This morning, D23 attendees were treated to a very special look inside the Disney Studios latest projects.  Some of these are near release (like the November release of “The Muppets”) and some are so far away (and early in development) that we only know the year of release (but more on that in a moment).

Disney Studios Chief Rich Ross gave us a brief welcome and introduction and then told us that the first point of focus this morning was animation, John Lassiter then took to the stage.  John said hello to all of us and then jokingly answered “the question I know you are all wondering.  What Hawaiian shirt am I wearing today?  It’s the official Cars 2 Hawiian shirt, but I wore a jacket over it because my wife says it makes me look professional.”

First up: “Planes”.
Planes will be coming to us from DisneyToon studios.  John gave “props” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) to the director, Klay Hall telling us that Klay “comes from an aviation family.”  He then wen on to talk about the main character of Dusty Crophopper and then brought the voice of Dusty, Jon Cryer, out to the stage!  Jon came to the stage with so much enthusiasm and told us about doing the voice sessions.  He said “I’m so geeked out!  I’d get excited every time I’d get an email saying ‘you’ve got a Planes session’ I’d be like ‘Ohhhhhhhhh!’  If you guys ever get a chance to do a voice for a Disney movie, DO IT!  Because it’s AWESOME!!!”

We then got a look at the trailer for the movie.

“Wreck-it Ralph” (November 2, 2012)
John told us it’s about an 8-bit video game bad guy who wants to prove that he’s a good guy.  We then got a look at the first 4 1/2 minutes of the film’s story reel (complete with storyboard and rough animation) to show us the process.  John then introduced director Rich Moore to the audience and Rich went on to tell us more about the story and the cast.  The film stars John C. Reilly as Ralph, Jack McBrayer as Fix-it Felix, Jane Lynch as Sgt. Calhoun and Sarah Silverman as Vanelope VanSchweetz.  Rich then brought Jack McBrayer and Sarah Silverman out onstage.  Sarah cracked a joke and said “I always wanted to go to Anaheim and NOT go to Disneyland!”  She then went on to tell us “I have a real love/hate with Disney/Pixar because the make me feel!  And I have a tiny tiny heart!”

John Lassiter then came back onstage to tell us about Pixar’s next movie…

Brave (June 22, 2012)
John told us how much of a departure “Brave” is for Pixar because it’s “our first fairy tale, our first period film and our first female main character.”  He then treated us to a sneak peek of some early test footage of the film after which he introduced Mark Andrews (Director) and Katherine Sarafian (producer).  Mark was in the spirit of things because he came out onstage sporting a kilt!  Mark then introduced us to the cast of the film and brought Kelly McDonald (Princess Merida) and Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin) onstage.  They then went on to show us an ENTIRE SCENE from the film but I can’t tell you a thing about it because John Lassiter has everyone sworn to secrecy about it.  I can tell you it was awesome and even in it’s “rough” state.  And to top it all off, we were told that everyone was getting a movie poster for “Brave” when we left the auditorium.

Monsters University (June 21, 2013)
We were given a very brief video intro to the film and then John brought Director Dan Scanlon onto the stage.  Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters Inc. that will tell us how Mike and Sulley met and how their friendship formed and how they wern’t always necessarily the best of friends.  John Goodman and Billy Crystal are back to reprise their roles as Mike and Sulley.  Also back for Monsters U (or M.U.) will be Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs.  Dan showed us what an 18 year old Mike and Sulley will look like and talked about the research into college campus building styles and the “monsterization process” that the building go though to look like they belong and fit in the monster world.  We then got a pre-recorded video message from John Goodman and Billy Crystal.  John apologized for them not being able to be at the D23 Expo when Billy looked at him and said “what are you talking about” and then walked off camera and then came out onto the stage to say hello!

We were then told all that could be told about the next 2 Pixar films after Monsters U and Bob Peterson and John Walker were brought up to give us the first one “The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs”.  They don’t actually HAVE a title for it yet but they did make up a funny slide with a stylized logo that said the above!  The plot idea is basically “what if the asteroid that hit the earth 65 million years ago missed and the dinosaurs had survived today?”  What would the world be like then?

The second new Pixar film (Summer 2014) is “The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind.”
Ok, it’s not really going to be called that, but they don’t have a title for it yet.  They did however have another slide for this one that had that like it was the title of the movie (those Pixar guys are funny).  Jonas Rivera and Pete Docter gave us the intro to the film and told us it would be about “the world inside your own mind”.

Then, to celebrate Pixar’s 25th birthday, Woody and Buzz Lightyear came onstage and brought out a cake that had the design of Pixar’s famous ball, the one that the lamp jumped on in their first animated short “Luxo Jr.” They were then told that they couldn’t bring out a cake without bringing out enough to share with everyone.  Event staff then proceeded down each and every aisle with boxes of cupcakes that also were frosted to look like the Pixar ball. Happy Birthday Pixar!!!

There’s more to share, and I will be posting the rest soon!
Due to a very slow, fussy WiFi connection at my hotel, I will be sharing the other parts early next week.

Be sure to stay tuned!