Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow at D23 Expo 2015

While Disney flew me out to California for an all-expenses paid trip to the D23 EXPO 2015, it in no way shapes my coverage of the events.


Words can not describe the energy in the room seated by eight thousand die-hard Disney fans during the D23 Live-Action panel announcements this past weekend in Anaheim, CA at the D23 EXPO. Seeing Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, J.J. Abrams, Director of Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford (Star Wars) Chris Evans (Captain America), and Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean), visit the same stage in a matter of two hours was surreal.


Not mention other huge guest appearances which I will outline here in this roundup of epic announcements from Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm on their upcoming film slates.

It’s quite something to be able to have Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm all on the same stage, and it’s tremendously gratifying to unveil our upcoming projects to our most dedicated fans first. We always have an incredible time at the D23 EXPO.” Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios


See the Panel Sizzle here:



Disney Live-Action


The Finest hours D23 Expo
Disney, Chris Pine announces The Finest Hours trailer with Sean Bailey


The Finest Hours #TheFinsestHours January 29, 2016

Sean Bailey introduced The Finest Hours a heroic action-thriller starring Chris Pine who plays Bernie Webber, the captain of the rescue boat which was historically part of the most daring rescue mission in Coast Guard history.

The film is directed by Craig Gillespie and also stars Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana.

Chris Pine took the stage to introduce the trailer for the film, which precisely zero women in the audience complained about.


Watch the Finest Hours Trailer here:


The Jungle book D23 Expo
Disney, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, Neel Sethi and Jon Favreau


The Jungle Book #TheJungleBook April 15, 2016


From the press release:

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s 1967 animated classic, the film features state-of the-art technology that immerses audiences in the lush world like never before.”

CG imagery for The Jungle Book was an obvious win at the D23 Expo Disney live action panel. The effects were unbelievable making this feature film highly anticipated. Still, my vote stays with my new favorite youth talent Neel Sethi, who was selected from thousands of candidates to play man-cub Mowgli for The Jungle Book. Introduced by Sean Bailey and Jon Favreau, director of The Jungle Book, his reaction to the audience just absolutely melted my heart. He was obviously completely taken back by the amount of people and support. It was very humble and heartwarming. He stole the platform for The Jungle Book presentation. All CG and voice talent aside, this kid is cray adorbs.

  • Bailey and Favreau also introduced Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong’o for the parts of Bagheera and Raksha
  • Fans were treated to a sneak peek of footage from the film and each guest was gifted a teaser poster upon leaving the panel
  • The Jungle Book also features the voices of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken


Johnny Depp D23 EXPO
Disney, Johnny Depp made an appearance for D23 EXPO as Captain Jack Sparrow


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies #PiratesoftheCaribbean July 7, 2017


What we found out:

  • Orlando Bloom confirmed for Dead Men Tell No Lies

Everyone was still talking about the appearance of Johnny Depp at the Disney Legends panel the day before. So, when Depp made another appearance, in full Pirates of the Caribbean costume and character, the room went ape.

We saw a clip from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, an all-new adventure.

Here’s the press release:

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

Directed by Espen Sandberg & Joachim Rønning and stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kevin R. McNally, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush.

Disney, Mia Wasikowska (Alice) with Sean Bailey


Alice: Through the Looking Glass #DisneyAlice May 27th, 2016

What we found out:

  • Time travel revealed in the story plot
  • Killer costumes in the D23 Expo hall along with a fun interactive looking glass photo booth

As a huge Lewis Carroll fan I am very excited for the second cinematic adaptation of Alice in Wonderland by Disney, Alice: Through the Looking Glass. It was pretty exciting to see Sean Bailey introduce Alice herself, Mia Wasikowska to the stage, where she thrilled fans with a preview of the all-new spectacular adventure which features the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.


Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass Poster D23 Expo
Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass Poster D23 Expo


From the press release:

Director James Bobin brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” in which Alice (Wasikowska) returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. The film, which once again features Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, introduces several new characters as well: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father, and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.

Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, and Tim Burton produce and John G. Scotti is the executive producer. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton.

Pete's Dragon Disney

Pete’s Dragon #PetesDragon August 12, 2016

What we found out:

  • First footage of Pete’s Dragon with hints of the Dragon which looks pretty cool


Bryce Dallas Howard for Pete's Dragon d23 EXPO
Disney, Bryce Dallas Howard for Pete’s Dragon D23 EXPO

Pete’s Dragon is a timeless magical story which Bryce Dallas Howard joined Bailey on stage to talk about for her starring role this reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film. Directed by David Lowery, produced by Jim Whitaker, and executive-produced by Barrie Osborne, and also stars Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford.

