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What You May Have Missed From Disney's D23 Expo Animation Presentation

The Frozen sequel, The Incredibles 2, plus...there's a new Disney Princess in town.

Posted on July 15, 2017, at 12:22 a.m. ET

Today at the Anaheim Convention Center, minutes away from Disneyland, thousands of Disney fans gathered for the D23 Expo, Disney's biennial showcase of what's going on in every corner of its business.

Jesse Grant / Getty Images

Audience members at Disney's D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, Calif.

Big news today — and big names — came out of the Disney Animation panel. No cameras or video were allowed, but here's some of what we saw and learned...

Wreck It Ralph 2

Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Wreck-It Ralph 2 presentation was the definite the highlight of the day.

Filmmakers Rich Moore and Phil Johnston revealed a new teaser trailer, where we see that Litwak's Arcade has gained wifi capabilities; Ralph and Vanellope battle over how to pronounce the word "wifi" ("Wee-fee?"). As they peek into the web, they get stuck, and shoot down the ethernet into the World Wide Web. Within, avatars, which look kind of like the Funko toy version of people, are mulling around. Ralph keeps getting stopped by avatars trying to hook him in with spammy offers like "See what this child star looks like now," or “Here’s how you can make $5000 a week from home.”

The basic plot of the sequel is that the game in which Vanellope resides is broken and she has to travel with Ralph through the internet to find the piece to fix it. Yesss, a new character voiced by Taraji P. Henson, is an algorithm for a trend-making site Buzzaholic (👀) who knows everything about the internet and guides Vanellope and Ralph on their journey. The character looks like a cartoon fashionista with an undercut and fur like coat, though the filmmakers noted that Yesss is made of fiber optics and can constantly shift her clothes and hair.

Jesse Grant / Via Getty Images

In another Wreck-It Ralph 2 scene that was shown, Yesss brings Ralph and Vanellope to the site where they see a crowd gathering by a door guarded by stormtroopers, and the crowd is there to see the Disney Princesses. Ralph and Yesss warn Vanellope not to bother them, but still she manages to break into the guarded room anyway. The princesses, which include Moana, immediately grab their weapons to defend themselves against Vanellope, but she tells them she's a princess too. They interrogate her (has she been "kidnapped or enslaved?") until finally they find common ground with the fact that people mistakenly think their problems are always solved by a big strong man.

The scene ends with Vanellope teaching the women how to dress more casually, with Ariel exuberant as she gets to wear a... "what is it called? Shirt!" Merida also chimes in with her heavy Scottish accent, but nobody seems to understand her ("She's from the other studio.").

The panel ended with the reveal that the filmmakers managed to round up all the original voices of those princesses for the scene. And out onto the stage walked Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana), Kristen Bell (Anna in Frozen), Kelly MacDonald (Merida in Brave), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in Tangled), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in The Princess and the Frog), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in Aladdin), Paige O’Hara (Belle in Beauty and the Beast), and Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid) for "the largest gathering of Disney Princesses in history."

The Incredibles 2


Director Brad Bird and the voice cast of The Incredibles — Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L Jackson, plus the new voice of Dash, Huck Milner — came out for The Incredibles 2. Bird, reminding the audience that the Incredibles family's house blew up at the end of the original film, unveiled their new home, looking like a posh pad in the Hollywood Hills with floor-to-ceiling windows and sharp edges (making it super hard to baby-proof for Jack-Jack).

Bird described a scene he was pitched for the original film that never made it into the final cut, but he was able to make it for this new film: Bob falls asleep with Jack-Jack in his arms, allowing for the baby to escape when he hears a mysterious sound, and head into battle... with a raccoon. He chases the creature while cycling through some of his new abilities, phasing through the glass door, flames erupting from his body, shooting lasers out his eyes, and multiplying, all before Bob wakes and shoos the raccoon away, finally aware of his youngest child's insane amount of superpowers.

View this video on YouTube

There was also this love letter to fan favorite Edna Mode featuring big names from fashion, like Zac Posen, Kendall Jenner, and Rachel Zoe.

