D23 Expo Panel Breakdown: Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Upcoming Films Presentation [UPDATED w Video]

The D23 Expo Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Upcoming Films Presentation contained a ton of news. Be sure to read our wrap-up post.
2017 D23 Expo Animation Panel

John Lasseter and many more creators from Disney and Pixar Animation Studios were in attendance at the D23 Expo Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Upcoming Films Presentation panel and we’ve culled the latest news below.

When taking the stage, John Lasseter entered with a bang — literally. In a similar fashion to the 2015 D23 Expo, John walked on stage (courtesy of Laughing Place) with a T-shirt cannon launching his signature Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts into the audience.

After the festivities to kick off the event, the panel talked about some amazing news — from news of Incredibles 2 to Toy Story 4, to an unnamed film about a suburban fantasy world (which we now know is Onward) directed by Dan Scanlon.

Read a summary of the event below.

UPDATED – We have added a 13-minute video highlighting the animation panel to our Pixar Post YouTube channel. The video highlights the biggest news from Incredibles 2CocoWreck-it-Ralph 2, and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.


Incredibles 2 Eric Tan Concept Art

PLOT: In Incredibles 2, Helen is in the spotlight, while Bob is at home with Violet, Dash, and baby Jack-Jack, whose superpowers are still under wraps. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone team up to do what they do best. Featuring the voices of Holly Hunter (Helen), Craig T. Nelson (Bob), Sarah Vowell (Violet), Huck Milner (Dash – new vocal actor), and Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone).

John kicked off the event by showing a humorous clip showing fashion icons talking about Edna Mode (released on Pixar’s YouTube page). 

Following the video, Incredibles 2 director Brad Bird — who lends his voice to Edna — welcomed the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (newcomer Huck Milner), and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) to the stage. 

Bird revealed details of the upcoming caper, which puts the family into an expanded universe that includes new allies and a brand-new villain. “‘Incredibles 2‘ is really a family film, it’s just that the family happens to have superpowers,” said Bird. “They may have super speed or super strength, but they experience the same problems as any family.”

“Bob’s actually home with the kids this time and I’m the one out fighting crime,” added Hunter.  She joked, “I’ve been working out 13 hours a day!”

Additional callouts from the presentation were a note about the new technology allowing the animators to have much more expressive characters (note via Nick Kazden) and Bird expanded that, “The family gets a new house that’s a cross between a dream house and a super lair.”

Also, note that John Lasseter revealed earlier today that Incredibles 2 picks up one minute after the first film ends.

For those in attendance, a clip was shown featuring the newly minted stay-at-home-Dad and received the most praise of any of the clips on social media. IGN did a great job summarizing the clip, so check out a snippet below and then head to their site to read the full write-up of the short clip.

The premise of the concept is that Bob falls asleep with Jack-Jack while watching TV, and Jack-Jack notices something outside that pulls his attention. In the work-in-progress clip shows, Jack-Jack is watching a program on TV where a robber is stealing from a business, and he notices through their sliding glass door that a raccoon is stealing from their trash can outside. Drawing the connection between the robber’s face mask and the raccoon’s similar face markings, he starts making angry baby noises at the thieving rodent.

Incredibles 2 is slated to hit theaters on June 15, 2018.


In a surprise announcement, Josh Cooley was revealed to take the director chair for Toy Story 4 (he was previously noted to be the co-director with John Lasseter).

Josh noted on stage, “Directing Toy Story 4 is the highest honor I could ever have.” The directing change shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise though due to Lasseter’s insanely busy schedule.

We’re not sure how someone could direct a film and be responsible creatively to two animation studios (Pixar and Walt Disney Animation). It left us thinking, will John Lasseter ever direct a Pixar feature film again?

2017 D23 Expo Josh Cooley Toy Story 4

The change from John Lasseter’s directing also got us thinking that the original love story between Bo Peep and Woody and may change as well. Why?

Because John noted that the story was directly inspired by his and his wife Nancy’s lives. At Pixar, directors craft films that are passion projects often derived from their personal lives, making us think the story will now vary.

That being said, there were several notes during the presentation that may hint that the film may now revolve around an RV trip. The note came after the audiences were shown a “day-in-the-life of a director” clip in which people spotted items in the background which led them to believe the film may have a road trip / RV feel.

Inside the Magic is also reporting that a making-of video shown to the crowd revealed a glimpse of new paper doll-like character Lulu — we’ll be excited to see what else we can learn about Lulu.

Finally, it was also announced that Jonas Rivera will be the Producer of the film (Producer for Up and Inside Out with Pete Docter).

Toy Story 4 is slated to hit theaters on June 21, 2019.


UPDATED: We now know this film is titled, Onward.

Dan Scanlon D23 Expo

Director Dan Scanlon, who helmed Pixar’s Monsters University, joined Lasseter to share a few details about an all-new original feature film currently in production.

According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father? The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls, and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director.

“In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.”

