Hanks as Disney, ‘Muppets Most Wanted,’ Jolie’s ‘Maleficent,’ and Marvel all shine at D23

ANAHEIM – Being in my seat inside the D23 Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center in time for this morning’s live-action presentation meant I was out of bed by 6:00 this morning. That was the hard part, though, and now that we’re actually here and seated, it seems like Disney’s gone out of their way to make sure everything is smooth sailing once you’re actually on-site.

Dave Lewis is going to be posting breaking news stories out of the live-action panel this morning, which Disney is calling “LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN.” We know they’ll be featuring “Saving Mr. Banks,” the film about Walt Disney wooing P.L. Travers so she’ll let him make a “Mary Poppins” film, as well as “Thor: The Dark World,” Brad Bird’s mysterious “Tomorrowland,” and beyond that, it’s all pretty much a secret. I’ve heard there will not be a major “Star Wars” announcement, but of course, that could just be smoke and mirrors. We’ll see.

I’m not normally a live-blogger, and when I see how good some of our guys are at it during Comic-Con, I know the bar is set high. I’ll do my best today to give you some ongoing sense of what it’s like to be here, though, and of the highlights as the various presentations unfold.

Just waiting for things to get underway now. Hopefully it will be very close to the 10:30 start time that was stated.

10:30 – Right on the dot, The highlights reel they showed contained the first “Maleficent” shots so far, and Angelina Jolie looks like… well… “Maleficent.”

Alan Horn, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios takes the stage as the footage ends to start the event.

The comments are aimed directly at the Disney fans in the arena, and that’s actually important to remember… this is a fan event first. There is a press section, and I’m sure the studio wants the coverage, but the people who paid to be here are the hardcore Disney fans. Horn talks about taking his not-yet-wife on a date to see “Bambi,” and what role the film played in their life, showing a ring that he presented to her when he proposed.

There were values taught to Horn as a child. Honesty, Loyalty, respect. They are the same values reflected in the creative works of this company, and that those values are what attract people to the work that Disney puts out.

He talks about how Pixar is pretty much a unique creative culture, and describes the Emeryville facility as feeling like a college campus.

He talks about what Marvel added to the portfolio. “Now we’re in Sparta. This is a muscular place.”

Then finally, last year, they acquired Lucasfilm. Talks about how beautiful the Lucasfilm facility is, and how there’s an eight-foot-statue with Yoda on the top. He says it is not uncommon for meetings to end with “May The Force Be With You.”

He also talks about making the transition from Warner Bros. to Disney. “How difficult could it be? Bunny, mouse. I have a history of working with small mammals.” Talks about how every studio has a history and an iconography that you trade on, and how Disney’s includes not just the characters they created, but Walt Disney himself.

10:40 – “The reason we make these movies is you. Without you, we don’t have a company.”

He referred back to yesterday’s presentation about the animated slate of films they have coming up. He talked about how Lasseter travels with a ton of different Hawaiian shirts. Mentioned some of the titles that were discussed yesterday, including “Frozen,” “The Good Dinosaur,” and the “Planes” sequel that is already in the works. He also mentioned how show-stopping the musical number was that was performed.

Let’s start by welcoming Lucasfilm to the Disney family.

“Our priority is, of course, ‘Star Wars.’ I remember being blown away by the first film in 1977. I remember driving home, I was pulled over by a policeman, and he asked me why I was going 80 miles per hours on Wilshire Boulevard, and I told him I needed to get to hyperspeed.”

I’m thrilled to say that more than 35 years later, I get to be part of this saga. Look for Episode VII in the summer of 2015. Some images onscreen from the original trilogy, a few Prequel shots, and he mentions that they will also do the standalone films we’ve heard rumored now.

He mentions that JJ Abrams is the director of Episode VII, and he says that he is so well known now that all he needs is a first name now. “Hi, I’m JJ.” He confirms info we already know, like Michael Arndt is writing, and John Williams is doing the score.

“I really wish I could tell you more, but…”

The “Imperial March” plays loudly, and a slide of Darth Vader comes up.

“… but there are dark forces. It will be wonderful.” And that really is it for “Star Wars.”

He mentions that there are over 7000 characters in the Marvel Universe, and how so far, the movies have hinged on characters that we already know. He uses the preamble to introduce Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, and Kevin comes out ready to go.

