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D23 2017: Live-Action Disney Panel

At D23’s Live-Action Disney Film Panel, it was announced that Will Smith has been cast as the Genie in the upcoming live-action remake of the beloved animated classic. Also joining the cast are Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Scott was most recently scene as the sassy Pink Ranger, Kimberly, in Saban’s “Power Rangers”. Disney had recently expressed their struggle in casting the film’s two young leads, but now it seems those troubles are no more. The announcement today was made by panel moderator Sean Bailey, who also stated the film will include iconic tropes and songs from the 1992 film as well as draw from its original source material, “One Thousand and One Nights”. “Aladdin” will be directed by Guy Ritchie and is set to begin production this summer.

Also reported was the casting of Oscar Nominee Hugh Jackman as Scar in the upcoming Jon Favreau directed remake of “The Lion King”, though this was later confirmed to be untrue by Mr. Jackman’s publicist. “The Lion King” is set to star James Earl Jones (reprising his role from the original film as Mufasa), Donald Glover (Simba), and John Oliver (Zazu). While being billed as a “live-action” remake, Favreau’s “Lion King” will employ CGI effects similar to his most recent Disney re-issue, “The Jungle Book”, which fans at the Live-Action Disney panel got to see first hand when Favreau presented brand new footage of the opening “Circle of Life” number. “The Lion King” is set to be released in 2019.

Also shown at the panel was a new behind-the-scenes look at the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. Director Rian Johnson was present to present the footage after having previously spent the night in Hall D23 with fans who had camped out to wait for the panel.  Johnson had stayed in the hall from 11pm Friday night to 3am Saturday morning taking selfies, signing autographs, and getting to know the adoring fans waiting to see what exciting news awaited them. Cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro all took to the stage to talk about the film while carefully refraining from giving away important plot details.

To close out the panel, Marvel Producer Kevin Feige took the stage to introduce the cast of the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War”. Cast members in attendance included Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Don Cheadle, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Next, Feige introduced the film’s Co-Director Joe Russo, who introduced a brand new, never-before-seen teaser for the highly anticipated blockbuster. The teaser unfortunately has not been released on line, nor are there plans for this to happen anytime soon, but hopefully we’ll get a small taste next week at San Diego Comic Con.

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