During Disney’s four hour webstream Investor Day presentation, the Walt Disney Company revealed their vision of the future and the path they’ll be following for the next several years. From Disney studios to streaming services, various leadership teams at Disney shared big announcements for how these divisions will be operating going forward, along with some of the new content that will be available soon on these platforms.
This recap covers the theatrical film announcements from Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. We’ve also recapped the announcements for Disney+ as well as ESPN+, Star, and Hulu in separate posts. Additionally, for up to the minute news as it was happening, please check out our Live Blog or Investor Day Hub for more on the day’s events.
Disney Theatrical Investor Day News
Among the Investor Day reveals for Walt Disney Studios, was the announcement of the 60th animated film, Encanto and a simultaneous theatrical and Disney+ Premier Access release of Raya and the Last Dragon. Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee shared the news about these upcoming features while also announcing some unique Disney+ series and films in development.
- Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto.
- The film will feature original music by the wonderfully talented Lin-Manuel Miranda who composed songs for Moana and will bring his musical stylings to the live-action The Little Mermaid as well.
- Encanto arrives in theatres on November 24, 2021.
What She’s Saying:
- Jennifer Lee: “For our 60th feature, magical realism sets the stage, and, yes, it is a musical stage, as we travel to Colombia, where a magical family—the Madrigals—live in an equally magical home. Our film is called Encanto. Why? Because an Encanto is a charmed place, born of its unique wonders, where life itself is wondrous.”
Raya and the Last Dragon
- The release date for Raya and the Last Dragon has been moved up a week and now debuts on March 5, 2021.
- Additionally, the film will be available simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access.
- Kelly Marie Tran provides the voice of Raya, a warrior whose wit is as sharp as her blade; while Awkwafina voices the magical, mythical, self-deprecating dragon named Sisu.
- Disney revealed new characters images of:
- Street-savvy 10-year-old entrepreneur named Boun
- Formidable giant Tong
- Thieving toddler Noi with her band of Ongis
- The feature film is directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada and produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho.
The Little Mermaid
- In the title role is multi talented singer and actor Halle Bailey (one part of music group Chloe X Halle), alongside a talented cast that includes:
- Daveed Diggs
- Jacob Tremblay
- Javier Bardem
- Melissa McCarthy
- The Little Mermaid will feature the beloved Menken-Ashman songs from the animated original and some all-new music from Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda as well.
Other Disney Releases
- Cruella dives into the rebellious early days of one of the most notorious—and notoriously fashionable— villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. Set against the backdrop of 1970s punk-rock London, and director Craig Gillespie delivers a unique take on this one-of-a-kind villain. Cruella will debut in theaters May 28, 2021.
- Jungle Cruise takes audiences on a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Catch the film in theaters in July 2021.
- The Lion King live-action prequel is in development with an inspired take that revisits the iconic characters. Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight, is set to helm the film. Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Nicholas Britell will deliver the music.
Marvel Studios did a small schedule shuffle with the next Phase of their films, but fear not fans! All the movies we’re eagerly anticipating are still coming to theaters, pretty close together too.
- Following years of speculation and hope, Marvel is giving fans what they’ve been wanting for ages: an MCU Fantastic Four film!
- Kevin Feige didn’t offer any information about casting, storyline, or when we could expect the film, but Spider-Man’s Jon Watts is on board to direct!
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
- Another big announcement was the title for the third Ant-Man movie.
- Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania will be helmed by Ant-Man director Peyton Reed and stars returning favorites Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
- Kathryn Newton joins the cast as Cassie Lang while Jonathan Majors portrays Kang the Conqueror.
Other Marvel Releases
During the Investor Day presentation, Fiege confirmed release dates for several of the Phase 4 films currently in the pipeline:
- Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is slated to open in theaters on May 7, 2021.
- Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton will make its theatrical debut on July 9, 2021.
- Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals opens on November 5, 2021. The film features a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants. The ensemble cast includes:
- Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris
- Gemma Chan as humankind loving Sersi
- Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo
- Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari
- Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos
- Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak
- Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite
- Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh
- Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig
- Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena
- Kit Harington plays Dane Whitman
- Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness is set to open on March 25, 2022. The film is currently in production with Sam Raimi at the helm and will connect to the events of WandaVision and the upcoming Spider-Man film. Additionally, this will mark the big screen debut of America Chavez played by Xochitl Gomez.
- Thor: Love and Thunder comes to theaters on May 6, 2022. Director Taika Waititi returns for the next Thor installment which starts filming next month. Christian Bale joins the story as villain Gorr the God Butcher.
- Black Panther 2 will arrive in theaters on July 8, 2022 with Ryan Coogler once again serving as writer and director.
- Marvel President Kevin Feige announced that in honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy and portrayal of T’Challa, the Black Panther, Marvel Studios will not recast the character, but will continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.
- Blade is a new feature film starring Mahershala Ali in the title role.
- Captain Marvel 2 is slated to open on November 11, 2022. Nia DaCosta directs and Brie Larson reprises her role as Carol Danvers. Also joining this venture are Iman Vellani, who makes her debut in Ms. Marvel, and Teyonah Parris, who portrays grown-up Monica Rambeau—a character introduced as a child in Captain Marvel who returns to the MCU as an adult in WandaVision.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated for 2023 with director James Gunn at the helm.
Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer, Pete Docter introduced two new feature films for the studio that will premiere in theaters in Spring and Summer 2022.
- Turning Red tells the story of Mei Lee, a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And how’s this for strange? Whenever she gets too excited (which for a teenager is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda!
- This new feature film directed by Domee Shi opens in theaters on March 11, 2022.
- Directed by Angus MacLane, Lightyear, is a sci-fi action-adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy. The film reveals how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today.
- Lightyear is slated to open in theaters on June 17, 2022.
- Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca his adventures with a newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret.
- Luca is directed by Enrico Casarosa (Pixar short “La Luna”) and opens in theaters on June 18, 2021.
Lucasfilm (Star Wars)
Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm talked about four feature length films in various stages of production at the studio. With the biggest reveal being a Rogue Squadron film helmed by Patty Jenkins.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- The next Star Wars feature film to hit the big screen will be Rogue Squadron, directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman).
- The story will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.
- Rogue Squadron arrives in theaters Christmas 2023.
New Star Wars Feature
- As previously announced, a brand-new Star Wars feature with Taika Waititi is in development at Lucasfilm.
- Kathleen Kennedy says, “Taika’s approach to Star Wars will be fresh, unexpected, and…unique. His enormous talent and sense of humor will ensure that audiences are in for an unforgettable ride.”
Children of Blood & Bone
- Lucasfilm will introduce a new hero and explore an original world with Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel Children of Blood & Bone.
- The story will center on a young African girl’s heart-racing quest to restore magic to her forsaken people, the Maji. Lucasfilm will partner with 20th Century Studios on this coming-of-age adventure.
Untitled Indiana Jones
- Lucasfilm is currently in pre-production on the next installment of Indiana Jones.
- At the helm is James Mangold, director of Ford v Ferrari, and Indy himself, Harrison Ford, will be back to continue his iconic character’s journey.
- Indy will arrive in July 2022.
- From National Geographic Documentary Films, the studio behind Free Solo, Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan, and in partnership with Story Syndicate and The Cousteau Society, the life of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau is told through a treasure trove of previously unseen archival material.
- Cousteau will provide audiences a “deep dive” into the renowned explorer’s remarkable life, revealing the man behind some of the world’s most significant contributions to contemporary environmentalism.
- After festivals and a planned theatrical release, the film will be available exclusively to Disney+ subscribers.