“The Avengers” was the culmination of Phase One, and Phase Two is starting. He says that “Iron Man 3” was the first of the Phase Two films, and the second will be “Thor: The Dark World.” He brings out director Alan Taylor, mentioning his work on “Game Of Thrones” and “Mad Men,” and he says Taylor has done great work for them.

They run down the names of the returning cast, and mention that Zach Levi is joining the cast as well. He talks about how the new trailer is in theaters now, and then intros the first extended clip.

The extended clip opens with the battle that the Warriors Three are fighting on what looks like another planet. Thor shows up and destroys a rock creature and then looks around. “Anyone else?” You see that in the new trailer.

Odin’s voice-over about how there are dark forces that they need to fear ais played over shots of the alien craft arriving on Earth. Thor shows up, takes Janes with him, and then goes back to Asgard. We get to see a lot of Heimdahl in battle. We see the footage of Thor going to get Loki out of captivity. Lots of beats from the trailers we’ve scene. But the new things we see are more looks at the bad guys, and Eccleston’s voice-over is about how there will be nothing that can ease Thor’s pain, intercut with lots of hero shots, and then it ends with that amazing shot of Loki betraying Thor and cutting off his hand as the hammer races towards him.

And then Tom Hiddleston walks out onstage as the clip ends. Big applause.

10:50 – “I’m not going to sing for you today. I feel like I should apologize for not turning up in costume. I’m not going to get this crowd to kneel. I was brought up better than that. I didn’t bring the costume, but I did bring some friends of mine.”

He introduces Natalie Portman next. She looks like a million bucks.

Anthony Hopkins is next out on the stage. Big response for Hopkins in the room. Lots of people standing for him.

“You guys may remember that in the first film, Thor came down to Earth, and he was a bit of a fish out of water. Now you’re the one who is the fish out of water,” Feige says to Portman.

“How does Odin feel about this visit?” Feige asks.

“Well, I didn’t check her passport. But she’s very beautiful and she belongs in Asgard.”

Feige introduces a clip of Jane’s first day in Asgard.

Jane is being examined.

“She does not belong here any more than a goat belongs at a banquet table.”

Jane’s offended, but when Odin says he knows who she is, she seems flattered. “You told your dad about me?”

For some reason, Jane is sick, but beyond that, no one from Asgard can touch her because of some sort of energy that is contained in her. It’s an interesting moment that suggests she plays a bigger role than just “Wow, look at Asgard!”

Next up, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” 4.4.14. Feige talks about how the Russos are doing great work as directors, and when he talks about the cast, he says he gets very giddy about Robert Redford being in the film.

The clip they show us is the Comic-Con footage of the fight in the elevator. Great stuff.

11:00 – What I like most about the fight is that it shows Cap thinking his way through the fight as well as physically dominating. That’s what I think makes Evans such a good choice. He manages to convey the idea that Cap is more than just his muscles.

“Captain, to build a better world, sometimes that means burning the old one down. And that makes enemies.” Redford seems like he’s really shady in this, and I think that’s a great use of him.

There’s also a lot of footage of the new Helicarrier being launched.

Talking to Fury at one point, Cap says, “This isn’t freedom. This is fear.” I like that they’re keeping him modern day, because it makes for the best contrast with his ideals, and it grounds his ethical battle in something we recognize right now. The film looks great, and there’s a fair amount of Scar-Jo ass kicking, a few quick shots of the Falcon in flight, and one final reveal of The Winter Soldier picking up Cap’s shield.

Sebastien Stan, Anthony Mackie, and Chris Evans all walk out to join Feige as the footage ends.

Stan talks about how Bucky didn’t die at the end of “Captain America,” no matter what we saw, and then Mackie gets play a bit. He seems just as excited now as he did at Comic-Con, thrilled to be playing the Falcon.

“He’s still trying to acclimate. It’s not about tech. It’s more about society and politics. Cap always wants to be a good guy and do what’s right, and that’s a little harder now, especially when he’s working for SHIELD. And there’s the Falcon.”

Kevin says, “What did you do before we started filming?”

Chris says he took a bunch of friends to Disneyland for a week. Chris says he’s a big fan in general.

And now the exclusive D23 clip, with editing just getting started on the film this week.

11:10 – Black Widow and Captain America on a plane, getting ready to get dropped somewhere. “She asks what his plans are on a Saturday night.

