Fans of two of the world’s biggest entertainment franchises got some questions answered at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on Saturday. The company released a roster of films that will hit theatres in the coming years.
Marvel Studios had a difficult week leading up to the big announcement, when it was revealed that Disney was seeking a 50/50 deal with Sony for co-finance stake in future Spider-Man films, which hit a wall. This means Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will not be involved in the Spider-Man universe in the future.
Tom Holland was in attendance at the D23 Expo to promote his role in the upcoming animated film Onward, set to be released in March 2020, but he couldn’t hit the D23 stage without alluding to this week’s controversy.
“It’s been a crazy week but I love you 3000,” Holland said before he walked off the stage.
Despite the apparent loss of Spider-Man, Marvel fans still have three feature films to look forward to. A second Black Panther movie is currently in the works, set to be released on May 6, 2022.
There is also a Black Widow film that will hit theatres in May 2020. If the newly released trailer is any indication, Marvel’s “bringing the family back together again” as Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romonoff) and Florence Pugh as her sister get into some epic fight scenes, but with a great amount of humour to cut through the action.
The Eternals is the third film announced that “pulled back the cosmic curtain on the MCU,” according to Feige. The star-studded cast includes: Richard Madden; Kumail Nanjiani; Lauren Ridloff (who will be the first deaf hero in the MCU); Brian Tyree Henry; Salma Hayek; Lia McHugh; Don Lee; and Angelina Jolie. When it is released in November 2020, Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones will also join the cast as non-Eternal Dane Whitman.
The end of the Star Wars saga
The feature film presentation at D23 started with one of the most beloved franchises - Star Wars. J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy unveiled the plan for the upcoming December film, which will conclude the 40 year saga.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released on December 19 and will includes legendary superstars like Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels.
“Lando has never left me,” Williams said. “Being here all these 40 years is a very special experience for me.”
“It’s kind of hard for me to understand that the story is ending - but what an ending,” Daniels added.
The sneak peak shown at the presentation teases an epic lightsaber battle between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). But the most dramatic part was when the audience saw Rey, under the hood of a black robe, unveils a double-ended red lightsaber, reminiscent of Darth Maul.
Although Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) is no longer with us, Abrams was able to use footage from Episode VII: The Force Awakens so she can still be part of the film. Initially, the director was not supposed to participate in this movie but after Fisher passed away, he looked back at her book The Princess Diarist and found that she thanks him for “putting up with me twice,” when he only actually worked with her once.
“It was a classic Carrie thing to...write something like that,” Abrams revealed to the audience at the presentation, while explaining why he came back to direct the new film. “That could only mean one thing for me.”