D23 Expo Coverage: Excitement Comes From Acquired Properties

Details (and some sneak footage) from three upcoming films were released at the D23 Expo earlier today and, oddly enough, none of them are Disney-proper properties; instead, they are franchise acquisitions Disney picked up after purchasing the Muppets (The Muppets), Pixar (Monsters University) and Marvel (The Avengers).

The announcements generated a pretty good buzz at the convention. . . even if Disney had to piss off some die-hard Marvel fans in San Diego last month in the process.

Look for project details on all three after the jump.

"The Muppets" (November 23rd, 2011)

Jason Segel was joined by Kermit the Frog and Ms. Piggy on stage as the trio screened two clips from the first new Muppet movie in over a decade. One of the clips introduced Kermit into the film; the other showed the Muppets as they worked together to fix up the Muppet Theater in an effort to bring it back to its former glory.

Here's an extremely detailed description of each of the two scenes courtesy of CinemaBlend.com:

The first clip begins with Gary (Jason Segel), Mary (Amy Adams) and the new Muppet, Walter, driving around at night in Los Angeles. They are searching for Kermit the Frog. While they are about to give up, Mary, who is driving, calls out saying that she may have found where Kermit may be. The camera turns to look at a huge gate that has been painted with the face of Kermit and Ms. Piggy. They get out of the car and look through the gate. Gary remarks that there's no doorbell and that it looks like there's nobody home. Walter offers a solution: for Gary to throw him over the fence. While they hesitate at first, Gary picks Walter up and begins to fold him up so that he can be thrown easier. Mary, who is a bit more cautious, notes that the fence may be electrified. Gary throws Walter, who gets caught in the cables on top of the fence, gets electrocuted and falls to the ground black and smoking. Though he is obviously in pain, Walter is determined and tells Gary to try again. From behind the group we hear Kermit's voice asking if he can help them. The three turn around and they see a bright light with a silhouette of Kermit and choir music playing. The camera then focuses on the street where a bus with extremely bright headlights drives by, the side of the bus noting that it's a church choir. Walter is so excited that he passes out.

After cutting to black, we see through Walter's eyes as he wakes up on a couch, Gary and Mary standing over him. Walter asks what happened and Mary says that they are in Kermit's house, which promptly causes Walter to pass out again. They begin to talk with Kermit when an old robot comes out from the back. Kermit sends "80s Robot" back after it offers them cans of Tab and New Coke. As the robot rolls away it bumps into things and says phrases like "Gag me with a spoon."

The second clip begins with a bunch of the Muppets, led by Kermit, opening the door to the Muppet Theater, which has been condemned and is a total mess. As Kermit walks through the mess you can hear clips from the old show, including the announcer of "Pigs in Space." Fozzie says that there's no way to rehearse in the huge mess. It's then suggested that they try to clean it up - and then the scene cuts to Scooter standing alone sweeping while the other Muppets watch. They then realize that they are doing it wrong, so Dr. Teeth takes out a boombox and begins playing "We Built This City on Rock And Roll" by Jefferson Starship.

A montage begins with all of the Muppets, Gary and Mary working to clean up the theater. Sgt. Floyd Pepper pulls back a sheet and remarks to Animal that he's found his drums, which causes Animal to go nuts. Gonzo opens a broom closet and Beauregard walks out, having apparently been trapped for years, but he seems totally fine. In other part of the theater Kermit is working through his rolodex trying to find people who can come be a part of his celebrity telethon. His first call goes to President Jimmy Carter (it's a very old rolodex). Fozzie finds a framed picture of himself and remarks to the others about his crazy 80s hair. He takes off his hat, showing that he doesn't have any hair, and it's the exact same thing in the picture. Mary fixes some of the lights and sings along with the song. Kermit keeps going through the rolodex, throwing a card reading "Molly Ringwald" down on the desk. The chickens sweep the seats in the audience using their feathers, Rizzo and the other rats skate on mops and Walter straps himself with some sponges and is tied to a pole to reach hard to reach areas. Another card thrown by Kermit says "Cindy Lauper." Swedish Chef opens up a fridge that reveals a bunch of moldy, rotten food. He then takes a flamethrower and blasts it into the fridge, burning everything inside. Finally, the song ends and everyone stands on the stage, the theater looking brand new.

I've been hot and cold on this film so far (I've heard both great things and horrible things), but I have to admit that I'm liking what I've seen so far.

"The Avengers" (May 4th, 2012)

Not all of the Avengers could make it to D23--Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) were all no-shows), but the crowd was still treated to appearances by Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), as well as the film's villain, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and a key SHIELD agent (Cobie Smulders).

Unfortunately, none of the gang said much, but just their presence seemed to be enough for screaming fan boys, especially since Disney purposefully kept them from assembling (You see what I did there?) in San Diego for Comic Con last month.

To be honest though, fans appeared to care far more about the film on the screen than the celebrities on the stage, and so it was with great excitement and a shitload of squealing that Marvel Studios debuted two scenes from next summer's blockbuster.

Here's another description, this time courtesy of Hollywood.com:

The footage began with an extended scene in which Nick Fury (Jackson) squares off against Loki (Hiddleston), who SHIELD has imprisoned in a high-security cell suspended over a 30,000-foot drop. Hiddleston, who emphasized Loki's frailty and fraternal jealousy in the backstory-building Thor, gets to let loose in this clip with some refined, malevolent sneering that would make Anthony Hopkins proud. His velvety villainy provides a nice contrast with Jackson in crowd-pleasing badass form. "You made me desperate," Fury tells Loki, following with the warning, "you may not be glad that you did."

Following this scene at the presentation was a rapidly edited montage offering glimpses of explosive action (Hawkeye engaged in a parking-lot shootout; fireballs erupting on a car-filled city street), and accompanied by Iron Man alter-ego Tony Stark's (Downey) wry voice-over "head count of [the] master assassins" that make up the Avengers. The montage ends with Stark casually sipping whiskey while matching wits with Loki. "I have an army," Loki threatens. Stark's merrily tossed-off comeback is, "we have a Hulk."

With Stark's quip providing an appropriate introduction, the crowd at the D23 Expo was then treated to the first shot anyone anywhere has seen of this movie's CGI-animated take on the Not-So-Jolly Green Giant.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of these types of movies, so I won't be seeing "The Avengers" when it debuts next summer; however, I am glad that so many people have such huge boners over it. It's good to see Marvel giving their fans exactly what they want.

"Monsters University" (June 21st, 2013)

Sure, the prequel to "Monsters, Inc." is still two years away, but that didn't stop Pixar from giving fans a look at new, younger versions of the film's lead characters Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. "Sully" Sullivan (John Goodman).

John Lasseter and director Dan Scanlon revealed the 18-year-old versions of the characters to much applause. The film, which takes place approximately 15 years prior to the original movie, will follow the characters through Monsters U. as they compete to be the top scarers in their class.

The best part? Mike Wazowski has a retainer. Awesome.

Goodman, Crystal and Steve Buscemi (who played the original film's slithering villain Randal) are all confirmed to reprise their voice roles, and Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray and Peter Sohn (who also voiced Emile in "Ratatouille") have all been confirmed as new voice talent. Crystal even made a surprise appearance on stage, right after he teased the audience with a video message where he greeted them with: "Hello, nerds!"

Obviously, I prefer Pixar originals over sequels or prequels, but let's be honest here: a Pixar franchise film is still ten times better than most of the original stuff out there. You can count me excited for this one.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >