is a freelance Filmmaker based in North Devon.


D23 - What to expect


D23 Expo is due again. The bi-annual congregation of Disney fans, industry press and Disney's various businesses is the Disney fan equivalent to Mecca. This year is set to be the biggest. That's objectively speaking. We've got a new slate of Disney Animation and Pixar films, HUGE developments in Disney Parks and Resorts and Disney are about to show us the games they've been licensing. So where is this company going to go next?

Parks and Resorts

Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and now after 7 years of anticipation, Shanghai Disney Resort. The 6 resorts across the globe represent the magic of Disney and their affiliated companies. Walt famously said, "Disneyland is always in a state of becoming".

Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World

Star Wars Land was announced at the last expo and now construction well underway. Both Star Wars Lands will be different but with the same attractions. Walt Disney Imagineering will pull no stops in making sure these lands are the most immersive they've ever built. We know that there will be a trackless ride system attraction as well as an interactive simulation attraction. While details are tight, they're sure to be exciting. 

Furthermore, Walt Disney World will have another overhaul coming before 2021. This time, it's Epcot. Guest feedback for Epcot has one recurring theme, it's outdated. Epcot is a park for education, for the future and the cultures of our world. It's a park which promotes community regardless of borders and the world's shared interest of progress. What I just described sounds like it comes from the 80's, which is because it did. Epcot is dated. So big changes are coming, and it starts in FutureWorld.

Ellen's Universe of Energy will be removed and replaced with a rollercoaster. The IP for the rollercoaster is not yet known but the top contenders are Guardians of the Galaxy and Tron. I'm, of course, hoping for the latter, because Light Cycle Power Run is the one attraction from Shanghai I'm desperate to ride. Only time will tell.

The rumour mill spins once again for hardcore Epcot fans. As there is (very) strong evidence that a new Pavilion will be entering World Showcase. That's right, there'll be another country to get drunk at. Currently, the evidence is favouring Brazil and/or Spain. Finally, Disney has filed permits to extend the Paris pavilion, leaving analysts to guess that the incredible Ratatouille attraction from Disneyland Paris will be copied at Epcot. 

Disneyland Paris

Yes, I'm going out on a limb. Disneyland Paris will be getting D23 love, and quite a bit of it. Disney can invest whatever the hell they want to now. So expect something to come. That something is Marvel. I expect Walt Disney Studios to get a huge Marvel makeover, bringing Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! as well as a re-fit for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. The entire left side of the park should be a Marvel land. Marvel is pretty much certain, as it's outlined in a shareholder plan. $1.4bn of investment is already announced so I think this is all in the realm of acceptability with maybe even some wriggle room for extra attractions in Toon Studio too. We can assume Marvel will use a large amount of the Backlot Area. This includes the current base for Walt Disney Imagineering, which is believed to be relocated following the construction of a new Cast Member area outside Fantasyland. 

Walt Disney Animation and Pixar

We've nearly broken through the current slate of animated films from the Animation divisions. This year's D23 is thought to be the last from the current leadership. John Lasseter and Ed Catmull have brought life back into Walt Disney Animation, with hits like Tangled, Frozen, Zootopia and Moana. John is set to direct Toy Story 4 and after that, we assume he's retiring. We also expect Ed to follow suit. Of course, this is a sad thing to discuss. But it feels right. Speculation is that Pixar's Pete Docter is to replace John with a industry exec to take on the position currently held by Ed. Pete has directed some of the most thoughtful and emotional animated films of all time, being, Monsters Inc., Up, and Inside Out. I couldn't think of a more perfect candidate to take the 'division that started it all' forward. He'll promote educational projects that connect with children and adults alike.

As far as announcements to the next slate, we can expect some announcements of franchises, like Frozen, Wreck it Ralph or maybe Big Hero 6. Not to mention Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2. Gigantic is the next original film to come from Disney Animation and we only have concept art. Hopefully a teaser will be shown at this year's event.

LucasFilm, Marvel and Walt Disney Studios

The Studio Entertainment Division have some big announcements...

Walt Disney Studios

I'm just going to list what I expect...

  • A Wrinkle in Time - Teaser Trailer
  • The Lion King - Supporting Cast Reveal
  • Mary Poppins Returns - Teaser
  • Mulan - Teaser
  • Announce the two currently untitled live action films


Dun da-dun dun da da-da... Indiana Jones... Yes. I think we'll hear something about Indiana Jones at D23. Also, The Last Jedi... That's all I want to speculate...


AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF... AN ANNOUNCEMENT! Comic-Con is just around the corner so I'd expect a lot of Marvel to be announced then and not now.

The future of Disney is bright. Make sure you follow me on twitter, because I'll be tweeting all weekend with the hashtag #d23expo

Hamish Thompson