In this week’s installment of In Case You Missed It Friday, we review a busy day in movie news from the Disney Company.
1. Just yesterday, Disney released a new trailer for their much-anticipated (and much agonized-over) film adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods. You know there HAVE to be cuts, because the stage version is nearly three hours long. Does this trailer make you look forward to this Christmas release?
2. Also yesterday, we got the announcement that there’s finally a title for Star Wars: Episode VII (Coming December 18, 2015 in the U.S.). Where do we go after “The Return of the Jedi”? Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
The reaction was swift and surprisingly negative. The Force Awakens makes perfect sense to me. At the end of Return of the Jedi, the great masters were lamenting that there was only one Jedi remaining (oops, no, we mean two). If the war is to continue, something has to happen. Luke and Leia are awesome, but two against the world doesn’t last very long. So from that perspective, The Force Awakens is the perfect way to start us up the ride hill for the next trilogy roller coaster ride.
3. As if live action musical and Star Wars news wasn’t enough yesterday, Bob Iger took yesterday’s Investor’s Conference Call as the opportunity to announce that Pixar is making Toy Story 4, with a targeted release date of June 16, 2017. While it’s hard to see where the story will go after the nice bow put on the franchise by Toy Story 3, Iger announced a heck of a team to take a crack at it. John Lasseter was announced as the director of Toy Story 4, and the story is a collaboration between Lasseter and a sort of “Big 3″ of Pixar talent – Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich.
I prefer when Pixar offers us new stories, and I worry about the current Disney film obsession with sequels. But on the other hand, the sequels appear to be supplementing the original products (at least on the animation side). Disney Animation announced a few weeks ago that Musker and Clements were getting back together to make “Moana,” about a South Pacific teenage explorer, with a target release of late 2016. And Pixar itself has two new projects slated for release before the “Finding Dory” and “Toy Story 4″ sequels, with Inside Out coming June 19, 2015 and The Good Dinosaur set for November 25, 2015.
We can argue about the details of all of these announcements, but the big picture is that it’s getting exciting to talk about Disney film again!