The Walt Disney Company invited members of the press to talk about the successes of the company in 2018, and where they plan to go with their various brands in 2019. The main focus areas were on upcoming Theatrical Releases, across the Disney Live-Action division, as well as the Disney Computer Animation Division, and the Marvel Film Division; as well as the three main Disney television broadcasts in Africa: Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior. We capped things off with an introduction to the “Mickey at 90: The True Original” brand.
From the theatrical films division, we start off with the Disney Live-Action Remake Universe: Dumbo will be the next one to release, directed by Tim Burton, and we had a proper trailer for that by now. Aladdin and Lion King are the more hotly anticipated releases, but sadly we didn’t have any active footage of those yet, just the promise of what is to come. It’s going to be a busy year in 2019 though – From March to July, these three movies will all arrive.
The Mary Poppins sequel will be coming here by the end of December, and while I wasn’t excited about it when I first heard about it, the trailer and seeing Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda up there did put a smile on my face. It looks to be a very honest sequel in spirit, and all I can hope is, the music and songs match up to the original.
On the superhero front, we were told a little more about Captain Marvel and Glass, both occupying separate ends of the superhero film spectrum, but both being hotly anticipated by fans. The trailers for both are out now, so feel free to get into the spirit of excitement, as we all did there today. We also saw a trailer for the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film, and while I didn’t quite get it when I saw it as still images, watching it in motion was a treat, and I am much more excited for the film now.
On the digital animated front, Wreck it Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet will be out by the end of November, and it looks just as charming as the original was. Essentially, The Emoji Movie, but not terrible. We also got a message that, don’t worry, Frozen 2 is on its way, and we can expect to all hear some big announcements about it too. Parents of young girls, prepare yourself.
The final showpiece film that I was interested in especially was the adaptation of Artemis Fowl. We didn’t see much aside from the cast, but we can remain hopeful. The books were some of my favourites growing up, and we can only hope that Kenneth Branagh as director can bring this uniquely charming caper to life.
On the television side, we start with mainstay programming on Disney Channel. Popular shows like Star vs Forces of Evil, Bizaardvark and Elena of Avalor will continue with new seasons, making fans of those shows very happy I’m sure. New programming includes original live action movies, one based on the film Freaky Friday, and one based on popular cartoon, Kim Possible. Raven’s Home, starring Raven-Symone, continues with its next season, and Raven herself will be visiting South Africa as part of a targeted talent search, run by Disney, later in October.
Disney XD put a major focus on Star Wars Resistance as their main show to discuss. It focuses on a group of racers and teens living on a huge space station, and our protagonist, Kazudo, is tasked with a secret mission by Poe Dameron to keep an eye on the First Order. I’m not yet entirely sold on the animation style – it looks great in action scenes, but slightly worse in dramatic scenes. Nevertheless, it looks like a great deal of fun, especially for the 10-14 age group.
Disney Junior continues its successful shows with yet more episodes and seasons, such as Sophia the First, The Lion Guard, and Vampirina. The most interesting of their new shows is an updated version of Muppet Babies, which had some delightful animation and is sure to be a favourite with the very small ones.
The final presentation was focused on celebrating Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary since he first appeared in media. The brand, titled Mickey: The True Original, is set to be a series of events and products this year, including TV specials, fashion lines, toys, tie-ins with other brands and companies, and artwork presentations coming for display in various cities around the country.
All in all, there’s surely something for everyone in this showcase, and it’s always clear after such a viewing why Disney remains the cultural juggernaut that it is.