D23 Expo 2019 brought a number of reveals about Disney's upcoming slate of movies and TV shows. Taking place this past weekend, D23 is a fan event that sees the Mouse House give updates on some of its biggest properties, including Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and now Disney+.
This year's D23 had been at risk of being overshadowed by the collapse of Disney and Sony's Spider-Man deal, but the company did its best to get things back on track with a slew of big reveals. Among the many already announced projects that received updates were Black Panther 2, which now has an official release date, Frozen 2, with Evan Rachel Wood named amongst the cast, and Star Wars 9, with new BTS footage debuting and including a tease of a major plot twist in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Alongside all of that, Disney also made some brand-new announcements, unveiling a number of new movies and TV shows - most of which are set to be available to stream on Disney+ over the next couple of years.
Raya And The Last Dragon
The bulk of Disney's animation slate was mostly centered around projects we already knew were happening, including Frozen 2 and Pixar's 2020 movies Onward and Soul, there was room for one new project: Raya and the Last Dragon. Written by Crazy Rich Asians' screenwriter Adele Lim, Raya and the Last Dragon will star Cassie Steele and Awkwafina in the lead roles. The film takes place in a land called Kumandra, where a warrior called Raya (Steele) searches for the last dragon (Awkwafina). Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins direct, with a release date of November 25, 2020.
Spidey And His Amazing Friends
Disney announced a new Spider-Man series at D23 Expo - albeit it wasn't the Spider-Man everyone was hoping they'd talk about. Amidst the breakdown of Marvel & Sony's deal for the use of Spider-Man in the MCU, Disney announced the first long-form Marvel series for Disney Junior, titled Spidey and His Amazing Friends. The animated series will see Peter Parker having to team-up with a number of other heroes, including Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy (a.k.a. Ghost-Spider), and the likes of Hulk and Black Panther.
Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against The Universe
It'd previously been revealed that a Phineas and Ferb movie was in the works, but D23 Expo brought an announcement of exactly what it is, including a new title and some firmer plot details. Titled Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe, the Disney+ film will see Phineas and Ferb traveling across the galaxy to rescue their sister Candace, “who has been abducted by aliens and has found utopia in a far-off planet, free of pesky little brothers.” Vincent Martella and Ashley Tisdale are reprising their voice roles as Phineas and Candace, with David Errigo Jr. taking on the part of Ferb.
Lizzie McGuire Revival
15 years after its original Disney Channel run ended, Lizzie McGuire is being revived for Disney+, with Hilary Duff set to return to one of her most famous roles. The original series documented Lizzie's trials and tribulations as a teenager, whereas this continuation will find Lizzie McGuire as a 30-year-old living in New York City - but presumably still with an animated avatar alongside her. It's unclear if any of the other original cast will return at this point, but creator Terri Minksy is involved in the production.
It had previously been confirmed that The Muppets would be coming to Disney+ in some form, but at D23 Expo the details of The Muppets' return was confirmed. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the rest of the gang will be appearing in a short-form series called Muppets Now, set to premiere on Disney+ in 2020. The series will reportedly be unscripted, allowing for all kinds of Muppets chaos, and will feature a number of celebrity guest stars. Disney has been struggling to find the right way to use The Muppets in recent years, with an ABC series swiftly canceled, but this sounds like it'll return the group back towards its roots.
There are already a number of Marvel TV shows in the works for Disney+, including Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, What If...?, and Hawkeye, but D23 Expo still found room to announce more, including the long-expected confirmation that Ms. Marvel is coming to the MCU. Ms. Marvel, a.k.a. Kamala Khan, is a Pakistani American teenager who gains superpowers through Terrigenesis, and is a huge fan of Captain Marvel. Bisha K. Ali will serve as showrunner on Ms. Marvel, and the character will appear not only in her own Disney+ show, but MCU movies as well, which means it's quite likely fans will get to see a long-anticipated team-up between Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel.
Another MCU series announced at D23 Expo, and it's another one that Marvel fans have been clamoring after for years, Moon Knight is officially a go at Disney+. The character had long been linked with a Netflix series, since his brand of violent vigilantism lends itself well to a darker, more adult series, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays on Disney+. Moon Knight also suffers from dissociative identity disorder, meaning he is frequently confused between reality and hallucinations, which should allow for a very different kind of superhero story. Other details are scarce right now, but Marvel fans already have some ideas for who should be cast as Moon Knight.
The third and final MCU series announced for Disney+ is She-Hulk, with a TV show centered around Jennifer Walters in the works. In the comics, Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner, who is given some of his blood after being in a severe accident, and the gamma radiation causes her to develop the same powers as the Hulk - with the key difference that she has greater control over them, and retains her intelligence. That's now happened in the MCU in Avengers: Endgame, but that movie also left the Hulk injured after his Snap, so that might be what results in Jennifer Walters becoming She-Hulk in the MCU, and quite possibly her eventually replacing the Hulk in the movies too. She-Hulk and the other Disney+ Marvel shows will all take place during Phase 4, so should have a big impact on the MCU going forward.
Although reports of an Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series surfaced just before D23 Expo, it wasn't until the event itself that it was made official. At the end of the Star Wars section of the Disney+ panel, the biggest event from which was the release of The Mandalorian trailer, Ewan McGregor strode onto stage to incredible cheers, finally being able to confirm that, "Yes", he is playing Obi-Wan again. There aren't too many details about the series at this point, but we know it'll follow Obi-Wan Kenobi during his years on Tatooine - Disney's official timeline places it eight years after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - and will start shooting next year, with all the scripts for the Disney+ series already written.
- Frozen II (2019) release date: Nov 22, 2019