D23 Expo Announcements: Muppets, Pirates and Cars — Oh My!

Geek Culture

Image: The Walt Disney Co.Image: The Walt Disney Co.

Image: The Walt Disney Co.

In Anaheim, California, over this past weekend, The Walt Disney Company threw a big event for the press and hardcore Disney fans called the D23 Expo. Lots of news came out of it, but of particular interest to geeks — and particularly geek parents — are the announcements of several upcoming movies Disney is producing.

The one I’m most looking forward to: The first new Muppet movie since way back in 1999! Yes, the long-rumored new film, to be titled The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made, is scheduled to come out next year. It’s being written by Jason Segel, who (being, evidently, a hardcore Muppets fan since childhood) has promised to bring the movie back to being about the Muppets instead of the guest stars. The title is very similar (possibly identical — I’m not 100% sure) to a planned Muppet movie Jim Henson developed in the mid-1980s but never produced. That movie was supposed to be about Gonzo directing a movie and rapidly, though not surprisingly, going way over-budget. Nobody has said whether the upcoming film will be based on that project, but I would be surprised to learn it wasn’t at least related. More Muppet news was also announced, including several iPhone apps to be coming out next year.

The one I’m least looking forward to: The first new Pirates of the Caribbean movie since way back in 2007! Yes, the new film, to be subtitled On Stranger Tides, was announced to thunderous applause, which

Image: The Walt Disney Co.Image: The Walt Disney Co.

Image: The Walt Disney Co.

I’m sure had nothing to do with the fact that they got Johnny Depp to show up dressed up (and flouncing around the stage) as Captain Jack Sparrow. I suppose one can hardly blame Disney for making another film in the series, since actually printing money is illegal, but really, why don’t they just call it Pirates of the Caribbean: Depp, Depp, and More Depp? The new film, for anyone who really cares, will be coming out in Summer 2011.

And the one I’m ambivalent about: Cars 2. I thought Cars, like every other Pixar film, was better than most other animated films being made today. But I also think it was the weakest of all the Pixar films made thus far. I’d much rather see a sequel to Finding Nemo or Monsters, Inc., if they really have to make a sequel to something other than Toy Story. The other Pixar news announced was a date (Summer 2012) for their adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars. This is actually going to be live-action, which seems somehow wrong for a Pixar film, but I’m withholding judgment until more information about it is released.

There’s other news from D23, of course, including officially announcing Robert Zemeckis as the director of a remake of Yellow Submarine, which also seems unnecessary to me.

Check out the video below stitched together from the D23 Expo. The Muppets appear at 2:35, and Johnny Depp at 4:09.

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