Disney held its biennial D23 Expo this weekend to announce news about a slate of upcoming projects in theaters and on its new streaming service, Disney+, which will include content from properties such as Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Disney itself. Which is to say: The expo is a big deal. It’s the place where new footage from the upcoming Star Wars movie, “The Rise of Skywalker,” can send the Internet into a tizzy and headlines are made by announcing the release date of a film that’s not hitting movie screens until … three years from now (“Black Panther 2,” coming to a theater near you on May 6, 2022!).
We’ve broken down the most shocking moments, exciting projects and unexpected cameos to come out of the event.
Tom Holland addresses Spider-gate
Fans were disheartened by the news that Spider-Man probably won’t appear again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because Disney and Sony couldn’t reach an amenable deal, thus relegating the character to only the latter’s movies. Tom Holland, the latest actor to take on the character, appeared at D23 to promote his new Pixar film, “Onward,” but kept things vague onstage while speaking about his turn as the web-slinger. “It’s been a crazy week,” he said, “but I want you to know I am grateful from the bottom of my heart, and I love you 3,000.”
Later during the expo, he spoke with Entertainment Weekly to offer a few more thoughts on the situation — though the actor remained diplomatic.
“Basically, we’ve made five great movies,” Holland said. “It’s been five amazing years. I’ve had the time of my life. Who knows what the future holds? But all I know is that I’m going to continue playing Spider-Man and having the time of my life. It’s going to be so fun, however we choose to do it. The future for Spider-Man will be different, but it will be equally as awesome and amazing, and we’ll find new ways to make it even cooler.”
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige echoed that sentiment, telling the magazine, “I’m feeling about Spider-Man gratitude and joy. We got to make five films within the MCU with Spider-Man: two stand-alone films and three with the Avengers. It was a dream that I never thought would happen. It was never meant to last forever. We knew there was a finite amount of time that we’d be able to do this, and we told the story we wanted to tell, and I’ll always be thankful for that.”
Kit Harington travels from Westeros to the MCU
The actor best known for his turn as Jon Snow in “Game of Thrones” will star in Marvel’s “The Eternals.” While most casual fans probably don’t know much about the Eternals — a group of Greek-mythology-esque godlike humanoid beings created by Jack Kirby in the 1970s — the film adaptation of the series appears to be a big play for the MCU, something along the lines of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Harington will play the role of Dane Whitman, also known in the comics as the superhero Black Knight. He will appear alongside fellow GoT alumnus Richard Madden, plus Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Don Lee and Gemma Chan.
Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Yep, you read that correctly. The actor made a surprise appearance at D23 alongside Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to announce the project.
“Can you please ask me if I’m going to play Obi-Wan again?” he asked Kennedy, who acquiesced. “Yes,” came his simple reply as the crowd burst into cheers.
We don’t know much more, other than that he will take on the role for a stand-alone series that will join “The Mandalorian” on Disney+. McGregor first portrayed a young version of the iconic character in 1999′s “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” (Alec Guinness first played Kenobi in 1977′s “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.”)
Disney classics return in a few different forms
It’s all about the remake, the reprise, the reboot these days, so it’s no surprise that the expo included a few familiar Disney projects, all with new looks.
First up, Disney will continue remaking its animated classics as live-action films, despite the mixed critical reaction to “The Lion King.” Next up is “Lady and the Tramp,” starring actual dogs (with some CGI enhancement) and the voices of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux.
The company also released the first image of Emma Stone as Cruella De Vil in the newest take on “101 Dalmatians,” confusing some on the Internet.
Disney, though, isn’t interested in remaking only its movies. The company announced a new series featuring Lizzie McGuire, this time as a 30-year-old interior decorator. Original showrunner Terri Minsky will head the series, which features Hilary Duff returning to her breakout role.
“She’s older, she’s wiser, she has a much bigger shoe budget,” Duff said of the character. “She has her dream job. She has kind of the perfect life right now.”
The company is also reviving the High School Musical brand, this time as a television series titled “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” No, that’s not a typo. The mockumentary follows students at East High School, where the movies were set, putting on their own version of the musical.
Jeff Goldblum’s world
Fans got a first look at the National Geographic docuseries for Disney+, “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” in which the quirky actor takes an “extraordinary look at ordinary things,” such as sneakers, denim, ice cream, jewelry, tattoos and more.
While the show might be exciting, most of the Goldblum news out of D23 involved the actor, well, acting exactly like himself. At one point, he took the stage to sing the “Mickey Mouse Club” song, the one in which you spell out the titular character’s name.
What most titillated the Internet, though, was the actor’s reaction to learning about the Spider-Man debacle during an interview. After seeming confused by the news itself, Goldblum ripped off his glasses and announced that he was “crestfallen.” Though the situation was explained to him by the reporter, Goldblum remarked, “I’m not a businessperson. Whatever you say is Greek to me,” before literally speaking a different language in a meandering response that ended with “it’ll all work out.”