Disney This Week: Avatar Theme Park, Thor: Ragnarok & More!


Disney This Week: Avatar Theme Park, Thor: Ragnarok & More!

Disney This Week: Avatar theme park, Thor: Ragnarok & more!

After a week off, we’re back with another edition of our regular weekly feature Disney This Week here at ComingSoon.net, rounding up the latest news on all things Disney, including news on movies, TV, Blu-ray/DVD, Marvel Studios, theme parks and more. Let us know what excited you most about Disney This Week in the comments below!

RELATED: The Star Wars News Roundup for March 2, 2017


Full Thor: Ragnarok Plot Revealed!

Full Thor: Ragnarok Plot Revealed!

A brief description was previously revealed by Marvel Studios, but now there’s a proper breakdown of the full Thor: Ragnarok plot, which picks up from the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In the film, Thor will arrive in Asgard after hearing about trouble in his home world, and when he arrives he finds Loki’s style of ruling (while impersonating Odin) has led to some lapses in the rules and leads to the freeing of prisoner Hela. Thor and Hela naturally come to blows when they meet, which sees Thor “blasted” to Sakaar, described as “a barbaric planet ruled by the charming but nefarious Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).” There he meets Valkyrie, who is hiding out on the planet, and brings him to the Grandmaster to make him a gladiator, where he meets the most popular competitor in the arena, The Hulk, and loses his trademark hair and hammer.

After the two Avengers reunite, the film turns into a road trip. Director Taika Waititi took inspiration from movies like 48 HRS., Withnail and I, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Along the way, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange will make an appearnce and the film will lay the groundwork for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Waititi did note to the outlet, however, that Ragnarok isn’t just a “set up” movie, but it reinvents the Thor franchise.


First Thor: Ragnarok Photos Reveal Bruce Banner, Grandmaster

Following their cover reveal, Marvel Studios has revealed the first batch of official photos from Thor: Ragnarok featuring a reveal of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, Jeff Goldblum’s eccentric Grandmaster, and more! Check out the Thor: Ragnarok photos in the gallery below!


Dead Men Tell No Tales in the New Pirates Trailer!

The new Pirates trailer has arrived! In the player below, you can take a look at Walt Disney Pictures‘ latest chapter, Dead Men Tell No Tales.


International Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Poster Assembles the Crew

Walt Disney Pictures has released an international Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales poster, assembling the crew of the upcoming fifth film in the franchise.


BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Jared Leto attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)

Jared Leto in Early Talks for TRON Reboot

TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski recently went on the record about the troubled TRON 3 he was months away from lensing in Vancouver in 2015, stating that the film was not cancelled but “in cryogenic freeze” at Walt Disney Pictures. Now one of the actors who was originally in talks for 2015’s TRON 3 (a.k.a. TRON: Ascension), Academy Award winner Jared Leto, may revive the project as a reboot of the property. He would play a character called Ares (named after the Greek god of war), who was developed in the original Ascension screenplay with Leto in mind.

While TRON: Ascension had planned to continue the story of Garrett Hedlund’s Sam Flynn and Olivia Wilde’s Quorra as an “invasion movie” set mostly in the real world, there is no indication of whether those characters will have a place in this reorganized project, since it’s being driven by Leto’s star power. While Leto has taken franchise roles in last year’s hit Suicide Squad and the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, this would be an opportunity for him to headline an event movie all his own.


Belle Meets Lumiere and Cogsworth in New Beauty and the Beast Clip

To mark the premiere of their latest web series, “The Oh My Disney Show,” Walt Disney Pictures have released another new clip from the upcoming live-action version of Beauty and the Beast featuring Emma Watson’s Belle as she first meets both Ewan McGregor’s Lumière and Ian McKellen’s Cogsworth. Check it out in the player below starting at the 1:14 mark in the player below!


Lumiere Plots Romance in New Beauty and the Beast Clip

Walt Disney Pictures also released a clip featuring Ewan McGregor’s Lumiere and Ian McKellen’s Cogsworth. Check it out in the player below!


Belle is Empowered in New Beauty and the Beast Featurette

And the studio delivered a new featurette focusing on Emma Watson’s Belle. Check out the Beauty and the Beast featurette below!