I am so glad Disney is making this happen, it’s one of my favorite fairy tales and seeing it come to life will be an absolute treat for both myself and my son.


Queen of Katwe #QueenofKatwe September 10, 2016 


Guest presenter Lupita Nyong’o, introduced the new upcoming film Queen of Katwe.

Here is the press release:

Based on the inspirational true story of a girl from the poverty-stricken slums of rural Uganda who dreams of becoming a champion chess player. Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler based on the book by Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe stars Nyong’o, David Oyelowo and newcomer Medina Nalwanga.


Beauty and the Beast #BeautyAndTheBeast March 17, 2017

What we found out:

  • That Luke Evans can sing like a madman and he’s still impossibly handsome. Of course, Emma is flawless and that it is a musical.
  • Academy Award-winning Alan Menken made the score

After seeing Maleficent and Cinderella I am beyond stoked about this upcoming cinematic film starring some of my absolute favourite talents, Emma Watson, Josh Gad and Luke Evans. The audience was treated to a musical greeting from the three stars. Twitter feeds blew up with delight. The live-action retelling of the animated Disney classic also stars Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald and newcomer Nathan Mack. The film is directed by Bill Condon.


We learned that Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated classic, provides the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Tim Rice, as well as several new songs.


Marvel Studios


Kevin Feige Dr Strange D23 EXPO
Disney, Kevin Feige for Dr. Strange D23 EXPO


Doctor Strange #DoctorStrange October 26th 2016


We didn’t get much on the upcoming Doctor Strange from Marvel Studios, but we did get to see a pre-production piece offering a glimpse of the upcoming film and a video greeting from Dr. Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. It was just enough to wet our taste buds for the next Marvel blockbuster.


Captain America Civil War

Captain America #CaptainAmerica #CivilWar May 6th, 2016

What we found out:

  • footage officially reveals the Black Panther costume and shows Scott Lang to be a huge fan of Captain America
  • Feige revealed that there was a special “Easter egg” for fans to find: it was aptly a nod to D23 EXPO
Captain America D23EXPO
Disney, Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie for Captain America Civil War

The audience went bananas when Anthony Mackie and Chris Evans showed up on stage to present the exclusive new footage of Captain America: Civil War with Kevin Feige. 

From the press release:

Captain America: Civil War picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

The movie stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. It is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.




ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)
Disney, ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)


Star Wars #StarWars #TheForceAwakens #RogueOne December 18th, 2015

What we found out:

  • We were reminded that Rian Johnson will be directing Star Wars: Episode VIII
  • Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World, has been signed to direct Star Wars: Episode IX for 2019
  • We were reminded that Christopher Miller & Phil Lord will be directing the Untitled Han Solo for May 2018
  • The cast for Star Wars: Rogue One was announced as Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Mads Mikkelsen and Riz Ahmed December 16, 2016
  • The first announcement for the all-new Disney Parks expansion for Star Wars Land at Hollywood Studios Disney Orlando and Disneyland
  • We were all given a swank commemorative poster by Drew Struzan which took minutes to become an eBay commodity
  • There was a killer costume display for The Force Awakens in the D23 Expo hall
cast Lineup for Rogue One
Disney, cast lineup for Rogue One


It was seriously almost too much awesome for one room to handle. Not surprising however that the most anticipated movie of the next four years had the biggest announcements. There were standing ovations. Many of them as The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams took the stage and introduced stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong’o. Then, if that wasn’t enough adrenaline for one day, the crowd absolutely lost it when Harrison Ford joined the stage.


D23 Expo Commemorative The Force Awakens Poster Drew Struzan
D23 Expo Commemorative The Force Awakens Poster by Drew Struzan


Harrison Ford for Star Wars The force Awakens
Disney, Harrison Ford for Star Wars The force Awakens with Director J.J. Abrams and Alan Horn

Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan.

Watch the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Here:



Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

8 thoughts on “Ultimate Upcoming Film Slate Announcement for Disney

    1. You know they didn’t tease much about this one at D23 EXPO. We never know when we will see a trailer, it just kind of shows up in our inbox from a Disney press release ha! With events like D23, everything is super secret until they announce it at the panels. There was a lot of star power and talking through the Disney live action previews (Johnny Depp) but we didn’t see a trailer or teaser. HANG IN THERE!!!! We all are.

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