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The Best Announcements from Disney’s D23 Expo

The Disney D23 Expo is a key event for the company, allowing showrunners and filmmakers to introduce new entries into beloved IPs to press and fans alike. This September’s expo was no different, as trailers and launch dates were revealed for long-awaited shows, films and series across Disney’s extensive library of properties. There is too much to share in one place, but here are some of the best announcements to come from the expo. 

Indiana Jones 5

Opinion has been divided on the upcoming Indiana Jones title since its initial announcement, with some concerned over Harrison Ford’s advanced age and others simply excited to see more of the titular hero. At D23, little more was announced about the sequel – but a trailer was shown to press behind closed doors, to significant acclaim.

Positive speculation about the film was also stoked by Harrison Ford’s appearance at D23. Famously unsentimental about other characters he has portrayed over the years, Ford showed a rare and real reverence for Indiana Jones, getting emotional in talking about his final appearance as the wise-cracking explorer. Indiana Jones 5 is slated for release in June 2023.

The Mandalorian Season 3

The Mandalorian has captured the hearts and minds of Star Wars fans in a way that none of the other Star Wars entries seems to have managed – including the sequel trilogy. The Mandalorian helmet is an iconic design, typifying a breed of character that has captivated audiences since its first, minor appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. 

The Mandalorian recaptures that magic and menace, through the brutal precision of virtuous bounty hunter Din Djarin. It is no surprise that audiences are begging for more, and have been since the climactic finale of Season 2 in early 2020. A brief teaser at D23 revealed the wait for Season 3 is not much longer, with the series set to come out at some point next year.

Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar is a peculiar IP, to say the least. Its release in 2009 broke box office records and spawned a level of fan dedication never before seen. And yet, Avatar seems to have made very little impact culturally despite its successes. 

Still, James Cameron is back, at last, some 13 years after the release of Avatar, with a sequel – a sequel on which he has been working for nearly a decade. At D23, Cameron revealed eight minutes of footage from the new film, inspiring a new wave of hype in those lucky enough to see it. Has the wait been worth it?

The Little Mermaid

Lastly, the announcement of a new live-action Little Mermaid film had unfortunately inspired contentious debate and even hateful reactions on social media platforms – a debate which, sadly, distracted from what could be one of the most quietly devastating new releases to come from Disney.

The mermaid Ariel is played by singer and actress Halle Bailey, who is depicted in the exclusive D23 trailer singing the famous song Part of Your World. Bailey’s performance promises to be the next cultural moment for Disney, and a crucial representation in a new generation of children’s fantasy.

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