10 Other Beauty and the Beast Adaptations

Over the years, the ‘tale as old as time’ has been seen in some very interesting and surprising incarnations. While we eagerly anticipate the release of Walt Disney Pictures‘ live-action Beauty and the Beast, we’re looking back at some of the most notable adaptations of the original french fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. From film to television, there are so many Beauty and the Beast adaptations, including live-action storybook films, decade appropriate ‘modern’ re-imaginings, the hugely-successful Disney animated feature and it’s spin-offs. CHECK OUT THE FULL ARTICLE AT THE LINK ABOVE!


Beauty and the Beast Review

It seems obvious to say, but animation and live-action filmmaking are two very different things. Animation is bright colors and brighter emotions, better at showing off what feels real than what is actually real. And live action is real life… or at least as close an approximation as can be faked. It needs to deal with not what just feels real but looks, sounds and smells real as well.

With the introduction of computer-animated feature films 20 years ago, that difference has started to shrink, or at least it seems so. Computer-animated films are still animated and still more or less play by the same rules as their cell-animated ancestors, but they change our expectation for what the animated aesthetic should feel like. As such, above and beyond themselves, they serve as an excellent bridge to the live-action remakes of classic animated films, but the rules don’t necessarily travel with them…



Train for the Big Race with a New Cars 3 Poster

Disney•Pixar has released a new Cars 3 poster. CHECK IT OUT IN FULL AT THE LINK ABOVE!

Directed by Brian Fee (storyboard artist for Cars and Cars 2), Disney•Pixar‘s Cars 3 begins when, blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez, with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!


Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion and Lea DeLaria Join Cars 3

Walt Disney Pcitures has revealed three additional members of the voice cast for their upcoming animated film Cars 3: Kerry Washington (Scandal), Nathan Fillion (Castle) and Lea DeLaria (Orange Is the New Black). Washington will play a red sports car named Natalie Certain, Fillion a luxury car called Sterling, and DeLaria a school bus named Miss Fritter.



Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy to Re-Write Disney’s Christopher Robin Film

Spotlight writer Tom McCarthy has joined the Disney‘s Christopher Robin film. He’ll be re-writing a script by Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip). The film is the latest addition to the live-action versions of Disney classics like the upcoming Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The film, directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace) has a grown up version of the Winnie the Pooh character who’s adult life has caused him to lose the joy he had as a young man. Pooh pays the adult Christopher Robin a visit to remind him of the magic of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Mary Poppins Returns

First Look at Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins!

Walt Disney Pictures has released the first look photo of star Emily Blunt as the title character in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns! CHECK IT OUT IN THE GALLERY AT THE LINK ABOVE!

Now filming in London, Mary Poppins Returns also includes Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters, with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep. In addition, Dick Van Dyke plays Mr. Dawes Jr., the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, which is now run by William Weatherall Wilkins (Firth), and Angela Lansbury will play the Balloon Lady, a character from PL Travers’ original children’s books.


Disney’s Live-Action Dumbo Movie Eyes Eva Green

While the world prepares for the arrival of Disney‘s live-action Beauty and the Beast next week, work is well underway on another updating of one of the studio’s animated classics. Director Tim Burton’s upcoming live-action Dumbo movie may be calling on a familiar face. Eva Green, who previously worked with Burton on both Dark Shadows and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, has entered talks to play one of three human leads in the feature.


Danny DeVito Reteams with Tim Burton for Dumbo

Disney and director Tim Burton’s upcoming live-action Dumbo movie is currently in negotiations to cast another Burton regular in Danny DeVito, who previously appeared in Batman Returns, Mars Attacks! and Big Fish. DeVito would play Medici, who runs a small circus that gets taken over by an evil big top circus run by the film’s main villain, Vandemere.

Exclusive Interview

The Walt Disney Company's Coverage Of The D23 Expo 2013

With Moana having arrived on Blu-ray this week, we thought we’d take the opportunity to have an exclusive 1-on-1 chat with one of the most respected animators at Disney, Eric Goldberg. A supervising animator, writer and director for Walt Disney Studios since he animated Robin Williams’ Genie for the 1992 classic Aladdin, he went on to co-direct 1995’s smash Pocahontas, some segments in Fantasia 2000, as well as the animation in the 2003 Warner Bros. film Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He was responsible for all the 2D elements in Moana, reuniting with directors Ron Clements and John Musker who he worked with on Aladdin, Hercules and The Princess and the Frog.

Click here to purchase Moana on Blu-ray!

ComingSoon.net: You’re responsible for all the hand drawn stuff in “Moana,” specifically Maui’s tattoos, correct?

Eric Goldberg: That’s correct. You know, I also supervised the hand drawn animation of say, the prologue, for example, as well, when Tafiti rises, and all that kind of stuff. So anything that was hand drawn came under my eyeball.

CS: And what were some of the specific challenges of doing 2D animation, knowing it was then going to be applied to a 3D character?

Goldberg: Well, one thing that you don’t realize until you start experimenting with it, and thank god we have all the technical geniuses here to solve the problems, you don’t realize how much the drawings are going to distort once they are textured onto CG Maui’s body. The first couple of times we tried it, it was a disaster. And then, finally, the technical folks figured out a way of having it distort just enough, so that it looked like it was formed around big Maui’s muscle structure, but not so much that it just looked crazy. (Laughs)


CS: Right. Well, I mean, your area of expertise was always kind of morphing and sort of thinking about 2D in sort of 3D terms. Did that kind of come in handy, when you were conceptualizing those sequences?

Goldberg: Absolutely. For any animation character, no matter how graphic they are, and obviously, Maui is very graphic, you still have to think of them as three-dimensional beings. You’re still having to turn them around in space, without killing the design conceits of the graphics. It still has to look like a moving tattoo, but you still have to believe that mini-Maui can have a three-quarter back view, if he needs one, you know?

CS: Right, right. Because there is a lot of Dwayne in the character, how did Dwayne’s performance in the recording booth and just him in general kind of influence the character of Maui?

Goldberg: Well, in terms of Maui himself, that’s really a question for Mack Kablan, who supervised the Maui character. And yeah, he was there at some of the recording sessions, and they took videos. And yeah, he did try and incorporate a lot of Dwayne’s signature things, like the “People’s Eyebrow” and the dimple in the smile and things like that, into CG Maui. As far as mini-Maui is concerned, you know, the funny thing is that mini-Maui is still part of big-Maui. They’re two parts of the same character. He’s like his better side, if you will.

CS: Yeah, he’s sort of like the Jiminy Cricket to him, in a lot of ways.

Goldberg: Right. But since they’re both aspects of the same character, to a certain extent, I think mini-Maui was still capable of sarcasm and giving it back to his owner, when his owner went too far and so on and so forth. And that was really fun to put in. Something that John Lasseter had said that he wanted to see in the character is, let him give him an elbow in the ribs once in a while, you know? And take him down a peg.


CS: That’s something that a lot of people don’t necessarily appreciate about animators. They think that a lot of what you guys do is very technical, but there is a character aspect to it, and there’s a lot about character building and story in everything you do. How involved were you in those discussions about how what you were going to do was going to affect the overall story and fabric of the movie?

Goldberg: Well, let’s first of all talk about John and Ron, because John and Ron, first of all, as you know, have a history in doing hand drawn animation films. So their sensibilities are still very deeply rooted in that kind of traditional approach. And even when they were directing CG animation, they would say to the CG animators, “Oh, can you push back a little bit more, or can you make that straight a little straighter?” Or things like that, that we would do as if we were talking about drawings. And you know, so my comfort zone in working with them was great. And John and Ron have always been incredibly collaborative. They’ll take a good idea from anywhere. So in the case of mini-Maui, there’s a lot of work that had come before in terms of his initial designs were by Bill Schwab, who was our Art Director for characters. And a lot of the content for mini-Maui came from the story crew. You know, they started incorporating him into the film, and people started responding. How he would do things is probably where I would make my biggest contribution, let’s put it that way. So for example, if they storyboarded mini-Maui tap dancing during your welcome, nobody telling me how to make him tap dance. And John and I would bat around things, like he can use his fishhook like a cane. And I’d incorporate that into the animation. But I’d basically have to choreograph it and animate it myself for it to work to the music and feel like the character is really doing that stuff.

Other examples are where they would have something indicated in the storyboard, but they haven’t worked out the logistics. So one example early on in the film is after big-Maui sings “You’re Welcome,” and he’s very satisfied with himself, they had it indicated in the storyboards, but they want mini-Maui, “they yank him back somehow.” The somehow was kind of up to me, so I would make a quick doodle. I think it’d be fun for him to pull back part of the tattoo design itself, to yank him back and then let it snap like a rubber band. And then, that formed a whole kind of, and let’s plus that idea and let’s plus that idea. And you know, so once John and Ron liked that idea, then they’d see the rough animation and they’d say to the computer animator, “Okay, well, on the snap, can you have CG Maui react to the snap?” And he’d say, “Great,” and he’d do that. And I’d say, “Great, can you get Dwayne Johnson to say, ‘Ow’ in the background?” Just collaborating and tossing these things back and forth. So my contribution, in terms of the character, was really how he did something, and in some cases, the things that he would actually do. You know, probably my favorite one is when he’s trying to say that he’s not afraid of the heart of Tafiti, but you cut down to mini-Maui and he’s biting his nails and running around in a panic. And that came out of a couple of thumbnails in the issuing section. Often, the computer animators would come up with a great idea.

One of the animators, Michael Woodside, was working on a scene that I was also working on, and it was after they left the island, and mini-Maui—I decided, let’s have mini-Maui really throw a fit. Okay, obviously, he can’t say anything, but he can jump up and down and be upset. And to shut him up, Michael Woodside said, “I thought maybe he could just flex his peck and have it make mini-Maui topple over.” And that was a great idea. So we worked it out between the two of us. You know, okay, where’s the peck flex going to happen? On what freaking number? You know? (Laughs) And that’s the kind of thing that we’d do all through the picture.


CS: You’ve worked with Ron and John on I think at least three other 2D movies before this. But I don’t think there’s been a 2D Disney feature, I think, since “Winnie the Pooh.”

Goldberg: You’re correct.

CS: And I know after Walt passed, he still had his Nine Old Men to pass down those techniques and styles of hand drawn animation for decades after that. Is there anything in place anymore to keep those traditions alive at the studio?

Goldberg: I think the fact that people like me and Mark Henn and Randy Haycock are still here doing it is partially keeping it in place. I mean, you know? They have plenty to keep us busy. One of the things that maybe not a lot of people know is that they have the hand drawn animators do test drives for the computer characters before they’re fully modeled and rigged. So for example, we all did animation on Maui and Mark Henn did a lot of stuff on Moana. I did some stuff on toddler Moana and the water, all in hand drawn, as a way of showing how these characters might move, might behave, and that can get incorporated into the CG animation.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)



New DuckTales Trailer Takes You Back to Duckburg

Disney Television Animation and Disney XD are taking you back to Duckburg with the new DuckTales trailer, which you can check out below! In addition, the network has announced that ahead of the show’s premiere, the series has already been renewed for a second season!

Among those set to voice the fan-favorite characters in the revival are Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, and Bobby Moynihan as Huey, Dewey, and Louie, with David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck, Beck Bennett as Launchpad McQuack, Toks Olagundoye as Mrs. Beakley, and Kate Micucci as Webby Vanderquack. Other characters will appear in the series as well, including Donald Duck, Flintheart Glomgold, Gyro Gearloose, Duckworth, Gizmoduck, Magica DeSpell, Gladstone Gander, and Ma Beagle and the Beagle Boys.


Lucasfilm Confirms Star Wars Rebels Season 4

Lucasfilm and Disney XD have just confirmed that Star Wars Rebels Season 4 is on the way! Look for new episodes to premiere later this year with further details about what’s to come planned to be revealed at April’s Star Wars Celebration.


Double Agent Droid: New Star Wars Rebels Clip and Photos

Lucasfilm and Disney XD have just released a new Star Wars Rebels clip from this weekend’s new episode, “Double Agent Droid.” Catch it Saturday, March 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Watch the “Double Agent Droid” clip in the player below!


First Images from Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy

First Images from Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Telltale Games and Marvel Entertainment have revealed the first official images from their upcoming Marvel video game, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series! The first of five episodes in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series will premiere digitally in 2017 on consoles, PC, and mobile devices.


Theme Parks


Videos: New Looks at Disney’s Pandora – The World of Avatar Attraction

Disney has been teasing Pandora – The World of Avatar and now actually takes us inside the ride! In the players below, you can watch new World of Avatar videos that show James Cameron and more enjoying the flora and fauna parkgoers to Disney’s Animal Kingdom will encounter when Pandora opens on May 27.