Disney threw itself a massive pep rally this weekend at an event called D23 (basically Comic-Con, but just for Disney), where they introduced their latest projects in front of their super-fans. (Named for the year Walt Disney arrived in California, 1923).
Taking the stage after showering the Anaheim Convention Center audience with his limited edition, D23 Hawaiian shirt ($99 at the Disney store), Disney animation head John Lasseter announced the first of many upcoming animation projects, Zootopia (I’m staunchly anti-shill, but I’m a sucker for shirt cannons). Coming March 4th , 2016, Lasseter introduced the project, saying “one thing I always liked were movies where animals talked and dressed like humans.”
Real talk: I’ve been waiting years for someone to say that. After that, he played some test animation of a camel walking on two legs that got a huge laugh (I think it was the jiggly lips), and a couple other clips, notably a scene set inside Zootopia‘s DMV, which is run by sloths. Solid joke, that. It brought the house down.
Teasing a “huge announcement,” they then announced that Shakira would play a gazelle and contribute an original song.
- Disney is doing a Jack and the Bean Stalk movie called “Gigantic,” continuing the theme of one word, non-gender-specific titles (Tangled, Brave, Frozen, etc.). There’s a young girl giant in it based on a bubbly youth the crew encountered in Spain.
- Another Disney animation project currently in production is Moana (pronounced “moe-AH-na,” not “MOAN-uh” in case you didn’t know). The Rock is voicing Polynesian demigod Maui, and they’re definitely tripling down on Lava‘s Islander-sploitation theme. A producer claimed an old Islander woman came up to them with tears in her eyes to thank them for finally telling her people’s story (stop rolling your eyes, jerk). Then, The Rock came out and taught the audience some of the haka. Has anyone ever noted before that that guy is very charming? Someone should.
- Their next project is The Good Dinosaur. Director Pete Sohn (who, additional tidbit, was the inspiration for the kid in Up) says the idea was that it would be a boy-and-his-dog movie, only Arlo the dinosaur is the boy and Spot the human boy is the dog. They played a couple clips from that and the backgrounds are getting to the point where you can’t even tell it’s animated anymore. As for the story, it looks very emo, complete with a clip where Arlo and the dog boy (“Arlo and the Dog-Boy” is a way better title, btw) use sticks to talk about their dead parents.
- Next there’s Finding Dory, the Finding Nemo sequel that Ellen demanded. It’s about Dory finding her family and I’m sure it’s going to be great.
- Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich’s next project will be Coco, with a Dia De Los Muertos theme. “Coco follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery.” Also, “Coco’ is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.”
- Oh yeah, and they’re also making Toy Story 4. (June 16th, 2017). Phew.