“Good to see you guys after three years away”, shouted a fan when meeting a couple of friends at the Anaheim Convention Center (United States). The three of them hugged each other, their cloth bags full of packages banging against each other revealing a bit of the Marvel funkos (figures with small bodies and giant heads) they were taking home.
The greeting was given at the exit of the Disney Legends ceremony, which was attended by more than 6,000 fans of the Mickey Mouse brand universe and all its entertainment franchises within the framework of the new edition of D23, something like as the biggest fan gathering, its own Comic-Con.
As some of the thousands (could have been more than a hundred thousand this past weekend) scrambled about trying to receive a commemorative Disney 100th anniversary pin,s three friends walked away amidst a wave of shoppers, cosplayers, and the occasional nostalgic dressed up as a princess or a Jedi warrior.
This was a special year, because D23 not only returned to its face-to-face format, but also for the centenary of the most famous company of dreams and stories in the world which, as in other editions, was in charge of recognizing the immense level of loyalty of people from everyone who lands in the hot city of California to pay tribute to the series, movies, paraphernalia and emotions contained thanks to a childhood marked by the characters created or remembered by Walt Disney.
Precisely, the Disney Legends awards galas were one of the highlights of the event, giving a heavy and powerfully emotional trophy to people who have contributed to the work of telling stories and imagining new worlds within that universe of entertainment. This year, that panel was packed to capacity, witnessing awards for Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy); comedians Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, Josh Gad, actresses Idina Menzel; Kristen Bell and Patrick Dempsey; as well as designer Doris Hardoon, manager Robert Price ‘Bob’ Foster, songwriter Chris Montan, singer/actor Jonathan Groof, and producer John Hahn.
The meeting concluded with the trophy as a legend for the actor Chadwick Boseman. The star of the film Black Panther passed away on August 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, after battling cancer. It was an emotional moment that closed with a surprise that took that moment to a new degree of joy: Carolina Gaitán and Mauro Castillo appeared singing No se Habla de Bruno (We Don’t Talk About Bruno), the hit song from the soundtrack of Encanto, before an audience that was carried away by a discharge of joy with a Colombian flavor.
(You can read: Disney announced a project to expand its Marvel theme park in California).
The corridors of the Anaheim Convention Center were packed. Thousands of Mickey Mouse hats formed at times a strange image among that wave of fans that was growing unbridled. Some took photos, others lined up for miles to see a room full of Disney memorabilia or buy a gift, and others simply walked with their mouths open trying to assimilate the whole scene or admiring Mickey’s plane that Walt Disney himself used in his travels and which was exhibited in one of the largest rooms in the enclosure. “The D23 is for those who love to dream and never stop doing it”, Said a fan who tightly hugged a Baby Yoda and had just put out a lightsaber from a Jedi warrior.
The D23 is a meeting for those who want to know about the news of the studios, the series, the cinematographic productions and the tapes that were developed with platforms such as Disney Plus or Star + in mind. This year the D23 did not disappoint its faithful devotees.
In one of the most popular panels, the news that Disney will have in the coming years was revealed. There is a bit of witchcraft with a comedy air with Hocus Pocus 2, which released its trailer and revived the memories of many with the reappearance of its stars: Bette Midler; Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, turned into three sisters and witches determined to scare the people of Salem, Massachusetts. The comedy with overtones of horror will premiere on September 30 on Disney +.
As well as Disenchanted, the second part of the comedy with airs of fairy tale Enchanted, which starred Amy Adams. She repeats in this fantasy production that will arrive on the same streaming platform on November 24.
But perhaps one of the tapes that caused the most stir was the new real version of The Little Mermaid with the young Halle Bailey as the protagonist.
“This is a dream come true,” the actress confessed, using a phrase that was heard throughout the D23 edition. With just a few seconds of Berry in character singing and swimming in the depths of the sea, it was clear that the film It will be one of Disney’s big bets for May next year in theaters.
There was also a visual bite of the new version of Snow White, showing Gal Gadot in an evil tone and handing over the responsibility of a rereading of a classic to Rachel Ziegler, the Colombian-born actress as the protagonist. Likewise, a fragment of Mufasa could be seen, the next adventure based on The Lion King, but focused on Simba’s father. Both productions are scheduled to premiere in 2024.
(Another topic: Disney reveals ‘The Lion King’ prequel and ‘Strange World’ premiere.)
Another bet on a classic will be Peter Pan and Wendy, which can be seen this year on Disney +. There is no release date yet, but its stars, Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson and Jude Law –in the role of Captain Hook– along with a production sequence.
For its part, Pixar surprised by revealing that it will launch the second part of Inside Out: as well as Elemental, by 2024, an animated comedy and romance story in a world in which the characters represent the four elements of the Earth. What if a girl who is literally fire falls in love with a character who is made of water? The answer lies in a tender adventure that seems to bet on the idea of identity and tolerance with difference.
Likewise, the first images of the Wish series and the film Elio were released, the latter about an 11-year-old boy who becomes an ambassador of Earth. In addition to the Win or Lose series and the production of six episodes of Zootopia, which will be seen on Disney Plus.
Another pleasant surprise was a first look at Iwaju, the new animated series from Disney Studios and the African company Kugali Media. The plot is set in Lagos (Nigeria) and tells the adventures of a girl in a world of the future. “She has the magic of Disney and the strength and authenticity of Kugali (…). It is a series that is going to tell the story of my people”, said the creator of the project, Ziky Nelson.
Disney took its fans to paroxysm by revealing images of the expected Indiana Jones 5-with an emotional Harrison Ford saying that it is one of the best of the saga-l and Avatar, as well as of the third season of The Mandalorian; Marvel, for its part, announced the actors that will make up the movie Thunderbolts: David Harbour, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Florence Pugh, Sebastian Stan, Hannah John Kamen and Olga Kurylenko. It will be released in July 2024.
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ANDRES HOYOS VARGAS
*By invitation of Disney