marvel Studios: Doctor Strange
So one movie in the MCU Phase Three is Doctor Strange, which is what Feige decided to start the Marvel panel off with. He provides some basics of the story that we have already heard before–Doctor Strange (who will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a neurosurgeon who injures his hands, unable to continue his career. In hopes to find a cure, he eventually meets “The Ancient One” (played by Tilda Swinton) who is not only able to help with his current issue, but Kevin Feige also mentions that other dimensions of reality will be involved with the character. One other interesting note Feige revealed was that Doctor Strange is a movie that Marvel had been working on since before the inception of the MCU.
Sadly, Kevin Feige did not have any cast with him for Doctor Strange, as Cumberbatch was busy with a play in London, but Cumberbatch did provide a video message, which was a quick greeting and him discussing his excitement to play the character. Also unfortunate was that there was no footage for us to see of the movie, but Feige did bring some concept art. It was very interesting to see–there were drawings of a high tech looking hospital, as well as drawings of Strange meeting the Ancient One, and we even saw concept art of the “Dimensional” aspect we will be seeing in the movie, with reality being warped. All in all, it was a good start for a movie that is not very far into production, and will not begin shooting until November.
Doctor Strange has an estimated release date of November 4th, 2016.
Marvel Studios: Captain America: Civil War
The most immediate Marvel film coming up is Captain America: Civil War, which was Kevin Feige’s next topic. He informs the crowd that there is 1 week left of filming for the movie, and most of the cast is still in Germany to finish up. But there was one guy he was able to wrestle out of filming to come down and talk to us, and out comes Anthony Mackie (playing the Falcon in the MCU). Then Mackie decides to bring out one more cast member–Chris Evans, AKA the Cap himself. They both talk about how great it is working with Disney, and Chris Evans talks about how much he enjoys Disneyland. So much so that when he is not there, he watches other families’ Disney vacation videos on YouTube…That sounds a little creepy. But I am sure it was just a joke, as he was probably trying to wrestle up what to say to 7,500 Disneyphiles.
So, the duo then decide to show some video, which they joke was edited together on their iPhones using iMovie on the plane ride here. Either way, the crowd was excited to see it! Here is a quick summary of what went down in the teaser:
The scene opens up in what people are speculating is Wakanda. We see Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), Falcon (Mackie), and the Cap (Chris Evans) performing surveillance. Falcon uses a groovy mini-drone to analyze their vehicle, which tells Falcon that this vehicle is not an ordinary vehicle, but a battering ram. At this realization, the Cap decides to have team spring in to action, taking down this mystery group.
Falcon and Black Widow begin taking down some henchmen, while Captain America gets to fight the boss man–Crossbones (played by Frank Rillo). Crossbones has a pretty rockin’ suit, which its own battering-ram-esce devices on his arms. Captain America seems to take him down fairly handily, despite Crossbones’ effort. Then the trailer flashes through a bunch of images–We see Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) giving Captain a hard time, telling him “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.” We also see General “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) calling the Avengers “vigilantes,” Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow fighting each other, while bantering at the same time, and we even get a quick glance of Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) pushing his claws out from his gloves. Also seen is Captain America holding Bucky Barnes in a vice on his Vibranium arm, seemingly trying to figure out what to do with him. Then the teaser ends with a comedy bit with Ant-Man meeting Captain America for the first time. Paul Rudd plays this scene perfectly, shaking Cap’s hand too long, and bumbling over his words saying, “Thinks for thanking of me,” because he so nervous meeting a “real” superhero. He has a brief exchange with Scarlet Witch as well, pausing to tell her, “You’re great too,” then going back to gushing over Captain America.
And just like that, the Marvel Panel was over. By the time the teaser ended, Kevin Feige had vanished from the stage. Before the teaser, we had been instructed to look for an Easter egg during the clip that was placed in it just for us. After it ended, Alan Horn made sure to point out exactly what that Easter egg was. As you can see above, the deck number was D23.
The footage for Civil War looked amazing, and is certainly in my top 3 anticipated movies of next year. I have to say, I am think I am most excited about the rift we will see play out in the film, but secondarily, I think Paul Rudd is going to be a great addition to the movie if done right. He provides a great “every-man” vibe, which will play up very well in the movie. Add his comedic timing, and I think he could be integral to making Civil War and future ensemble films great.
Captain America: Civil War has a release date of May 6th, 2016.
Up next were the non-Marvel and non-Lucasfilm Disney live action films, including The Finest Hours, The Jungle Book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pete’s Dragon, Queen of Katwe, Beauty and the Beast, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales! Click here to continue to our recap of that portion of the panel!