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All the movie and TV news from Day 1 of Disney’s D23 Expo

It appears that Disney has been holding out on us. For the first D23 Expo in three years, Walt Disney Pictures unveiled its ambitious plans to kick off the 100th anniversary of the studio with an array of original films (for both theatrical releases and Disney+) and new TV series. And Disney hasn’t even gotten around to making its Marvel or Star Wars announcements yet!

The first day of D23 began with a look at the sequel to a classic flick that is coming to Disney+ on September 30: Hocus Pocus 2. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are all reprising their roles as the evil Sanderson Sisters from the original film. In the sequel, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) are two teenage girls who are tricked into resurrecting the Sandersons, and the witches are out for revenge on all of Salem. The trailer also briefly introduces Doug Jones’ Billy Butcherson, a good zombie who was cursed by the sisters.

Hocus Pocus 2 | Official Trailer | Disney+

Another highly anticipated sequel arriving this Thanksgiving holiday (November 24, to be exact) is the sequel to Enchanted: Disenchanted. Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey are reprising their roles as Giselle and Robert Philip, while James Marsden and Idina Menzel also return as King Edward and his wife, Nancy Tremaine. The new film takes place roughly 15 years after the original, and Giselle’s happy ending is considerably less happy.

While Giselle and Robert are still very much in love, she is having some tension with her stepdaughter, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino). However, Giselle’s new foe is Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph), a mortal woman who seems to have it out for her family. Feeling the pressure from all sides, Giselle wishes her new life could be more like a fairy tale. And that wish works all too well, since it not only transformed their new hometown, it’s also changing Giselle into a wicked stepmother.

Disenchanted | Official Trailer | Disney+

Only D23 attendees were able to watch the first trailer for the new remake of The Haunted Mansion. So we don’t have that for you here. However, we can tell you that director Justin Simien unveiled footage that explored the history of Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom’s popular attraction. Owen Wilson portrayed a priest in the clips, alongside a character played by Tiffany Haddish as they explored the mansion’s hidden rooms. Lakeith Stanfield briefly appeared as a tour guide.

Rosario Dawson and Danny DeVito were also glimpsed in the trailer, and the film will reportedly have cameo appearances by Stranger Things‘ Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, and Hasan Minhaj. However, Disney appears to have moved The Haunted Mansion off of its March 10, 2023 release date. It was only listed as a 2023 release in the footage.

Disney’s Snow White, starring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot, releasing 2024. #D23Expo

— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) September 9, 2022

The previously announced live-action Snow White remake didn’t have any footage to show. But Rachel Zegler spoke about her role as Snow White, while Gal Gadot gushed at the chance to play Snow White’s stepmother, the Evil Queen. La La Land writers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul penned new songs for the film, which will be directed by Marc Webb. It’s set for a 2024 release.

Fans won’t have to wait as long to see the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. That Rob Marshall-directed film is still on course for a May 26, 2023 theatrical release. But the real treat at D23 was the chance to see Halle Bailey as Ariel while singing Part of Your World in the clip below.

The Little Mermaid - Official Teaser Trailer

After The Little Mermaid presentation, it was Pixar’s turn to tease upcoming projects. To begin, director Peter Sohn announced that Elemental features Mamoudou Athie as a water elemental named Wade, while Leah Lewis portrays a fire elemental called Ember. They live in a city where fire, water, earth, and air elementals live side-by-side. The film follows Wade and Ember as they form a relationship and learn about the things they have in common. It will hit theaters on June 16, 2023.

Check out this #D23Expo Exclusive Poster for Disney and Pixar’s Elemental. See the movie only in theaters June 16, 2023!

— Pixar (@Pixar) September 9, 2022

Although Pixar primarily makes animated films for Disney, the studio is now making a new series called Win or Lose for Disney+. It’s a show about a coed middle school softball team that explores the “love, rivalry and the challenges” faced by the kids in the week before their big championship game. Will Forte will headline the series as Coach Dan, and the show was written and directed by Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates. It will premiere on Disney+ in 2023, and the first pic from the series is below.

The cast of Win or Lose.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Perhaps one of the most exciting announcements of the day was made by Inside Out director, Pete Docter, and the film’s star, Amy Poehler, as they revealed Inside Out 2 is heading to theaters in 2024. Like the original movie, the majority of the story will take place in the mind of a girl named Riley. The key difference this time is that Riley will be a teenager. Additionally, Joy (Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) won’t be the only personified conflicting emotions in Riley’s head. Kelsey Mann will direct the sequel.

Pixar closed out its part of the presentation by announcing a new sci-fi animated film: Elio. The title character is voiced by Yonas Kibreab, and he’s just an 11-year-old kid who has somehow been transported across the universe. Apparently, the aliens believe he’s Earth’s intergalactic ambassador. America Ferrera will co-star as Elio’s mother, Olga Solis. Coco veterans Adrian Molina and Mary Alice Drumm are co-directing the film for a spring 2024 release.

The cast of Pixar's Elio.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As a lifelong Disney fan, the final announcement of the day gave me chills. For the 100th animated film in Disney’s history, the studio will explore the history of the Wishing Star that has appeared in several previous movies. The title of the film is Wish, and it features Ariana DeBose as Asha, a 17-year-old girl who lives in a Kingdom of Wishes. When Asha needs guidance, she calls upon the stars themselves to help her. In response, a single, non-vocal, star falls from the sky and develops a way to communicate with her.

Promo art for Disney's Wish.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Alan Tudyk will co-star in the film as a goat named Valentino, and the team teased that Wish‘s villain will be one of the most formidable foes in the history of the studio. And since Wish is so steeped in Disney lore, it will have animation that unites the classic Disney watercolor style and modern 3D animation.

Frozen director Chris Buck will co-direct Wish alongside Fawn Veerasunthorn, while Julia Michaels will write original songs for the film. There’s no date for the project yet, but it’s the one I’m really excited to see when it’s ready.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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