“Well, all the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead, so not much.”

Some of what they show us is rough animatics or pre-viz, as Cap drops from a plane into the ocean, then climbs up onto a ship. He puts down anyone he encounters easily. One guy reaches for an alarm, and Cap throws a knife and sticks the guy’s hand to the wall. His fighting style is brutal. He puts people down quickly and painfully. He sues the shield a lot. One guy gets the drop on Cap, and that’s when Frank Grillo and the Black Widow parachute in.

Black Widow doesn’t miss a beat. “What about the nurse who lives across the hall from you?” she asks, still trying to figure out if he’s got any social life at all.

11:15 – Feige says that they feel very excited about “Guardians Of The Galaxy” because it’s still somewhat unknown, and then he shows the reel from Comic-Con again. I LOVE THIS FOOTAGE.

“What a bunch of a-holes,” indeed.

11:20 – Feige wraps it up with a peek at 2015. It’s the same “Age Of Ultron” title treatment piece. What I find most telling about it is that the entire thing is close-ups of what is obviously the Iron Man mask at first, but something beats and bends it out of shape until it is revealed as the Ultron head. I’m telling you… I think JARVIS is going to be Ultron.

Alan Horn walks back out afterwards.

He’s talking about how strange the raccoon and Groot are, and how they both made him think of DisneyNature. I’ll give him this… that’s about as graceful a segue as you can make between Marvel and nature documentaries.

He talks about the legacy of their documentary work, and about how they always donate part of the gross to conservation charities.

“Bears” is the first film they highlight, and it’s shot in the Alaskan wilderness. They’re partnered on this one with the National Park Foundation. If you see the film in the first work, money will go to the National Parks.

The first trailer for the film. It looks like the main story of the film is about a mother bear and her two cubs. It is beautifully photographed, and it looks like it’s got a lot of character. It’s an Earth Day release, as many of these have been.

“We’ve done bears, chimpanzees, cats. Why not mice? I’m just saying.”

11:25 – Sean Bailey is brought out to introduce the next group of films, which draw on the company’s legacy for inspiration.

Let’s dive right in and start with a nefarious villain about to put some of our favorite characters in jeopardy.

“He’s stolen some of the greatest treasures. He’s escaped from the greatest prisons. He’s been called the world’s greatest criminal. And he bears a strong resemblance to someone you know.” It’s Kermit’s evil twin.

So that’s the hook for the new Muppets film. Ty Burrell is playing a French cop on the trail of the Kermit-alike. Ricky Gervais is actually named “Badguy,” which he says is pronounced “Bad-geee,” like it’s French. Tina Fey is the warden of what looks like a Soviet prison.

It’s a pretty funny reel. I guess they’re now creating a real continuity, since Walter’s back in this one. Bailey says the songs are once again by Brent McKenzie. Makes sense after the Oscar win for the last one.

A tiny Interpol car drives out onstage, and Ty Burrell manages to unfold himself from it. It’s no mean trick. I am genuinely impressed.

“This car is a lot like the Muppets. It’s tiny and it makes funny noises, and it makes the journey more exciting.”

Ty talks about how on the first day of shooting, he was just amazed by the puppeteers and had to be reminded to actually look at the Muppets during the scenes. His character is Jean-Pierre Napoleon, and he is paired up with Sam The Eagle, who works for the CIA in the film. We saw a bit in the footage between them comparing the size of their badges.

Then, to his credit, he actually got back in the thing and drove off. Well-played.

Onscreen, Miss Piggy appears, “live from London.” She talks about wishing she could be in Anaheim with us, but she’s in London shooting a major motion picture. She says she has prepared a special tribute to “You, the World’s Greatest Fans.”

Tina Fey and Kermit walk in wearing shirts that read P23.

Fey: “What does the 23 stand for?”

Piggy: “My age.”

They correct her and tell her it’s D23, not P23. Piggy storms off, outraged, and karate chops a security guard on the way out the door. Kermit and Tina introduce another clip.

11:35 – They’re getting ready to do the show. Ricky Gervais shows up with the fake Kermit, who speaks with a thick Russian accent. He tells everyone to listen to whatever Gervais says. Fake Kermit tries to apologize to Piggy, but she’s not having any. Animal knows he’s a fake and tries to warn everyone. Walter and Fake Kermit talk about being ready for the show, and Walter can tell right away that something’s wrong.