Olaf's Frozen Adventure and Frozen 2

View this video on YouTube

Walt Disney Animation Studios / Via

John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of all the Disney animation studios, gave the floor to Kristen Bell to talk about the Frozen sequel and the short film Olaf's Frozen Adventure. A new clip for the latter started playing with a new song, "Time of Year," written by newcomers Samsel and Anderson. But then there was an audio snafu. Or, rather, a "snafu," a ruse to bring out Josh Gad to sing the song live. The clip covers the basic plot of the short: Olaf asks the people of Arendelle what traditions they have for the holidays, in hopes of finding a good tradition for Anna and Elsa to adopt.

Meanwhile the only thing we got out of them about the second Frozen film is that Frozen 2 is a working title — and they can guarantee it won't be replaced by Frozen To, Frozen Toe, Frozen Peas, Fro-Yo, or Thawed. They also showed a video of director Jennifer Lee and the rest of the producers on a trip to Norway, Iceland, and Finland. There was a lot of cell phone footage of waterfalls.

Toy Story 4


For Toy Story 4, there was the big news that Josh Cooley would be helming the sequel, making Cooley the first former Pixar intern to direct a film for the studio. Cooley made a little video of him going around the Pixar offices to talk to his crew and showing off art from the film: There was a drawing of "Lulu," who looks like a Troll doll version of Bonnie from Toy Story 3, and some 3D models of stuffed animals. There was also a clip of an actor recording the first line for the film: Pixar employee Jeff Pidgeon doing the alien voice.



For musical Coco, the audience learned the film's screenwriter/co-director Adrian Molina also co-wrote some of the music, and that songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Frozen) penned one new track called "Remember Me" for the film. The film centers on Miguel, a young man who loves music but is banned by his family from performing it; his favorite musician, the late Ernesto De La Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), was also his great great-grandfather, and a likely player behind the ban. When Miguel's parents take his guitar away before the town's big talent show, he goes to his great great-grandfather's grave to take the guitar that sits above it. However, upon strumming it, he's sent to the land of the dead, where he meets characters like Hector (pictured above, voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal), who reunites him with other members of his family that have passed away.

The filmmakers also showed a scene of Miguel with his family at the Office of Family Reunion, where he learns he can go back to the world of the living with the blessing of a deceased relative. But his great great-grandmother won't allow him to go back unless he agrees to give up music forever. Miguel decides the only way he can go back to the world of the living and still be allowed to perform music is if he tracks down De La Cruz.

The Coco presentation ended with Anthony Gonzalez, the voice behind Miguel, performing "Remember Me" live and then handing the stage over to Bratt, who sang in front of a full Mariachi band and company of dancers.

Image Group La / Disney

The ceilings rained fake marigold petals and the audience nodded their heads to what's sure to be Disney's newest earworm.

Taking Flight

Disneytoon Studios

The whole afternoon started with Lasseter presenting a Disneytoon Studios project they're calling Taking Flight.

The animated footage starts with a realistic shot of a decrepit plane flying down a deserted dirt road as a tumbleweed rolls by and a rusty streetlight flickers. But then there's a boom and two fighter jets begin racing each other over more the vast desert. Suddenly, an even bigger black plane flies all the way up past the atmosphere (as pictured above) and zooms back down to rush past the fighter jets. The planes are all anthropomorphized a la Cars.

Suburban Fantasy World

Mark Davis / Via Getty Images

The words Suburban Fantasy World splashed across the stage backdrop before director Dan Scanlon (pictured) came out and told a story of how his father died before he could remember him; all he had was a recording of his dad saying the words "hi" and "bye," which he played for the audience. That recording was the inspiration for his creation, a suburban fantasy world where there are "no humans — only elves, trolls and sprites, anything that would be on [painted on] the side of a van in the ’70s.”

The film tells the story of two teenage brothers — who are elves, naturally — who grew up unable to remember their late father. They decide to go on magical quest to spend one last day with him and to answer a question Scanlon often asked himself: "Who was my father?"

This is a developing story and will be updated.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.