D23 is now just one week away and, oddly enough, I find myself getting excited. Of course, I am a Disnerd, but what I'm not a fan of is being stuffed into a room for hours on end with folks who go above and beyond being simple fans. Many D23 attendees will live Disney, much in the same way I live beer. Still, I would never go to a beer convention. Unless it was free.
To be honest, conventions just creep me out. I can't do Comic-Con without being heavily "medicated" (see above), and assumed that D23 would pretty much be the same scenario.
But this morning, Disney released their final press announcement of D23's events and, you know, I might not need as much medicine as I once thought. Read more about D23's schedule after the jump.
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Like sneak peeks of movies? Well, you're in luck, because clips of never-before-seen-footage from six upcoming films are slated to be screened for fan approval at D23: The Muppets (November), John Carter (2012) , Oz The Great and Powerful (2013), Frankenweenie (2012), Pixar's Brave, and Marvel's The Avengers.
Celebrities big, small, and green will also be in attendance including Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (The Muppets), Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe (John Carter), Kelly Macdonald and Kevin McKidd (Brave), Jennifer Garner (The Odd Life of Timothy Green), Jack McBrayer and Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph), and unnamed cast members from The Avengers.
Does this mean I could finally meet Thor?!? The Incredible Hulk?!? Or Scarlett Johansson?!? I'm rooting for the last one!
Disney also promised a few unannounced surprise guests, with rumors already whirling around the Internet that it could be Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. Both actors are slated to appear in the upcoming Lone Ranger, which isn't even in production yet. Personally, I'm hoping they're resurrecting James Baskett, the actor who played Uncle Remus in Song of the South. Of course, he's been dead for 63 years now so I'm not holding my breath. But he is.
Seriously, Disney, release that movie already! Quit hiding it like a (racist) skeleton in the closet!
Anyway, for me, one of the highlights of D23 will be the enormous presence of Pixar. Usually the studio attends to promote their next project, but this year marks the company's 25th anniversary and, to help celebrate, five sessions have been announced that will be devoted entirely to their moviemaking magic. The sessions include:
A Conversation with the Pixar Creative Team - Enjoy a rare opportunity to spend some time with the key figures responsible for Pixar's unprecedented success, including John Lasseter (chief creative officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios), Jim Morris (general manager, Pixar Animation Studios), Pete Docter (director, Monsters, Inc., Up), Andrew Stanton (director, Finding Nemo, WALL-E), Bob Peterson (co-director, Up), Lee Unkrich (director, Toy Story 3), Mark Andrews (director, Brave) and Dan Scanlon (director, Monsters University).
The Characters of Monsters University - Director Dan Scanlon and Production Designer Ricky Nierva discuss how they combine hair, horns and a lot of heart to bring the wonderful Monsters University characters to life.
Michael Giacchino's Music of Pixar - In this musical presentation, award-winning composer Michael Giacchino explores his early influences through the creation of modern-day classic scores from Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2.
The Art of Brave - Production Designer Steve Pilcher and Shading Art Director Tia Kratter show how they and their team put paint to canvas and fingers to computer keys to create the stunning visuals of Scotland for Disney/Pixar's upcoming film Brave.
Pixar Shorts - This retrospective screening of the animation studio's legendary short films will be followed by a panel discussion with several of the filmmakers, including Ralph Eggleston (For the Birds), Andy Jimenez (director, One Man Band), Angus MacLane (director, BURN-E), Pete Sohn (director, Partly Cloudy), Teddy Newton (director, Day & Night), and Enrico Casarosa (director, La Luna).
The United States Postal Service will also be on hand to release their new set of Pixar postage stamps.
Also slated for the weekend are advance screenings of the 3D version of The Lion King and and this December's ABC holiday special Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice.
Out on the Expo floor, comprehensive fan exhibits will include:
Walt Disney Studios Animation Pavilion - Experience the art, technology, culture and legacy of Walt Disney Animation Studios with filmmaker demonstrations, drawing classes, book signings, meet-and-greets and art exhibits.Inside Tides: Pirates of the Caribbean Film Prop Collection - Get an up-close look at an exclusive collection of detailed set pieces, props and costumes from the billion-dollar blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Walt Disney Studios In-Home Entertainment Pavilion - Dive into cutting-edge home entertainment technology and learn what the future holds for Disney movie fans, with sneak peeks of upcoming films in breathtaking high-definition Blu-ray 3D™ and more.
Stay tuned to Navel Gazing for updates from the Expo, as well as a comprehensive slideshow of the event once it's all over.