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D23 Expo announces new projects

This past weekend, the biennial D23 Expo occurred at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California from Sept. 9-11.

The event was originally planned for 2021, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was pushed back to 2022. It was also pushed back to highlight Disney’s plans for the 100th anniversary of the company on Oct. 16. 

The D23 Expo stems from the D23 Official Disney Fan Club, which was founded in 2009. D23 refers to “D” — which stands for Disney — and “23” for 1923, which was when Walt Disney founded the Walt Disney Company. The expo contains panels and events very much like San Diego Comic-Con as well as a ceremony for the Disney Legends, a Hall of Fame program that recognizes individuals who made an extraordinary contribution to the Walt Disney Company. 

The 2022 D23 Expo kicked off with the 2022 Disney Legends ceremony. Notable members who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include Anthony Anderson (“black-ish,” “Law & Order”), Kristen Bell (the “Frozen” films), Ellen Pompeo (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Josh Gad (also the “Frozen” films). Posthumously, Chadwick Boseman (“Black Panther”) also received an induction, which was accepted by his brother Derrick. 

Following the ceremony, Disney CEO Bob Chapek took the stage, with many people in the crowd booing him. Chapek has garnered a lot of attention in the media for making questionable changes to the Walt Disney Company; in recent news, he was called out for his commencement speech at Indiana University this past May when he switched up the nicknames of Disneyland California and Walt Disney World in Florida.

Chapek announced that many of the parks across the world are expanding and many new attractions were announced. In particular, the heavily anticipated TRON Lightcycle Run at the Magic Kingdom was announced, set to open in the spring of 2023. 

As is the case with Disney in general, the D23 Expo announced a ton of new movies and TV shows that are under the Disney mantle. One film that is especially anticipated is the live-action remake of the classic 1989 film “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey in the main role of Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as the sea witch Ursula. The film is set to be released on May 26, 2023.

In addition to the live-action “Little Mermaid,” many interesting projects are also coming out. Because there are so many, here are just a few that are the most anticipated. One project that fans of Disney are waiting for is “Disenchanted” from Walt Disney Pictures, the sequel to the 2007 film “Enchanted.” That movie is set to be released on Nov. 24 of this year. Another Walt Disney Pictures project that has been announced to join the live-action remakes is “Snow White,” starring Rachel Zegler in the titular role and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. The film is set to be released sometime in 2024. 

From Pixar, the biggest project that was announced is “Inside Out 2,” set to be released on June 14, 2024. In addition to the massive list of projects from Marvel announced several months back, the biggest that is set to be released is “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” With a Nov. 11, 2022 release date looming, the film should carry on the legacy that Chadwick Boseman created with the character. Marvel also announced two new “Avenger” movies that are set to be released in 2025, titled “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars.”

Overall,the D23 Expo made many announcements that should satisfy all Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel fans.

Contact Nicole Bilyak at nbilyak01@saintmarys.edu