Pixar's Onward at the 2017 D23 Expo

At the event, Nerd Reactor also expanded that the suburban fantasy world contained homes modeled after mushrooms and that unicorns were sifting through the trash and were considered rodents in this world. (I can smell a Rainbow Unicorn from Inside Out easter egg already.)

Fandango also noted that there are talking trees in the world as well. Kori Rae, who also produced Monsters University with Dan was announced as the Producer of this film as well — what a great pairing.

We’re ecstatic for this film — no release date was noted, but if it fell after Toy Story 4, it would be released on March 13, 2020.

Or, maybe more appropriately (since the film is about a pair of Sons searching for their Father) it may come out in the June 19, 2020 release date that Pixar has booked (aligning very closely with Father’s Day on June 21, 2020).


Coco Miguel and Hector dance in street

Guests were treated to the first-ever public performance of “Remember Me” from Pixar Animation Studios’ upcoming feature film Coco. Anthony Gonzalez, who provides the voice of Miguel in the film, and Benjamin Bratt, who lends his voice to Ernesto de la Cruz, teamed up to perform the song written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.

Capping the animation presentation, the grand finale featured more than 160 performers who descended upon Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center, including the Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea and Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles under the direction of Kareli Montoya, and the Grammy®-winning Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band.

“Our film embraces a broad landscape of music,” said director Lee Unkrich. “We were fortunate to have Kristen and Bobby create ‘Remember Me’—it’s the signature song made famous by Ernesto de la Cruz, and it embodies the key theme in our story: the importance of remembering loved ones both in life and beyond.”

Coco features an original score from Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino (UpRogue One) and additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco and Molina. Also part of the team is musical consultant Camilo Lara of the music project Mexican Institute of Sound.

Fans in attendance all received an exclusive Coco poster depicting the film’s iconic skull guitar.

D23 Expo Coco Poster

In the Pixar booth on the Expo floor, a section is also dedicated to Coco which is showing a mini featurette from the film. Be sure to watch this, courtesy of our friend Paulina, as the clip contains wonderful unseen animations and descriptions from Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, Darla K. Anderson, and more.

Coco is in U.S. theaters on November 22, 2017, while it will release in Mexico on October 27, 2017.



Untitled Space Disneytoon Studio Film D23 Expo

Directed by Klay Hall and Bobs Gannaway, and produced by Ferrell Barron, Disneytoon Studios’ original new movie explores the future of aviation—taking moviegoers to the edge of discovery in the air and beyond. Concept art is shown above.

The untitled movie soars into theaters on April 12, 2019. 


Olaf's Frozen Adventure Logo

Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, introduced fans to the new Frozen holiday featurette (21 minutes in length), Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, surprised the crowd with a live performance of the all-new original song “That Time of Year,” written by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson. The song is part of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new 21-minute featurette.

Joining Bell and Gad in the featurette are Idina Menzel as the voice of Elsa, and Jonathan Groff as the voice of Kristof.

The featurette is directed by the Emmy®-winning team Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (Prep & Landing) and produced by Oscar® winner Roy Conli (Big Hero 6).

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will hit theaters alongside Coco on November 22, 2017.

Olaf's Frozen Adventure Screencap


Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and produced by Peter Del Vecho, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ feature-length follow-up to 2013’s Oscar®-winning film Frozen is slated for theaters on November 27, 2019.

Bell, Gad, Menzel, and Groff are reprising their roles in an all-new story. Lasseter, Bell, and Gad shared with Frozen fans a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the filmmakers’ recent research trip to Norway, Finland, and Iceland. 


2017 D23 Expo Ralph Breaks the Internet Panel

Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston hit the stage at D23 Expo 2017, introducing Emmy®-winning actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, who returns as the voice of Vanellope von Schweetz.

Fans were the first to see the global debut of a scene from the film that pays hilarious homage to the Disney Princesses.

Lasseter revealed that filmmakers had asked the original voice actresses behind the Princesses featured to reprise their roles for the sequence, and in a moment no Disney fan will forget, 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) were welcomed on stage for the largest gathering of Disney Princesses in history. 

2017 D23 Expo Princesses on stage

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ follow-up to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph leaves the arcade behind, venturing into the expansive universe of the internet — which may or may not survive Ralph’s not-so-light touch.

Outcasts-turned-BFFs Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz are reuniting with Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer) and Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch).

Filmmakers revealed a new character, Yesss, an algorithm who plays an important role in Ralph and Vanellope’s journey within the internet. Golden Globe®-winning actress Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) lends her voice to the character.

“Yesss is a new character who owns the website Buzzaholic,” said Henson. “Yesss knows about everything cool and on-trend. And she does spell her name with a triple ‘s.’ Yesss is very savvy, smart, and sexy.”

At the event, a clip was shown from the film featuring Vannelope interacting with Disney Princesses and poking fun at the genre (via Ashley Carter). The footage shown was summarized by The Wrap and can be read here.

Produced by Oscar® winner Clark Spencer, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 hits theaters on Nov. 21, 2018.

Ralph Breaks the Internet Concept Art

So, what are your thoughts regarding the event? Share your thoughts below in a comment or chat about it with other fans in the Pixar Post Forum.

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