IMAGE EXPO: New Projects Revealed From Rucka, Simone, Aaron and More
Day two of D23 kicked off early for us, as the big movie presentation kicked off at 10:30 a.m. and we knew there would be a line. We just didn’t realize how long of a line …
(Before I get into that, though, I should mention the above artwork has nothing to do with the movie panel; it’s Bill Morrison’s homage to New Teen Titans #1 and the Incredibles, and was being sold at the Disney Fine Arts booth. I just thought it was really cool).
So yeah, we got there early and there was already a line snaking back behind the convention center. D23 had two lines each morning, one for D23 members and one for non-members. Members could start entering the show at 9 a.m., while everyone else came in at 10. We got in line around 8, I believe, and it was around 9 by the time we got into the convention center. We went directly to the Disney Arena line, where the big presentation was being held, and waited … and waited … then we’d move a little bit and wait some more. Eventually we made it really close to the door, and someone popped up to tell us we might not make it in because they were running out of seats. We almost bailed at that point, but luckily we didn’t because we were in the very last group of people they let into the arena.
They confiscated our cell phones before we went in, gave us the wand to make sure we weren’t sneaking in a camera, and sent us to the very top row about two minutes before the presentation began. The presentation itself went from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., I believe, and was a star-studded, clip and news-filled production. Let me see if I can remember everything they covered … the first part of the presentation focused on their upcoming animated films, as Pixar’s John Lasseter walked through several upcoming projects for both Pixar and Walt Disney Studios. These included:
–Planes, a direct-to-DVD spinoff from Cars that features, um, planes. It features a cropduster named Dusty, who will be voiced by Jon Cryer … the first of many special guests to come out on stage. They introduced him as “The star of the CBS comedy Two and a Half Men …” and at that point I was thinking how awesome it would be for Charlie Sheen to come out and talk about Tiger Blood. The clip they showed had White Zombie’s More Human Than Human playing behind it, which was an interesting choice.
–Wreck-it Ralph, which I mentioned yesterday … it’s about the bad guy from a video game who wants to be a good guy. So he spends his days in a 1980s video game destroying buildings so that the game’s hero, Fix-it Felix Jr., can use his magical hammer to fix it and of course take down Ralph. They had the game set up at one of their booths:
They showed the first four-and-a-half minutes of the film, which features John C. Reilly as Ralph, Jack McBrayer as Felix, Jane Lynch as Sergeant Calhoun (a character from a Halo-like game) and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz. The footage was incomplete; in some parts it was black-and-white line art, but the voice over by Reilly was really funny. At one point Ralph attends “Bad-Anon,” a support group for video game bad guys. I didn’t know anything about this film until this weekend, but what we saw was great … it comes out in fall 2012. Oh, and both Silverman and McBrayer came out on stage to say a few words about it.
–Brave is next year’s Pixar film, set in Scotland and featuring a princess who has to choose one of three idiotic suitors for political reasons. She rides a horse, she shoots a bow, and she ends up meeting a witch who casts a spell … they showed clips from this as well, and brought out Kelly Macdonald and Kevin McKidd, who voice characters in the movie. It’s an action-adventure fantasy thing from Pixar, so it ought to be good.
–Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters Inc. Before they were buddies, Mike and Scully were rivals back in college, and this will detail those college days. Billy Crystal, who voices Mike, showed up to huge cheers from the crowd. It comes out in 2013.
–They also announced two new Pixar movies, which would come out after Monsters University … both of which are currently untitled. The first one is kind of a “What if the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs never hit the Earth?” and the promotional image showed a kid riding on the head of a brontosaurus. The other will take you into how your mind really works. They had mock logos made up for both of them, i.e. “Pixar’s Untitled Movie about Dinosaurs,” which was pretty funny.
–The animation part of the presentation ended with Buzz and Woody from Toy Story bringing out a cake in honor of Pixar’s 25th anniversary, and everyone in the arena receiving a cupcake. This was pretty awesome, and the cupcake was really good.
