I recapped the 2017 Live-Action Panel already but now it’s time to talk about the 2017 D23 Expo Animation Panel. In this panel, I saw the funniest thing EVER to come out of Disney. Here’s what happened.
I went to the 2017 D23 Expo for all the movie news, I’ll be honest.
Sure, the Disney Parks panel was going to be ah-mazing if even half of the internet rumors were true (spoiler alert: they WERE!) but the movie previews are what brought me to Anaheim.
This was a lesson I learned from my experience at the 2015 D23 Expo.
Getting the early sneak peeks of movies & the exclusive clips (some not released to the public ever) made the actual release of the movies that much more exciting for me.
So, yeah, I’ll be riding this movie high for a couple of years. Money, time, and sleepless nights worth it!
2017 D23 Expo Animation Panel Recap
I’m starting off with what was actually the finale of the panel. COCO brought the house down with an incredible performance by Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel) and Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto de la Cruz).
They sang “Remember Me” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (the same songwriters behind Frozen).
There were more than 160 performers including Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea and Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles under the direction of Kareli Montoya, and the Grammy®-winning Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band in the hall— and we were all dancing in our seats!
“Our film embraces a broad landscape of music,” said director Lee Unkrich. “We were fortunate to have Kristen and Bobby create ‘Remember Me’—it’s the signature song made famous by Ernesto de la Cruz, and it embodies the key theme in our story: the importance of remembering loved ones both in life and beyond.”
Unkrich, co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson shared details about the original story with the crowd.
In theaters Nov. 22, 2017, COCO introduces Miguel, an aspiring musician whose family long ago banned music. Desperate to prove his talent and follow in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel makes a fateful decision and finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he meets his extended family and charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal). Together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
My last panel of the 2015 event was a Frozen sing-a-long with team Lopez, Kristen Bell, and Josh Gad.
I thought it was a nice wrap around tie in that my first panel of 2017 opened with the same franchise.
Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, introduced fans to the new FROZEN holiday featurette, OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE.
Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, amused us with his banter (he clearly has a crush on Kristen- I mean, who doesn’t?) and surprised the crowd with a live performance of the all-new original song “That Time of Year,” written by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson.
The song is part of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new 21-minute featurette, which hits the big-screen in front of Disney•Pixar’s COCO on Nov. 22, 2017.
And great news, Frozen fans!
Joining Bell and Gad in the featurette are Idina Menzel as the voice of Elsa, and Jonathan Groff as the voice of Kristoff. The original cast is coming back, which makes this Frozen-loving momma super happy.
Nope, I have not let it go!
One of my first runDisney costumes was Mrs. Incredible and I’ve so looked forward to the return of this kick-booty superfamily.
This should be no surprise to anyone who knows me and my superhero obsession!
John Lasseter was excited to share with fans a look at what the fashion world thinks of super-suit stylist Edna Mode—the petite-but-powerful character introduced in Pixar Animation Studio’s 2004 Oscar®-winning feature.
I legit cackled (as I’ve also channeled my inner Edna before in a race!) and loved this video celebrating her fashion sense.
Incredibles 2 director Brad Bird—who lends his voice to Edna—joined Lasseter on stage to welcome to the festivities the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) and (omg!) Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson).
Yep, Nick Fury on the stage!
Did I mention my superhero obsession? I had a moment when this happened, guys!
Also, I need his shirt!
Bird revealed details of the upcoming caper, which puts the family into an expanded universe that includes new allies and a brand-new villain.
“‘Incredibles 2’ is really a family film, it’s just that the family happens to have superpowers,” said Bird. “They may have super speed or super strength, but they experience the same problems as any family.”
“Bob’s actually home with the kids this time and I’m the one out fighting crime,” added Hunter. She joked, “I’ve been working out 13 hours a day!”
We saw a clip featuring Baby Jack-Jack and his newfound powers and this kiddo is killing the superhero game!
Mark your calendars, kids, Incredibles 2 returns June 15, 2018.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston hit the stage at D23 Expo 2017, introducing Emmy®-winning actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, who returns as the voice of Vanellope von Schweetz.
Confession: I haven’t even seen Wrecking Ralph and had very little interest in this sequel.
That all changed with ONE scene.
Guys. This was THE moment of the 2017 D23 Expo Animation Panel.
We were the first to see the global debut of a scene from the film that pays hilarious homage to the Disney Princesses.
I so wish I had access to share with you but you’ll just have to trust me on this: GO see this movie when it opens!
I initially thought we were being punked because it was so good and so funny and so irreverent that I thought, no way they are making fun of Disney culture like this!
But yeah, they totally did it- and it’s AWESOME.
Lasseter revealed that filmmakers had asked the original voice actresses behind the Princesses featured to reprise their roles for the sequence, and in a moment no Disney fan will forget, Auli‘i Cravalho (“Moana”), Kristen Bell (Anna in “Frozen”), Kelly MacDonald(Merida in “Brave”), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in “Tangled”), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog”), Irene Bedard (“Pocahontas”), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in “Aladdin”), Paige O’Hara (Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”) were welcomed on stage for the largest gathering of Disney Princesses in history.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ follow-up to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph leaves the arcade behind, venturing into the expansive universe of the internet—which may or may not survive Ralph’s not-so-light touch.
Outcasts-turned-BFFs Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz are reuniting with Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer) and Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch).
Filmmakers revealed a new character, Yesss, an algorithm who plays an important role in Ralph and Vanellope’s journey within the internet. Golden Globe®-winning actress Taraji P. Henson(“Empire”) lends her voice to the character.
“Yesss is a new character who owns the website Buzzaholic,” said Henson. “Yesss knows about everything cool and on trend. And she does spell her name with a triple ‘s.’ Yesss is very savvy, smart and sexy.”
In theaters on Nov. 21st, 2018.
Untitled Disneytoon Film
John Lasseter kicked off the presentation by announcing Disneytoon Studios’ original new animated movie, “Untitled DTS Film.”
Directed by Klay Hall and Bobs Gannaway, and produced by Ferrell Barron, the theatrical feature film explores the future of aviation—taking moviegoers to the edge of discovery in the air—and beyond.
The clip we saw showcased incredible animation and I cannot wait to hear more about the storyline going on here!
“Untitled DTS Film” opens in theaters on April 12th, 2019.
Toy Story 4
Yes! We are getting more of our favorite toys with Toy Story 4. It’s slated for release on June 21, 2019.
We didn’t get to see too much of the actual story but had a fun behind the scenes intro to many of the folks working hard on this new installment.
John Lasseter invited Pixar’s Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?” short) to the stage, revealing that Cooley has assumed full director responsibilities for TOY STORY 4.
First of all, this is NOT the title. But neither is “Thawed” – apparently John Lassiter hears that suggestion a lot.
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and produced by Peter Del Vecho, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ feature-length follow-up to 2013’s Oscar®-winning film FROZEN is slated for theaters on November 27th, 2019!
Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff are reprising their roles in an all-new story.
John Lasseter, Bell and Gad shared with FROZEN fans a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the filmmakers’ recent research trip to Norway, Finland and Iceland.
Untitled Dan Scanlon Movie
This movie sounds like it’s going to be a full Kleenex box movie. Bring your tissues, guys!
Director Dan Scanlon, who helmed Pixar’s “Monsters University,” joined Lasseter to share a few details about an all-new original feature film currently in production at Pixar Animation Studios.
According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father?
The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director.
“In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.” Kori Rae (“Monsters University”) will produce.
The 2017 D23 Expo Animation gave us so many great things to look forward to. It’s only a matter of time until we get to see it all!
Coco is up first in November: see you there?
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)