Marvel Studios, 20th Century Studios and Lucasfilm showcase a fresh slate at D23 Expo 2022

The Walt Disney Studios continued to fuel the fire ignited at yesterday’s showcase with a jam-packed presentation from the teams at Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios and 20th Century Studios at the Anaheim Convention Center as part of D23 Expo 2022. Thousands of fans were among the first to hear new announcements, see never-before-seen footage and hear from the stars of the industry’s biggest streaming and theatrical titles slated for the coming months and beyond. 

The Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman welcomed a fired-up crowd to Hall D23. Bergman reflected on the 13-year history of D23 Expo and the evolution of the Studios group. “That [first] year, none of the iconic studios you’ll hear from today were part of the company,” he said. “It was just Disney Animation, Disney Live Action and Pixar. We announced the Marvel acquisition just before our first Expo in 2009. Then three years later, we added Lucasfilm, and in 2019, 20th Century Studios. I’ve been at Disney for 26 years, so it’s been incredibly exciting to welcome each of them to our Studio family. And like Disney and Pixar, each of these studios has a phenomenal legacy of storytelling.” 

Joining Bergman to walk fans through the upcoming slate of films were studio executives Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy; Marvel Studios producer and president Kevin Feige; and James Cameron, 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron. The showcase included the following highlights.

LUCASFILM

Bergman introduced Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kenned, who guided the audience through the incredible lineup ahead. “As you can see, there is an immense amount of exciting new Star Wars storytelling to come from Lucasfilm. The quality, creativity, and variety these teams are bringing to Disney+ is absolutely remarkable, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience each of them.”

Before Kennedy concluded the Lucasfilm presentation, she had one more title to share. “I couldn’t leave here without talking about one other project we’ve been hard at work on at Lucasfilm—Indiana Jones,” she said as the familiar theme played and the crowd erupted. “I’m thrilled to welcome to the stage our director, James Mangold. Mangold wowed the crowd with some new details along with a sizzle reel from the upcoming fifth installment of the immensely popular INDIANA JONES franchise, which opens in theaters on 30 June 2023. Joining Kennedy and Mangold on stage was the one-and-only Harrison Ford alongside co-star and Emmy® winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Ford, who was a little emotional on stage, said, “Thank you for making these films such an incredible experience for all of us. I’m very proud to say that this one is fantastic, and [Waller-Bridge] is one of the reasons.

Indiana Jones movies are about fantasy and mystery, but they’re also about heart,” continued the actor. “I’m really, really happy that we have a really human story to tell, as well as a movie that will kick your ass.”

MARVEL STUDIOS

Greeting fans at D23 Expo 2022, Kevin Feige said he’s been coming to D23 Expo for years—taking in all the performances the other studios in the Disney family bring to the stage. “I’ve always been a little jealous,” Feige admitted. “Why can’t we get our own musical number?” That kicked off a show-stopping performance of the buzzy fan-favourite I Could Do This All Day from the show-within-a-show Rogers: The Musical in last year’s Disney+ series Hawkeye. Bringing it to life live on stage were 22 performers, a six-piece live rhythm section and composer and conductor Marc Shaiman, who wrote the song for Hawkeye.

Feige returned to the stage, reviewing recent announcements including the Multiverse Saga—the conclusion of phase four, the phase five slate and the phase six titles that include Fantastic Four and two new Avengers films: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to thrill fans of the big screen, starting with the last film of phase four.

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER director Ryan Coogler shared an exclusive look at a scene and some highlights from the much-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s Black Panther. Much to the crowd’s delight, cast members Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku) and Tenoch Huerta (Namor) joined Coogler and Feige on stage. In the story, the Wakandans fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. The heroes must band together to forge a new path for the kingdom. Also starring Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Florence Kasumba (Ayo), Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams), Michaela Coel (Aneka), Mabel Cadena (Namora), Alex Livinalli (Attuma) and Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is produced by Feige and Nate Moore, and hits the big screen on 11 November. 

 Joining Feige on stage to officially kick off phase five of the MCU were ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA stars Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp) and Jonathan Majors (Kang). The audience was treated to an exclusive look at the film that features superhero partners Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, who team up with Hope’s parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Scott’s daughter, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), to explore the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible. Hitting theaters on 17 February 2023, the film connects to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, said Feige.

Feige officially confirmed that Matt Shakman, who directed every episode of 2021’s WandaVision would be directing FANTASTIC FOUR. The film opens in theaters on 8 November 2024. 

 Continuing Sam Wilson’s journey as Captain America is a brand-new film heading to theaters in 2024. CAPTAIN AMERICA: NEW WORLD ORDER director Julius Onah joined Feige on stage. Together, they welcomed The Falcon and The Winter Soldier returning stars Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Captain America), Danny Ramirez (Joaquin Torres) and Carl Lumbly (Isaiah Bradley). They join new cast members Tim Blake Nelson (The Leader), who was on hand at D23 Expo, as well as Shira Haas (Sabra). Captain America: New World Order hits theaters on 3 May 2024. 

The identities of the THUNDERBOLTS were unveiled this morning as Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Valentina Allegra de Fontaine), David Harbour (Red Guardian), Hannah John-Kamen (Ghost), Sebastian Stan (James “Bucky” Barnes/The Winter Soldier) and Wyatt Russell (John Walker/U.S. Agent) joined director Jake Schreier on stage to thunderous applause. The esteemed team also features stars Olga Kurylenko (Taskmaster) and Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova)—Pugh recorded a greeting for the D23 Expo audience. Thunderbolts opens in theaters on 26 July 2024. 

Feige capped the Marvel Studios presentation with THE MARVELS, revisiting key moments in the MCU before welcoming to the stage director Nia DaCosta and cast members Iman Vellani (Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel), Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau) and Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel). Fans were given a special look at scenes from the new movie, which opens in theaters on 28 July 2023. 

20TH CENTURY STUDIOS

Alan Bergman returned to the stage and was joined virtually by Academy Award®-winning producer/director James Cameron, currently in New Zealand, where he is still hard at work readying the release of the highly anticipated sequel to the biggest film of all time, Avatar. AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, which opens in theaters on 16 December, welcomes back to the big screen returning cast members Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldaña (Neytiri), Sigourney Weaver (Kiri) and Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch), who appeared on stage with producer Jon Landau. The crowd was treated to some fun anecdotes and exciting revelations about the new film before meeting the new-generation cast members Jamie Flatters (Neteyam), Jack Champion (Spider), Bailey Bass (Tsireya) and Trinity Jo-Li Bliss (Tuk). Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies they endure. Before the show concluded, the lucky fans learned they’d be among the first to see scenes from Avatar: The Way of Water—right now. Each was invited to don a pair of Dolby 3D glasses—a Hall D23 first—to get fully immersed in the brand-new footage.  

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