Next up was the live-action stuff, which included:
–John Carter, for which they brought out director Andrew Stanton, and stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe. Stanton said he was first introduced to John Carter through the 1970s Marvel series, then went back and read the books. They showed the trailer and several clips, including one that featured Dafoe’s character, one of the nine-foot-tall four-armed martians, meeting Kitsch’s character. Both Dafoe and Samantha Morton’s characters will be done with CGI, but both of them walked aorund on stilts when filming their scenes so they could interact with the other characters. It sounds kinda insane. I like dthe clips they showed; Collins’ Deja Thoris should be one of the highlights.
–Frankenweenie, which is actually a stop motion animated film by Tim Burton. Burton is working on the film in London, but sent over two of the producers and a model of Frankenweenie for them to play with on stage.
–Oz the Great and Powerful, which tells the story of how the Wizard came to Oz. It stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, and it’s currently filming in Detroit. None of the stars were there, but they sent a video.
–The Odd Life of Timothy Green, for which star Jennifer Garner came out to promote. This is a Peter Hedges film, who wrote What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Pieces of April. It’s about a couple who find out they can’t have kids, so they write down everything they’d want in a kid and bury the scraps of paper in the back yard. A kid, Timothy Green, grows out of the ground.
–Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy came out to promote this fall’s Muppet film. They showed a couple of clips, which look funny and awesome and really made me excited to finally see this.
–The they promoted an upcoming DisneyNature film about chimpanzees. It looks like a propaganda film to make us think these things are cute and cuddly, but we all know better, right? Like I never saw Planet of the Apes …
–Last and certainly not least, Marvel’s Kevin Feige came out after they played a “sizzle reel” that recapped all the Marvel Studios films that have come out since 2008 (i.e. the Iron Man films, Hulk, Thor and Captain America). The clips they pulled all kind of tied together, so you had General Thunderbolt Ross talking about the super soldier program, Nick Fury visiting Iron Man, etc. In other words, it was all about the continuity they’ve been building. Interestingly enough, the Hulk clips didn’t feature Ed Norton Jr. at all.
Feige then introduced a scene from the Avengers that he said the rest of the world wouldn’t be able to see for awhile. Let me see if I can remember all the details …
It opened with Loki trapped in some sort of cell in the helicarrier, talking with Nick Fury. Fury says if Loki so much as tries to scratch the glass, the cell will fall 30,000 feet to the ground below. Loki says the cell wasn’t really built to hold him, but a mindless beast … they then flash to Black Widow, who glances up at Mark Ruffalo/Bruce Banner. So apparently SHIELD has captured Loki and has him imprisoned. They also flashed to Thor at one point in their conversation, and to a glove that was either Iron Man or Cap (I think it was Cap), as well as Cobie Smulders/Maria Hill. Loki says something about how powerful he is, and Fury offers him a magazine to read. It cuts to Banner, who says something like, “He really grows on you, doesn’t he?”
Next a plane is shown flying over a city — I’m assuming this was a Quinjet. I mean, it’s gotta be a Quinjet, right? It was quick, so I’m not 100 percent on that. Anyway, the next scene has Tony Stark talking to Loki, and he gives the God of Mischief a “roll call” of the Avengers, noting they have two super assassins, Hawkeye and Black Widow, who we get to see in action; a demigod — hey, there’s Thor being Thor-like; a living legend “who kinda lives up to the legend” — hey, there’s Cap! — and then says they all have a reason to hate Loki.
Loki says, “I have an army.”
Stark replies, “We’ve got a Hulk.”
Flash in a quick shot of the Hulk roaring, and cut to the logo …
There were other flashes in there … I’m pretty sure there was another shot of Hawkeye, plus Clark Gregg/Agent Coulson at some point. It was pretty loaded and looked really cool.
Next Feige said that Joss Whedon and the cast were wrapping up shooting, for which they had about two weeks left, and said that unfortunately Whedon, Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Evans couldn’t make it, but sent their best … then he introduced the cast members who were at the show — Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders and Tom Hiddleston. Downey took the microphone and made a comment about how they felt like kids visiting their parents on the weekend, then told them to roll the footage one more time. Here’s the group out on stage, courtesy of Marvel.com:
So, wow … it was pretty cool to see all of them assembled like that. We did some other stuff today, but it’s hard to top all that.