D23 | Disney, Marvel Studios & Lucasfilm Films Panel Report

Disney brings the big guns to D23's live-action panel, including the casts of Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and A Wrinkle in Time!

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this year’s D23 Expo (besides never taking the train from LA to Anaheim again) it’s the fact that Disney’s signature event relies on anticipation. It exists to make you wait for the thing that you want the most. That’s why people were camping outside the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday just to be the first in line for the highly anticipated Disney, Marvel Studios, & Lucasfilm live-action films presentation.

For the lucky fans who got in, Disney made them wait until the very end to see the Avengers: Infinity War presentation. But as a public service, we’re not going to make you wait for the content that you really want to see. And while we can’t post the Infinity War footage until it comes online, we can talk about it right now!

There are SPOILERS AHEAD, if you care about that sort of thing. But if you clicked on the link and you’ve read the post to this point, we’re assuming that you’re cool with that.

Give it to Marvel and Disney to lull us into low expectations. After making the fans believe that there was no new footage to show, they ran an extended rundown of the nearly ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But this recap trailer eventually reached the future, including Thanos’ arrival to Earth alongside the Black Order. In the comics, the Black Order made their debut in Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity storyline as Thanos’ bloodthirsty lieutenants. In the MCU, they will be “the Children of Thanos,” just like Nebula and Gamora used to be. Although the movie is named after Jim Starlin’s Infinity War, it appears to be taking a lot of cues from Hickman’s work.

This footage did something that five years of teasers couldn’t do: it made Thanos seem like a real threat to the Avengers. Iron Man took a pretty harsh beating, and it looks like Thanos has some pretty God-like powers even before he assembles the Infinity Stones. Remember that cool looking armored Spidey costume that appeared at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming? It looked like Peter Parker was wearing it in this footage, and we caught a glimpse of almost every MCU hero to date. We even got to see Thor meet the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Spoilers are over…for now.

Joining Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige on stage were cast members Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff. It was a very Hall H style moment, and it’s going to be hard for Marvel to top that San Diego Comic-Con this week.

Also: The ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Behind-the-Scenes Video is Here!

Now, it’s time for the Jedi to end. The other highly anticipated presentation was for Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you click on the link above, you’ll get to see the behind-the-scenes video that debuted at the D23 panel. Be warned: seeing the clips of Carrie Fisher may evoke some strong emotions. Director Rian Johnson said a few words about the film before introducing several members of the cast: Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.

There was no new trailer for The Last Jedi, which was not unexpected. But since Lucasfilm is skipping SDCC’s Hall H this year, it’s not clear when that will drop. To be honest, Star Wars doesn’t really need the extra hype. It’s got enough as it is.

While Disney Studios was somewhat overshadowed by it’s subsidiary studios, the company does have a few major releases of its own. At the top of the list is the adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Director Ava DuVernay welcomed cast members Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Chris Pine to the stage for the unveiling of the film’s new teaser trailer poster. The footage was particularly memorable for introducing Mrs. Which (Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), the trio of celestial guides. But the heart of the story is Meg Murry (Reid) and her quest to find her missing father, Mr. Murry (Pine), which will take her on a journey across time and space. This one has the feel of a mid-80s Disney epic with modern effects and an impressive cast. It might be next year’s Beauty and the Beast, in terms of Disney’s first hit of 2018.

Head over to the next page for the conclusion of our panel report!