Backstage, Fake Kermit and Ricky talk about their plan, and Fake Kermit can’t quite get his mouth around “burglary” in a thick Slavic accent.

“I’m number one/You’re number Two/We are criminals at large/But I’m larger than you”

We get a taste of the musical number, which is very funny, as Fake Kermit puts Ricky in his place.

“I’m number two/He’s number one/I can’t believe/I’m working for an amphibian.”

Bobin’s one of the first directors to work with the Muppets who has a visual style that compliments their humor in a smart and stylish way, and I hope he’s happy doing these, because he really does make it special.

Bailey walks back out after the clip to talk about how they’ve just started rehearsals for “Into The Woods.” He talks about how Rob Marshall is gearing up to make the film now, with producer Marc Platt. He explains that the musical is a mash-up of all sorts of fairy tale characters, and the film starts shooting in two weeks.
Meryl Streep is the Witch. Johnny Depp is the Wolf. Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and Emily Blunt are the next slide, filling out the cast.

The film will be in theaters Christmas Day 2014.

“Cinderella” will be in theaters in March of 2015. They say it’s a classic take on the story, but elevated. Bailey emphasizes how strong a character Cinderella will be, and he mentions that Kenneth Branagh will be directing the film. “Hamlet,” “Henry V,” and “Thor.”

Bailey introduces a very early pre-production test, and here we go.

“I’m really excited to be directing a new live action version of Cinderella, and I wanted to give you an early glimpse of the movie.”

Starts with the storybook opening. Very classic Disney image.

“It’s impossible to think of CInderella without thinking of Disney. To come to this story as a filmmaker, I find irresistible the idea that there are images that everyone knows. We’ve been working on how to create these images. Transformation. Glass slipper. Making her beautiful entrance.”

Lily James is Cinderella. We see some costume tests. She’s stunning. She definitely looks like a Disney Princess.

Prince Charming is Richard Madden, and there’s a big response to the slide of him. “A funny, smart, sexy prince.”

The Stepmother is wicked, and Cate Blanchett is the star.

The Fairy Godmother is Helena Bonham Carter. She’s tour guide through the story, the warm, tender, funny voice that lets us know that all will be well.”

Angelina Jolie is Maleficent. “Our film will pay homage to our classic, but this time, we will see the story through her eyes.”

We meet Maleficent as a teenage fairy who is caring for her home and the creatures in it, and we see how the King treats her ruthlessly, and how that leads to what he does to Princess Aurora. Elle Fanning is Aurora in the film.

They’re looking to show these characters with flaws, like the three fairy godmothers, who may not be as good at raising children as we originally thought. We will see the classic fight with the dragon, “but this time you find yourself rooting for the other side.”

11:50 – Angelina Jolie is introduced, and she starts by saying that even as a little girl, Maleficent was her favorite. Huge response when she walks out.

“When it was announced that Disney was making the film, I got a call from my brother who said ‘You have to try to get in on this.'”

She talked about getting the horns for the first time and how much she loved the costuming.

“Having a director who came from production design, all of those elements are very much a part of the film. You have this beautiful fairy tale and you have Sharlto, who is so intense and so strong, and yet, this has to be the point of view of the villain. It has to have an edge and something sexy and darker and more and we still had to stay true to the original. Someone said to me ‘What was it like to get all dressed up? It must be very exciting.’ People would bring their kids to set and I would be like, ‘Oh, I’m a Disney character,’ so I’d go over to see them, and they would scream. One kid said, ‘Mommy, tell the witch to stop talking to me!”

Bailey asks her about being a parent and what that means in terms of her family’s relationship to Disney.
“You know you can bring your kids to a Disney film, and you know it will be good for them. There’s something very comforting about that.”

“And that is not all,” Bailey said, introducing a clip.

Almost immediately, there is a strong sense that this is the same world as “Sleeping Beauty.” they aren’t kidding. The three fairies look right. Sharlto is the king from the film, perfectly costumed. And then Maleficent makes her entrance, and she looks perfect.

“I was upset not to get an invitation.”

The King says, “You are not welcome.”

“What an awkward situation.”

We see her curse the baby, and it’s very creepy, very haunting. It’s a very quick glimpse, but boy, it makes the case for them getting all the details of the world right.

