Aside from the live-action Marvel and Star Wars stuff, Disney had a lot of animated content to talk about at its two-hour D23 Expo presentation on Saturday as well. That included details on new and existing animated titles from both Pixar and Disney Animation, be it casting announcements for the sequel Frozen II and the bonkers Soul — Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey are involved on the latter — a new look at the fantasied Onward that features Spider-Man and Star-Lord actors, and entirely new films such as Asia-inspired Raya and the Last Dragon. Here are all the D23 Expo announcements for Disney’s upcoming animated fare, ordered by release dates.
Release date: November 22, 2019
We knew Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood was part of the voice cast for Frozen 2 — the sequel to the 2013 hit original — but Disney revealed at D23 Expo that Wood would be voicing Anna and Elsa’s mother. Her role might be limited to flashbacks, considering both parents — the erstwhile King and Queen of Arendelle — had seemingly died at sea during a storm in the first film. Meanwhile, Sterling K. Brown is voicing a new character called Lieutenant Matthias on Frozen 2.
Frozen 2 has been directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, off a script by Allison Schroeder and Lee.
Release date: March 6, 2020
Pixar didn’t have a lot to show for its next original effort — on the back of a trailer in May — but we did get a new poster and image from the film. The Onward voice cast includes Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer. Set in a fantasy world populated with elves, trolls, mermaids, and the like, Onward is about two brothers (Holland and Pratt) who set out to discover if there’s still magic in the world, hoping to connect with the father who died when they were young.
Onward has been directed by Dan Scanlon, off a script by C.S. Anderson and Scanlon.
Release date: June 19, 2020
Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad, and Questlove were announced as the Soul voice cast at D23 Expo on Saturday. Foxx plays Joe Gardner, a man with a deep love for jazz who’s stuck as a middle school music teacher. He gets his big break after an open mic but his soul is separated after an accident. He ends up at the You Seminar, an academy where souls learn about passion and then graduate into a newborn child.
That’s as bonkers and out-there an idea as Pixar has had in a while, even more so than Inside Out. Helping Pixar on the Soul journey will be Nine Inch Nails duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as composers, with Late Night with Stephen Colbert’s Jon Batiste working on the original jazz compositions.
Raya and the Last Dragon
Release date: November 25, 2020
Awkwafina and Cassie Steele are lending their voices to this Disney Animation film inspired by Hong Kong action films and the culture of Southeast Asia. Raya and the Last Dragon is set in Kumandra, a fantasy world with five lands and a sea shaped like a dragon. It follows lone warrior Raya (Steele), who’s on a quest to find the last dragon, hoping it can save the world from evil. Unfortunately, the dragon (Awkwafina) is trapped in a human body and needs Raya’s help to return to dragon form.
Raya and the Last Dragon will be directed by Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, off a script by Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians).