George Lucas, Johnny Depp and More Named Disney Legends

George Lucas and Johnny Depp among the new Disney Legends

George Lucas and Johnny Depp were among the new Disney Legends at the D23 Expo on Friday. Disney CEO Bob Iger took the stage to introduce the inductees and give us a look back at previous legends, including the late Robin Williams. Depp was a surprise inductee, appearing after Iger announced the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland Shanghai.

Depp took the stage to screaming fans, joking that he woke up screaming the same way this morning. He told the crowd that it was an absolute honor to be on stage, pausing to mention a passing mosquito. When an audience member yelled, “parlay,” in a nod to Jack Sparrow, he said a few words in the character’s voice. He told the audience that he didn’t like the word “fan” because it implied that “someone is above and someone is below.” He said that he was the audience’s fan and that they are, in fact, his employer. He thanked Disney for “giving me this great opportunity to basically do stupid stuff for a living.”

George Lucas accepted the Legend award and joked that Goofy was the inspiration for the much-hated character Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels. “I know you’ll look at him differently now,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious. I love Goofy and I love Jar Jar Binks.” He said that Disney gave him inspiration over the years and that he was a fan. He joked that “after all these years of pushing to get more Star Wars and Indiana Jones into the parks” that the only way to do it was, “to get Bob to buy the company.”

Composer Danny Elfman was also inducted as a Legend. Elfman is responsible for the scores for everything from The Nightmare Before Christmas to Alice in Wonderland, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dick Tracy, Dead Presidents, Flubber and Good Will Hunting. Elfman announced to the crowd that he was doing music for the Alice In Wonderland ride at Shanghai Disney.

Other inductees included: Andreas Deja, who animated villains like Jafar from Aladdin and Gaston from Beauty and the Beast; Carson Van Osten, comic strip artist and story man who created the Mickey Mouse logo for the character’s 50th and 60th anniversaries; Susan Lucci, who spent 41 years playing Erica Kane on “All My Children”; Sleeping Beauty animator Eyvind Earle, whose daughter accepted the award on his behalf; George Bodenheimer, former Executive Chairman of ESPN; composer Richard Sherman; and Disney Park Ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto, who was assigned to the very first position by Walt Disney himself.

There was also an in memoriam presentation showing everyone we’ve lost recently, including football legend Frank Gifford and actor Robin Williams. The tribute included a performance of “Never Had a Friend Like Me” from Aladdin by the artist Neo.

Stay tuned to for more news from the D23 Expo.