12:00 – The next part of the presentation begins with a montage of Disney himself. They talk about his innovations, his creative drive, the things he believed they could do that no one else imagined. They refer to him as a “futurist,” and they show how much he believed in Tomorrowland and how he wanted to create real communities, not just prototypes.

“I always thought 50 years beyond what I thought my life would be.”

They talk about how many ideas where never fully realized, and how there are vast archives that are just filled with boxes and files and things that no one has seen for years. This is the lead-in to the “1952” box and how it was discovered.

“That box has a lot of special significance for us.” They are doing a fair amount of myth-making here, and Bailey talks about how he brought up the box and the discovery of it with Damon Lindelof, and Damon talks out how they started by trying to figure out how all the things in the box relate to one another.

They brought in Brad Bird, and Brad talks about how he was a Tomorrowland fan growing up, and LIndelof talks about how the word suggests so much.

“A place where people actually live a life they can’t find anywhere else in the world,” says Walt, and then we see the title treatment for “Tomorrowland” for the first time.

Clooney stars as a scientist who is involved with the Tomorrowland project in the film. Bailey says Bird is director, writer, and producer, and that Lindelof is a writer and “master of secrets” for the film. “These guys are pretty special and inventive minds,” Bailey says, and then he brings both Bird and Lindelof out.

They bring out the “1952” box and say that this is the first real unveiling of what’s in the box. They show the outside and how the “1952” is over a sticker that reads “That Darn Cat.”

Brad brings out a photograph that was taken of Walt and Amelia Earhart. It’s dated April of 1945, which was several years after her disappearance.

“That confused us,” says Damon. They then show the two real photographs that were the source of what is not a real photo. In the original photo, it was Cary Grant, not Disney. “Our job as storytellers is to say, ‘What if this was real? Why was it put in there?”

Brad shows the “Amazing Stories” from August 1928. There’s also a piece of cardboard with a strange insignia on it, which is also on the outside of the box. There’s a code on the sheet that led them to the story from “Amazing Stories,” and when you put the sheet over the story, it reveals certain words like a code. “I have seen across the gap to another world” is the start of the coded message.

They both put on gloves for the next part.

They pull out a large dry piece of parchment, and it turns out to be the plans for the original “It’s A Small World” from the 1964 World’s Fair. The actual blueprints. And they point out that the same insignia they found in the box is right there on the blueprint, and how they found a hidden black light message on the sheet, a secret blueprint hidden inside the blueprint.

“Is it possible that Imagineering had something going on below the ‘It’s A Small World’ attraction, and if so, what was it?”

Lindelof says that the artifacts are on display in the convention hall, and there’s going to be an unveiling at 2:00 today hosted by Jeff Jensen.

“We’re still a year and a half away,” Lindelof points out, as they bring out the last item from the box. It’s an acetate disc, with the same strange insignia on the outside. It’s not a record. It’s not a laserdisc. It’s a big silver disc with scratches all over it.

“It’s scratched up badly, like someone didn’t want it to be read,” Brad says.

Lindelof says there were miraculously able to extract the information, and while it’s very degraded, they do indeed have something to show that looks like it was produced in the early ’60s.

Which we’re about to see.

12:15 – They really go all out to sell that this was “found” and not made.

The animation shows someone lighting a fire with flint. Cave paintings on walls. We see Egyptians building pyramids. The narration talks about how there is a dark side to innovation and invention and how there’s a constant balance being struck.

They show the Paris World’s Fair. They show inventors and science-fiction writers. They show that they formed a group that secretly met to talk about the fur and innovation and technology. We see weapons of war right there besides breakthroughs in power and transportation. We see a nuclear boom dropped on a city, and a mushroom cloud leading to burning ruins.

Finally, we see that symbol on the outside of a door, and inside, we see people “inventing without fear.” Rows and rows of desks of people who are “building a better tomorrow.”

“You are about to enter a world of miracles and wonders, and in just 20 shorts years, we will share this extraordinary place with the entire world. Tomorrow. Would you like to see it?”

12:20 – We’re wrapping up today with “Saving Mr. Banks.”

This is a pretty major moment for the studio, finally telling Walt’s own story. You want to talk about pressure to get something right. This is not just a movie about Walt Disney and the making of “Mary Poppins,” but it’s also a look at the way that magic factory worked while Disney was still alive and part of the process.

