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Wanna Know Disney's Top Secret Plans For The Next 2 Years? They're About To Tell You At D23 Expo

Concept art from the new Marvel-themed land at Disney's California Adventure. (Courtesy Disney)
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Take a deep breath. Visualize Comic-Con. Now make everything Disney. That's D23 Expo, and it's back Friday through Sunday in Anaheim.

Every two years, Disney and all its many brands -- from Pixar to Marvel to Star Wars to National Geographic (true story) -- gather together to make major announcements about the next two years of Disney-related content.

Below is our guide to all of the news that will be blowing up your social media feeds this weekend.

Whether you're looking for a place to family-friendly geek out, or you're holding your breath about what's next for Mickey's minions, here's what to watch for in the world of SoCal theme parks, new movies, streaming shows, and the rest of Disney's current and future pan-media endeavors.

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Concept art from the new Marvel-themed land at Disney's California Adventure. (Courtesy Disney)

Construction's already underway at California Adventure, with some tantalizing fencing around the area labeling it as a Stark Industries endeavor. However, given the land's imminent opening next year, we're likely to see what attractions to expect when the Marvel Cinematic Universe enters our physical space.

It's been reported that attractions will include everything from something Spider-Man themed to an Ant-Man microbrewery. We don't know what the final plans hold -- or if conflict over the Spider-Man movie rights will be reflected in less Spidey at the park -- but we'll likely know a lot more after the Sunday morning panel.

They'll also be announcing news about all the attractions opening up at other Disney parks around the world -- that we may or may not be getting in Southern California anytime soon.


Disney is coming for your streaming eyeballs. (Courtesy Disney)

Disney's not screwing around when it comes to entering the streaming platform wars. They're aggressively pricing Disney+ at $6.99 a month, with a $12.99 bundle that includes both ESPN+ and Hulu.

D23 Expo attendees get first dibs on signing up for the service, which launches Nov. 12 -- but Disney fan club members will be able to sign up starting Monday, and we expect it will be opened up to the broader public not long after that.

A big Disney+ panel in D23 Expo's largest venue headlines Friday at the convention, with an hour and a half showcasing what everyone can expect. Much of the lineup has already been announced, but we're expecting you'll see footage from a broad swath of their upcoming shows and movies, along with lots of star power.

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The network launches with two original shows: the Star Wars universe-set The Mandalorian, along with the exhaustingly titled High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. It's also been reported that Ewan McGregor is in negotiations to bring back Obi-Wan Kenobi for a Disney+ series, so if that deal closes, McGregor may make a D23 Expo appearance.

Their first Marvel show is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but it reportedly hasn't started filming yet, so actual footage is still a ways off. Still, we may get to find out more specifics on this show and other shows in the not-too-distant future, like Loki and WandaVision.


File: Disney fan Harlow Faith, 3, poses for a family photo at the Marvel display during the Disney D23 EXPO 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center on Aug. 16, 2015. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Marvel laid out Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at Comic-Con last month. It only includes five movies at this point, which would make it the smallest MCU phase to date -- but with the addition of Disney+ shows, it's possible that they won't be adding more films to this phase of superhero adventure.

Still, there are other movies that were either announced or teased, which we may find out more about at D23 Expo. Kevin Feige ended his Comic-Con presentation by mentioning Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, Fantastic Four, and something involving mutants (read: X-Men). He also announced that Mahershala Ali will be playing the vampire hunting Blade, but no release date has been announced for that project yet.

Of course, while they could give us some more details on those tantalizing future projects, they may may just save those announcements for a future Comic-Con -- or D23 Expo 2021. More likely than getting in-depth on future projects, we'll probably get more on the movies coming sooner -- particularly Black Widow, the next movie on the Marvel calendar, set to arrive on May 1, 2020 after a longer-than-usual Marvel movie break.


Secrets drive fans crazy, especially one that they can't reliably guess. D23 Expo's offering one of those with a Saturday panel mysteriously labeled "Secret Walt Disney Company Project," which they're set to announce the Thursday before D23.

The speculation has been all over the place, from a fifth Disney World theme park to a Disney social media network. The panel's taking place in a smaller room than the big panels, and something like a new park seems like it would be explored in the big theme parks panel, but... you never know.


Disney laid out the dates for their planned movie releases through 2022 already, though what exactly will be released on some of those dates remains in question. We'll likely see what to expect from dates currently marked with just "PIXAR ANIMATION" or "DISNEY LIVE ACTION" thus far, at least through 2021, though they may hold onto some of those mysterious 2022 dates a bit longer.

We should get plenty on upcoming 2019 Disney-branded movies like Frozen 2, and maybe a little something from this December's Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. Some of the biggest releases from 2020 that will likely get a ton of attention include Pixar's Onward, the live-action Mulan remake, fantasy mega-book Artemis Fowl, the Jungle Cruise movie starring the Rock and so much more, and those are just some of the movies they have coming in 2020.

And just maybe we'll get the beginnings of a tease toward the next Star Wars trilogy, set for 2022 -- though they'll likely be saving most of that for next year's Star Wars Celebration convention.


The Fox/Disney merger has been weird in a slew of ways, but one of the strangest has been the rebellious spirit of classic animated sitcom The Simpsons being put under the Disney banner. You'll be able to see them in their post-merger D23 Expo debut Saturday morning.

While there probably aren't any major announcements coming here, they're well on their way to 700 episodes -- and episode 666 appears to line up just right for this year's Treehouse of Horror Halloween show, so seeing something from that seems like the most likely panel highlight.

What are you looking forward to finding out more about from the global behemoth that is Disney? We haven't been bought by them (yet), but we'll be keeping an eye out for how what they do affects Southern California.

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