D23 Expo announces five anticipated film releases


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Josie Jose, Contributor

Calling all Disney fans! From Sept. 9 to 11, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club held its exposition at the Anaheim Convention Center. The biennial convention covers exciting upcoming announcements from Disney and Pixar. While it seems like the season of remakes and sequels, Disney die-hards are definitely not complaining.

Here are the top five most magical movie announcements from this year’s D23 Expo.


Disney is finally releasing an “Enchanted” sequel after 15 years of Princess Giselle and Robert’s happy ending. Members from the original cast, including Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Idina Menzel will be a part of this Disney+ original movie. The cast will be joined by Maya Rudolph and Gabriella Baldacchino. Giselle (Adams) and Robert (Dempsey) take their family to a new suburban community of Monroeville in hopes of finding a life filled with magic. Things take a turn for the worse when Giselle accidentally wishes their family lived in a “perfect fairytale.” She then must rush to save her family and Andalasia by the stroke of midnight. 

This enchanting film will be available for all Disney+ subscription holders on Nov. 24. 

“Snow White”

The classic story of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was the first full-length traditionally animated feature film and the first Disney animated feature film. Marc Webb is known for directing “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise and will be directing this feature. The film stars “West Side Story” actress Rachel Zegler as the title role and “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot as the Queen.

There has been some controversy circulating around social media regarding Zegler being Latina. Abigail Royster, a student at the University, said, “Disney is starting to ‘imagine’ remakes–not as carbon copies, but rather as channels for inclusivity.”

After several iterations of the story, Disney will reveal the fairest of them all in a new way on March 22, 2024.

“Hocus Pocus 2” 

Just in time for the spooky season, the “Hocus Pocus” sequel is only moments away! Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy were all confirmed in summer 2022 to return as their respective Sanderson witches. New cast members will include “Veep” stars Sam Richardson and Tony Hale, and “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham. The second and latest trailer was shown during the D23 Expo where the audience caught a glimpse behind the resurrection of the iconic Sanderson Sisters trio and their scheme to steal the souls of the children that brought them back.

The Sanderson Sisters’ spooky adventure will be fully revealed on Disney+ on Sept. 30.

“The Little Mermaid” 

Diving under the sea, fans of the beloved animated classic film will be given a live-action adaptation. Halle Bailey, known for being half of the musical duo Chloe x Halle, will be the princess known for flipping her fins. Alongside Bailey, the film also stars Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy and Awkwafina. Variety quotes Bailey as she speaks on being cast as Ariel: ‘I want the little girl in me and the little girls just like me who are watching to know that they’re special, and that they should be a princess in every single way.’

Similar to the backlash from “Snow White,” the announcement of Disney casting a black woman as Ariel sparked virtual discourse, with the hashtag #NotMyAriel trending on social media. “She’s probably just really happy she scored a big movie role,” University student Shaynna Yarrow stated, “but there’s so much controversy surrounding her.” A sneak peek of “Part of Your World” was released at the D23 Expo. The audience was able to hear the Grammy Award nominee sing her heart out–before her voice is taken by Ursula, of course.

This film will be available to watch in theaters in May 2023.

“Inside Out 2” 

Disney and Pixar have been itching to make viewers feel inside and outside of themselves with this sequel. “Inside Out’” was an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning hit in 2015. At D23, it was revealed that the original character, Riley, returns. The original and illustrious cast will be returning to voice all of Riley’s internal emotions, including Amy Poehler, the peppy voice behind Joy, who arrived on stage to greet the audience at the D23 Expo. Alongside Poehler, the original cast includes Phyllis Smith, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black and Richard Kind. The audience will see Riley go through a different stage of growing up and embark on another adventure with her. Fans of this favorite will also see how Joy, Sadness and her other personified emotions navigate this new phase of Riley’s life. 

This emotion-packed “Inside Out” sequel is to be released on June 14, 2024.