Kelly Marcel’s script is pretty great. The film takes place in 1961, when P.L. Travers came to Los Angeles to make sure that nothing was done to her source material that she found upsetting, and the relationship that develops between Disney and Travers is a contentious and fascinating one.

The first clip takes place on the Burbank lot, as Travers arrives for the first time. She is greeted by the Sherman Brothers (BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman) and by Bradley Whitford playing the film’s screenwriter. Right away, she’s not going to give them an inch. She corrects practically every word out of their mouths, and she tells them that there will be no songs at all.

They take her on a tour of the lot in a cart, and I have to say… it’s convenient how little things have changed on the Burbank lot. They can just shoot it as it is today, and it’s like a trip back in time. They warn her that Walt likes first names only, which seems directly counter to her. Disney makes his big entrance, and right away, he is working very hard to sell her. Hanks isn’t really doing an impression of Disney, but what he gets right is the folksy persona that was always part of his public image.

Disney tells the story of his daughters falling in love with the “Mary Poppins” novels, and how his first reading of one of her books “set his imagination on fire.” He says he promised his daughters that he would make a film out of her books, and that the 20 years from that moment to this meeting was a constant effort to get her to sell the rights to him.

“I have never broken a promise to my daughters. That is what being Daddy is all about.”

He talks about how he’s got huge plans, and how amazing it’s going to be for her to see Mary Poppins walk and talk and sing. Right away, Travers is not interested.

“Mr. Disney, Mary Poppins does not sing.”

“Yes, she does.”

She goes off on a  rant, ending with “I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons.”

That finally knocks the smile off his face. He sits her down and promises her that he will take care of her. “I love Mary Poppins… and you have got to share her with me.”

The second clip begins with Paul Giamatti driving Travers up to the front gate of Disneyland. He literally drives her through the front gates to where Walt stands waiting in front of the giant Mickey Mouse face, the train station just beyond that.

“Welcome to the Magic Kingdom.”

“Is it all like this?”

She still doesn’t look impressed at all. They are mobbed by people asking for autographs, and Travers basically shakes them off, resisting as hard as she can.

He takes her into the park, heading straight for the carousel. “Mrs. Travers, I would be honored if you would take a ride on Jingles here, my daughter’s favorite horse.”

She won’t do it at first, and he finally gets a little cross. “Get on the horse, Pamela.”

He starts to describe a new scene for the film about Mr. Banks, and she says, “You didn’t bring me out here to talk about that, did you?”

“No. I brought you out here for monetary gain. I made a wager I could get you on a ride. You just won me 20 bucks.”

BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman come out after the clip to talk about playing the Sherman Brothers.
Novak: “One of the incredible things about doing the movie was getting to meet Richard Sherman and to go through the songs with him and to imagine what that would have been like to come up with those.”

I feel like you could have done an entire film just about the Sherman Brothers, and that’s definitely one of the things I’m most excited about with this movie, and Jason says he learned how to play these songs on the piano directly from Richard Sherman, so he could pick up his phrasing and the way he would build a melody. It sounds like it was an amazing process, and Jason talked about how Sherman is a really good “winker.”

“It’s like a bigger high-five,” Jason said.

Bailey talks about how surreal it was to stage the “Mary Poppins” premiere and to stand next to Dick Sherman watching the event unfold.

The final clip is a story conference with PL Travers, the Shermans, and Whitford sitting at a table, discussing the script and casting. Travers tries to convey her horror at the idea of Dick Van Dyke playing any part in the film, and when they start to sing to Travers so she can get a sense of the music, the look on her face is pure confusion. It’s apparent that they have nothing in common creatively with her, and as the clip ended, a piano comes out from backstage, with Novak and Schwartzman singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” live.

I’ve written before about how much “Poppins” means to me, and despite knowing full well that this is an event designed to hype a movie, watching Richard Sherman walk out to join them and get a standing ovation was genuinely emotional. His music is a huge part of our pop culture, and I’m glad he is alive to see his efforts captured in this way.

Gradually, the number got bigger and bigger, with costumed characters running in to fly kites around the inside of the arena. And there onstage, Schwartzman played with all the flair he could muster, the real Dick Sherman right there beside him. A gorgeous conclusion.

And with that, D23 Expo’s live-action presentation came to a close. Lots of material to digest, and it’s safe to say this was a very receptive crowd.